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The mythical masculinity of Donald Trump He is the ancient hairy man of Robert Bly's dreams

'The hero, the warrior, the king.’ Angela Weiss/AFP/Bloomber/Getty Images

'The hero, the warrior, the king.’ Angela Weiss/AFP/Bloomber/Getty Images


April 24, 2024   7 mins

As Donald Trump endures the eternity of the next month or so on a wooden bench in a courtroom in lower Manhattan, legions of his followers will decry the legal proceedings against him. They will insist that the claims and counterclaims are nothing but the latest in a long line of ordeals their idol must endure on his fated path to splendour and triumph.

Trump’s acolytes compare him to Jesus Christ, and he’s fine with that. In fact, for quite some time he has been leaning into psychological, aesthetic and commercial identifications with a wide variety of heroic avatars: from George Washington crossing the Delaware in the bitter winter cold, to Superman and an NFT Supertrump — not to mention the bizarre stereotypes depicted in Trump Trading Cards, from Donfather to Trumpinator. Such deific representations of the otherwise mortal Donald are worth noting, if only because a great part of Trump’s political success has been due to his preternatural ability to align himself with our collective imagination of the hero, the warrior, the king.

And Trump is not alone. The resurgent power of masculine myth has helped to create a generation of macho social media influencers, from MMA fighter Andrew Tate (presently detained in Bucharest, facing criminal charges of human trafficking), to steroid-jacked Alex Jones of InfoWars infamy (still liable for a $1.1 billion defamation bill), to the black-gloved American Senator Josh Hawley (author of Manhood). These are the titans of what has come to be called the Manosphere — a bevy of pseudo-self-help gurus and outright hucksters that now includes eminences such as “Liver King” Brian Johnson (2 million Instagram followers) and “Carnivore MD” Paul Saladino (500,000 followers on YouTube, another 500,000 on TikTok). On the throne of this virtual realm sits Donald Trump, unfortunately stuck in that cold courtroom, where on the first day of his historic trial he promptly fell asleep.

It is a puzzling phenomenon. Journalists and academics have long pondered how this particular specimen of American manhood — the meticulously coiffed disco-dancing nepo baby who skipped military service in Vietnam — could ever have become a model adult, much less a modern incarnation of Hercules. And the key to his particular brand of potency, it turns out, has little to do with any of the products collectively known among e-commerce retailers as “alpha-male bromeopathy”. Trump’s appeal is more ancient and instinctive than spray-tanning and chest-waxing; he stands at the end of a long-neglected, long-ridiculed and long-dismissed archetypal lineage, a genealogy of mythic manhood fully articulated a little more than three decades ago in a best-selling book written by the sage of American manliness, Robert Bly.

Bly was an educated and erudite man from the American heartland. Born in Minnesota in 1926, he attended Harvard and the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, then went on to win a Fulbright, a National Book Award and the Robert Frost Medal for poetry. But all such honours and achievements pale next to the extraordinary impact of his 1990 book, Iron John, that retells a story first set down by the Grimm brothers more than 200 years ago, a narrative that Bly asserted “could be ten or twenty thousand years old”.

It is a fairy tale about what it means to be a man. More to the point, it is a fairy tale about what it means not to be a man, as Iron John was one of the first books to articulate what was soon to become a ubiquitous lament among modern manfluencers: manhood had been lost, and now must be regained. “The warriors inside American men have become weak in recent years”, wrote Bly, and such decay could only be remedied by getting in touch with the “ancient hairy man” within — a man both primitive and sexual, a man beset by danger and risk. A man, to risk stating the obvious, with lots of hair.

A man like Donald Trump.

In the age of anti-hair-loss potions Finasteride, Minoxidil and Nutrafol, it is the mane of the “ancient hairy man” that has persisted as the key signifier. Scoff as one might at Bly’s vision, it is to his eternal credit that he foresaw modern man’s quest for the hero with the “golden head”. And as patently absurd as such pseudo-profundities may appear, Iron John was met by stunningly positive reviews — the work was “remarkable”, “powerful”, “deeply moving”, “extraordinary”, and “ground-breaking”. Translated into dozens of languages, the book spent 62 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Bly became an instant celebrity, masculinity’s first post-modern guru.

Bly organised manly retreats in which he played the bongos amid middle-aged, back-office accountants doing their best primitive dance routines around the raging fire, followed by lots of hugging and weeping. In the last decade of the 20th century, Bly had not only articulated the problem but had begun to enact the solution to the enormous daddy issue now known as the men’s mythopoetic movement, which in no time would go off the rails and transmogrify into the Men’s Rights Movement, with its emphasis on anti-male discrimination, false accusations of rape and reparations for the mass atrocity of circumcision. Overnight, the tyrant king who the “femi-Nazis” (to use Rush Limbaugh’s infamous phrase) had sought to suppress came out of the closet in the guise of a vengeance-bent, AK-47-slinging, buffed-up bro on a paleo diet convinced of a global conspiracy to turn him into a cuck.

Seen in the light of Bly’s take on anthropology, history, myth and literature, Trumpism is not entirely Trump’s fault. In the Eighties and Nineties, just as Trump skyscrapers and Trump casinos began to darken the horizons of Manhattan and Atlantic City, all the world was filled with hairy wild men deluded into believing in their own sacred kingship. Such would-be cowboys ruled the American imagination, from junk-bond dealers to rock stars and high rollers surrounded by pole-dancing hookers, snorting lines on private jets high above the realm of crack addicts, the homeless and other fatherless men who were their twins in the dark mirror.

With such lines of descent in mind did I return to Iron John, hoping to find some deeper understanding of the present manly mess, only to discover how deeply unoriginal were the present crop of alphas. Way back when George H.W. Bush was president, Bly had already made it clear that there was nothing about manliness that hadn’t already been espoused by Hopi and Seneca wise men, Pan the goat-man, Humbaba the Babylonian giant and George S. Patton.

