Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by wadin' boot, Jan 17, 2008.
Only in America brother.
Only in America can you have such a wide variety thoughts and ideas.
How basic is this impulse when it seems to cut across all political and economic barriers? You can see the same wild eyed gaze on the faces of survivalist wannabes at a WAC gunshow as you see on the grubby faces of the back to nature granola munchers. It seems like the driving impetus is more a rejection of our society than a rite of passage that would teach the value of teamwork.
I know of a guy who lives in the woods on Ft. Lewis who (dys)functions more like a parasite than a visionary. Being as how it's nearly impossible to escape the influence of civilization, much of the panache of these "vision quests" disappears when you consider the finely woven social safety net that is strung under all of us including the modern mountain recluse who has only a few miles to the nearest road.
The Ft. Lewis guy is perhaps more at risk than the mountain recluse because he has made himself an "untouchable" and has become invisible to (nearly) all of us. The guy who sneeks off to the woods to escape society or pursue his "vision" or go "walkabout" is on the national news for chrissakes!
In either case the motivation appears more to be a rejection of modern society than a journey in search of something. Perhaps they are both running from the same demons?
Not entirely convinced, just thinking out loud.
People do that every day. I took a 2 week vacation in the carribian to reject modern society. A guy can only sit behind a computer in a stuffy office for so long. I still don't see the problem. Hell if I could have, I would have stayed there, parked my ass on a beach, and fished every day until something in the ocean ate me or I droped dead from a rum and coke overdose I guess I don't get what the big deal is about disappearing into nature for an indefinate amount of time. Maybe it's because I'm confident in my ability to survive it. Believe me, If I didn't have a family to provide for I'd be down for it in a milisecond with no second thoughts. :beer2:
No big deal really. Just thinking out loud about peoples motivations for some unusual behavior. Most folks don't disappear into the woods without telling anybody, which is why it makes headlines when it happens. If you didn't have any family or friends I guess you could get away with it.
I've spent quite a bit of time in the mountains in Ferry County. I've seen plenty of people come from town thinking they could buy a few acres and live off the land. Most of them don't make it through the first winter. It's kind of funny to watch because they'll buy 20 acres and the first thing they always do is post "no tresspassing" signs and put up fences across easement roads. This invariably leads to confrontations with ranchers and hunters who use the easement roads. After a few run-ins with the law they usually settle down.
I know this is kind of off topic but it's relevant to the topic of recluse behavior. Anyhow, if I was going to try to live off the land in the mountains I sure as hell wouldn't waste my time throwing up fences. I'd use all my time building and improving my shelter and food storage. I think I'd like to have a pretty good stock of firewood too. I can remember cougar hunting in the winter when it was 17 below zero in the middle of the day.
We all like to think we could survive the wilderness for as long as neccessary but, I think the truth is that there are very few people with the strength and skills to make it more than a few weeks.
Matt Burke posted earlier in this thread that it was a "wonder that more people don't cut and run for the woods". My take is that most people are ill suited to survive more than a few days without the creature comforts to which we've become accustomed.
Now, me personally, well, I'm a big bad macho mountain man and I can whup a hungry wolf with one hand while I skin a deer with the other. I'm the meanest two legged son of a dog that ever walked this mountain and I ain't scared of nuthin that walks, flies or swims. Cougars step off the trail when they see me commin' and elk just lay down and surrender when I reach for my rifle. Now, if we're about done here, I'm a goin' next door to the tavern fer some vittles and a beer! :clown: :beer2:
Now you guys are touching on a subject of strong personal interest--the emasculation of the American male. It's an incredibly complex subject; when you consider that it involves biological, social, and economic factors, it becomes a tight web to untangle. The starting point of this "thought journey" for me was the reading of this study showing that men now have less testosterone than our ancestors, and it's decreasing at an alarming rate. This led me to other studies with similar results. Yet other research pointed out the ever-increasing levels of estrogen due to bio-accumulation.
I won't discuss the social and economic factors that make us lesser men than our ancestors. Those are largely debatable, whereas the hard science is not. What's more important to me is the conclusion. I feel that men are men for good reasons, and the loss of that male-ness is deplorable.
