Posted on Quora: What is the most badass thing about Nick Offerman?
Nick Offerman’s answer: His readiness to cry.
In a way, it is not the big things that we say, but the tiny things that we do every day, that count.
I’m talking to us men right now.
We create, with our daily actions and words, the world around us. But the thing is that we’ve never been told that. As boys, we were indulged, encouraged to be boys, meaning rough-housing, playing sports, getting muddy and bloody, and so on. Being a boy meant being abrasive and commanding.
Our culture knows what it values in boys, and it usually isn’t sensitivity.
Being tough is lauded as manly. Being able to kick some ass is praised. It’s important to keep it all inside and not cry when things overwhelm us, as boys, because then we would just be called pussies by our so-called friends and sometimes family members
Being a pussy meant you were probably gay, and being gay was the worst thing possible, even if it wasn’t referencing homosexuality. But it always was, you see.
“You’re fucking gay. I don’t mean like gay gay, just stupid as shit!” Is the refrain from some who think they are not homophobic. But this is not the case — this is an internalized hatred of the qualities of being gay, which in reality are not universally common among homosexuals, but universally taught by straight people to be a certain set of characteristics that all gay people possess.
For a boy, being gay basically meant being too sensitive. As if being sensitive was a bad thing. As a sensitive boy, I remember a guy in a pickup truck driving past me and yelling “Faggot!” out of his window, apparently at me, most likely because I acted and dressed differently than him. All of these small actions come from hatred, which is a byproduct of fear, usually of the unknown.
The words we use are more powerful than I ever imagined. If there is one positive thing that will have come out of this Trump administration for me, it is in this realization, and subsequent shaping of my own use of words.
On one side of this issue you have a serial sexual aggressor who sits in the oval office and grabs the world by its pussy. On the other side you have terms like “toxic masculinity”, “rape culture”, and “woke”. At the same time that a stunted dialogue is happening between the two, we also have a culture of non-binary gendered people fighting for their rights to exist without harassment and violence in this country.
We also have more mass shootings in a year than we ever have had before. Children are being gunned down in our schools, and recently journalists were gunned down in their workplace.
People who are not white men are beginning to insist on their humanity, and the white men in power do not like that.
In order to keep people in their place, they use rhetoric and their entrenched powers to place their boot on the back of the oppressed neck.
Roe. v Wade may soon be overturned. This doesn’t mean there will be less abortions, no, it means there will be more rules and regulations placed around what women can or cannot do with their own bodies. Rich old white men in power love to come up with these rules, but they always make exceptions when they impregnate their underage mistresses.
You could say that our society is becoming more and more polarized, but that is bullshit. That is what rich white men in power want you to believe. No, our society is not more polarized now, it has always been extremely polarized. What is happening right now is a shift in social consciousness, and I don’t mean that in any woo woo kind of way. I mean that in a very solid and based in reality sort of way. Women, children, and all people of a different skin color have been enslaved, literally and figuratively, for millennia, and are fighting back against this injustice.
It is not a polarization of one mode of thought against another, it is a mobilization against oppression and violence, and it is spreading swiftly and effectively across the nation because of the interconnected networks that allow us to share information immediately.
It is every thinking and feeling woman and child, and every human of a skin color other than white, saying “I am human, I deserve to be treated like a human, not shot, or beaten, or raped, or put in a cell, or left in a ghetto. I am human, not subhuman.”
I am human too, even though I am white man. But I always was a sensitive person. As a boy, I grew a calloused skin in order to deflect the worst of my tormentors. I actually grew bigger and tougher and confronted the worst of my bullies at one point, turning the tables on their anger toward me, which was fed by their fear of the different.
I’m a big kid now, and it’s time to confront those bullies again, only in the far bigger arena of our whole country. As a white man with inherent privileges that I can barely see because I have had them for so long, I have an undeniable responsibility to speak to other white men, because, I hate to break it to you all, but many men don’t really listen all that well to anything other then their own tribe.
I’m lucky to know a bunch of amazing dudes who don’t fit the stereotype of the typical white male oppressor. It isn’t a coincidence that I also know a ton of amazing strong women who don’t take shit from anybody. I live in a sort of bubble of awesome folks, and so sometimes I forget what it is really like out there.
I forget about the prevalence of sex trafficking and physical, emotional, cultural, and verbal violence against women and girls that exists in our culture. I forget how awful men can be, and how 1 in 6 women on a college campus have been sexually assaulted. I forget that every 98 seconds another American is sexually assaulted. I forget that one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
I forget that all this pain and suffering exists out there, because I am surrounded by good, wonderful people, people who could be role models for the rest of the country. There are so many good people out there, it’s hard to remember that so many bad men exist, unless you live next to them.
Most of these bad men, these insensitive men, these straight men who are rapists and killers, hate women.
They hate the idea of a woman. They hate the reality of a woman. They hate everything about the unattainability of a woman, who is the embodiment, in their stunted minds, of the sensitive, caring, loving aspect of life, all of which they lack in themselves, all that is missing from their empty lives.
They are the angry white men, the incels (involuntary celibates), the alt-right, the white nationalists. They are spurred onward in their hate by those in power who spread hate, and all hate feeds on hate, endlessly.
That is the real definition of hell, a circle jerk of hate. And that is all that these angry white men have, and now that they have tasted the very slightest of opposition and anger from those that they have enslaved for millennia, they are lashing out in violent anger and hatred.
And although they may not ultimately be successful in their rage, they will win a victory if we stay silent, especially white men like myself who are sensitive to others, who are not raging psychopaths and blind narcissists.
We are all human. It’s a funny thing, that phrase. It’s too true. Even saying it we want to shout out “Not those fuckers over there!” We want to bunch up in our tribes and stay safe.
But now I am beginning to seethat safety doesn’t necessarily foster growth or evolution. And so I want to step outside of my comfort zone and be as real as I possibly can be.
Guys, this isn’t about being “woke” or saying that you are against “toxic masculinity”. I know you hate these words. I’m not a big fan of them either. What is really important is your day to day action. How do you actually treat the women in your life, how do you actually feel about them?
If you feel hostility toward them in any way at all, you need to get professional help. If you feel that they are objects instead of people, you need to get professional help. If you feel that they are out to get you, you have lost you mind and please stay the fuck away from any guns or weapons, and please seek professional help.
For everyone who isn’t an angry white man, this isn’t a game. This is real life, with plenty to care about, to work for, to love, laugh, and cry over. This is the real deal, not a first person shooter tailored to satisfy your sexual frustrations.
You can call me a faggot all you want, but I will still confront you.