What’s Wrong With Kids?

I like kids. I'm not sure there are any left. What happened? Episode explores the empty watering holes, lawns, driveways, and trees that once had kids getting dirty, skinning knees, climbing, swimming, fixing bikes, building forts, and throwing balls around.

Show Notes Delightfully un-edited and subject to error (blame the machines who might say ANYTHING).

Alright, welcome to another episode of Man Hearted, the show about being a man, one man, Asher Black. That’s me, powered by Spunk. And today’s topic is about kids. So what’s wrong with kids? And you might, you might be bothered by that question, but I think we have to look around us a little bit, right? So, uh, every day it, it’s, it’s pretty much without fail, whether it’s out my backyard or my front yard.

I hear kids screaming, and I don’t mean screaming normally. Like, you know, they’re screaming hello or they’re screaming, look out for that, or they’re, they’re screaming like, gimme back my basketball or something like that. But I’m talking about that shrill high-pitched Victorian police whistle scream That doesn’t have any words or syllables in it.

It’s, it’s frightening in a way. But, you know, I never heard kids scream like that when I was growing up. You know, if something was happening to them, you know, like they, they fell down a well, or an ax murder was after them or something like that. Maybe, but that didn’t happen all that often and not nearly as often as we’re hearing these kinds of screams.

And I can’t help but think that, uh, this is a little strange. I mean, we might think, oh, they’re normal. They’re normal. This is normal. They’re just kids. They’re just kids. But historically, this is not normative. This is not something we did growing up. We all kind of grew up with the story of the boy who cried wolf, and we were coached by the adults and the parents around us that we raise our voice when there’s a reason.

You know, first we have an inside voice, but even an outside voice, if you’re standing there, if I just went out on my front lawn and stood on my front lawn and screamed at the top of my lungs, eventually they’d come and take me away. Sure. That’s because I’m an adult, but I see adults all the time hauling their kids down the sidewalk, and the kids are just doing this high pitched, insane squeal.

And it sounds a little bit like. Inmates in an asylum, and I wonder about this, I think it’s disproportionately the girls, but it’s, it’s a lot of the boys. And even with the girl thing, you would think, right, we’re in the 21st century, are we still dressing girls in pink and still handing them, you know, Barbie dolls and saying, oh, scream your, your heads off eek.

Ooh, a spider. You’re not supposed to scream if you see dirt scream, if you see a bug. This isn’t the the culture that we were promised back in the sixties when we were talking about everybody sort of being equal and maybe muting that, that really couch difference between women who were supposed to be sort of ornamental.

That’s the way people thought of it in the fifties. Stay in the house, stay in the kitchen, do your shopping and your cleaning. Focus mostly on sterilizing counters and you know, be interested in girl things. And the boys will go off and do the great things in the world. They’ll work and they’ll fight wars and you know, they’ll have discussions about history, et cetera.

So, you know, when I, when I see the girls doing this, I’m wondering, is nobody coaching the parents to say, look, You might have given her a gender neutral name. You might have told her all the stuff about, she’s a young, powerful individual, but you’re not really reinforcing it when she’s screaming her head off like she’s seen a mouse.

But the boys too are doing it. It’s a lot of ’em. It’s at least 30%. And I, I have to wonder what is driving some of this, what’s going on in their heads? Because it sounds like the sound a person makes when what’s going on in their head is that shrill, high pitched scream is the sound of agony. The sound of angst, the sounds of fear, possibly it’s just the sound of, there’s nothing up there going on.

Maybe, maybe it’s time to take away the phone, take away the credit, the thousand dollars phone, the credit card, which is their form of an allowance now, and maybe throw ’em a Frisbee or something, you know? So this may sound a little close-minded, but let’s just. Let’s just think about this just a little bit.

When’s the last time you heard of a kid being assigned chores and their allowance was conditional upon the chores? Even if, even if you, you think the allowance is there, right? And they should participate in the family income and get a piece of it or whatever. Okay, fine. But what are they doing? How often do I actually stick my head out and see a young kid carrying out the trash, mowing the lawn?

This was, this was part of why people had kids, you know, go carry the trash. This is why I had you, you know, and by the way, when you’re in there in the kitchen, unclog the sink or something like that, I feel like it’s probably time to say to some of these kids, you know, Go up to that house over there, that strange house and drink out of the hose.

The hose with the bugs and the spiders and the leaves and the dirt. You let it run for a minute. Sure. You know, let it clean itself out. But that’s what we did, right? We didn’t walk around with, with special aluminum bottles, with filters attached, et cetera, because we might need water and we might never see water again, et cetera.

