Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Sensational Title

Carrying on with the theme of A Sensational Title coupled with quite serious research and scholarship, here are three titles for your consideration: Demonic Males; Sperm Wars; Women, Fire and Dangerous Things.

Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence is by Richard Wrangham and Dale Petersen. I first learned about the book after attending a performance of a George Bernard Shaw play at the ART in Harvard Square and sitting in on a subsequent panel discussion. Richard Wrangham was on the panel - he talked about his book, showed slides from his field research with Bonobos (a relative of chimpanzees) and even managed to somewhat tie it in with GBS. Bonobos are known as possibly the sexiest animals on earth and the slides didn't shy away from that fact. The next person on the panel commented that there was an old saying in theater, "never go on after children or animal acts" and it was true, the rest of the panel was at a serious disadvantage after Wrangham's spectacular presentation.

Sperm Wars: The Science of Sexby Robin Baker, combines research published in the most prestigious journals (by the author) with illustrative little scenarios that read like hard-core pornography. An "I buy Playboy/girl for the articles" kind of win-win.

Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind by George Lakoff, is a quite serious work of Cognitive Science and Linguistics. Evidently there's a language (Australian?) with a grammar which groups the three categories of the title.

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