Guys, it’s tough out there. From Jordan Peterson to Andrew Tate to Richard Reeves, people across the ideological spectrum agree: men are having an incredibly rough go at it as of late, as our peers continue to drop out, overdose, and kill themselves at a mind-boggling pace.
Some diagnose this cultural decline as the result of stagnating economic conditions — a questionable claim considering these trends continued amid the flourishing Trump economy. Others point to the widespread emancipation of Western men from their thumos and Faustian Spirit (the masculine impulse to sacrifice comfort to pursue greatness) as a result of the pervasive and rampant feminization of civilization in the decades following the sexual revolution, which has undoubtedly been a disaster for the human race.
Indeed, in the global longhouse, Alpha Males™ like Nick Adams are a vocal and powerful minority as they show young men that they need not resign themselves to the deafening groans of XY-mediocrity. Per Adams’ repeated, and satirically homoerotic, online guidance, to truly revel in male camaraderie, one must surround himself with like-minded, driven men on the fairway, eating wings, and pursuing life’s tribulations and challenges.
Men ought to pursue excellence in all things. And there’s no better medium to pursue cultural excellence than the, arguably, uniquely American medium of cinema. And this is why this weekend, you should assemble a foursome with the boys and treat yourselves to a Barbie-Oppenheimer double feature. Nothing exudes camaraderie quite like a shared in-person cinematic experience, and this is the perfect opportunity for the fellas to reverse-engineer Greta Gerwig’s feminist “Barbie” into a story where male excellence (henceforth known as “Kenergy”) and friendships are encouraged and to further have that message reinforced with a subsequent viewing of Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.”
Julius Robert Oppenheimer, the man considered to be the father of the atomic bomb, despite his unironic galaxy-brain intellect, would not have achieved all that he did without constant support from his friends and family — a fact constantly reiterated in his biography American Prometheus, which Nolan’s film adapts.
Similarly, Ken would not be able to subvert expectations — stepping into his own role and becoming more than Barbie’s himbo sidepiece — without male camaraderie and the support of his fellow playthings. After all, it takes a lot of manpower to shirk the longhouse of Barbieland in the pursuit of establishing the dreaded patriarchal Kendom. (Spoiler ahead.)
After Barbie and Ken spend time in the real world, Ken has enough of being the butt of the joke and seeks to establish a patriarchal order in which he and his fellow male dolls are able to self-actualize. Without the help of his peers, Ken would never be able to stage such a coup and do away with the increasingly antiquated notion that masculinity is best relegated to a state of perpetual neuter.
And, perhaps, utterly overhauling his society’s general structure isn’t the best way to approach this, but ultimately at the heart of the Kensurrection lies an important truth: men must be men in order to thrive.
Many of the accomplishments that allowed the West to become the paragon of excellence that it once was were achieved through men pushing each other to achieve great things.
The infamous Bronze Age Pervert articulated this in his book Bronze Age Mindset by arguing that men were able to once achieve “all great political things, all acts of political freedom and power” through “strong friendships between two men, or brotherhoods of men.”
Iron sharpens iron, indeed.
This was a point further alluded to in a recently published New York Times editorial titled: “Is the Cure to Male Loneliness Out on the Pickleball Court?” In this piece, Michelle Cottle states that “The more [she] learn[s] about the epidemic of male loneliness, the more [she’s] convinced that America needs to send its men out to play.” Male camaraderie, being thoroughly eschewed in the 21st century, has undeniably facilitated the raging epidemic of loneliness that continues to wreak havoc.
In Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, the feminist cultural critic Camille Paglia wrote that “Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”
Male suffering is prominent and pertinent. A society in which men continue to drop out, overdose, and off themselves is neither conducive to human nor civilizational flourishing.
Oppenheimer and Ken get this; so should you. Assemble a foursome of the boys and tap into your Kenergy with a double feature of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” — the future depends on it.