Paradise of Storm

Tag: sex

The Future of Desire

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by Guy Walker

What actually did happen to the sexual revolution? It wasn’t long after one of Freud’s most noteworthy students, Wilhelm Reich, landed on New York’s squalid shores in August of 1939, that the generation of prurience and free love was born. His most noteworthy invention and physical contribution apart from his writings now seems like an artifact of dereliction, some shambled box from an abandoned carnival: the Orgone Energy Accumulator. It looks like a boarded up telephone booth, an unexciting trunk turned on its side that you were supposed to sit in and wait to receive the brilliant and spontaneous orgasms it provided.

Sex from some obscure unknown realm has long been a preferred subject of science fiction. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, a bounty hunter Phil Resch (a phonetic cousin of the Austrian psychoanalyst), who works for a fictitious police agency, and could be another android, remarks to Deckard with a tone of austere advice, “If it’s love toward a woman or an android imitation, it’s sex.” The reader is propelled into the obvious: how does it actually feel to be in a storm of eroticism with a robot?

Blade Runner 2049 offered another installment of this fantasy. Our hero’s girlfriend, Joi, is a three-dimensional hologram resembling an evolutionary masterpiece; you can watch the movie in what is seemingly another layer of 3-D, gaping up at her seductive digitization swaying into the bedroom, your mouth hanging open stupidly, staring up at the huge screen with your flimsy paper sunglasses. Joi’s character is a reincarnation of a character we know well.

In the 1956 French drama, …And God Created Woman, Juliette, the subliminally catastrophic temptress played by Brigitte Bardot, believed “the future was invented only to spoil the present.” Sixty years later, it’s the present that wants to spoil the future—it wants to give it all up for us, tell us of the trenchant nihilism ahead, popularize the ultimate ghosts of technology. In the film, she lays around naked, walks everywhere barefoot, undisturbed by the male forces and societal norms around her, causing a moral panic amongst those nearest her. The men in the film conclude she “was made to destroy men,” as they try to repel the inevitable gravity of her enchantment.

The destruction of man by the strange and impossible intrigue of the woman is a common theme now. Hollywood is smitten with this fantasy. How will people, you know, “do it”, in the future? Spike Jones’s 2014 dystopic interlude, Her, brought the same titillating futurism conceptualized in the bedroom to the big screen. The envisioned communing between Theodore and the computer operating system, Samantha, was little more than a banal exclamation that mimicked the snorts and grunts of pleasure. It was phone sex, mildly elaborated, only for the sake of the pronouncement of orgasm, leaving the fluids, sweat, bullwhips, fuzzy handcuffs, and every other physical attributor of touch, in question and out of the picture.

Ex Machina notioned that the most beautiful women of the future will be an invasive species of silicon chips molded in our most alluring fashion—they’ll be prowling amongst us, like a digitized playmate who could calmly and regularly beat the Kasparovs of chess, and then lock them in a cellar until they rot. There’s nothing more thrilling than taking someone home from the bar who might turn out to have a survival glitch that would necessarily have to kill you to succeed. BDSM for existentialists; the abstract fetishizing would turn a whole generation into a sex-themed Russian roulette game.

Or there’s HBO’s Westworld series, which featured robot prostitutes that would kill their way to freedom. Thus far, our popularized interest in artificial intelligence goes as far as what sort of envious bloom their reproductive organs will look like, how lusting and lifelike the interplay could and should be. Especially the women. Movie producers and audiences alike don’t desire the other possibility in quite the same way. There’s something deeply unsettling about their male counterparts that would only be used for sex—their dangling rubberized testicles waving in the dusty anarchy of the wild west, their smutty reprogrammable libido under spasms of defect, wreaking havoc on innocent female victims who only wanted a bit of cathartic delight.

It’s clear what’s happening. When Lacan famously announced “there is no sexual relation,” he wasn’t attempting a contrarian view of desire without features. He was iterating how we split ourselves up in the act of sex, between “its being and its semblance, between itself and that paper tiger it shows to the other.” In this, as in a combative death drive, we either give or receive a mask, “a thrown-off skin,” in order to protect our real being.

