The Descent of Man

     It has been a year since the controversial cover article “The End of Men” appeared in the July/August issue of The Atlantic in which Hanna Rosin posited that women are “taking control of everything,” particularly in the workplace. I had not thought much about the rise of female dominance until I looked at the September 2011 Cottages & Bungalows. (That issue was sent to subscribers in early July; magazine publishers continue to play that old game “Beat the Clock.”)

     In the featured articles appearing in the current C&B (to be displayed until 9-13-11 at which time the December issue will probably be on the newsstands), the homeowners are identified as Amii “and her husband,” Matt and Shaunna, Catherine, Ronda, Rebekah, Lisa, Rachel and Ryan, and Rie “and her husband.” Only Amii merits a photograph. “Ammi says” four times, “Shaunna says” eight times, “Catherine says” four times, and “Rie says” nine times, but the males never get their say.

     If men are being ignored or sublimated to insignificant roles on the job, at home, and in the media, will it be long before the distaff gets the better half of history? How will people of this century view what has gone before? Perhaps we should be prepared for events such as:

     Cinema fans flocking to a film festival billed as “Margaret Dumont and the Goofy Siblings.”

     A revised edition of an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel titled Jane and Mate.

     The credits in new DVDs of My Three Sons with the wording “Starring June Haver’s husband.”

     A Playbill cover reading “Death of a Salesperson by Marilyn Monroe’s ex.”

     Aficionados of old-time radio fondly remembering The Mary Livingstone Program and “that old miser with the violin she insulted every week.”

     People complaining about the 1951 hit “How High the Moon,” claiming “that guitar-playing fool” ruined the vocal by Mary Ford.

     Edited versions of early kinescopes being referred to as “Edie Adams and the jerk with the mustache.”

     Attribution of The Maltese Falcon changed to “by Lillian Hellman’s companion.”

     Tourists in Memphis asking locals for directions to Graceland, “the place that fat guy built for Priscilla.”

     Gallery owners attracting customers to an exhibition of fine art photographs by hanging a banner above the front door with the lettering “Retrospective by Spouse of Georgia O’Keeffe.”   

     Weightlifters being described as strong “as that hulk in the cape who used to pick up Lois Lane and fly away with her.”

     Hummers of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” being stopped on the street and told, “I remember that song! That’s from that Katharine Ross picture!”

     “Blowin’ in the Wind” will be recalled as the most popular ballad recorded by Mary Travers and Friends.

     A history of the Algonquin Round Table will be published as Dorothy Parker and her Court.

     Eleanor Roosevelt will be hailed as “the wheeler dealer behind the New Deal.”

     “Mrs. Robinson” will be among those saluted on a Grammy Special as “the 1968 winner by the fathers of Edie Brickell’s and Kim Cermack’s children.”

     The painting formerly known as “American Gothic” will be called “Artist’s Sister and Yokel.”    

     It is probably too late to save the sinking ship of manhood. I refrain from issuing the old distress call “Man the lifeboats!” because the women and children have already pounced on those seats. “Man overboard!” is still an option. Send in the sharks. Don’t bother, they’re here.

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