Sunday, July 08, 2007

Review: Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story

Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story is a novel in the form of a comic book, by Harvey Pekar, illustrated by Gary Dumm. Unlike other other Pekar novels that I've read, Pekar doesn't use himself as the central character. In fact, Pekar only makes a short appearance at the end. The hero of this novel is this guy named Michael Malice. Unlike the Pekar character, who is a likable, sort of Jewish Bukowski, Malice is an annoying, pompous asshole, who is completely unlikable. What's strange about the book is that Malice is not given a writing credit, which made may wonder if Malice is a fictional character. After reading the book, it was difficult to conceive that anyone could make this shit up. The Malice character written about in the book has a real life blog:

It is a somewhat pathetic blog, with lame, and sometimes bordering on inane sounding comments from someone who is self-described in Pekar's book as having a 160 I.Q. As early as page 4 of the book, Malice says:

"I Was A Brilliant Kid. People Think That It's Bragging to Say You're Brilliant. But If I were The Tallest Kid, It Would Be Regarded As a Mere Statement Of Fact. So I'm Not Sure Why It's Regarded As Arrogance When I say I Was Smarter Than Everyone."

Malice, who is under the mistaken impression that intelligence can be quantitatively measured like height, never lets you forget how fucking smart and superior he is. Malice tells you that his I.Q. is 4 standard deviations above the average I.Q. (this is really, really high), yet what he doesn't tell you is that whites, on average, score above average on the test. I recently looked at one source that claimed that blacks scored, on average, 15 points lower than whites in I.Q. 15 points is 1 standard deviation. I have not looked at enough sources to verify this 15 point difference, yet if blacks score lower than whites, I don't know how you can embrace the test without embracing the notion of white superiority. There is no physiological evidence to support this whatsoever. Even without the racial disparity, the I.Q. test is a bullshit, unreliable, unproven test, and most actual smart people, that aren't fucking megalomaniacs like Malice, understand that the I.Q. test is a useful instrument for maintaining the status quo, and nothing more!

Okay, enough about Malice's big I.Q. I made such a big deal about it because Malice does. It seems to be the basis of his feelings of superiority and perhaps even his backwards, anti-social political beliefs. I never got straight what Malice was: Republican, Libertarian, Anarchist? Whatever the case, they are all anti-social, "fuck-you" belief systems, that inherently favor the rich over the poor, no matter how they're rationalized. While Republicans and Libertarians tend to be far bigger assholes than anarchists, anarchism, is just such a flawed, screwed-up, backwards notion that it's hard to put it into words.

I'm giving Pekar a score of 9 out of 10 for this book. Why such a good score after going off on my disdain for Malice? Well, because Malice is the king of confrontation. The book is essentially a chronology of events where he confronts unscrupulous, power-lusting authority figures. And what Malice does is he puts the bastards in their place! As much as I hate Malice personally, you gotta respect the guy. He even makes a fairly profound comment about life that is worthy of a highly intelligent person. I am only knocking a point off my rating because Malice is such an aversive character. The truly brilliant person here is Pekar, for writing such an entertaining book about such an asshole.

And by the way, Malice. Do you really expect people to believe you gave up your promising career as a stand-up comedian because you didn't want to travel around on tour? Give me a break. How dumb do you think we inferior people really are?

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