Having issues with superiority of prehistoric men
After seeing the recent Reuters headline “New Book Claims Modern Men are Wimps” I was so outraged and offended I decided to call up the author to chew him out. Unfortunately, I got kind of scared and hung up on him before he could answer.
His real name is Peter McAllister, and he’s an Australian anthropologist whose controversial new book is titled: “Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male.”
In it, McAllister writes about how today’s men fail in athletic comparison to prehistoric men, who eked out a brutally tough existence by running down large animals, and using spears and bare hands to kill them for food. Noting these impressive physical achievements, McAllister compares prehistoric men with modern men, many of whom have no impressive physical achievements, other than successfully installing a new version of Microsoft Windows.
To prove his point, the author uses an analysis of ancient footprints recently discovered preserved in an Australian fossilized lake bed to claim that prehistoric aborigines cold run an incredible 37 KPH. Do you realize how fast that is? Me neither. But I’m guessing it’s pretty fast. The book says it means an average male aborigine could run faster than Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt. And that’s even more impressive when you keep in mind that back then the aborigines’ Nike shoes did not even have mid-sole cushioning technology.
But it’s not just men who were tougher back then. Apparently, Neanderthal women had 10 percent more muscle bulk than modern men and thus could whip Arnold Schwarzenegger in arm wrestling. I’m quoting here directly: “She would slam him to the table without a problem.” Perhaps, but could she increase California’s budget deficit to $26.3 billion? Personally, I’m not impressed by these strong cavewomen. Seeing a bunch of tough, hairy, macho women who could beat up the Terminator is not that rare. I attended CU and had to walk past the Women’s Studies Department all the time.
Probably the most impressive fact McAllister makes about prehistoric men involves their traditions. The Huichol Indian men of prehistoric Mexico, for example, would practice some interesting rituals, and by “interesting” I mean “completely insane.” Just before their partner would give birth, a Huichol Indian dad would have a string tied to a certain part of his anatomy that I won’t mention so that, during labor, the woman could pull on the string, “enabling them to share the childbirth experience.”
This, needless to say, is why there are not a lot of Huichol Indians around anymore. It’s also a tradition that I’m very glad the nurses at the St. Mary’s Birthing Unit were unfamiliar with when my wife gave birth. Judging by the pain Marie went through, she would have strained her arm pulling on the string. And I’m pretty sure she’d still be pulling on it.
I can pretty much sum up the book by quoting the author, who describes all of today’s men as being “the sorriest cohort of masculine homo sapiens to ever walk the planet.” This, of course, I find very offensive, not just because it’s homophobic, but because it’s complete bull. You accuse any modern man out there of being a wimp and he’ll get so mad, he’ll take the lid off his double vanilla mocha latte and throw it in the recycle bin in a very aggressive manner.
Are there soft men out there? Sure. But not a lot. I’m certainly not a wimp. I know this because when I asked around if I was tough, the nice Korean lady giving me my pedicure nodded. Then again, I’m not sure if she speaks English.
My point is that McAllister has it all wrong. Modern men may not be as fast or athletic as prehistoric men, but we are strong, and we are manly. And, frankly, we don’t need to prove our toughness to anybody. OK?
So please, put down the string.