Menemies and the Mantheon

With the ongoing canonization of Saint Charles the Barkley, we’ve already begun the project of establishing a kind of Mantheon of hero-men–dudes who we admire for their 21st century, enlightened-but-still-manly brand of masculinity.

I’d like to propose a counterpart to the Mantheon– a Menemies List. My argument for said list is twofold:

1. I like the word "menemies," which I just made up this morning at about 10:05 as I was lying in bed, trying to wake up. (I also, it should be noted, like the word "mantheon," which I just made up about five minutes ago, when trying to think of a counterpart to the word "menemies.") There seem to be an almost endless amount of puns we can make by substituting the word men or man into words that have syllables that rhyme with those words, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t make as many of them as possible. Punning is, after all, one of the great masculine traditions.

2. We’re writers more than we are theoreticians, so we’re probably better suited to defining our masculine values through example than through abstraction. To figure out and express what kind of men we want to be, we have to talk about the men (and women) whose masculinity we admire and the men (and women) who are propagating a destructive and warped version of masculinity. Thus a mantheon and a menemies list.

I don’t have any serious menemies to suggest yet. If I set out to think of a few, I could. Most of the Bush administration, certainly. I once saw former GE ubermensch Jack Welch on Larry King, and viscerally detested him. Sean Hannity gets my goat. But I think the naming of menemies should be more spontaneous than that, and also more of a collaboration between us (and our readers?). We don’t necessarily have to have the same (m)enemies, but we should both be interested in discussing whoever it is.

Author: Masculinity and Its Discontents

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