The Rise And Fall Of Tucker Max (Part 1)

by Frost on February 7, 2012

Addendum: Check out my Review of Hilarity Ensues

(This is a guest post I submitted to In Mala Fide. Please read and comment on it here.)

Tucker Max had the opportunity to be a spokesman for a generation.

He had the opportunity to lend his voice to the revolt against the effeminization of North American Men, and maybe even lead a 21st-century revival of classical masculinity. Instead, he is pissing that opportunity away, in the hopes that he’ll earn a morsel of approval from the gatekeepers of mainstream culture and literature.

The sad part is, he’s not even selling out. He’s trading principles, honesty and consistency for nothing. He will not reap money, power, or fame from his transformation into an emasculated poof. Tucker Max is ignoring his opportunity to be a part of history, and his only reward will be a well-deserved slide into obscurity.

The Rise

You probably already know Tucker Max. If you’re a North American male born in the 1980s, you almost certainly know Tucker Max. But just in case, here’s an abridged CV:

Tucker Max is the author of I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, Assholes Finish First, and the upcoming Hilarity Ensues. Each is a collection of stories from Max’s debaucherous young adulthood. He’s a smart guy, his life has been pretty hilarious, and he’s a good writer.

But funny stories about debauchery alone could not explain the massive, cult-like following that sprung up around Tucker Max. At the peak of his popularity, he was a household name on American college campuses, and his first book tour filled up auditoriums across the country.

The lasting appeal of his writing was the underlying philosophy woven into it: An ethos of complete and total rejection of society’s expectations. This, not cheap frathouse humour, is what explained Max’s fame.

His success raises an interesting question: Why were young men in the late 20th century uniquely primed to be drawn to a personal philosophy of unbridled nihilistic hedonism? Why did they need a role model to give them permission to live, as Max suggested, unconcerned with the expectations of others?

The short answer is that late-20th century western culture is extremely hostile towards the values of classical masculinity. Male role models in pop culture are either effeminate prigs or clueless buffoons. Schools are replacing the competitive environments men thrive in with quiet, heavily-structured self-esteem factories that cajole little boys into acting like little girls, while drugging those who can’t be so easily tamed. The American economy is shedding jobs in manufacturing, mining and the trades, prodding men into white-collar docility. College curriculas demean men as oppressors, potential rapists, abusers, and generally the source of all the world’s problems. The men of the Millennial generation are surrounded by people, publications and media that belittle and insult them at every available opportunity. And still, there are no shortages of parents, teachers, employers, pastors,  girlfriends, writers, and TV producers, who insist that the postmodern man fulfills his manly obligations to this same society.

A fair contract confers both rights and duties to each party. But the social contract that western society offers the men of my generation is so one-sided, it should come as no surprise that the smarter and more self-aware among us are choosing to abrogate it. It should also come as no surprise that Tucker Max – one of the first men of our age to publicly toss off the shackles of society’s expectations, and write competently about it – achieved the fame and influence he did.

Tucker Max was the right man, with the right message, at the right time. Perhaps even more importantly, he was the first to leverage the internet to bypass the politically correct gatekeepers of the traditional publishing industry.

The Fall 

So what became of Tucker Max?

What became of his message, that our society fails to offer smart young men an option in life that beats getting wasted and chasing tail?

What became of the man who was going to shake up the literary world, smash the rotten publishing industry, and lead a 21st-century intellectual movement to rehabilitate and redefine masculinity?

If you haven’t already seen it, read this ten-page interview of Tucker Max in Forbes.

For starters, he’s retiring from writing about sex, drugs and rock and roll:

 “I publicly, explicitly retire. I want to be free to move on with my life, and I think the way I have to do that is to set a public end to this.”

OK, cool. Tucker does not want to continue getting blackout drunk and chasing slutty teenage girls into his forties and fifties. No surprises. I’m twenty-six, and even I’m ready to slow it down a notch.

But what direction will Max take his writing in, now that he is past debauchery?

