The Man of the Holiday House
If there is one holiday that embodies manliness it is The Fourth of July. Great men and their manly virtues are celebrated in masculine ways, making it what I am calling “the man of the holiday house.” Here are six reasons why Independence Day is the manliest American holiday.
1. Independence — Independence itself is an aspiration that should be held by all men. To be autonomous, free, and self-reliant is to be manly. Ralph Waldo Emerson says that “The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
2. Loyalty — Can a man be both independent and loyal? The fourth day in July is a celebration of both qualities, and a good man should pursue a healthy balance of the two. Mark Twain described this tension when he suggested that “Independence is loyalty to one’s best self and principles.” On independence day we celebrate and pledge allegiance to a place that allows us to be our best selves, a place in which all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
3. Grilled Meat Galore — Is there a more carnivorous holiday than The Fourth of July? It seems as if most of America’s celebrations involve indulging in chocolates and sweets — Easter, Valentines Day, etc… Sure, there are turkeys and hams cooked up at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but white meat prepared in the oven pales in comparison to Independence Day’s rich, red goodness grilled over an open flame.
4. Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest — Again, is there a more carnivorous holiday than The Fourth of July? The Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest has become an Independence Day mainstay. What started as a contest between friends to prove each other’s patriotism has become a nationally televised sensation. Every 4th of July, thousands of people descend upon Coney Island to witness what has been billed as “the most unique sporting event in the world.” This event bleeds red, white, and blue. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi have become household names over the last decade. They’ve continually rivaled in this annual bout, scarfing down dogs by the dozen. Chestnut hasn’t lost since 2007, but rumor has it he has a new rival in 23-year-old Matt Stonie. Stonie has beat the champ in two gyro-eating contests, a burger-eating event, a taco contest, as well as faceoffs in poutine, Twinkies and pumpkin pie. This year’s contest could be one for the ages.
5. Fireworks — Man has been fascinated by fire since the dawn of time. Our ability to harness and control its power is what separates us from the thousands of other species on earth. Think of the cavemen, clinking and clunking sticks and stones together in an attempt to generate a tiny spark. Their hope was to cook their food, work through the night, stay warm in the cold, and protect themselves from predators. It’s no wonder we are fascinated by the spider-like explosions that fill The Fourth of July sky. On the Fourth, we continue to celebrate our dominion over fire, but we also recognize the danger of its force in the hands of our enemies.
6. The Founding Fathers — There is no better way to become an admirable man than to study the life and work of the greatest who have ever lived. Some of history’s most extraordinary men attached their “John Hancock” to the Declaration of Independence. They had a hand in writing and preparing a document that shaped the course of American History. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and James Monroe are just a few to note. Jefferson, Adams, and Monroe all served as President of the United States, and each also died on The Fourth of July some fifty years after adopting the Declaration — perhaps a testament to the power of what that day meant to them. Great men deserve to be celebrated and imitated. What holiday, other than Independence Day, gives such legends their due?
Is there a manlier holiday than The Fourth of July? If you think so, plead its case.
Otherwise, get out there and celebrate like a man.
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