The Book of Love: As written by Howard, Fine, & Howard, Warner Bro and others

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A Bull in a China Closet will Ultimately Break Something


The #MeToo Movement shook us.  It forced us to consider where we are in our sexual history or moreover, where we’ll land in the aftermath of the movement’s rage.  I wonder if this is what they envisioned years earlier when the phrase, ‘battle of the sexes’ burst onto the social consciousness?  Time has turned that earlier catchy, fight for esteem and recognition of feelings into a modern day mandate of protection.


As a man, I wonder if all of what we’re seeing is the natural evolution of things, the developmental social life of the lothario from gradual ascent (and acceptance) to meteoric downfall.  We create these guys, after all, if through no other way than by our overall indifference to their behavior.  Yet for me, the sheer depth of the boldness exhibited was almost farcical in its brutal, yet childish, simplicity.  It cries out for an explanation and I can’t help but wonder where the f*!k they got their ideas from.  My guess is cartoons.      


Yeah, I know; what does that say that some could be swayed by comedy and film to such an extent that a segment would take to predating women in the fashion we’ve seen recently?  I guess it’s true what they say about man being prone to visual stimulation; and that we’re pigs.  But where else could you get tutored to behave so absurdly, with such total ignorance of another’s feelings?  It’s the stuff of comedy, themes we’ve seen countless times.


It starts at a young age.  I remember one short scene depicting an example of true love’s beginning (cue birds tweeting...not you Mr. President).  Innocent and funny, it also sold the idea that rough-housing was needed in order to possess women; something men would come to historically exhibit.  Remember the caveman? 


The Three Stooges – “Stone Age Romeos”


Hairy, Neanderthal, socially clueless and way before GEICO, this hominid fumbled about in his existence unsurely, that is until he spotted a female he wanted.  Then, with a heart laden under hormones he understood nothing about, he tackled his first love with the same primeval learning curve he used in all his dealings in his antediluvian world; he beat her with his club and took what he wanted.


From Bluto to Snidley Whiplash, men laughed at the comic strip versions of real-life scoundrels.  Funny stuff, it was the golden age of animation; producing (by today’s standards) politically incorrect, yet socially significant caricatures of people we see every day.  And one of the most iconic sexual harassers from that era on celluloid was Pepe Le Pew, heralded skunk of Warner Brother’s fame. 


Appearing in seventeen different cartoons between 1945 and 1962, the character, created by animator Chuck Jones, was loosely based on a fellow colleague of Jones at the Termite Terrace (old Warner Bros. studios) named Ted Pierce; a writer and self-proclaimed ladies-man who couldn’t take no for an answer.  Aired originally in adult movie theaters and enjoyed by grown men, is it possible they got the wrong idea over the years?  Maybe it’s no coincidence that Jones drew him as a skunk. 


I think some also get their ideas from film and television.  Recently, Murder, My Sweet aired.  Watch the film and count the examples of men behaving badly by today’s standards.  In fact, how many times have we seen the hard-broiled leading man of this or that movie force his way into a woman’s apartment, or rifle her handbag uninvitedly, or even grab her up in an unwelcome embrace and kiss and then watch her squirm in his arms until she ultimately and passionately capitulates?   Class dismissed.


Banned From the China Closet


It’d almost as if some have been programmed by these images.  Maybe our only recourse is to go back to the low tech drawing board, before this time of free love and open sexual expression and remember what it means to “make love”, you know, beg.  Seriously, back to a time when men opened doors for women, instead of using hidden buttons to lock them. 


It involves courtship: from the foods cooked for her, to the gifts given , the flowers sent, to the very first words spoken in greeting. It’s a start if we went back to being nice.


This is how bad we’ve gotten; we think a masher is a comedic figure in today’s sexually permissive society; and one who just might, under the right circumstances, get the girl.  Geraldo kind of had it right with his claim that women are “criminalizing courtship”. Except the operative word in the sentence is criminalizing and not courtship.  


