Posted on October 19, 2019
by Steve Janowick

I can just imagine the director going over the script with his talent…

Ok, for this part of the commercial you’ll be in your cozy pajamas sitting with legs crossed at your dining room table by the glowing light of your flickering laptop.  You’re holding your coffee mug in one hand and the other will be nervously fingering through your billy goat beard. You’re in deep thought, intently focused on your homework assignment, but still listening for the wife and kids asleep upstairs – of course, we’ll cut to a quick shot of them snuggled warmly in their beds.  

Now, through your thick, vintage frames, I want you to gaze longingly out the window into the starry sky – at all the vastness and all the possibilities.  Then, with a fearless determination in your eyes, I want you to take a deep breath, strike down on that “enter” key, throw your fist in the air and nod your head in victory…

Because you did it!  

For it is you, night school guy, who is the face of courage in 2019!  The husband/father who works during the day and takes some online courses by night.  You are the face of grit and resolute toughness. Of overcoming fear and trepidation.  Of beating those odds that are so unfairly stacked against you. You stare down uncertainty and adversity with your glare of virtuous determination and then you single-handedly whip their asses!!

You are so brave!  You are so…

Blah blah blah.  Ok, enough! I’m actually making myself queasy trying to make my own point.  If you own a TV, and turn it on once every solar eclipse, then you’ve surely seen an incarnation of this cringe-worthy narrative Madison Avenue is trying to ram down our collective gullets.  

They are trying to convince us that this guy in their online school commercials is somehow courageous!  Really? Yea, he may be a bit inconvenienced, tired or frazzled…but brave and heroic? No, I don’t think so.  But, sadly, that’s where we are. Devolved to a point where we’re calling dudes who go to night school, while in the comfort of their own homes – mind you, courageous.  

There used to be a time not that long ago when all those venerable adjectives were reserved for guys who fought in wars.  Who risked their lives running into burning buildings. Who scrapped it out in cage matches. Who were slinging hot shingles on slippery A-frames.  Or ones who were staring certain death in the eyes while battling terminal illnesses.  

These men used to be the ones we looked to when we wanted examples of courage.  Men who faced real and tangible danger. Men who were forced to make very difficult life and death decisions.  Men who suffered extreme hardships and pain – and made it through.    

But now, just by virtue of his mere existence, every man is courageous.  Because the world is so cruel, the people in it are so mean and life is just so stressful and hard for him and…

Here comes that gag reflex again!  

God only knows what the next few decades will look like.  I’m sure the powers that be will continue their ravenous assault on the traditional man.  They’ve got their scalpels sharpened and are ready for some serious snipping – with global emasculation being the end game.  They will try to redefine words like courage and bravery by making them synonymous with men who really aren’t. All in the name of progress.  

But there’ll always be a resistance to this methodical subversion. 

There will always be men who battle back.  Who will buck this warped, distorted trend and fight to uphold what it really means to possess courage?

And that…is as courageous as it gets!

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