Stan Faryna, Male Rites of Passage and Y2K : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

I have not heard from Stan Faryna since well before January 1st. I met Stan in northern Virginia and found him a genuinely nice fellow. Later during the Y2K debate, we had a falling out.

I felt Stan really wanted to "face the challenge" of a Y2K collapse. Like some men I have known, I sensed he wanted to have his mettle tested, to prove his courage, strength and intelligence. (And I made the mistake of telling him so.)

Most tribal cultures featured rites of passage for men. In modern society, there is no clear deliniation when a boy passes into manhood. For the vast majority, there is no first hunt, war party, ceremonial sweat, etc.

I think this leaves some adult men in limbo. There are "men," but they feel do not feel completely male. With Y2K, Stan (and others) felt they found a test worthy of manhood. To survive rollover, provide for a family and friends, perhaps even lead people into a newer, better society. Like so many men (myself included), Stan loved the "gear" of Y2K like Petromax stoves, Leatherman multi-tools, firearms, etc.

Perhaps the whole idea of manhood seems in the doldrums. I have not met many young men with any clear idea of what it means to be "a man." They drift out of adolescence... and many stay there emotionally through their 80s. (chuckle) What does it mean to be a "real man" today? Have we suffered by not having rites of passages into adulthood. Is masculinity worth saving? I hope so.

To Stan, wherever you are, I hope you find a mountain worth climbing.

-- Ken Decker (, May 25, 2000


I'm not sure what all transpired between the two of you, Ken. Nor am I sure what inspired you to compose this soft poke at him. Perhaps you surmise he may lurk here? If you no longer have his e-mail addy, would you like me to forward a link to this thread to him?

I consider Stan a good friend. By definition that means I deem him a very solid, moral, compassionate individual. I hesitate to address the substance of your post in part because I do not wish to divulge information offered freely during many hours of personal conversations. I may jump in if this thread remains active for any substantive length of time.


-- Bingo1 (, May 25, 2000.

Ken -

To describe a man's prepping for Y2K as being founded on some sort of need for "a rite of passage" seems ad hominem at best, so I'm not surprised you and Stan had a falling-out. I have great respect for Stan and for that all he did in helping educate people in prudent preparation.

-- DeeEmBee (, May 25, 2000.

DEB and Bingo:

I am sure that Ken meant no disrespect to Stan. The description may be incorrect for Stan; or not. But I took one of my rare reads on EZboard yesterday and it seems to be a decent description of much that I saw.

Best wishes,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 25, 2000.

If I find myself not feeling manly I sing lumberjack songs.

-- Uncle Deedah (, May 25, 2000.

>> Have we suffered by not having rites of passages into adulthood. Is masculinity worth saving? I hope so. <<

In my view, the key to becoming a man is the same as the key to becoming an adult: finding and developing one's courage. Women need courage no less than men. They simply apply it from a moderately different social position than men.

In turn, courage is founded upon self-knowledge. Rites of passage are formal lessons in courage. They are not just random, painful experiences. They are a keenly thought out series of actions exhibiting a mature (many centuries old) design.

That is what is usually lacking in our modern substitutes for these rites. They have no depth of tradition and are only as good or wise as the small group, or the individual, who is making them up as they go along. I am incredulous that we so often expect our youth to make up their own rites of passage, even when they are still immature, and then we are disappointed when their choices don't show much maturity. Or we never let them grow up, which is even worse.

So, yes, I think we need more rites of passage. I believe we are hurting as a society for lack of them.

As for masculinity, I believe that men are the definers as well as the keepers of masculinity. If we do a poor job of it, we have no one else to blame for it. It is who we are. It has nothing to do with cowboy boots or pink tutus. If a true man wears a pink tutu, then that pink tutu becomes masculine. Ever seen what Zulu warriors wear?

Similarly, masculinity has nothing to do with any conventional activities or appearances. Nothing to do with war or peace, with killing animals, or with healing them. Nothing to do with our occupation, or our emotions. It has everything to do with our bearing, our spirit, our commitments, our relationships with women and children, and how we bring our presence to the world.

As for whether it is "worth saving", that is like asking whether men are worth saving. Hell, yes. Of course. Masculinity is valuable because men are valuable. When that is no longer true, then we may as well roll over on our backs and die.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, May 25, 2000.

Bingo, au contrare. This is not meant as any insult to Stan. I was simply trying to draw a parallel. Pre-rollover Stan became pretty obsessive about "preps." He really enjoyed talking about firearms, camping gear, etc., but I had the distinct sense Stan was not an avid hunter or outdoorsman pre-rollover. Perhaps I was wrong, but I had the impression Stan really wanted a chance to test himself... man against nature. I think this is a pretty natural instinct.

I think Y2K touched a nerve in many people. Some longed for a simpler life. Some wanted more country and less city. Some feared the complexity of the modern world. Some felt we were at the nadir of modern culture and needed to start over. Some imagined a chance for a new life. And perhaps a few wondered if they might stand among the survivors. What role might one play in a brave, new world?

What do you think?

-- Ken Decker (, May 25, 2000.

Come on long have you been reading Ken's posts? :^) I think a soft poke aptly describes it.

BTW, I do agree to a certain extent with some of Ken's post - as it applies to the general TB2000 doomer population.

-- Bingo1 (, May 25, 2000.


As you may read in my previous post, each person who chose to prepare for Y2K did so for individual reasons. I cannot claim to know Stan well, but I treated him as a friend. I was completely honest with him. I suggested his focus on preps was more than an altruistic urge, but also satisfaction of a deeper urge. I sensed that he wanted a chance to have his "manhood" tested... a desire ancient and primal. This is based on not only my correspondence with Stan, but my personal meeting with him. The bigger issue is what Brian touches upon... the need for rituals in our culture.

-- Ken Decker (, May 25, 2000.

I have a little different take on Mr. Faryna. IMHO, he was a player in Yourdons little fear scheme and a most clever one at that. He shamelessly pandered various prep products and in the end was at odds with some that had ordered items through him. Oh I know, he came off as such a fine guy whose time was generously spent helping others but I never bought into that BS. As Ken has mentioned, Stan has disappeared without so much as a C YA and that in itself speaks volumes. He was responsible for much of the fear mongering and to vaporize like that labels him a charlatan in my book.

-- Willy (from@old.Philly), May 25, 2000.

Bingo 1:

I suspect that I read Ken's first post; although I don't remember it.

BTW, I do agree to a certain extent with some of Ken's post - as it applies to the general TB2000 doomer population.

Yeah, that was what I was trying to say in my own cryptic way.

Best wishes,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 25, 2000.

What is the "soft poke?" What man does not want his measure taken? I don't think "manhood" is a light switch... off and on. For every stage of our life, we find and reaffirm our masculinity. (For healthy males this does not include red convertibles, spandex swimsuits or trophy wives.)

-- Ken Decker (, May 25, 2000.


(For healthy males this does not include red convertibles, spandex swimsuits or trophy wives.)

Don't have a red convert. Don't look good in spandex, but won't give up the wife of 35 years to conform to your definition.

I have an even older Savage. Not over-and-under, but with interchangable barrels. A great 20 g and a 22 hornet. The 20 g is the best balanced gun that I own. Note, I haven't fired these in 30 y, but really nice. This was made before Hitler. A really nice gun. Maybe I will fire it again just to let it know it is still needed.

Best wishes,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 25, 2000.

The importance of men is the real issue raised by Ken's post. How can masculinity be defined in a society which no longer depends on men to hunt for food or protect the group? How can masculinity be defined so that the real gains of women are not revoked? How can a man feel like a man?

First, as a society, let's start expecting responsible fatherhood. Second, let's stop belittling or ignoring the importance of strong men. Remember this feminist tee-shirt from the 70's?--"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". Gag me on a spoon. Gag me on an Alan Alda.

-- Lars (, May 25, 2000.


I don't know about Stan. My impression for a long time was that he produced long, rambling, fairly abstract posts, lacking paragraphs and an effort to read, but otherwise apparently concerned and sincere. However, the first time I said something critical of one of his posts he dropped his aloofness and attacked violently. And those attacks continued until he left, mostly unprovoked. So I was left with the impression that he was someone with a very thin skin who bore grudges gladly. His disappearance isn't a surprise.

