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Reply To: The Power of Tenderness: Ted Lasso, Grail Hero,” with Gabrielle Basha”


    Gabrielle; thank you for your inspiring MythBlast and added follow up with Stephen and everyone. I’ve been thinking about it for several days now and I must admit I’m a little awed about saying anything that would do it justice. From my view male persona in our culture so often presents a very distinctly dominating and controlling side without the very virtues you stressed in your piece; and those virtues loom very large in my world. Kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, and especially gentleness are so often left out of the male imprinting of young boys who must learn to become men. In a complex modern world which often is so very unforgiving when those same attributes are interpreted as weakness instead of respect in my opinion is one of the reasons I think both men and boys in our society are in crisis. Youth crime is skyrocketing; men’s behavior in many instances within public discourse displays the exact barbaric opposite; and the sensibility that any kind of chivalric code for protecting the weak these attributes once represented concerning manners and respect of others seems to more and more be taken out of some kind of context of fairy tale romances for children instead of from the actual adult spiritual and emotional DNA of mankind’s mythical heritage. Perhaps a little strong for an opening expression of why your essay struck me so profoundly; so if I may I’ll attempt to offer a few examples that I hope might be helpful in my defense.

    When I think of male heroic qualities within today’s complex world at the top of my list is the single parent lawyer: (Atticus Finch) in: “To Kill a Mocking Bird”; I think Lt. John Dunbar’s transformation into the Sioux warrior named “Dances with Wolves qualifies but the Indian is the hero here and not the soldier.  Three different Robin Williams portrayals come next; #1 is English Teacher John Keating in the Dead Poets Society; #2 is Robin’s portrayal of the mental breakdown of Parry in the Fisher King and the transformation of Jack Lucas played by Jeff Bridges, (each rescuing each other); and #3 is his role as therapist: Sean McGuire, in treating an angry gifted young male from the scarring of early childhood abuse and the mentoring of him into adulthood in: “Good Will Hunting”.

    Each of these characters in my humble opinion evoke these important qualities for role models because they represent many of the same features you spoke about but within different contexts. And these films I think have a great deal to do with Joseph’s Hero theme about inner realizations and transformation.

    In today’s Covid world I think because of the extreme anxiety surrounding everyday existence that’s being affected by this deadly and unpredictable virus it’s become much more difficult think in terms of normalcy and timeless virtues because everything is so uncertain. And you can add Climate Change and Global Warming as two more along with an extremely volatile political atmosphere as well. And yes; I think it is important to note that one could say: (the world spins); and there has always been difficulties that heroic qualities are called for.

    But here is what I’m humbly attempting to point out. The themes you addressed could not be more important for the times in which we are living because so much more complexity has been added to what the hero will be called on to address. And a lot of the same conditions listed in the earlier “rule books” no longer apply. (Men can’t just be “tough” guys any more!)

    Most animals; depending which ones and what the circumstances are; will respond to kindness and gentleness. Trust is something that’s earned and it’s instinctual. Read any newspaper or newsfeed on the internet and you most often will see all kinds of stories about people who no longer know how to talk to each other; or that some kind of violent act has been committed because of bad male dominant behavior. Machoism may be a reality in some cultures; but it is a dinosaur with a limited life span if we as a species are to survive in a future globally interdependent society.

    For instance the debate between literalized religion and scientific fact is now settled if you believe that myths are Fairy Tales only for children – (not) life vivifying metaphors that can help point the way out of one’s psychosis and bring depth and meaning to a universe that has no meaning. As Joseph might say: “Life just is and you are to bring the meaning to it”; (not the thou-shalt system promoted by some concretized personal deity up in the sky).

    Well; that’s one of the views Joseph articulated.) But to me Joseph’s main point was that Myths are metaphors and symbols as tools to help point the way out of man’s mental and spiritual dilemmas, they are not subservient rules to be governed by; and these old stories that are causing global conflicts have to be re-interpreted or retooled or looked at in a different way you might say to have modern relevance. “There is no God but mine” will no longer work in a technologically informed new world; and when man walked on the moon the argument surrounding Genesis was settled.

    So I hope you’ll forgive my gushing praise for your essay for I just can’t say enough about how important I think these male features are in the coming times ahead; and how eloquently you expressed them in relation to Joseph’s themes. I so very much hope to see more of your participation in these forums in the coming weeks ahead. And I thank you for this piece.