Mad as Hell: The End of the Era of Male Entitlement

By Diane Cole

March/April 2014

A latte-sipping academic type walks into a gun show in rural Pennsylvania in search of so-called angry white men to interview about the fires that fuel their rage. “I’m your worst nightmare,” he tells prospective interviewees. “I’m a liberal New York Jewish sociologist, and I live in the bluest city in the bluest state in the country.” And with this line, at different gun show venues around the country, he signs up 40 men to provide glimpses of what makes them—and any potential emotional bombs inside them—tick.

These glimpses are at the core of Angry White Men, the latest book by Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University of New York. To Kimmel’s credit, he sets aside his own opinions and listens, for the most part without judgment, to a litany of complaints from his interviewees: tales of lost jobs, lost social and economic status, lost possibilities for happiness due to failed marriages and custody battles. Few, if any, of these disappointments or debacles are their fault, they insist: it’s America that has lost its way. Men are no longer on top. Women no longer know their place. Immigrant and ethnic groups are taking the jobs that should be theirs. These men aren’t just mad as hell, Kimmel reports: they feel justified in being so. Although, as Kimmel puts it, “the era of unquestioned and unchallenged male entitlement is over,” these men can’t or won’t accept it. This book helps us understand why and begins to…

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1 Comment

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:03:32 PM | posted by Robert Yourell
Many of the men that could easily be put into this category are aggrieved because of terrible things that have been done to them that included gender issues. The generalizations described in this review fit in with the tendency to write of all of their concerns as a loss of entitlement, when, if fact, often they have been terribly betrayed and abused.

To erase the genuine grievances and sincere attempts to gain justice through legal means is to erase a large sector of the male population. This cultural tendency just adds to their grief, frustration, and betrayal.

Let's not take the people on the margins, and then use them as a stereotype for a larger group. We shouldn't do it with any group, male or otherwise.

Someone that reads my comment casually may assume I am denying the dynamics described in the review, but no, I'm commenting on a specific dynamic that is harming many men--and it sounds like this book is contributing to it.