We drink outta the hose, we play it outside. When’s the last time you saw boys out building a fort or kids out climbing a tree? Look at the trees in your backyard. Look at the trees in your neighbor’s yard. Ask yourself, when’s the last time you saw kids up there? They used to be up there like gibbons. I would think that the, these days, a lot of kids actually don’t know how to climb them.

There used to be kids hanging from the roofs. Sure. Occasionally one fell off, you know, and you went, well, we’ll we’ll have another one, et cetera. But there are kids now that don’t know how to swim. It’s, it’s bizarre. You know where the kids are. You know why they aren’t out there in the trees? Building forts.

Swimming in the swimming holes. Ew, icky, oo. They’re dirty. They’re muddy. They might get a disease. The reason is not because things are dirtier and things aren’t safer. It’s because they’re inside. They’re inside. Where’s Jimmy? He’s in his room. What’s he doing in there? Well, he is on his computer. He is looking at YouTube or he is on his phone.

He’s texting, texting his friends. This is what kids do. Well, why doesn’t he go outside and play? Well, it’s a little hot and he likes the air conditioning. I. You know, we didn’t spend good money air conditioning my room as a kid, I didn’t have an air conditioner in there. We did in the daytime when it was, it might be 102 and we were sent outside to go out and play sunshine was considered good.

We were sent out without, without any sunblock, go out there for a couple of hours after school and enjoy the fresh air in the day. It was considered good for you. Alright. I’m not arguing. For a return to a previous time. That’s not what I’m saying, but I’m saying it’s a little weird when you see kids being escorted home from school, screaming their heads off.

No syllabification, no melody, just random screaming, or even on the playground, we’re out on the playground at school, just screaming for no reason. Not screaming a thing to one another, just screaming while they’re on the jungle gym or, or what have you. The safe climbing stuff with the rubber mat on below it, you know, or the, the mulch, the, the mulch made out of old tires in case they were, they were gonna fall.

There’s no cement down there like there was in the old days. Or just dirt and weeds and ant hills, et cetera. It’s a little bit like that movie 28 days later where the guy walks outside, he’s been in a coma, he wakes up, he goes outside and nobody’s out there. When I, you know, at six o’clock in the evening when it’s still light out in the summertime, and I look outside and there’s nobody out there.

But at two o’clock in the morning in front of my house, there’s kids being brought home from, you know, Uh, the restaurants and the boutiques and all of that sort of thing, and they’ve had a plate of whatever herbal ingredients. They’re, they’re having their veggie meal or whatever, and they’re, they’re walking home and they’re still two o’clock in the morning standing in front of my house screaming their heads off.

I just wanna say like, move on. You know, it’s, What are they? What are they doing the rest of the time, man, they’re in their phones, heads down, bent over. You run into ’em all the time. It’s like dodge ball out there trying to take a walk down the sidewalk when the kids are on it. The adults too, but it’s, you almost think it is 28 days later, you know, the zombies just kind of grunt.

If you try to make ’em my phone, you know, I got a text message. What are they doing? They’re bullying me. Well, what are they doing? Did they. Did they, did you get hit by the phone? What happened? No. No. They sent me a text. What did they say about you? Eh, it was an emoji. You know, it’s, wow. We used to go outside.

They’re, they’re clean too. Have you noticed this? When it comes time to sit down at the dinner table, we used to be told to go wash up. Change your shirt. You got dirt, you got grass stains on it. You got, you got mud on your face. We were out making mud pies. The kids, now, they’re pre-washed. They show up.

They’ve been in an air conditioned room on their phone. They’re not the least bit dirty. There’s not grassed. Ooh, icky. Ooh, there’s a stand on my shirt. We, we’d be out eating mud pie. What’d you do all day? We made mud pies. Where’d that mud come from? If. Did you eat one of ’em? Well, I didn’t eat one, but my friend Billy ate one.

Well, what’d you do? Did you eat? Did you eat it? Well, I ate a little, I ate a little piece of one because he dared me. Well, what did your brother Jimmy do? Wasn’t he watching it? Well, he ate a rock. You know, this is what we did. The same thing is true with like trick or treating out in front of my house.

They gather in front of the houses, they gather in front of the townhouses on Halloween. Right. And the, you know what’s funny is we used to have to go up and ring the doorbell and sometimes the guy would give you like a. You know, a, a piece of Wrigley’s gum or something like that. Those weren’t the great houses, but you ring the doorbell like three times.

He finally comes Here, here, take this kid. Yeah, you get, I’ve taken it out of the sleeve for you. It’s just got the tinfoil on it. You get a piece of Wrigley’s gum. Sometimes you’ll get like a Jolly Rancher and it’s unwrapped. You, you take it home, you kind of wonder, you, you dump out the candy and you separate the stuff that stuck together.

