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It's no secret that men often behave in confusing ways, but in recent years we've witnessed so many spectacular public displays of male excess - disgraced politicians, erotically desperate professors, fallen sports heroes - that we're left to wonder whether something has come unwired in the collective male psyche. In the essays collected here, Kipnis revisits the archetypes of wayward masculinity that have captured her imagination over the years: the scumbag, the con man, the lothario, the obsessive, cheaters, gropers, self-deceivers, and many others. Examining men who have figured in her own life alongside more notorious public examples, she draws out the masculine angst and emotional contradictions implicit in what looks like bad behaviour or exercises of male privilege. Instead of the rebukes and condescension that typically greet such characters, Kipnis finds that they provoke in her complicated forms of identification and envy. Pushing past the usual cliches about the differences between the sexes, Kipnis mixes intellectual rigor and wit to give us a compelling survey of the affinities, jealousies, longings, and erotics that structure the male-female bond.
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Kipnis's gifts are on full display in this irresistible collection of essays, in which she weaves together complex and penetrating insights about gender into provocative treatises.... Kipnis's arguments are never predictable: for example, her chapter on juicers, ostensibly about steroid-abusing male athletes, evolves into a profound soliloquy about writing, plagiarism, and labor markets. Her examination of modern manhood sheds as much light on male vulnerability as it does on male privilege, entitlement, and abuse.... Kipnis has given us a necessary, and often witty, book that shows a brilliant, agile mind at work.--Publishers Weekly (starred review) Feisty, unapologetic forays into the messiness of gender relations... rendered in funny, spirited writing.--Kirkus Reviews Men is a witty, incisive collection that exhibits just the right balance of empathy and suspicion for its subject. Kipnis is one of our keenest.--Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts Confusion is sex, as Sonic Youth proclaimed, and no one's a better guide to the sexual confusion of the moment than Laura Kipnis. How can anyone so wise and tolerant about sexual politics also be so funny and entertaining? But don't take a man's word for it. Pick up the book.--Benjamin Kunkel, author of Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis Laura Kipnis's voice is so intelligent and irreverent, her writing so honest and emotionally as well as intellectually incisive, that I'd gladly read her on any topic--but what she has to say about men, women, sex, and sexism is not to be missed. Whether she is writing about philandering husbands or university sexual harassment codes, she approaches her subject without ideological blinders; her take is invariably fresh, fair and respectful of the messy, imperfect thing we call the human heart.--Adelle Waldman, author The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. What do men want? Laura Kipnis knows. Whether she's aiming her devastating wit at rogues or reprobates, Lotharios or losers (and the women who love them), she's as fiercely intelligent as she is illuminating. When it comes to our ongoing gender wars, few writing today possess her combination of insight and humor. None keep it as fun. --Adam Ross, author of Mr. PeanutAbout the Author:
Laura Kipnis is the author of How to Become a Scandal, Against Love, and The Female Thing. A professor in the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University, she has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the NEA. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, Slate, and Bookforum, among others. She lives in New York and Chicago.
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