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February 19, 2011

Josh Muggins Responds to Josh Muggins’s Review of Josh Muggins’s Wussie: In Praise of Spineless Men


By Josh Muggins






One hardly knows where to begin a response to such a savage and unprovoked attack. I refer, of course, to silly book critic Josh Muggins’s silly review of my new e-book, Wussie: In Praise of Spineless Men, which appeared recently in this very space.

If I read Muggins correctly, he finds my 60,000-word paean to wussitude lacking in, well, wussitude. I'm too aggressive, too edgy, and insensitive to the diverse tastes of a diverse readership. Muggins's advice? That I emulate “cuddlier” and more user-friendly humorists like David Sedaris. Oh, really. David Sedaris. Well, well, well... I guess that tells you all you need to know about book critic Josh Muggins.

Among the other grenades he so blithely lobs my way are accusations that I am “too glib” and am obsessed with the bosoms of the women that I write about. I wonder: does book critic Josh Muggins really want to cast the first stones here? Does he really want to go down that road? Does he really want to mine that vein, to hoe that row, to stir that pot, to reap that whirlwind, to frizzle that izzle? Does he really want me to mix even more metaphors into this already murky stew of a paragraph?

Look: here's all you need to know. Like all book critics, Muggins is a parasite. Unable to produce original art of his own, he vents his frustrations on those of us who can. I urge readers to pay him no heed. Indeed, no sensible person will devote even a moment of her time to the rancid sniveling of this little, little man—this free-floating bacterium, this eater of broken meats, this whoreson glass-gazing superserviceable finical rogue, this squishy beige iguana turd, this nattering nabob of negativism, this pus-oozing scab on an aardwolf’s anus, this tittering teetotaling toker of tadpole titties, this very silly person.

Red ants should piss acid in Josh Muggins’s eyes. He should be force-fed a steaming bowl of Ebola Soup. He should be chucked off a twenty-story building with a nineteen-story-long bungee cord tied snugly around his nutsack. Weevils should hatch their eggs in his sinuses. He should be strapped to an uncomfortable chair with his eyes clipped open and forced to watch I Am Number Four. He should be dipped in chili powder and stuffed into the rectum of a dyspeptic whale. Presumably, one gets the drift.

If I seem a tad sensitive to criticism, know this: I spent over three years of my life writing Wussie: In Praise of Spineless Men. Okay, well, I maintained a full-time university teaching position during those years, published four academic papers, posted over fifty longwinded blogs, and consumed the equivalent of a sixpack of beer in a single sitting on at least 150 occasions during that span as well. But all that was mere background Muzak to my true calling.

Beginning with its conception in Waikiki during the late summer of 2007 (as documented early in the book itself), Wussie was written at our farmhouse in western Japan; on an ancient desktop machine in my office at RU; while sitting on the floor here at my apartment near the university; in Wellington, New Zealand and on the Kihei shore of Maui. Ideas for essay topics or for "glib" sentences or for tiny little tweaks of a single word in a single sentence were scritched into pocket notebooks, tapped into hasty self-addressed emails, scrawled onto napkins on airplanes, or printed in large, child-like letters on scratch paper that my hungover self would struggle to decipher the following morning.

The result is twenty essays constituting what I honestly believe to be the best writing of my life. It is funny. Sometimes it is whip-smart and funny. Other times it is stupid, but intentionally so and therefore funny. Still other times, it is unintentionally stupid and therefore unintentionally funny. So there is something in there for everyone.

In much the same spirit as Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and The Book of Mormon, Wussie takes and defends an indefensible position. Again like The Book of Mormon, it liberally employs irony that may be lost on the more naïve consumers. Will parts of Wussie strike certain readers as offensive, off-putting, perhaps even fuddy-duddyish? Yes, I suppose so. Those are the risks one takes when one reaches deep down into the bathtub drain of one’s soul and pulls forth whatever grimy, hairy glop one finds in there.

By my own reckoning, Wussie: In Praise of Spineless Men is one hundred times a better book than my (intermittently) acclaimed debut work, How To Pick Up Japanese Chicks And Doom Your Immortal Soul. Now if it would just sell one hundred times better, I could retire from writing and leave all of you in peace. So there’s that to consider, dear readers. Everybody buy this book just one time each—plus maybe one for each minor child, since you never know how their tastes are going to evolve—and you'll never hear from me again.