Perhaps his behavior did derive from his lack of any valid response to his fantasies being doubted? Of course Stan wasn't unique -- much as the pessimists repeated that they *of course* didn't want to see catastrophe, so many of them were amazingly vitriolic in their rejection of any suggestion that they might not *get* catastrophe. It was hard to believe that they weren't in some very real sense looking forward to chaotic times with eager anticipation.

A few (like Yourdon) we can now see were merely fanning the fears of potential customers, building a market for their wares. Numerous others (the bullies), I think were simply joining a gang for security, comfortable in an environment where vile behavior would be, if not applauded, at least tacitly approved by the majority.

But it's quite possible that a few, like Stan, wanted a world sufficiently changed so that those who had prepared themselves a headstart could BE somebody, and make a difference. Maybe if the deck were for once stacked in their favor, they'd have the opportunity to become (in their own eyes) the kind of person they'd always imagined but never had the chance to be, for some reason or another.

As Steinbeck wrote, a boy only becomes a man when a man is *needed*. For many of us, that time shows no sign of ever coming. Y2k would have brought such times, at least in some peoples' fantasy worlds. And maybe that's why some were so unwilling to admit otherwise, and fought against optimism so blindly.

-- Flint (, May 25, 2000.

Make sure and read this about Stan before you think he was a "nice guy"

Stan's "prep" list, embedded w/cookies [hint, that dude was making money from y2k panic sales]

Later, he and Ron Schwartz duked it out:

Here: GRAIN MILL COOP PREPS SCREW UP: Contact me immediately and here: Beware dealings with Stan Faryna

I must say I never felt "right" about Stan, or a few other people on Timebomb. After that, I knew WHY.

-- Stan was suspicious (all@the.time), May 25, 2000.


Or a boy becomes a man after his first Potlatch. Closer to what Ken meant than the quote from John.

Best wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 25, 2000.

Stan tried to educate others about living in an environment suddenly deprived of major services. He was other-directed -- I think that's the psycho-babble term -- he wasn't just looking for a way to be a man. He is a fine man.

As for enjoying the "gear" of y2k -- you just have to try to pick seed ticks on a hot summer night by lantern light. It nearly made a man out of me. ;)

-- helen (go@t.herding), May 25, 2000.

If I find myself not feeling manly I sing lumberjack songs. -- Uncle Deedah And then dressing in women's clothes? (I love Monty Python, too!)

I've given up worrying about what it takes to be a man. Men just are. We don't need any excuses. Insert your own Dave Barry line here.

-- (, May 25, 2000.

Flint:much as the pessimists repeated that they *of course* didn't want to see catastrophe, so many of them were amazingly vitriolic in their rejection of any suggestion that they might not *get* catastrophe. It was hard to believe that they weren't in some very real sense looking forward to chaotic times with eager anticipation.

I chuckled when I read this, Flint. I was a moderate in my expectations, yet spoke publicly of my desire - on a certain twisted level of fantasizing - to see Y2K take a good, hard bite out of the world weve built. I had no one state to me they likewise wouldnt be crushed if TSHTF. Was this outward dishonesty or were some of these folks lying to themselves?

As to your statements regarding ritual, Ken, I think you are right on the mark. I hinted briefly at this subject on another thread when discussing psychoactive drugs. Ritual is extremely important in that concentration is heightened during ceremony. The key is the given ritual must be sold completely to those undergoing transition & the ceremony must be truly effective in accomplish the goal. If these conditions are not met the ritual cannot survive.

-- Bingo1 (, May 25, 2000.

helen be sure and read the links above provided on Stan. In case you didn't know it, each of the links "provided" by Stan has a cookie in it. That means, if you clicked on a link, Stan got money for that. If you make a purchase, he gets MORE money for it.

Chuck, and other "sysops" encouraged (and ALLOWED) Stan to post his tripe every few you think THEY were getting kickbacks as well? Could be. I don't know, but the facts don't add up well in their favor....

Trying to "silence" every "polly" that they could, Stating that no venders were allowed to post then allowing Stan and others to do their thing (but never any optimists...hmmm) encouraging anonymous hearsay so long as it generated more FUD.....

You come to your own conclusion.

-- Something Stinks (on@old.TB), May 25, 2000.

To the anonymous person who posted the links above:

If you don't have the decency to post a real e-mail addy or other means of identification, IMO you are not acting in a dignified manner.

I'd throw out the word coward but then that would be a personal attack. That would be acting against my better judgement. So I won't use the word coward in reference to you - whoever you are.

-- Bingo1 (, May 25, 2000.


I confess I don't see your point. Stan was clearly hawking stuff for money (whatever he did with that money notwithstanding). This was clearly against stated forum policy, but was clearly permitted for ideological reasons. And he did run into some problems from unsatisfied customers. The links are real.

So you attack the messenger? Let's say it was posted by David W. Gibson of Omaha. Feel better? Do the points he makes become more valid? Or what?

-- Flint (, May 25, 2000.

Conquest. That's what is lacking. Grandiosity.

Saying "Honey I closed a big deal and submitted the paperwork to accounting" pales in comparison with "Honey I smashed the ranks of the raiders, and have strung their hides on the barn wall". Sure, each is a victory, but the image of bloody conquest of ones enemies is surely the image that men find more heroic and appealing.

I think the real question might be do men have feelings of not being complete men if they have never had the opportunity to bash in the skulls of barbarians?

I know that childless women hear the same (opposite?) thing from women who have kids: You dont understand, you dont have kids, a subtle or not so subtle jab that they are not real women. So what in this culture is the same sort of test for men, that having children may be for women? Destroying enemies? Fighting the odds and winning?

Look at the popular movies that appeal to guys, Arnold saves the world, kicks ass, and gets the girl, as does Bruce Willis. But check out chick movies, guys are not kicking butt in those movies, Kevin Costner is getting in touch with his feelings and growing emotionally, as is Brad Pitt.

Guys, does getting in touch with your inner child make you feel more manly? Does settling on a new home compare with ripping down trees and hewing it with you own bloody knuckles?

Yes Ken, you are as always dead on, we guys need mountains to climb, skulls to bash, and the modern workaday world does not give most of us the chance to do so.

-- Uncle Deedah (, May 25, 2000.

Flint, I think what Stan was doing was cooperative buying. He got a group to make a group order for things at a discount, then paid for it himself up front. Some people ordered and then didn't pick up (or pay for) their orders. At least, I think that's what happened. Anything that he sold out of unpaid orders was at cost and not for profit.

Unk, when I see unmarried career women with nice cars, clothes, hair, and stock options, I see REAL women. I'm glad I have children, but I'm not blind to the lifestyle opportunities of those who didn't.

Excuse me, I have to wash the peanut butter out of my hair...

-- helen (lostinsp@c.e), May 25, 2000.


I think the real question might be do men have feelings of not being complete men if they have never had the opportunity to bash in the skulls of barbarians?

As I mentioned earlier, I took one of my rare reads of EZboard. From that experience, I would say no. You must bash some skulls.

barbarians I would need to go to Florida to find those. Too far. :^)

Don't have time to look for barbarians.

Best wishes,,,


Best wishes,,,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 25, 2000.

Flint, my opinion is Stan wasnt hawking stuff for money. Thats your take viewing it from afar. I dont blame you for judging it as such. The nature of internet fora is such that folks generally dont meet & greet face to face. We can only weigh character by words compiled & posted.

Ive stated many times that I know the man. Of course you & I have never met, Im an occasional poster, so what good is my word? Again, no reason for you to take my word over some anonymous poster because in actuality Im anonymous as well. Understood. Perhaps I participated in the hawking of goods to fragile, panicky people. I didnt. But I could be misinforming you, right? Understood.

As to you raising the issue of violations of forum policy  LOL! You solved that riddle quickly! Of course it was for ideological reasons that he was allowed to organize the buys of various merchandise  it was cooperative preps for god sakes. Cant you hear the trumpets blaring when you read cooperative preps? They were organized by an entity known to many regular posters, not for profit but for altruistic reasons. But I dont expect you to take my word for it.

It was as Helen mentioned, Flint. If you wish for me to go into more detail Ill do so privately. My e-mail addy is real.

As to my comments about the anonymous poster who provided the links, I was out of line. I was pissed. I apologize for my sarcasm.

Im loyal to those I call friend. You spit in a friend's face, I feel it in my eye too. I cannot understand the motivation of anyone who hides behind the cloak of anonymity when an individuals character is called into question. Perhaps you can clue me in sometime.

