Alfred Gingold takes on the men's movement
Alfred Gingold takes on the men's movement -- The author satirizes the growing obsession men have with finding their inner-selves in his book ''Fire in the John''
Alfred Gingold is not a New Man. He does not weave lanyards or wear a loincloth or howl. To make matters worse, he has recently spent a lot of his time hiding behind his typewriter, producing Fire in the John, a sly satire of men’s movement books by Robert Bly (Iron John) and Sam Keen (Fire in the Belly). ”There is much more to spiritual renewal than just chanting when you put out the trash and getting together with your brothers once a week to bemoan and bemoan,” writes Gingold. ”Your New Manhood must pervade every facet of your life until peers, friends, and family alike ask you to sit down and shut up. But you won’t be able to. So much that was wrong remains to be put right!”
According to Gingold, his effort at smoking the New Men right out of their sweat lodges did not entail his participation in one of their wild-man weekends. As he puts it, ”I don’t ever plan to be more than 50 yards from the nearest flush toilet.” Nor does he take the popularity of Iron John, the bible of the New Man, at face value. According to Gingold, the reason the book has been on the best-seller lists for so long is simply ”because men want to know where Robert Bly gets those vests.”
Gingold admits that he wrote his parody because an editor asked him to. But he embraced the assignment. It’s not just the fact that ”the most powerful group of people in the world — middle-aged white guys — have decided they want to be oppressed,” that strikes him as silly, it’s the way they’ve gone about it: ”All this hearkening back to the halcyon age when we were rubbing sticks together.” Why does he think the men’s movement is growing so rapidly? ”The principles of AA have expanded exponentially,” he says. ”There’s a 12-step program for people who are messy, for God’s sake…There’s some connection between being a hero and being a victim in our society. Just look at Clarence Thomas.”