Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: The Boys Interlude #1

Like "Preparing to Be a Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl, "It's Not That Complicated" includes random side notes from young men.  Honestly, I have no idea why these are included except to pad the length of the book.  There are 14 guys who are quoted.  Five of them are the Botkin Brothers.  Of the five Botkin Brothers, only Ben uses his actual name.  Rather than try to fit the boy quotes into the chapters, I'm going to insert chunks of them every so often.

There is an essay by Geoffrey Botkin at the end for fathers.  Geoffrey recommends:
"Sit down with your girls and read to them from the book that you hold in your hands.  Go to the little gray boxes and read what real guys have said about real girls.  Ask your girls to comment on each young man.  What do they think about him?   What do your girls think about his wisdom?  His opinion? His perspective? His relationships with girls? His future?  Could they be married to a man who thinks like he thinks? Why or why not? What would you esteem in a husband? Why? (...) As you find out what they think about other opinions expressed in this book, make sure they base their thinking on Scripture." (pg. 246)
  • Ew.  I have never had a scripted conversation with my dad about my feelings about quotes from boys and I am amazingly grateful for that.
  • Remember that at least one of the Botkin Bros was a whopping 14-years old when these quotes were compiled.  Is it fair to expect daughters to work out the "wisdom" of a younger teenage boy.
  • I can't imagine trying to justify any of the questions using Scripture.  I'm using my audible verse calls here: Tobit 6:2, Tobit 8:8-18 and Mark 5:9.   
    • Side story: My mom took a Bible away from my brother and I when we were both in our twenties because we were having WAY too much fun with the Book of Tobit.  We were alternately reading chunks of it aloud and ad-libbing a series of action figures known as "Really Minor Biblical Figures!"  Tobit would come with a bag of healing fish guts and the family dog.  Raguel would have his very own servant and shovel.  The Bible disappeared when we tried to figure out what Sarah should have that would correctly signify the amount of sexual frustration that comes from being married 7 times and still being a virgin.....
So, without further ado, here are the guys from Chapters 2-4.

From "James, producer":
"God has created men to strive to live up to the expectations that are set for us and we have an innate desire to impress girls.  Most girls have no idea the amount of influence (for good or evil) that they exert on the guys around them.  I've seen it time and time again - the flirtatious girl who encourages the guys around her to foolishness and rewards their folly - and the guys, in this case, sink to the expectations set for them.  But while this is true, the reverse is even more so.   A girl, by her godly behavior, can encourage a foolish boy to cease his foolish ways, and inspire a good man to strive for greatness.  When a guy truly loves his sister in Christ, he will want to protect her (physically, morally, emotionally and spiritually), and he will strive to be the best man he can." (pg.28)
  • If guys are so easily lead astray by women, why should they be leaders within society?  By this logic, Cleopatra should have been able to rule the world by batting her eyes.
  • The Botkin World makes so much more sense since I ran into the younger brothers' web business T-Rex Arms.  They clearly espouse a worldview where every man needs to be armed with a concealed carry handgun at all times and sell plastic holsters and doohickies to help you keep your gun safely nearby.  That way, when someone threatens your girl, you can shoot them.  Oddly enough, I lived in a much larger urban area than the Botkins do and have never needed to shoot anyone.
  • I suspect that "James" is the oldest son Isaac who produced "Investigating History: Egypt" - the pilot of a series that never launched and who seems to mess around with CGI in his spare time. 
"There are girls that I know who are smarter than I am, that are more proficient at certain skills than I am, that are more knowledgeable on topics of theology or music of technical details of filmmaking than I am, yet who maintain a humility and grace in their interactions with those less knowledgeable.  These are the sort of women that guys respect, not resent.  Girls like this don't make us feel unneeded - they inspire us to do greater things for God." (pg. 48)
  • You heard him right, ladies!  You can be smart as long as you don't make the men around you feel bad about their lesser skill level!  (That's more "old-school" than anything I heard from my grandmothers - both of whom were far more assertive than the Botkins would accept as proper.)
  • Better tip: Find a guy who is genuinely proud of your skill set.  