You know, the, the bit of honey and the, the Jolly Ranchers and the, that one random lifesaver that’s, that stuck together. The loose smarties that came out. You ate some of ’em, you ate some of ’em, but you look at the Jolly Rancher and it’s, why is the wrapper off? They come individually wrapped even in the.

The big bags, they come individually wrapped. This is pre sucked, isn’t it? Somebody, and you might, you might still eat it. You might, and your parents, they might let you. Now what happens is the kids are gathered in front of the safe houses, the nice houses, the good houses, and somebody brings the bag of candy out to the curb.

You don’t even have to climb the steps and ring the doorbell. You don’t know what’s gonna happen up there. You know, they, they come out with a sack and they. They drop the candy, they sometimes they dump it. It’s not enough. It’s not big enough. I got more at the other house and they pour it into your bag or your, your plastic pumpkin or whatever that you got at Walgreens.

And sometimes the kids are crying that it’s like the uber of trick or treating. And sometimes the kids are crying. I didn’t get enough candy. I didn’t get Don’t worry. Jenny. You want two candy bars too. You only got, okay, all right. Look, I’ll take you to Walgreens, we’ll get you a, an extra, we’ll get you a Kit Katt, and we’ll get you a Taiwan want two.

All right? And if you don’t do that, What’s Jimmy gonna do? He’s gonna lie on the floor in the Walgreens and throw a fit. Pound his, pound his legs on the floor and do that high-pitched whistle thing until you comply, until you, until you do what he says. I can’t help but think not only do these kids need chores, and not only do they need to be taught how to swim and climb and made to go outside and drink from the occasional garden hose, but you know what’s fundamentally lacking here is a lack of obstacles and hurdles in their life.

These are good things. Yeah. We wanna make it easy for him. You know, we try not to give him too much ’cause he stresses out. Hurdles and obstacles are how we learn. This is basic neuroscience. When we, if I wanna get better at something, what’s funny is the stuff I put effort into, whether it’s karate or it’s studying the guitar, or it’s, you know, it’s writing or whatever it is, when it’s difficult, when there’s pain, that’s when you get better at it.

When you push through, you know, when I was like, you don’t see Boy Scouts doing this. You don’t. You see Boy Scouts out there, and it’s objective, right? You either learn how to string a bow, learn how to. Use a ni, a pocket knife or something like that and sharpen something or, or you don’t, it’s objective, they’re focused on something.

There’s a hurdle, there’s an obstacle, there’s a point of achievement. And you know when you did it. And they don’t just, now they do, but in the past they didn’t just hand out awards for showing up or for achievement or for best haircut, you actually, you actually had to earn the badge, et cetera. And you know, I wanna.

I’m gonna give some the grace to the Boy Scouts because some of ’em are still doing this. Some of the troops are still doing this. But you see some of these groups where you’re on a play date with the kids are on a play date with the other boys and everybody gets something. Everybody gets something.

And the problem with the obstacles and the hurdles being lacking, you don’t really get a lot of obstacles and hurdles in your phone except somebody doesn’t like what I’m wearing today, or I sent a picture of my lunch and they don’t think that’s cool. You get a dirty emoji or whatever it is. You get an eggplant is we’re we’re losing the grit.

The resilience, the fortitude, the the rectitude that this stuff used to build into people we’re losing the additional dendrites, those connections between the neurons of the brain, the denser neural network that you build up from having to work at something. We’re having to struggle at it and get better from having to climb a hill.

I wanna, I wanna tell some of these parents, you know, you need to take your kids out and give ’em things that are hard to do. Give them things that require them to feel a little pain. You know, as a guy that that writes fiction and a guy that studies music and a guy that does ate, and you’re gonna hear me use these examples.

There’s other things I do ballroom dancing, I do boating, I do stuff. You’re gonna have your thing, whether it’s sports or whatever. I’m gonna tell you that at the end of some of it, people say, well, do you enjoy it? ’cause if you don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t do it. That’s not the point. The point is not enjoying it.

Anybody’s ever picked up a pen and tried to write a novel. I’m not talking about your feelings and a poem, and it’s 20 words or a piece of flash fiction. I’m tired talking about trying to write something of substance. You don’t. You don’t always enjoy it. Sometimes it’s freaking hard. Sometimes you gotta write through the pain.

Sometimes you gotta play guitar until you get blisters on your fingers, and then you’re like, all right, all right, I gotta balance this. I gotta balance the need to get better. With the amount of pain I’m feeling sometimes in martial arts, you, you fall down and skin your knee. That’s just the way it is.

