Bare-Knuckle Boxing in the UK
Once regarded as something that happens exclusively in Guy Ritchie films and on Gypsy sites, bare-knuckle boxing is fast becoming a thriving scene in the UK—the ultimate British bloodsport.
When Clive Martin embeds with the bare-knuckle boxing elite, what he discovers is not dissimilar to Fight Club: IT technicians, builders, lifestyle coaches, and even a lawyer, all throwing their unprotected fists into one another’s faces. It’s a subculture of honor, pride, and violence.
As the UK prepares to play host to the first US-vs.-UK bare-knuckle title fight in 150 years—the biggest event the scene has known since it went underground in the 19th century—Clive tries to find out whether violence is a cause or effect for these angry young men.
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The Anatomy of a Men’s Rights Activist
He is a good guy, much to his detriment. Women, after all, don’t want good guys. This is due, of course, to the inherent lack of goodness they possess. They are single-minded, status obsessed, and materialistic. They want men with fancy cars and big dicks—men who don’t understand them the way our man can, the way he would, if only they’d look his way. They don’t look his way, however, because they’re too busy vainly looking at themselves in mirrored surfaces or at the big dicks of their inferior boyfriends.
They don’t want him, so why does he want them? The answer is simple: he wants what he deserves. And he deserves them. Because he is a good guy—again, much to his detriment. I mean, do you know how many goddamned times he’s been put in the friend zone? Do you have any concept of how emasculating it is to comfort a woman you know could be one in a series of the loves of your life as she cries over another man? For the sheer psychic anguish of this emasculation, he at least deserves a handjob. But he doesn’t get a handjob. He gets nothing. And he’s tired of it.
Offline Activism Is the Tricky Part for #YesAllWomen
As with every mass shooting in the last decade, Elliot Rodger sparked a clash of ideologies. This being a misogyny-fueled massacre, instead of the usual gun debate, it provoked a nationwide Twitter war between anti-patriarchy feminists and a bunch of apologist white guys, with most tweets focusing on the fact that while not all men denigrate women, all women are denigrated by men, and culminating in the latest clicktivist hashtag #YesAllWomen. It’s a strong hashtag, and it has staying power, but does it have the potential to inspire people offline?
When a branch of the American Revolutionary Communist Party concerned with banning pornography for the benefit of women, called StopPatriarchy.com, organized a series of #YesAllWomen rallies in Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, and San Francisco, it meant another attempt at turning global social media awareness into community activism, in the hopes that the effort is broadcast somewhere, anywhere. Best case - recursively on social media; worst case - word of mouth. This cyclical advocacy happens fair often with little effect, #BringackOurGirls and #Kony2012 come to mind. Ralph Nader was right, “the Internet doesn’t do a very good job of motivating action.”
Things Men Have Said to My Face After Seeing My Naked Body
Since the dawn of time, with the exception of maybe a few weeks there at the beginning, nakedness and shame have gone together like snakes and planes. Ear hair and bassists. Milk and cheese. Drunk and uncles.
Like all of those examples, when shared, one’s nakedness can be received with anything from elation to degradation. But you don’t have to tell me twice about the vulnerability and embarrassment that accompanies nudity.
Here are five verbal reactions I’ve gotten after various dudes saw my unclothed human form for the first time. Much to no one’s chagrin, this won’t be a detailed account of my sexual history. That’s for my gynecologist to know (hey Greg!) and for my new gynecologist to find out (Greg’s leaving the practice soon).
So sit back, relax, and put your feet in these stirrups here. I apologize if my hands are cold.
“DO YOU REALIZE HOW HOT YOU’D BE IF YOU WORKED OUT EVERY DAY FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS?”
You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and if it were up to this guy I wouldn’t be anywhere near a cake ever again (unless I’m fully clothed and standing next to one with a stripper hidden inside).
This is a banal observation. Who wouldn’t be hotter after working out every day for three months? Think outside the bun, dude! But in the moment, benefit-of-the-doubt-me got it. He was just trying to help me realize my… uh… untapped potential. Zing!
