From Publishers Weekly
According to columnist Parker, men are an endangered species struggling against everything from mere hostility to literal emasculation. Starting in elementary school, where a teacher most likely a feminist will demand that boys sit still and listen and continuing through college, where freshmen must endure rape awareness workshops, men are besieged by disrespect. Belittled by bumbling portrayals in sitcoms, their importance as fathers is so devalued that they are perceived as little more than sperm and a wallet. Parker trots out the usual suspects—mass culture, unspecified feminists, The Vagina Monologues
, Murphy Brown, metrosexuals and girlymen—to propose that a feminist campaign is afoot and eager to effeminize, denigrate and destroy American men. Although Parker's deliberate provocations make for lively reading, the majority of her claims are too fanciful and unsubstantiated to be genuinely thought provoking or even interesting (erectile dysfunction is caused by young, sexually aggressive women; women serving in the army put the nation at risk). Parker makes a poor conspiracy theorist, and her statistics and unverifiable theories are unable to make her case, however vehement or entertaining their presentation. (June)
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Although its title makes it sound like a comedy in the vein of Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys (1995), this book by syndicated newspaper columnist Parker is fairly serious, even though it’s written with the author’s customary semi-acidic tongue. Parker wants no part of the conventional gosh-aren’t-men-doofuses position; instead, she asks why men are so frequently portrayed (especially, but not only, on television) as clumsy, inept, slow-witted dolts. She asks other startling and politically incorrect questions, too, including why some elements of the legal system, especially those involving parental rights and child care, favor women; why feminism, which began as the quest for equality between the sexes, now seems to have mutated into a quest for female superiority; and why men are becoming ever more marginalized in American society. Parker’s against-the-grain opinions are sure to provoke criticism, controversy, and condemnation, but she is a lively writer who argues her points with great enthusiasm and often compelling logic. Expect to see Parker on plenty of talk shows. --David Pitt