October 28, 2008 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Books | October 28, 2008 |


Drew Magary, the author of Men with Balls, is co-founder of Kissing Suzy Kolber and better known to the masses Big Daddy Drew. He’s also arguably the best NFL blogger on the Internet. And the most profane. He and the Christmas Ape are to the NFL what Jon Stewart is to politics, mocking not only the NFL itself, but the mainstream and print coverage of it, arguably a tougher task than even the “Daily Show” crew has, considering how little unscripted content KSK has to work with. You don’t even have to like sports to appreciate the satire; for instance, take this passage, campaign advice from the verbally-challenged Emmitt Smith, who is to NFL punditry what Sarah Palin is to presidential campaigning:

McClane will have to menstruate to the country that he is fit to lead. He can’t make any bad verbal graphs. He already has Sarah Palin out on the road prostating Bark’s polices. But he can’t simply follow the rectum of conservatory talk radio. He needs to be substitutive. He really needs to roll up his seams and get his hams dirty. That’s the only way he’ll turn the time!

That’s what I would say to myself. It’s time for McClane to put out or shut up. Or else he will get absolutely VANQUILIZED! CALAMITIZED! HOLOCCOSTED! This could be a real fresco if McClane isn’t careful.

Magary, who also authored the insanely hilarious Rex Grossman, Sex Cannon (RIP) posts a few years back, brings the same profanity-fueled, way-over-the-top absurd sense of humor to Men with Balls, a mock Beginner’s Guide for professional athletes, something sadly missing from bookshelves these days. “Throughout history, there have been many books written about pro athletes,” he writes. “But who, I ask you, has ever written a book for pro athletes? No one. And you know why? Because it would be idiotic from a marketing standpoint.” Magary’s alter-ego offers advice from the perspective of someone who has never played professional sports in his life (“I have a spine made of peanut brittle, and I possess all the athletic ability of Gerald Ford during the brief period he was lying in state”), but has observed closely for over 30 years, from his couch. Men with Balls guides the soon-to-be professional athletes from draft day to retirement, offering sage advice on how to deal with racist letters from fans (make them public and prompt discussions of race, because “if there were no racism, we’d never have to confront all the damage racism has wrought upon our world. And that would be a tragedy”); how to deal with the media (avoid them, “they’re just dying to fuck you over”); how to cheat on your wife; and how to deal with coaches, arrests, drug addictions, bastard children, needy family members, and, of course, how to “Get. Motherfucking. Paid.”

Indeed, Men with Balls does for the athletes what Neil Pollack’s Anthology of American Literature did for 20th Century Literature, crippling the sports world with parody. Granted, Men with Balls is profoundly racist, sexist, and homophobic, but it’s also profoundly funny, taking jabs at absolutely everyone, from sports talk radio hosts (Colin Cowherd has “the charisma of a dying ferret”) who fill dead air by making “Very Long. Dramatic pauses. In order. To fill. The space,” to coaches (“Norv Turner is widely praised by players for his frequent candy-dish refills”) to sports memorabilia collectors, who “start off as aspiring serial killers, only to discover he lacks the requisite evil genius to lure teenage girls into his ‘87 Dodge van,” and even the die-hard fans, who pay an athlete’s salary and never, ever let them forget it. But, a lot of the best jabs are taken at the athletes themselves, including a section on athlete-inspired sexual positions. Here’s a couple of my favorites:

The Allen Iverson: Start making love immediately. When she asks about foreplay, give her a look of disgust.

The Curt Schilling: Nail her. Blog about it.

The Alex Rodriguez: Ask her if she orgasmed. Continue wondering what you did wrong.

Throughout the book, there are also lots of fun facts (“The worst criminal in the history of sports was Earl “Stabby” Jameson … who stabbed more than 700 prostitutes in 1911 … but journalistic ethics at the time dictated that a player’s off-the-field exploits were strictly out of bounds”) clippable motivational slogans (“If you’re going to say stupid things, just say them all the time. That way people will grow numb to your stupidity, and you can say whatever you want.”) and first-hand accounts, like “Hear it From a Crackhead” and “Hear it From a Groupie.”

Indeed, the biggest issue I had with Men with Balls is the same issue I have with Chuck Klosterman: Whenever I pick up one of his books, all I can think — in between bursts of laughter — is that I could’ve written this. That doesn’t make Magary’s guide (or Klosterman’s works) any less funny, of course, nor would the invention of the intermittent windshield wiper or White-Out be any less useful because they were so obvious. It just means that everything in Men with Balls rings true, as if they were observations we’ve made in our minds during commercial breaks. Take, for instance, this observation on why female professional golfer, Michele Wie, is the fifth highest paid athlete in terms of endorsements:

Michele Wie can’t even beat girls, yet she makes more money than any other female athlete, and more than any other football or baseball player. Why? Two words: Asian jailbait. That’s Wie’s brand identity … When 50-year-old salesman see her out in the course in a skin-tight Lycra shirt, they’re liable to buy anything, eve the idea that the girl is any good. It’s a fact: impulse purchasing rises 379 percent when you have your dick in your hand.

Men with Balls is not great literature, nor does it pretend to be. But in a publishing industry where blogger books are a dime a dozen, it’s nice to see one that doesn’t simply repackage website material (see, I Can Haz Cheezburger) or offer content with little relation to the blog that made the author popular (see, e.g., Ana Marie Cox’s disappointing Dog Days). It’s more than a novelty book, and more than something to put on your coffee table. Men with Balls is what’d you’d expect from Big Daddy Drew, only longer, more structured, and in print form, which makes it easier to read during halftime of a blowout loss. And what’s most surprising about Men with Balls is that, unlike Neil Pollack’s attempts at book-length hyperbole, the conceit doesn’t wear thin. It’s as funny in the first chapter as it is the last. And if the early promotional material is true, I understand that — in the Atlanta area — if you buy a book, you get $50 off your next lap dance.

Men with Balls goes on sale today.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives withi his wife and son in Portland, Maine You can reach him via email, or leave a comment below.

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Masturbate the Ball Down the Feel

Men with Balls: The Professional Athlete's Handbook by Drew Magary / Dustin Rowles

Books | October 28, 2008 | Comments ()



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