Slate: Why did you decide to write a book about men now?--Marshal Zeringue
Laura Kipnis: They just seem to be in such a state of anxiety. I had written a book about scandal and so it was on my mind how a lot of men in power seem to be acting in such incoherent ways in public. It’s almost as if something was afflicting them and they had some need to be shamed in public, to be disgraced and act out these private psychodramas in public, and I was just fascinated by that. My disposition generally is to think there are linkages between the private sphere and large scale social structures, so I guess I am always looking for those links.
Did you figure out what the anxiety is all about?
I think I became more empathetic about whatever causes I was speculating about. There’s a kind of precariousness for men now about their position—you’ve written about this. There are changes in the role in the aftermath of feminism as a result of massive economic restructuring, and this is affecting them on an interpersonal level. They don’t know exactly what’s going on in the context of heterosexual male-female relationships, what’s expected of them.
Is there such a thing as the New Man?
There’s a lot of introspection about roles and masculinity. That all gets...[read on]