Might he be tempted to reflect on why his writing attracted the attention of so many young men? Will he try to offer an alternative to booze and sluts? Better yet, will he devote his attention to understanding the problems with our society that have resulted in a majority of men pissing away their early 20s drinking, partying, getting high, and playing video games? Will he ask why young men are eager to take a pass on marriage and monogamy, instead choosing to live lives of one-night stands and pickup artistry?

In a word, No.

Rather than mature and evolve into an effective adult male role model, Tucker Max has chosen to have an Oprah moment:

“I know some of the stuff I did is, um, beyond the pale or f***-up sometimes, or mean to other people or destructive to myself. But I still did it anyway.”

“I understood intellectually in my twenties that this had something to do with unresolved parental, emotional issues. But I didn’t process it.  I could look at other people and see these kinds of issues playing out in them, but I didn’t apply it to myself, because that’s the hardest thing to do for anybody. I couldn’t do that then.”

“I was a ridiculous narcissist in my twenties. It’s not even that I didn’t care about other people. It’s way beyond that. I just didn’t even understand that other people even existed or mattered. I do not believe I was a true NPD [narcissistic personality disorder] in the clinical sense. But, dude, I was close.”

 “I ended up hurting a lot of people and not even realizing it. Because of that narcissism, I didn’t connect well to other people. I used a lot of people a lot of times, in ways I didn’t understand.”

“Listen I’m 35 now, I can look back on my writing and I can say this. This is something I’ve never really said before in public or admitted on the record, and I’ll admit it now: I didn’t realize this when I was writing it, but I think if you read between the lines a little bit, in between all the bravado, you can see a lot of self-loathing.

“I knew it was inevitable that I would have to look into this stuff eventually. In some vague sense, I understood the whole time that a lot of my extreme acting out came from unresolved emotional issues. And I knew deep down at some point I was going to have to face them.

“So many people describe my book as just pure id. What I’m trying to do now is to connect my ego and my superego to my id. I’m trying to understand, why was I doing all this stuff? Why was I acting this way? Through understanding all of that, you start to resolve the underlying problems that you’re acting out, in a healthier, more productive way.

“And I’ve found that, what I now want the most in a woman is—I want a partner. I want someone who is my partner in life. Who supports me, and I support her. I can share all my experiences in life with her, and she can share hers back with me. Not only do we love each other, but we accept, embrace, nurture, and care for each other.”

Break out the violins. Tucker Max was a jerk because his f-f-family was m-m-m-mean to him. He’s sorry for what he’s done, and perhaps now that he’s in therapy to talk about his feelings, the world will realize that his life up until now has just been a great big misunderstanding, and maybe Simon and Shuster will offer him a six-figure advance to write about the joys of his simple life of health shakes and yoga.

Not likely, though. Stay tuned for part 2.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

It's Tyrone August 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

You sound like 5 year old who just found out your favorite super is just a cartoon on TV and doesn’t actually fly around the city saving m’fers. Take Tucker’s balls out of your mouth and open your eyes, the guy wasn’t going to do it forever. It’s awesome how butt-hurt you are though.

Jack Renard May 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Gentlemen:
Are any of you REALLY surprised?? Max is and was a hedonist. Plain & simple. Mr. Frost who wrote this article seems to think that all you boys need is a “man’s man” to take you back to the days “when goils were goils and men were men” (as Archie Bunker lamented in his duet with Edith). You need to get a job as a cowboy, a sailor, a soldier. You need to chew tobacco and wear leather boots to work. You need to have callouses on your hands and and be a true “steel drivin’ man” like a 21st century John Henry. What young men don’t need is another fool of a role model for finding 1,000 ways to ruin your life, make others miserable, and be a complete and total waste of a human being. You don’t have to be in the military, fight enemy troops, work in construction, box in the ring, shoot guns, or do any of that crap in order to be a man. I’ve done all of that and more. Big deal. What makes a man a man is when a young male accepts responsibility, sees that the world doesn’t revolve around him and his wants, sees the needs of those in his midst, and takes it upon himself to make the world a better place. In other words, he becomes a MAN FOR OTHERS and not an adolescent BOY FOR HIMSELF. If you do accept this role you will become a MAN. A MAN is someone who is a part of society’s solutions – not another problem. Too many who call themelves “men” ran our country into the ditch in 2008 and continue to do so. Too many “men” in congress, the white house, and in corporations sent our military brothers to die and STILL keep calling them “our boys.” Really? If you ever get a chance take a good look at a young vet in his 20s or 30s. In him you will see a MAN FOR OTHERS who is worth more than 1 million of the people who sent him to die and get rich off his blood. That is a MAN. He bears no ill will towards any of you, the country that has all but forgotten about him and his brothers, and the people who are ready to sent more like him to DIE IN IRAN.

