When Americans think of the police today, they get an image of a being in full body armor, with a cynical detached outlook on life, answering to a clipped-haired, mean-faced Lesbian police chief. The kinds of people who lead 10 year-old girls from schools in handcuffs for drawing on their desks; but stand by and do nothing while violent street thugs destroy whole city blocks. The kinds of people who arrest teenagers for drinking beer; but won't go near a Jihadist mosque. Detectives who leave no stone unturned to ferret out hate crimes and sex scandals; but ignore organized crime. People like that.
Few modern Americans know what our police used to look like; and what they would still look like if we had a sane culture. Once upon a time, a city police force was typically composed of highly-trained professionals---usually battle-hardened ex-military men commanded by an experienced leader. The police had to walk a fine line: to protect and to serve meant to defend the Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of the citizenry both from the criminal element and from those who would abuse their power.
Thus, this weekend's entertainment recommendation is a television series, which aired from 1957-1960 on NBC, M Squad.
M Squad follows the career of Lt. Frank Ballinger, a member of the elite detective unit known by the series title. The M Squad's duty was dealing with imminent threats to public safety and order. The unit was commanded by Capt. Grey, a character type worthy of mention because it is one never depicted today: an elderly but respected leader. Grey's character comes across as a tough, experienced man who earned his way to command the elite M Squad, and---though clearly approaching the end of his career---has the respect of Ballinger and the other men. This type rarely is seen in modern culture and never at all in today's media.
Today, the male archetype of the aging hero is an object of ridicule and scorn. This is especially true in some elements of the Manosphere---mainly those following the Game Cult---who hold that sexual prowess alone is worthy of the respect of other men. They could benefit a lot from programs like these; where masculinity is accurately depicted because (in the mid 20th Century) the entertainment industry knew what it was.
And such people could learn from Ballinger's character as well. Not only did he respect men who actually earned it; he earned it himself. Frank Ballinger was not the smart-mouthed, low-IQ, bad-boy-in-uniform 'hero' Hollywood palms off on us today. He was tough, smart, and determined because he was fighting for a value system in which he actually believed. Those values were, in the main, the freedom and dignity of the individual. Whether thwarting a terrorist attack, or rescuing a kidnapped medical specialist just in time to save a little girl's eyesight; Ballinger knows that others are depending on him.
Today's Hollywood 'heroes' are simply automatons who do what they're told; in juxtaposition to that, the Manospherian Gamers offer us an 'Alpha' who looks out only for himself. Neither one of these represent what masculinity actually is. Service and protection is not merely the job of the police; it's inherent in the masculine nature. That's the reason why---in more enlightened times---police departments were overwhelmingly male. And that's also---unlike today---the police actually served some useful social purpose.
And that is the type of masculinity our culture needs desperately today.
M Squad is also interesting because it reflects an era when NBC actually took television production seriously. The plots are well-written and exciting; the action scenes (and there are plenty of them) were filmed out-of-studio and quite realistic. Hollywood veteran Lee Marvin starred as Ballinger, and the music for the series was performed by Count Basie.
Real men, lots of action, engaging stories, and great music---one can hardly go wrong with M Squad. Several episodes are free and in the public domain, mostly on Dailymotion. A DVD set is also available.