It begins in Ice Age France, where a biomechanical analysis demonstrates that La Ferrassie 2, a Neanderthal woman discovered in the early 1900s, would cream 2004 World Arm Wrestling Federation champion Alexey Voyevoda in an arm wrestle. Then it moves on to medieval Serbia, showing how Slavic guslar poets (who were famously able to repeat a two thousand-line verse after just one hearing) would have destroyed Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, in a battle rap. Finally, it takes the reader to the steaming jungles of modern equatorial Africa, where Aka Pygmy men are such super-dads, they even grow breasts to suckle their children. Now, that’s commitment.
Peter McAllister is an archeologist and science writer from the University of Western Australia, where he lectures in science communication. He insists that he doesn’t have it in for men, and that he is, in fact, happy being one himself. Besides his work as a scientist, Peter has been, by turns, a journalist, an ad salesman for a country music radio station, and a Chinese-speaking football commentator.
If you really want to see the trouble modern men are in, just drop in on an action figure (definitely not action doll) convention such as, say, “JoeCon 25”—the 2007 gathering for collectors of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe. The pointers aren’t so much in the audience—those grinning Gen-Xers from across the country who bought the “American Hero” registration package and have now packed into the Atlanta Marriott atrium to await the forty-seven-floor parachute drop of three hundred eight-inch Cobra Red Ninja figurines.