Ive posted under the handle Bingo1 for four years. My e-mail addy hasnt changed in 2-1/2 years. Im traceable as are you. I claim responsibility for the words I write and the actions I take. The same cant be said for those who hide behind a mask of mystery.

You ask if points made by a known entity hold more validity than those made anonymously? Are you joking, Flint? Im not the sharpest pencil in the desk organizer, but give me a little credit for separating out those who make themselves accountable for their posts & those who do not!

-- Bingo1 (, May 25, 2000.

Also, my apologies to Ken for sidetracking this thread. It is an excellent topic for discussion.

-- Bingo1 (, May 25, 2000.

I am reluctant to come onto this thread, it is a beautiful and rare glimpse at what men think and feel about their manhood. Coming into it feels almost like a sacriledge, and I'm afraid by doing so the magic will evaporate.

But I can't resist commenting that it's been for me one of life's mysteries why some men should feel less than a man if they don't do stereotypical "manly" things, as Uncle Deedah suggested, when to me what has always been the criterias for what made a man "manly" was not his muscles and his eagerness to use them, but his mind and how he used it; with courage, integrity, honesty, self-reliance and most importantly, caring and protective for his loved ones. I know small balding men with those attributes who are in my eyes 50 times the man that some other "macho" and ego-handicapped men could never be. Being successful at work, settling on a comfortable home in a secure and pleasant area, is IMO just as manly, and the equivalent of a prehistoric caveman settling his woman and children in a safe cave and bringing home game he hunted. And the woman of today should not be viewed anymore submissive and helpless as the cave-woman, who had to defend the cave from predators while the man was out hunting, all the while caring for the "home" and family. IMO, techonology and modern society has changed the picture, but not its meanings.

-- (y@x.x), May 25, 2000.

Well then, I guess that we guys must need to see lots more "buying houses" movies and lots less "bashing skulls" movies.


-- Uncle Deedah (, May 25, 2000.

Russell Crowe, after grudgingly waiting over 7 months for his $350.00 Big Berky water filter sets out on a quest to find Stan Faryna.

Here we have something for both sides of the manliness issue. On one hand is a bloodthirsty extrovert, hell bent on physical revenge. For the more civil, we have a serene individual seeking his inner self along with a great hiding place.

-- Ra (tion@l.1), May 25, 2000.


Now that you have your manhood in both hands, and have perfected your Soft stabs... Why the hell don't you just grow up and move on?

You remind me of a 5 year old child that continuously, every 5 minutes, tells you about the ball they hit... Yesterday!!!!!!!... time to move on Boy.

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 26, 2000.

"Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.... I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lava-try. On Wednesdays I go shoppin' And have buttered scones for tea....

(for the rest, see your nearest Monty Python website.)

It is a fact that in ancient Israel, the age of manhood was measured as beginning at age 33.

It is a fact that Jesus Christ was crucified at the age of 33.

And I can identify with that stuff. By some cosmic coincidence, I was 33 years old when my Dad passed away; the most traumatic event of my life so far; and, in retrospect, that was the point in life when I became "fearless". Amazing how stuff happens. And when.

-- Chicken Little (, May 26, 2000.

When I want to feel MANLY these days I say beer-fifteen! Huh,Unk: )

-- capnfun (, May 26, 2000.

Helen said;

Unk, when I see unmarried career women with nice cars, clothes, hair, and stock options, I see REAL women.

And I think that illustrates why some men may feel incomplete even after acquiring the trappings of business success, since it is something that a woman can also do. Because women are capable of doing most if not all of the things men do in today's world, what is it that makes a man a man?

-- Uncle Deedah (, May 26, 2000.

Shake your groove thing - they're hangin' & in some cases are shaved.

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.

Unk -- what makes a man a man if a woman can do the same things? I dunno. It's a secret passed down from men to growing boys ... and in today's American culture, the boys are being raised in daycare centers while their mothers work and their fathers are not present (for whatever reason) on a daily basis. I'm not saying the sons of single mothers are less manly, but without a strong male influence somewhere along the line, how can they know what it's all about?

-- helen (left@the.light), May 26, 2000.

It's an interesting boys suffer from the lack of cultural rituals that mark their passage into manhood. Robert Bly has written some thoughtful works on this question. Too bad Ken had to present this topic by smearing someone who called him a friend.

-- (that sucks@big.time), May 26, 2000.

"Too bad Ken had to present this topic by smearing someone who called him a friend." -- (that sucks@big.time)

I don't think Ken smeared Stan in his presenting post.

-- Debra (??@??.com), May 26, 2000.

Much like Y, I hesitate to throw in my 2 cents. I would agree that many young men have no clear idea of what it means to be "a man", but young women in the same way have no clear idea of what it means to be "a woman." Many cultures had rites of passage for females as well, but they've gone by the wayside in modern societies.

I'm not concerned about the loss of these definitions. Many folks felt uncomfortable when they didn't fit into the definitions. Observing my kids and the lives they share with friends, I'm seeing young people look to others based on the skills they have, not their gender. My daughter's boyfriend [or maybe her OLD boyfriend by this write] likes to cook. Her room-mate, on the other hand, likes to work on cars. We may see society moving towards definitions based on skill...the accountants, the mechanics, the cooks, etc. Mating will be based on compatibility...I like this about you and you like this about me, and neither of us have to pretend we're someone we're not.

-- Anita (, May 26, 2000.

If I might clarify a few points. I do not think Stan was involved in Y2K profiteering. I think he had a genuine desire to people prepare, though he may have gotten in over his head with the cooperative buying project.

Stan and I engaged in good-natured bickering about "preps" in person... face-to-face. My original post on this thread was based on this personal experience. Stan reminded me of other men I have met... adults males who still have a yearning for a dragon to slay and damsel to rescue. In my opinion, Y2K became his dragon. If some of you think this is a "smear," so be it.

Yes, I saw Stan have a few "hissy fits" on the forum. I think he relished his role as "prep" guru and doted on the positive attention of the TB 2000 forum. A likeable fellow, he was a bit thin- skinned... but I think this emerged from his insecurity.

If I might digress, it has always struck me that much of business of maleness involves death. Growing up, when my mother said we were having chicken for dinner, it meant picking up an axe. My brothers and I butchered cattle, hogs, rabbits, etc. We also hunted and fished and fought like banshees. When my dogs died, it was my responsibility to dig the hole and bury it. One of my rites of passage was killing my first deer at age 13.

I wish I had the words to explain the mystery of hunting. It is profound and elemental. The hunt connects me with countless generations of fathers and sons and brothers.

I suppose women have the same challenge explaining the miracles of pregnancy, birth and breast feeding. To me, women are the keepers of the secrets of life. Men are the keepers of the secrets of death. In the words of Stephen King, a man's heart is stony ground.

Last year I had an exchange with Russ Lipton. He wondered aloud if he could butcher his hog. I think Stan had some of the same doubts. We have become a sterile, detached society where men do not often experience the blood, gristle and flesh of life. Our meat comes shrink-wrapped with sales tags. Our homes are defended by locks, security systems and the local constable.

Where be there dragons?

The Internet is the height of this bloodless world. Here, I cannot even give Netghost the poke in the jaw he so richly deserves. (chuckle) This is more than rituals... it about our search for meaning. Unk is right. When a woman can do everything a man can and produce children, what is left?

-- Ken Decker (, May 26, 2000.

Men, stand up for have been're all a bunch of whimps now. I blame the MEN of today for the problems of this country. DO NOT fold .. DO NOT stand down .. DO NOT be pushed around by women! Say NO to false equality issues... Say NO to the word "issue" itself! YOU are THE MEN! DEMAND your rights be restored ! Send the women back to the home where they belong..with the children! THATS whats wrong with this country!! GIT YER ASSES UP OUT OF THOSE CHAIRS YOU WHIMPY BOYS! SCREAM OUT WHEN YOU SEE INJUSTICE! SLAP THE GOVERNMENT BACK TO IT's SENSES! ORGANIZE YOURSELVES! DO SOMETHING WHIMPS!

-- Jus'a good ol'girl (Screaming@the.MeN), May 26, 2000.

Here's my last thought on this one, Ken. I can't do everything other women can do, and I can't do everything men can do. Most men cook better than I, and I'll bet you could find women who enjoyed hunting as much as you. However, I doubt you'll find a woman who can pee on a bush from three feet away.

-- Anita (, May 26, 2000.