You might fall completely on your knee on a cement pa piece of pavement while you’re working out, and what do you do? You get up and you dust yourself off, and you do it again. I don’t even see the parents today out, you know, I don’t see skinned knees. I don’t see kids falling down skin in their knee and somebody coming out and going, all right, you’re crying about it.

I see we’re gonna give you some back teen. I’m gonna spray this on. I’m gonna, that’s gonna make it better. We, we would kiss it and make it better, but you’re older than a toddler, so we’re gonna spray some back teen, we’re gonna put a bandaid on it, and some of the men would come out and they’re like, you know, Hey you, I’m your dad.

Your mom puts back Tina and a bandaid on it. What I’m gonna tell you is this, the bleeding will stop. And it, and it’s better to be in the air. The air’s gonna heal it. You don’t see any, oh, Johnny fell down. Everybody Swarm. Swarm. We gotta get around him. You know, kids, when I was young, you had to do things like go and pick corn one summer and there was a right and a wrong, right?

If you pick the corn the wrong way, it’s not edible. If you don’t fill a bucket at the end of the day, what do you do? I’m sitting down. I want the air conditioning. You got dirty. You got sweaty, kids mowed the lawn. When’s the time you went out front and you, when’s the last time this happened? You saw a kid take out the trash and then go over and start the lawnmower by himself.

And put oil in it if it doesn’t have it, and I’ll go, I dunno what to do. It won’t turn on, but, but fix the lawnmower, maybe screw the wheel back on if it’s loose or wobbly or falls off and get dirty and sweaty and get grass stains and get his clothes dirty a little bit or hers and do the actual work.

You know, kids used to fix the tires on their bike. When’s the last time you saw this? A kid’s bike breaks down. Now what do we do? We take it to the bike shop. Kids used to whip out your, your father, if you brought his, your bike to him and you said, man, I got a flat tire. He’d be like, well fix it. You’re like, well, I, I, I, I need to, I I gotta take the wheel off.

Alright, what do you need? Do you need a wrench? You wanna borrow a tool? And if you said, I don’t know how to use a wrench, he showed you once kids built fires, the average kid could build a campfire. I see grown men out there trying to start a barbecue grill using an entire quart of lighter fluid. They can’t get the grill lit man, as kids, we not only built fires and fixed tires, we, if we made zip guns, we, we, I drove a car when I was 11 years old.

I stole a car when I was 15 years old, by the way, that’s the reason. You’re a kid is because it’s not a felony. Maybe now it is. You know, we’re gonna treat this kid like an adult. He did Grand theft auto, but back then you took a car. It’s like, well, you know. That is what boys do sometimes. Sometimes the girls took ’em too.

You know, the thing is, is these days, what are kids doing? They’re texting, they’re playing games, and they des they want to be influencers. What would happen? What would happen just, just hypothetically as a thought experiment if we turned off the internet? And we, we shut down the cell towers anyway. We did this for like two months.

I know the parents would throw a fit too. I know that you, that are remote working and need your Zoom calls. You’d find a way to do it. You’d go to the office, you’d mail letters, whatever. We’d get through it. But the kids. I think they would lose their freaking minds. You’d hear nothing but that high pitched Victorian whistle coming out of their mouth.

Just the agony. I’m separated. I’m separated from humanity. But you know, the studies about what’s happening on social media say they’re not really that plugged into humanity in the first place. I. I think what we’ve done is we’ve unplugged behavior with consequences. We actually think that if you conel a kid, leave him in his room on his phone for seven hours a day with the air conditioning, you’re gonna get the next mbrt, the next Mozart, the next Stephen Hawking.

Or at least you’re gonna get a kid that’s gonna be able to face the challenges that we have coming. And there’s a lot of challenges. You and I, my friend, if you’re over 40, you and I. Have basically busted the planet. We’ve driven the car until the wheels fell off. We’ve, we’ve turned, we’ve done donuts around the parking lot and the darn thing screaming out of the, the top of the convertible and we’ve wrecked it, run it into a couple of walls, flipped it over.

It’s upside down. It’s a smoking wreck of a heap, and we’ve left the planet in that condition for the next generation that’s coming. And they got a lot of stuff to to deal with that’s gonna require this grit, this resilience, this fortitude, this. Rectitude and that denser neural network that builds problem solving skills.

That comes from, I don’t know, solving problems. Maybe doing something that isn’t spelled out for you in an internet. How to guide that. You could Google and get outta Wikipedia. I think maybe we should also look at the grades in the schools. I. You know, it’s not just that behavior has consequences instead of, I, I know guys that teach kids, I know a guy that teaches guitar and he’s like, I think some of these kids are playing video games during the guitar lesson.