Women aren’t criminalizing anything but rather are changing everything-rewriting the book of love-and telling us that what some consider courtship is nothing more than mashing and mashing is and has always been, illegal.  So, for the women who like their bad boys, I say this: consider the china closet and the bull.  Remember that a bull in the china closet is bound to break something sooner or later and metaphors aside, never forget who the china closet is.


Pepe Le Pew image - By Source, Fair use,

Some material from Chuck Amuck, by Chuck Jones (1989), Avon, ISBN 0-380-71214-8


Maureen Foster Added Jan 10, 2018 - 9:12am
Since the beginning of courtship some men have been scoundrels.  Your caveman example being where it all started.  All the #Me Too movement has done is figured out a way to publicly shame those men accused of being scoundrels.  One problem with the movement is that the public believes that an accusation is equivalent to guilt.  The other problem with the movement is that it’s simply piggy backing off the very public admissions of guilt by people we all know.  Has anyone admitted to any sex crimes as a result of the #Me Too movement?  I don’t think so, meaning it’s falsely being credited for bringing those other crimes to light. 
Autumn Cote Added Jan 10, 2018 - 10:39am
Please note, the second best way to draw more attention to your work is to comment on the work of others. I know this to be true because if you do, I'll do everything in my power to draw more attention to your articles (there is a lot I can do and would like to do on your behalf).
Ben McCargo Added Jan 10, 2018 - 7:06pm
I get that Maureen.  Did you expect there to be any true admission of guilt of a serious sex crime? I didn't because that takes it to an entirely different level.  Despite all the outrage, this still is a complaint-however huge-about people playing pattyfingers.  That's because where there is an opportunity to press charges against some of the more egregious assaults, well, we haven't seen any yet, have we?  And there were a few peeps who could've been charged, should've been.  Check this out though:
I think ultimately the movement will find its level, if it doesn't wilt.  Men being what we are, I don't see any shortage of fuel for the fire, do you?  And there are still some names of some offenders, powerful ones, that haven't been named.   
In the meantime though, we'll continue to get ideas of how to interact with the ladies from film and other genres.  And the chips will fall where they will and, if #metoo does fall by the wayside, in about another ten to twenty years, after the tutelage of men has again offended the social conscience. there'll be another movement, #MeToo2.  Hey, it could happen.
Thanks for the comment.  Let me know what you think.  Be good.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Jan 11, 2018 - 3:33am
Articles like this, it's point of view, description of life in DUHmerica today only serve to confirm my decision to GTFO of there decades ago was the correct one. 
We're I to be so unfortunate to be there I'd be #MGTOW for piece of mind.
Autumn Cote Added Jan 11, 2018 - 6:24am
I see that you started commenting on the work of others.  I now need to honor my end of my unwritten agreement with every participant here and do everything in my power to bring more attention/comments to your work.  However, I don’t like to promote any author that doesn’t have a photo / avatar associated with his or her account. Can I associate the one linked below with yours?  If you don’t like that, is there another you do like?
Also note, while I’ll promote your article despite it’s title, I don’t understand the title.  “A Bull in a China Closet will Ultimately Break Something” would have been the far better choice…IMHO.  I also like: “#MeToo - We create these guys”
Even A Broken Clock Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:18am
Ben, growing up I feasted on the funnies in the Sunday newspaper. I remember Bringing Up Father, with Maggie and Jiggs. So many of the themes of that strip would not only be ridiculed today, but would cause criminal charges to be filed. From the image of the executive chasing his secretary around the desk to the battery inflicted upon Jiggs by Maggie with the rolling pin, the world has changed. Only time will tell whether the pendulum has swung too far in the current outbreak of evening scores.
Think of Harpo Marx, and his shtick of chasing after comely women in movie after movie. Wouldn't quite fly now, would it?
Dino Manalis Added Jan 11, 2018 - 5:02pm
There needs to be respect between men and women before sexual activity.  Don't rush!  Be careful and certain about her feelings!
Ben McCargo Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:03pm