Theres a sale at Penny's,Theres a sale at Penny's!!!!!!

-- capnfun (, May 26, 2000.

Ken, you might be disapointed in learning that many women can hunt as good as men, and myself I'm an accomplished fisher...woman. I've hunted with my dad and brothers as a teen, I've learned to fix flat tires and diagnose small problems with my car etc., I feel self-reliant and proud that I can learn and do almost anything a man can, short of needing more muscles, to survive in the wild and provide for othes. But I'd gladly defer such activities to men if they insisted. I don't feel "manly", but very much like a woman.

I take your views as tipical machoism. Perhaps it's due to your upbringing, and Hollywood defining for men what a "real man" should be . In any case, it's all subjective. You have your view of what manhood should be, and I'm sure there are women who would agree with you. I have a different view.

As for Stan, I agree with the previous poster who said you're smearing him. You might not be aware of it, but you're judging his character with epithets such as "thin-skinned" and "insecure". Stan never came across that way to me. If Stan does not measure up to your manly standards, he does to mine.

-- (y@x.x), May 26, 2000.

OK capn. I'll go with you and sit in the TV dept. to watch the game.

-- Debra (!!!!@!!!!.com), May 26, 2000.

Forgive me for trying to think aloud...

Orphaned elephant babies raised apart from adult elephants exhibited unnatural (for an elephant at that age) aggression. They attacked each other and other species. This behavior orginated primarily in the orphaned males. Young males too young for mating in a wild herd raped young females too young to be in estrous. The solution to the violence was to bring in adult bull elephants. The aggression and sexual behavior in the young elephants stopped.

Human females show a tendency to synchronize menstrual cycles when in close contact. The tendency has to do with female hormones and their effect on the brain.

Stress hormones affect the brain. Prolonged stress can produce physical changes in the brain. What about brain changes as a result of other hormones and prolonged exposure to them?

Brain functions are complex and only partially understood.

My husband once took a job that required 100% travel, and he was rarely home for more than a few hours per week. Within two weeks of his departure, our young son began to exhibit aggression and hypersensitivity to stressful situations. He became more anxious about dangers that he imagined. The changes in the boy were so pronounced that his teachers requested a conference. The only thing in his life that had changed was the absence of his father. My husband came home to stay a year later, and the behaviors in our son stopped soon after.

What if there were an undiscovered synchronicity in hormone cycles among men? What if hormone exposure induced permanent brain changes even though the hormone originated outside of that particular brain? What if the physical presence of an adult male in a boy's life made a physical difference in his brain structure completely apart from the definitions of "male behavior" that are culture-dependent? What if time spent with an adult male is the key to masculinity for a boy, and for that matter, femininity in a girl? What if it isn't one big rite of passage but a daily process that makes a man out of a boy?

The roles my husband and I play in our children's lives are equally important, but they are not mirror images and they are not interchangeable.

(A resounding thud, as she falls off the soapbox...)

-- helen (w@y.out), May 26, 2000.

First, I think men and women are different... and this goes beyond simple biology. I do not doubt that women can hunt, fish and do many traditional male activities. I contend that there has been a gender- based division of labor that predates written history. The birth process of a complex mammalian species presents requirements for females. The gestation period is nine months followed by a period of time where the mother is responsible for nursing. The male of the species generally has better upper body strength and greater muscle mass. In primitive societies, this made men better hunters... particularly when a woman was late in pregnancy.

Society is far different today, but we are biological creatures... subject to instincts developed eons ago. Why is it female instincts like maternal urges are OK and male instincts are not? Is it really macho to feel men and women are different?

With all due respect, "y," I don't care what some anonymous woman thinks about "manhood." One of the problems in modern gender relations is that some men allowed women to define maleness. It's no different than white folk telling African-Americans what the "black experience" means.

The issue here is not Stan... but what I thinking he was searching for. As a woman, how exactly do you know what beats within the male heart? How do you know what or how we feel? On another thread, a group of women had a detailed discussion about menopause. I did not post on the thread because I have absolutely no frame of reference. How about some mutual respect here?

-- Ken Decker (, May 26, 2000.


I understand what you are saying about the differences between the sexes. Yes, there are biological differences that we will never change. But you have to admit that you've wondered what it would be like to have the experience of having a child. Most men have wondered, while few admit this. I find that I wonder about what a man feels during a sexual experience. Don't know if men really wonder/care what a woman feels during this experience, but that is a different matter.

In society, things have changed drastically over time. I am all female, and very much love this fact. However, one thing that I hate is for someone to tell me that I can't do something just because I'm female. That will only set my brain to work harder to accomplish the task.

In my household, I (dare I say this...) submit myself to the womanly role. It is a job that I love. Along with this, my mate performs the "manly" tasks. (With the exception of cutting the lawn which I LOVE to do.) I am teaching my son to be a gentleman, and if I had a daughter, I'd teach her to be a lady.

However, that being said... Once I walk out the door to go to work, all sexual roles don't exist anymore. I am serious about the work that I do, and it doesn't matter what sex people are. Some have commented to me that (at work) I have larger balls than most of the men. Go figure. I've had some men that couldn't work with me or respect my opinions just because I was a woman. Oh well, their loss.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that there is a time and place for the differences of the sexes. You may agree or not. To me, the only time that it should really matter is inside one's home.

-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), May 26, 2000.


Or watch 'Airplane' for the 999th time: )

-- capnfun (, May 26, 2000.


I had an upper GI performed on me Wednesday morning and I could have sworn I was giving birth to something Thursday morning.


-- Deano (, May 26, 2000.

I have never had to wonder what a woman feels.... They don't seem to have any problem telling me, and telling me, and telling me....

-- Ken Decker (, May 26, 2000.

OOooh boy, you're in trouble now Ken.

I'll probabably draw fire by saying that I thought this was an interesting & valid topic, and I was hoping that the gals would stay off it awhile so you guys could probe into it yourselves.

I also am politically incorrect enough to think that girls shouldn't be in boy scouts, & a bunch of other crap that should go on another thread.

Ken, you should go see Robert Bly at a poetry reading {though I can't exactly see you in one of his men's groups, beating a drum!}. You would be moved by his interpretation of Blake's 'Tiger'. You might also want to check out some of the shorter poems by Robinson Jeffers.

I've been drawen to 'Ithaka' lately. Some of the threads here have reminded me that many of us are on an Odyssey, and have the desrie to return 'home', what ever that is.

So with a last caution to Buster, don't make me spout out 'you mysoginistic zealot, you' like I did at lil' al-. To the ladies, this is not our thread, estrogen overload is not what this discussion needs {though it's prolly dead & buried now}.

Let's fire it up into a different direction if we're all going to roll up our sleeves in this donnybrook: If men have lost their rights of passage, have women also lost their mystery?

-- flora (***@__._), May 26, 2000.

Role reversals you say. Ill give you role reversals. Spend some time in the Castro District of San Francisco and you will come away with your head spinning. Hard-looking women dressed in studded leathers just itching for a fight and capable of inflicting serious damage. Soft-looking men dressed in flower prints just itching, period. You need a program to follow the players and you may forever doubt the role of your particular gender. Not just a few people but thousands. Quite a show!

-- Willy (from@old.Philly), May 26, 2000.


They may tell you and keep on telling you.

That wasn't where I was going. I was wondering about the actual sensations, how it FEELS.

I can teach you what hot means by placing your hand on something hot. You cannot teach me how you "feel" the sexual experience. I can only describe to you how it feels, but you'll never know the sensations unless you experience it yourself. Make sense?

Damn, it's Friday, and I think I'm going over the deep end.

-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), May 26, 2000.

"Damn, it's Friday, and I think I'm going over the deep end."

Sheeple, I live in the deep end, it's just over the edge. It's not a bad place to be, if'n ya don't mind a few extra voices in yer head.

Enjoy your weekend all,

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.


Sorry to hear about the upper GI. Hope all turns out well.

-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), May 26, 2000.

Deano, I hope your test results are good. I've had an upper GI and I've had babies, and I'm sorry to tell you that you didn't suffer as much as a woman giving birth. On the other hand, for you guys with kidney stones there is good news: Grandma had five kids and says that having a kidney stone was far worse.

Have a nice weekend. May none of us have a serious thing to say next Tuesday.

-- helen (off@the.funhouse), May 26, 2000.

Stan did what he did for PROFIT. To say anything else is a LIE.

