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Nick, again... try Googling "Mark Driscoll." He's so gone on the macho "man" thing that he's remade Jesus in his own image. (Not to mention making pretty outré statements about what "Christ [supposedly] commands" re. women and sex - and by that, I mean what women are, in his view *supposed* to do for men.)
But isn't the problem NOT the "Christian men's movement" in general, but Mark Driscoll's mis-interpretation of that movement? I mean, aren't you telling me that someone can always take a positive movement too far, so as to taint the positive elements of the group as a whole, even if those who listen to such have never even heard of Driscoll?

Nick

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I'm saying that Drsicoll, Church for Men and the Eldredges are all part of the same thing; just at different points on the continuum. (Though not terribly far apart, to mind.)

They take ideas they grabbed from Robert Bly and Jungian pscyh and push them to an uncomfortable extreme. They're not quite as bad as the Quiverfull people, but they're (imo) close.

I also have a very hard time with people who claim to speak for *all* women, or *all* men - which the Eldredges do. It's (to me) kind of nauseating.

Whereas you have a hard time with it, I find it refreshing. And if I don't like it, I don't have to buy it.

It is problematic if I come up to anybody else here, and tell people they are living their lives wrong. I don't think the movement is good when a person does that, irregardless if the person is pro-Elderedge or anti. It works far better as an introspective journey, one which allows one to decide whether they want to learn habits and traits from days of old.

The whole thing about the chicken, while written for humor, actually has a little bit of truth in it, for me. I find the whole process of cutting up a whole chicken, skinning them, deboning them, breaking the bones and crockpotting a stock (on a weeknight) to be quite cathartic and good for my family. It's one of those examples which gives me freedom to support quality organizations (humanely-raised, for example), save a little money, eat healthy, and slow my life down. In the days before the industrial revolution, taking such steps was far more commonplace.

I don't read these books or attend these conferences in order to paint women in a corner, or prevent my wife from entering the workplace (good thing; she's got the higher paying job). It's more a reminder for me to learn to sacrifice for the greater good. And to kick procrastination out of my world.

But if it don't speak to you, don't put forward your $8.99 plus shipping. Free market economy. (For now).

Nick

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Nick, please check the link I just posted above.

It's about far larger issues than I think you're seeing at this point. (vis-avis my posts as well as those others - all men - have made in response to yours.) Will let it go at that, OK?

The blog posting is faulty. The notion that this is a movement against social justice is laughable. By contrast, I can tell you stories of men who have left this conference and were further motivated to protest (and ultimately close) the porn shops in their neighborhood (the sex industry being one of the worst perpetrators against women in our culture). The stories I'm hearing about address helping out the destitute in Africa, and looking upon real-life heroes such as William Wilberforce and, well, even Bono.

Furthermore, while I cannot speak about "GodMen" personally (it seemed to have withered as fast as it grew), I do know two of the people involved with that specific evening, one of whom is Brad Stine, a brash conservative Christian comedian, whose influences include none other than the likes of George Carlin. That doesn't mean that he represents the entirity of the Christian men-sphere or not, but it just goes to show that this is a movement of individuals, each has their own spin on what it means to understand who they are as Christian men.

Lastly, I take very little stock in articles on critiques of a meeting that the writer admits that he hadn't actually attended. That this was mentioned two-thirds the way thru the posting itself is called "burying the lead." This is not honest opining, if you ask me.

I'm all for meekness. But there's a time to fight--including fighting for social justice. The challenge is learning how to reconcile the two. The thing is, whether pro-Elderedge or not, I've never heard a sermon about how to be meek. About how to be humble. I've learned that if a preacher says "I'm humble", that's a sign that they're not.

Nick

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OK, friends: The discussion is on "Fiction for Men." I realize this touches a raw nerver with e2c, who can be good-humored about the discussion when it sticks to literature. I do not want this to turn into a broad critique about gender issues, especially in relation to faith and church teachings. I realize faith is part of this board's name, and it can't be segmented out of the discussion, but I trust you know what I'm getting at.

As moderator, I open the floor here to the possibility that I should delete this thread. This is not a threat, but an honest question: Should I? Don't reply here. PM me, please. I'll post an update later today. Thanks.

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Well, OK... I think it's probably best for me to bow out of this convo, OK? We don't disagree as much as it might seem, really. But I'll leave that for another thread, and another time.

peace,

e.

e, I love ya, but looking at your avatar, I would've thought you'd write "never mind...".

