RIP The American Manly Man (1776-2014) (Volume I)

Tom Brady Justin Bieber

The American Manly Man, known the world over for centuries of soaring bravado and gritty do-it-yourself ingenuity, passed away during the season finale of HBO’s Girls. He was 237.

His death was confirmed by American pop culture. The cause of death is still under investigation, as the U.S. Department of Health has not yet received the results of his toxicology testing. But (i) The Selfie, (ii) Michelob ULTRA’s Fruit Infused Pomegranate Raspberry, and (iii) eerily fatalistic intimations of the American Empire’s mortality are believed to be preliminary suspects.

The Selfie

’Twas the smartphone that killed the American Manly Man.

Necessity may well be the mother of invention, but modern inconvenience is the father of the app. The American Manly Man still did not stop to ask for directions. But only because he did not have to. Siri, his iPhone’s female-voiced assistant narrated the entire way. Masculinity: there was an app for that.

If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Obama selfied while Washington froze. Actor Clint Eastwood, once the paradigm of steely machismo reserve, was last seen blathering to an imaginary president in a chair. Gone was the archetypal strong, silent type. By 2014, he was replaced by the iFaced up-talker, a la Valley Girl, (E.G. “Let me take a selfie?”). His effeminate last breath posted, Skyped, retweeted for all the world to see.

Internet Meme Eastwooding

The American Manly Man made machine, and the machine, in turn, made the American Manly Man a boy. By 2014, the American Manly Man had devolved into a bespectacled Tech Boy. The once-stout Pioneer Age body of Davy Crockett slumped into the Tech Age mold of Mark Zuckerberg. In his natural urban habitat, he could be found stooped before a laptop grazing on Venti Frappucinos and quizzes at the corner Starbucks.

The American Manly Man, circa 2014, spoke in tech jargon, not swagger. Statements were up-speak questions (E.G. “It has too many carbs?”) Verbs were website names (E.G. “Google that”, “Facebook her”) or mobile applications (E.G. “PayPal me”, “Netflix it”. He used hashtags for punchlines. (E.G. “hashtag firstworldproblems” to vent over the decidedly mundane annoyances of a hyper-connected world.) In 2014, the American Manly Man said “hashtag”. And often.

First World Problems

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was a nearly certifiable condition for the Saturday morning dread that he, having stayed in Friday, experienced as he scrolled through his friends’ Instagram accounts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other frothily valued social media platforms (before the Tech Bubble 2.0 burst in the mid-2010s) crossed a rosy-cheeked intersection of voyeurism and narcissism for the American Manly Man.

Social media’s diaspora let American males peek into their friends’ and celebrities’ lives and photo albums in the name of vicarious living. It comprised a collective digitized fridge door of sorts, where he could wish someone a happy birthday, see who was hooking up with whom, and, sure, sometimes post about the less informative, too.

Funny Facebook Statuses

Historians would later note that the American Manly Man did everything on his smartphone, except, poetically, phone people. He did not call. That would be too direct. Probably awkward. It would certainly involve talking, anyway. So, he texted instead. Furthermore, no Millennial American male born after 1982 left a voicemail. He would generally silent his parents’ call, ignore the voicemail, and then text what they called about in the first place.

Besides calling, all of the American Manly Man’s basic needs were met by his smartphone. For dinner, he scrolled Yelp, the user-generated online restaurant recommendation app, for the closest Thai delivery. For payment, he used Venmo, the friend-to-friend online money service. For dates, he swiped right on Tinder—2014’s free dating app de rigueur,—if he liked a girl. Left, if he did not. For boredom, he scanned his Yahoo fantasy football app’s waiver wire for the Cincinnati Bengals’ backup running back. For more boredom, he’d flick through buxom supermodel selfies on Instagram. For yet more boredom, he’d chomp through Candy Crush Level 33 or fling pixelated birds at castles in Angry Bird. For venting, he’d riff on Facebook that he had placed his Thai order 30 minutes ago.



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