The Alphabet of Manliness: It’s very, very bad. Possibly even worse.
Posted by Richie on May 11, 2007
Maddox’s lack of bulging biceps may actually be a positive thing. Because having him become the symbol and policy-maker of all things alpha male just may be one of the most subversive byproducts of the Internet since file-sharing.
You know those old SF movies where computers will catch fire and chant ‘DOES-NOT-COM-PUTE’ if you feed them illogical information? MADDOX IS SUBVERSIVE. See, it doesn’t work.
Fun fact of the day #1: Physical strength has precisely jack shit to do with who the alpha male human is, because humans have developed God knows how many different ways to bully people into submission that don’t involve hitting somebody, or even being in the same sodding hemisphere as them. Donald Trump is an alpha-male. George Bush is an alpha male. Saddam Hussein was an alpha male. Hugh Hefner is an alpha male. Stick them in a cage with the guy who works night shift at my local Ampol Shop-Stop, and I know who I’d wager money on. Manliness, and alpha maledom, is all about being on top of a hierarchal structure, and just because our ancestors got there by thwacking each other doesn’t mean that’s how we still do it, even if the actual attitude itself hasn’t improved. The indie RPG development community I used to belong to had alpha males defined by how long their code strings were. In high school I knew a lot of alpha male record geeks who proved their superiority by having the largest collection of Japan-only import discs with slightly different string arrangements. Christ, I’ve run into alpha male Doctor Who fans who establish dominance by quoting serial production codes at each other, and if two pastey middle-aged men in cardigans arguing about whether ‘The Ultimate Foe’ is serial 7C or 7C-2 isn’t the final word on this ridiculous behaviour, then what is?
Maddox, then, is the alpha male of internet comedy. Or, rather, a particular kind of internet comedy, which is the next step in the evolution of those ‘HEY DID YOU EVER NOTICE?’ emails that I used to get all the time before I changed my email address without telling anybody. And of course he’s popular, because, like those same wastes of my server space, his material is essentially reassuring. Most people do think women are nags, men are inherently violent, goths are boring, and Garfield is a bit shit. People want to be told these things. People also want to believe that they’re the centre of the universe, and the only person with the guts to call a spade a spade, so if you can dress the same material up as a way of sticking it to the man, it’s no surprise that your website will end up more popular than Pepsi’s. It’s just Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus‘ angsty younger brother who wears an ironic Godzilla t-shirt.
We have an alpha male who appeals to mass prejudice and expresses hostility toward anybody who doesn’t fit into his worldview. We have a domineering, self-important demagogue as the representative of masculinity. It doesn’t fucking matter that he’s a computer programmer who can name every single Castlevania game, or that his material is allegedly ‘satire’. The only thing being subverted here is the definition of ‘subversion’.
In a world where metrosexuals–stylish, well-groomed, and sharply dressed men–have taken the center stage in defining the new masculinity, small pockets of men are starting to emerge, rebelling against the status quo.
- Maddox, in his introduction to the book on Amazon.com
Fun fact of the day #2: Metrosexuality is, and has always been, a choice. Men’s right to be a slob is not under threat because of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, and describing metrosexuality as ‘the status quo’ just because it’s visible is so ridiculous I don’t know where to begin. There’s no genuine social pressure on every man out there to spend / waste his money on wax, cosmetics and firming lotion, and if he chooses to do so, we call him a metrosexual to differentiate him from the majority. And you can take ‘metrosexual’ as a byword for ‘fag’ or ‘poof’ or ‘himbo’ if you want, but it plainly isn’t just a euphemism; it’s a positive word that implies metropolitan sophistication and sexual potency. There’s no equivalent word for a woman who rejects the look of the female majority. They’re all insults. This whole ‘Reclaim your manliness!’ bollocks would be cringeworthy even without the misogyny, homophobia and ape-pack mentality that always accompanies it.
Maybe you’re a woman and you’re reading this wondering ‘Is this book just for men?’. I would say that it is only for men in the same way that lesbian porn sites on the Internet are only for women.
- Maddox, in the foreword.
