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  • Norman Young

David French Misdiagnoses Masculinity


David French thinks he understands masculinity. Yesterday, in a piece on the Atlantic, French described himself and the rest of the #NeverTrump brigade as sheepdogs nipping at the heels of Donald Trump, with Robert Mueller as the pack leader. His metaphor, which was intended to portray the virility of the resistance movement, had the unintended incidental effect of accurately capturing the movement’s impotence. Donald Trump is hardly a wolf. There is very little that is lupine about him. If Trump is your enemy, his style of attack is not to sneak up on you. Instead, he charges at you head-on, like a raging bull. Sheepdogs at the heels of a bull would have no hope of winning the fight. The best they could do is mildly annoy it into a sort of temporary compliance. Nothing could more aptly describe the current relationship of the old, Bush-era Republican establishment to Donald Trump than yapping dogs annoyingly nipping at a bull’s heels. That said, the main point of French’s article is worth discussing. French thinks that Trump's masculinity is toxic, and that his behavior stands in stark contrast with that of real men (like Robert Mueller) who served in the military. As French put it,

"Cheap shots have replaced bravery. A certain kind of animal cunning has replaced honor. Libertine aggression has replaced fidelity."