A few other questions spring to mind: Why three months? Do you want me to complete that “Thinner Thighs In Thirty Days” program three consecutive times? Can I stop working out after the three months are over? Also, why in the name of Satan’s colostomy bag would you say this to a person’s face?
In the moment, I could only assume he meant, “You don’t look bad, the bones are there, underneath a squishy layer of goat cheese and herbs, but I prefer nude people look like Susan Fucking Powter.”
What I learned: If you can’t say anything nice, sure as hell don’t say it to someone who just showed you their Geena Davis for the first time. Gratitude goes a long way. A simple, “This is very kind of you, thanks,” makes the moment pleasant and (God-willing!) forgettable. If not, chances are your reaction is emblazoned on their brain forever, and the chick will have the opportunity to write a weird essay about it. Who wants that?
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I NEED A SHOT.”
What kind of shot are we talking here, pal? Rabies, tetanus, diphtheria, polio? As far as I know, we’ve yet to develop a vaccine against seeing anyone’s naked body, much less mine (Hope-atitis C?).
All joking aside (yeah, right), sometimes the truth punches you in the teeth before it sets you free. That’s just one of the risks we have to take when we’re open to self-discovery. So call it what you want; a nude surprise gone awry, the fast track to sadness, a fucking terrible idea. They’re all apt synopses of this situation, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and e-books in Biden’s Kindle library.
What I learned: You can’t assume anyone wants to see you naked, ever. And if they must poison their liver before doing so, git along little doggie. There are greener pastures and better metaphors that don’t involve so many references to cattle.
The British Soldier Who Killed Nazis with a Sword and a Longbow
Above: “Mad Jack” on the far right, clutching a claymore sword. Photo via WikiCommons
The first thing the Nazi garrison on Vågsøy Island, Norway, would have heard when the British No. 3 Commando battalion landed on December 27, 1941 was the sudden blaring drone of bagpipes. One commando stood at the fore of the landing craft, facing the impending battle and playing the peppy, martial “March of the Cameron Men.” Upon coming to a halt onshore, the soldier jumped from the craft, hucked a grenade at the Germans, then drew a full sword and ran screaming into the fray.
That maniacally fierce soldier was 35-year-old Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, and his stunts at this battle, known as Operation Archery, were hardly the most bizarre and semi-suicidal of his life. Over the course of World War II, “Mad Jack,” as he came to be known, survived multiple explosions, escaped a couple of POW camps, captured over 40 Germans at sword point in just one raid, and in 1940 scored the last recorded longbow kill in history. And that’s just the CliffsNotes on his wartime rap sheet.
For many war junkies and badass aficionados, Mad Jack’s exploits are the epitome of military romanticism. His recorded statements, full of swagger like, “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed,” and, “I maintain that, as long as you tell a German loudly and clearly what to do, if you are senior to him he will cry ‘jawohl’ and get on with it enthusiastically and efficiently,” seem like the physical manifestation of some mid-century boy’s adventure tale. The Royal Norwegian Explorers Club found him such a paragon of brawn and endeavor that, in a book released this March, they named him one of the greatest adventurers of all time.
Photo via WikiCommons
Not much is known about Churchill’s youth, save that he graduated from Britain’s premier Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1926 and, at age 20, was shipped off to Burma, where he spent the next few years driving his motorcycle around the region. Possibly bored by a long peacetime, Churchill left the army for a period in 1936 and spent some time as a Nairobi newspaper editor, male model, and a bagpipe-playing, arrow-shooting extra in films like The Thief of Baghdad and A Yank at Oxford. By the end of the decade, he’d become so obsessed with the pipes that he took second place in a 1938 military piping competition at the Aldershot Tattoo, causing a mild scandal because an Englishman had beat out so many Scots. The next year, his archery habit landed him a place as Britain’s shooter at the World Archery Championship in Oslo.
