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The Alphabet of Manliness (Book Review)
Who is Maddox?
Maddox is the pen name of George Ouzounian, an erstwhile computer programmer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is most famous for his website (The Best Page in the Universe), which has skewered pop culture, sundry companies, and various people that he generously labels "idiots". Here are just a couple of examples of his posts that amply demonstrate his snarky, cynical brand of humor:
- We know you're a cranky b****, you don't need the bumper sticker
- Greeting cards you wish you could buy
Along with Tucker Max and DrunkasaurusRex, Maddox is considered one of the most prominent contemporary authors of "fratire".
The Alphabet of Manliness was released in June 2006, after having reached the #1 position for book pre-orders at Amazon.com. The book is currently #299 in sales of book at Amazon (September 5, 2006), about 3 months after its release.
The book is organized into 26 brief chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet. A few examples will help give you an idea of the general tone of the book (in case you're not familiar with Maddox's website):
D is for Taking a Dump
K is for Knockers
O is for Obedience (leading picture: a woman catching a frisbee with her mouth)
U is for Urinal Etiquette
Z is for Zombies (a stab at the Office Space-like corporate drones he no longer has to deal with)
... so, in short, misogyny, bathroom humor, and childish rants.
in case you were tempted to take the book seriously...
Misogynistic? Of course.
Offensive? It depends, but I'm sure everyone can find something objectionable in the book.
The book, and Maddox, are ultimately not meant to be taken seriously. Just when you're feeling that his book has gone too far into the realm of poor taste, Maddox will throw something in that reminds you exactly what you're reading:
- [in N is for Chuck Norris] Chuck Norris has fought in almost every major war, including the Korean War, World War I, the American Civil War, the Peloponnesian War, the Iran-Iraq War (on both sides simultaneously), the War of the Worlds, and the War on Drugs. The only war Chuck hasn't fought in is the Macedonian War because Chuck Norris doesn't give a shit about Macedonia.
- [in J is for Beef Jerky] If there's a food out there that's manlier than strips of flesh ripped from an animal's ribs, cured, smoked, and flavored so it can be slammed down the throats of hungry construction workers, I'd like to know what it is.
- [in R is for Road Rage] Road Rage is an off-putting phrase because the word "rage" has negative connotations... A more fitting phrase would be "road justice", because in the lawless wasteland known as the interstate highway system, each man must make his own justice, sometimes with the help of a tire iron.
Although I am not a woman....
...and women seem to be his primary target (his website hints at his lack of success in the dating department), I am a peace-loving vegetarian, which would put me high on the list of those deserving an "a**-kicking" (actually, the subject of the book's first chapter).
And nevertheless I loved the book. I really found it hilarious.
Interestingly, Maddox claims over 40% of his readership are women. So are two of the eight illustrators who contribute to the book.
Will definitely be a stocking-stuffer for friends of mine who understand this kind of humor, and, maybe more importantly, understand that it is humor.