Jean-Luc Picard Is the Good Kind of French, Apparently

I’m sorry, after years of hearing about how John Kerry would have been a terrible president because he is some kind of Parisian fairy, I am now staggered to learn that one of conservatism’s archetypes of manliness isJean-Luc Picard.


(Otherwise known as my second TV crush, after Hawkeye Pierce. Is there an equal opposite to cradle-robber? Because whatever that is, I’ve always been it. When I was 13 I had a thing for Adam onAll My Children, Adam who was old enough to be my mother’s grandfather. WTF, subconscious?)

Let’s get back to Frenchy McBaldness. Picard, okay, read books, drank tea and spent like eleventy-billion yearsnot banging the hot, seriously-into-him redheaded doctor down the hall. He came from a family of winemakers. His best friend was a black woman played by Whoopi Goldberg. He had a foreign accent! I don’t have a problem with any of this (unf), but how exactly does it fit in with the ideal of Conservative Manhood being about smashing things and keeping the bitches down? Does whipping some Borg ass now and then make up for stuff like this?

They’re mostly wrong, actually: Indiana Jones taught at a university and preferred museums over profit, and the Holy Grail is about the dangers of religious fanaticism. The A-Team is about helping people who have nowhere else to turn, who should probably just be shoved away with a lecture about bootstraps. I can’t speak to the wrestler up there, but he seems to be treating that woman with affection (at least, she’s not barefoot in the kitchen).

Trying to shoehorn pop culture into modern politics usually ends up stupid for this reason: Any good character is complex, and modern politicking needs things simple and dumb.

Before the 1980s, there were different masculine characters, but today, they are conspicuously absent. Men are shown either as thuggish degenerates, or as effete androgynes.

I will admit to impatience with actors young enough to be my legal kids being the new sex symbols, but that’s not to do with them or the culture or masculinity, it’s to do with how I am nowold as fuck. Luckily, there isBen Daniels for me, andRobert Lindsay, andIdris Elba, andyes I watch a lot of British TV I can’t help it they’re all so amazing, with the voices and hands and such. Even on the basic non-cable TV there are men who look like adults doing doctor and lawyer and detective things. If you’re not finding sufficient masculinity in the world, it’s probably a better idea to look in the mirror than to keep changing the channel.


17 thoughts on “Jean-Luc Picard Is the Good Kind of French, Apparently

  1. You see, this is why those morons “win.” They’ll say something so stupid that it simply defies rebuttal, and then claim victory when you look at them like they’re the barking mad lunatics they actually are.
    Also, were these motherfuckers aware ofDeadwood?Rome?
    Actually, fuck that. Did they ever watchThe Cosby Show? I mean, Cliff was usually the stereotypical bumbling sitcom dad; Claire was the sophisticated, nearly-always-right rock on that show.
    Ah, fuck all of this. These fuckholes aren’t worth an argument, and while I enjoyed watchingThe A-Team when I was ten, I have since come to enjoy complicated characters and dramas. Shit, comparingThe A-Team to, say, The Wire is like comparing stick figures toThe Last Judgment.

  2. You’re old? I don’t think so.
    I have exclusive claim to that title. I very well may be the world’s oldest hippie.

  3. Fonzie? Good lord. Sounds to me like this is the repitition as farce of Kim du Toit’s cri du coeur from a while back…

  4. Not to mention that Patrick Stewart handles Shakespeare better than anyone else I can think of.

  5. Trying to shoehorn pop culture into modern politics usually ends up stupid for this reason: Any good character is complex, and modern politicking needs things simple and dumb.
    One of the best critiques Freud ever got from a colleague was, “metaphor is not proof.”
    It might be a worthwhile experiment to just send off the Freudian-Skinnerians to study themselves for awhile. IRL, one was reactionary to the other. The modern hybrid has a thing for airbrushing.

  6. btw, you might want to let your subconscious off the hook. It’s not meant to be taken quite so literally. Kinda like Skinnerians who want to quantify and predict human behavior but are stymied by the description of humans as essentially bundles of quantum energy. Slowed down of course. But faster than a steno. *blink blink*
    Nothing a month of good, self-generated REM couldn’t cure. Woe be unto the poseurs who f*k with the silver cord.

  7. how exactly does it fit in with the ideal of Conservative Manhood being about smashing things and keeping the bitches down?
    It doesn’t. They were just trying to appeal to the Star Trek nerd demographic.

  8. this may be off-topic, but now that you mention Indiana Jones, I just want to say, does anyone else notice that, for an archeologist, Jones basically destroys every single archeological site he visits?
    Ok, he personally doesn’t destroy them. Nazis or aliens or what have you destroys them. But you watch an Indiana Jones movie, and without fail, the site that archeologist Indiana Jones investigates goes boom. (The only exception is the facade of the Temple of Doom, as opposed to the interior, which might be explained by the fact it actually is the historical site of Petra and it was shot on location.)
    I can just a UN world heritage committee debating this: Yes, but if we designate it, maybe Indiana Jones might excavate there? And boom there goes the entire thing…

  9. OK, I’ll weigh in on the wrestler. “Macho Man” Randy Savage has one hugely famous storyline that brought him to national prominence.(involving his real-life wife at the time, pictured there).
    Randy is a super-talented wrestler who everyone wants to manage, but he brings in “his woman” Miss Elizabeth. He treats her like dirt, is jealous and paranoid about other men. He is also the bad guy for these behaviours. He gradually becomes better liked and begins to treat her better. However, his jealousy of Hulk Hogan turns him evil again as he accuses Hogan of coveting “his woman”. All of this is too much for Liz, who finally leaves him. He goes further and further off the deep end, hooking up with a woman who uses him as a meal ticket as he gets more and more off the deep end until he finally ends up in a “retirement” match which will end his career if he loses.
    He loses. The golddigging woman turns on him, as he is useless to her now, and Miss Elizabeth comes out of the crowd to save him, forgiving him. He apologizes to her, and leaves to a hero’s exit, finally redeemed.
    So yes, probably the closest to their world view and his most famous storyline STILL doesn’t hold up their values all that well.

  10. Diana, I actually think the first movie is misunderstood in that Indy barely is better than Belloq in it. He robs graves, he’s sketchy in his methods, he doesn’t understand the locals. He’s not really a hero. He’s a lousy archeologist but a good treasure hunter.
    And then he has a moment where he has to choose, and he chooses his friends, and humility.

  11. Of course Indy’s a terrible archaeologist. Indiana Jones movies have as much to teach you about archaeology asJurassic Park did about paleontology. Less, actually. Christ, a movie where the only thing that happens for three hours is people sweating, setting up grid lines, and excavating a site with picks and toothbrushes would be even more boring thanAn American Carol.

  12. You know, I keep coming back to this post and the “brown kids are sneaking into our neighborhoods and eating our good candy” post and I still can’t formulate a response above and beyond:
    “What the fuck is wrong with people anyway?”

  13. Manliness is also about being Daddy, and Picard was Daddy to the Enterprise, if not the entire Federation. Jean-Luc Picard is indeed the good kind of French — he has authority.

  14. Old? Pfft. To coin a phrase, those of you who think you are old are annoying those of us who are 🙂
    In other news, Idris Elba, mmmmm. Ever seen Ultraviolet?

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