Russell Crowe has to be one of my favorite actors of all time. Master & Commander, Gladiator, that one movie where he sees people and he’s a math genius? Yeah, excellent actor….that is until I heard a song by one of my favorite Irish bands, Gaelic Storm, where the lead singer used to manage a bar out in San Fransisco (true), and how Russell Crowe came in and tried smoking during the ban (probably true), and like the song goes, good ol’ Gladiator was drunk and up for some scrapping when the lead singer told him he couldn’t smoke at the bar….so he hit Russell in the head!! You can listen to the song while reading this here. Gaelic usurped the position of affection in my mind that Russell once had. But Russ was a great actor, and if you’ve seen him in Master & Commander, you might agree that was one of his best roles. One interesting thing from the movie of actual historical significance is this: you ever notice who the seamen (a few elderly men) called Lieutenant….those 17 yr old boys. No, it was not the mistake of the producers to put in boys when they meant men.
Sure Russ was older and the commander and all, but it was common practice to put 16-18 yr old boys into leadership on those boats during the wars of 1812 and earlier. It was practice of the British Royal Navy to enroll young boys by the age 13 to start their training to be midhshipmen, and then if they passed their test, to be Lieutenants. Interestingly, the practice to train up young people in the seafaring skill, is still continuing to this day in a program called Outward Bound (if I had the time and money, I would so do it, but alas…).
That was the 1800’s. Now consider the early 1900’s to the 60’s. If you were 26 yrs old, there was a 68% chance that you were married, had kids, and a mortgage. Fast forward, to today. The average 26 yr old (I believe the stat for which this is true is 78%) is not married, does not have a mortgage, but is the main consumer of video games. In the US, the age bracket 18-34, makes up 95% of the consumers of video games that come out today. What happened?
Something happened in the early 20th century, that changed things forever for men. In the marketing world there was a term called “elusive gap”, which were men between the ages of 18-35. You couldn’t reach them. They were not shoppers, they were content (maybe, or just depressed…or rich), you couldn’t reach out to them. That is until something happened in marketing theory. Something so radical, it would change the face of marketing to really what we know it is today. Over our great pond in England, the president of Maxim (a gentlemens magazine), started walking down a radical path wih marketing, which said, “Give them what they want.” That was it!! The women began showing up on their magazine covers in ways that would set the model for marketing that we see today. Beautiful blonde babes, draped (not dressed) in clothes almost falling off, starting getting mens attention, and consequently brought mens eyes over products inside the magazine.
It is the same today. We get what we want!! It’s gone so far as company’s studying bilogical responses to images, smells, and reactions to products. Emsense is such a company, that scientifically measures the neural reaction to movie trailers, to see which ones will do the best. The main thrust in marketing today seems to be satiating the consumers. “The customer is always right”, right? But what’s best for us?
The society has fostered a stagnant atmosphere for our young adults, one in which they are not challenged. “You want to stay home with your parents in the basement until your 24? Ok, how many twinkies would you like? You dropped your gaming console….here.” It’s almost as if were now saying, “Whatever the young adult wants, is right?” So lets give them what they want?
My one single question is this? Are we challenging our men? Period. Perhaps we are, but are we challenging them enough? This may be no secret, but men love challenges. That’s why we like complicated and competitive video games. Say, “you’ll never be able to do it” and watch him excel in trying to prove you wrong. That’s not entirely my idea of challenge though.
I feel we have a domino dillemma. If our fathers weren’t instructed into passing into manhood, how are they able to do that for us. Its a domino effect. Put yourself in the feet of your father, especially if he doesn’t feel fulfilled in his occupation, and his marriage is struggling, it will be difficult for him to look at his son, and breathe manhood into his sails, when he alone doesn’t feel manly. My challenge to anyone reading, is to simply begin treating our young adults like men. You treat them like boys, they’ll stay boys. Treat them like men, and they’ll become men. Sure, they’ll be immature. In the 1800’s, the biggest problem they had with young lieutenants was laziness. We as men are always growing though.
Challenge us! Treat our young people in the way you want them to be!!
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A number of things as of late has fueled thought on this matter. One of the articles that did so, was this one.