To the moderator, let's keep this open. Although I just read Chabon's "Manhood for Amateurs", which isn't fiction, but a memoir. I didn't like it.

Nick

Edited by Nick Alexander

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To the moderator, let's keep this open. Although I just read Chabon's "Manhood for Amateurs", which isn't fiction, but a memoir. I didn't like it.

The future of the thread remains up for debate -- thanks for the feedback -- but while I'm weighing the options, tell me what you didn't like about the Chabon book. I've read about one third of it, and am finding it appealing for the most part. None of Chabon's entries are as smashingly entertaining as the first entry in Michael Lewis' "Home Game," which I've also just started, but Chabon's prose is a pleasure to read.

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To the moderator, let's keep this open. Although I just read Chabon's "Manhood for Amateurs", which isn't fiction, but a memoir. I didn't like it.

The future of the thread remains up for debate -- thanks for the feedback -- but while I'm weighing the options, tell me what you didn't like about the Chabon book. I've read about one third of it, and am finding it appealing for the most part. None of Chabon's entries are as smashingly entertaining as the first entry in Michael Lewis' "Home Game," which I've also just started, but Chabon's prose is a pleasure to read.

This was my first introduction to Chabon's writing--wasn't familiar with anything of his before (and I don't know if the "Wonder Boys" screenplay counts). But in this case, as a memoir, he's being generous to share stories that are personal to a fault. I felt a sense of revulsion hearing about his sexual exploits which, on the face of it, was nothing more than statutory rape (against him). It's kinda hard to rebound after waxing so eloquently, and honestly, about how misguided the 70s were (without recognizing how misguided the 70s were).

Now I'm not sure I care to revisit his writing again, even with his #1 spot on Paste's Top Books list.

Nick

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Just curious: which essay (in his book) are you referring to, Nick?

I don't have the book in front of me. It was about two thirds the way thru. You'd remember it if you'd read it--about his exploits with his mother's adult friend, who had a fling with him, over the course of a few days, when he was still a minor. Edited by Nick Alexander

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Oh, I didn't anticipate an essay like that. Not sure I want to go there.

The thread is back on track, so I'm inclined to leave it up, although I reserve the right to change my mind based on further anticipated feedback. Thanks to those who have PM'd me and added their thoughts here in this thread.

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Oh, I didn't anticipate an essay like that. Not sure I want to go there.

I hear you and don't disagree (the topic doesn't appeal to me at all), but I think much depends on how it's presented and what he says about it, no?

I don't think any topic is off-limits, no matter how unsavory, or how contrary to my worldview. I do agree, to an extent, with Ebert (that it's not what it's about, but how it's about it). That said, I didn't think he overrode the controversy. I don't think he even acknowledged it.

Nick

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Just an addendum to this topic to say that I recently finished Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs. He's a wonderful writer, but the best thing I can say for it overall is that I remain a fan of his fiction.

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Just an addendum to this topic to say that I recently finished Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs. He's a wonderful writer, but the best thing I can say for it overall is that I remain a fan of his fiction.

I read about half of it, enjoyed it, but didn't feel deep regret when I had to return it to the library.

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Why Men Don't Read. Sigh. This article suggests that what men really want are more books written by professional wrestlers. I guess that's true to some extent, but it feeds into a stereotype. Still, the article makes useful observations about the publishing industry.

I'm not in book publishing -- I work on magazines, newsletters, etc. -- but can testify to the low salaries part of the publishing-industry equation. I get by, do fine, have all I need. I don't want to bitch and moan. But the gap between my salary and the salaries of my friends in other fields has only grown over the years. And I can't say that I "love" my work. It's simply the only work I'm qualified to do.

Edited by Christian

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On a sidenote, when it comes to poetry ... sure, many poets are/were more effeminate than most other men, and reading poetry is, I'm sure, often considered girly in our culture. But, that isn't to say that some poetry isn't more aimed at specifically masculine, rather than feminine tastes - see Lepanto or Michael Madsen. Try telling Mr. Blonde that writing poetry is feminine. Some poetry is considered fiction, right? Like Shakespeare or Idylls of the King both could be specific poetry/fiction recommended for men.

Meanwhile, one favorite author that I've been able to get a couple guys I know who never read to read, Dennis Lehane - is finally coming out with another Kenzie/Genarro book - Moonlight Mile.

Edited by Persiflage

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With all due respect, what are your sources for this? It seems like a sweeping generalization (or maybe "stereotype") to me personally.

