Excerpt from “Nice Work” by David Lodge (floppybunny.org)

‘What’s the point of it, then?’ Robyn challenged him. ‘Why use cloth to advertise cigarettes?’

‘Well, that’s the name of ’em, isn’t it? Silk Cut. It’s a picture of the name. Nothing more or less.’

‘Suppose they’d used a picture of a roll of silk cut in half

– would that do just as well?’

‘I suppose so. Yes, why not?’

‘Because it would look like a penis cut in half, that’s why.’

He forced a laugh to cover his embarrassment. ‘Why can’t you people take things at their face value?’

‘What people are you referring to?’

‘Highbrows. Intellectuals. You’re always trying to find hidden meanings in things. Why? A cigarette is a cigarette. A piece of silk is a piece of silk. Why not leave it at that?’

‘When they’re represented they acquire additional mean­ings,’ said Robyn. ‘Signs are never innocent. Semiotics teaches us that.’

‘Semi-what?’

Semiotics. The study of signs.’

‘It teaches us to have dirty minds, if you ask me.’

‘Why d’you think the wretched cigarettes were called Silk Cut in the first place?’

‘I dunno. It’s just a name, as good as any other.’

‘”Cut” has something to do with the tobacco, doesn’t it? The way the tobacco leaf is cut. Like “Player’s Navy Cut”

– my uncle Walter used to smoke them.’

‘Well, what if it does?’ Vic said warily.

‘But silk has nothing to do with tobacco. It’s a metaphor, a metaphor that means something like, “smooth as silk”. Somebody in an advertising agency dreamt up the name “Silk Cut” to suggest a cigarette that wouldn’t give you a sore throat or a hacking cough or lung cancer. But after a while the public got used to the name, the word “Silk” ceased to signify, so they decided to have an advertising campaign to give the brand a high profile again. Some bright spark in the agency came up with the idea of rippling silk with a cut in it. The original metaphor is now represented literally. But new metaphorical connotations accrue – sexual ones. Whether they were consciously intended or not doesn’t really matter. It’s a good example of the perpetual sliding of the signified under the signifier, actually.’

Wilcox chewed on this for a while, then said, ‘Why do women smoke them, then, eh?’ His triumphant expression showed that he thought this was a knock-down argument. ‘If smoking Silk Cut is a form of aggravated rape, as you try to make out, how come women smoke ’em too?’

‘Many women are masochistic by temperament,’ said Robyn. They’ve learned what’s expected of them in a patriarchal society.’

‘Ha!’ Wilcox exclaimed, tossing back his head. ‘I might have known you’d have some daft answer.’

‘I don’t know why you’re so worked up,’ said Robyn. ‘It’s not as if you smoke Silk Cut yourself.’

‘No, I smoke Marlboros. Funnily enough, I smoke them because I like the taste.’

‘They’re the ones that have the lone cowboy ads, aren’t they?’

‘I suppose that makes me a repressed homosexual, does it?’

‘No, it’s a very straightforward metonymic message.’

‘Metowhat?’

Metonymic. One of the fundamental tools of semiotics is the distinction between metaphor and metonymy. D’you want me to explain it to you?’

‘It’ll pass the time,’ he said.

Metaphor is a figure of speech based on similarity, whereas metonymy is based on contiguity. In metaphor you substitute something like the thing you mean for the thing itself, whereas in metonymy you substitute some attribute or cause or effect of the thing for the thing itself.’

(Page 222)

‘I don’t understand a word you’re saying.’

‘Well, take one of your moulds. The bottom bit is called the drag because it’s dragged across the floor and the top bit is called the cope because it covers the bottom bit.’

‘I told you that.’

‘Yes, I know. What you didn’t tell me was that “drag” is a metonymy and “cope” is a metaphor.’

Vic grunted. ‘What difference does it make?’

‘It’s just a question of understanding how language works. I thought you were interested in how things work.’

‘I don’t see what it’s got to do with cigarettes.’

‘In the case of the Silk Cut poster, the picture signifies the female body metaphorically: the slit in the silk is like a vagina -‘

Vic flinched at the word. ‘So you say.’

‘All holes, hollow spaces, fissures and folds represent the female genitals.’

‘Prove it.’

‘Freud proved it, by his successful analysis of dreams,’ said Robyn. ‘But the Marlboro ads don’t use any meta­phors. That’s probably why you smoke them, actually.’

‘What d’you mean?’ he said suspiciously.

‘You don’t have any sympathy with the metaphorical way of looking at things. A cigarette is a cigarette as far as you are concerned.’

