Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Claims re: the Alpha Male Myth et al.

I just read the following. The first one is a repudiation of the notion of alpha masculinity and how pop culture notions are utterly in the wrong when faced with fundamental evolutionary biology. An interesting read. A bit of the study says:

"If evolved human dominance behaviors have been decreasing over time, we would expect to see something else evolve to replace it. Because of the evolution of hominin brain size and cognition across the paleolithic, we might expect that whatever trait evolved via sexual selection related to these developments. Indeed, humor and intelligence appear to be more attractive to women than testosterone-related masculinity when it matters most — during female ovulation (Kaufman, et al. 2007)." More here.

Francesco Schettino is a worldwide known name now. The captain who abandoned ship to save himself has become the laughing stock of the reading world. The Guardian's Ian Jack, however, explores what his premature leaving of the ship might entail and how it relates to our collective attitudes about honor. A bit says:

"...[h]is transgression is enormous. The rule that a captain must be the last man (or woman) to leave a ship in difficulties is never written down, but everywhere understood. In the words of a former P&O captain: "At sea, you have a great sense of responsibility for the people who are beneath you – it's moral as well as legal. You need to stay as long as anyone else remains."

In this altruistic sense, the mystique of captaincy has survived into its third century. Sentiment, if not always practicality, will ensure it continues. For who can resist the gallantry of David Hart Dyke staying aboard the tilting hull of HMS Coventry, or Noel Coward and what remains of his crew clinging to their life-raft in In Which We Serve, and Coward commanding, as his destroyer finally goes down: "Three cheers for the ship!" More here.

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