Slim pickings on list of 2018’s good men

We suppose it says something about the state of men that one of the men who made Naomi Fry’s list of good men in 2018 isn’t a man at all: it’s a thing of some sort.

It’s Gritty, the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team.

“It was a rough one for the reputation of the American male,” Fry writes accurately in her article of men who weren’t horrible.

This viral sensation has brought so much joy to our lives since his début, in September, that it’s difficult to believe that, mere months ago, we were Gritty-less. The instantly meme-able monster physically resembles Animal, the out-of-control drummer from “The Muppet Show,” crossed with the stolidly barrel-shaped Homer Simpson.

Done up in the Flyers’ team colors, black and orange, with his long, shaggy fur, convulsive dance moves, and round, googly eyes never not caught in mid-wobble, Gritty is part cute stuffed toy, part barely repressed hurricane. According to the Gritty origin story on the N.H.L.’s official Web site, the “recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout,” and forced him into the outside world.

And what luck for us. Gritty is magic because he is pure male id, but without any of the menace—his belligerent gestures so theatrical and over-the-top as to be lovable. (As the N.H.L. site reveals, “A number of times, he has been caught eating snow straight off the Zamboni machine.” He can’t be stopped!)

In one much-shared sequence, Gritty entered the first home-game of the season by rappelling into the arena to the poignant tune of Miley Cyrus’s power ballad “Wrecking Ball.” In the song, Cyrus croons, “We kissed, I fell under your spell / A love no one could deny.”

What a relief to finally encounter a man who, with every gesture of his herky-jerky, fuzzy body, was not afraid to express emotions that were both true and sensitive.

Also on her list of good men: the mandarin duck in New York and Knickers, the oversized steer of Australia.

And Anthony Bourdain, who died.

  • Barton
  • MikeB

    It’s almost getting to “don’t put up a statue or name a street until they are dead” territory here.

    • QuietBlue

      And sometimes not even then (i.e. Bourdain trying to pay off Argento’s accuser).

  • Rob

    Are we even sure that Gritty is a dude?

  • Gary F

    Somebody is finally getting help. Good for him. Just what world will we be leaving to Keith Richards.

  • Mike

    If all men are supposedly tarnished by Donald Trump, Leslie Moonves, and Harvey Weinstein, then are all women equally besmirched by Elizabeth Holmes (former defrauder-in-chief at Theranos), or by Sarah Sanders, whose own high-powered career is built on rationalizing and defending her boss’s actions? What about Gina Haspel, Trump’s CIA Director, who authorized torture in Iraq?

    • How is “whatabout” not the 2018 word of the year?

      • Mike

        “Whataboutery” – When someone brings up a set of facts or perspective that is inconvenient for the ideological axe being ground by a particular party.

        It’s sort of like that all-purpose word “terrorism.” It’s a great label and absolves us of having to think any further.

        • BJ

          Usually Whataboutism is the logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.

          • Mike

            I refute the notion that all men should feel bad about the actions of individual miscreants. Is that direct enough?

          • Well, see, the problem is that the problem is bigger than individual miscreants. It’s a culture and a privilege that men enjoy that makes being a woman terribly difficult.

            I’ll feel bad about it on your behalf so you don’t have to, if that makes it easier for you.

            See, the problem is men don’t see things that women do because they’re men…it’s natural. Or it’s just joking around. Or whatever.

            But talk to women sometime about what it’s like on a day to day basis and see if you hear some stories.


          • Mike

            Men also enjoy the following privileges:

            – A far higher rate of workplace injuries and fatalities, due to the cultural expectation that men do the bulk of the dirty and/or dangerous jobs (including military combat).
            – A far greater suicide rate, due to the cultural expectation that men shouldn’t show weakness or really have any emotions to speak of.

            I’ll feel sorry for men in those categories so you don’t have to, if that makes it easier for you.

            Or we could just say that the world is tough on different people in different ways.

          • None of those has ANYTHING to do with the treatment of others . That’s the issue a lot of guys don’t get. It seems normal

          • Mike

            When men are socially conditioned to ignore their health and their very lives, how is that not gross maltreatment?

            Men are not universally depraved, nor are women correspondingly all virtuous. Paying attention only to the advantages of one sex role and the disadvantages of the other is fundamentally dishonest, and misses the larger cultural problem by a mile.

            Our society still largely subscribes to the notion that men should be aggressive, take-charge, and goal-oriented (e.g., “man up”). When that is the ideal, and any other is systematically discouraged, it should be no surprise that the excesses related to those ideals (violence, abuse, nihilism) remain prevalent.

          • You’ve just perfectly described “toxic masculinity”

          • Mike

            Which was my intention. The point being that this is a complex social construct that plenty of people, men and women both, subscribe to, often unconsciously.

            Put crudely and simply, men buy into it because it gives them a vicarious sense of power that the great majority of them don’t have for reasons of economics and social class. Women buy into it because they love the fantasy of being attached to an emblem of male strength and invincibility.

            Unfortunately, it’s an ideological death trap for both.

          • kat

            People buy into cultural norms for many reasons-but your crude description is ridiculous. Just because toxic masculinity exists does not mean that men need to sexually harass women- or condone it.

          • BJ

            Except that was never said – except by you. The author said of good men, “these men, too, likely felt themselves tarnished, if only by dint of association.”

            Never said anyone should feel, or do feel, just that they likely felt. Also not about the bad actions of miscreants. It’s about empathy toward the whole class who have things happen to them every day.

  • The Resistance

    Hopefully Robert Mueller will remove some of my gender’s tarnish during 2019.

  • KTFoley

    If I were to rephrase Naomi’s message:
    I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.