Lanier's Reviews > Kick the Balls: An Offensive Suburban Odyssey

Kick the Balls by Alan Black
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's review
May 05, 2009

it was amazing
Read in June, 2009 — I own a copy

Alan Black’s hilarious memoir, Kick the Balls, reminded me of George Carlin’s rants against these last generations of growing-ever-softer, Americans. Black’s counterpoints, recalling the beatings and violence in the neighborhood, in the classroom and on the pitch really illustrate how “Hooligans” were bred over there in Scotland. Not saying he was one, rather the victim of “hard knocks” like many of us from that generation here and everywhere.

I love his rant on Dockers pants turning a generation of American “men” sterile. In the end it’s not clear if he’s assimilated; procuring the perfect lawn, attempting to get spiritual guidance from TV evangelists, Ben and Jerry’s and fellow indoctrinated immigrants while coaching his son’s soccer team.

146—“And once, I nearly died. My brother and I had gone to a big game at the national stadium. It was a gorgeous day, hot which was rare enough. We were dehydrating. Milk-colored male torsos were exposed to the sun for the first time in years. They were turning a little sour. Beer splashed over the crowd; it was the Scottish version of sunscreen. There was nothing to eat, no concession stands, so empty stomachs had been filled to the brim with lager.”

This reminds me of the lax attitudes of adults when attending sporting events or simply dragging dad out of Jimmy’s Salon around suppertime. There were no baby’s car seats. Hell, there were no SEATBELTS, period. We lived life dangerously.

Like Carlin, Black refers to our collective complacency in letting these last generations go Softy-Serve flaccid. There again, Black’s reference to Dockers: “If you’re not wearing Dockers, you’re just wearing pants.” What kind of f***in', stupid-***ed slogan was that? If you’re not wearing their automatron khakis, you are, perhaps, wearing jeans, shorts, sweats or Amani. Or, maybe, just maybe, we're wearing something of style and class? Carlin’s spiel of kids riding without bike helmets is classic and Black does a great job recalling how “Everyone-who-shows-up-gets-a-trophy” attitude is one that will only come back to bite all our backsides if we don’t do something to reverse this puff-puff society. I’m not condoning child abuse, far from it. Discipline, rather, and expectations that are a clear reflection of set goals, plans to reaching those and guidance from those of us that have already tripped and fallen into those pitfalls along the way. I’m not saying boys shouldn’t cry and I’m not saying we need to get all Gansta-Tough either, but boys need to learn how to be strong, thoughtful, creative MEN OF ACTION. This is not to say they can’t also be thinkers, feelers, humans who actually discuss things, too. These qualities are essential especially in a world where action without thought or discourse can too rapidly spell disaster.

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