‘Right.’

‘The Marlboro ad doesn’t disturb that naive faith in the stability of the signified. It establishes a metonymic connec­tion – completely spurious of course, but realistically plaus­ible – between smoking that particular brand and the healthy, heroic, outdoor life of the cowboy. Buy the ciga­rette and you buy the life-style, or the fantasy of living it.’

‘Rubbish!’ said Wilcox. ‘I hate the country and the open air. I’m scared to go into a field with a cow in it.’

‘Well then, maybe it’s the solitariness of the cowboy in the ads that appeals to you. Self-reliant, independent, very macho.’

‘I’ve never heard such a lot of balls in all my life,’ said Vie Wilcox, which was strong language coming from him.

‘Balls – now that’s an interesting expression . . .’ Robyn mused.

‘Oh no!’ he groaned.

‘When you say a man “has balls”, approvingly, it’s a metonymy, whereas if you say something is a “lot of balls”, or “a balls-up”, it’s a sort of metaphor. The metonymy attributes value to the testicles whereas the metaphor uses them to degrade something else.’

‘I can’t take any more of this,’ said Vic. ‘D’you mind if I smoke? Just a plain, ordinary cigarette?’

‘If I can have Radio Three on,’ said Robyn.

It was late by the time they got back to Pringle’s. Robyn’s Renault stood alone and forlorn in the middle of the deserted car park. Wilcox drew up beside it.

Thanks,’ said Robyn. She tried to open the door, but the central locking system prevented her. Wilcox, pressed a button and the locks popped open all round the car.

‘I hate that gadget,’ said Robyn. ‘It’s a rapist’s dream.’

‘You’ve got rape on the brain,’ said Wilcox. He added, without looking at her: ‘Come to lunch next Sunday.’

The invitation was so unexpected, and issued so off-handedly, that she wondered whether she had heard correctly. But his next words confirmed that she had.

‘Nothing special,’ he said. ‘Just the family.’

‘Why?’ she wanted to ask, if it wouldn’t have sounded horribly rude. She had resigned herself to giving up one day a week to shadowing Wilcox, but she didn’t want to sacrifice part of her precious weekends as well. Neither would Charles.

‘I’m afraid I have someone staying with me this week­end,’ she said.

The Sunday after, then.’

‘He stays most weekends, actually,’ said Robyn.

Wilcox looked put out, but after a moment’s hesitation he said, ‘Bring him too, then.’

To which there was nothing Robyn could say except, ‘All right. Thank you very much.’

(Courtesy of Madame Renee Morel.)

“A Man Is Expected” by Calvin Harris, H.W., M (siteofcontact.net)

Heads Up!  The role of male on man is changing in “Prep” for the 22nd Century.

 

June 30, 2017

Something I hear more and more of from my clients, in my Coaching practice, is “The Path of Manhood isn’t as clear as I had expected it to be, nor is it laid out as I was told it was.” I, too, know that feeling well. When I grew up I was surrounded by men, some uncles and a dad who were into the local barbershop culture, the man’s domain, a place a woman was seldom seen other than for the picture of the half nude pin-up girl on the wall. The music from the loud jukebox played blues or jazz, and the conversations in the room (usually two or three going in unison), was louder still, and clearly conveying a sense of unbelievable bravado and fearlessness within the laughter of this man’s realm.

From my early years, back in the 1950’s, I felt the weight of the Macho image expectation, but even then I could tell that behind all that posturing, for many men, the apparent Gangster or Rambo image was not quite the masculine image that many were interested in portraying, or representing, given the proximity and cost of that image in the aftermath of two World Wars. Yet, in my child’s mind, there were three simple principals that all good men seemed to live by:

Protector, Provider, Disciplinarian (1) You provided for the women and children in your life; (2) You pushed through the fear and held tears back to protect values and principals you believed in without talking about your pain; And (3) you disciplined / managed your emotions / pain by self-medication, such as whisky, beer, weed, drugs, or the Doc’s pills: if they stop being effective still show no reaction unless alone with a good buddy, and whatever was said or done with that buddy was internalized and was never spoken of in the light of day in the new morning.

Oh, I am sure there are relatable additions or various subscripts to these scenarios, but these were the bedrock of what I saw while growing up.