From "Robert, entrepreneur"
"I know several guys that a psuedo-pious girl might label "spiritual hunks".  There's the knights in shining armor that every Christian girl would love to wrangle into a tux for a storybook wedding.  The irony is, none of these guys are looking for a storybook wedding.  They don't even think of marriage as entailing the big romantic wedding and the to-do of a romantic life.  They're so grounded and mission focused that their picture of marriage is one of a blessed co-labor in doing really important things.  Working hard!  Men, good men, love working hard, and will admire women who love a life of hard work as well.
A man who longs for a life of spiritual significance will not be charmed by a girl who longs for a life of romantic bliss.  The two worldviews are inherently incompatible.  If you dream of a life that nourishes the soul with purity, truth and purpose, you will find a life that nourishes only emotions, sentimentalism, and silly fantasy to be quite distasteful." (pg. 35)
  • The Botkin Sisters describe one brother on their website as an entrepreneur - Lucas who founded T. Rex Arms.  So.....betting this is Lucas.  He'd of been between 18-14 when this book was written; I can't figure out what order Lucas and Noah were born in.
    • His understanding of women is limited to girls who are only interested in weddings and romance and men who want to be spiritual giants.  
    • So much jargon - psuedo-pious; spiritual hunk; blessed co-labor - and so little substance behind it.
  • My two cents: a good marriage seeks a happy medium in most things.  My husband and I work hard; we also enjoy each other company and have romantic moments.  
  • I'm curious how T-Rex Arms fits into a life of spiritual significance.
From "Jack, inventor"
" Though it's rare for Hollywood to get anything right, it does understand how to cater to the different ways men and women like to see reality, and so we can learn some interesting lessons from this.  In a guy movie, the hero must prevent the end of the world, and may, incidentally, get the girl along the way.  In a chick flick, the heroine must get the guy, or it is the end of the world.  In this case, art is essentially imitating reality, since men tend to be mission-focused, and women tend to be relationship-focused.  Female authors rarely grasp this underlying nature of man, particularly authors of romance novels where male characters are created solely to fulfill female fantasies.  Even in more substantial literary works, men are written as pale shadows of the God-created purpose-driven beings that they are.  They fare worse when dippy readers or movie producers convert them into pure emotional imagination fuel." (pg. 38)
  • I think - although I am less confident on this one - that we are hearing from David Botkin here. The voice of "Jack" sounds very much like Anna Sophia, Elizabeth, and Isaac while the topic - "Whine about gendered media destroying relationships!" is a Botkins-family favorite.
  • I asked my husband if he could think of any "guy films" where the hero doesn't get the girl at the end.  He drew a blank and said "The hero always gets the girl.  That's at least half the reason he doing whatever he's doing."  So...not so different from chick flicks.
  • I know we've harped this one to death - but NO ONE uses chick flicks as a manual for daily life any more than guys use "Deathpool" as a daily guide to living.
"Men in media are often portrayed as either sex-crazed teenagers or the Dopey Dad stereotype of every sitcom, with only a tiny sliver of androgynous romantic lead in between.  Our ability to focus on a mission becomes a joke about the inability to multitask, our desire to excel becomes un-egalitarian competitiveness and and our testosterone becomes the greatest handicap to human advancement.  Ashamed of everything that makes them men, but still indulging in everything that makes them sinners, average American guys spend their lives paying off mortgages by working at Acme Cubical Farm, Inc. attempting to fulfill their desire for domination by video games and sports, and supplementing failed marriages with adulterous affairs.  These examples of "normal life" in modernity are as destructive to us as they are to girls, and it will take strong, conscientious effort from both men and women to avoid perpetuating these expectations." (pg.  47)
  •  Are you seriously whining about the lack of MALE roles in media?  My sis-in-law and I bonded over our fond memories of the homicidal Kai Winn of Deep Space Nine because she was an ambitious woman who was wonderfully angst-free during the 1990's.  It's a nice change of pace from "stand-by-your man" female characters.
  • What television shows or movies are you watching?  My short list of shows with male characters who are not sex-crazed teens nor Dopey Dads nor romantic leads:
    • "Arrested Development" (not moral paragons by any stretch, but not those stereotypical tropes either.)
    • All "Law and Order" series
    • "Malcolm in the Middle"
    • "White Collar"
From "Edward, media professional"
"It's important that women define manhood and manliness by Scripture alone, and that they learn to encourage and admire manliness in men and boys because when men choose to just "embrace their identity", they often listen to what women say about them to learn if they're truly being manly.  Men will aspire to what is the most 'manly' in the eyes of their brothers and sisters, whether those manly things are real, biblical, manly things or false, culturally stereotypical sins of degenerate man" (pg. 40)
  • I don't have a strong opinion on "Edward's" identity yet.  We'll see if he reoccurs.
  • Words with the root "man" appear TEN times in two sentences.  It reminds me of an improv where someone is getting points for using a word as many times as possible.
  • I find it hard to believe that men and/or boys look to women/girls to figure out if the men/boys are being manly.  As a women, I adapt my feminine actions to the women around me - not the guys.
I suspect that there is a strong skew towards a few guys over and over - probably Botkin Bros since they could yell down the hall to get some quotes.  I've started a quote count to see if we can detect a trend.  From Chapters 1-3, the quote counts are as follows:
  • Jack - 2
  • James - 2
  • Edward - 1
  • Robert -1

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