I can actually hear them, I can hear the noises. Like when they’re, when they score something or get a strawberry, they jump up and get a strawberry when they’re playing whatever the hell they’re playing. The modern version of Mario Brothers, the, the, the, the martial arts teacher, he’s, he’s teaching kids and he says, look, You know, the, the parents are, are worse to deal with, but every kid that doesn’t get, you know, get something, wins something on the first try.

Like if he doesn’t, if they all don’t earn their green belt on the day when some of ’em are earning their green belt, there’s weeping and rama and the parents come up and go, you’re bad. You should have given him a star to put on their gee or you know, a certificate for attendance or something and told them they were a special person.

I think we had to change the grades in school. A means you actually got something. Right? Right. A, for actually got it right. B oughta mean, you know, like be better. Like you almost got it right And it was, there was some of it was right, but, but I want you to be better than this. And C, a, C, you should get a C.

If you came up with something, it ought to be that you, you had an idea, at least you were creative about it. It was a little bit outside the box and D ought to be, look you, you’re different. You did something different. Clearly you, you know, you didn’t just turn in an empty piece of paper, but it’s wrong. D is different but wrong, and f f should be, look, you relied on your feelings and those of us to coddle your feelings.

F for feelings. It should be that you, you basically showed up and thought, just because I’m special, I should get an award. Your award is an F. Your award is you relied on your feelings instead of your grit, resilience, fortitude, rectitude, your problem solving skills, actually doing the work. Climbing a hill, you know, doing an obstacle, something like that.

No participation. No, no special award for having, you know, the best top knot. The best ho costume at at the Halloween party. You’re the best frog. You’re the best deer. You’re the best reindeer. You’re the best squirrel. You’re the best monster. You’re the best other monster. No award for having blue hair.

You should. You should basically get awards for actually struggling and proving that you did something. Alright. That’s my take. I, I think we’re, we’re producing a generation that’s not ready. You can say what you want about, I’m being judgemental about kids, et cetera. You can say, well, do you have kids? Do you have kids?

There’s always that, right. Look, I’ve seen kids and I gotta tell you, growing up for 50 years of life, Looking at kids, being a kid, having kids for brothers, changing diapers. And yes, I taught classrooms full of kids. My kids were 50 at a time for years. And I gotta tell you, none of them acted like this. If we’d have stood out in our neighbor’s driveway, screaming our head off, you know, like the sky was falling just for the hell of it, any adult, any adult would’ve come outside and just kind of bam, smacked us upside the head and went Skippy.

Yeah. What’s wrong with you? Do I need to jiggle it loose? Do we need to create a thought? Get outta your phone, go mow a lawn or something. Hell, I’ll pay you to mow mine. Just stop the screaming. We go down the street and do that to somebody we don’t like. Go to the other neighborhood, et cetera. So today I would like to hand out the E I M A Excellence in Manhood Award.

Uh, and I would like to, to give that jointly to a few people because it’s been a while since we did a show. And sometimes when we do an episode like this, we save up a lot of stuff. So the other day, Kevin Spacey got acquitted or whatever. He got, you know, he got free of the, the collar around his neck of people saying, you touched my knee.

I’m a grown man. I’m in a bar. And you know, I was sitting next to you and talking real close and breathing down your neck and you were letting me buy you drinks and stuff. And when you put your hand on my knee, I felt I, my feelings, I didn’t have the grit or the, for my, I was hurt as a person, and now you ought to have to give me an enormous portion of your hard earned fortune.

Well, you know, you can say what you want about Kevin Spacey, but you know, apparently a jury listened to this evidence and went there’s nothing to it. He didn’t do anything. Leave the guy alone. What, what happened when he came out of the courtroom? That’s why he gets the award. He came out of the courtroom and he said he didn’t brag.

He didn’t blow hard. He didn’t pull a Donald Trump and go out there and go, yes, and on top of that, my followers should invade the capitol building and try to overthrow the US government. Instead, he says, I’m humbled by the results. Thank you. That was it. That is a, a tough. Manly classy act to do. The second iteration of the E I M A is gonna go to Will Smith and before you jump up and down and you know, tweet about me and stuff like this and cancel me out because you’re probably canceling Will Smith to all these brigades of counselors.

They can’t make anything themselves, don’t create anything, but they’re sure about whoever else is creating stuff is wrong and they, they go gang up on their Twitter account, open 11 Good reads accounts and just nail the guy or whatever. Because they can’t bear for their opinion, to only be heard once and again.

