In a culture of TV shows and movies in which a man with any sense of responsibility to his family is frequently portrayed as a doofus married to a perfect, albeit nagging wife (just about any family-centered sitcom), or a hero who can only be a hero to the world outside his family (Jack Bauer on 24), the Rocky movies present an all-around winner. He pushes himself and the ones he loves to be the best they can be.
Some in Hollywood get the power they possess in the cultural ring. At a recent National Fatherhood Initiative event, Kevin Kay, general manager of Spike TV, noted: “When we ask guys who their role model is for being a dad, they say their mother. That’s a wake-up call. And it’s something you have to think about a lot when you’re portraying fathers on TV.”
Harvard’s Harvey Mansfield defines “manliness” as “confidence and command in a situation of risk.” Whether it’s taking on some punk fighter named Mason Dixon or getting married and being a dad, that’s something society can’t — and shouldn’t want to — do without.