Guyism.com published this lovely chart illustrating the purported “evolution of man.” With all due respect to the publishers of such other gems as 2010: The summer of celebrity bikinis and Arizona State girls are the hottest drunken messes, we’ve kindly created an infographic of their infographic, explaining why they’re at risk of being out-thunk by the drunken messes at ASU.
More detailed explanations after the jump…
First, we realize that this infographic was created for laughs. It’s a satire. We get it. But as comedian Imogene Coca once said, “the trouble with most comedians who try to do satire is that they are essentially brash, noisy and indelicate people who have to use a sledge hammer to smash a butterfly.”
The butterfly in this case is not only manhood and masculinity, but 2000-plus years of history and most of American pop culture—revealing a puddle-deep conception of manliness, not to mention coolness.
Socrates: First of all, just look at him. Don’t mess with the grandfather of philosophy. On top of laying down the foundation of Western thought, he could almost certainly kick your ass.
The guy was also famous for stirring up debate (which landed him in front of a jury for inciting Athenian youth to think for themselves). So he’s possibly the Grandfather of teenage rebellion and stickin’ it to the man.
When he was found guilty of corrupting the youth, Socrates suggested that he be rewarded for his crimes—so he was kinda the Grandfather of sarcasm, too. In any case, the man had big balls and some serious integrity. His students included no-names in philosophy like, you know, Plato—whose works have survived the long, tough test of time.
Foreigners: Alright, I’m going to ignore the outright racism of this choice. (Actually I’m not ignoring it because I just mentioned it.) I will assume that the author of the original infographic was attempting to pay tribute to the historical backlash against European immigrants in the 18th century. It’s true that immigrants were demonized. In New York City, the Irish were shit on until they took over the political scene—then they turned around and started hating on the Italians.
But being unpopular has nothing to do with being manly. (See: Genghis Khan.) Foreign immigrants to the U.S. endured hardships I—and certainly the folks at Guyism— could not possibly imagine. They also accomplished feats that paved the way to our current society where historical context is, evidently, optional.
The Beach Boys: While these guys aren’t the current archetype of Clint Eastwood (or even Robert Downey Jr.) manliness, you can’t argue with their success. They had more top-40 hits than any other U.S. rock band, and produced what is widely considered to be the best American pop album of all time—Pet Sounds.
Rolling Stone put them at #12 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” (between Buddy Holiday and Bob Marley). If they sound cheesy to you, it’s because everything that came after Pet Sounds was under its influence, including an album you may have heard of—Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Oh, and even if you question the manliness of the Beach Boys, how about the manly goodness of Eric Clapton? Bob Dylan? Their praise of the Beach Boys is unqualified:
“I consider Pet Sounds to be one of the greatest pop LPs to ever be released. It encompasses everything that’s ever knocked me out and rolled it all into one.”—Eric Clapton
“That ear —I mean, Jesus, he’s got to will that to the Smithsonian.” —Bob Dylan, on Beach Boy frontman Brian Wilson.
So how about all you readers out there—what did we miss in our critique (besides a nod to Thoreau, who was the first guy to explicitly rage against the machine)? What would you like to see in a real infographic on manhood? Leave your suggestions below and we may just take them into account and make our own graphical guide.