Picks and Pans Review: The Von Hoffman Bros.' Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness
How distressing to discover that, according to the brothers von Hoffman, you're not a real man unless you idolize John Wayne, own a Swiss Army knife, eat chili hot enough to cause intestinal damage, enjoy watching Spartacus (the manliest movie of all time), know the difference between a Woolly Bugger and a Marabou Muddler fishing lure and proudly display your copy of Cassius Coolidge's underappreciated 19th-century work of art Dogs Playing Poker. What's more, only world-class wimps use lighter fluid at barbecues.
Then again, there's always the chance that The Big Damn Book is really just a big damn spoof of all things manly, an over-the-top commentary on our gender-confused culture—though from the bios provided for the fly-fishing, beer-swilling, seven-card-stud-playing von Hoffmans, that seems unlikely. After all, these are grown men who actually sat down and dreamed up 252 pet names for their most private part. There's no escaping the sorry conclusion: Being a real man means having really bad taste. (General Publishing, $29.95)