Hello! Today Deadspin is launching a new sub-blog called the Adequate Man. Which is not an insult! I should explain.
Self-improvement—the sense that you are not yet sufficient as a human, and only by attaining more knowledge/clothing/practical life skills will you become so—is a core tenet of the internet. This usually involves making you feel like absolute garbage first. (Which is another core tenet of the internet.) Likewise, traditionally, in the pages of disturbingly earnest guidebooks and glossy men's magazines, we've been taught to chase the specter of the Complete Man, the Exceptional Man, an insulting and outdated ideal only attainable via mythic oceans of free time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in disposable income. Anything less, we are so often told, would be uncivilized.
One response to this incomplete/unexceptional feeling is to get all Fight Club about it, which, let's not. This is a gender-neutral problem, first of all, and the 20 percent or so that is dude-specific pales in comparison to the bullshit women put up with every second of their lives. But it's possible to calmly and reasonably note that the practical, real-life adequacy gap is widening, that in the 21st century, for some reason—a general cultural tendency toward permanent adolescence? the internet's worst instincts writ large? a dearth of inspiring new guitar-rock bands?—young men (and yeah, this is mostly men) are just less competent at life than preceding generations. We don't know how to do things. We don't know what to do. We hardly know what we know, let alone what we don't know.
Adequate Man is a corrective to that: a vertical dedicated to answering the question of what it is you need to know, do, and have to be an engaged, competent, reasonable human being. This ranges from practical matters to social etiquette to cultural fluency; it can take in tech and consumer products, ideas and attitudes, practical knowledge and juvenile sophistication, which, if Deadspin excels at one thing, it's juvenile sophistication. Let Albert Burneko show you how to laugh in the face of corporate-drone absurdity by day and be a world-class chef by night. Let Jolie Kerr teach you the innumerable benefits of cleanliness and chivalry. Will Gordon will pour the drinks but make you smarter even as the alcohol makes you dumber. Greg Howard will handle the fash—OK, we'll find someone else to handle the fashion. But everyone already here is good at something, and can advise you on getting a little better at it; failing that, we will consult Actual Experts, be the field nutrition or poker or poetry or online interaction or IRL dating or how to deal with the fact that you helped make a baby and now you are tasked with keeping both it and yourself alive.
Free of condescension, pedantry, or the notion that happiness is merely a $10,000 watch away, the Adequate Man will provide a guide to life as written by real-live people for the benefit of real-live people, free of the crass consumerism and patronizing loftiness that has infected too much of the self-improvement racket. Most exceptional people are insufferable anyway; adequacy is both preferable and actually attainable. So what are you looking to get better at? What should we tackle first? Let us know in the comments, but for god's sake, man, be civilized.
We can do this, together. So let's get started.
Rob Harvilla is Deadspin's culture editor. Yes, there is one. He's on Twitter.
Art by Jim Cooke.