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Mean Boys

Mean Boys

A Personal History

Geoffrey Mak
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For readers of Monsters and Gay Bar, a ferocious inquiry into art and desire, style and politics, madness and salvation, and coming of age in our volatile, image-obsessed present.

You know them when you see them: mean boys take up space, wielding cruelty to claim their place in the pecking order. Some mean boys make art or music or fashion; others make memes. Mean boys stomp the runways in Milan and Paris; mean boys marched at Charlottesville. And in the eyes of critic and style expert Geoffrey Mak, mean boys are the emblem of our society: an era ravenous for novelty, always thirsting for the next edgy thing, even at our peril.

In this pyrotechnic memoir-in-essays, Mak ranges widely over our landscape of paranoia, crisis, and frenetic, clickable consumption. He grants readers an inside pass to the spaces where culture was made and unmade over the past decade, from the antiseptic glare of white-walled galleries to the darkest corners of Berlin techno clubs. As the gay son of an evangelical minister, Mak fled to those spaces, hoping to join a global, influential elite. But when calamity struck, it forced Mak to confront the costs of mistaking status for belonging. Fusing personal essay and cultural critique, Mean Boys investigates exile and return, transgression and forgiveness, and the value of faith, empathy, and friendship in a world designed to make us want what is bad for us.


Geoffrey Mak is a queer Chinese American writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Guardian, Artforum, the Nation, Art in America, Interview, Spike, Guernica, Highsnobiety, and other publications. He is cofounder of the reading and performance series Writing on Raving. Mak holds an MA in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He lives in Brooklyn.


  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Publish Date: April 30, 2024
  • Pages: 288
  • Dimensions: 5.51 X 8.25 X 1.0 inches | 1.0 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Hardcover
  • EAN/UPC: 9781635577945
  • BISAC Categories: Cultural, Ethnic & Regional - Asian & Asian American, LGBT, Essays


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