The Alphabet of Manliness The Alphabet of Manliness by Maddox
Publisher: Citadel Press
Year: 2006
Pages: 204

Long before “Maddox” ever published a book, he was an internet wunderkind–a viral advertisement all by himself. His website, The Best Page in the Universe, is an exercise in to-the-limit satire, wherein Maddox plays a man’s man who loves pirates, eats animals, lives a porn star’s sex life, and berates anyone who dares to question him.

I personally have followed the site with a lazy sort of interest for the past few years. It’s updated very infrequently, and looks like hell, which is a testament perhaps to Maddox’s staying power with his bemused or–scarily–vehemently agreeable fanbase. Ironically, the site has been updated even less frequently in the year that Maddox has been writing and promoting The Alphabet of Manliness, ostensibly, I suppose, because the bulk of Maddox creative juices went into the latter.

Appropriately enough, The Alphabet of Manliness isn’t nearly as funny as the website whose popularity grew on word-of-mouth alone. This book, layed out in 26 chapters–one for each letter of the alphabet–covers topics which are supposedly of interest to manly men: pirates, lumberjacks, beef jerky, breasts, pornography, etc., all of them covered in Maddox’s satirical voice, which is as much of an exaggeration of the oversexed, misogynist, bullheaded stereotype as possibly without falling victim to its own schtick. The entire book is like one big Chuck Norris joke–in fact, Maddox dedicates the letter N to good old Chuck–but Chuck Norris jokes just aren’t funny for 200 pages. The appeal of Maddox’s website is the monthly addition of piece which takes two minutes to read: in small doses, the heavy-headed vitriol is funny, and the web gives it a hip modernity and spontaneity which prevents it from seeming sad and pathetic. The Alphabet of Manliness has no such charm, and so while it did induce a few chuckles from me, especially early on, it wore very thin very quickly, so that by the time I hit “W” for “Woman,” in which Maddox proffers a guide to woman that reads as though it was cropped from a pet training manual, I was bored, only very slightly bemused, and kind of perturbed that I had wasted my time.

Maddox himself is a strange cookie: for all his bluster and bravado and iconoclasm, I found it hard to miss that he includes his religious views very clearly: Maddox, though you might guess otherwise, isn’t an atheist, but rather subscribes to a creator god who made a universe full of dust and gas from whence we arose over billions of years. This isn’t at all important, but it seems a bit of a nonsequitur to see someone advocating–in jest, of course–headbutting uppity women in the ovaries turn around and declare, in his authorial voice, a certain allegiance to the popular deity of fans and foes alike.

I can’t really find any reason to recommend The Alphabet of Manliness. If Maddox’s brand of humor is indeed something that appeals to you, perhaps you’d be better off picking and choosing articles from his website; the book, by comparison, is rather…well…. stupid.

§1822 · April 19, 2007 · Tags: , , , ·

8 Comments to “The Alphabet of Manliness”

  1. rob says:

    I’m trying to comprehend something more stupid than maddox’s website. I’m failing.

    Incidentally I’m also failing at 52-in-52 because I’m working so much :(

  2. Ben says:

    It’s still tremendously popular, but it’s so two years ago. My guess is, once he goes to all the trouble to publicize a book—to the neglect of his site—he’s stopped being an ironic/satiric/whatever internet curmudgeon and become a ridiculous child.

    My guess is that my number will drop off once I start working full-time, so I’ll feel your pain.

  3. Jackilyn says:

    Just the fact that he has a whole chapter dedicated to Chuck Norris jokes makes it shit.

  4. Jackalope says:

    this book is awesome but I don’t have it and just wanted to read a couple pages of it on the internet but these special olimpic canidates need to learn how to run a website and get someone who knows anything about computer networking to get them a decent site.

    Maddox sucks donkey !@$$

  5. […] in book form, you’ve ceased being internet-funny and starting being real-world-pathetic. cf. The Alphabet of Manliness; also Love and Other Near-Death […]

  6. Unsigned says:

    "W" is for winner, not woman. I believe you are thinking of "O" for obedience.

  7. Yours Truly, Captain Riot says:

    This book is one of the most entertaining books ever written! Just because people are feminists lesbians and have no life but to sit down and critical think someones critical thinking satyr, doesn’t mean that the book is crap. People who over analys how great or how little a book is are almost the same pompous a**es that criticized and banned Harry Potter from High Schools in southern North America. ITS A F*CKING BOOK!!!! DEAL WITH IT!!! BLOODY WANKERS!

    • Ben says:

      That’s a poor analogy. Calling a book good or bad based on its literary merits is never the impetus for book bannings, which are usually knee-jerk reactions to the book’s content.

      I wouldn’t seek to ban The Alphabet of Manliness because it’s not offensive; it’s just not good, either. I’m happy for you if it brings you such joy, but your simpleminded allegiance to the book and/or its author is not a refutation of the review.

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