A *REAL* man wouldn't hide behind the stuff Stan did on TB.

Now, all of you....CLEAR OUT FOR THE WEEKEND.


-- Bingo2 (what', May 26, 2000.

I've been caught in a web of deceit! Oh the shame!

It is true. As the well known poster above so cogently stated, it was about PROFIT. I was paid handsomely to pose as a character witness for the party of the first part. Woe is me, I've frittered away the illicit booty on whine & thong (pardon the lithp).

Why has the religious cult I loyally serve removed self-flagellation from its doctrine! Beat me! Beat me! Force me to root for the N.J. Devils!

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.


-- helen (, May 26, 2000.

"Ya gotta get it while the gettin's good" - motto of the Greedy Profiteering Bastards Association.

Sorry helen. Maybe we'll let ya in on the next con. I hear alchemy is making a comback.

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.

Spoken like a MAN!

-- helen (flouncing @way.mad), May 26, 2000.

Thinkin' of naming the dummy corporation:

Cooperative Perps

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.

"With all due respect, "y," I don't care what some anonymous woman thinks about "manhood.""

Point well taken.

" One of the problems in modern gender relations is that some men allowed women to define maleness."

That is a very interesting comment. I am curious to know what other men think and feel about this. I myself would think that as society changes, roles and expectations change, and men and women adapt to each other's expectations. But that's my unsolicitated opinion.

" The issue here is not Stan... but what I thinking he was searching for. As a woman, how exactly do you know what beats within the male heart? How do you know what or how we feel?"

I don't know what it feels to be a man, ofcourse. All I can know is what men tell me. I'm saying that other men have told me different than what you're saying. "On another thread, a group of women had a detailed discussion about menopause. I did not post on the thread because I have absolutely no frame of reference. How about some mutual respect here?"

I did not post on that thread either because I too don't have a frame of reference when it comes to menopause. But here, you started this thread by discussing "maleness" and Stan Faryna. I respectfully point out to you that you and I also don't have a frame of reference into Stan's heart and mind.

But I'll not insist, if you don't want women on your thread pointing out subjective discrepancies. I'm going back to lurking mode.

-- (y@x.x), May 26, 2000.

Error of transposition there. Should read:

Cooperative Preps

Bit of a slip. How embarrasskin'!

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.

OK, enough fun & games.

I don't give a rat's ass about what defines 'maleness'. I don't hold my manhood up to a mirror in comparison to ...wait...that's not right.

What is the definition of a man? There's three billion definitions on this planet, give or take a few hundred million. No two the same. Next question.

-- Bingo1 (, May 26, 2000.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

To me, manliness is being so secure that one is able to resist attacking people who irritate them, even when they are sorely tempted, whether through the use of their excess muscles or excess words. If you don't care what "some anonymous woman" thinks about manhood, then don't post your comment on an open forum where (as far as I'm aware) women are fully welcome to participate.

Decker and Flint, true to form are now doing their macho flexing at the expense of someone who's not even present to defend theirself. I'd choose Stan the Man over such sorry pseudo-intellectual snipers any day.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), May 26, 2000.

Bingo 1, the committee is in session again. Tell them to take a rest.

Session should not resume until Tuesday.

-- Commitee member (ohuh@its.not), May 26, 2000.

Well said Dancer !!!!... it's pretty well known that Flint and Decker don't have much respect for women on this board, at least that's the read I get, and a few of the lady posters I know say the same... it's my suspicion that they don't have a lot of luck with the ladies

Sheeple... it IS possible for a man and a woman to "know what the other is experiencing"... they just have to be Best friends as well as lovers, it's called communication... why would anyone settle for less?

Kenney... I hope you never have the chance to give me that poke in the jaw I so richly deserve... You wouldn't like what would happen to your fat, office soft butt :-) Don't take that as a threat, as I never threaten anyone..RL or Cyber... but have you looked at yourself in a mirror?... lately?... from your pic it looks like your chest, waist, and hips are the same size... ok, I'm being kind about your belly :-)

TO ALL... TGIF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 26, 2000.

Netghost, both Flint and Ken Decker have been kind to me.

-- helen (, May 26, 2000.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Netghost, to be fair, I've never noticed anything like that before, and also had a chance to talk to Decker in chat one time, where he was charming. I'm ONLY complaining about this low behavior I'm seeing here, today.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), May 26, 2000.


Quick question here. In his last few posts to you, he kept calling you "Red". Why was that? Did I miss something?

-- Spindoc' (, May 27, 2000.

"y," I think you and some of the readers of this thread have completely missed my point. I'm not trying to make a absolute character judgement about Stan... although I do have some opinions about his some of his behavior related to Y2K. This is not about Stan being a terrible person. In fact, I think he was sincere and well intentioned. I certainly don't think he was profiteering. I think his Y2K concerns were genuine. I also think he (and others) "found" something in Y2K... a challenge, a sense of purpose, a dragon to slay.

Dancr, thanks for your definition of "manliness" although I find it very superficial. How is self restraint essentially male? Cannot women exercise the same self restraint? Is a woman who holds her tongue in the face of irritation "manly?"


Stan and I have had this very same conversation. Everything I've said thus far has already been expressed to Stan directly. He is not the issue here... the real question is why some men found Y2K preparation deeply satisfying. Personally, I think it filled a need for some... but it's much easier just to throw yourself in front of Stan and ignore the deeper issue.

Netghost, why bother? Like "Hawk," I'm sure you are a well-chiseled, six foot four inch bounty hunter proficient in all the deadly arts. Why I'm sure you date supermodels and save small countries in your time away from the "manufactured home" business. [Ever wonder why all these anonymous Internet guys sound alike?]

One of us uses a real name, posted a real photo and is quite easy to find in real life. The other calls out schoolyard taunts while hidden in the shadows. Yes, "Netghost," you're quite the "man."

-- Ken Decker (, May 27, 2000.


Stan and I corresponded before Y2K. He preferred to use my nickname, "Red." One of the last conversations I had with Stan was about shopping for a shotgun. He wanted to pick up trap shooting and we talked about getting together to "talk guns."

If you read back, Stan pulled no punches with me. He thought I was dead wrong about Y2K... and wrote like an arrogant bastard. He was half right. (chuckle)

I'll get flamed for this, but I think men interact differently than women. Every so often, I'll get pissed at a male friend. We may bark at each other, but the whole matter is quickly forgotten. Some of the women I know fret and fume over a tiny altercation... for years. From my perspective, nothing has happened between Stan and I that a couple of good steaks and a few beers couldn't fix... and I'd damn well be buying.

-- Ken Decker (, May 27, 2000.


If Stan "is not the issue here", why even mention him in the title of your thread? The way I read it, you portrayed him as some kind of suppressed adolescent who was searching for a rite of passage, and Y2K supplied that.

You said: There are "men," but they feel do not feel completely male.

To put it bluntly, in my opinion, you are using velvet language, but you are you are in fact publicly questioning someone's manhood. Knowing full well that the target person is unlikely to see or respond to your post.

You portray yourself as a gentleman. If so, then this thread is beneath you. Leave Stan out of it, and the post might be of rhetorical interest.

-- Spindoc' (, May 27, 2000.


Best said.

ps: if decker wasn't a scab picker he wouldn't stil be here.

-- Carlos (, May 27, 2000.

"He thought I was dead wrong about Y2K... and wrote like an arrogant bastard. He was half right. (chuckle) "

He wasn't half right about Y2K, he was ALL wrong. He wasn't half right about you writing like an arrogant bastard. He was ALL right. [chuckle]

Stan calledl you Red because of your unusually, um, ruddy complexion.

-- (scab pickers@R. Ken), May 27, 2000.

Since this thread has moved from Ken's original thoughts, I don't mind approaching Sheeple with a question. Sheeple, you said,

"In my household, I (dare I say this...) submit myself to the womanly role." You then went on to remark on how your office persona was completely different.

This tickled me, as I'd met my SO at work MANY years ago. He knew who I was when he met me, and that was who he wanted. I mentioned in another thread how SO's extended family has a culture wherein the men are "catered" by the women. I guess this struck us much like a "mothering" role and neither of us want to either have more children or be treated like children. We went to dinner at the home of one of these relatives and after the female had finished dinner she said, "Anita, you can make a plate for...". SO immediately got up and said, "She doesn't do that stuff." and proceeded to the stove to make his own plate. I would have made his plate just to save face in front of his family, but I had to admire his demonstration.