Just as these mythic male heroes appeared like emanations from a world beyond, so the Trump plane materialises as a speck in the sky, growing ever more epic in its approach. From this chariot of fire the hero descends to the land of mortals, radiant in red, white and gold — as Wordsworth said of the just-born child, “trailing clouds of glory”. His hair is gold. Now Trump stands before them, “part human, part god, part animal”. He dances the ritual dance — what Bly called “macho strutting”, similar to the rhumba of the heron and white-tailed deer. In short order a plane hangar in Pittsburgh becomes Bly’s “Ritual Space”, where “a turn of phrase or a turn of a symbol replaces the turn of the sword”.

Bly said that the child must abandon his first father in order to find a second father, the “second king”. While the first king was the dad who didn’t come home from work, who was an alcoholic or abusive or distant or who just outright upped and left, one consolation of MAGA was that the second father would always be there, a constant in the feed — begging, cajoling, cursing, raging. If the sin of the first king was remoteness, the second king won’t leave you alone.

Such are the satisfactions the golden-haired one offers as he rains radiance down upon generations of men jacked up on the vision of glitter and money and success; but otherwise disaffected, apathetic, uncomprehending, disenfranchised and ashamed of all they have not accomplished. Once the damaged male has experienced such grandeur, observed Bly, he will “want to have it all the time”. And so his initiates drape themselves in Trump garments, they ape Trump language, they wave Trump flags. Through their intercessor they will find solace for their wound — and learn to wound others.

Trump delivers one aggressive cliché after another, that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, that his followers must “fight like hell”, that he will be their “retribution”. He invokes the apocalyptic “Storm”, wherein all enemies shall be rounded up and summarily brought to the gallows. His dark joy knows no bounds as he reiterates his favourite themes: the invasion of rapists and murderers from barbarian lands, and the catastrophe that awaits us all if Joe Biden is re-elected. In short, American carnage.

The hero, Bly insisted, must lead us into such a descent into darkness, and it was Bly’s advice to embrace that darkness. “In every relationship something fierce is needed,” he wrote, declaring that ritual violence was an essential element of the initiation of “the warriors inside American men”. In Bly’s mind, the male species’ natural love of guns and violence was proof positive that the problems of manhood began with childhood, that it had been a fatal mistake to repress boyish desires for an idyllic youth spent playing cowboys and Indians, shooting arrows and BB guns, blowing the heads off rabbits and squirrels (and, perhaps, torturing an insect or two). How gratifying, then, are the images of Don Jr kneeling in Zimbabwe, grinning alongside a menagerie of bloody elephants, bears and giraffes.

“Trump wants his followers to remain children — for children aren’t particularly interested in reasoned arguments, nor easily swayed by them.”

While Bly tells us that in order to mature we must return to origins, Trump simply asks us to regress. For it is not the lawgiver who rules the manosphere, but greedy child-men. Thus do infantile archetypes loom large in Iron John — and endure in the myriad of “Baby Trump” memes — Trump in diapers, Trump throwing a tantrum, tiny Trump cradled in Hillary Clinton’s motherly arms, Trump as the miniscule “MAGAlorian”. Such memes underscore one of the most harmful misunderstandings that set the modern male on his toxic path: Trump wants his followers to remain children — for children aren’t particularly interested in reasoned arguments, nor easily swayed by them.

Nor are they known to be particularly moral beings. This partly explains Trump’s blatant display of grift, an element of his charisma that has perplexed many otherwise astute observers. Here again, Bly provides an explanation. His study of ancient myth revealed that in order to re-capture the power of the long-lost psychic origin of masculinity, the child-man initiate must first find the “key” — a key that, according to all the cross-cultural narratology, must be stolen. In the felonious tradition of Hermes, Loki, Odysseus and Wily Coyote, the successful initiate must prove himself to be a capable trickster. And Trump is the Trickster in Chief — the thief who lies about election theft, the plutocrat who couldn’t afford bail until an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange came just in time to increase his paper wealth by several billions on the back of a company, Truth Social, that boasts sales on a par with a used car dealership.

“My power is great, greater than you believe, and I have gold and silver in abundance.” That was Iron John’s promise to his acolyte. It is also Trump’s promise to MAGA and the manosphere. Thus do hordes of Redditers, Snapchatters, Xers, Instagrammers and sundry other amo-packing denizens of incel message boards feel the pain of the billionaire who now stands trial for hiding hush money payments to a porn star. And here, too, Trump will rely on truths Bly articulated decades ago — that much like infants, his followers will “refuse to remember ugly facts”, that they will “look away from disorganisation, abuse, abandonment”.

After all, this is precisely what Trump hopes the jury will do when at long last they will be asked to return a verdict. At which point Zeus himself won’t be of much help, not to Trump or any of the rest of us. And we can’t say we weren’t warned. As Bly noted long ago: “That golden head is going to be a problem.”


Frederick Kaufman is a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and a professor of English and Journalism at the College of Staten Island. He is the author of Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food.

FredericKaufman

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Howard S.
Howard S.
27 days ago

Whatever Mr Kaufman was smoking when he wrote this diatribe, he should stop, stick to a cup of strong coffee for his muse.

John Frater
John Frater
27 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Indeed. Trump is more the ‘naive male’ Bly describes in a chapter that basically characterises most men these days. Bly would no doubt enjoy the comedy of this article.

Liakoura
Liakoura
26 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

And I suggest having commented first, you either had advance warning of what an excellent article Frederick Kaufman had written,(highly unlikely), or, more likely you read the headline and found it so wounding that you resorted to a ‘smoking cannabis destroys your critical faculties’ kind of nonsense.
The writer is quite mild in his criticism, as here’s the real Trump that anyone with a sense of morality, decency and equality needs to know about the sexually deviant braggart Donald Trump:
Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women:
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…
…Grab ’em by the p***y. You can do anything.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/donald-trump-tape-transcript.html

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
22 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

New York spawned studio 54 where anything went.
Studio 54 – Wikipedia

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
26 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

It is just a postmodern rant. It gives very strong credibility to what the author is criticizing. It’s probably the product of misguided AI.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
26 days ago
Reply to  Howard S.

