Laura Kipnis is the author of Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation.
From her Q & A with James Livingston at Politics / Letters:
There’s an astonishing range of subjects in this book. You write about sports, film, photography, memoir, literature of the serious kind, Hustler magazine, politics of the contemporary kind, psychoanalysis, even penis envy on the part of men . . . You seem intent on violating every disciplinary or generic or sex/gender boundary still standing. Is that trespassing the point? Is that what the essay form permits?Learn about Laura Kipnis's six favorite books about wounded masculinity.
Trespassing is a great way to put it (one of the chapters is, in fact, titled “The Trespasser”), or maybe another term would be “creative brawls”: smashing into people and ideas and seeing what happens. I say in the coda of the book that the idea was to be a sort of crash test dummy, open to the possibility of accidental collisions—between myself and the men I’m writing about, that is. (There’s also one woman.) Part of the method involves staging collisions between unlikely contestants, so to speak: in “Self-Deceivers,” I have John Edwards colliding with Jean Paul Sartre, in “The Scumbag” it’s Larry Flynt and Rabelais, in “Juicers” I lump steroid users and plagiarists together and mount a joint defense. The pleasure of the unlikely collision is finding ideas you didn’t know you had—like sorting through the wreckage of your house after a tornado and finding...[read on]