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Videogames and the "Decline of Men" CNN vs IGN [roundtable]
In a CNN Editorial William J. Bennett blames videogames and other mediaor the "Decline of Men." Colin Campbell from IGN responds in his own Editorial. This seems like an interesting issue for discussion. I have copied both articles below.

William Bennet CNN Contributor said:
CNN Editor's note: William J. Bennett, a CNN contributor, is the author of "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." Bennett is the Washington fellow of the Claremont Institute. He was U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush.

(CNN) -- For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.
Now, society has rightly celebrated the ascension of one sex. We said, "You go girl," and they went. We celebrate the ascension of women but what will we do about what appears to be the very real decline of the other sex?
The data does not bode well for men. In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women's earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.

In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. Men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, but women are catching them and will soon be passing them if this trend continues.
The warning signs for men stretch far beyond their wallets. Men are more distant from a family or their children then they have ever been. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40% in America. In 1960, only 11% of children in the U.S. lived apart from their fathers. In 2010, that share had risen to 27%. Men are also less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39% of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47% of women.

If you don't believe the numbers, just ask young women about men today. You will find them talking about prolonged adolescence and men who refuse to grow up. I've heard too many young women asking, "Where are the decent single men?" There is a maturity deficit among men out there, and men are falling behind.

This decline in founding virtues -- work, marriage, and religion -- has caught the eye of social commentators from all corners. In her seminal article, "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin unearthed the unprecedented role reversal that is taking place today. "Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed," writes Rosin. The changes in modern labor -- from backs to brains -- have catapulted women to the top of the work force, leaving men in their dust.

Man's response has been pathetic. Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys. While women are graduating college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married and not raising families. Women are beginning to take the place of men in many ways. This has led some to ask: do we even need men?

So what's wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, "What kind of man are you?" but don't explain.

Movies are filled with stories of men who refuse to grow up and refuse to take responsibility in relationships. Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. Through all these different and conflicting signals, our boys must decipher what it means to be a man, and for many of them it is harder to figure out.

For boys to become men, they need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example and correction. It is true in all ages. Someone once characterized the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them? Each generation of men and women have an obligation to teach the younger males (and females of course) coming behind them. William Wordsworth said, "What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how." When they fail in that obligation, trouble surely follows.
We need to respond to this culture that sends confusing signals to young men, a culture that is agnostic about what it wants men to be, with a clear and achievable notion of manhood.

The Founding Fathers believed, and the evidence still shows, that industriousness, marriage and religion are a very important basis for male empowerment and achievement. We may need to say to a number of our twenty-something men, "Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job and get married." It's time for men to man up.

Colin Campbell head of news & features at IGN said:
Over on CNN today there's an editorial by William Bennett, bemoaning the alleged decline of men, and blaming, among other things, video games.

In the past 40 years, women have won more freedom from imposed gender roles. Since the early 1970s, stats for female academic achievement and career progression have soared. Bennett argues that the male response to this social change has been "pathetic". He adds, "Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys."

Bennett was in charge of the U.S education system in the late-1980s and ran anti-drugs policy under the first Bush administration. You can argue among yourselves whether this list of dubious career highlights qualifies him to whine about what other men do with their lives.

He pulls out a parcel of stats about how much worse men are today than, say, the 1950s, when more of us got married young, trotted along to church every Sunday, worked oppressive hours in factories, were forced to serve in uniform and watched gormless movies about cowboys.

He mentions high rates of unemployment as if this were the fault of men too apathetic to rise from our Gears of War marathons, rather than a direct and very obvious consequence of a global economic recession.

His most egregious argument is that men and women are locked in some sort of mortal combat for college grades, fancy jobs and worthy hobbies. Men, he argues, must be the losers because women have better lives.

Laughably, he serves up proof of his thesis with anecdotal evidence of desperate women in search of "decent single men". Because, yeah, this is an entirely modern phenomenon that never occurred to the Ancient Greek poets, Shakespeare, Jane Austen ya-de-ya.

Just a reminder folks, this guy was in charge of U.S. education.

Bennett uses games as a catch-all 'bad thing' ignoring the fact that it's merely part of the fabric of modern life, has many social uses and offers people a welcome release from our stressful and / or humdrum lives, as well as a sense of achievement and progression. He makes zero mention of the fact that women make up around 50% of games players or that the fastest growing sector of the population playing games is adult women.

Bennett is the latest in a long line of commentators who believe that the world's ills can be blamed on something that's new and unfamiliar. He says his problem is with games, but if you read between the lines, it's clear that what he really doesn't like, is people.

He is the worst kind of social critic; one who does not understand society.

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Posted: 10/06/11, 06:48:53
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casper884 said:

Okay...WHAT THE FUCK, seriously?!!!

Bennett said:
...I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.

Lock this cooc up and throw away the key!!

I REALLY hope that was taken out of context and he was really giving a lecture on how to look like a douche nozzle.


Epic win. Well done sir.


Exactly. My daughter's name is Gone Gold, and my son is named DLC. If I have another I'm doing to name him Robert');DROP TABLE Students;

Posted: 10/06/11, 19:11:29
I don't even... where do I- I'm offended by everything that "gentleman" wrote about. He is obviously sexist towards women. I think the world would be a less violent place if women were in charge for the most part.

Furthermore I wonder why the woman is still expected to take the family name of the man when they marry. Although the whole concept of family names escapes me anyway.
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:12:33
I'm a pretty big naysayer when people cite inflammatory editorials as nothing more than traffic bait, but damned if that article doesn't read like one. Talk about fishing for clicks.

