In our Friday features, we select media from America's pop culture past---not only to offer readers some decent weekend entertainment; but also to explode contemporary mythologies about things like gender roles. This is especially necessary in the case of men---who are caught between the emasculated 'ideal' that modern culture promotes and the pseudo-masculinity offered by the so-called 'alternative Right' in much of the Manosphere.
Certain elements within the Manosphere give us a profile of the high-status 'Alpha' male, as defined by themselves. This week's feature recommendation is that of what a high-status male looks like in reality.
This week, we recommend a television crime drama that was very popular in its day: Peter Gunn. The series ran from 1958-1961, on NBC for two years and ABC during its third, returning for a feature film in 1967. The title character was a private investigator in an unnamed city with a film-noir background. The theme music was provided by Henry Mancini.
Gunn was a character who epitomizes the high-status male: tall, handsome, successful, resourceful, living a life of excitement and adventure; wearing expensive suits, driving a Cadillac convertible, living in penthouse apartment. So naturally, according to Game philosophy, Gunn must have racked up numerous sexual conquests and despised women as inferiors, right?
Well, no. Actually Gunn was, throughout the series, in a committed monogamous relationship with nightclub singer, Edie Hart. Edie herself deserves some comment because she exuded genuine femininity like just about no other character in television history. Considering that both worked in venues that provided ample opportunity for infidelity, it illustrates just how seriously fidelity and commitment was once taken in our culture. Gunn is frequently offered sex by various femme fatales but never takes advantage of it; and, though he gets playfully aggressive with Edie on occasion, she counters him by starting to talk about marriage and children.
All this is counter-intuitive to Game/PUA illogic, because they fail to understand that truly high-status men are not defined by their sexual conquests, but by their ability to win the love, respect, and devotion of a high-status woman. In 1960, this was common knowledge; which explains both the popularity of the series then and the near-oblivion it's fallen into today.
In fact, Peter Gunn as a series is remarkable by modern standards for its noticeable absence of violence against women. Unlike the thuggish Hollywood heroes of today, who don't mind beating a confession out of a female suspect or causing her violent demise, Gunn once risks his life to save a deranged female stalker because "She's very clearly sick and needs help." The natural gender polarity is very pronounced throughout this series---empathy for the weak, which was once considered a male virtue, marks Gunn's character as well.
Gunn has no office, but meets clients in a waterfront nightclub called Mother's where Edie also works. Mother is an older woman who runs the club, and it's never clear in the series whether she is Gunn's biological mother or not; but there definitely seems to be a mother/son dynamic between the two of them. Gunn always addresses her as 'Mother' and pays her considerable respect and freely gives her his protection.
By the standards of the Game/PUA crowd, Gunn is a Blue-Pill Beta Chump, and a White Knight who succumbs to the Female Imperative. Though watching the series, we see a cool, confident male who routinely confronts extremely dangerous situations with resourcefulness and courage---and always motivated by helping those in need or protecting those for whom he cares. These, not the outward trappings, makes Gunn a respected character and a genuinely masculine archetype. In Peter Gunn we see a very decisive picture of what an earlier generation considered high-status in both genders.
Peter Gunn has no shortage of two-fisted, hard-hitting action as he and his policeman friend Lt. Jacobi wreak havoc on the Underworld. There is also a lot of light-hearted humor, especially from Gunn's eccentric network of informants. And the romantic teasing between him and Edie is genuinely charming. The plots are well-written, suspenseful, and often unpredictable. Mancini's musical scores outlived the series in their popularity.
This series is great fun to watch; several episodes are free on Youtube and the complete set available on DVD.