The Angry Young Men

In the 1950’s there was a catchphrase for a group of young English writers, primarily existentialists, who wrote against the grain of the status quo—“The Angry Young Men”; one of my favorite writers, Colin Wilson, was among them and his ground-breaking work in what has come to be known as the New Existentialism, as well as breakthroughs in the area of consciousness-expansion is well known. At the time, these youthful expressionists harbored their dissatisfaction with normative society with a pen; today’s “Angry Young Men” express their built-up angst with guns.

Yesterday’s horrific mass-shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newton, Connecticut, murdering literally “younglings” was really too much to even try to absorb; the utter impact of the shock and disbelief could be likened, to those who are old enough, to the assassination of JFK in 1963. Folk here in the USA will be reeling from this unspeakable action at the hands of a young, disturbed individual for some time to come. This marks one of many such gun-atrocities in as many months—the toll just keeps on climbing. To be sure, what young people are up against in today’s culture far exceeds what those young men faced in the 1950’s. The deep-psychological wounds that are amassed in trying to cope with a savage culture bent on worshiping violence are legion. Whatever their source of brokenness is, for young men the toll especially makes its mark. Forces like Feminism have essentially eroded-away the notion of masculinity—so much so that the only way it’s expressed nowadays is through excessive-need for control of the situation and that translates as turning to inappropriate measures to do so, like the acquisition and use of firearms. To be sure most of these guys are quite mentally imbalanced, but the source of their neuroses do relate to the culture—in particular here in the USA where young men are driven to do the unspeakable in order to regain some measure of control—to make that “dominate-mark” since it’s still expected of them to do so despite the undercurrent of the psychological milieu that undercuts, excessively medicates, and blurs their sense of self-identity. Of course, the whole notion of what constitutes “Self” is really the whole crux of the problem, but for now the immediate focus needs to be on stepping up to the plate and taking responsible action that can reverse these horrendous events.

Taking strict-measures for gun-control have been long overdue. Standardized and mandatory background checks are a good beginning; but this warrants going even further, like outlawing the sale and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons altogether. What the hell is this kind of extreme and monstrous weaponry being sold for in the first place?  Another crucial factor that needs to be addressed real-soon is the long overdue focus on Mental-Health; and I’m not just talking about taking across the board state-wide-measures to better care for and monitor the mentally-ill, but also reassessing what it means to be mentally-fit in the first place. The excessive material-culture itself IS SICK; and until this situation is realized and action is taken to turn around this downward-spiraling trend, then all efforts to cessate this systemic-violence will be in vain.

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