If gentleman's arguments were more sound (i.e. not using suspect causality and general sexism as the crux of the argument) it could have been a worthwhile debate. As it stands though, the writer fails at Debate 101 by using such poor fallacies for his argument.

I think I'd be more heated if dude had a more salient point, but as it stands it seems only worthy of a eye roll and a head shake.
Posted: 10/06/11, 20:08:21
So he rates everyone on if they have a job (not taking into account the current economic situation), marriage (which a lot of people don't care about) and having a family. From his articular he sounds like a right-wing nut who still wishes it was 1850.
Posted: 10/06/11, 20:13:19
@Tranquilo I've always considered that having a woman take a man's name is a symbol of declaring her your property. If I ever get married, my wife will choose whether she wants to take my name or keep her own. I will feel happy with whatever she chooses.

@Cube191 So under this definition, George Clooney is a huge loser because he's not married in his 50's and he's without "steady work."
Posted: 10/06/11, 21:21:17  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 21:22:36
I've only read a bit of that CNN article, but based on the implications of the title, I'm guessing the author is trying to imply that videogames have destroyed men.

... If that's the case, what's going to happen as women start playing more and more games.
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:21:34
Rocket Guy! Great to see you, man. Post here more!
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:23:19
Thanks, Kris. Good to see you, too. Yeah, I created this account a good while back, but I never really got around to using it. majormite's appearance at the Wii Lobby reminded me to stop by. I'll needa come by here more often. I miss you guys.

... But man I'm such a nerd. I think I post at like five different forums now, haha.
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:27:04  - Edited by 
 on: 10/07/11, 00:27:37
I like how he creates the "maturity" of having a job/being in a relationship as some sort of super-rewarding or fulfilling thing. Having a career that you love is great, having a job is precious hours of life being wasted for shitty pay. A relationship can be good... Or full of worthless drama. I'd measure your success by nothing more than how happy you are. That, to me, is the only measurement in life that matters, because life's too fucking short to try to be "mature," for the sake of some idiot.
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:31:57

It's common knowledge that the decline of men began with fluoridation. When a foreign substance was introduced into our precious bodily fluids.
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:38:38
@RocketGuy3 Obviously mankind will descend into a second dark age.

@Xbob42 *claps*
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:40:08

That's why I only drink rainwater.
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:43:33

I would not be opposed to taking my wife's name that's because I feel that my name is too mundane. Furthermore, it doesn't really say anything about me as an individual or any or my immediate family members. That's the reason I would never name either of my hypothetical sons Jr.

Any way you slice it, it doesn't make sense to me. My point is that last names started as a way for some (I don't know whom) to tell who was related to whom. A lot of those names had to do with figuring out if person A2 was the son of dad A. Some had to do with occupations and others with places of origin. Nowadays is really easy to verify if you're related to someone so family names aren't really needed.
Posted: 10/07/11, 01:34:18
@Tranquilo A lot of last names were also simply to know who did what; Archer, Bailey, Baker, Brewer, Butcher, Carter, Chandler, Clark, Collier, Cooper, Cook, Carpenter, Dyer, Faulkner, Fisher, Fletcher, Fowler, Fuller, Glover, Hayward, Hawkins, Head, Hunt or Hunter, Judge, Knight, Miller, Mason, Page, Palmer, Parker, Porter, Sawyer, Slater, Smith, Stringer, Taylor, Thatcher, Turner, Shoemaker, Walker, Weaver, Wood or Woodman and Wright/Cartwright/Wainwright, etc.
Posted: 10/07/11, 01:38:17
@RocketGuy3 Hey RocketGuy3 Nice to see you here!
Posted: 10/07/11, 01:44:18

Tranquilo said:

my name is too mundane... it doesn't really say anything about me as an individual or any or my immediate family members.

...Some had to do with occupations and others with places of origin.
Posted: 10/07/11, 01:45:29  - Edited by 
 on: 10/07/11, 01:46:27
I thought the hip thing now was both a husband and a wife taking each other's names and hyphenating.

But then... what do their kids do if they marry someone with a hyphenated name, hypenating times two? Could get exponentially interesting.
Posted: 10/07/11, 02:40:15

The way I see it. The children should choose what their kids names should be. In some countries in Europe (if Wikipedia is to be believed), you can choose a name for your kids even if it's neither your spouses nor yours. The thing is that every kid has to be named that. So for example, I'm Garcia and my hypothetical wife's name is Meier. Because we love the companies products so much, we name our first born ______ Kraft but every kid has to have Kraft at the end of his name from then on. Personally I prefer this system.
Posted: 10/07/11, 04:42:00

@Tranquilo My hypothetical wife's name is Gomez. I wouldn't mind if she takes my name given that Gomez is as common as Smith. Unfortunately, she has her career to think about and changing her name would be detrimental. She's also dating some 12 year old girl named Something Beiber, so I'll have to wait till that's done.

I'm also naming our first born Super Mario Nintendo. Nobody steal that!
Posted: 10/07/11, 06:48:56
Chozoman said:

Wait, wait, wait...you're playing a video game...and you're manly enough to get married and impregnate a human female...that runs at odd with this article's well-thought-out and fact based premise...


lulz... I suppose I further complicate things since I also run my own company. What madness hath I wrought?!?
Posted: 10/07/11, 07:19:18
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