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Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads

Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 16, 2009, 05:05:12 AM
Military service: what do you guys think about it? I expect there might be different attitudes partly based on whether service in your country is mandatory or volunteer. I'm particularly interested in the role military service plays in character development. In western nations in particular there's a shortage of martial virtue. Regardless of how you feel about international relations or the United States government, do you think your nation's military (or at least a branch of it) does a good job in instilling these virtues and by that means producing better citizens? I believe hardship, structure, discipline, and exposure to danger is a very important part of personal development but I recognize that it's hard to come by in effete western democracies.

Redirect: There's always been a strong streak of anti-authoritarianism in this subculture. The free-spirited traditionally respond hostilely to any externally imposed discipline at least insofar as it applies to themselves. At the same time, metal music is masculine, belligerent, and violent. In most manifestations it's not militaristic but warlike nonetheless. Ironically, metalheads are definitely not a particularly macho or assertive bunch. Paradox? Not really. I think metalheads as a class have low self-esteem but unlike most youth subcultures they have an idea of what they'd like to be. Part of that vision involves not being a metalhead.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 16, 2009, 11:26:46 AM
I'm not sure if my views on this sort of thing are likely to be very popular on this forum, because I am what one might describe as a "moralist." Anyway, I oppose mandatory service/conscription on moral grounds. To think otherwise seems to me to concede that others have some sort of property right in my person, and I can scarcely think of anything more counterintuitive. I'm also opposed to militaries in general given that they're funded through coercive taxation. Some are worse than others though;. I don't have much respect for what my country is doing (i.e. cluster bombing Afghan children).

I'm sure military service does help cultivate some kind of virtues. Discipline and sacrifice are virtues that ought to be cultivated, but I personally wouldn't want anything to do with my country's military. I'll find other ways to better myself.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 16, 2009, 01:56:12 PM
Think of it as a technical or trade school for people unfit for university. Occasionally there is a war going on. War isn't the default state of being in the military. The default state is a garrison role doing maintenance and training. Most of the dangerous action involves the basic infantryman, which is typically those who scored the very lowest on the entry exam and the only clerical or technical role they fit into is rifleman. The generally unskilled rifleman is the source of the macho image. Most of the other occupations are full of nerdy types, metal types and hip hop types.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 16, 2009, 07:33:06 PM
Potentially, military training could be a good thing.  There are various paramilitary organisations in Britain which attempt to instill the old values into those who join their ranks.  The British Military, as with most military forces, is divided into two sectors, the standard troops and the Officer Corps.

Basically, this is what I'm going for, to start with: http://www.army.mod.uk/UOTC/5458.aspx

If, in the end, I am capable of joining either the regular army or a similar paramilitary organisation, I think I probably will (at officer level, of course, if it's the regular army).  If not, or if I decide otherwise at the time, I'll become a teacher.

In the end, it's all well and good aspiring to be something, but, unless you actually initiate progression yourself, you will never reach that aspiration.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 17, 2009, 12:41:04 AM

Basically, this is what I'm going for, to start with: http://www.army.mod.uk/UOTC/5458.aspx

That looks good. I wish I had joined that sort of thing while in university. I went to an information session while in school about the air force, but I didn't like the culture of kissing your supervisor's ass to get a promotion and moving up the ranks. If I had done it it would have been for skill-development and companionship.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 17, 2009, 09:56:57 AM
As far as America goes, the Marine Corps seems about the closest to operating by the "old values" and character-building, though I understand it is a somewhat "watered-down" version of the way it used to be.(which may not be a bad thing...think Full Metal Jacket intro)

I know and have encountered many ex - regular Army types and all that seems to have instilled in them is a strong distaste for Middle Easterners and an even greater fondness for strong drink.

In theory the military has various benefits, but in practice these days, it seems a lot of risk for rather little reward. If it is danger you seek though, a couple tours in the Afghan mountains may be just the ticket as it appears there will be no swift end to that futile mission.   

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 17, 2009, 10:42:29 AM
Contra masculinity:

Quote
Chemicals in plastics alter the brains of baby boys, making them "more feminine", say US researchers.

...

Phthalates have the ability to disrupt hormones, and have been banned in toys in the EU for some years.

However, they are still widely used in many different household items, including plastic furniture and packaging.

There are many different types and some mimic the female hormone oestrogen.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8361863.stm

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 17, 2009, 04:52:01 PM
Hmm a simple comment would be, if the Roman empire was to spring up again and had the right goals, I would serve indeed!

(because that is great discipline)

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 18, 2009, 12:31:34 AM
Ironically, metalheads are definitely not a particularly macho or assertive bunch. Paradox? Not really. I think metalheads as a class have low self-esteem but unlike most youth subcultures they have an idea of what they'd like to be. Part of that vision involves not being a metalhead.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like you are referring to the internet era "metalhead" and not to the original self-starters they base their image on.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 18, 2009, 01:38:13 AM
Ironically, metalheads are definitely not a particularly macho or assertive bunch. Paradox? Not really. I think metalheads as a class have low self-esteem but unlike most youth subcultures they have an idea of what they'd like to be. Part of that vision involves not being a metalhead.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like you are referring to the internet era "metalhead" and not to the original self-starters they base their image on.

