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The Month Ahead

What to see, read and listen to in June

COURTESY U.S. ARMY

MANNING UP
A witty new memoir details one writer’s attempts to re-masculate himself

Journalism has attracted its share of bare-knuckled, rough-and-ready, running-with-the-bulls sorts of writers. Time humor columnist Joel Stein is not one of them. He instead drives a yellow Mini Cooper and is kind of afraid of dogs. Most important, in his own words, he’s “the type of guy who avoids conflict at all costs.”

Or was, that is, until his son’s birth a few years ago made Stein realize he wasn’t prepared to raise a human being who might actually like “fighting and camping and hunting and playing sports — stuff that to me seems nuts, but to your average American male is just what you do for fun on the weekends,” he says. Stein’s solution? A two-year odyssey into high-testosterone pursuits — detailed in his recently released book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity — that would see him take the wheel of both a $260,000 Lamborghini and a $6.2 million Abrams tank, camp out with the Boy Scouts and step into the ring with a UFC champ, among other things.

More amazing than the fact that Stein survived his exploits is that he was allowed to try them at all. “The amount of access that the armed services gave me, especially, was insane,” says Stein, who underwent both Marine and Army boot camp training. “That was easy compared with finding someone who’d let me foster a dog.”

As he gets set to promote Man Made in a month containing that manliest of holidays, Father’s Day, Stein predicts it will appeal most to “guys like me, guys who always wonder what it’d be like to do the kinds of stuff I did.” But he holds out hope that, ahem, “real men” will also give it a look. “When you’re into something and you see someone who knows nothing about it trying it, it’s hysterical,” he says. “I think they’re the least likely to read the book — but would enjoy it the most.” OUT NOW

POWER TRIO
Joel Stein’s take on some of history’s manliest men

Genghis Khan: “Not only did the 13th-century Mongol conquer the largest contiguous empire in history, but — due to his harem of thousands of women — there are now 16 million men (and probably that many women too) who have his DNA.”

Chesty Puller: “When I was in boot camp with the Marines, I kept hearing about this World War II hero, the most decorated Marine in history, who said things like ‘They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29 to 1. They can’t get away from us now!‘”

Theodore Roosevelt: “I hope my nearly-as-spoiled, nearly-as-asthmatic son grows up to pursue the ‘strenuous life’ by becoming a cowboy, sheriff, grizzly bear hunter, judo practitioner and the kind of guy who gets shot at the beginning of a speech and finishes it anyway.”

 

ALSO OUT THIS MONTH

MOVIES Prometheus, a Ridley Scott-directed prequel of sorts to Alien // Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, a behind-the-scenes look at the Serbian performance artist’s 2010 retrospective at MoMA

BOOKS The Risk Agent, the latest international thriller from bestselling author Ridley Pearson // Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Marc Dolan’s authoritative take on the life and times of The Boss

TV The Season 5 premiere of HBO’s vampire soap opera, “True Blood”

MUSIC Kin, by alt-country troubadour Rodney Crowell in collaboration with writer Mary Karr, featuring Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Norah Jones and Roseanne Cash. // Analog Man, the first solo album in 20 years from Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh // Overexposed, by pop-rockers Maroon 5

 

QUOTED

“[SUPERMAN] IS NEITHER CYNICAL, LIKE BATMAN, NOR FRAUGHT, LIKE SPIDER-MAN. … THE MORE JADED THE ERA, THE MORE WE HAVE BEEN LURED BACK TO HIS CLUNKY FAMILIARITY.” —From Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero, by Larry Tye. JUNE 12

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