Wan Qing May 5, 2012 at 4:55 am

Does anyone outside of america care who he is, I downloaded his book because it was there and picked it up, came off like some real life Stiffler type and I’ll admit I laughed a few times, but he just seems like another idiot who’s a one trick pony like Kevin Smith, he has his crowd of 20somethings to impress and eventually they get tired and go home, or like me find new role models to admire instead.

He fucked loads of girls? big deal. Anyone can do the pretty ones.. and before you retort “he did some fuglies too” Any guy with a few drinks down him can and will make that mistake too.

UK girls are their own version of slutty, but it seems like american girls take it to the next level and seem somehow needier with tons of daddy issues.

Rivelino February 12, 2012 at 2:41 am

frost, btw, so i really liked the description you wrote of our current feminized society. i liked it so much that i had to ask this little mini feminist on tumblr what she thought about it. she gave a pretty detailed response:

http://rivelinoinspain.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/what-are-your-thoughts-on-this-statement/

Rivelino February 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

“late-20th century western culture is extremely hostile towards the values of classical masculinity. Male role models in pop culture are either effeminate prigs or clueless buffoons. Schools are replacing the competitive environments men thrive in with quiet, heavily-structured self-esteem factories that cajole little boys into acting like little girls, while drugging those who can’t be so easily tamed. The American economy is shedding jobs in manufacturing, mining and the trades, prodding men into white-collar docility. College curriculas demean men as oppressors, potential rapists, abusers, and generally the source of all the world’s problems. The men of the Millennial generation are surrounded by people, publications and media that belittle and insult them at every available opportunity. And still, there are no shortages of parents, teachers, employers, pastors, girlfriends, writers, and TV producers, who insist that the postmodern man fulfills his manly obligations to this same society.”

holy shit this is awesome.

fucking well said man.

Frost February 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Thanks1

Dieter Von Fukhoff February 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

amazing how many people see tucker max as a voice for a generation. i suppose for the pierced and tattooed, anal sex generation he does make an apropriate hero.

old tucker was a degenerate pornographer, cant fall much lower then that.

Bronan the Barbarian! February 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I think I’m the only guy in the Manosphere who hasn’t ever read any of Tucker Max’s work. Way to go out like a bitch though.

Roosh February 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I read a couple of his stories on his web site. They were funny but didn’t seem believable so I didn’t spring for the book.

Frost February 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Having followed his work for the better part of a decade, I would lay money that his stories are at least 90% true.

Most of them, when you break it down, aren’t really that extraordinary for a guy who drinks, gets laid, and is a dick to random people. The most unlikely story IMO, about Miss Vermont, has tons of pictures, 2nd hand accounts and court documents to back it up.

http://www.tuckermax.com/other/missvermont/

I’m sure there’s some exaggeration and glossing of truth here and there, but for Max to have faked his career would be an incredibly elaborate scam – much less likely than the idea that he’s just a guy who drinks a lot and gets laid.

doclove February 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Don’t get me wrong. I respect Tucker Max’s accomplishments. I might even like him as a person if I met him.I did buy his books and read his other writings and found them informative, funny and enjoyable. However, not so long ago he would have been harmed for what he has done.

doclove February 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Another thing to remember is in the end almost everyone sells themselves out for the usually for the money. They might do it for getting along with people orfame or status or power or prestige etc. I’m not saying Tucker Max is doing this, but I’m not saying he isn’t either. Most who don’t are marginalized at best and destroyed at worst.

