In "Men," Kipnis dissects her fascination and identification
with the opposite sex, especially the more confounding and
intemperate male personalities she's encountered during a lifetime
It's no secret that men often behave in mystifying ways, but in
recent years we've witnessed so many spectacular public displays of
male excess--indecent politicians, sleazy academics, philandering
sports stars--that we're left to wonder whether something has come
unwired in the collective male psyche.
In the essays collected here, Kipnis revisits the archetypes of
wayward masculinity that have captured her imagination over the
years: the scumbag, the con man, the critic, the obsessive,
cheaters, and many others.
Examining men who have figured in her own life alongside the
more notorious public examples, she draws out the masculine angst
and sexual contradictions implicit in the erratic conduct of each.
Far from the reactions of condescension and scorn that habitually
greet such characters, Kipnis finds that they provoke in her
complicated forms of sympathy and identification. Pushing past the
usual cliches about differences between the sexes, Kipnis mixes
intellectual rigor and careful analysis to give us compelling
survey of the affinities, jealousies, longings, and erotics that
structure the male-female bond.
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