Friday, April 24, 2009

After Reading Maddox's The Alphabet of Manliness I Am All That Is Man

Not too long ago, I was perusing the "Humor" section of Barnes & Noble and came across a book with a guy dressed like a gladiator punching King Kong in the face on its cover.  The book was The Alphabet of Manliness, written by 30-year-old internet personality Maddox, whom I had never heard of, and yeah, I couldn't imagine an image more manly than a guy picking a fight with the Great Ape (see right).  So I picked it up while killing time before work.  I pretty much just opened it to a random page, and what did I find but a section on how to conceal a boner.  Although there isn't really a wrong time to pop a boner, generally speaking, things can get complicated at say a funeral or a job interview.  So say you are being interviewed and you get carried away with talking about how awesome you are and suddenly you are completely aroused.  What do you do then.  Well you have a couple of options here, "the right way and the wrong way."  The wrong way is the way all ninth grade boys have tried and know doesn't work, that is, to lean over while in your chair.  This is bad because it draws attention to yourself.  We have all looked over and seen a guy doing this.  Our thought process is "Why is that jackass bending over, oh shit, I see."  Maddox explains "You might as well stand on a chair and shout, 'Hey, look at me, I'm a fucking psycho.'"  Tis true.  So then the right way.  The right way, simple enough, is to cover it up with something, say a book or a newspaper.  I found this part so hilarious that I actually laughed out loud in the bookstore.  I kept laughing.  I looked like a psycho.  From there, I couldn't not buy the book, and so I purchased this ridiculous book filled with nonsense.

But it is very funny, and like the previous anecdote, it can also prove to be pretty useful at times.   Another area that Maddox is exceptionally knowledgeable is his section on "Urinal Etiquette."  This should be required reading for every U.S. male.  Over the years, I have had quite a few strange bathroom incidences, like the old guy on the respirator who stared at me and I could feel him breathing on me while we were peeing or when this kid from undergrad and I were pissing and he started yelling at some guy to wash his hands, which I thought he actually did, and then mid hand washing tirade turned to me and asked if I "believe in fate" to which I responded that "this is the most existential bathroom experience of all time."  Both of these could have been avoided had these people followed the rules put forth in this section.  However, people are either going to love this book or hate it and its usefulness has absolutely nothing to do with it.  

While I was reading this book, I amassed two separate lists--1. Good things about Maddox and 2. All the ways in which he is an ass--and sort of based my final verdict on how well I could justify the things in list #2.  Some of the things in that second (and longer) list were things like he is a misogynist, his humor is juvenile, he is self-absorbed, etc.  On these charges, I say that his cruelty toward women is more satirical than anything else.  I am not sure, however, that the world of feminism is ready to to be satirized, or rather that we are ready to poke fun at this subject that still requires much work to done for equality.  He doesn't hate women, this much is clear in the acknowledgments section where he pays tribute to his female companion and to his mother (although at the end of this section he does retract the credit he gives to everyone else, saying "I hereby revoke all the gratitude I expressed above and keep it for myself), but I don't think those he thanks appreciate things like his how-to-guide of how to head-butt a woman in the ovaries in the section on "Ass Kicking".

That said, I do think Maddox's satirical humor is pretty damn funny, especially when it comes to farting, of which he states "There is a reason people use the phrase 'timeless humor' when referring to the act of passing gas.  That's because farts are always funny.  Always.", which is true, and also Taunting.  The guy can also write; that is, he is able to deliver his humorous anecdotes time and again.  Hemmingway he is not, but his prose are a lot better than others he is compared to, say Tucker Max (who is just a dick), and when writing about "Copping a Feel" or "Taking a Dump" or "Sneaking a Peak" it'll do.

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