Do the right thing, and they will follow you in zealous allegiance

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, September 5th, 2012:

Martin Cothran, in a post from Catholic Lane on the reading habits (or lack thereof) of modern boys:

Boys, though they cannot articulate it, can usually see right through the modern psychobabble. In fact, say what you will about the Harry Potter books (and plenty has been said), they at least betray a consciousness of the old adventure ideal, and are light on the psychological reflexiveness—at least in the early books in the series, although I am told (I have not read them) that the later books portray a more effeminate Harry.

We have the mistaken impression that it was traditional children’s literature that was preachy. This is not only untrue, but it is almost the exact opposite of the truth. It is precisely the preachiness of politically correct modern literature that offends their innate sense of honesty and justice—a human instinct that we do our best to educate out of them.

Boys are not interested in getting in touch with themselves, and it is particularly off-putting when they are told that it is good for them. The minute the politically correct schoolmarms approach, they head for the woods, where they are free to pick up sticks and pretend they are swords and fight monsters and hunt frogs and swing from trees—anything but to be preached at by people whose sermons consist of high-minded meaninglessness.

Most boys are born cynics and are rightly suspicious of moralistic platitudes. They respect words only to the extent that they see them followed by actions. Tell them (in mere words) what the right thing to do is, and they will look at you suspiciously and walk away. Do the right thing—preferably at the risk of your own person or reputation, and they will follow you in zealous allegiance.

There’s much wisdom in this brief entry concerning the emasculation of boys in our smarmy, therapeutic culture – even if Cothran seems to miss what I believe is the underlying subtext of the vampire genre, which I think is a proxy and symbol for homoeroticism. Modernity seems hell-bent on sucking the boyness out of children, and it’s nice to see the boys defended. He provides a suggested reading list for boys, which parents of boys will find very useful.