We’re never really alone with our sexual partners. There’s always a deep fantasy or weirdly-cloaked fetish lingering in the shadows, hammering away at our heads in varying degrees of distraction. In the strange and extraordinary partnership of cultural totems, Slavoj Žižek was commissioned by Abercrombie & Fitch to write for their 2003 Back to School Quarterly, where he quipped his bursting tic-filled remarks on youth and sex, the capitalized large font spread across a glossy overlay of two boys and a girl completely naked, barely of age, carousing in green fields, the sun’s yolk spilled across the whole verdant jouissance like a pagan dream: “The only successful sexual relationship occurs when the fantasies of the two partners overlap. If the man fantasizes that making love is like riding a bike and the woman wants to be penetrated by a stud, then what truly goes on when they make love is that a horse is riding a bike…With a fantasy like that, who needs a personality?”

A horse riding a bicycle is as real as Ryan Gosling passing his dick across and into the flickering static of his girlfriend, both of which are only barely less real than an undisturbed sexual communion between two people. There’s nothing remarkably novel about Hollywood’s attempts to realistically imagine the future of bodily desire. A robot’s vagina is not the exemplary nexus of modern art, not some avant-garde interpretation of Freudian psychoanalytics. But some productions have imagined a sort of post-Oedipal world, in which man creates his maker, fucks her, and then is gruesomely slain by her.

What Ex Machina and Westworld achieve is they thrust the viewer outside the obvious torments of being killed by the glamorous female lead, and they allow you to imagine the daily benign thrill of the technicians themselves, and what it must be like for them to pick and prod and quietly sculpt women of our yearning. As viewers, we know the architects of these humanoids had to at some point kneel down and masterfully sculpt the deep swelling crevasse of her reproductive organ, the realism of her sensuality more essential than any other appendage or feature. The absurd bald mounds on Barbie dolls, like they were long-legged congenital eunuchs disguised in aprons and wigs, no longer suffice for the pornographic obsessions of the modern age.

The cinema is now our most easily digested form of suggestive enterprise. We bring the whole circus of crime and drama and comedy and romance and war into our bedrooms, our gawping voyeurism permanently attached to our laptop screens. But it’s always been like this. The preferred art forms from before quietly distilled the same libidinal hankering as multi-million dollar productions filmed in front of green screens do today. What happens when Picasso or Lucian Freud paints one of their women? Are they not attempting to garner a lusciousness of dimension of the female form they never managed to see themselves? They spent countless painstaking hours leaning over their huge canvases, trying to improve on mere replication, detailing the dimpled flesh and overgrown pubic forests like things of undocumented mystery. They composed these scenes, arranged their women in candid moments of trembling bliss, and hyper-realized the overflowing smooth flesh of women as the givers of all life. The title of the painting above is “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” the model’s actual job title. The words give a humanness, a normalcy to the shapeless spill of tit over the edge of the couch, as if this could be every moderately heavy woman walking down the street. We are pressed with the overwhelming gravity of who we really are, the unflattering reality of ourselves as a gruesome patchwork of anuses and other spluttering holes, all held together with this dying membrane of sweat and pores and hair, the festering wounds of age slowly eating away at us.

What’s next, beyond each fantasy, is another. Most of us spend our days slouched in some form or another, our necks sloped like a cow grazing her fields, staring at a screen. We tap away at it endlessly, as if it will eventually do something, fetishizing the swirling blots of color, a whole universe encased in Snapchat doggy ears and nose. When you watch porn on your computer or phone, you’re signaling one half of a holographic sex doll—an illusory, yet very real, pleasure. There’s a brothel in Germany that’s already gotten rid of all the prostitutes—all the real humans, that is—and instead offers their clients a lineup of lifelike sex dolls. We’re almost there. It’s the same fantasy played out in different forms—different brands of the same product within today’s culture industry. Adorno and Horkheimer illuminated in their philosophical monument, Dialectic of Enlightenment, that the “culture industry perpetually cheats its consumers of what it perpetually promises.” It usually ends in flaccid regret. Instead of the high definition fantasy playing out in front of us, we end with a white pool of mucous in a dirty sock. “The promise,” they continue, “which is actually all the spectacle consists of, is illusory.” But it’s voluntary. We pay $17 to see someone else play out our fantasies of what the future will look like.

