Comedian Jim Gaffigan gives his thoughts on fatherhood, being a better man, what it means to consume pornography, and how men should and do treat women for a bit more than six minutes over at Big Think. So just to be clear, I really like Jim Gaffigan. I’ve seen his comedy specials and I think he’s one of the funniest guys working today. His episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee‘ is epic.
Go ahead and spend six of your minutes with him. Worth your time.
He’s right — so much has changed in just a quick generation for everyone, not just men. I’ve seen ‘Match Game,’ too, and it’s terrible. No decent man would talk to a woman that way today, nor should he.
The only place I veer from Gaffigan is on the tense of the verb ‘changed’. I think the rules are still changing for men (and women). I think we are in a remarkable time of continuing change. I think of it as a sort of New Age of Enlightenment for men.
Listen to what Gaffigan is saying. You just can’t be a cad anymore (you couldn’t before, but now our society has sort of woken up to it, and talks about it out loud).
Some of this, I think, is tied up in the conversation we’re having about gender as well. What does “man” and “woman” mean, and the fact that we need to recognize, accept, and love those who question their own gender identity. It’s a whole new way of thinking, and not one society has allowed for this in traditional male role models.
So it’s new, it’s change (and hope; hope for a better world), it’s a revolution.
But that’s the thing: revolutions don’t happen in a vacuum. Change is never one-sided, it is a struggle, it is, at the very least, ongoing.
Which is another way of saying there is opposition. There are men, and we all know them, who oppose this idea, who will fight it until they die.
The easy example is Donald Trump, who was named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year.’ He said he would have preferred to be named ‘Man of the Year’ because ‘person’ is too politically correct.
Just let that marinate for a moment.
Aside from the eye-rolling thin-skinned-ness of that, it’s a pretty good demonstration of what men who want to move forward are up against everywhere.
I do believe that the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, but change does take time, and it’s often a fight.
I also believe that we use the tools we have to make change. What Gaffigan said about being a steward of the world for our children was right on, too. So beyond working in politics and government, beyond writing a blog post, I know the best thing I can do is work hard to make sure my own son is a better man than me (and to make sure my daughter knows she can do anything she wants, she can be anyone she wants and no man — no one at all — can stop her).
Maybe the revolution will have advanced and settled by the time Finnegan is my age. I hope so.