They can’t write anything of use to the to humanity. I’m gonna give the award to Will Smith, and here’s why. It’s not because of what he, he did. Standing up and smacking a guy. Nobody’s saying that’s right. Nobody’s saying that’s right. Nobody out here. Even the, the, the manly men, tough guys are not going.

Yeah, I would’ve punched him too for talking about everybody’s kinda like, you know, that was a little bit out of, and you gotta wonder if some of that, if it had been a white man, if they might’ve treated him a little bit differently. If you might’ve heard a lot more voice from the AltRight going well.

You know that’s a man that’s not a cock, that’s a guy that’s standing up for himself. But he’s a black man and he’s a black man. That exudes achievement and quality of work. He’s given a lot of joy to a lot of us. You know, just watch men in black. Even once I make these look good, man, I make these sunglasses look good.

This is why Will Smith is getting the award, not because he did this thing. But because we need to start evaluating people by their overall contribution and recognizing that when we cultivate the artistic personality of people, the, the, the creative energy and creative intelligence it takes to give us decades of excellent work like we’ve gotten outta Will Smith.

You don’t get that. You don’t get to enjoy that man’s work. You don’t get to enjoy everything he’s put out. And then just, he did one thing. I don’t care what it was. I don’t care if he robbed a bank. I don’t care if it was dog day afternoon. I don’t care what, I don’t care if he drove down the road in a, in a white SS U V while an army of helicopters followed him.

And then you called him later and no, I’m not giving the award to OJ for different reasons, but I would give it to Will Smith because look, the guy’s overall massive contribution is what we mean by man hearted. It had heart. It had grit, it had fortitude. He had to overcome a lot, and he’s, he’s had to face shit.

Just ask him. And it’s difficult to be this guy and sit there in a suit and take it when your emotions are bothering you and what do we pay him for to give us those emotions on the screen. By the way, if you haven’t seen happiness with Will Smith, you ought to go watch that. I think it’s a great film and I think he gr did a great job of portraying a two true story of a person that has put up with those kinds of struggles.

You could judge that guy. He is a terrible father. He raised his kid in public bathrooms. Yeah, that’s what he had to do. But he hung onto that kid ’cause he knew how bad the foster home. Foster care system was, and he did what he had to do and he faced stuff. So the character he played was man hearted too.

I like Will because he gives us movies like this. Now, if he was punching a guy out every 10 seconds, you know, I, maybe that would be different, but, but he’s not. I would just as, just as much give it to a guy that punched a guy out over a parking space or had an argument or whatever and shoved him. If his overall contribution was, was this good?

The last person I want to give the E I M A to TO is not because she’s last by any means, but because it’s the most recent one I’ve been thinking about, and that’s Katherine Hepburn. And I’ve been thinking about Katherine Hepburn. We’re gonna do a, a show here at some point that I. Tentatively, I’m calling whiskey women because it’s the kind of gal they can have a drink with the boys and be taken seriously and can walk up.

And because her sheer gravitas, the sheer way she carries herself, the sheer way that she’s a force to be rec reckoned with her rectitude and fortitude, her resilience and grit means people take her seriously. You know that thing that happens when men are standing around, there’s a group of men and they’re joking and laughing and smiling, patting each other on the back, and they’re talking about something and a gal walks up and they suddenly, they hush up.

They hush up and they, they try to cover it by, they don’t talk about what they were talking about, and they, they act differently and suddenly they get all stiff and a little nervous and one guy goes to refill his drink and the one guy is always the guy that covers for everybody else by, by turning to the woman and saying, you look nice.

Oh, thanks. That’s what, is that what you said to Bill when Bill walked up? Is that what you said to Steve? You look nice. I like that dress. Where’d you buy that? You know it’s, or it’s great to have women here. You know what brought you here, sweetheart? You get that shit. I see it all the time. The boys club, Catherine Hepburn doesn’t put up with that shit.

Didn’t. And the the cool thing is it comes out, when she’s on the set, you get a little bit of it. And these roles, she’s asked to play where she’s supposed to be the woman who’s, you know, fraught and deeply emotional and scared of Ming, et cetera, but off, off camera when she’s, she’s making her movies.

She’s the kind of woman that set the bar right for holding your own arguing with directors, arguing, getting fired from a production, and then getting rehired on the same production. ’cause they’re like, this is what we need. We need this level of energy and fortitude and seriousness about the work.

That’s what Catherine Hepburn was all about. And yeah, she could sit down and have a glass of scotch and smoke a cigar with the boys, et cetera. This is the the kind of woman that makes me think, yeah, man. More girls like her. You would never see Katherine Hepburn even at two years old, standing on the sidewalk in front of your house, just screaming her head off for no reason.

