Rollins's Review, January 27
On my favorite Substack columns this week
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Brother’s summation of the current state of masculinity hits highlights from The Epic of Gilgamesh before winding its way around to better models of masculinity; Henry V, Aragorn, Leonidas.
For my money, his best line is:
The answer to the riddle of our violent design is not dominance, but fellowship. Without it, we are reduced to monsters eating each other in swamps. With it, we can transform ourselves into society’s fierce protectors at a moment’s notice, bonded by something far stronger than mere flesh and blood.is a satirist, but not always. Sometimes he writes about culture. This is a great piece, with a great message—there’s an argument against racism that’s much, much older than “antiracism”: cultural exchange and human greatness.
Dan’s argument comes down to, more or less, “If you think Jimi Hendrix, Chris Rock, or Chinua Achebe deserve the appellation ‘n*****,’ you are a fucking idiot with no class, no taste, and no soul. And if you say that oh, a select few get some kind of pass or exception from your bullshit dismissal of their culture, I can keep throwing up names until you get tired, motherfucker.”is peak Neo-Gonzo, and one of the classiest guys on Substack. His take on blackness as it is used within the context of culture war is not one I could ever be qualified to write, but there is nothing in it with which I disagree; it is principled, conservative and characteristically well-thought-out.
To bring his essay into the framework of the Neo-Gonzo conceptualization of Tonic Masculinity, dancing to the beat of your own drummer even when the music is against you is Neo-Gonzo, Tonically Masculine, and intrinsically Righteous, and Michael never doesn't dance to his own beat.
Speaking of cultural exchange,'s perspective on Tonic Masculinity is characteristically European. Luc discusses masculinity in the context of classical virtues; bravery, honesty, prudence, self-control, temperance, then contextualizes them into the modern empirical approach to biological reality before swooping upwards into a discussion of the higher realities, and finally giving a master class in the application of his theory in the realm of romantic relationships and gym bros. He's first-rate thinker who still somehow manages to write easily and accessibly. is an O.G. of Tonic Masculinity. He doesn't need a boost from me, but I'm boosting this article anyway, because it contains a ton of method for what we're all discussing. Subscribe to Rob and read him if you want a brilliant Cambridge Psychology PhD's perspective on manhood. I do. has done a reading of 's piece "Gideon's Army." Give it a watch.
Great stuff! I appreciate this new "tonic masculinity" conversation, having written what now looks like a proto-tonic post last April. https://lorendean.substack.com/p/two-moments-that-make-a-man
If people knew the thoughts you wrestle with, and not want to kill you if the wrong ones won, you're not doing much good in this world. As H. L. Mencken said, "Every normal man, at times, must be tempted to hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats."