A tough guy tees off on golf
A tough guy tees off on golfReprinted from
April 14, 2011
Maybe Phil Donahue is to blame, or perhaps Alan Alda, although I tend to cut the latter some slack because his Hawkeye Pierce character frequently made me laugh.
Actually, though, it’s Alda’s erstwhile television alter ego that played a significant role in shifting society’s general perception of what constitutes appropriate male behavior. During its wildly popular heyday, “M*A*S*H” showed Hawkeye evolving from an unapologetic nurse chaser to a virtual women’s-rights crusader, which might have been at least remotely possible had the Korean War begun sometime in the 1970s and lasted 11 years, like the TV program did.
But we were asked to believe this attitudinal adjustment could have happened in less than one-third that amount of time and within an early 1950s setting. Uh-uh, don’t think so.
Nevertheless, thanks to Hawkeye and daytime talk-show pioneer Donahue, the publicly accepted male of the past 30 years is one that critics deride as a “touchy-feely” type. Whereas anger and enjoyment once represented the full range of displayed feelings in guys, today’s gentler gentlemen are allowed — heck, encouraged — to bring to the surface whatever emotion a particular situation warrants.