He may go on. Jim Goad was popular when he wrote his book, The Redneck Manifesto. He still writes. He was funnier back then, but still retains his humor. I suspect Tucker Max will be the same. Glory days end but life goes on.

I said before I wouldn’t want to meet him. Like I said before he can be very harsh to those who are not his friends. You even need to have a thick skin to be his friend. He can convince you he likes you when he doesn’t. He’s manipulative. Be careful if ever you’re around him and you are not his friend. He likes to emotionally batter or play tricks on people. In a former age not so very long ago, he would have been seriously beaten or killed for less than half of what he’s done. How is it that this country holds Tucker Max in higher regard than Salvatore Giunta and Dakota Miller, former U.S. Soldier and U.S. Marine whoare Medal of Honor(MOH) recipients from the Afghanistan War? They are the youngest surviving MOH recipients and the only surviving recipients of the Afghanistan War. If you can answer why are country is so screwed up to hold Tucker Max in higher regard and more worthy of fame, then God bless you.

doclove February 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

Don’t get me wrong about his betaness because he is still more of an alpha with the ladies than a beta. You couldn’t rack up his notch count with the number of sex partners he’s had before his first book, I hope They Serve Beer in Hell, and fame hit. He was swimming in plenty of vagina before he became famous. After he became a minor celebrity, he had more vagina offers than he knew what to do with.

Keep in mind he has a hot 22 year old girfriend with big boobs and, she is a nurse which requires lots of brains, holding yourself together in trying situations and compassion to do for a living. So far he is in a long term non-committed relationship with her.

Like anything else he needed to move on. He got to old to be doing the same thing. He’s been replaced by “The Jersey Shore” show on MTV. Actually MTV had a show about Tucker Max too a while back before his first book came out. Go to Tucker Max’s Web page and read his retirement article listed under Other Writings at
http://www.tucker.max.com/

Remember the media will portray you how they want to do so. Do they have total control? No, they do not, but they can really influence how you look. I knew a field reporter who took a year to teach English in Korea in the same school I taught and learn the Korean language at a university. He was a field reporter for a local tv news program for a local tv news station affilated with a larger tv network. He told me that any news story could have 20 facts. You are lucky if they present 5 of those facts. Usuaally they present 2 or 3 of those facts. Depending on which facts they present can not usually make you look good or bad to the public eye, but it can make you look much better or worse. Notice they never technically speaking lied, but they did present their view of the truth. I’m not saying these people are out to destroy you(at least not intentionally), but their view of things will be presented. Micheal Ellsburg at Forbes did the same.

doclove February 8, 2012 at 1:11 am

He didn’t want to be the old drunk guy at the bar anyomore and I can’t blame him. the beta is strong within him and he wants to be married with children like his law school buddies. He was never a Messiah nor could he be. His stories were funny and enjoyable, but he was running out of them. the second book didn’t do as well as the first and I doubt the third book will do as well as the second. He needs to do something else with his life. I wish him well, but even though I bought his books, I don’t want to meer him. the reason is he can be unbelieveably too harsh to you if you are not his friend. He was admirably more loyal to his friends than most people are to theirs. He could convince you that you are his frind when you are not. His books demonstrate that.

doclove February 8, 2012 at 1:05 am

@ Aurini
You seem to know the most about him as you were a moderator of his board. I’m not saying you knew him personally, although you might have. I’d be interested in your thoughts especially if they were put in an article about him.

