Thursday, August 25, 2005
Come to Sunny Prestatyn
So we work with this guy who’s got this arid, almost English sense of humor, and because we are both wastrels and layabouts, we spend much of our time developing and executing fun office activities that would get us both shit-canned faster than you can say “collection of excised vulvas,” should the HR guy ever catch wind of them. This week has largely been given over to seeing who can be the most unctuous suck-up to our boss, an affable fellow who doesn’t really mind when we give him the business (the monkey variety). Our four-day experiment came to a heroic close a little while ago when all three of us found ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder at the bank of urinals in the corner pissoir.
“Say there, boss, “the other dude goes. “That’s some tie you have on today.”
“Say there, boss,” we say. “That’s some cock you got on you.”
Game, set and match. To his credit, the boss zips up, turns to us and says, “It’s getting awfully Showtime in here.”
Is it too early to start drinking? Say no.
Swallowing is About Communication, Baby
And with that line, an off-the-cuff declaration of love culled from a non-existent novel called Teenage Pussy, we fell absolutely in love with the new Bret Easton Ellis curiosity, Lunar Park. While we’re only 100 pages into it, and therefore can’t give a thorough assessment just yet, we think this is just about the funniest thing we’ve read since we gasped our way through Sam Lipsyte’s Home Land, which, if you haven’t picked it up yet, run don’t walk, etc.
Having realized at some point that he’s doomed to forever have his own persona conflated with the characters in his books, Ellis just goes ahead and drops himself into the novel, which seems like it’s shaping up to be an extended riff on literary celebrity (a total oxymoron, that, but whatever). Besides a fictional wife and kids, he also drags “real” people into the mix, like his old running mate, the douchetastic oenophile Jay McInereny, who shows up to do some lines off the hood of a Porsche while acting arch and totally unaware. (When informed that Ellis’ son fits into the tween demo, McInerney replies, “Is that a gay thing?”)
A lot of the stuff that’s amusing early on derives from Ellis’ sure-handed portrayal of the absurdity of child rearing in an era where people treat their offspring like precious little Fabergé eggs. Kids, as you probably already know, are creepy little simulacra of adults, minus money, logic and the ability to wipe their own asses. As such, they should be viewed with suspicion and contempt, like the homeless or Canadians. Ellis understands this, and in his handling of the novel’s [early] domestic scenes, he turns the touchy-feely, let’s-name-our-kid-Brandon-and-send-him-to-Pilates brand of aughties parenting on its pointy little head. For example, Ellis’ daughter, a first-grader, is assigned Lord of the Flies, yet she is encouraged to “dress as yourself” for a Halloween pageant, because a last-minute compromise to allow the children to wear something “nominally frightening” was still too controversial. His son wants to dress as Eminem for trick-or-treat, but Ellis nixes the idea, telling him, “First you need platinum blonde hair and a wife to beat.” Heh.
In another chapter, during a zippy deconstruction of his writing and drug use, Ellis tells fellow blow monkey McInerney that being a father “is like some fucking Beckett play that we’re rehearsing constantly.” If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with a five-year-old, you know what he means.
OK, we can see we’re in no state to convey funny here. But we will return to this topic soonish, because we like to argue with bookwormy types and then do a shirtless waltz of victory after we poke holes in all of their arguments. Big dance soon come. In the meantime, we leave you with three wholly unrelated nuggets of whatever the fuck.
1) Our favorite nonsense passage from Ellis’ first book, Less Than Zero:
I have to go through Kim's room to get to it, since the lock on the one downstairs is broken, and as I get to her door, Trent comes out and closes it.
“Use the one downstairs,” he says.
“Because Julian and Kim and Derf are fucking in there.”
I just stand there. “Derf's here?” I ask.
2) When we were in college, we accidentally saw the greatest movie ever made , which features Sir John Gielgud indulging in a little play-by-play commentary while doinking a suppository up his ass.
Beached on the length of his bed, giving us the rundown on the glycerine tablet he’s about to stuff up his nethers, Gielgud riffs: “Just slip a suppository into position. No such luck for me as a sudden coronary. It has to be slow, squalid, and messy things. Live by the guts, die by the guts. Now, let science soothe the troubled rectum.”
We’re totally having that last sentence engraved on our tombstone.
