“Stupid as a man, say the women: cowardly as a woman, say the men. Stupidity in a woman is unwomanly.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Last weekend I downloaded a Migos mixtape and decided to listen to it. The record was about an hour long but only had 10 minutes of actual content. Every song rehashed the same subject matter without even putting a clever spin on it. One song was about selling drugs. The next track was about having sex. And the third was about drugs and sex. The entire album could have been compressed into a single 16 bar verse and nothing would have been lost.
When I was 18 I read two books. One was Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and the other was Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. Both had been recommended to me. I thought Outliers was overrated. The book took something that I considered to be common knowledge, nurture trumps nature, and stretched it to the point of being repetitive and uninteresting. The entire book could have been condensed down to a long-form article. There was nothing new or exciting, no revelation.
After being letdown, I read I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. I thought it was awesome. The stories were funny, the jokes were witty, and the escapades were outlandish. I lent the book out to all my friends and every one of them thought Max’s work was hysterical. I liked the book so much that I went out and bought it’s sequel.
Like with Migos or Malcolm Gladwell, I discovered that Tucker Max had zero range. His second book was the exact same as the first. In fact, reading it made me realize that all of his stories were basically just slight variations of each other. While the jokes might have been different they all boiled down to getting drunk and having sex. There was no variety.
The fact that Max’s subsequent books and movie flopped didn’t surprise me. You can’t sell a man the same joke four times. What did surprise me was Max’s change of character. Rather than continuing to beat a dead horse, Max then decided to steal from the manosphere.
Instead of restating what a lot of bloggers have already said, I’m going to focus today’s post on why the manosphere cannot be copied.
From what I can tell, Max is going to try and take the easy route. He noticed the popularity of sites about women and gender differences, and decided to take their content. In reality the manosphere encompasses almost every interest and hobby. Bloggers even have multiple sites dedicated to their various interests and expertise. Off the top of my head, these are just a few subjects that have “manosphere” blogs dedicated to them: Exercise, bodybuilding, making money, fashion, culture, women, current affairs, travel, books, health, radio broadcasting, psychology, politics, cooking, hunting, finishing, art, history, law, philosophy, juicing, and humor. Additionally, blogs have taken detours into other subjects like: cars, computer programming, the effects of industrialization, home repair, coffee brewing, cigar buying, swimming, sewing, meditation, fatherhood, video games, photography, poetry, crossword puzzles, life lessons, poker, club promotion, the occult, hitchhiking, and countless other activities that I can’t remember at this moment.
Max’s site looks like every post will inevitably read “Why Do Men Do [X] And Women Do [Y]?” It’s going to get old fast. His lineup already has such hard hitting investigations as “Why You Are A Boob Guy.”
While the site might do alright because of Max’s fame, it’s going to run out of steam. Even the manosphere guys who blog about sex and women have to change the topic every once in a while. There’s only so much to be said. Additionally, Max’s information is going to be inaccurate. Max isn’t testing any of the information that he’s writing about, instead he’s posting the results of various surveys experiments. Considering the fact that scientists couldn’t confirm that the female orgasm was a real thing until the 1990’s, I wouldn’t put too much trust into a lab full of dweebs.
Critics of the manosphere typically argue that all the sites are authored and read by angry middle aged white dudes. They basically imagine everything as an online version of a Tea Party rally. While I’m sure there are sites like that, the main bloggers are pretty diverse. Men, and even a few women, from all walks of life have contributed to the manosphere. There are liberal bloggers, gay writers, atheists, and dudes from every race and culture.
This mixture allows for a lot of different opinions and viewpoints. No two writers will ever have the same take on a subject. Even multiple author sites have differing inputs to certain thoughts or events. In contrast, Tucker Max just has himself and Geoffrey Miller. While I don’t know enough about Miller to comment on him, I do know enough to safely assume that him and Tucker will play it safe. Their site will probably end up being something akin to a Men’s Health type site. They’ll write articles with titles like “7 Reasons She’s Breaking Up With You” and “14 Great Home Date Ideas.” Occasionally Tucker might reach into his back catalog and pull out a funny story so that Miller can analyze his actions. It’s basically going to be Cosmo for men.
Just looking over their site’s recommended reading list provides some clues as to how tame the content will be. Books like Nickel and Dimed and The Game are both cited as required reading. This is basically a high school reading list crossed with a few “edgy” books that could be found at any Barnes & Noble.
While I can’t be certain that Max and his new site will flop, I don’t think that it will destroy the manosphere. Guys who read Max’s post are the same types of dude’s who read Men’s Health. Additionally, I doubt Max will actually poach any readers. A guy who’s into Good Looking Loser or Danger & Play probably won’t jump ship just because a washed up writer and his accomplice were able to make a watered down blog.