Saturday, January 8, 2011

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
by Tucker Max

I actually stumbled upon Tucker Max's blog several years ago and enjoyed his insane drinking stories. I spent a couple of hours chortling at his and his buddies antics which in turn got me reminiscing about my own wilder days (although I'm still capable of wildness when push comes to shove). While I'm not nearly the alpha male that Tucker Max is, it's hard not to relate to these stories, even if only tangentically.

I know that a lot of people take offense to Tucker Max and his brand of brash, unadulterated storytelling. He's an unapologetic chauvanist. He's a malicious womanizer. He's a bad example for today's youth. He's just a dumb frat boy wannabe. He's this. He's that. Whatever. Enough with all that. If you are offending someone, somewhere, well, you're probably doing something right in my books. All the power to you, so long as you aren't hurting anyone. (and for the record, I don't really think Tucker Max is any of the above. Like anyone who writes, honesty often manifests itself in a harsher light than fiction).

I challenge that Tucker Max is simply more honest than the rest of us. While most of us don't write these sorts of stories, a good many of us have stories like these rattling around in the recesses of our memories and given enough alcohol and peer pressure, these stories invariably get shared among drinking buddies at boozy tables in smoky places for the rest of our lives. You might not have a Sushi Pants story but, if you are like me, you have the Face in a Pile of Broken Glass story or the Infamous Hockey Bag story (neither of which I plan to commit to the internet... get me drunk enough and I'll tell them. You will not be disappointed).


I heard he had made the transition from blog to book and was unconvinced that he could make the move smoothly. Blogs are blogs and books are books. They rarely transition well.

Case in point, the excellent Baghdad Blog written by Salam Pax during the lead-up and subsequent invasion of Iraq by Coalition forces in 2002. The blog was citizen journalism at its best. Daily updates about the state of a city we otherwise had very little knowledge about. When the blog appeared in print it seemed like an afterthought. It didn't resonate the way logging onto a blog and finding a new update does. The book disappointed.

Tucker Max's find book suffers the same fate. The stories that seemed so fresh and insane on my computer screen seemed to lose their luster on the printed page. While I had read a lot of the stories online, there were many more I had not read at all and I couldn't muster up a chuckle throughout.

It's not that Tucker Max isn't a good writer. He's good enough. I have no problems with him as a human being. If he wasn't the asshole he professes himself to be, these stories would not exist. In a strange way, that would be a shame. It's just... well... I wish he's stick to the blog. Where it works.

Anyway, long story short. Like the blog. Disappointed in the book.


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