You are quite correct actually. As an underground metahead/hessian from back in the 80's I assure you that a lack of assertiveness or "machismo" was not a issue with most - rather the opposite really, sometimes to a fault.   




Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 18, 2009, 03:25:01 AM
Ditto and concur. But masculinity, a state of being distinct from mere machismo image, wasn't isolated to Hessians at the time. Even surfers and burnout stoners would open up a can of whoop ass when provoked. There has been quite a bit of environmental news about discarded plastics leaching bisphenol-a into the water sources all over the industrialized world. It is supposed to have a negative impact on males. Maybe it is more widespread and damaging than what we realize thus far.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 18, 2009, 10:32:47 PM
Ironically, metalheads are definitely not a particularly macho or assertive bunch. Paradox? Not really. I think metalheads as a class have low self-esteem but unlike most youth subcultures they have an idea of what they'd like to be. Part of that vision involves not being a metalhead.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like you are referring to the internet era "metalhead" and not to the original self-starters they base their image on.

No. I'm specifically referring to the metal underground, when metal listeners in my view really set themselves apart from the mainstream and from rock music. However, I'd venture the generalization that "metalheads have low self-esteem" was true more or less for each generation. They have a strong identity but at the end of the day they're insecure and don't like themselves. It's been suggested that the macho image that metal projects or tries to project is compensatory. It might seem strange at first that metal dwells on war and violence and affirms martial values like honor while its participants very rarely practice them. Of course there's little or no place for such behavior in our society but you'd think more people within the subculture would be leading adventurous lives. Call it metaphor if you will but escapism probably falls closer to the mark. What other explanation is there that (with the notable exception of Norway 90-94ish) so few artists put their money where their mouth is? So I'd just reiterate my earlier statement: despite having low self-esteem metalheads have an idea of what they want to become and achieving that involves becoming more than a metalhead. In other words, put metal behind you as an identity.

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 19, 2009, 01:53:59 AM
Ironically, metalheads are definitely not a particularly macho or assertive bunch. Paradox? Not really. I think metalheads as a class have low self-esteem but unlike most youth subcultures they have an idea of what they'd like to be. Part of that vision involves not being a metalhead.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like you are referring to the internet era "metalhead" and not to the original self-starters they base their image on.

No. I'm specifically referring to the metal underground, when metal listeners in my view really set themselves apart from the mainstream and from rock music. However, I'd venture the generalization that "metalheads have low self-esteem" was true more or less for each generation. They have a strong identity but at the end of the day they're insecure and don't like themselves. It's been suggested that the macho image that metal projects or tries to project is compensatory. It might seem strange at first that metal dwells on war and violence and affirms martial values like honor while its participants very rarely practice them. Of course there's little or no place for such behavior in our society but you'd think more people within the subculture would be leading adventurous lives. Call it metaphor if you will but escapism probably falls closer to the mark. What other explanation is there that (with the notable exception of Norway 90-94ish) so few artists put their money where their mouth is? So I'd just reiterate my earlier statement: despite having low self-esteem metalheads have an idea of what they want to become and achieving that involves becoming more than a metalhead. In other words, put metal behind you as an identity.

This has been stated an excessive amount of times, almost as if most feel that the point of this entire website is to construct an identity based on metal. Maybe I'm the odd one out, or I just don't get it, but I've always felt that the website was about deconstructing the identity based on metal that most build, as well as examining the practical uses of the values that the music espouses. I don't consider myself a metalhead, but neither have I felt any need to "transcend metal," or to "grow beyond being a metalhead". I like the music because of what it communicates, find it beautiful at times even, and I trust in my own abilities to live life in the manner that I think is worth living. I suppose that I just don't see the relevance of your argument; it only seems to apply to consciously defined metalheads, which I don't feel relates to the aims or advocates of ANUS at all.
Classicism in art, royalism in politics, Catholicism in religion

Re: Militarism, Masculinity, Metalheads
November 19, 2009, 02:41:40 AM
I started a topic about this a long time ago.
http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,2864.0.html
There were some interesting suggestions. In particular, someone suggested joining the French Foreign Legion. Ever since that day I've been trying to decide whether to join.

As far as America goes, the Marine Corps seems about the closest to operating by the "old values" and character-building, though I understand it is a somewhat "watered-down" version of the way it used to be.(which may not be a bad thing...think Full Metal Jacket intro)
Someone on this forum(don't remember who) commented on this once. He said that the idea of being so hard on recruits was to make recruits more scared of their commanders than the enemy so they would rush into battle without hesitation.