English Dictionary:

Effeminate: (of a man or boy) having traits, tastes, habits, etc., traditionally considered feminine, as softness or delicacy

I honestly don't know if the existence of this word is simply offensive to you. If it is, then I'm sorry, but it is also slightly relevant to why so many guys don't read.

So when applied to the guys who read and write poetry about birds, butterflies, smelling the pretty flowers and wonderfully beautiful romances, these guys are generally considered more effeminate. Think Ferdinand the Bull.

Of course, this is a stereotype, and it applies to writing and reading in general. I've always loved reading and writing, and I do it a lot, but just going to college, I was often out of place because I did a large amount of reading and writing and played a ton of sports at the same time. Almost zero of my sports friends read anything for pleasure, while the guys I went to elective Shakespeare classes with were more delicate, more artistic, couldn't catch a football to save their lives, and were much better at identifying with girls' feminine tastes (whether in books, movies, art appreciation, or clothing style). The artistes and poets (who actually would wear berets) in college, were the guys with more feminine character traits.

When I later joined the Army this difference continued, the readers and writers tended to do office work, the more masculine guys tended to have combat jobs. You were much more likely to find an army desk clerk reading The Lord of the Rings than you would find the Humvee machine gunner reading that or anything else. I'm an exception, but exceptions also prove the rule.

Lots of guys don't read, because all the guys they know who liked reading, and writing, and poetry, and Shakespeare, and fantasy, and everything else when they were growing up were the more effeminate guys who displayed more feminine character traits. I point this out only because, while I'll admit a typical effeminate guy is more likely to read more than a typical masculine guy, I do not believe reading, or even poetry for that matter, is a feminine trait. It is in the interest of ridding our culture of this idea that I'm interested in this thread, and I'm interested in persuading most of my friends - "nah, these books are NOT like that, it's not all just about some boring romantic relationship, Lehane writes books guys actually like reading - they actually challenge you, you should try it man." This is how I get my friends to read - telling him that this particular book about Captain Jack Aubrey or about Phillip Marlowe isn't like those other books his wife reads all the time.

So the question is, how do you get a guy, who avoids reading because that's something the more effeminate guys he knows always do, to start reading? As a guy myself, this is a question I'm interested in.

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So the question is, how do you get a guy, who avoids reading because that's something the more effeminate guys he knows always do, to start reading? As a guy myself, this is a question I'm interested in.

And it's basically why I started this thread. I no longer strike up conversations with other men about books, and they, of course, never strike up such conversations with me. With women, it's easier, because they'll bring up the subject themselves, or carry around whatever book they're reading. I don't see many guys toting books around, or reading during their lunch hours.

I'm talking about books. I do notice guys looking at Internet sites. So yeah, that's reading. But this thread started as one about "fiction," which I think of as stories. We then touched on how men who do read tend to prefer nonfiction, which might explain why guys like to read Internet stuff -- news and sports, from my experience.

I just finished another George Pelecanos books, a work of fiction. It wasn't my favorite of his, but it was a decent read. Next up: another nonfiction book, although I'm holding off until I've gone through some more of the Atlantic's fiction issue, which I received several weeks ago and just started into last night. Also, I have two volumes of horror fiction from the Library of America that I might try to read at the same time I'm going through my next nonfiction book.

Hey, there's a thought. Persiflage brought up poetry. What about short stories? Do you think men like fictional short stories more than book-length works of fiction?

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I also think there is a big, big difference between what is commonly meant by "effeminate" and what you're suggesting re. "feminine" traits.

And - sadly - it has hurt and continues to hurt a lot of boys. I can look at members of my immediate family (bookish, studious) and see how those kinds of unfair judgments and taunts harmed them when they were young. It hurts me to think about it.

Since this is off-topic, and since Christian has already considered deleting this thread because it was getting off topic, I am starting a separate thread where everyone can go more into this particular subject.

Edited by Persiflage

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And it's basically why I started this thread. I no longer strike up conversations with other men about books, and they, of course, never strike up such conversations with me. With women, it's easier, because they'll bring up the subject themselves, or carry around whatever book they're reading. I don't see many guys toting books around, or reading during their lunch hours.

I'm talking about books. I do notice guys looking at Internet sites. So yeah, that's reading. But this thread started as one about "fiction," which I think of as stories. We then touched on how men who do read tend to prefer nonfiction, which might explain why guys like to read Internet stuff -- news and sports, from my experience ...

