Lost Boys

My teenage daughter’s social life is a whirl of competing invitations: You wanna go thrifting, or to the movies? Or maybe we grab some food while we prep for the Model UN trip and solve the world’s problems before sunrise?

All her friends are female or female-identified. They are flowering, flourishing, gunning for a future full of power and promise. No boys cloud this picture. These girls have no more use for boys than ducks have for socks.

However her romantic proclivities ripen, it seems least an even bet that my daughter ends up with a female life partner, almost by default. The boys her age are in MIA. They are at home, bestriding their online private kingdoms: Crossfire, Grand Theft Auto, Orcs Must Die! 3. Their reflexes are extremely good. Their life goals are a black box. The are hiding their little lights under a bushel so completely, not a single photon can escape.

In some ways they are following the path of the hikikomori, Japan’s lost generation of young men who started opting out more deliberately at least a decade ago. Cultural and family pressures have boxed them in. It’s a game they can’t win, so they have decided not to play. With a fuck that wave of the hand, the hikikomori confine themselves to their bedrooms for months or even years. They are conscientious objectors, secure in their caves, hermits without the asceticism. Reliable estimates put their number at half a million.

Here in the West, some of the lost boys do venture out. Only to get promptly, cruelly and publicly shot down. And so the lost boys grow into lost men, furious incels gathering at the feet of Jordan Peterson. Powder kegs ready to blow.

This is all making many people go bananas. Because it’s actually becoming a geopolitical issue.

From his cliffside lair on the Black Sea, President Putin keeps a side-eye on the social dynamics in Western high schools, with confident young women juking around the inert forms of the boys and pairing up with other women … and something about it makes him verrry uncomfortable. Those nutjob Americans are ruining men. And the women thing? These kind of shenanigans will never happen in my country, by god. We crack the whip on that shit.

Authoritarian leaders from China to Hungary rally around this strange reconfiguring of gender roles as the moral outrage it clearly is. See? This is what happens when structure and discipline and sanity are abandoned. You woke Western fucks have lost control of the narrative. If everything’s fluid, then where do you stand, and who are you really?

On this point the Tucker Carlsons and the Sean Hannitys scabbard their weapons and nod in agreement. They see these things the way Putin does.

And so we inch toward Civil War.

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