As soon as the Nazis invaded Poland and war became imminent, though, Churchill rushed to the battlefield. The longbow came out almost immediately during the Allied retreat to Dunkirk, France, in mid 1940. He took to practicing guerilla tactics, staging raids, and earning commendations for his bravery, even surviving a clipping by machine gun fire. Then, while watching a German force advance from a tower in the little village of L’Epinette, Churchill signaled his attack by shooting a Nazi sergeant through the chest with a barbed arrow, immediately followed by a hail of bullets from two fellow infantrymen in tow.
Abortion Affects Men, Too
Abortion is often treated exclusively as a women’s health issue. Most of the research on the topic deals with the female party involved in an unwanted pregnancy. This is in part because, let’s face it, the women’s perspective is more important, as it’s ultimately her body and her choice, but also because the female party involved in the abortion is the patient seeking medical intervention. So doctors and researchers can reach out to them directly for feedback, surveys, etc. with greater ease. Contacting the so-called “impregnators” is not so simple.
There is precious little research into the male experience of abortion; Google mostly coughs up pro-life fear-mongering sites about men manipulated by liberal she-devils into agreeing to abortions, who now live haunted by visions of the blessed angel-children they cruelly murdered. While thankfully devoid of that kind of thing, academia doesn’t fare much better, information-wise. A 1999 study by psychiatric and obstetric researchers at University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden outlines why: “Most studies of legal abortion are focused on the women and when abortion and contraception are discussed, attention is mostly centered on the role and responsibility of the woman. Hospital staff often meet only the woman and not the man in cases of legal abortion, which can result in the risk of abortion being regarded solely as a female issue. Thus, the participation of the man remains largely invisible.”
Food Advertising Is Still Feeding Gender Stereotypes
It’s 2014. Russia and America are engaged in some furious military posturing and we are still being told that gendered eating is a thing. Nothing changes. If you are a man, advertisers believe that you like meat cooked on fire, or food that’s simple to eat. Or you like yogurt, crumbly chocolate that can only be enjoyed as a ‘guilty pleasure,’ and anything without calories if you’re a woman. We often like to imagine human beings skipping into a golden, gender-neutral future. However, I’d say there’s a strong argument that, along with death and taxes, patronizing ads that lump men and women into two distinct camps are a near-certainty in this life.
There’s a rich history of reinforcing the gender binary in advertising, from Mars to Hungry Man to, well, just look at this sexist smorgasbord. It’s enough to send Gloria Steinem running to the nearest liquor cabinet (probably to get a Cosmo like a typical woman!). But this kind of work is still very much alive and kicking. In some cases, it’s gotten worse. This Yorkie ad, made in the 70s, is actually far more enlightened than the series of “not for girls” slurs Yorkie has been fond of recently, the logic of which is, “Yorkie is chunky. Men like stuff that’s chunky.”
In Defense of American Bros
There are certain villains of society whose relative merits no one will defend. Anyone standing up for child molesters, serial killers, or members of the Bush administration would be publicly pilloried, and justifiably so. But there is another group that seems to have been added to the list, and though he is without champion, it’s about time that someone stand up for him. This aggrieved class of human is none other than the American Bro.
Just last week on this here website, the American Bro was deemed “the worst guy ever”in a scathing attack that called into question not only his behavior but also his existence. This article paints the picture of a man who lives only to consume and impress, someone who wants to leave his mark on everything, not just the women whose tits he jizzes all over and the gutters that he vomits into after one too many craft beers, but on everything at every moment. He is loud and aggressive, not because he actually has something to say but because he wants to steal that moment—and your attention—for himself.
And what is so wrong with that? That is what men do. That is what men have always done. The problem is not the bro but the society in which he lives. This used to be a great country, a country that made things. America used to produce crops and clocks and cars. Who made all these things? Who ran the farms and worked union jobs in factories and provided for their children? Who were the bikers, cowboys, construction workers, and other Village People archetypes we prized? Men. They got to take this atavistic need to stamp a little bit of themselves onto everything and put it out there into the world. They made your cotton, soldered your TV sets, and tightened the bolts on the first space craft to make it to the moon. They not only manned the tanks that rid the world of Nazis, they drove them too—a dozen men in uniform with their bodies pressed against each other fighting for freedom.