My daughter and a male friend of hers came for dinner last night. My mom came as well. We all had a great time and my mom's vocabulary was stretched beyond "I don't eat much" to comments on the topics at hand. I mentioned this conversation to the young man and he confirmed that the direction I'd indicated in my first post to this thread was both accurate and desirable.

-- Anita (, May 27, 2000.

I forgot to address the rest of what's happened on this thread. I don't think either Ken or Flint have problems with women. I would agree that some folks were looking for a challenge last year and thought their status in life would improve if they had seen the dangers and others had not. This was most prevalent in the thoughts expressed about unprepared Pollies and how the GI's would laugh on their graves. [That was an extreme example used to make my point.] Certainly there were those who saw a danger and wanted to help others, but there were some who saw Y2k as an opportunity to rise above others [perhaps for the first time] and took quite a bit of pleasure in gloating about how THEY would rule and others would die.

I wouldn't agree that this had anything to do with manhood, as I saw as many women engage as men. I think it had to do with a need to feel competent or FULFILLED in a world in which one's skills hadn't been appreciated. In general, society doesn't appreciate the hard lives of farmers and other individuals.

Enough said about that...Ken, I think some of your memories [as in life as a child where men handled the meat slaughter], etc. are just not universally applicable. It's more typical of someone who has been raised in a rural environment. I can't even remember when anyone in my family killed meat for food. My dad didn't. He was a steel-worker. My grand-dad didn't. He owned an aluminum plant. My great-grand-dad didn't. He was in the aluminum business as well. So, for at least three generations already my family has gone to the market and purchased meat/fish killed by others. My mom lived on a farm, as did her father before her and his before him. The girls in my mom's family didn't even learn to swim. This was something the boys did [dictated by nudity at the watering hole.] The girls in my dad's family learned to swim at the same time as the boys.

These differences in upbringing played a huge part in defining gender roles. In my dad's family, the support role was considered a "manly" endeavor. During the depression, my dad and his brothers dropped out of University to help support the family. His sisters continued in University. I saw this trend continue in the lives of their children. The children of my aunts on my father's side have highly educated females and males who dropped out of University [perhaps to play an extended support role.] I didn't see this importance placed on education in my mother's family. Boys and girls alike thought they needed little education [perhaps believing they would follow in the agrarian footsteps of their parents] or never realizing that technology would leave them behind.

-- Anita (, May 27, 2000.

Side note: You see, Ken, what happens when you put references to individuals into a thread title? The named individual always become the subject of the thread.

About masculinity, a few more thoughts. In some traditions, such as Chinese culture, some traits are identified as masculine and others as feminine, without reference to individuals or to their sex. Men always partake of both masculine and feminine traits, as do women. Everyone has every trait in different degrees.

This way of thinking is satisfying, in that it "explains" why there is so much variation among individuals and it recognizes all sides of a person as equally valid. The western way of thinking about masculinity tends to invalidate any so-called "feminine" personality trait that happens to appear in a man, as if it were shameful or perverse. The yin-yang idea at least side-steps this pitfall.

But in the context of this discussion, simply saying that masculinity and femininity are inseperable parts of humanity, and have no direct relation to whether you are physically a man or woman, is unsatisfying. In this discussion, we seem to be searching for what is unique or distinctive about being a man.

I think there is a uniquely masculine idenitity. I also happen to think that, compared to our commonality as humans, our uniqueness as men is a somewhat minor point. It becomes important only in that whatever is unique is uniquely valuable. We men naturally want to cherish whatever makes us uniquely valuable (just as women do).

About Ken's idea of masculinity and hunting being intertwined, I can't wholly agree. Sure, hunting has been a masculine province or occupation for many thousands of years. The lore of hunting is a masculine lore. But I would argue that this fact is merely a reflection of our masculinity thrown upon the activity of hunting from a deeper source, not an innate quality of the activity itself.

It seems to me dangerous to identify masculinity with any role r occupation, however ancient, since there is no role or occupation that all men pursue, yet all men must be allowed the privilege of being masculine. We have to look deeper, I think.

Almost everyone who has spent time among children observes that boys are more energetic than girls, as a group. They tend to be louder than girls. They have a greater interest in projectile toys. I really don't know what any of that means, or how much of it is really signifigant to masculinity.

To me, the most fundamental quality of men is that the masculine position tends to be more detached than that of women. It is my belief that our usual habit of thought is first to move apart from what interests us, before we choose to move closer, so that our mental models are formed from the perspective of a greater mental distance from the thing we seek to know.

From this mental habit of distance first and closeness second, a whole set of characteristic strengths and weaknesses flow.

For example, contrary to popular myth, I'd say men communicate very well to other men. Far better than women communicate to men. How well women communicate among themselves is a mystery to me.

Just from observation, I would say that men tend to connect to their spirituality through systematic sifting through and comparison of ideas and are guided by their feel for the largeness of experience.

On the other hand, women appear to me to connect to their sprituality through direct communion and they are guided by their feel for the depth and mystery of existance.

This is just part of the list. If this is all so much psycho-babble, then at least it has the benefit of being all my own. I didn't get this out of any book. It is rather an attempt to synthesize of lots of observation, contemplation, and reading.

Contradictions welcomed.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, May 27, 2000.

Now it's a party!

I just caught a mindless show on TV, inbetween all important games {of course - it is, after all a{n} holiday weekend in America}, and plumbing leaks.

CBS is running a competitor show to the champion "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?", & it is about SURVIVAL. The surface skimming promo show interviewed the authors of the "Worst Case Scenario Handbook", which they claimed has sold 1,000 copies a week since January, and is on the New York Times best seller list. They also interviewed Tom Brown who said something about this being his best season in 12 years of business, because 'folks need to flirt with their immortality'.

Now, I realize we have a few different threads going on here at once. As a female who is fortunate enough to have spent lots of time with men & womenfolk in the outdoors, I would say even there we have very different styles today. Men are what I call 'far & widers', whereas women are more prone to be 'under-your-nosers'. I know I'm not the only one to have observed this, but will leave it at that, unless someone wants to pursue it further.

-- flora (***@__._), May 27, 2000.


Your post was good reading. In it you said:

"About Ken's idea of masculinity and hunting being intertwined, I can't wholly agree. Sure, hunting has been a masculine province or occupation for many thousands of years. The lore of hunting is a masculine lore. But I would argue that this fact is merely a reflection of our masculinity thrown upon the activity of hunting from a deeper source, not an innate quality of the activity itself."

Allan B. Chinen wrote the following essay which describes what he calls the "Deep Masculine." Perhaps his "Deep Masculine" and your "deeper source" are the same thing? The essay is titled:


Fairy tales and myths about heroes are well-known. These stories present young men battling evil enemies, winning a great victory, and then becoming king. The dramas reflect the traditional heroic and patriarchal paradigm of masculinity. Fairy tales, though, are not just the stuff of fantasy. Society expects young men in real life to be brave, aggressiveand victorious. So young men struggle to fit the heroic and patriarchal image. However, a large group of fairy tales that are mostly neglected today present an entirely different picture of manhood. These stories focus on men wrestling with mid- life crises and, ultimately, arriving at a new vision of masculinity. The tales portray mens mid-life initiation into the DEEP masculine.

The plot of these fairy tales is similar, no matter what country the stories come from. The tales include Brother Lustig from Germany, The North Winds Gift from Italy, Go I Know Not Wither from Russia, and The King and the Ghoul from India, among others. Fairy tales should be told fully and enjoyed slowly, but space does not permit me to recount all the stories. So the bare plot must suffice here.

These fairy tales open with a middle-aged man exercising patriarchal power. He suffers some sort of calamity, but is rescued by his wife or another feminine figure. The experience forces the man to honor and accept the feminine in his life. The man then meets a divine male companion, who offers him further help and guidance. Through this male companion, the middle-aged man finds healing, inspiration, and renewed masculine energy. This patternmoving from heroic masculinity to the feminine, and then to a divine masculine figure can be found in literary classics, such as the Odyssey by Homer, The Golden Ass by Apuleius, and The Divine Comedy by Dante.

