Men Are From Mars?

From Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson:

Him: “You know what this is? It’s one of those men-are-from-Mars, women-are-from-Venus things.”
Her: “I have not heard of this phrase but I understand immediately what you are saying.”
Him: “It’s one of those American books where once you’ve heard the title you don’t even need to read it.”
Her: “Then I won’t.”

RocketActually, I haven’t read it either, but I get the idea too. And I’m pretty sure it’s mostly bullshit. Mostly. I’m not saying that men and women think and act exactly alike: probably they don’t. But no pop psychology book is going to capture adequately the complexities of human relationships. Especially one which the author later released as a musical romantic play. And he also produced about twenty other books on the same theme to exploit the market, including, seriously, The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution. And all his impressive “qualifications” are worthless, mail-order certificates.

So why did his book sell in huge numbers and the basic concept from it enter popular consciousness? Because it was a simple explanation to interpersonal problems that everyone could understand. Wildly wrong, but simple and comprehensible. Politicians also often offer those kinds of solutions to problems.

The comedian George Carlin is supposed to have said “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” I prefer that approach.


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