“Fast Five” and how cultures use men

March 26, 2011

Perfect timing.

First, there’s International Women’s Day a week or so ago.


  • are most of the prison population
  • are most of the homeless population
  • commit suicide more
  • die on the job more
  • get overwhelmingly killed more in wars that women also vote for, yet are never drafted (by law or by poverty) to fight
  • have less access to higher education
  • die younger (unlike in 1920 when life expectancies were the same)
  • have less average net worth
  • sometimes get a bad hand and have to pay child support to women who elect to no-fault divorce them and use the legal system to deprive them of child custody and visitation

One of the Women’s Day demonstrators had a sign that read “How long until women have equality?” and I’ve rarely been so angry.  I was a Good Boy, though, and didn’t say anything (“man fail!”).

Then, I recently finished listening to a (3-hour!) interview of Warren Farrel, author of The Myth of Male Power.  He was once on the board for the National Organization for Women, but got kicked out when he started turning the same how-is-a-group-used-by-the-culture analysis on men’s lives as well as women’s.

Then, I re-read Is There Anything Good about Men, another take on essentially the same subject.  One of its key points is that men are every (remaining) culture’s biggest winners and biggest losers, and it elaborates on why that is, especially from the perspective of evolutionary theory.

Essentially: To grow a population, a group needs all the women it can, but only a few men.  Therefore there’s always a “penile surplus” of men who, as the economics shake out, are ready for starting companies, fighting wars, curing diseases, starting movements, and all kinds of ambitious and risky stuff that usually ends in anonymity and oblivion, but Mad Success (riches, women and offspring) for those who succeed.  It’s those men that we’re descended from.

Roughly 80% of all the women who have ever lived have reproduced.  Only 40% of all men have.  Most men in world history have died childless and presumably single.

And then, I noticed that I just love the movie preview for Fast Five, about a group of crooks (eight men and one woman) who get together in Brazil to pull a heist and steal $100M from a police station.

  • Men doing incredibly risky stuff for a shot at incredible rewards
  • Men brutalizing each other in the competition for said resources
  • (The portrayal of) young women holding themselves out as prizes to the victor, uninterested in who in particular that victor ends up being

“Chances are we’re going to end up in jail or buried in a ditch somewhere…  but not today!” –Vin Diesel

Man.  How sucker can I be?  How far does the rabbit hole go, exactly?

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