To Jeff: POV? Whtz wrng wth my POV? Seriously, if you can tell me where Matt Lauer got the idea for the button under his desk that locked the door, (still can't wrap my head around that) other than TV or film, then please do.  WTF did he think he was, Matt fuckin' Helm or some damn body?  I mean, the practice ain't in the One-Minute Manager!  And don't be so hard on your motherland, baby!  Thanks for the comment, be good.  
Ben McCargo Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:13pm
EABC: Yeah those were the good old days of politically incorrect cartoons.  I miss 'em and you're right, a lot of what you saw in them would be criminal, or hold you liable.  I ask myself though, where do men get their ideas about women?  After you circle around the obvious, their mates, family, books, it rolls around to film and TV. I mean, it's not like it's inbred, although you could probably make an argument on the whole nature/nurture thing when it comes to cruelty.  Thanks and take care. 
Ben McCargo Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:14pm
Dino: As you say - Nice, how is that a bad thing?!?  Be careful out there.  Thanks much.
Dave Volek Added Jan 12, 2018 - 11:56am
My wife and I are watching reruns of NCIS. In the early part of the series (filmed around 2004), Agent Tony Dinozo is very much one of those players who would probably get changed with sexual harassment today.
It's amazing that just a decade ago how we had normalized, if not encouraged, that kind of behavior.
Flying Junior Added Jan 13, 2018 - 3:27am
This is intelligent, fair-minded commentary.  I agree with most of everything that you have to say.
But as far as the bad boys and the women that love them...
Fuck!  I used to want to be one of those guys so bad!  I would have given anything.  I knew a lot of these guys personally.  They start when they are thirteen or fourteen.
The bad boys will always conquer the girls and believe me, the girls will gladly give them everything.
This whole thing today is about dickheads like Matt Lauer, Bob Filner, Fill-In-The-Blank and DJT who abuse their power and authority over young women to take an unfair advantage.
I even agree with conservative contributor Lynn Johnson that Bill Clinton took an unfair advantage against Monica Lewinsky.
But bad boys aren't the problem.  Girls will always love and run to their bad boys.  They are guilty of no crime.
But if you're lucky, you can still find a good girl who will love you to pieces.  And it is just as good.  And it can last a whole lot longer.
Bill Kamps Added Jan 15, 2018 - 1:18pm
Jeffry, not quite sure what you are saying.  Surely you arent suggesting that sexual assaults and predators are a US phenomenon?  
If it is the entertainment description of culpability, then I would have to agree.  Guys dont need movies to show them how to behave badly with women.  For many it is a natural instinct, showing they are still closely related to the cavemen.
Junior, there is a big difference between a "bad boy" and someone behaving inappropriately in the office.  While the situations dont always reach the level of guys abusing their power, sometimes they are just sophomoric annoyances that dont stop when the guy is asked to stop.  In those situations  the key is whether the woman wants it to continue or not.  As a manager I have had to deal with several of these situations, and while none were criminal the thing they had in common is that the woman asked the guys multiple times to stop, and they didnt.   Even bad boys know when their advances are unwelcome.
Ben McCargo Added Jan 16, 2018 - 11:30pm
Dave: you mean, very-Special Agent Anthony Dinozo, right?  Exactly what I'm talking about.  Now you take a guy that's maybe prone to be heavy-handed, maybe a bit of a bully and you have a recipe for serious violence. I'm waiting for a reset in Hollywood, what type I don't know.  But I think some will start to think about this.  Be careful and thanks much.
Ben McCargo Added Jan 16, 2018 - 11:36pm
FJ, where does one start and one begin; the bad boy and the dickhead?  I think at some point, there's the danger of the possibility that one morphs into the other.  It's like Dave just commented about a "player" on the show NCIS, relentlessly chasing the ladies, in good-natured fashion.  But what happens if the guy, gets a little rough or touchy-feely? I don't blame them per se but I do think that if a lady chooses one then she needs to be careful, especially in this day and age.  Be good,... and you really wanted to be a bad boy?  I never did man.  Too scared.... 
Ben McCargo Added Jan 16, 2018 - 11:40pm
Bill, that's the other part of this.  Recognizing the differences.  And knowing when and how to react or intercede.  I always thought Franken's shtick was sophomoric but hey, it is what it is.  Thanks much and be careful...