Frost February 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm
Vic February 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Tucker was full of shit and full of himself. It got him laid a lot, gave him some fame, surrounded him with sycophants, but it was also why he fucked up his TV & Movie opportunities.

http://www.quotabletuckermax.com/

these are tucker max posts that he removed from his message board when he “picked up all his toys and went home”

Johnny B Good February 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I am not sure how much hate towards Tucker can be legitimate coming from the author. Essentially, he has achieved the level of sexual conquest that 99% of aspiring PUA’s desire and has done so without using game, tactics, or manipulation. He did it by being his emotionally damaged confident self and attracted emotionally damaged women (you attract what you are). Also, I respect his success but his writing is sophomoric. How could he possibly be the next big thing in the literary world? Yes, he had some decent vocab but his creative expression was very limited. Either way, I think he saw the writing on the wall, his limited amount of stories to tell, and felt that cash cow of college themed shit storm stories were going to run its course. I think it is the right move for Tucker. He was risking becoming another Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards jersey.

Frost February 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I don’t hate Tucker Max at all. I still think he did a lot of good work, and he’s still someone I consider a major influence.

I think it’s sad that he’s taken this turn, and that Hilarity Ensues (which I’m 91% done) is pretty weak compared to AFF and IHTSBIH. He’s run out of funny stories, but rather than graduate into a new genre, he’s hanging up the gloves.

Markus February 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Just more evidence, of the pua/ seduction community being defrauded.
Tucker Max is a work of fiction, like Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations”, and Mark Twains, “Adventures Of Tom Sawyer”; Made up, not real.

Frost February 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

For all the valid criticisms you can make, I don’t get why people don’t believe the stories – they’re crazy, but not completely ‘out there.’

asdf February 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Why do you guys admire this dude? He’s just an average drunken frat boy hooking up with girls and being a douche. He made money on a book, but lots of dip shits write about their drunken escapades and make shit. Its kind of like lifestyle bloggers. Of course, if you throw 1000s of them into a pot some of them will by random chance capture a lot of the traffic and be able to monetize it, but it doesn’t make any of them a prophet. In 10 years, will anyone remember this guy? In 2? I doubt his literature is going to make the western canon one day.

Solo February 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Every movement needs a leader…

The problem with lot of people is their followers instead of wanting to pave their own way

Frost February 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

So would you suggest young men lead a life free of role models, leaders, heroes? That each of us be 100% our own man and pave our own way from birth?

I’ve had many heroes in life. As you mature, you get better at taking what you admire from another man’s example, and leaving the rest.

asdf February 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Is this guy a role model? He got lucky with a mediocre book. That happens. People get lucky all the time. His inability to replicate with high resources shows he never really had any talent.

So what example are you following. I hope your projects consist of more then lifestyle blogging and another book. You do know your basically just playing the lottery with that stuff.

Doug1 February 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

His first book and website were funny as hell.

He also had real good game, of the asshole sort. Lots of negging. Of course a lot of his success was celebrity game. But he pulled massive amounts of girls at least wanting him to do them. They’d email him and so on, and offer themselves to him on his book signing tours, and/or when he hit bars in college towns and elsewhere.

Solo February 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

Frost

Let me tell you a quick story. There was a kid three and half years ago who found the seduction community. The kid would read any field report/posts/techniques by guys who were not only famous guru’s but also “Forum Superstars”. He read tons of posts. The kid regarded many of these guys as “Heroes” and why not? everyone else taught they were Heroes as well. The “worship” that some of these guys were doing was borderline dick riding (gay). Some guys would just “worship” The Guru’s because of the success they (supposedly) had or to feel like they “belonged”(you know nerds who didn’t have real friends in real life) There was one particular Guru the kid talked too a lot. The Guru seemed legit, had website of his “Transformation” you know from Nerd to “Super Player”(with pictures and video to boot, of him turning into a stud with tons of hot girls bend over or him kissing them). The kid was impressed with this guy and regarded him as a hero.

“The hero” would always make posts that resonated with the kid. The kid looked up to him. The hero left the forums for a couple months. In that time the kid started hitting the field and improved, he improved really well for someone in a quick time. Unlike his Hero though, the kid had his own style, and even though it was different he was having success with it! Within 2 months he went from barley able to kiss girls in a night club to partying with Americas top models to his first 3 some and fucking more girls in a month then he did in half a year.

