I'm Takin' My Own Head And Screwin' It On Right And No Guy's Gonna Tell Me That It Ain't

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If Harvey Mansfield is so manly, how come he gets his ass kicked by Naomi Wolf (a Yalie, for God's sake!) in this C-SPAN interview? The mutually embarrassing exchange is a real hoot: Wolf attempts a passive-aggressive dismantling of the Manliness author, but since she's about as passive as The Hulk, she partly justifies the description of Amazon reader-reviewer Geraldine Whiteside, who opines:

I saw his interview on C-Span, which was conducted by a college classmate of mine who I find overbearing, negative and angry at all nearly all men. You would have thought the interview was about her (she is a publicity hound who has a book forthcoming).

At the same time, Wolf does pretty credibly make the case that Mansfield's cartoon depiction of contemporary feminism is uninformed by actual familiarity with the beast, or serious reading on the subject. That makes sense, because Harvey, like the captain of the HMS Raging Queen himself, knows that a manly man, um, doesn't notice women. (Lucky for Wolf, Mansfield's heavy, boneless hand remains far from her hot thigh throughout the exchange.)

I haven't read the book (and I'm too manly to listen to some pencil-neck Professor Peepers anyway), but I'm open to arguments in favor of it. So far, though, none of the positive notices have persuaded me it's any more scientific than Real Men Don't Eat Quiche.

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  1. Naomi Wolf is just another fat chick who’s pissed that hotties get all the action. Face it, it’s a man’s world, and whatever tiny fraction of it belongs to women… belongs to the hot ones (until they turn 30 and start pudging out).

  2. This is part of a current fad of blaming women’s rights for, well, everything. It falls in with Mark Steyn and Phillip Longman’s assertion that Europeans aren’t having enough children because of feminism, the sudden worry that not enough men are going to college, and that boys don’t read well enough. I read some of the book and, well, save your money. He picks one trait — courage, although he doesn’t use the word — and assigns it exclusively to men, then throws in a lot of Classical quotes. Here’s one he doesn’t use, from Euripedes’ Medea, “I would rather face the enemy in the sheild wall three times than face childbirth once.”

  3. “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” was enjoyable enough, I found. “Nice Guys Sleep Alone” (by the same author) was an absolute hoot.

  4. Jesus Christ, the Israeli elections, Students rioting in Paris, Latinos standing up to xenophobes in cities across the U.S. Who the fuck cares about Naomi Wolf and whoever? This is supposed to be better than CNN.

  5. I believe we should extol the manly arts of bravery and fearlessness in combat, just like they did in the sacred band of Thebes. Now THOSE were men.
    Manly, disciplined, well-oiled men.

  6. FWIW, I recall Naomi Wolf being pretty hot the first time I saw her on tv many years ago. I doubt that’s the reason for her anger.

  7. That’s weird – my neighbor (who is moderate – for Berkeley) was telling me about this at great length. She was utterly convinced that he won, because Naomi was misinterpreting him and flying off the handle at every turn.

    I haven’t hit the link because I hate RealPlayer.

  8. Mansfield strikes me as a doofus. It’s nice to see that he is interviewed by someoeone like Wolf rather than the likes of O’Reilly.

  9. My favorite passage from “Real Men”:

    If a Real Man finds out that his wife is having an affair with another woman, does he:

    a) kill the wife
    b) kill the girlfriend
    c) ask if he can watch

  10. “Lucky for Wolf, Mansfield’s heavy, boneless hand remains far from her hot thigh throughout the exchange.) ”

    I can’t watch the debate on my work computer. Is she really showing leg?

  11. Who needs this ‘Real Men’ pansy bullshit?

    This is the one and only book on manliness that you will ever need.

    And it’s up for preorder on Amazon–and cheap, considering it’s hardcover, and considering that it comes with a chain attached to wear about your neck.

    As Maddox notes, buy 7 copies, in case you lose 6.

    (Holy shit…it’s #1 in Amazon.com book sales, and it hasn’t even been released yet!)

  12. “Is she really showing leg?”

    If you follow that link you’ll find that it merely goes to Wolf’s 2004 article in New York Magazine about being harassed by a professor at Yale which includes the Harlequin Romance-worthy line, “The next thing I knew, his heavy, boneless hand was hot on my thigh.”

  13. I saw a few minutes of the interview. Wolf was wearing a crown of thorns and Mansfeld seemed to have no real point.

  14. Aiken, you sound like a man who hasn’t had a date in a while.

  15. overbearing, negative and angry at all nearly all men.

    That’s a longwinded, yet incomplete, way of saying “a typical feminist.”

  16. The next thing I knew, his heavy, boneless hand was hot on my thigh

    Wouldn’t a boneless appendage be some kind of tentacle? That isn’t Harlequin, that’s some kind of sick hentai thing.

    She needs help.

  17. Maybe when she wrote the line, she was hungry and thinking about semi-boneless ham.

  18. Real men don’t read pop-psych books on what it means to be a man.

    Mr. Nice Guy: The answer is:
    d) get out the camcorder

  19. I thought Mansfield was a fag.

  20. “At the same time, Wolf does pretty credibly make the case that Mansfield’s cartoon depiction of contemporary feminism is uninformed by actual familiarity with the beast…”

    Okay, as long as we’re clear that it’s “a beast.”

  21. This was interesting to me because I just recently read, “The Game” by Neil Strauss. It’s a book about being a pick-up artist. It goes to great lengths to show just how different men and women are in the dating scene, and the reasons behind it. It definitely backs up the idea of “manliness” as being the alpha male quality that women find attractive in men.

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