What Men Know That Women Don't. By Rich Zubaty. Preface by Bill Kauth. 547 pp. College Station, Texas and Kaunakakai, Hawaii: Virtualbookworm.com and Zubaty Publishing, 2000. $24 paper. $12 CD or ebook. Downloadable at www.virtualbookworm.com. 877-376-4955.
Rich Zubaty has updated and completely rewritten his classic "Surviving the Feminization of America." Controversial even within the ranks of men's rights activists, the original 1993 edition of "Surviving" sparked a lot of admiration for the author's rambling, tell-it-like-it-is style, not to mention the brilliance of his insights. But for many, "Surviving" also set off perhaps equal levels of denigration for its frequent flaming putdowns of females and perhaps for its sheer ball-busting uniqueness. Almost anyone could find something to dislike about "Surviving." Conservatives hated its clearly stated opposition to corporations and the evils they have spawned in society (about which Zubaty says more in his 2001 book, "The Corporate Cult," also available at the same locations given above and to be reviewed by me in the next issue). Liberals hated with equal vigor the book's attacks on the federal government ("useful for building interstate highways and keeping Cuba from invading us, and as far as I can tell that's just about it") and felt discomfort over Zubaty's evidently more than trace levels of misogyny and anti-Semitism.
I can't think of a men's movement book I have read which has made a stronger impression on me. Here are some of the ideas Zubaty proposes, attempts to justify, and explores in this book. Women are more materialistic than men, he writes, stressing the word's etymology from the Latin "mater," and they are also more analytical than males. Correspondingly, despite common misconceptions, men are more spiritual (and more intuitive) than women, as well as more skilled in relationships, and we need to regenerate a male-flavored spirituality if we are to save this planet before it is really too late. One of the biggest problems today is men and women have swapped mental roles, and neither of us does particularly well at playing the other's role.
Zubaty has a true poet's way with the pithy apothegm. "Women have more emotions, men have deeper feelings." "'Equality' is meaningless. Is a bee equal to a sparrow? The term is meaningless. And anyway, feminism was never honestly about Equality. Feminism was about MORE STUFF FOR WOMEN. Women don't want to mine coal or get drafted into war. That's too much Equality for them." "Men are not the oppressors of women. The simple proof of that is that Women are not oppressed." "Our male models are reconstituted women. They are the men women like, not the men God likes." "Men's intution is to women's intuition as the night sky full of galaxies is to a flashlight. The flashlight looks brighter because it is closer, but that is just an illusion."
Another of the author's knacks is synthesizing data in revealing ways. In the last decade, the number of working men who earn only a poverty wage has increased 100%. Five percent of the people and 75% of the lawyers live and work in the United States. Are we attempting to litigate values? Are we trying to pass laws to enforce morals? Zubaty makes a convincing case that we are doing exactly that. Why, if we get married in a church, don't we get divorced there as well? "Do you think it is any coincidence that the rise of compulsory education has marched in lock step with the Industrial Revolution?" Men's brains are 15% larger than women's, about twice the average body size difference; it may not be coincidence that women are more prone to emotional, manipulative responses which presumably are generated by the more primitive portions of the brain. Zubaty provides a pithy four-page summary of brain differences between men and women. Perhaps most to the point: "It amazes me to hear Americans mock Third World dwellers without for a second understanding that these people have more food laying around in their own backyard than they could eat in a year." Zubaty has both the skill and the guts to build a case that women are the cause of war. I may not be in FULL agreement but I am in full admiration of his chutzpah, not to mention panache.
The feminization of America and indeed, of the world, which became the title of this book's first edition, can be so profound that we can miss it if we don't have a friend like Zubaty to point it out to us. "Our priests wear gowns, our judges wear robes, and our ex- wives wear jeans." This process may be the most powerful of society's many statements that the masculine is losing its importance. Zubaty draws a pointed analogy between the "decay and dissolution" he has observed in Native Americans with whom he has lived and developments in North America and Europe. "What we are seeing on the reservation is a speeded up version of what Western society has done to all men--killed off the visionaries and turned the rest into a bunch of alcoholic businessmen." Ouch.