The Hero came back on the forums and The Kid like a proud son, showed him what he had been up to the last couple months by sharing his field reports and tales of glory. The Hero was not impressed and told the kid “Your doing it wrong, dude you need to be closing a 100% of time…..buy my book!”. The Kid was smart enough to know that closing a 100% of the time isn’t realistic. After that there was a fall out between “The Kid” and The Hero(The Hero wasn’t a Hero after all because he wanted The Kid’s money and could give a shit about The Kid’s improvment) The Hero then let his mentor know about The Kid because they wanted to “recruit” him for their business. The Kid refused and they used their minions to flame the kid whenever they got a chance. As I type this The Hero is out of the Pick up business and rarely posts on forums anymore

The Kid I’m talking about is me, and my point with this story is simple. You can appreciate the talent, intelligence, writing skills, etc of other people, but do not think their abilities and celebrity somehow make them great people or “role models”. I have gone on forums and blogs were people call the guru “God”. The “fanboy” worship at times puts the guru on a pedestal and even is a bit suspect to me(but hey I’ve done it as well). I know personally guys who have bought tons of products from Guru’s and Heroes and still don’t have any success what so ever using that guru’s method. I respect tons of Gamers/Bloggers for their ability to write a story and convey their emotions does that mean their all great people?

There is nothing that Tucker Max did that you couldn’t do, Their is nothing my favorite Gamer/Blogger did/does I couldn’t do. I respect them but in the end like you stated “you get better at taking what you admire from another man’s example and leaving the rest”

Solo

p.s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAbreeMofRg
I’ve read a couple of his stories as well, and I’m not a believer either. For a guy who is supposedly “Alpha” or an “Asshole” he sure walks out like a butthurt bitch at the end of that video.

doclove February 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

@ Solo
+1
I second everything you say except for the last(p.s.) paragraph. The idea that someone can be Alpha or even an asshole all the time is impossible. Sometimes even the most Alpha and assinine of men become beta(or omega) and butthurt. The idea is to increase your alpha moments and certainly decrease your omega and maybe beta moments. Tucker Max may or may not have done everything he says he’s done. I certainly have doubts. Either he has done these things or someone he knows has done these things he claims to have done. I’m in my mid forties, and most of us my age and younger have at least a half dozen crazy yet true university age stories to tell. However, I end up believing him because it doesn’t impact me one way or the other, and maybe I’m being too trusting you say, but I don’t care.

The second to last paragraph is awesome and the ones above it were good and I know they were leading up to your point which was the second to last paragraph. Everyone should follow that advice. Learn what you can from others. See what works for you, and keep doing it. Discard what doesn’t work for you. Be careful of who you make your hero, and remember all heros are flawed and human just like you are. All heros fail just like all humans fail. Not everyone should be adulated as a hero. Live your own life and be your best self, but don’t try to be someone else.

Tucker Max makes sense only after reading good blogs like Roosh who posted here, Ferdinand Bardamu’s site who let you cross post, Roissy’s site and other sites. His books are mainly about entertainment. However, you can glean good advice if you know how to look. Many don’t know that you can glean good advice from the books if you know how to look. You, Frost, do so you’re one step ahead of most.

Aurini February 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Heartbreaking, eh? I used to be a moderator on his old message board – there were all these plans for him launching his own press, we were all excited to be on board, and then when the movie tanked…

He picked up all his toys and went home. I started back at square one.

It’s a shame, really, Tucker had so much damned potential. He’s still someone I respect and admire – hell, his board taught me pretty much everything I knew about writing, and I’m not going to forget that. I just wish he’d done more with it.

Frost February 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

My thoughts exactly.

I also think that a reason many are dumbfounded by the high regard in which I held early Tucker Max, is that they weren’t familiar with the message board, which is where most of the good stuff was.

What was your handle?

Teras February 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Man it’s been a grip since I heard anyone bring up the RMMB. You were a good mod, always had good stuff to say. I miss that place, the time Tucker Max personally eviscerated me in the advice section really helped me get my shit together.

asdf February 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Are you serious?

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