projects or in displaced tribal societies on the verge ofnextinction — such as the Ik of Central Africa, described bynColin Turnbull in a famous book. Displaced from theirntraditional way of life and reduced to a condition ofnnear-starvation, Ik parents can watch impassively as theirnhungry children roam in predatory bands of scavengers andnlaugh when one of them meets with serious injury. Evennmore alarming are the tales of drunkenness, violence, andnincest on some Indian reservations, where traditions havencollapsed only to be replaced with a funhouse-mirror versionnof modern consumerism and hedonism. The world of MadnMax seems preferable, and I can appreciate the sentimentsnof the not-entirely-crazy survivalists who are stockpilingncanned foods—and ammunition — in their cellars.nI used to grow a large vegetable patch—corn andntomatoes, beans (Roman flat beans and limas), squash, okra,nand lots of greens—but the crop I always figured on livingnoff, when the time came, was turnips. In the North they eatnthe root and throw away the tops; in the South, they eat thengreens and throw away the root (except for flavoring ornsoup). At home in both places, I eat both parts and couldnsurvive on turnips and water for months. My nearestnneighbor used to joke that when “civilization as we knewnit”—and where we lived, believe me, there wasn’t much ofnthat—collapsed, he would simply send his children over tonsteal my turnips. “Not if me and my shotgun can preventnthem,” I used to warn him.nWell, his sons are mostly grown, but I have twondaughters, and what do I hope for them? Short of angeneral return to sanity — which would mean a religiousnrevival on a mass scale — I will hope that they grow up to bendecent women who can lead productive lives in the here andnnow and find what good there is in a dying civilization.nThere are still great books to read (some of them may benwritten in their lifetime), music to hear, food to eat, picturesnto look at. There will be still, even among the children ofnyuppies, good men and women to number among theirnfriends, and if they are fortunate they will find honest mennwho will bring them “to a house/where all’s accustomed,nceremonious.”nBut less and less, I fear, are honest husbands somethingnyou can bank on. Younger American males of the middlenand upper classes are, in very large numbers, spinelessnmama’s boys, self-indulgent, lazy, uneducable (because theynknow there’s nothing worth the effort it takes to learn it),nunreliable, and dishonest. After a man has turned 40, heninevitably begins to despise the younger generation, but Infeel the same way about my own generation as comparednwith my father’s and about my father’s compared with myngrandfather’s.nTo trace the descent, read Walker Percy’s description ofnthe Barrett men in The Last Gentleman, or consider thendeclension of the film image of American males from suchnvaried stars of the 30’s and 40’s as John Wayne, WilliamnPowell, James Stewart, and Humphrey Bogart to the stars ofnthe 50’s and 60’s—a mixed bag that included RocknHudson, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon along withnWilliam Holden and Steve McQueen. (It seems almost allnthe good movies of the period starred older men.) As bad asnthe 50’s and 60’s were, look at the men of the 80’s: then10/CHRONlCLESnnn”Brat Pack” of Young Guns or the archetypal man of then80’s, the sneery Bruce Willis. Better yet, consider thendescent from Sean Connery to Roger Moore to TimothynDalton, or compare the virility of Robert Mitchum, in hisnfirst starring role in Out of the Past, with Jeff Bridges in thenremake Against All Odds. (Richard Hobby made the samenpoint last year in Chronicles, but it is worth repeating.)nSo for my daughters I shall provide essentially the samenopportunities as I am providing my sons. I shall push them,nas hard as I can, into some useful profession in which theynwill be able to combine innocent amusement with honorablenservice. Preferably, their careers should require realnskills, where success can be measured. This excludes mostnpsychology, literary criticism, and secondary school teaching.nHigh on my list is music, archeology, medicine,nmuseum work, archival research, and the sciences. As onenleading entomologist explained to me, his career combinednthe fun of collecting baseball cards with the chance to visitnthe tropical rain forests of the world.nSuch professional careers have several advantages. Theynare all worth doing for themselves and could provide annoutside interest even for a stay-at-home mother. (Whatnwould you rather do, work on a Brahms sonata at home ornwork a shift at Hardees?) They can also be kept up on anpart-time basis as their children—and I have explained thatnhaving children is not an option but an obligation, or rathernthe obligation — grow older and can even be resumed, fullntime, when money is needed to put their kids throughncollege.nThat, at any rate, is the very modest hope I have for myndaughters: a profession in which they can take a lifelongninterest, and a loyal and loving husband from whom theynhave a right to expect courtesy and financial support. Hownmany women actually receive such support, these days andnin the days to come, is another matter. And herein lies thenmost important reason for the sexist father to educate hisndaughters. What if she does not marry a husband who takesnhis responsibilities seriously? What if she ends up with anrich, good-looking lawyer, who dumps her after the thirdnchild?nThese are terrible things for a father to have to thinknabout, but I suspect they are on the minds of manynold-fashioned parents and help to explain the increasingnacceptance of working women. As much as I might long fornthe days when women were women and men were men, thenauguries for their return are not favorable. And until thentimes get so bad that they’re good, old-fashioned fathers willnhave to learn to live with a certain level of hypocrisy.n<^n