Zubaty does at times halfheartedly suggest that all "real men" stop going to work so that the women have to learn how to use shovels and drive garbage trucks. Not a bad idea. And, noting that "men who have not been fathers are vastly less complete individuals than women who never became mothers," Zubaty very sensibly proposes that fathers receive automatic custody of half the children from their marriage as a first step towards reducing divorce and curing a whole range of other problems. I can also sign on to Zubaty's "flake tax" for all childless men and women over the age of 30. Generally, though, "What Men Know" is short on explicit, detailed solutions to the overwhelming problems the author deftly sketches, but he can hardly be blamed for this. Frankly, the resolution to these issues may not exist, at least not yet. Zubaty's function is to alert us that the emperor has no clothes so we can start preparing to accelerate his departure and hopefully begin to think about who we will put in his place and how we will ensure that the same things don't continue to go wrong under the new regime.
It's time for some more Zubatyisms. Regarding our feminized education system, the author acerbically notes, "School is the place you go to learn all the things that are exactly the opposite of what you need to know to succeed in life." "If I tell my kids, 'I happened upon a moment of Buddha consciousness standing on a street corner,' my son will say, 'What's Buddha consciousness?' and my daughter will say 'What street corner?'" "Yes, you have an equal right to fix your own toilet. Go do it." Like it or not, "ALL the major accomplishments of civilization spring from the obsessions of men the sociologists now disdain as 'workaholics.'" "Civilized women don't like war, but they DO like washing machines.... Don't tell me women will give up their washing machines to make life easier for their 'sisters' in poor countries. The sun will ice over before that happens."
These words that flow so nicely point toward some disturbing conclusions. Zubaty can be hard to take, because he can help us to realize, not to put too fine a point on it, how hard life today sucks. He assembles a convincing claim that computers are the most feminizing force in society today, and notes, "We don't need more education. We need more spirituality."
Zubaty notes the great lengths to which Nature has gone to produce the male. "[U]ntil around 1840, females lived 10% shorter lives than men... Is there any doubt who is profiting from the Industrial Revolution?... Our men are going the way of the African elephant. It isn't that we are not hardy. The problem is that our habitat is being destroyed.... There is scarcely a real man left alive." This series of powerful metaphors contains the crux of the matter. Not simply our literal habitat is being eliminated, but also our symbolic habitat, in that our past understanding and appreciation of men's evolutionarily invaluable role is being lost. Most admirably, Zubaty it at his best in some pithy pages where he discusses male spirituality and men's role in the universe. "Our job is not to get along with the Goddess. Our job is to fuck the Goddess." And to be "the patron saints of foolishness," capable of providing "poetry and fascination and risk-taking." "Men were designed to disrupt women," thereby creating human life. Zubaty will similarly disrupt you as reader, and will also similarly help give birth to new ideas and some new thought patterns inside you.
"What Men Know" is at least as good as "Surviving." Longtime activist and New Warrior cofounder Bill Kauth has added a suitably seat-of-the-pants preface. Sure, you will always be able to find ten things to strongly dislike about the book. But the real point should be: I can't think of ANY book you are likely to read with as many original ideas. You don't even have to like Zubaty's authorial voice for his books to be must-reads, because they will get you thinking either way, and that's the author's ultimate goal. I suspect he would much prefer to have three people read his book and hate it as to have two people read his book and love it, as long as the readers in either case will think about the ideas presented and pursue actions in their own lives related to their conclusions. Sprint, don't run, to your feminized computer, and download Rich Zubaty's stunning, unique, depressing, hilarious, infuriating, delightful, but above all, must-read book. If you only buy one book this year, make it "What Men Know That Women Don't." Your life, and that of those who love you and those whom you love, not to mention that of your society, may depend on it.
Review by Ssargon:
When I read this book it made me feel more secure about my place in the world. I'm 22 years old and this book really explained a lot that I've thought about since I left the political involvement that I had as a teenager.
The book talks about how women make themselves unhappy by confusing security and peace with the need for material possessions. I tells men what they must do for the world to be a better place. The blame isn't really on either women or men, but on the corporate culture that controls our lives and the feminists that follow it (to quote from the book: "Feminists are corporate whores").
It also talks about the injustice that men face when they divorce (or are forced to divorce) when there are children involved. It then goes on to dispell the myth that men aren't spiritual and caring in their relationships.
Zubaty tells his own story and he is NOT afraid to be angry, which I think is a very good thing. The book is well worth reading by anyone who doesn't automatically take the feminist view of society for granted.