Posted by Jason Diamond
There is the wrong way to make the case that masculinity in literature is dying, and then there is the Marty Beckerman way. Beckerman believes that men are losing their way, and that the teachings of one man can help turn everything around: Ernest Hemingway. His book, The Heming Way: How to Unleash the Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested, Retro-Sexual Legend Within… Just Like Papa!, is a funny, smart, and satirical look at how men can reclaim their manhood by being more like the drunken writer who killed himself fifty years ago this July 2nd.
The idea of author as celebrity has sort of died out in the last few years. Hemingway was, for all intents and purposes, one of the last writers who had his feet planted in both popular culture and the literary world. Why do you think this is?
Because Hemingway was a writer like William Shatner is an actor. Everyone knows the Shat from Star Trek, but we really love him for his musical abominations, shameless commercials, and late-night talk show appearances. People admire the Hemingway cartoon character—drunken, unshaven, animal-butchering, wife-divorcing and gloriously self-destructive—more than the artist, and he probably would’ve been okay with that. As the literary critic Matthew Bruccoli said, “Ernest Hemingway’s best-invented fictional character was Ernest Hemingway…”
When I walk down the streets of certain “hip” neighborhoods, the meat eating and unshaven types seem to be taking over. Beards are in, and in the last few years have seen a renewed interest in local butchers and meat heavy restaurants. Do you see this as a step in the right direction, or is it just a fad?
The recession probably has a lot to do with the beard fad. Tough times require a tough look, and nobody can afford shaving cream anymore. But even a trendy step in the right direction is a step in the right direction. Maybe people who grow beards ironically will realize the un-ironic joys of unkemptness.
As for meat, Hemingway would love the new emphasis on ethical slaughtering practices. What could be more organic and free range than the untamed jungle?
Hemingway obviously had no issues with using his popularity to sell products, but do you think he would have put his foot down on the Ernest Hemingway marinades?
He had a recipe for “filet of lion,” which simply instructed: “First obtain your lion.” Whether he would marinade it is pure conjecture. I’d like to think he would eat it raw, marinated in no flavorings except for blood.
Did Metallica’s song “For Whom the Bell Tolls” do Hemingway justice? Or would Hemingway have hunted down James Hetfield, and challenged him to a fight?
Yes, it does him justice. Hemingway and Hetfield could’ve been great friends, until Hetfield sold out by joining Alcoholics Anonymous like a pussy.
Hemingway famously measured Fitzgerald’s penis after the author was having doubts about his size. Does it take a real man to check the length of his buddy’s dong?
The moveable feast was Irish-American sperm.