This was the most terrible article I have read here in a very long time.. just horrible writing, let alone the ridiculous examples and the stupid metaphors and things like

”Trump’s acolytes compare him to Jesus Christ, and he’s fine with that””

??? Really? To 99% of Trump supporters this would be thought blasphemy. Most tend to identify as Christian and no one thinks Trump Christlike.

This is some postmodernist guy trying to imagine others think in their weird and nihilistic and atheistic way.

People fallow Trump because they think him the First in 100 years, a Politician, who is not Uniparty, who has not sold his soul to the Elite Finance, Corporate, Deep State.

Like they said in WWII, then the Flack gets heavy you know you are over the target.

The Flack – the 100% Fake News attacks, the Law-fare against him and all who back him, the total election corruption, the way the entire Democrat and RINOs , the University Professors, Social Media, MSM, Entertainment industry, work to destroy him. This has never, ever, been seen in history.

To any thinker this means the bad guys who hold Dark Power over the Nation fear him as he is for the citizen and Nation – Which the dark Powers seek to destroy and rule over.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago

He does say he’s sacrificing himself for his followers and that certainly sounds Christ-like.

K H
K H
27 days ago

Meh, I’ve read much better hit pieces on Trump. This is pathetic.

Liakoura
Liakoura
26 days ago
Reply to  K H

Thanks and would you post a link or two so I can read these ‘hit pieces’?
After all given the recorded interviews Trump gave to Bob Woodward, why would anyone try to better the journalist who with Carl Bernstein, brought about the downfall of President Richard Nixon, who would have made Trump appear to be little more than an infantile blowhard.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Woodward#:~:text=While%20a%20reporter%20for%20The,resignation%20of%20President%20Richard%20Nixon.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Read anything in the MSM if you want more confirmation bias induced serotonin rushes. Then vote for the latest progressive stooge that comes along and promises the “everything is free” utopia as they rid the world of human freedom and blame it all on conservatives.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

You come across as Biden’s ‘Monica Lewinski’.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

What a silly comment.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Well said.

Liakoura
Liakoura
25 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Thank you.

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
24 days ago
Reply to  K H

It is really a hit piece on Robert Bly, about whom the author knows less than nothing.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
27 days ago

Uh oh! The Trump cultists around here, of whom there are many, aren’t going to like this!
Their utterly predictable fury of their short-fingered vulgarian godking will of course prove every word of the article!

Steve Hamlett
Steve Hamlett
27 days ago

Shines a bright light on Jan 6, I’ll say.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
27 days ago

He’s really more of a short-fingered vulgarian god-president. Well, to me, at least.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
26 days ago

Well your daughter showering, child sniffing, 10% for the Big Guy, warmongering, corrupter of Justice, godking is not that great either.

T Bone
T Bone
27 days ago

I see everything in the world through a Lens of “Orange Man Bad.” It informs everything that I do.

When I pour my morning coffee, I’m reminded that Donald Trump once tweeted Covfefe. After my anger subsides, I butter my toast only to be reminded that Donald Trump likes to boast. Soon I climb into my sustainable vehicle only to be reminded of Donald Trump’s traitorous exit from the Paris Climate Accords. As I glue myself to the soft rhythmic chatter of National Public Radio, I am reminded that Fox News exists and many of their listeners support Donald Trump! American flags dot the roadway as if the omnipresent Patriarchy was screaming tropes of Toxic Masculinity. The same tropes used by Donald Trump!

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
27 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

This is weird even for you Trump cult members!
Is his imminent jailing and/or second landslide defeat to Biden really making you people this crazy?

T Bone
T Bone
27 days ago

I’m actually a bigger fan of DeSantis than Trump. Most Conservatives here aren’t MAGA. They just prefer Trump to almost any Democrat. There’s also plenty of people that like him as a President but not him personally.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
27 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

DeSantis is nothing but a small time bully without Trump’s charm – I know, that is hard to imagine! He’ll be forgotten soon enough.

Tim L.
Tim L.
26 days ago

Everything and everyone will be forgotten soon enough, whatever “soon enough” means.

T Bone
T Bone
26 days ago

I have absolutely no idea why you italicized “is.”

0 0
0 0
26 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

“There’s also plenty of people that like him as a President but not him personally.”
That seems to be the general consensus among his supporters, most of whom aren’t MAGA fanatics. Though I reluctantly voted for him in 2016, I voted Libertarian in 2020 and will probably do so this time around (unless I decide to sit this one out completely). If Trump wins, however, I won’t be disappointed. Then again it doesn’t matter either way. The US is essentially ungovernable under the present anachronistic two-party system.
Both parties, along with their, uh, “leaders” are equally useless. My prayer is that they both dry up and blow away.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
26 days ago

When you have people who think that the dementia ridden corrupt old Joe and his toxic progressive handlers are better than Trump, you warm to Trump.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
26 days ago

Have you read Robert Bly? Iron John?

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
26 days ago

Of course he hasn’t

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
26 days ago

Rhymes with anchor, cupid, zealous and sprite

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
26 days ago

Plonk has softened your brain, socialist.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
27 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Great post.

Liakoura
Liakoura
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Orangemen, or the Orange Order, is a Loyalist/Unionist Protestant organization. They are, first and foremost, opposed to a united Ireland and would prefer that Northern Ireland remain part of the United Kingdom. They are staunchly Protestant and even more extremely anti-Roman Catholic.
They might be considered by those Americans who annually celebrate their victory in the war of independence against the British, as the final bastion British imperialism. (Well other than a few tiny colonial island nations scattered around the globe).
Or is ‘Orange Man’ some obscure reference to Trump that I’ve yet to come across?

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I agree – reading T Bone’s triggering post I agreed so strongly with his anti Trump sentiment I just wanted to go out and get an abortion to show how much I disagree with every thing Trump stands for, even though I am a man. (which I think one can do in California)

Stephen Kristan
Stephen Kristan
26 days ago

In Biden’s America, don’t let that stop you.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
26 days ago

I’m confused. Are you saying that in Biden’s America everyone, excuse me, women are eagerly lining up for an abortion? This is Trump’s America. He appointed three ultra conservative Catholics to the Supreme Court, who have restricted abortion. In Florida, Two pregnant women were turned away from the hospital when they were having severe pains. One woman gave birth to a viable baby in a restroom. The baby died. Another woman was trying to get to another hospital, and ended up giving birth in the car. The viable baby died. Go Florida!! Who needs an abortion when you have terrified doctors afraid of the abortion law! Florida hates babies.

