Today [September 11] the New York Times' David Brooks has dropped the other shoe in a column titled, "Why Men Fail." David Brooks, "Why Men Fail," New York Times, September 11, 2012, p. A23 ("To succeed today, you have to be able to sit still and focus attention in school at an early age. You have to be emotionally sensitive and aware of context. You have to communicate smoothly. For genetic and cultural reasons, many men stink at these tasks.").
We have undergone what has been a tectonic shift in what it means to be human in America, our social relationships, gender roles and responsibilities.
Women may have always been superior to men in a variety of ways, but from the 1930s through the 1960s they were not accorded many opportunities to demonstrate that fact. Aside from the early 1940s, World War II's "Rosie the riveter" and all that, "homemaker and mother" was considered the honorable profession it still is ("stand by your man," and "the wind beneath my wings"). The choices available to women wishing to venture outside the home with their college degrees, ended up being in large measure teacher, nurse, secretary or airline stewardess (as they were then called; remember the airline commercial with the line, "Fly me"?).
And a lot of help the media was. TV producers deliberately created what they derisively referred to as "T&A" shows, and the appalling portrayal of women in commercials was no better. (Remember the commercial aimed at doubling the nicotine dealers' market: "Cigarettes are like women; the best ones are thin and rich"?)
The disparity between men and women remains. But what David Brooks reports, channeling the work of Hanna Rosin, is that it is not just because of what I've called "the natural superiority of women." It is also because of the reasons why, in increasing numbers, "men fail."
Read it, guys. If you think there's still a "battle of the sexes," forget it. As Warren Buffett said when charged with fomenting "class warfare," "if there’s class warfare, the rich class has won." If there ever was a battle, it's long since over and the women have won. Women never were our "enemy." As Pogo told us long before David Brooks documented the reasons why, "We have met the enemy and he is us."