Mens mid-life encounter with the DEEP masculine constitutes a second initiation. Mens first initiation is usually the puberty rite, in which young men prove their heroism. Ironically, the initial task of the mid-life initiation is to give up youthful heroism. Only then can men come to terms with their feminine side. Jung was one of the first to discuss this process. Young men, he observed, normally repress their feminine side, their feeling, sensitivity, and relatedness, so they can be competitive, aggressive, and tough. This repressed feminine side breaks out at mid-life, and is symbolized in dreams by mysterious women, whom Jung called anima figures. Systematic research in several cultures confirms mens turn to the feminine.

The mid-life initiation includes another step. Men must move from the inner feminine to the DEEP masculine. And stories from around the world specifically depict the DEEP masculine as a Trickster Spirit. The suggestion is astonishing, because the Trickster is usually considered immature, impulsive, foolish, and nasty. Recent anthropological and mythological research, however, reveals a different picture. The Trickster is complex, elusive, paradoxical, creative, and generative. Unlike the Hero and the Patriarch, who fight to dominate others, the Trickster avoids battle and power. He is the patron of communication and mediation, instead. Like the Greek Hermes, or the Brazilian Exu, the Trickster acts as a messenger and negotiator, not a warrior or ruler. Besides, the Hero and Patriarch secretly disdain women and fight womens authority, as feminists argue. But the Trickster treats women as equals. He mediates between oppositesmasculine and feminine, gentle and cruel, light and dark.

The Trickster emerges from hunter-gatherer societies. Tricksters, for example, are prominent among the folklore of the Plains Indians of America and the Bushmen of Africa, both hunting societies. The importance of the Trickster to hunters is practical and religious. Before the invention of guns, or even bows and arrows, hunters had to approach their quarry closely. This meant they had to disguise themselves, usually by wearing animal skins. So hunters had to be Tricksters. On a religious level, the Trickster is the spirit behind shamanism, which is characteristic of hunting cultures. The shamans main activity is entering a trance through ecstatic dancing or drumming. In these trances, shamans say they travel to the gods or to the spirits of the dead, asking for help in curing the sick or ensuring a successful hunt. Carrying such messages is exactly what Tricksters do in mythology. The Greek Hermes, the Hindu Narada, and the African Legba all shuttle back and forth between heaven, hell and earth. Tricksters mirror in mythology what shamans claim to do in real life.

Tricksters, I suggest, animate hunting cultures the way the Great Goddess governs agricultural societies, the Hero inspires warrior cultures, and the Patriarch dominates city-states and empires. Humans, of course, were originally hunters and remained so for thousands of years before agriculture and warfare appeared. So the Trickster-Shaman is literally the DEEP masculinethe first paradigm of manhood, antedating the Hero and the Patriarch.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of the DEEP masculine comes from the spectacular prehistoric cave sanctuaries of France and Spain. The figures and animals in these caves follow a definite order. The entrance usually has male figures or male symbols. Further in, animals dominate, with female figures and feminine symbols. At the very rear of the cave, or in remote places difficult to reach, male figures reappear, typically as dancing shamans. The same pattern appears in cave art as in fairy talesmasculine themes first, followed by feminine ones, and ending with masculine symbols. The parallel with fairy tales is remarkable and emphasizes the ancient roots of the archetype of the DEEP masculine.

An excellent example of a mid-life initiation into the DEEP masculine can be found in Jungs life. After breaking with Freud, Jung suffered a painful mid-life crisis. In the middle of his turmoil, he dreamed that he killed Seigfried, the archetypal hero from Germanic tradition. The dream, Jung realized, symbolized the death of the heroic spirit that had inspired him in youth. Shortly afterward, a series of female figures appeared in Jungs dreams and fantasies. He puzzled over these women, and finally interpreted them as symbols of his repressed feminine side. (Thus was born his theory of the anima.) A little later, a dramatic masculine figure emerged in Jungs reveriesPhilemon, a man with the horns of a bull and the wings of a bird. Earthy, yet spiritual, Philemon became Jungs inner guide and teacher. Philemon, of course, is another form of the Trickster-Shaman. Surprisingly, Jung did not write as much about Philemon or the Trickster-Shaman as he did about the anima. But this neglect of the DEEP masculine is common among men. The DEEP masculine is even more unconscious than mens feminine side. Men usually do not question the roots of their masculinity, but quickly begin to reflect when a feminine aspect of themselves emerges in public!

In practical terms, what does the Trickster-Shaman mean to men at mid- life? I can make only one suggestion here. As mentioned before, the Trickster-Shaman uses dance to produce trances and spiritual visions. This divine madness contrasts with the Heros war frenzy, or a man going berserk with rage. In fact, the Trickster-Shamans ecstatic dancing offers another way of expressing male energy. Instead of using masculine power to dominate men and women, the Trickster uses it to enter a numinous realm. In psychological terms, the Trickster sublimates aggression into spirituality. But the Trickster came before the warrior in prehistory, so it is more accurate to say that spiritual frenzy is the basic state, not war madness. That is, aggression is really a degenerate form of spirituality. The Tricksters spiritual frenzy, I might add, is the primordial energy behind intoxication and addiction. Like the warriors battle frenzy, inebriation is a distortion of the DEEP masculine. By consciously reclaiming the DEEP masculine, men can avoid destructive aggression and drunkenness. The Trickster-Shaman thus offers a model for men and society, beyond the violence of the heroic and patriarchal tradition. Ironically, the most ancient image of masculinity is also a hope for a better future. This is the paradoxand powerof the Trickster-Shaman, hidden in the masculine soul.

-- Debra (, May 27, 2000.


Thanks so much for the article. As I read through it I became a bit suspicious. First this line struck a nerve:

The shamans main activity is entering a trance through ecstatic dancing or drumming.

This is true in some cases. Often times powerful psychoactive substances such as mushrooms, yage/ayahuasco &/or varieties of datura were used to produce trances & visions, with drumming, dancing & chanting used merely to fascilitate the onset of the desired state of consciousness. The omission of this well known fact gave me pause.

Later there's this:

The Tricksters spiritual frenzy, I might add, is the primordial energy behind intoxication and addiction. Like the warriors battle frenzy, inebriation is a distortion of the DEEP masculine. By consciously reclaiming the DEEP masculine, men can avoid destructive aggression and drunkenness.

My speculation is the author whitewashed historical shamanic use of psychoactives in order to better make his point that warrior-like aggression and drunkenness is unacceptable.

I may be grasping at straws. I am not trained in anthropology. And if I am correct, the basic premise is in no way illegitimized (new word). Nonetheless I had to make mention of my observations.

-- Bingo1 (, May 27, 2000.


Yea, he did clean up that Trickster-Shaman some didn't he?

-- Debra (, May 27, 2000.


That was a good read, and I feel grateful that SO's midlife crisis was limited to successive Mustang convertibles and thoughts of "I wish I had done...."

-- Anita (, May 27, 2000.

Helen, You were just lucky enough to one of the Ants they didn't kicked around, or maybe you haven't been here long enough to see what pompous, egotistical asses they are... this tread is a prime example.

Dancr, one of the most charming men my Mom ever met was extremely abuseive

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 27, 2000.

Helen, You were just lucky enough to one of the Ants they didn't kicked around, or maybe you haven't been here long enough to see what pompous, egotistical asses they are... this tread is a prime example.

Dancr, one of the most charming men my Mom ever met was extremely abusive, mentaly, physically, and sexually... get to know him better.

One of us uses a real name, posted a real photo and is quite easy to find in real life. The other calls out schoolyard taunts while hidden in the shadows. Yes, "Netghost," you're quite the "man."

-- Ken Decker (, May 27, 2000.

Ya Kenny... you're such a stud !!!!!... everytime it's the same old thing. You think that because you use a real name and address, that makes you better than someone that likes their privacy... lol... you're still a fat, office soft, egotistical blowhard... that gun in your hand doesn't make you a man, and I suspect from what you have written, that is your substitute for your "manhood"... and the kicker is, it aint that big :-)

BTW kenney. I'm only 6'1" 200 lbs, and I only practiced the deadly arts for 5 years. I've never saved a city, but I have walked into the field of fire for a friend, can you say the same?... have you ever put your life on the line for another?... kenney, you are a pompous ass... your words are big, but you are small in your own mind.

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 27, 2000.

Oops.... wrong button :-)

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 27, 2000.

When I studied French and Spanish (I flunked both, Frech 5 times!), I asked how they decided which nouns were masculine and which were feminine. I never got a satisfying answer. Why are windows feminine? Why are cats (even female cats) masculine? Why was television deemed feminine even before the days of Oprah?