T Bone
T Bone
26 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And yet people are flooding to these “authoritarian red states” and out of the “free blue states.” Do you think allowing abortion on the basis that the baby has Down Syndrome is a morally superior position?

Sylvia Volk
Sylvia Volk
26 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Unherd Reader, are you seriously posting that “Florida has restricted abortion” in the same paragraph as “Florida hates babies”?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Sylvia Volk

Exactly, very confusing.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
24 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

For all his sneering, name-calling and condescension, Mr. Kaufman does not answer his own question. He is quite right – modernity makes clowns out of men. We all know – in our bones, so to speak – that there is a better and worse way to live a human life, but to say as much gets one mocked by the likes of Mr. Kaufman. And not only him. Yet there is not a peep out of him about the better way. And there is a reason for that: He rejects the very idea of a better way. “Everything is permitted.” That is his creed. And yet he immediately stands up to say, he even can’t stop saying, if not in so many words, that Donald Trump is not permitted. All political liberals are congenital hypocrites, for they cannot, even for a moment, accept the proposition that defines them.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
27 days ago

This author’s ignorant misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Robert Bly, and Bly’s contributions to the men’s movement, turns my stomach. Why on earth is Unherd publishing this clown?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
26 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes. I read Iron John decades ago and was really moved by some of the observations. I doubt a fraction of the people commenting have read it and I doubt the author of this piece has read it with any understanding at all.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
26 days ago

Strongly agree. The author lobs a series of cheap shots against Bly’s sincere deep dive. Iron John has its faults and blind spots but it deserves neither the contempt it received from many feminists when first released nor Kaufman’s mocking characterisation.

Keppel Cassidy
Keppel Cassidy
24 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Thank you! I also think Bly made a really important contribution to the rediscovery of the wild masculine that had been progressively marginalised in educated society and psychological theory and practice. In recognising that there is something archetypal about Trump’s appeal to a significant part of the American population the author is on the right track, but unfortunately his supercilious, dismissive attitude towards that population (and indeed to Bly and the Men’s Movement, which he clearly doesn’t understand at all, given the crude stereotypes with which he dismisses them) gets in the way. Trump embodies the archetype of the Rebel thumbing his nose at the system, and the warrior standing up for the common people (remember at his inauguration in 2016 he said ‘I will be your Champion?), and as such, many people overlook his crudities, vanity and lawbreaking because they need someone to believe in who will fight for them, and who will fight against forces that they feel are undermining their culture. Here it is worth noting that Trump receives significant support from segments of the African-American and Hispanic communities, as well as more recent immigrant cultures, which I think is a pointer to their growing unease with the cultural policies of Biden and the Democratic Party, particularly in relation to DEI and gender.
Unfortunately, Trump fails to live up to the image he projects, and largely failed to do so during his term in office, appointing a variety of neocon warhorses and corporate shills to key positions after promising to ‘drain the swamp’. For someone who embodies similar archetypes, but from a place of true strength, compassion and leadership, disaffected Americans would do better looking to RFK Jr come November.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
26 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Unherd haven’t read it and they are banking on the fact that others haven’t read it.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
27 days ago

I am the ancient hairy man of everyone’s dreams. I enjoy sacred drumming, howling at the full moon, and long walks on the beach. Ladies.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
27 days ago

Shocker!! Another TDS writer who just doesn’t get it. I personally detest Trump. I always have. Yet I would wait 12 hours in the rain to vote for him over the progressive Dems. For the vast majority of people, voting for Trump is a rejection of the uniparty swamp that is currently running the show.

I did not read anything after about the fifth paragraph. Another 2,000 words on Trump blah blah blah is just too exhausting.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
27 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Don’t try to kid us, Jimbo, you are here constantly pledging your undying loyalty to Trump. I know its embarrassing for you but you have to own it.
Trump is what conservatism has become. A joke.

Terry M
Terry M
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Wait, I thought: “Trump’s acolytes compare him to Jesus Christ“. Certainly he has the virtue and humility of Jesus? No??
Haha! This was a deranged article. The truth is that as the so-called progressives have become ever more extreme, an ever more extreme response is called for. Hence Trump.
Or would they prefer a civil war? That would be interesting, but with few positive outcomes.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
26 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

The extreme progressives represent only 7 percent of the Democratic Party. Calm down.

T Bone
T Bone
26 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And 97% of the party platform.

Stephen Kristan
Stephen Kristan
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I just hope Freddy’s cell has reinforced padding.

William Brand
William Brand
27 days ago

The person that I would like to see as President is the speaker of the House of representatives. Maga with common sense and Honor.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
26 days ago
Reply to  William Brand

You mean Mr. Compromised – Mike Johnson – whom the intelligence agencies took aside and told to get his mind right or they’d expose his peccadilloes, real or made up, and ruin him? That may be a kind of self-preserving common sense, but it isn’t honor.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
26 days ago

When you don’t have a real argument you pivot right to an unsubstantiated conspiracy claim.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
26 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

As the new old saying goes, how long does it take for a “conspiracy theory” to be proven true? About three months.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
25 days ago

Good quip, with an element of truth and plenty of falseness to it. But when it fits your exiting worldview it seems to take you about three minutes to “prove” sinister collusion, proof free of course. Let some more air into your rabbit hole.

Keppel Cassidy
Keppel Cassidy
24 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Evidence free? Yes. Plausible? Unfortunately also yes (luring politicians into compromising (or possibly illegal) encounters so they can be controlled is an old tactic, and likely a very effective one), although he may equally have been happy to do their bidding without any threats. Either way, his backing for the bill to allow intelligence agencies to continue spying on Americans without a warrant (following a tied vote) delivered a terrible outcome for Americans’ privacy rights.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
24 days ago
Reply to  Keppel Cassidy

Plausibility, subjectively perceived, is hardly good cause to state a pet theory like fact. Granted, this is just a comment board not a double-blind clinical trial.
If Mike Johnson isn’t sufficiently beholden to the obstructionist far-right (or for whatever privacy-based or less-rhetorically-bent reason): Who among the plausible or even possible choices would make a better Speaker?

