Tonight on Discovery: Man vs. Metrosexual

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The attack this past week on the Discovery Channel headquarters by an environmental activist who was inspired by Al Gore and his “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth, got me thinking about a trend – a convenient truth — I have been noticing this summer. In a nutshell: Men are alive and well, and we still like having them around.

I recognized this trend, this truth, while, at the behest of my son, I was watching Discovery’s reality shows that showcase the fine art of survival, either on the job (Deadliest Catch) or in the wild (Man vs. Wild, Dual Survival, etc.) . These shows are wildly popular, their key players — from captains of ice-encrusted boats seeking Arctic crab, to military-trained experts demonstrating survival tips in case of wilderness isolation or apocalypse — becoming household names coast to coast. Like I said, alive and well.

Which tells me something, too, about all those soft, non-threatening, oh-so-celebrated metrosexuals that grace most of America’s magazine covers: George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and, of course, the illustrious Barack Obama. Sing their praises if you must, but obviously there are still plenty of Americans, men and women alike, who revere the masculinity, self-sufficiency, independence, resourcefulness and virility at the core of the Discovery guys’ popularity (and, in a sense, at the core of America itself).

It’s not that difficult to figure out. Our culture may have been subverted in recent decades by radical feminists who would label men “scum” yet insist that women are their equal, and politically correct philosophies and policies that mandate there is no evil, no right, no wrong, but that does not change who we are fundamentally as animals. When faced with danger and those who would hurt our homes and families, most of us, like our non-human brethren, still look up to those who know how to keep us warm, keep us fed, keep us safe, and keep us alive.

If my family were stranded in the tundra, left to our own devices in the aftermath of a natural disaster, or threatened by the consequences of a lawless society, some guy whose skill set consists solely of mugging for a camera lens, reading a teleprompter and matching a silk tie to an Italian suit would be of no value whatsoever. On the other hand, a man who can navigate a ship through a blizzard on an icy sea; who can find water and shade in Death Valley; who would take down a plane hijacked by terrorists before it reaches DC; or who can use a gun and a blade for food, shelter and self-protection.…I’ll stick with him, thank you very much.  It’s a safe bet most of the rest of us would too.