Book worth a look

// 30 December 2007

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There’s an interesting review over at The Times of The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body, by zoologist and author Desmond Morris. In his new book, Morris offers insights into why men look, behave and mate in the way that they do. (By which I mean he provides an explanation of evolutionary theory, and not graphic descriptions of how men have sex. This is not erotic fiction here people, control yourselves). The review encapsulates part of Morris’s argument in the following paragraph:

“His broadbrush characterisations of male and female nature allow for little overlap, or ideas of “social constructs”. Women are designed to be essentially “cautious” and “caring”, while men are, as he bluntly puts it, “expendable”. It only needs one man to fertilise 50 women. The rest can all go and kill each other in some stone-age border war, and the next generation will still be just fine. But 50 men and one woman: the tribe is doomed. Men are more playful (or juvenile), women more sensible (or mediocre). Aware at some primeval level that they are expendable, men tend to be more risk-taking and aggressive. In the modern world, a man is both more likely to get a first-class degree and to kill someone while driving drunk.”

Maybe it is true that men subconsciously realise that they are expendable? Who knows? Maybe this is just a way of explaining away what Morris considers to be the irrational and erratic behaviour of men against the alleged “mediocrity” or women? Aside from the sheer hilarity of that last sentence, (are men more likely to kill someone while driving drunk when returning home from receiveing their first-class degree? Unfortunate, on many levels), the review is pretty positive, and the book looks like an interesting read for the New Year.

Photo by angryamoeba, shared under a Creative Commons License

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