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
26 days ago

When the secret services take you into the ‘SKID’ where no recordings or witnesses are – when they tell you what it is they say when NO one can hear – you are never the same again.

Because they can tell you things you may fear the most. Like in 1984, the rabid rat in the cage they can strap to you – no one can resist the Horrors those evil men can reveal to you in their room of horrors. What they told and showed Johnson….shudder…

and it broke him….

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
27 days ago

I think we should introduce Frederic to Poppy Sowerby. I’m sure they’d make a lovely couple.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
26 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Haha! #WokeGrandpaBae

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
26 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

What if they work out how to breed?

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
26 days ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Their kids will hopefully rebel.

Paul K
Paul K
27 days ago

Bly would have been able to write a much better piece about Trump than whatever this is. To suggest that Trump is the kind of man that ‘Iron John’ was about is just silly. But then I suppose we must be running out of things to say about DJT by now.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
27 days ago

He’s quite old, tired and compromised now. For instance, on the neoconservative pursuit of a war without end in the Ukraine which he would likely continue to pursue should he become POTUS 2.0, impossible though that is now.
So that rebel masculinity has largely gone. Hence, the lawfare has had its desired effect in draining him of much of his resources, psychic and moral, as well as financial.

Sean McGabriel
Sean McGabriel
27 days ago

This was the most self indulgent pseudo intellectual piece of writing I’ve read in a long while. I’m not a Trump supporter, but this piece was unadulterated twaddle from beginning to end. I concluded reading it, and thought “does this Kaufman guy not have better things to do with his time other than wasting others ?”

Saul D
Saul D
27 days ago

Blither.

George Venning
George Venning
27 days ago

Just the other day I was writing that Howland was the worst contributor on this platform. But I hadn’t seen this guy.
Not only is this a misreading of Bly – whose mythic manly men are ultimately nurturing it is an epic misunderstanding of Trump.
Trump’s archetype is that of an insult comic.
If he were to open one of his rallies with “I just flew in from DC… boy are my arms tired” no-one would be the slightest bit surprised.
If you insist upon locating him in some grander tradition it should be that of the “all-licenced fool” – the idiot who points out the obvious truths that it is dangerously indecorous for more respectable members of court to utter aloud.
In a half sane world, such figures act as safety valves.
It is a measure of how obviously degraded our polity is that, such a figure could be elected to the highest office of the most important country on earth. For this event to prompt precisely zero self-reflection on the part of the “sensibles” is a sure sign of deep cultural sclerosis.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
26 days ago
Reply to  George Venning

Excellent post. A less self-aware version of Don Rickles, in charge of a major political party!
And yes, too many of his opponents want to diagnose illness and pathology in Trump and his supporters, without getting any check-up of their own. Physician, heal thyself. Uh oh–I think I’ve got some more work of my own to do!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Trump said there were hundreds of his supporters demonstrating outside the courthouse when, in fact, there were none. Is that humor or delusion?

Liakoura
Liakoura
26 days ago
Reply to  George Venning

So is this a pro or anti Trump comment?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Yeah, really my thought exactly.

George Venning
George Venning
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Why does it need to be either? I’m simply observing that the article’s characterisation of him is as daft.

As it happens, I think Trump is an arse. His support arises primarily from his extra-ordinary skill in winding up a deeply unpopular political class. If any of them had even the slightest fragment of self awareness, Trump’s political project would be toast.

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
27 days ago

I was liking this for a while before berating the sensible responsible adults who remember the great benefits America enjoyed under Trump’s presidency. Without the condescension at the end, this article was entertaining.
With all the embarrassment of men winning first in women’s sports and without the ever present battle of the sexes rhetoric manly men imagery struggles to rebound. It might have begun with the movie Sargent York but then resurfaced with Clint Eastwood killing multiple spaghetti villains with his six shooters.
But then manhood fully blossomed with Arnold Schwartzenegger and Sylvester Stallone saving the right people if not the entire world. Now that was the way to teach your son to be a man. Pretty girls have always been a plus but biceps and pecs rule.
I’ve known people who’ve inherited a lot of money and lost it all. All of it. What a waste. Trump inherited a good bundle and multiplied it fully. Being a TV star and President are beyond imagination although Reagan broke that ground. Accomplishment is very manly. To fall and come back is very manly. To keep beautiful women at your side is manly.
It’s an ideal.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Ron Kean

You’re joking, right?

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
25 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes and no. I’m having fun with this. This also illustrates battle of the sexes rhetoric that I mentioned above.
You probably define manliness as being a good provider, a dad who spends time with his children, fixes things around the house and makes his wife happy and you’d be right. But you’d ignore the things that make men talking about men fun.
It starts with boys playing with trucks instead of dolls, farting and laughing about it. It starts when a 3 or 4 year old first looks at that little thing get hard. He doesn’t know what that’s all about but he likes it. Later he figures out it happens in the context of his relationship with girls. It could be bothersome when it kept coming back all the time, in the classroom or driving the car.
These are manly things. Guys with guys is not manly. Firefighters, police and soldiers are manly. Hollywood branded manliness. John Wayne. Humphry Bogart in African Queen. Just about every prisoner in The Great Escape and the Dirty Dozen. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra were manly. Jerry Lewis was not. Sammy Davis Jr was too short. Even Bruce Lee was a little too short and thin. Dirty hands and sweat can be manly.
So yes I’m joking but in a sense I’m not. The Three Stooges were manly. Women really can’t relate to guys who gets hit on the head with a shovel. Who cares about abs on a girl? God bless women soldiers but they’re needed more than wanted. Women boxers? Why don’t they just leave that to manly men like Mike Tyson and Jack Dempsey?
But this is just one man’s opinion.

