Scanning the headlines on the Men’s Rights subreddit today, one of them popped out at me: The Lives of Men (Poem by Me). I haven’t read much poetry by MRAs recently, so I had to click on it and I can’t say I was disappointed. I expected the worst, but somehow the poem in question was even worster than that. We’re talking MGTOW Cooking bad.
Let’s just take a look at the opening lines so we can see just what we’re dealing with.
Gunned down like flies,
That is their lives,
It’s not as valuable as it should be,
Unless they can work,
They have no worth,
Nobody cares how unhappy,
Now, I don’t want to spend too much time on the technical flaws of the poem; suffice it to say that the poem doesn’t scan, as every line seems to contain a random number of syllables. The two half-rhymes are pretty weak and the one actual rhyme (Should be/unhappy) is rhythmically fucked.
I’m going to charitably assume that this is supposed t be free verse. But if you’re doing free verse, why try to rhyme?
But again, those are the technical problems, many of which could be fixed if the poet in question has decided to, you know, acually work at fitting this into some sort of poetic structure. But instead he half-asses the whole thing and it ends up, like the MGTOW cooking I sometimes feature here, just plain inedible glop.
While that’s a problem, an even bigger problem is the content of the, et, poem. Starting with the first line, and continuing through the remaining 46 lines of the poem (if I counted correctly) the poem is suffused with a certain hysteria; everything is overstated and overwrought and it’s hard not to wince at some of the author’s bogus claims about the actual “lives of men.”
The first line sets us up with a terrible, and terribly overblown, metaphor. Men are not “gunned down like flies.” More to the point: flies are not gunned down like flies. Where I come from, at least, flies are swatted, not shot.
The poem continues:
Do not complain!
Do not cry!
Nobody cares how you feel
And if you break,
And end your life,
We will ask, why didn’t he say how he felt
It’s true that men are taught to rein in some of their feelings — at least the sorts of feelings that might cause some other dude in the locker room to call you a “fag.” But I haven’t met too many men online who make any effort to control their anger. The poet in question here certainly doesn’t.
You yearn for women’s love,
You yearn for women’s praise,
But if you fail, you will be hated,
Maybe if you slave away,
And promise to die,
Maybe your needs will be sated,
I don’t want to get too distracted by the terrible hated/sated rhyme. Because what he’s asserting here doesn’t make a lick of sense: you’ll have your needs “sated” if and only if you promise to die? If you’re dead you will have no needs to be sated. Dude, do you even know what the word “sated” means?
Raised to be a hero,
Trying to prove himself by killing other men,
Wait, what? Is he some kind of serial killer?
And now he wakes up screaming,
He comes home to be homeless,
Dies, cold and alone, on the street,
But all of his medals are still gleaming,
Ah, he’s a war vet.
The pyramids, the Taj Mahal,
All the cities of the world
He slaved to build them all,
Worked in the hot sun of the desert,
For months on end,
All to create a mall,
Dude, you basically just stole some war valor from an imaginary wet vet, now you’re going to try to steal the work valor of the men who built the pyramids? (Also, the women of ancient Egypt weren’t just setting on their asses while the men worked.)
It’s all a bit we-hunted-the-mammoth-to-feed-you to me.
From the days of young,
He is publicly mutilated,
He is shown his body is to be desecrated,
Boys are pushed out onto the world,
To sell themselves away to strangers,
He is more than half of those emaciated,
What are you even fucking talking about? If you’re trying to show that men suffer more than women I’m not sure that sex trafficking (if that’s what you’re talking about) is the best example to prove this.
And what if this bit about this hypothetical guy being “more than half of those emaciated?” For what it’s worth, eating disorders are much more prevalent among young women than young men.
Take a few minutes to fact-check your poem, dude; it’s full of bullshit.
Whether at home,
Whether at school,
He is severely punished for his behaviour,
When he grows up,
And faces the law,
He is punished worse because of his gender,
Well, ok, here’s a rare moment of truth in this, er, poem: Men are punished a bit more because of their gender. But that’s because judges “engage in benevolent sexism towards female litigants in common legal settings,” as some recent research claims.
He is told he is privileged and powerful
But he cannot believe what he hears
He knows it is a hard life for men,
And when he begs to be heard
He is told to remain silent,
And asked, “Why do you hate women?”
Well, it’s a good question. I mean, have you seen the shit your colleagues post on the Men’s Rights subreddit?