It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Dickens penned these words in A Tale of Two Cities, about life during the turmoil and quickly-changing era of the French Revolution. Today we are experiencing the most rapidly-changing period in the entire history of the world. In our current Tale of Two Countries, most young Americans seems to think it is the best of times.
Consider our young men today as they hold a delicious slice of pizza in one hand and their precious cell phone in the other. They can sit mesmerized within the four walls of their sterile air-conditioned rooms gaming hour after hour in a world of virtual reality. They can pause momentarily to snap a selfie and chat with friends on Facebook. If their hands get cramped they can shift their screens to hundreds of television channels, or movies on demand from the streaming services. Fast food is always close at hand. This convenience removes the pressure to learn how to cook. With porn at their fingertips (no pun intended), there is no need of a girlfriend along with all the pressures and anxieties of a relationship. Many can stay at home and not even worry about getting a job or starting a career.
Americans are living longer but the quality of life in later years leaves much to be desired. We are #1 in the world when it comes to health expenditures, yet we rank 42nd in life expectancy (CIA World Factbook 2016). We are the most obese country among the industrialized nations – only a few Polynesian islands have higher obesity rates than us. We have never had greater access to food, but we make poor choices. It's rather telling that America ranks 113th when it comes to food expenditures. We spend so little in ratio to our total expenditures because we choose to eat cheap, packaged, industrial food instead of paying more for wholesome foods. There are long-term health consequences, but few desire to quit, or even cut back, on their Cokes, chips, Snickers, or ice cream. Gym memberships have never been higher, but even many of the people who commit to a membership still struggle in frustration to conquer their inner demons and commit to actual participation.
Take a look at education. America annually spends $15K per pupil and we continue to be #1 in the world with the average years of schooling. All that time and money and yet the US ranks 24th in world literacy. In a 2013 report, 21% of adults in the US read below a 5th grade level and 19% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. Only a tenth of American adults can read at high school or greater proficiency. Consider these global report card statistics from the Programme for International Student Assessment:
How quickly we have fallen from the city on a hill shining a light for all the world to see. Our diminuendo has brought us from the top of the world statistically down to embarrassing lows.
When my children were young, each year I would take them to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. I would point out the lazy-looking lions and tigers lounging in the shade. People would shout at the docile creatures in an attempt to get them to move about. Yet, it was all the poor animals could do to flick their tail or bat an eyelash. The once great warriors of the Serengeti had become victims of ease and entitlement. Looking into their eyes revealed their soul. They were glazed over. They had no masculinity left in them. They had lost all sense of their manhood. The "thrill of the chase" was gone from them, never to return.
Next time you are in your local Wal-Mart, or mega-store, I invite you to conduct a little experiment. As you walk around the store, examine people. Look into the their eyes. All too many of them have that glazed-over look. They are on autopilot. They walk around the store reaching out and grabbing their wares with barely conscious effort, as if mere zombies. Like the once majestic lion, you can see the hazy look in the eyes of many American men. They are victims of modernity. They have lost their manhood. The thrill of the chase is not there. They merely exist from week to week on cruise control. They give little or no thought to bettering themselves. After all, as they compare themselves to others, they feel snug where they are at.
We at Man Up Mississippi believe it is past time for men to turn this ship around. We provide knowledge and present challenges to be a real man in a society increasingly becoming sickly, lazy, and effeminate. In our Boot Camp, as well as our lectures, workshop and blog, we present five general categories of problems affecting modern man and offer timely, individual solutions.
"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty."
"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
- Theodore Roosevelt
Above Photo: John Cripps Three Generation Male Gathering (partial anyway) along with younger brother, Rick - June 11, 2017 at Man Up Intergalactic Headquarters in Wiggins, Mississippi. From left: Robert Lewis Dabney Cripps, Rick Cripps, John Thomas Cripps Sr., John Thomas Cripps III, Nathaniel Levi Cripps, John Thomas Cripps Jr., Kaleb McKenzie Cripps, Pätrick Henry Cripps.