Mark Royster
Mark Royster
27 days ago

What is happening to Unherd? Freddie! Mary! Help us! You are destroying the brand with BS like this.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
26 days ago
Reply to  Mark Royster

The piece is nonsense, but I do feel it’s valuable to occasionally read articles like this. I want to know where the other side is coming from.

Tim L.
Tim L.
26 days ago
Reply to  Troy MacKenzie

I for one agree. As Sun Tsu advised, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. We should seek to understand Kaufman and his ilk so as to more effectively counter them.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Tim L.

Who? Those words were spoken by Michael Corleone in The Godfather and became a popular quote.

B Rider
B Rider
18 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Chinese military general, strategist, philosopher – The Art of War

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
24 days ago
Reply to  Troy MacKenzie

I want to know where the other side is coming from by reading coherent articles that don’t rely on a misinterpretation of some old literature and moribund movements.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
27 days ago

To me, the interesting thing is that many / most of the ardent Trump supporters fail to realise (or want to admit to themselves?) is that Trump actually hates and despises them. To him, the MAGA people are clearly fools to be exploited and grifted.
And he appears to be a narcissistic sociopath, for whom the rest of the world exists only in relation to him and what he wants. People like that are dangerous.
Some of the comments here are, however, at least honest: the ones that say they realise Trump is all that, but they hate Democrats so much they will vote for Trump or whoever else opposes “The Libs”, under all circumstances.
Personally I hate all tribal politics and cannot fathom this mindset, but chacun a son gout, as they say in “cheese eating surrender monkey land”.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
26 days ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

You don’t get it? Open borders, net zero, inflation, DEI/CRT – this isn’t enough to strongly oppose the progressive Democrats? They are anything but liberal by the way.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You make my point. I can get behind supporting the Republican Party if you believe they will deliver a programme more aligned to your views than the Democrats and one that will be better for the USA. I agree the Democrats are not really “liberal”, which is why I put “the Libs” in inverted commas, it’s a term the right use. But then, the Republican Party is not really “conservative” in the old fashioned sense of the term either. Politics has IMO got more confrontational and less based on ideas in recent decades. “My tribe good, your tribe bad” doesn’t help.
In any case, all the evidence is that Trump doesn’t care about any of these things, did precious little about most of them when he was President before, and many are State rather than Federal, let alone Presidential, decisions anyway.

Tim L.
Tim L.
26 days ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Perhaps it’s better to say that the Republican Party is not ideologically monolithic any more than the Democratic Party is. Both have become tribal. The Dems, however, have splintered into a bewildering and ever-expanding bevy of identity warriors, and it is much more difficult to understand what that party collectively wants as compared to the relatively cohesive Republican Party.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
26 days ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

I agree that politics has got more tribal. Why this is the case is complex. Part of it is social media and the financially broken media model. I also agree that the Republicans are not very conservative anymore, but then again I would have been a Democrat about 10 years ago. I too think Trump is a sociopathic narcissistic grifter. Does he really care about anything other than himself? IDK and I really don’t care. Washington is filled with self-interested narcissists.

Is Trump the man to make the changes? IDK. I do know he immediately rolled back illiberal changes to Title IX, which Biden reinstated on the weekend, and made worse by enshrining the right of trans men to occupy women’s spaces in school sports and bathrooms etc… I also know he will scrap net zero and drill baby drill. I also know there were no new wars when he was in office. Will he fix the border? Maybe not. But at least he’s ideologically opposed to open borders.

Despite his corrosive bluster and offensive personality, Trump is basically an old school Democrat. I don’t care if he truly feels a personal connection to the working class. Biden doesn’t either.

But I’ll vote for anyone who genuinely opposes the radical progressive regimes that seem to have infected western democracies. There’s no choice in the matter IMO.

Just think about it. On the weekend, Biden approved radical changes to Title IX that will force schools to allow trans men into women’s spaces and sports or risk losing federal funding. Anyone or any party that thinks this is normal has been captured by a radical ideology. I can’t vote for radical ideology. Trump is the centrist today.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

That’s not what title 1x says.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
25 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It was changed at the last moment. It will be discussed in future changes to Title IX policy.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
23 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In theory Trump is a nightmare. In practice he was a pretty reasonable, middle of the road, moderate POTUS. I don’t care about his “character”. Anyone who wants the position is a narcissistic sociopath. That said, he wasn’t an incompetent, bumbling, uncharismatic, woke disaster courting WWIII unlike the current White House occupant.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
26 days ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Oh, good; more long-distance psycho analysis with a hefty dose of projection. It’s the DC cartel that openly hates most of the population. If Trump also does, as you claim, that makes him no different from the others, yet the others treat him as an existential threat. Since you’re into honesty, here’s a question: is the average American better off than four years ago?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Exactly. The sad thing is that the MAGA cult believes Trump cares about them like the father they never had. But like the father they actually had he doesn’t care about them.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
27 days ago

When you sense a problem, whether intellectually, emotionally, or intuitively, you look for a solution. When one person offers more of the same problems (Hilary Clinton) or delivers more of the same problems (Joe Biden), you look for someone else. Donald Trump offers something else, so he garners support.
As for his first presidency, he started no wars, and delivered the Abraham Accords; he said that there was a problem with China, something that is now accepted by the political establishement; he said NATO members should pay more, this is strating to happen.
He has challenged the status quo ante and is subject to unthinking vitriol for doing so.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
26 days ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

Your last line says it all. He exposed the DC establishing for what it is and that cannot be allowed to stand. It’s why there is no shortage of Repubs joining every Dem in going after Orange McBadman. Unlike the rest of them, he is not beholden to donors and their money; he said out loud that doing the same things will not yield different results; and he notices that the working class is comprised of actual human beings who work, support their families, pay taxes, and are either ridiculed or ignored by the DC cartel.

Liakoura
Liakoura
26 days ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

So why is your man spending his time in court rather than being out campaigning?

Tim L.
Tim L.
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

The term “lawfare” goes a long way toward an explanation.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Tim L.

How about the word justice or Karma?

John Howes
John Howes
24 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Justice an overused epithet for revenge.

Liakoura
Liakoura
25 days ago
Reply to  Tim L.