Hey, there's a thought. Persiflage brought up poetry. What about short stories? Do you think men like fictional short stories more than book-length works of fiction?

The fact that you usually can't talk about reading with your average, typical American guy annoys me. And this is why, making a list of books or authors that are specifically targeted to men and their distinctive tastes is a useful thing to do.

I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with guys tending to read more nonfiction than fiction. My library is currently divided almost equally between history, theology, politics, and fiction. So fiction, even for me, is only about 25% of what I read.

That said, there is fiction out there written by men that can probably be appreciated more by men (just like in film, Die Hard is usually appreciated more by men than a romantic "chick flick." But when you walk into a bookstore, what choices do you have for fiction? There's the usually huge Harlequin romance section. Forget it. There's the usually huge Science Fiction/Fantasy section. Most guys think that's generally for the nerds. There's the regular, plain old fiction section - and most of the books on display all look like romances. Some stores might have a "Westerns" section - usually small. And then you've got the Mystery section. Picking out fiction for guys who you know don't usually read it - you're going to mostly pick out writers like Lehane or Ellroy from the mystery section, or go find Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Buckley, or I don't know, perhaps Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson from the fiction section.

I do not think short stories would necessarily appeal to men more simply because they're short. I can think of no particular reason why I'd recommend Dennis Lehane's Coronado: Stories over Darkness, Take My Hand; or Chandler's Trouble Is My Business rather than just The Big Sleep. I think it's the style and subject matter more than the length that's going to get a guy reading. If it's the right style and subject matter, and a usual non-reader guy likes reading it, he'll just read for shorter amount of time if it is a short story.

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Are most straight men really so fantastically concerned with whether their consumer choices make them appear gay, weak, or nerdy? What a miserable existence heterosexual maleness must be!

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Are most straight men really so fantastically concerned with whether their consumer choices make them appear gay, weak, or nerdy? What a miserable existence heterosexual maleness must be!

I don't think in those terms. I think in terms of "Does this make me look like I'm striving for attention? Or trying to make some kind of statement? Or trying to appear like something I'm not?" If it does, I walk away. This is also accompanied by the question, "How many albums or movies or meals could I buy for the same price as this shirt?" This often causes me to walk away as well.

Edited by Overstreet

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So the question is, how do you get a guy, who avoids reading because that's something the more effeminate guys he knows always do, to start reading? As a guy myself, this is a question I'm interested in.

And it's basically why I started this thread. I no longer strike up conversations with other men about books, and they, of course, never strike up such conversations with me. With women, it's easier, because they'll bring up the subject themselves, or carry around whatever book they're reading. I don't see many guys toting books around, or reading during their lunch hours.

I must be living in a different world. I've been organizing read-aloud events for nineteen years. We've had just as many men as women, if not more, in regular attendance, bringing things to share from the books they're reading. I would say that this is because I work at a university, but the attendance is not particularly dominated by people I know from work. We do occasionally have a guy arrive with a friend who gets bored of listening to people read; but that's often just because they're interests are elsewhere, not because of any masculine/feminine issues.

And the men who have come to the reading group over the years have read all kinds of things. If you were to look at the stack of what's read on a particular evening, you wouldn't be able to sort out which selections were brought by men and which were brought by women.

Honestly, if you asked me what the "more effeminate guys" I know are reading, I wouldn't know how to answer. I don't see them in terms of "effeminate" or otherwise. Some are brash and image-obsessed and arrogant and jock-ish, and others are humbler and calmer and more civil and don't seem to have anything to prove. But I see that as an issue of maturity, self-confidence, and integrity, not masculinity.

Edited by Overstreet

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I thought the "effiminate" discussion had been taken to Persiflage's "I'm Writing My First Book" thread, although maybe it's unavoidable in a discussion of gender preferences in terms of reading.

I'm glad you have a robust group of men at your read-aloud nights, Jeffrey. Tell us more: People bring books and read passages they like? Sorry to sound so backwater -- I go to book clubs, and to public reading events where authors read from their works, but I don't think I've ever been invited to a place for the sole purpose of reading out loud to others. Maybe these events are happening all around me and I'm just oblivious.

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e: Very astute observation! I wonder if living in the D.C. area has something to do with my perception. I see people reading on the subway, but it's often newspapers. And even if it's books, they're seen and not heard. No dicussion (although no one TALKS on the Metro :) ).

Maybe all those people with earbuds are listening to audiobooks? ;)

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