Fast forward to the 1970s and we find ourselves in the midst of transition and change, an undetected assault and storm on this male identity paradigm has just begun, nowhere near the eye of the hurricane, but those signposts of what “male is,” and the grasp you thought you had on the role – its expectations in daily life – is beginning to slip. The erosion started with the male youth of the hippie culture protesting War and aggression, offering instead to drop-out, and love-ins as solutions. Also, brewing were their ladies, suggesting that their wants and needs had changed, and may not include serving men in the predisposing role of “servants” aka the stay-at-home good wife.

Womens Lib 1970.jpg

It seems the Male paradigm of the king of the house, he who rules over all in his home, which he calls his castle, has died, and the man clinging to that role has been in a state similar to the man who’s just been kicked in the balls and the air rush out of him replaced by pain and bewilderment.

As the decades move forward things that had seemed almost unnatural earlier on were now acceptable. Women not only in the workplace but in some businesses were the boss. Kids no longer thinking of their Dad’s as the smartest nor the toughest, or even the most dependable man they could think about. It marked the change in men and women relationships and roles. Suddenly STRENGTH didn’t mean being silent and not showing you felt emotions. Now men seemed to know they had a variety of emotions, emotions beyond just anger and fighting. Some men became shameless in the act of not being afraid to express their full range of emotions.

In Life, we observed and perhaps began to understand that nothing is constant save Change. The small voices of transition whispered to us constantly of the obvious, that we must embrace conscious adaptability to oncoming events, or be lost in the upcoming storms of change, like a mind blinded in the falling rains of confusion.

A new paradigm for mankind has been evolving through societal forces creating changes within the species, perhaps an opportunity to break through old stereotypes, perhaps even to gain a higher sense of Consciousness, Soul, Self (you choose your choice of words). It is in one’s thinking that this new archetypal man will be realized.  Perhaps a model that encompasses dimensions beyond the blueprint of our five senses.  Something more substantial, more in line with what science, physics, and philosophy say is “the real” about you. Instead of blindly reacting from prehistoric sensory testimony, that may be faulty in this day and age, and led us to demonize emotions.

Emotions such as Fear, for example. Instead of seeing Fear as a blind rage, as a howling animal, in a false sense of powerlessness that rages through the mind and body, we can now by using the new paradigm stop, reflect, recognize, and Consciously be aware that FEAR is a tool in our human toolbox, tools that are combinable and interchangeable, to all human beings.

The fear factor, once in time, if unchecked, could easily turn to anger, for the fear emotion is an attempt to protect the body and mind from harm and thus could erupt as anger when situations appear confined, limiting, or hopeless. It is only by engaging our thought processes in releasing the emotion into the pursuit of Change, coupling thought and emotions, to bring understanding through harnessing the emotions can we move towards utilization of optimal results in action and solutions. The new paradigm of male on man hones the understanding of emotions, such as anger, to give access to their proper purpose as a temporal energy indicator that spikes and alerts us. We then have coupled its use for choices or possibilities in a larger array of action to take or decisions to be made in any given situation for a variety of Outcomes on our journey through life.

Anger for example coupled with conscious intuition can become a tool of change, that prepares us to commit to change. These connective and interchangeable tools in our emotional toolbox means going well beyond the misunderstood activation of only a single emotion. Fear alone, left to its own devices, could lead to misunderstood beliefs of being unable to move, or blind flight, or being worthless, and even finally being enslaved to rage in a journey of unresolved helpless battles.

As we become consciously aware of our increased options, we see there is always more to the journey, so we get up and suit up to take full advantage of the options along life’s journey. Fear then can be seen as the sound chimed from the alarm clock, the emotional jump starter.

The New Male on Man is a retooling of our brain, of our conscious awake state, to be effective, empowering the conscious use of our senses and emotions, to adapt to evolving change for our long-term benefits.

I am a believer in having a shameless array of emotions considered in the conversations when the goal is to lead to a compassionate solution. To Trust in the resilience and the integrity of Mankind to evolve in a joint contract with the natural order of Life, thus not to wait for the world to change but consciously participating as a focused agent of change. Trusting in the process of human beings becoming their own source of renewal by gaining and understanding the methods of change and responding with constructive actions.

Thus, to answer the question “What is expected of me?” – to answer that the new paradigm echoes back to us, to become the new Male on Man, to understand first we are Consciousness and that we live by conscious action. As ‘Action,’ I mean “To Move,” therefore we – move, steer, navigate in an ocean of Conscious Change. That implies a bond, even a Loving bond with Change. We then are change makers, the co-creator in the evolutionary process of Life, and the discoverer of awakened Truth unfolding.

If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment below.  My Coaching and Mentor services are available, so call and let’s talk.

Calvin