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lynn crosbie: pop rocks

Howard Stern is still a pig, but an eloquent and uxorious one. Maddox who? Robert Hamburger who? "Will the Real Russell Brand Please Stand Up?" (the lead story in the new, more mellow Details, about the taming of the wild comic). These are tiny notes that may indicate the demise of bad boy, laddist or frat-boy culture.

"Fratire" (a genre of non-fiction marketed to young men) began in the early 2000s as a response to chick lit and chick flicks, and, for a while, the new, jejune machismo was a nice alternative to stories about female morons and their purses and shoes. But just this weekend, as the king of the sex miscreants, Charlie Sheen, was booed during his inaugural stage show in Detroit, I caught up on some reading and noticed that a number of once-mighty players have fallen and fallen hard.

Leaving Sheen aside (whose show I am seeing next week, so I wish to reserve judgment), there is - keep in mind that this is a somewhat random but wholly representative cadre - Joe Francis.

Until roughly the middle of the last decade, Francis was happily and creepily enticing college girls to bare their breasts and fondle each other in his Girls Gone Wild films.

Feminists decried these frisky kittens, but girls do, lamentably, still go wild over authority, even in the form of a seedy van and camera. Or are they starting to turn tail?

Because Francis, once an earth-shaking sex radical, has now been known for some time as a menace only to the IRS: His tax trials occupy more of his biography now than the whole Girls Gone Wild series.

What has happened too, to the Paris Hilton posse? To her coterie of bloated, foul-mouthed heirs and amateur porn stars?

While a certain kind of rank sexism still exists on websites like What Would Tyler Durden Do?, the language has been toned down (there is a sexy gay men poll posted this week, and the girl talk is merely risqué). On the truly filthy ones I do not wish to publicize (and I get this from the lips of a women who dated a man connected with the most depraved celebrity site), basement-dwellers with womanly hips and long, blackened teeth post their deranged ideas inside of an ever-growing vacuum.

This past weekend I read Bunny Tales (having had to go to four bookstores before finding a copy of this hot number), Izabella St. James's account of living at the Playboy Mansion and being one of Hef's seven girlfriends, in the early 2000s.

The book strips the old man of any remaining mystery or dignity and exposes the mansion as a spoor-covered, fetid dump where gimlet-eyed, conniving blondes fight viciously for free hair extensions and a dominant spot on Hef's baby-oil-soaked, filthy mattress.

While St. James's revelations are shameful - no one should humiliate another person this way - they are another cannonball over the crumbling wall of casually vicious sexism or, in Hef's case, the notion of woman-as-fresh-hot-candy-covered-popcorn (his favourite treat).

The playmates are delicious, but in the Playboy world view (note the pathetic use of the word "boy" to describe the limp octo-lecher of L.A.'s Holmby Hills), women are difficult to differentiate from the shelf of sticky toys Hef allegedly keeps on his bedside table.

St. James, a fox with a law degree, had had enough. If her book is cruel, it also answers feminist Luce Irigaray's question about the objectification of women: "What if the object started to speak?"

Speaking too are women anxious to be rid of the repugnant antics of Tucker Max, whose new collection of non-fiction, Assholes Finish First, has just landed. I caught up too with this while idly flipping through the latest compilation of male braggadocio ("I macked on Britney Spears!") by Neil Strauss, author of the pick-up 'bible' The Game, and circling his huge bald head with a red Sharpie.

Max still scores with very young girls, as it is, or was an American college phenom for a while to sleep with this incontinent old fratirist. But, bit by bit, the girls are talking back.

So, as Max continues to milk lines like "Fat girls aren't real people" and "Your gender is hard-wired for whoredom," his conquests are serving back descriptions of his short, hairy body, the fat, fleshy mole on his nose and his flatulence-accompanied battering-ram sexual technique.

Why get mad at men like Max who don't hate women as much as they - for good reason - hate themselves?

As always, it's better to get even. I look forward to more stirring attacks on the players who, as it turns out, have got no game.

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