Guernica Magazine

David Shields: Men Should Acknowledge Their Brokenness

The author discusses marriage, #MeToo, and how we are all vectors on a vast grid of animal drives. The post David Shields: Men Should Acknowledge Their Brokenness appeared first on Guernica.
Photo by Tom Collicott

There’s an old New Yorker cartoon showing two men seated at a bar and one is saying to the other, “I’ve always been attracted to warm, beautiful women which, I think, says something about me.” It suggests that the objects of our desires also reflect our true, and in some cases, baser, selves.

It also says something about David Shields’s latest offering, The Trouble with Men: Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, and Power; its aim, Shields states at the book’s beginning, is to be a “short intensive immersion into the perils, limits, and possibilities of human intimacy.” The exploration takes the form of a letter to his wife, whom he addresses as “you,” and whose profound, at times crippling, effect on Shields casts light on his marriage’s (indeed all marriages’) destructive and self-destructive ways of setting up house. “I’m married to someone,” he writes, “who either has nothing or wants nothing, rendering me in possession of nothing.” His hope, a putative goal, is to either resuscitate his marriage or memorialize its end.

Shields does all this using his trademark technique of appropriating and collaging text from other writers, including himself, andthe reader includeda part of everything else. Which is both sobering and electrifying.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Guernica Magazine

Guernica Magazine14 min read
Jasmine Fingers
How does the poem keep us there? in memory? in the traces? keep us coming back? The post Jasmine Fingers appeared first on Guernica.
Guernica Magazine21 min readPolitics
Ms. Ming’s Guide to Civilization
For years afterward, Ming dreamt of riding the monkey’s roller coaster to the sun, and in some ways, she actually did. The post Ms. Ming’s Guide to Civilization appeared first on Guernica.
Guernica Magazine11 min read
Anthems For The Anthropocene
Eco-hardcore music, with its aggressive lyrics and antisocial performances, upended stereotypes of hippie environmentalists—today those visceral live performances match the sense of panic around environmental concerns. The post Anthems for the Anthro