Robert Lockwood, Jr.--"Little Boy Blues" (mp3)
The male of the type mentioned in my opening line, is, of course, a guy like me, that kind of man who has grown up more in the world of books and ideas, the world of intellectual problem-solving instead of brute force. In high school, I played sports with a moderate amount of success, fit in easily, but ended up hanging out more with the yearbook staff than the basketball team.
I wasn't bullied or intimidated by the jocks; I just didn't know very much about their world. And that's what makes the movie so uncomfortable to watch. The amped-up violence is a Hollywood convention, but the social confusion is not.
But it isn't just the rules of high school that the protagonist (a mathematician in the original, a writer in the update) doesn't understand, he flat out doesn't grasp "how things are done around here," meaning his wife's hometown. And anyone who has ever returned with a girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse to his or her hometown or city knows some version of what this is like. Joining someone in his or her childhood home means trying to understand a "code," with a confusing, inconsistent set of rules, a point Straw Dogs drives home in spades.
In the recent movie, that means that he undervalues the importance of relgion and football (he walks out on a service that essentially is a blessing of the high school football team), the connection between drinking and violence, the history of lifelong relationships. The last one, in particular, is difficult for him to factor. He knows his wife dated the leader of the work crew repairing his roof, but underestimates the man's continuing obsession with her. And he clearly misses the history of the conflicts created by a mentally-limited Benjy/Lenny type character whose combination of interest in pretty girls and unawareness of his own physical strength foreshadows doom.
NOTE: My focus on the protagonist is in no way intended to minimize what happens to the woman in this movie. I would love to see a companion piece or a feminist essay written on Straw Dogs.