Jewish World Review Sept. 6, 2011 / 7 Elul, 5771
Who needs men, anyway?
By Betsy Hart
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Really, guys? Really?
That's what I found myself saying in response to two books just out: "Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that Women are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else" by Dan Abrams; and "Confessions of a Recovering Stupid Male: Creating Loving Relationships that Will Last a Lifetime" by Mike Love.
Abrams is the chief legal news analyst for NBC. And it could be that this fairly lighthearted book, featuring an emblem of high heels on the cover, is more about getting the never-married Abrams a girlfriend than anything else.
"Dan has never been married, so despite his admiration for women evidenced by this book that does not mean he necessarily knows how to talk to them," reads "About the Author." Maybe he can start a conversation with one of the chapter titles, like "Women are Better Spies."
Although entertaining, "Man Down" does not appear to be primarily tongue-in-cheek, but rather a genuine effort to back up in a provocative way his conclusion that after looking at the evidence in countless areas, he has "found the evidence of female superiority to be beyond compelling." He writes that "a truer truism" than the old cliche would be that "behind every great man there is probably an even greater woman -- and in most cases, she ought to be out in front."
Would that the book were just about getting girls.
"Stupid Male" goes even further.
Love says he has had to "continually exorcise 'my demons' from the socially approved male indoctrination that has been instilled in me since birth. ..." The long-married author, father and self-described counselor fills his tome with litanies against, for starters, the violence and aggressiveness of men. Of course, he doesn't mention that women are more likely to experience assault from a boyfriend or ex-husband, someone who has no stake in her well-being, than a husband living in the home who is more likely to turn his aggressive male tendencies to protecting her than hurting her.
Yep, sometimes those tough-guy qualities, rightly channeled, can come in handy. Like, let's see, in defending women and children, winning wars, taking down Osama bin Laden, checking out those mysterious bumps in the night -- those kinds of things.
But the actual content of the books are less the point than what their very existence says about our current strange cultural attraction to undermining men and traditional male qualities.
While Love's book is filled with tedious New Age cliches -- he has to work to be "in harmony" with his emotions -- Abrams' book is at least entertaining. Still, imagine another high-profile news correspondent of his level, of either gender, getting a reported six-figure advance (as the New York Post claimed Abrams received) to write a book titled "Countless Ways that Men are Better Than Women." Uh, let me think, let me think -- not a chance!
I've written before about what I call our prevailing "man bad/woman good" view of the world. One in which men are increasingly, well, screw-ups. No surprise, I just saw a new commercial where Dad is being watched by the kids as he mangles the setting up of a jungle gym. Cue the laughter at yet another bumbling father.
Look. I can find humor in just about anything, but the ongoing assault on manhood in our society isn't a joke. When men are often seen, at best, as irrelevant and, at worst, as useless idiots, who needs them? The answer, of course, is that a healthy culture and healthy families do.
In other words, what may be the disappearing man in our culture is nothing that women, or real men, should cheer.
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