To think that a society can exist in perpetuity is folly, however much of a "survivalist" concept that may seem. History is full of evidence showing that at any time, even the greatest of nations can come crashing down, whether from natural or man made disasters. No structure stands forever. When the bricks fall, my guess is it will be the Ben's and Matt's of the world that rebuild.
Do you really think these kooks have any more testosterone than the rest of us? As alarming as your information is, I think there are other factors at work here.
OK, I think this thread has been officialy hijacked. Boot already said he didn't mind so I'll jump in again.
Flyborg, we're very much on the same page where emasculation of the American male is concerned. I might even go so far as to suggest that it has been institutionalized by our society. Maleness has become a less desireable quality. Males are automatically suspected of certain forbidden behaviors. It is presumed axiomatic that every man is capable of rape and murder ala Gloria Steinam (sp), Susan Faludi and other strident, far left feminists. Certain male behaviors have become the subject of ridicule that would not be tolerated by any other demographic but this ridicule is widely accepted when it is directed at males. For example it is entirely acceptable to joke about men being stupid, thinking with their genetalia, having more physical strength and less intelligence, etc. etc. Directing this same type and level of ridicule at any other segment of our society would bring swift and certain condemnation from all, including the subjects of the current social devaluation; males.
One need look no farther than Hillary Clinton's recent barb regarding a woman who was an illegal alien. "No woman is illegal", was her immediate reply. This was certainly a slip of the tongue but, as such, it is even more interesting than if she had made a concise statement of acceptance of this individual's status simply because of her gender. The very flippancy with which she uttered this statement is even more proof of the readily accepted devaluation of maleness.
If you contact the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and volunteer to do some mentoring you will find that while it is acceptable for a "Big Sister" to mentor boys or girls it is strictly forbidden for "Big Brothers" to mentor "Little Sisters".
So deeply ingrained is our belief in our own inherent tendency toward violence that I suspect most of you reading this will accept this as a common sense solution. My question is: common sense solution to what?
Is the problem one of perception? Are we so convinced that men are inherently evil that we immediately accept this or is it one of truth, that men really are so inherently violent, uncaring, and exploitive that they must be separated from young girls to prevent evil?
We can debate about whether the emasculation of American men is actually taking place but it seems like a rather pointless debate when you consider the abundant evidence that emasculation is the desired outcome of the current socio political paradigm.
From the "is fly fishing humane?" thread:
As men we are slowly but surely being disenfranchised by the females and thier emasculated drones. We are for the most part blind to this because we are still allowed to hold our titulary roles as "head of household", "Chairman of the board", President, etc. (OOPS, we're losing that last one too aren't we?) while women control the single most important function of humanity which is procreation.
Those of you who are currently paying childsupport will probably understand what I'm talking about.
Most adult men, when asked, "what is most important to you in your life?", would answer "my kids, or "my family", or something similar. Those of you who have paid, or are currently paying, child support, or have had a child aborted without your consent, know that while your children may be very important to you, your input regarding your offspring is of very little consequence in our current legal climate.
In closing I would like to offer my best wishes to Matthew Wilson. Whatever drove him into the wilderness, I hope he finds what he is looking for and if it's simply the right to disappear I hope that he is never found until he's ready to be found.
I think they're committed to identifying what it is that defines them as men, which I respect, however far out of the societal norm that puts them. It's a worthy quest. Whether they have more testosterone or not is irrelevant.
The problem is not exclusive to human males. Similar trends are found in other species as well. I remember reading an article about male smallmouth bass in eastern pennsylvania displaying physical traits of female SMBs. The scientists believe it is a result of the hormones used for dairy cattle production in combination with human wastewater containing high levels of estrogen stemming from birth control medications used by women. Pretty crazy stuff. It may seem that society is driving this but, maybe the emasculation of males in our culture is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. Pretty interesting topic.
HOLY GONADS BATMAN!! Here we were all worried to tears about saving the salmon when it turns out that we should be more concerned about saving the trouser trout!:rofl:
sorry, I'm really bored today.
What a great thread! Sorry I didn't dip into it sooner, as I thought it was another of Boot's excellent stories and was saving it for a moment when I could give it the time and attention it deserved.
