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    Critics really hate Josh Hawley’s stupid book about manhood.

    Dan Sheehan

    May 30, 2023, 10:58am

    Supporting Josh Hawley … was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life. He has consciously appealed to the worst. He has attempted to drive us apart and he has undermined public belief in our democracy.

    –Missouri Sen. John Danforth


    In a Congress lousy with failsons and zealots, seditionists and ghouls, neo-Confederate Missouri senator Josh Hawley ranks among the most odious members, which is no mean feat.

    You name a malign policy or bigoted stance—from calling for deregulation of environmental protections to ginning up an insurrectionist mob, from vowing to only vote for Supreme Court nominees who promised to overturn Roe v. Wade to blaming human trafficking on the sexual revolution—this creepy little shitass has probably endorsed or espoused it.

    Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Sen. Hawley released a manifesto of sorts. It’s called Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs and it has…not been well received.

    Below is a taste of the critical response to Manhood so far.



    Josh Hawley calls influencer Andrew Tate onto the carpet in his new book, Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs, the latest salvo in the Missouri senator’s campaign to make himself relevant to anyone—anyone at all…But to judge by this strange and ineffective book, Tate is, apparently, the only actually bad man in the world. Everyone else—every miserable man in America, of which there are plenty—just needs to read a book like this, full of dense Bible stories, sentimental tales about Hawley’s Midwestern childhood, and potted right-wing histories of the French Revolution, and he’ll be fine … like almost everything Hawley does, the book is an epic disaster. Why did a man who is probably our leading national pipsqueak decide that promoting manliness was his ticket to political power? … You will not be surprised to hear that Josh Hawley wants to claim true ‘manhood’—a state embodied, for him, by the Biblical archetypes of husband, father, warrior, builder, priest, and king, each of which get a chapter in the second part of this book—as the province only of the right wing … This culture-warrior perspective on manhood is so bizarre to read, knowing Hawley’s political indebtedness to the consumerist, gimme-gimme, consequences-be-damned MAGA vibe that currently dominates the Republican Party..

    –Rebecca Onion (Slate)

    He posits that masculinity is, at once, a biological endowment and a personal achievement … Like a campaign speech, Manhood is an adventure in impressionistic and impassioned disorganization. Chapter breaks may as well be accidental; most passages could be reshuffled into any section without any loss of coherence … Insofar as it is possible to impose an organizational principle onto Manhood, the book takes up four distinct projects, though not in any particular order. The first is halfhearted biblical exegesis. The second is wholehearted self-promotion … His autobiographical forays are desperately folksy … Hawley’s third fixation is liberalism, defined not as a political system but as an all-encompassing ethos that consists, primarily, of the fetishization of choice … The final strand of Manhood is standard self-help fare, much of it inoffensive … Ultimately, Manhood differs only cosmetically from the book that Hawley’s liberal straw man would write. The Epicurean liberals of his imagination are invested in self-gratification, and he is invested in self-improvement. Both are invested in the self.

    –Becca Rothfeld (The Washington Post)

    On the page, Hawley blames “Epicurean liberals” for the failures of American men … Hawley neglects to mention his source: the second verse in the Book of Ecclesiastes, authorship traditionally ascribed to King Solomon, successor and son to King David. Reflecting upon life as vanity is part of the Judeo-Christian tradition too … In reaching for Scripture, Hawley is being—surprise—selective … Hawley is also selective—surprise—about his philosophers … Hawley protests way too much. He seeks to avail himself of the positive liberty posited by Berlin … He’s doing fine. He seems to believe, however, that he possesses a God-given right to be heard.

    –Lloyd Green (The Guardian)

    Before you ask, the answer to your question is no. In a book titled Manhood, Hawley literally never mentions the most famous act of his life: running away from the protesters in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the protesters he had earlier that day saluted with a raised fist of solidarity … Manhood is somehow both short and long: Short because it’s an op-ed stretched out to barely 200 pages, and long because it is preternaturally boring. There are zero jokes, not even a single wry remark. Consuming it is like eating a small but dense log of suet … By Hawley’s own estimation, he is the weakest, most unmanly man imaginable. His entire life is what he did on January 6: succumbing to his own desire for power, running away as fast as possible from the consequences, and refusing to acknowledge any of it.

    –Josh Schwartz (The Intercept)