Of all the disorienting and disturbing cultural effects of Trump’s ascension to the presidency, few are as disorienting and disturbing as the redefinition of ideal masculinity in the hearts of many of his biggest fans. The sheepdog has been replaced by the wolf.
Cheap shots have replaced bravery. A certain kind of animal cunning has replaced honor. Libertine aggression has replaced fidelity. It’s as if the movie was remade from the bully’s perspective, and the bully became the hero. The man who evaded his generation’s war, who compared the dangers of his sex life to serving in Vietnam, is honored beyond the warrior.
Moreover, the very defense of virtue is now seen by some as fundamentally unmanly. Criticize Trump and you’re “pearl-clutching.” You’re “low-testosterone.” You’re wetting your panties. Sadly, even some veterans have succumbed to this impulse, viewing Trump’s pugilistic style—there’s no critic he’s not willing to (rhetorically) punch in the face—as a continuation rather than a corruption of their previous life of courage.