Don't know that I can contribute much in the way of real knowledge. I saw the movie (Into the Wild) which I thought was well done and did not present McCandless as a hero or a fool. I appreciate the many sources of additional reading posted here and plan to do some more, as I feel this kind of behavior represents something primitive and/or archetypal, as well as fascinating.
I can see elements of this throughout "mainstream" cultural knowledge, when you consider that Jesus (40 days?) and Mohammad both supposedly went off from their known societies. As many of you have suggested, there are many other true literary examples and as another here mentioned, we have elevated the settlers of the West to mythical status, inspite of the fact that many of them were ill-guided, ill-prepared, and died in any number of ways.
I'm not so sure about the emasculation of the male theory, but to each his or her own. Certainly it's a different society we live in today that just fifty years ago, but that paternalistic model with the Ozzie and Harriett family and the rigid social-racial divides was just another step along the way in the evolving society that is America.
It's funny, but when my wife and I came out of this movie, it was if we'd seen two totally different stories. My wife was adamant that no woman WOULD and I suggested that no woman COULD do what McCandless and others have attempted. She was very unforgiving of him and although she stopped short of suggesting he deserved to die, was dismayed by his apparent ability to walk away from family and relationships. I observed that no woman has likely ever attempted something like this because of the genuine threat of assault, rape, and murder by men.
But, here another thought, suggested by other ideas in this post:
Maybe some of the younger individuals who attempt this kind of thing are looking for a Rite of Passage - some tangible act that says, "I'm a self-reliant, capable man who can choose my own path, and this proves it."
Some might argue that males, at least, need SOMETHING in the way of a challenge, or a quest, that has a risk of real danger and the reward of facing and overcoming it, and marks for everyone the passage from youth to manhood.
Let's face it, the greatest risk that most of us face today is that we'll lose our jobs and/or our homes, or maybe worse, the respect and affection of our own children. To a twenty-something with no real "responsibilities" of those kind in the way they're defined for us today, maybe there's a need for an immediate, visceral risk.
Great post, Boot - provoked a lot of good thoughts.
Boot- The McCarthy book "the road" is an outstanding read. i wonder what caused the state that the earth is in that book? What freaks me out is with the way things are going there's a part of me that can see that happening much sooner that anyone would imagine.
I'd like to add a couple points.
On the emasculation of men. I would definately agree that this is a rising trend.
About Into the Wild. I read the book, thought it was great. The voyage he went on before the trip to Alaska was pretty cool. He wasn't very prepared for his foray into the "Alaskan Bush" for being such a reportedly smart guy. He never even made it into the "Wild" He ended up staying in the bus which I believe is roughly 20 miles from the road?
As for mistaking the caribou for a moose, when I read that I thought the guy was a total dipshit!! In the book however, it says the original guys that found him thought it was a caribou and the investigators thought it was a caribou, but it turned out to really be an actual moose? Does anyone know the final verdict?
As for all the protien of the moose/caribou it would last a long time if you could store it for a long time. The book states that he didn't get to eat much of it because he tried to bury it but it took to long and didn't work.
So how did he die? That's the real question. I read that "debunking into the wild" article. It's very interesting. Chris didn't have a death wish, he wasn't that far out, he tried to leave but couldn't get across the river, he mentions an injury but this is never really explained and then he starves to death.
The book is good, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
"Sorry Honey, I can't go see '27 Dresses' with you. Actually, I can't see another chick flick again. It's adversely affecting my testosterone levels..... Nope, shopping for throw pillows is right out,too."
Emasculated drones, testosterone deficiencies, the rites of passage of men in the 21st century- that's a lot to think about.
In looking over the Matthew Wilson family website, there's an interesting thread, apparently Wilson was not an outdoorsy guy. And a bunch of folks pointed out the similarities with McCandless and Into the Wild. So much so that Wilson's Mom is now reading the book...
Store it for a long time? Why the hell would anyone try to do that? Leave that bad boy out in the open and snare or pit trap the hell out of it. If that doesn't work maggots at least are edable and make for good bait in fish or bird traps. :thumb:
See what happens when you stray too far from the nearest Starbucks...:ray1: