Monday, May 19, 2014
The Art of Manliness Blog lists several "must reads" for men. Sadly, the first book on that list is the absurd, cryptic, and melodramatic headcase that is Robert Bly's Iron John, a book about which I've blogged before. For those unfamiliar with Bly's work, it is a male self-help book about emancipating the Wild Man in You so that he can find that perfect Wild Woman out there in society and make crazy (yip, Wild) sex and feel what it means to live (that Wild) life.
Pretty much everything else in the Art of Manliness list is a self-help book, usually about self-esteem and its surrounding issues. And that makes me wonder: Is the list an unintended parody? A reading list for self-help books.......about.....manliness?
I'm not trying to suggest that manliness is obvious and it's definitely not straightforward. But perhaps the best that can be said about manliness is that it's paradoxical, vexed, strange, and always will be, no matter what a bookshelf of self-help books will say to the contrary.