English speakers (and to some degree German speakers) need not deal with a world where *everything* must be classified by gender. Perhaps this orientation subtle encourages a sense of macho ("macho" is masculine. Is there a feminine form?)

-- Flint (, May 27, 2000.

Very interesting post Debra.

"Besides, the Hero and Patriarch secretly disdain women and fight womens authority, as feminists argue. But the Trickster treats women as equals. He mediates between oppositesmasculine and feminine, gentle and cruel, light and dark."

From this I would deduce that Ken seems to be entering his mid-life crisis (questioning "manhood") and still at the Patriarchal stage, while Brian is as his Trickster stage (Brian already mentioned that he worked through this a while back, as has FS and others.)

-- (y@x.x), May 27, 2000.


Rest assured, my questions about "manhood" are global, not personal. I'm quite comfortable within my own skin and feel absolutely no need to purchase a convertible....

I have watched Robert Bly and the nascent "men's movement" with some interest. With the success of the feminist movement, I have come to know some young men who were quite confused about "manhood." In fact, I have listened to friends vent about the mixed messages they receive from women. Do they want equality or the preferential treatment traditionally provided to "ladies" by "gentleman?"

Oh, I realize this issue must be realized on a "relationship" level. I also feel there are cultural implications.

The same is true for masculinity. I have no doubt Brian McLaughlin is quite comfortable in his own personal masculinity. It happens to differ somewhat from mine... but I imagine there is common ground. His personal articulation of "manhood" or mine is not really the issue. The real question, have we successfully "reinvented" manhood for a modern world where women do everything men do... and more? If we have failed (and I suspect we have), has this lead to the violent behavior so common among young males?

-- Ken Decker (, May 28, 2000.

Do they want equality or the preferential treatment traditionally provided to "ladies" by "gentleman?"

As best as I can figure it, they want barbarians with nice table manners in Armani suits.

-- Uncle Deedah (, May 28, 2000.


"If we have failed (and I suspect we have), has this lead to the violent behavior so common among young males?"

It seems to ME, Ken, that violent behavior in young males has something ELSE at the root, as I've seen a plethora of young males enter this home who neither felt lost, nor denied an experience of "masculinity." Perhaps my three kids just pick the "wrong" type of friends, but from what I've seen and what I've heard expressed, kids today just don't consider gender important outside of pursuit of a mate. Even then, the kids concentrate on qualities outside of the physical.

It's a whole new era. My oldest daughter has two male roommates. NEITHER of these guys is gay, yet they don't look at my daughter as a sex-object. [Well...there WAS the time she was cleaning the frontroom and one roommate told her to change her clothes because he was getting a woody watching.] These guys BOTH have girlfriends outside the shared house and KNOW that my daughter has a boyfriend outside that house as well. They're open with their feelings, laugh together about them, and move on.

The media isn't likely to pick up on stories of these types of folks. The media seeks the violence that outdid LAST week's violence.

-- Anita (, May 28, 2000.

The more I hear you talk, Unk, the more I feel compelled to buy you a round of whatever you're drinking....

-- Ken Decker (, May 28, 2000.

Although Ive often disagreed with his point of view I respect the time and intelligence that Ken brings to the table. I find it laughable that someone as worthless as the wannabe Netghost would attempt to dis him. Netghost, have you fully recovered from the damage that LL inflicted on your sorry self? You seem to have a habit of locking horns with folks that are WAY out of your league. Of course, that would include most everyone on this forum. BTW, since when is whacking off in your parents basement considered a deadly art?

-- Ra (tion@l.1), May 28, 2000.

[With the success of the feminist movement, I have come to know some young men who were quite confused about "manhood." In fact, I have listened to friends vent about the mixed messages they receive from women. Do they want equality or the preferential treatment traditionally provided to "ladies" by "gentleman?"]

Important observation, Ken. The feminists and their followers want it both ways. This IS confusing to young men. The lucky one have male role models which teach them to pay attention to what women REALLY respond to, not to what they say they want.

-- Bachelor (bachelor@love.ya.ladies), May 28, 2000.


What a bunch of psychobabble and mythobabble. Why don't you stick to women's issues. It's pretty obvious you don't understand men, and aren't likely to.

-- Bachelor (bachelor@skip.the.mythobabble), May 28, 2000.

Bachelor -

Yes I do! I was one of the lucky ones who had a female role model who taught me to pay attention to what men REALLY respond to, not to what they say they want.

-- Debra (, May 28, 2000.


I had missed your post, "ghost." Practiced in the "deadly arts" for five whole years. Gosh! Are you counting all the times you watched your Tae Bo tape? If you want to read my resume, "ghost," just stop by. I did my time in the service and have been in harm's way. The real heroes are the people who didn't make it home, the one's we honor today.

I think you are a punk... mostly because the only contribution you have ever made during this debate is heckling. You have never posted a single original thought or idea. Perhaps you should use your head for something other than breaking boards. Read a book, perhaps?

Startle us, "ghost." Start a thread with a blazing insight, a new idea, a thoughtful reflection. Until then, you are a six-one, 200 pound Pavlovian dog who barks every time I ring your bell.

-- Ken Decker (, May 29, 2000.

LOL Kenney... and exactly what office job did you have that " put you in harms way "... LMAO !!!!.. I ain't the Shadow, but I know :-)

Talk about a punk... look at your own ant hill kicking... what have you contributed besides strocking your own ego?... what astounding insights have you come up with besides the doomers were wrong and you guessed right?... that's right, it was just a guess, and it was a guess without complete information... just like the rest of us, includeing the Government and major corps. Grow up Kenny and get over it... your 15 minutes are up.

Ra... guess which finger I'm holding up.... you are # 1

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 29, 2000.

Ah, "ghost," and when/where did you serve? Thought so.

Since 1998, I wrote a few hundred posts on Y2K. The essays ranged from modest preparations to economic analysis to the Y2K readiness of small water systems. This included a comprehensive essay explaining why Y2K was not going to be the "end of the world." Every point in this essay has been proven correct.

I was right about Y2K because I (and others) did a much better job analyzing the available data. Period. Neither you nor any other "doomer" were able to refute our arguments. Of course, you never tried to refute these arguments... that would have required intellect and analytical abilities. Your best effort was simply mocking what you did not understand.

There is never "complete" data available. "Doomers" like you simply filled in the blanks with silly conspiracy theories, distrust of all institutions and a poor understanding of remediation. The FDIC was "lying" about the readiness of banks. The NERC was covering up for the power companies. The Federal Reserve was "shilling" to prevent a panic. The Fortune 1000 were falsfying records.

You and your ilk believed fairy tales like "Mr. CEO" and Jim Lord's "secret" Navy report. You swallowed Y2Knewswire whole... rather than exercising the effort to check the original sources. For example, I found out Y2Knewswire selectively edited DoD information to make a successful test of procurement systems sound like a failure.

How many times do you need to be proven an idiot before you learn?

Ring. Ring.

-- Ken Decker (, May 30, 2000.

Ding, ding to you too boy... who's responding to who now?... again, what soft office job did you have?... tell us how you fought bullet to bullet.... how you saved cities and your fellow Man..... tell us how brave you were under fire... cum on kenny, tell us about your "Manhood"... tell us how "bad" you are :-)

What a Putz...

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), May 30, 2000.


>> What a Putz <<

No offense, but you'll have to do better than that...You seem to be relying on the presumption that Ken is despised already by the great majority of those who read what you write, making your job of casting him into the role of putz into a cakewalk.

Sorry, wrong premise. Ken speaks for himself better than you do. He inspires respect better than you do. You are Avis, trying to strut like Hertz. You need to work harder, if you want to make Ken look bad. He won't help you out by doing that job for you.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, May 30, 2000.

Well said Brian. One only need look back at the shredding Netghost took from LL to realize what an immature, frustrated individual he must be. Ken, you are to be admired for your restraint in not embarrassing this boy too badly. Left alone, he will do a great job of this by himself. After all, hes very proficient at doing things by and to himself.

-- Ra (tion@l.1), May 30, 2000.

It seems our young men do suffer for lack of rites of passage more meaningful than registering for selective service,yet what would work in our culture?I mention the benefits of a three day fast in the woods and my friends stare at as if I were INSANE.I know what I plan for my son's passage but I have an established spiritual context through which to view the world.It seems to be much harder for rationalist/secular humanist types.

-- zoobie the nutbag (, May 30, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