Whatever problem was facing her, she would solve it. And she’s faced a lot. And she solved a lot. So I give her an E I M A. Now correspondingly, you know, we have another award on the show, the L L W A, the Lily Ldd WSS Award, and there’s only one guy we’re gonna give that to today, and that’s Elon Musk. Now you might think well, What you know, Elon Musk is a rich guy.

How can you give an award like that to a rich guy? Hasn’t he paid his dues? He earned his money. He is one of the richest guys on the planet. You know, that doesn’t make you brave. That doesn’t make mean that you have grit and fortitude and resilience. That doesn’t mean you have character. I. The, the courage that we’re talking about here, that’s man hearted, is the courage to be who you are, even if other people reject it to be who you are.

Even if you get canceled, like Kevin Spacey, to be who you are, even if you make a mistake like Will Smith, to be who you are, even in the face of an overwhelming boys club like Catherine Hepburn had to deal with in her career, and she still came out instead of being a victim going, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t make these movies, I’m outnumbered.

To, to stand on your own two legs, spread those legs apart, stand firm and triumph over your adversaries and show them what you are made of. That’s the stuff that, that breeds an E I M A. The Lilly Livered Whistle Award goes to Musk for this simple reason. Since taking over Twitter, he’s done nothing but mess it up, right?

He’s constantly saying, I’m the guy that can fix it. I know how everybody should get along. This is a guy who can’t socially connect with anybody telling us he knows how a social network would work. A social network that admittedly had its problems, but at least was doing something to remove the people, causing the worst asshole ever.

And what does Musk do? He starts letting guys that posted child pornography come back on and on top of this, I mean, seriously, seriously, even the alt-right maga nuts who are out there going, well, you know, the government is run by a secret cadre of lizard people who are drinking babies, blood and trading, and, you know, they’re grooming people for, even those guys should be, you know, taking a deep breath and going, what’d you do?

Elon, seriously, this is not cool. And what, what does he do? Not only does it do that, he just renamed it x I gotta put my own personal stamp of failure on it as I keep not returning value back to the investors. I think a, a Carl Icahn should swoop it and go, you know, I know what I should do. I should buy enough shares to try to get a stake in the leadership of this, this company, and try to turn it back to profit.

’cause clearly it’s top heavy with Ask Clowns who don’t know how to run a company. So why am I giving it? Why? Why is that cowardice? Why am I giving the L L W A to Elon Musk? Because that specifically requires being a bit of a wuss. Well, why is he a wuss? I’m telling you why. Because I have a prediction and it feel free, I’ll cancel the show if, if something like this doesn’t happen.

Feel free to throw crap at me later. But let’s put this in your mental time capsule. I think what’s gonna happen is Elon Musk at some point, I. Is gonna have to deal with the fact that he’s failing right now, his cowardice is, and that he can’t admit it. So he still earns the L L W A. He still can’t come out and say, I broke stuff.

I did it wrong. I’m doing a bad job. I’m not working out as a leader of this. A real leader could actually do this. Maybe I’m not the guy to lead this invasion. There’s plenty of guys in the Civil War that stood up and said, look, I’m not succeeding. You deserve somebody better. I’m your guy until I die, or you get somebody better and any one of these guys is better than me.

There’s lots of people Musk could point to if he had the cajones and say, they’re better than me, but I predict what’s gonna happen. ’cause he is gonna come out and at the point where it’s so clear that it’s a failure, that it’s not gonna make a profit, it’s not doing a good job, it’s not popular and nobody likes you.

Elon, he’s gonna say. Well, you know, I always meant to destroy it. I didn’t like the way it was and I meant to tear it down because guys like him who can’t build anything, who are so sure even his cars, geez, how long does it take to get one? How long does it take to get one of these things to market? And that’s a whole different topic from whether I.

You, you really want a laptop screen on the center console where you gotta lean your head over the gear shift in order to see the darn thing. You can’t even look at your speedometer without changing which app you’re in. It’s, it’s aside from being sure that’s what we all want instead of something that works when we need it, and we, we keep our eyes on the road, keep our family safe.

But aside from that, I have a feeling he’s gonna come out and say, I meant to destroy it. Because guys like him who can’t build anything, not really, not effective, not get it right without blowing up million dollar rockets. Sure you blow up enough of ’em. One of ’em is gonna fly eventually if you get enough help.

But a guy like that can only really destroy. And at some point, if you’re gonna say, I alone can fix it and I know what I’m doing, your choice comes down to I was wrong, or I always meant to mess it up. Now you tell me which one of these things you think Elon Musk is gonna do. Is he gonna a succeed? He’s gonna be right in the end.