Ah, yes, the ’satire’ element. See, The Alphabet of Manliess isn’t really a bunch of immature, phallocentric crap, it’s a satire of immature, phallocentric crap. Right, let’s run with that for now. Were this a subversive satire of masculinity, one could reasonably expect that the target of said satire would come off looking, you know, bad. Or stupid. Or incompetent. You might also expect the vitriol to be directed at masculinity-obsessed men, rather than the groups that masculinity-obsessed men are oppressing and treating like shit.
Surprise! It fails hard.
What’s more awesome than a lumberjack punching Santa in the face? (A) Nothing, or (B) All the above. I gave this quiz to my friend’s wife, and she got the wrong answer. She kept asking questions like “what’s so cool about Santa being punched in the face? That’s not cool, that’s mean.”.Wrong answer, bitch. The reason she doesn’t “get it” is the same reason all women don’t get it: Men invented ass kicking along with chainsaws, beef jerky, and happiness.
Sometimes a woman will manipulate a man with her striking good looks and flirtatious demeanor. This type of woman can live her entire life without lifting a finger to earn a penny; instead, she opts to lead men on with a life that can best be described as one long cock-tease of an existence. Since it’s unbecoming of a man to hit a woman, sometimes a guy needs to find another method to keep her in line. Sometimes a man needs to head-butt a woman in the ovaries.
Popping a boner during this occasion: Seeing a naked woman who doesn’t shave.
Makes you: Gay
Hallways and narrow corridors are the perv’s best friends. The trick to utilizing a hallway is to find yourself in close proximity to your subject – close enough that accidentally bumping into her will seem like just a coincidence.
Quickly, name two famous women inventors. Too hard? Okay, name one. How about a famous invention made by a woman? Give up? That’s because there are none. Men invented everything.
Any time a man wants to kick back and start enjoying himself, he can be guaranteed that some cranky hag will come along and stink the place up with her foul bitching. Women love to nag.
If left unsupervised, you will find that most women will naturally find their way to the kitchen.
Upon bringing your woman home, house training should be one of your top priorities.
After sex, you need to plant the seeds of self-doubt in her mind by telling her she was “pretty good”.
LOL THIS ONE TIME CHUCK NORRIS
This is, I think it’s fair to say, not a barbed satirical attack on masculinity. It is, in fact, exactly the same thing that patriarchal society has been saying since ever, only with some cartoons of dinosaurs thrown in to make it look ironic. The venom here is solely directed toward women and ‘pussies’, not masculinity, either the tedious kind we all deal with on a daily basis or the ridiculous ‘Chuck Norris eats rocks and shits lightning bolts’ version. It’s true that he encourages violence toward men too, but only men who are either stupid or annoying; when he encourages violence toward women, it’s because all women are stupid and annoying. The worst thing that happens to men in this book is that they’re made to look like violent, emotionally-stunted cavemen, which is, again, a socially-approved concept that everybody reading this has been dealing with for their entire lives. If this is subversive material, then so is Everybody Loves Raymond.
There’s an entire chapter, ‘Obedience’, in which he equates women with pets that are owned by men and must be trained to behave in certain ways by punishing them. And that’s it. That’s the whole chapter. There’s no punch-line, no insight, no joke beyond saying that women should be treated like animals. If people didn’t treat women like animals, it would just be lazy, unfunny writing. But people do treat women like animals, so it’s lazy, unfunny writing that mocks and trivialises genuine suffering.
We already have the rest of the world telling us that fat women are ugly, that hairy women are freaks, that attractive women are cock-teases who bring assault on themselves, that only heterosexual men are real men, that men are smarter than women, that men are responsible for all human progress, that all feminists are shrieking harridans, that all women are nags, that breasts only exist to be groped, that men are the masters and women are the servants, that lesbians are only there as masturbatory aids, that men hate talking, that women are too emotional, that…
…Look, what’s the fucking point in this book existing?
It’s not satire, it’s not subversive, it’s not ironic, and most of all, it’s not funny. The ’Quickies’ section is strikingly similar to material in Mars And Venus In The Bedroom. I’m going to suggest that this isn’t just a coincidence.