Is this a reference to https://www.lawfaremedia.org/?
Thank you anyway.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Because that’s how banana republics silence their political adversaries. Please return to staring into your phone and leave us alone.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Who is “us”? You not me.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Yup!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

It’s amazing to me that you see a flaming narcissist with rose-colored glasses.

Brian Matthews
Brian Matthews
26 days ago

Another rambling Trump hate piece. Please Unherd, stop the insanity.

Liakoura
Liakoura
26 days ago
Reply to  Brian Matthews

And your comment is sane erudition supreme?
And is Trump, to quote the writer, currently sitting “on a wooden bench in a courtroom in lower Manhattan?” a complete fiction?
Or has every media outlet throughout the world been convinced that his appearance there, is the result of some amazing conspiracy?
https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202404/20/WS6622b04ba31082fc043c2fb4.html

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Ah yes! That well known bastion of truth and balance that is China Daily.

Saul D
Saul D
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura
Liakoura
Liakoura
25 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

I have now, thank you.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
26 days ago
Reply to  Liakoura

If I could have, I would have given you several downvotes. Firstly for your terribly clumsy opening sentence – sane erudition supreme? Huh? Then for not realizing that fighting political foes in courts for random dubious reasons is one of the worst displays of democratic failure and then quoting China Daily.

Liakoura
Liakoura
25 days ago

Along with a headline ‘New York court completes Trump trial jury selection’ and a photograph, the report of 62 words reads:
“Former US President and current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sits at the defendant’s table at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, the US, on April 19. [Photo/Agencies]
NEW YORK – The full panel of 12 jurors and six alternates has been assembled for the trial of Donald Trump in his hush money cover-up case, New York judge Juan Merchan said Friday.
Hardly sensational is it?

Liakoura
Liakoura
25 days ago

Well how about this from Bob Woodward in his book ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’ based on 20 taped interviews with the president:
“Next, Cohn repeated what everyone was saying: Interest rates were going to go up over the foreseeable future. I agree, Trump said. “We should just go borrow a lot of money right now, hold it, and then sell it and make money.” Cohn was astounded at Trump’s lack of basic understanding. He tried to explain. If you as the federal government borrow money through issuing bonds, you are increasing the U.S. deficit. What do you mean? Trump asked. Just run the presses—print money.”
Or this:
“It seems clear that many of the president’s senior advisers, especially those in the national security realm, are extremely concerned with his erratic nature, his relative ignorance, his inability to learn, as well as what they consider his dangerous views.”
Or this from Woodward’s book ‘Rage’:
“When combined, Kushner’s four texts painted President Trump as crazy, aimless, stubborn and manipulative. I could hardly believe anyone would recommend these as ways to understand their father-in-law, much”
Or this?
“A president must be willing to share the worst with the people, the bad news with the good. All presidents have a large obligation to inform, warn, protect, to define goals and the true national interest. It should be a truth-telling response to the world, especially in crisis. Trump has, instead, enshrined personal impulse as a governing principle of his presidency.
“When his performance as president is taken in its entirety, I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”
– Bob Woodward, Rage, pp. 391-2 

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
26 days ago

The author has zero idea of what Bly put forward about healthy masculinity. Zero. Absolute garbage.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
26 days ago

“his followers … will insist that the claims and counterclaims are nothing but the latest in a long line of ordeals their idol must endure on his fated path to splendour and triumph.”
I appreciate the writer’s demonstration in the first paragraph that this isn’t an actual piece of journalism, and I needn’t read any further. Thanks!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

I thought it was rather good and so true.

glyn harries
glyn harries
26 days ago

Very good. And of course this is what fascism also tries to do. Tragic.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
26 days ago

Good grief, this guy is a college professor. That alone explains the state of today’s pathetic American education system. Can Kaufman name the crime for which Trump is on trial? He can’t, because there isn’t one. Thank God I was in school when professors still had some brains.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
26 days ago

I got the sense that the author was telegraphing that he might have a very small and ineffective male organ.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
26 days ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

And you, sir?

andy young
andy young
26 days ago

I suspect Mr. Kauffman has the same mindset as the people in the UK who cannot for the life of them understand why anyone voted for Brexit.
They completely & utterly miss the point; the point, in both cases, being that they feel the ruling elites (& intellectuals like Mr. Kauffman) don’t give a monkey’s about them or their families.

David Grbin
David Grbin
26 days ago

If only Mr Bly could sue for defamation from the Other Side..

The great hairy man sought redemption by mentoring young men, thereby healing himself.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
26 days ago

A thought-provoking piece.
Donald Trump is an albatross firmly perched on the shoulders of American politics, and he is not flying away anytime soon (even if he will lose the election this year).

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
26 days ago

The author’s is one more head that Orange McBadman occupies rent-free. It is amazing the time and energy that people spend concocting ways of hating a guy they cannot get enough of.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
26 days ago

Mr. Kaufman exhibits, in this oh-so-snarky and thoroughly pseudo-intellectual bit of tripe, the unmistakable signs of a recently-“educated” American: 1- Substituting smart-assedness for intelligence. 2- Somehow believing that his attempts at reasoned a**l

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
26 days ago

Sorry…reasoned “analysis” conceals his hysteria. 3- Believing that his education automatically makes him a writer worth reading. O, Staten Island University, Citadel of all that is high and holy in American letters! 4- His coy winks and asides directed solely at those people who already agree with him and which further reinforce his clear moral and intellectual superiority to those inferior beings that he, regrettably, must tolerate.

Tim L.
Tim L.
26 days ago

Kaufman bores a hole through the hull of his ship when right off the bat he goes with “Trump’s acolytes compare him to Jesus Christ, and he’s fine with that.”
Perhaps SOME do, Mr. K. Perhaps. But if so, very few. Such lazy hyperbole in this context does not reflect well on you or your (assumed) aspirations of becoming a persuasive editorialist.

Stephen Kristan
Stephen Kristan
26 days ago

Frederick, enjoy your brain-consuming rage.

Tony Kilmister
Tony Kilmister
26 days ago

These sorts of pieces are becoming alarmingly frequent on UnHerd: pseudo-intellectual with the pseudo dial turned up to a deafening volume.

