Adages: Men aren't really missing, they've just gone shopping.

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Feminist Betty Friedan wrote the groundbreaking (some would say ball-breaking) babe-bible "The Feminine Mystique" in the nurturing age of Aquarius and women's libbers, the '60s. Today, it's the "zeros" (as in 00's), the age of "Queer Eye" guys and metrosexuals, and now we have a book for the times: "The Male Mystique" by Jacques Boyreau (Chronicle Books, San Francisco). This is a picture book, not a penetrating essay on men's liberation, which is fine, because men who like to shop have little time for reading, other than flipping through the photos in Details, Men's Health and Star. Indeed, this book is not about liberation at all; it's all about the joys of surrender to the pleasures of neat slacks, swaggering aftershave lotions ("We get Swedish Girls," Mennen Skin Bracer boasts in an ad), steely twinjector blades, dickies, Pleetway Astrojamas (a sort of one-piece jumpsuit pajama), stylish smokes, malt liquors and other accessories. "The Male Mystique" is our Adages Book Club Selection for fabulous February. The irony: it's a collection of ads from men's mags in the '60s and '70s, when women were supposed to have "come a long way, baby," according to the tag for Virginia Slims smokes. Well, here's another tagline from the times, found in the book, for Silva Thins: "Cigarettes are like women. The best one's are thin and rich."

WMDs at the Oscars

Last week, Joe Roth, producer of the Academy Awards on ABC, told the Associated Press that the five-second delay in this year's broadcast will be used only to blank out smutty words and deeds, and will not be used to zap out political harangues. Viewers and advertisers thus will be spared naughty flaps, but may have to endure an election year tirade from bombastic Tim Robbins, should he win a best-supporting actor Oscar for his role in "Mystic River." In 1993 Robbins and Susan Sarandon managed to find an obscure cause to champion, delivering a smug speech at the Oscars about Haitian political refugees with AIDS. Also, brace yourself for a possible anti-war gesture from Sean Penn should he win best actor for his performance, also in "Mystic." Penn recently played the role of war correspondent in Iraq for the San Francisco Chronicle, filing dispatches from Baghdad. It's widely known that Penn loathes the Oscars, but is expected to show anyway. Bombs away!

Political `pissing contest'

Maybe it's a sign of how the Democrats are gaining momentum: Political neophytes Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby may be teaming up this week for the first time in years with former partner Jon Steel to talk with the Democratic National Committee about strategy. "I believe no one should do political advertising, but I'm fed up," says Mr. Silverstein, tired of the Super Bowl breast flap which he says Americans have made "more important than WMDs." Also working on the effort is Ewen Cameron, partner with former Goodby, Silverstein partner Andy Berlin in WPP Group's Berlin Cameron.

Mr. Berlin, a life long GOPer who worked in 1996 for Bob Dole's GOP presidential bid, says no one has asked him to participate in presidential politics. "My card is empty and my gun is loaded," says Mr. Berlin, half-hinting he is mercenary enough to consider changing sides. He says Republicans are really quite tolerant. "I don't mind my partners working to raise my taxes," he says. "But if the shoe were on the other foot, I wonder if they would [show] the same tolerance?" In any event, he says that ad execs who are lining up now have the potential to create "a hell of a pissing contest."

contributing: alice z. cuneo

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