Saturday, April 20, 2013

* Benediction : The Class of 2013

King Oedipus, perhaps the most famous male 
to choreograph his own downfall,
 who plucked out his eyes 
in despair at his undoing.

It used to be taboo to display photos of the dead. 
Today, nothing is taboo.

"I am  Oedipus . . . everyone knows my name . . ."

I have seen it so often in my lifetime, from Nixon to              Strauss-Kahn to Lance Armstrong: Males choreographing their own downfall, as if Oedipus Rex had never been written.

On MSNBC this morning the report (accurate?) was that  the now killed Boston Marathon bombing suspect, the elder brother named Tamerlan, had been a Golden Glove Boxing Champion who wanted a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, but when denied American citizenship because he had been accused by a girlfriend of slapping her around(one report) or because Homeland Security was concerned about his trip to Russia last year (another report), he began to harbour a grudge, since he had to be a citizen to represent the country at the Olympics.

This seems simplistic and too neat to me.  So too does the Chechnyan radicalization hypothesis.

To me, his age, 26, and his gender, seem much more pertinent.

The uncle of the bombing suspects, in an angry interview at his Montgomery County Maryland, home,  called both of his nephews "losers" because they could not "settle" their lives and hated those who had been able to do so.

He inadvertently put his freudian finger on it.

My experience is that the years between 18 and 30 are very dangerous years, psychologically, for  males.  Not only is a male trying to settle his life , these are the years the personality  is integrating and organizing itself, establishing its boundaries clearly,  trying to separate and individuate from the father (and, symbolically, the family of origin)  ---  while simultaneously competing with, if not trying to outstrip, him ---- all this subconsciously.

We as a society need to pay much more attention to these mental health crisis years for a young male: 18 to 30.

(On April 19, 1995, how old was Timothy MacVey 1968 -2001?)

These sad words are a fitting benediction  to my four-year, intellectually demanding rite-of-passage with the Class of 2013, one of the sub-themes of which has been the role of gender in the  modern world.

Thank you and best wishes to you all.

Paul D. Keane

M.Div. '80

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