Ask A Genius 358 – Manly Manning Up
April 15, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We were talking about growing up in the 60s and 70s.
Rick Rosner: That came up. I have a stereotype view of who a good man might be. Someone who tries to be conscious in the world. That tries to be a conscious kind parent, partner, who tries to treat the earth kindly.
The person who is trying to make the world a better, kinder place. That wasn’t so much of a thing when I was growing up in some ways. If you make me keep talking, I am going to offer a bunch of examples.
Jacobsen: So that lays the ground.
Rosner: …Hold on, don’t get me wrong, to be clear, I have approved of striving through goodness in the world but if my background makes me cynical…Perhaps a little jealous because I didn’t get to grow up around…even I grew up in a time when bullying was thought to be good for you.
Jacobsen: What is the beginning of the story for you? One, you have a unique story, but one aspect of that hasn’t been fully explored. It is growing up in the Manly Era.
Rosner: Alright, I am so old that I was born in 1960. So, the leader of the country was one of the generals of the most bloodthirsty yet apparently justified conflicts in human history. We won World War Two with determination and industriousness and bravery, and thugness, and we thought of ourselves as justifiable in our evil as the people we were fighting.
But I am a Baby Boomer, I was among the generation that was hurt by people by men who went overseas and then slaughtered people in war. I have a dad. I have a stepdad. I have a father-in-law. None of them fought in World War Two, but they all either flew around, attended to, or guarded nuclear weapons during the Korean War era.
My dad was a navigator on a B36, which has the capacity to drop on H-Bomb on Russia. So, at the time I was born, violence and the thread of violence were very much open and into the fabric of America.
There was a relief that we can have everyday lives. That the world would end of the possibility of nuclear war but there is. There was our outcome. There was an undercurrent of threat and fear. There was no push at the time I was born, not that I would have been aware of it, because I was zero years old.
There wasn’t a push for the softening of men and then how they’re presented as visual jokes in movies, but they weren’t as pervasive a presence in American life.
Jacobsen: What were your parents and stepdad?
Rosner: My mom was growing up and went to a dance at the officer’s club at Kurland Air Force Base. She saw my dad in his uniform at some dance. My dad was fantastically handsome in the 1950s. He looked like a movie star.
He was pretty in high school, but full of zits. But he heals up and cleans up; my dad in a 1955, 1954, was a beautiful man and for her it was love at first sight. He is liked by her. My mom was cute. She was as beautiful for female as he was for a man.
She was cute and had a good head on her shoulders. My dad was okay with being into this marriage and stuff. The marriage lasted for five years. They get divorced when I was zero years old.
Jacobsen: How did that affect you?
Rosner: What if they had stayed married?
Rosner: I can’t imagine them ever…I mean they are completely mismatched.
Rosner: I mean, my mom would have been pissed off all the time at how my dad is. My dad is still a practicing CPA at age 86. He is one of the old-time brave CPAs, Mexican CPA, but he lacks any skills behind CPA.
His social skills are great when it comes to talking to clients about tax returns when it comes to maintaining a marriage or doing anything but taxes he is a little bit helpless.
Jacobsen: That seems like it comes from the times of manly culture and expectations.
Rosner: No, he did fine. He married three times. He is a fun guy and often easy going, drives sporty cars, makes a good living, so it was more a he was a little clueless about life skills and needed somebody who is going to be patient.
Somebody who is completely spacey. It made my mom crazy or annoyed. It eventually makes my stepmom annoyed; she was married to him for 15 years. She called him coma years. His third wife gets the hell out of it pretty quick too. It didn’t thoroughly last with either my mom or stepmom.
So, my mom moves where there is another guy who became my stepdad. She was in love with him before she met my dad. He waited for her to be done with this first marriage, so in 1962 she married my stepdad. My stepdad was a true man in the sense of the in the 1960s content.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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