The clichéd route to take as a columnist at this time of year is to write the tried and true best-of list column or the always-scintillating New Year’s resolution column.
I’m going to go a different route this year and write the “What we can do without in 2018” column.
There are a lot of things we could get rid of that I believe would ultimately make the world a better place – like Eminem, Facebook and the Green Bay Packers – but if I had to chose one thing it would be the war on men.
Despite what you’ve read - or have been led to believe - not all men are evil or sex predators or racists or man-bun wearing whiney millennials.
The men I know and choose to associate with are mostly hard working family types who love and respect their wives and mothers and daughters.
And I’m willing to bet that description covers a lot of the men in this country regardless of color or geographic location.
Still, men are under attack from all angles at all times in America today – particularly from Hollywood, which, ironically, is home to the worst of the worst men around today.
Despite the obvious hypocrisy, Tinsel Town has been leading the charge against men for years through their portrayal of our species on television shows and in movies.
My favorite angle is the “dad as dumb as a stump” story line every show seems to follow that’s meant to convince the world that the traditional family unit – dad, mom, kids – isn’t relevant anymore because you don’t really need dad to get things done.
But the damage the portrayal of the sitcom dad has done to the real life reputation of the real world dad pales in comparison to the picture Hollywood paints of men in general and their role in society.
One needs look no further than the most recent Star Wars movie “The Last Jedi” to see it.
If you haven’t seen the movie stop reading now because spoilers are coming.
Or, better yet, do yourself a favor and skip this flick all together and save yourself a few bucks - the movie stinks.
The story is terrible. The acting is weak. The dialogue might have been written by a 12 year-old. And logic is thrown out the window at every turn.
But worst of all is the movie’s anti-man theme.
In the original Star Wars saga from the 1970s and early 1980s both men and women were portrayed as strong, independent types who, by working together, could achieve anything.
A bad, bad man named Darth Vader led the Empire. What made him so dangerous was he was cold and calculating. Everything he did was planned and carefully thought out. He was a smart and savvy man who used his power to get what he wanted when he wanted it.
On the other side, the rebels were led by a wide variety of personality types including the beautiful, strong willed and intelligent Princess Leia, the cocky “man’s man” Han Solo and a wide-eyed farm boy turned master Jedi, Luke Skywalker.
None of those three main characters were perceived as better or smarter or more important than the others and together they saved the galaxy.
Flash forward to today.
The empire is in the hands of an emo-looking, sniveling whiner named Kylo Ren.
Kylo is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia and the nephew of Luke Skywalker. He’s strong in the force but his constant moping and fit throwing leads him to make stupid decision after stupid decision and to constantly look like a fool.
He is the millennial answer to Darth Vader and while the creators of this new Star Wars universe want viewers to loosely associate his character with Darth, what they really want you to see is a man who can’t control his emotions, acts like a child and needs a woman – who, by the way bests him in every encounter – to help him reach his goals of universal domination.
When he doesn’t get the woman he pouts even more which leads to even more dumb decisions and eventually the good guys get away because of it.
But Kylo is just the tip of the iceberg.
They drive home the point that they believe all men are driven by emotion and prone to baby fits and feeling sorry for themselves when they don’t get their way by literally killing everything about the character of Luke Skywalker that made him a hero in the first place.
They turned him into a whiney loner living on an island on a planet in the middle of nowhere who has apparently given up everything because the going got a little tough.
If you remember from Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker once surrendered to the Empire and faced both Vader and the Emperor unarmed in an attempt to save his father from the dark side.
It was this ultimate act of bravery and self-sacrifice that finally convinced his old man to snap out of his dark side daze and eventually help end the Emperor’s reign of terror.
That type of honorable man doesn’t fit into Hollywood’s 2017 agenda so that Luke Skywalker is dead.
The skewering of man doesn’t end with the two main male characters. This is an equal opportunity beat down.
First there is Finn, the former storm trooper turned resistance fighter who is so simple minded that the colorful lights and spinning action of the gambling planet he runs off to mid movie distract him so easily he becomes like a child at an amusement park.
Eventually his mom – I mean, his female rebel partner – needs to slap him back to reality with a lecture about the evils of the planet.
Then there is Poe Dameron, the modern day version of Han Solo (not even close), who is such a wild card and so impulsive that Leia and her female counterpart Vice Admiral Holdo spend the entire movie keeping secrets from him so he won’t screw up the escape plan.
He can’t be trusted with the plan nor is his input welcome – this despite the fact that he’s the best pilot in the rebellion.
The one thing these new Star Wars films have going for them is Rey, the new lead of the series. She is the Luke Skywalker of today but way, way more awesome and powerful.
It’s a great character and I praise the makers of this set of movies for creating such a great, strong, independent female.
When I was a kid I thought Han Solo was awesome. I wanted to be him and I have no doubt young girls today are looking at Rey the same way.
But what about the young boys of the world?
They are left watching male characters that are written to be petulant children in need of constant monitoring or whiney quitters who fear taking on challenges on their own and/or feel the need to run off and hide or lash out arbitrarily when dealing with emotions.