1/27/15

The Gentlemen Rebel And Unlearning The Mook



(I want to thank the rest of the Charisma.Expert group as our conversations helped develop this post, with a shout out to Jedadiah Walls, our resident Media Psychologist, for providing some of the key pieces missing in the puzzle.)


Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism.
David Gilmore
You might have heard me mention how Gentlemen are the modern rebels, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized to what extent this is true. But before we go on promoting the idea of the Gentlemen Rebel, there are a couple of things we should understand first, starting with defining what a social rebel is.

A rebel is a person who opposes a group in authority and challenges acceptable standards of behavior, dress, etc. And this is why so many men refuse to follow the path of the Gentlemen. They view themselves as rebels, as challenging the ‘acceptable standards of behavior, dress, etc.’ of a Gentleman where ‘Gentlemen’ becomes the ‘acceptable standard’ to challenge. But is it?

When you consider how often you hear ladies mentioning how hard it is to find a Gentleman or the comment of how rare manners are today, you are left wondering if Gentlemen are actually the ‘standard.’ We have to understand that social ‘standard’ is most common and promoted practices within society. So what is the ‘standard’? What does society expect men to be?

This is where I’m going to step on a few toes and some men might become offended. To others this will make absolutely perfect sense. When you look at what we expected from men today, it’s not the gentleman or even a good man, but rather the Mook; the narcissist man-child or the entitled snark, usually coupled with the the incompetent or absentee dad. Sure, this is not what is told that men should be, but it’s what’s expected for them to become as they are bombarded with this image time and time again in the media.

Back in the 90’s, Viacom, a mass media conglomerate, hired the international advertisement agency Saachi and Saachi to develop a series of archetypes that could be branded and ‘sold’ to the public. Their response to the new male trope was the ‘Mook’, the typical 12 year old boy’s image of what masculinity should be to make it cool, a parody of a manhood who defends his laziness with sarcasm and angst, while at the same time dealing with an incompetent father figure and a sense of a vilifying society trying to force on them unnecessary responsibilities. And for any media company, this would be perfect, a demographic who did little more than consume their product, who would rebel against anyone who asked them to get off the couch, and would never realize they had become exactly what the corporations wanted them to become. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is social manipulation and programing at its best.

And the Mook was shoved down our throats in every single Adam Sandler style movie and Jackass clone MTV put out to the public. After seeing its success on MTV, Viacom started phasing the Mook into their other channels, as they became responsible for the next 20 years of male slacker glorification. Our culture was raised on hundreds of mook inspired characters, as the archetype was redefining and refining to a point where the parody of masculinity became the definition of manhood.

That went unchallenged, until those who grew up as the Mooks where now forced to see themselves in the role of the incompetent father, and they woke up. They refused to accept their role in this game and started an open challenge. And this open challenge started to slowly spread as more men refused to walk down the path of the man-child so many other men embrace. They realized that they could be more if they were just willing to be more.

Are all of these men Gentlemen? Not necessarily, as each man walks his own path. Are all Gentlemen Rebels? He’s certainly not willing to accept the social ‘standard’ of the mook, so yes. I think that a better question is why would you want to be a Mook?