This week’s selected media: December 10, 2023: Bonhoeffer documentary and Men Who Hate Women

December 10, 2023 by Joshua
in Tips

I finished this week:

Bonhoeffer (2003), Directed by Martin Doblmeier: Wow, I knew of him before, and 90 minutes can only cover so much, but this documentary showed the challenge of living by your values in a corrupt system. While safe in the U.S. during the war, he chose to return to Germany to continue acting. He struggled with his conscience. He led others.

The documentary also shows some of society slipping into complicity and acceptance, how appealing those things are when everyone around you is doing it. Seeing the crowds loving Nazism, you see how easily millions of people can lie to themselves.

This video is free online. I recommend it highly if you would like a role model for achieving inner peace in a society making it easy to live against your values (and even its own).

This review from IMDB captured a lot of what I took from the documentary:

It looks like a PBS piece … because it undoubtedly will be. The support credits include some of the few remaining funding sources for long-form documentary work … but that’s just the bankroll, not the message. For those who have spent more than a few moments wondering how the impressive intellectual and cultural powers of Germany in the ’30’s and ’40’s could have “allowed” Hitler to wreak the genocide and destruction that he did, start here. “Bonhoeffer” digs into the mind and spirit of one man… but the filmmaker’s eye never blinks. The careful balance of grainy black and white, motion camera exploration of archival stills and contemporary color footage of eyewitnesses, historians and theologians creates a tapestry that romances the viewer into wondering who this “Dietrich” is … then experiencing his personal struggles and turmoil … then taking shallow breaths as he poses for a picture in the Tegel prison courtyard in a jacket and tie — gentleman to the end. The closing fog- bound color photography of Flossenburg (the concentration camp where Bonhoeffer was hanged literally days before the allies arrived) is chilling. The perfect coda.

Men Who Hate Women, by Laura Bates: I saw this book on a table at a bookstore. It sparked my curiosity and I borrowed it from the library, though I had to wait several weeks, one measure of its popularity. Bates covers some serious genuine problems of men, some criminal behavior, and online conditions leading to communities growing the problems.

If I don’t make it clear that these problems are serious, people will misunderstand me. These problems are serious. That said, her analysis and understanding are inadequate. She presents the numbers but doesn’t try to understand the cultural conditions affecting the men nor their emotions. To understand is not to condone. She understands Lorena Bobbit more than any of the men. She seems to see two types in the manosphere: woman-hating schemers luring and duping innocent, impressionable young men and those young men becoming lured and duped into hating women.

She proudly points out inconsistencies like that MGTOWs say they want independence from women yet talk about them, but doesn’t try to resolve them. She quotes Neil Strauss that men trying to learn to attract women don’t hate them, they fear them, but doesn’t try to understand why they would fear them. She suggests over and over that they are suffering from what she calls outdated stereotypes of masculinity that are hurting them. Feminism, she says, offers freedom from what she imagines are emotional straightjackets keeping them from expressing themselves, facing their vulnerabilities, or connecting with women, or anyone. Why can’t they embrace other models, like non-binary, LGBTQ, and other non-outdated stereotypes? Why don’t they embrace feminism?

A bit of empathy and compassion and she could understand the men she treats as so simple. To understand is not to condone. The criminals are criminals. They and their victims deserve justice and we should do what we can to fix the problems, but why doesn’t she ask to understand what drives these men and boys? There are answers I predict she would love to learn, but she doesn’t treat men as human or three-dimensional.

She suggested searching online to see what they face. I looked up Ms. Magazine online, Jezebel, and a couple other feminist sites. If she thinks they offer something for men who feel emotions as powerful as she recognizes, she’s off her rocker. I grew up with feminist parents, Ms. Magazine, Our Bodies Ourselves, and such all over. I volunteered for Take Back the Night in college. Only when I found communities of men online and in-person that her book misses or ignores did I find masculinity this book doesn’t see because it isn’t toxic or defined by women.

I don’t mind having finished the book since I’m curious how feminists see men, but I was disappointed to see such a lack of empathy and compassion for the tens of millions of men and boys who aren’t criminals, never will be, think for themselves, aren’t angry, aren’t cases of losing-privilege-feels-like-oppression, yet are hurting and suffering for the limits our culture and society have placed on them.

Men are here and waiting to be understood. I’m not condoning any of the criminal or antisocial behavior she described. I condemn it and want to end it more than she does. We can’t make ourselves understood by her for her. She’ll love the results when she does it.

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter