Despite bringing to mind a unique first impression due to its title, Don’t Judge a Dick by Its Foreskin by Max Gold, is, unsurprisingly, a book that cannot be judged by its cover or title.
Although it is indeed funny and a little vulgar, Gold’s book, published in 2010, is not the obnoxious, crude and confrontational dialogue one would expect from such a provocative title. Rather, Don’t Judge a Dick by Its Foreskin is essentially a series of speedy vignettes covering everything from God to love, healthcare, guns and revolution.
Or, as Gold says in his reluctant intro, “Almost every topic that can ignite a bar brawl.”
Gold’s writing style is humorous, surprisingly thoughtful and only occasionally flippant. He’s also secure and opinionated, which can be a drawback for some readers. Sometimes as though Gold is a horse with its blinders on.
He only sees his way, leaving no room for debate in his dialogue. But his style is also comforting, because at heart, Don’t Judge a Dick by Its Foreskin is not meant to trigger any deep philosophical debates.
The book is simply a man and his opinion. But because Gold delivers his arguments in a non-confrontational yet confident manner, readers are allowed to absorb the information without overexerting their brains or being put off by his specific views.
Gold also manages to cover a ridiculous number of topics. The table of contents divides the book into two acts.
Act I discusses the more vague and universal themes like God, human purpose, consciousness, individualism, ideas, love, free will, religion and race.
The second act moves on to topics more directly relevant to America, like its political system, the Constitution, immigration and the presence of Socialism in the American economy.
Gold spends a chapter discussing God, and although it’s interesting and logical, it doesn’t feel very credible.
What would Gold tell you if you asked him what God was composed of?
“Here’s your answer: Energy.” Universal and simple.
His chapter, “Just A Thought,” explores the hypothetical idea of the Devil using cunning to divide people in the world and ultimately trick them into being unsatisfied with life on earth.
Occasionally, Gold touches upon something truly insightful and unsettling, but wastes the opportunity by writing in a flippant, unadvisedly entertaining manner, without forcing readers to explore the idea in a meaningful way.
In addition to God, he discusses religion as the first form of government, the man-made invention of human purpose and how art has become exploited for advertisement.
He breaks down Jesus’ miracles with the air of a MythBusters host.
But Gold isn’t as cynical as he sounds. He’s fairly optimistic, and although he expresses disappointment in society’s shortcomings, he also believes in the strength of freewill and one’s ability to alleviate a bad situation.
Gold also injects his personal life into the book by revealing that he is a Canadian-turned-American citizen. In “What Makes America Great & Why The Idea Must Prevail,” Gold gives a description of what the American government was intended to be.
He does, however, offer some groan-inducing, almost unbearably fawning praise for the Founding Fathers, which partially deflates his writing.
Gold imparts his opinions about the media and how its controlled by advertising, which is then controlled by holding companies. In addition, the obnoxious mob chanting of ‘USA, USA’ is placed under the microscope.
The book concluded with an encouragement for peaceful revolution, stating that, “A republic founded on freedom has been weakened by its Government.”
Gold’s book is still not particularly memorable. After all, how memorable can a book destined for reading during short trips, like going to the toilet, be? Don’t Judge a Dick by Its Foreskin won’t ignite a revolution, even if it does surpass what most readers would expect.