3) Lastly, we just had the most amazing exchange with our boss like five minutes ago. We mentioned something about what and how much we drank last night, and he cut us off, saying, “O.K. there, Duff McKagen.” Bwah!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
In the Kingdom of Boredom, I Wear the Royal Sweatpants
It’s absurd that we only just now discovered that recherché postmodernist Mark Leyner has a new book out, because we just so happened to flip through the latest issue of New York, but dude’s been under the radar since he published his last novel, The Tetherballs of Bougainville, back in 1998. Apparently he’s been dicking around in television, which is a shame, although we understand the vicissitudes of having to put food on the table. Anyway, it’s not a work of fiction, but a grab-bag of medical-related arcana along the lines of where do eye boogers come from and why does my poop float after I eat at The Sizzler.
For the uninitiated, here’s an excerpt from Leyner’s bravura 1993 “novel” Et Tu, Babe, a wholly uncategorizable book that sends up all the sick and sad dog ends of the Amercian wet-dreamscape, including the excesses of physical culture, the endless banality of celebrity memoirs and the encroachment of pharmacology on an already feeble and spiritless collective (un)consciousness. It’s also really fucking funny.
“Let’s not be naïve. Kids are always going to experiment with drugs and alcohol, vandalism, callous violence, semiautomatic handguns, chemical weapons and Neofascist hate crime … and surely that’s how the world will end. I don’t care what lofty endgame scenarios the pundits concoct: Asteroid collision, global warming with melting polar ice caps, biosphere toxic shock, introgenic plague, cosmic entropy, etc. The world is going to end because, one night, a carload of solvent-sniffing 15-year-olds from Long Island mess around with something they shouldn’t have messed around with. Take all your unresolved disasters from history––the extinction of the dinosaurs, the sinking of the Andrea Doria, the abduction of the Lindbergh baby, JFK, Bhopal, Chernobyl, you name it, ultimately there’s only one consistent explanation for each of these––a bunch of skanky, dyslexic adolescents, high on drugs, looking for trouble. Ironic, isn’t it, that the civilization of Dante, Michelangelo, Keats and Einstein will end with some fried, feebleminded kid breaking into a level four maximum-security biological weapons facility, mumbling, “Yo––what the fuck…?”
The double-issue, devoted to the hallucinatory ridiculousness that is fashion, includes this William Van Meter piece about the newly-fractured downtown design team As Four. Unless you have a lot of free time on your hands, there’s no reason to read each of the story’s 3,200 words, which trace the erratic dealings of crackpot fashionista Kai Kühne, a natty gent who spends an inordinate time getting bitch-slapped by his former colleagues and dousing Björk with ice water. But there is this:
“As it turns out, Kai has also created a fragrance. Its working title: Balloon. ‘The inspiration is making love with me in a field,’ he explains, ‘and feeling safe. My favorite thing is when I meet certain women and smell their cheeks and there is a scent of a balloon.’ He says it reminds him of his childhood. Balloon kicks like a mule, the scent both rubbery and synthetic. ‘It smells like a used condom,’ observes Ange.”
Monday, August 22, 2005
In the Mouth a Desert
Every August we get these same confounding emails. While they differ in tone and style and are often dashed off with an appalling indifference to grammar and punctuation––hit the shift key every once in a while, e.e. cummings––they all ask the same off-putting question: Dude, are you going to Burning Man?
Now, we know a few people who have gone to this thing and claim to have had a fantastic time. These people fall into one of two neat little categories: a) liars and b) imbeciles. Granted, our idea of fun may not be everyone’s cup of chamomile––our tastes run more in line with drinking our way into the laundry hamper and engaging in the odd bit of gunplay––but how anyone can say that they had a good time in a desert with a bunch of people sporting body paint is beyond us.
Plus there’s the age thing. Trust us on this one: You people are way too old to still be going to Burning Man. You’ll drive all the way out to the desert, find yourselves surrounded by vigorous and happy young people, and come to the gloomy realization that, like, half your lives are over. The drugs won’t be as good as you remembered, you’ll forget to bring enough water and parties unknown will poo in your tent. Then you’ll go back home and tell yourself that you had a great time. You like that, though, don’t you, lying to yourself that way. In the daytime, it makes you feel empowered and active, like someone who doesn’t let the vicissitudes of age and good sense get in the way of a par-tay. But at night, when you’re laying in bed next to someone who can barely tolerate your very existence, staring into the darkness and wondering where it all went so horribly wrong, you won’t be able to hold back the tears. Tears of truth.
All is lost. Death has bookmarked your Interpol blog and rode by your house last night on His bicycle. Stay home, is what we say.