We’re all gonna be proven wrong. B, he’s gonna mess it up at more and come out and say, I blew it. I was wrong. I’ve learned a lot through this process. I’ve been humbled, like Kevin Spacey said, I’ve been humbled by this, and I realized I need to think about my life choices and maybe make some different ones.

Or is he gonna come out and say, I meant to do that. Like a cat that falls from a building, you know, lands sideways instead of on his feet. Gets up, dusts himself off and go. That was intentional. I was trying to mess it up. So that’s why he gets the L L W A award because he can’t admit he is wrong now, he hasn’t admitted he’s wrong in the past.

And the best predictor of how somebody’s gonna behave in the future is how they’ve behaved all along the bet. And the reason why he gets an advance L L W A, almost like a down payment on his failure is because I have a strong feeling he’s gonna come out and say that, or something like it. Put it in your time capsule.

See if I’m wrong. I’m gonna finish with this. I want to tell you about a thing. If you’re a guitar player, you know a guitar player, you love a guitar player, you’ve always wanted to be a guitar player, you’ve picked up the guitar and you’ve gotten away from it because you know it was too hard. Maybe you didn’t have the grit, or maybe just the way in which the information was presented felt a little bit like a science experiment.

You probably want to get a copy of the guitar decoder ring. This is not a normal guitar book. You’re not gonna open this up and find charts and graphs that you’re gonna see. In a dozen other books, it’s not repackaged information that you can get off the internet in Wikipedia and glue together from free YouTube training videos.

And actually start playing guitar maybe someday so-called playing guitar halfway over the course of years, this is something you can pick up and it immediately unlocks the guitar and begins to teach you how to be effective and do some pretty darn amazing and unique solos relatively quickly. In just a few minutes, and I’m not talking about.

A flash in the pad. This will get you through your entire guitar life, your guitar hobby, whatever it is, your guitar commitment, your guitar career. You might be a seasoned in advanced guitar player, and this is gonna blow your freaking mind. And it’s because the authors, which includes me, full disclosure, and my colleague Barry Gilman, over at Guitar Realm, that’s Guitar Realm with one r guitar realm.com, have put together this book.

As a, a language, a five letter alphabet that decodes the entire fret board so that you can look at the fret board and see all of it at once and gain command to the fret board pretty quickly. You can learn the language in a few minutes, start getting command to the, the fret board right away, and pretty soon you’re not gonna be able to unlearn this.

It’s gonna be the way you see the guitar from now on, yo it to yourself to check it out. I don’t care how many other guitar books you’ve gotten, you know as well as I do, how many of them are just clones of each other? How there are all these different systems from caged on, et cetera, that are just, well, I need to make a D so I’m gonna use an A shape in this case that are confusing, feel a little bit backwards and hard to do.

The guitar to Coder Ring is not like that. It’s done from the standpoint of let’s decrypt the instrument, learn an actual language. And have nothing but guitar, no wall charts, no big workbooks where you’re tearing out sheets or making photocopies desperately and gluing ’em to your wall so you can stare up at something geeky and nerdy while you’re playing the guitar of simple five letter language that you can use to start taking command to the instrument once you’ve learned it, which will take you a few minutes, you really can’t unlearn the darn thing.

It’s unforgettable. The logo, which is made up of that language is right on the cover. If you’ve never seen anything like that on the cover, go there now. Go. Go to any place books are sold on the web. Look for the Guitar Dakota Ring by Asher Black and Barry Gilman. And if the letters of the alphabet that you see on the cover are something you’ve never seen before in any guitar book, buy it.

Buy the darn thing the the 10 bucks for the ebook, and I recommend the print book. But the 20 bucks for the print book are gonna be the best investment you ever made in playing guitar. With that, I wanna say this has been another episode of Man Hearted, powered by Spunk. You might disagree with what you’ve heard today, but if you’ve had a scotch or two, you’ll probably at least have been entertained.

Either way.

It will have been man hearted.

Errors in transcription courtesy of the machine.

Asher Black

Asher is a fabulist, maximist, humorist, and raconteur. By day, he works with companies to find and tell their story effectively. By night, he is a human bonfire.

Manhearted is the show about being a man—one man—Asher Black—powered by spunk. Asher is a ferocious professional smart-aleck who goes off like a rocket, picking fights with swaggering bullies, sacred certainties, and hollow-shirted heroes. Manhearted looks at culture through a neurodivergent lens, with a polymath host's cross-disciplinary references and occasional absurd awards. A withering but playful and tongue-in-cheek take on current events and the state of civilization, with transgressive humor, a hypermasculine critique of hypermasculinity, and enthusiastic swearing. You may disagree but, if you've had a Scotch or two, you'll be entertained. Either way, it will at least be MANHEARTED.