Friday, September 4, 2015

Most women fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is and one simply for the right to speak

I'd heard about Men Explain Things To Me for awhile and seen it at bookstores and whatnot. I can't remember anything specific I heard about it. Just a general awareness of it's existence.

Oh, and I had read the first essay. Or a bit of the first essay:
He kept us waiting while the other guests drifted out into the summer night, and then sat us down at his authentically grainy wood table and said to me, "So, I hear you've written a couple of books." 
I replied, "Several, actually." 
He said, in the way you encourage your friend's seven-year-old to describe flute practice, "And what are they about?" 
...I began to speak only about the most recent...River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, my book on the annihilation of time and space and the industrialization of everyday life. 
He cut me off soon after I mentioned Muybridge. "And have you heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year?" 
...He was already telling me about the very important book - with that smug look I know so well in a man holding forth, eyes fixed on the fuzzy far horizon of his own authority...So, Mr. Very Important was going on smugly about this book...when Sallie interrupted him, to say, "That's her book." Or tried to interrupt anyway. 
But he just continued on his way. She had to say, "That's her book" three or four times before he finally took it in....That I was indeed the author of the very important book it turned out he hadn't read, just read about.
See, it has humor, it deals with a serious topic. Maybe not the funniest thing but hey, good stuff, let's see more of this. I didn't get to see more of this.

This book was a disappointment. I don't know what it is about the cover, given it's just text on a solid colored background, but between the title and the cover and even the first essay a bit, I figured this was going to be funny. It's not funny. It's not meant to be funny. I can't even say it was marketed as a funny book. Or maybe it was. I don't know cos I can't recall any marketing for it. But it wasn't what I was looking for, despite the fact that I luuurve me some feminist but it was a times more pretentious than what I was looking for and blah.

That's not to say it's a bad. It makes good points, even if they're hidden under a bit of academia (or at least pseudo-academia, as I have been out of school long enough that I no longer speak the language). It's just that, I didn't want this book. I wanted this book, but funny.

I realize this is a useless review. Sorry. Let me share some quotes with you so you can get a flavor of the book and decide if this is the thing for you (But keeping in mind that this is not funny and you better be looking for SERIOUS ESSAYS if you read this.)

"We tend to treat violence and the abuse of power as though they fit into airtight categories: harassment, intimidation, threat, battery, rape, murder. But I realize now that way i was saying is: it's a slippery slope. That's why we need to address that slope, rather than compartmentalizing the varieties of misogyny and dealing with each separately."
 "Those who are threatened by marriage equality are, many things suggest, as threatened by the idea of equality between heterosexual couples as same-sex couples."

"Incidentally, if you Google 'female careerism,' you get a bunch of links, but if you Google 'male careerism,' Google asks if you really meant 'male careers' or even 'mahle careers.' 'Careerism' - the pathological need to have paid employment - is an affliction that only affects women, apparently."

So there you go. If I hadn't bought this as an ebook I'd totally do a giveaway of my copy. Is there a way to do that with ebooks? I assume not.

GIF Rating:

Title quote from location 111

Solnit, Rebecca. Men Explain Things to Me. Haymarket Books, 2014. Kindle