Author self-satisfaction oozes from every word of this article, not helped by the impression that Kaufman has attended too many creative writing classes. It is borderline parody.

Robert Bly? Who’s he? Who cares?

There’s nothing puzzling about Trump’s popularity. There’s no elusive X-factor explanation awaiting discovery, least of all by a professor seemingly fixated with the esoterica of the online manosphere.

Unwoke S
Unwoke S
26 days ago

This essay is probably one of the most vivid illustrations of TDS I have seen. The decline of the once-denoted ‘profession’ of journalism is entirely due to the infantile rantings of people like this ‘journalism professor’. Poor students: no wonder they are so disturbed and ill-educated.

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
26 days ago

“Strong as an eagle, swift as a vulture
Bring on back that patriarchal culture.”
The parodies of that movement were hilarious. I recall a wonderful party in the early 90s w/ a bunch of fellow grad students (men & women). We were in MST3k-level hysterics watching a recording of his being interviewed on PBS. I think he was more pathetic to the guys than to us, b/c he represented a group of men who (like autogynephiles & incels today) want default female praise & free labor when they aren’t willing to put in any of the basic effort of human adulthood for men or women. And action, self-sacrifice, devotion to a larger cause, indifference to public opinion–the very aspects of traditional masculinity that are most attractive to straight women are what these men want handed to them, while resenting a world that no longer economically or legally coerces “young hot women” into marrying them. The more they whine, the more they lose the respect they crave.

This has culminated today in so much rage at women’s boundaries that they’ve managed to twist transgressing them as a new civil right. Trans-identified straight males (autogynephilies) are the logical extension of a petty obsession w/ how women perceive them & some lost masculine ideal, which is something men of action by definition don’t have a lot of time to worry about, plus rage at women (potential “hot young things” and Mom-figures) for denying them what they believe is their rightful due.

The sensitive male emotions that Bly was centering over women’s experience in the 80s/90s are the “feelings” of cross-dressers who take women’s spaces in sports & win access to changing rooms, shelters, dating apps, pregnancy support groups, & prisons.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
26 days ago

To all of the Trump fans who are furious that this essay appeared in Unherd, this magazine prints essays from a variety of viewpoints. If you can’t cope with that, unsubscribe.

Keppel Cassidy
Keppel Cassidy
24 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well said. The great thing about Unherd is that you get a diversity of viewpoints here that most of the partisan, bought mainstream media will never allow. I find this article somewhat annoying (as it takes an interesting topic and fails to do it justice), but accept that I won’t like every single article they publish.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
26 days ago

What a load of rubbish; overblown and bombastic. By pure coincidence I read a Martin Amis essay on Iron Man just yesterday and while it’s not of great interest to me, it is at least written by a real writer.
The focus on the shock jocks of male toxicity makes no mention of the real problems some divorced men have experienced with no access to their children etc.

Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
26 days ago

Having read the works of Bly, including Iron John twice, I would assert that Trump is the complete opposite of the male ideal that Bly was referring to.

H W
H W
26 days ago

Robert Boy also wrote “The Sibling Society: An Impassioned Call for the Rediscovery of Adulthood”. It is a wiser and more useful book.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
26 days ago

If I want to read stuff like this I’ll go directly to the Guardian.

Steve Hamlett
Steve Hamlett
26 days ago

Kaufman provides a plausible answer to the question that makes Trump detractors shake their heads in disgust and wonder – namely, why does a man who is manifestly unfit to be a Peoria city councilman attract such passionate support from millions to be President of the United States? You’d look long and hard to find a single similar Biden supporter. Many, perhaps most, of Biden’s voters will support him reluctantly. The difference may well lie with the kind of mythological yearnings that some of us learned about from Joseph Campbell. Many of Trump’s supporters want someone who will kick ass and take names. They don’t know much, or care, about policy. If he changed his tune on, say, immigration tomorrow, they wouldn’t give a rip. To them, Trump’s myriad foul personal qualities are features, not bugs. To them, he is the male id, personified. And in their minds, they’re right behind him, charging up a hill in an attack on some mythic citadel.

Keppel Cassidy
Keppel Cassidy
24 days ago
Reply to  Steve Hamlett

All true, however the big question is: what motivates people to vote for him? (And a great many did in 2020, even though he lost the election). Would he have achieved the same success in the 1990s or 2000s, for instance? My impression is that populists, extremists and demagogues are most likely to be elected at times when the populace is deeply disillusioned with the political establishment, economically desperate, or most likely both.
The other factor which has likely influenced his success is the malefic influence of ‘social’ media, which increases polarisation, intolerance and extremism amongst users due to the psychological manipulation it employs in its quest for keeping them glued to the screen – as ‘The Social Dilemma’ so brilliantly articulated.

Howard S.
Howard S.
26 days ago

Next up is Joseph Biden, President of the United States and someone you would not leave your eight-year-old daughter alone in a room with.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
25 days ago

What a load of rubbish!

Liakoura
Liakoura
25 days ago

Here is a compelling opening statement: polished, organized, and narratively compelling on the first day of the trial.
https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/catch-it-and-kill-it-opening-statements-pecker-testimony-and-a-contempt-hearing

Mark O
Mark O
23 days ago

This is such a bastardisation of Bly and Iron John it’s unreal.

Angus Douglas
Angus Douglas
23 days ago

Trump is the great divider. You either hate him or love him. But Mr Kaufman is absolutely right. Trump-lovers have degraded themselves. It’s quite possible to be solidly right-wing, pro-America, pro-Western values, anti-woke, etc. without debasing oneself with Trump-love.

Chris Koch
Chris Koch
14 days ago

The author would seem not to understand Bly’s work and thought at all. Even a cursory and uncharitable reading of Iron John would make it clear that Trump is nothing like Bly’s conception of a mature, actualized man, nor does he represent anything like what the Wild Man is meant to represent in the process of a man’s self-discovery. Trump is not the wild man, he’s a Fagin-figure, leading others by their noses while failing to see past his own; he is a post-modern simulacrum of a man, not a primordial avatar.