It could have been an interesting storyline in Blade Runner 2049, between K and his holographic girlfriend—where their moments of affection and confidentiality really lead to, what they would have done about having children, arguments around infidelity and if it’s really considered cheating. But the filmmakers never went there. That particular subplot ended in masturbatory ennui, a close indifference about the future of our relationships. Again and again, we’ll watch these films on our own screens, the clutching voyeurism of survival fluttering across the backlit rectangles, the colorful blobs of other humans superimposed. But the end is always the same. The credits roll and the screen goes black, and we’re left staring at our dark naked reflection in the glass.


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Victoria’s Secret, the Presidential Election, and How Nepotism Rules the World

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by Guy Walker

Winter is coming. Trees rustle their last stolid leaves. Four-year-olds wear huge mittens, preventing them from Snapchatting their BFF’s. Cats gnaw on mice innards by the fire as old men sip whiskey for months on end. Most of us feel the urgency to enjoy our last shriveling dawns before the Trump presidency, before the mad glistening fascism is enforced by Scott Baio and the Ku Klux Klan. Our only remedy of course, is the night of December 6th, the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Show, full of its own gilded hysteria, the hypnotizing seraphims parading down their runway. More than ever, we need something to admire, some over-relished human peacock to idolize on a high stage, as if we were frantically trying to masturbate one last time before being devoured by hyenas.

But the lineup for this year’s show is a depressing list of women nobody ever liked in the first place. Year by year, the models consist more of rich, well-connected family members who have been pasteurized in a vat of polish, their lives just spectacles of birthright. The 2015 VS fashion show debuted Gigi Hadid—daughter of luxury real estate developer, Mohamed Hadid, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, who outmaneuvered Donald Trump in a real estate bid, and Yolanda Hadid, star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Gigi is walking again in this year’s show, along with her sister, Bella, and BFF Kendall Jenner—who is of course sisters with Kim Kardashian, famous because she was Paris Hilton’s assistant and then sucked a dick on camera.

The annual pageant designates itself “the most watched fashion event in the world,” with 6.6 million viewers last year huddled around their screens, gleaming at what they will never have—the men discussing amongst themselves who they’d like to fuck the most, the women agreeing that the models must all be starved and addicted to cocaine. But as all events do when they are the most watched shows in the world, they turn to nepotism—incestuous love affairs of privilege, orgies of elitism that mimic the history of the royal family.

In a way, it’s much too simple: famous people have friends; and those friends, in turn, become famous. But even worse, they have family. And naturally, family members ride on the backs of their genetically gifted relative, trying to achieve their own momentary immortality, like a secondary character in a television show who happens to get a spinoff. And if the family member isn’t already hot, they certainly have the means to become hot—lip fillers, rhinoplasty, teardrop boob jobs, cheek bone enhancers, and Botox can turn boneless demons into angels of ecstasy. There is nothing that fame and money cannot give us.

The thing is, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show isn’t really a fashion show. There may be a $3 million Fantasy Bra, and the Angels may wear wings around their VS lingerie, but like Bella Hadid confided to Harper’s Bazaar, this event is about “personality”. “It’s about the lingerie, but you also have to keep a smile on your face. You have to interact. It’s a different experience than I am really used to.” Not only did the Hadid sister admit she doesn’t really know how to smile or interact with people, she highlighted the simmering ontological physicalism that viewers so maddeningly crave: we want them to look at us, to flirt using only their smile, to tell us that all of it is possible. It’s what Norman Mailer described of Marilyn Monroe in 1973: “‘Take me,’ said her smile. ‘I’m easy. I’m happy. I’m an angel of sex, you bet.’”

The whole spectacle is a titillating episode of a reality television show. With confetti explosions and live musical performances from Usher or Seal or Lady Gaga, it resembles something close to the season finale of American Idol, or this year’s Republican National Convention—it’s really hard to tell which. It’s about advertising, ratings, celebrity, scandal.

This is of course part and parcel as to why the Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner are in the fashion show to begin with—we plebeians prefer to root for people we recognize. It’s why Donald Trump won the presidency—name and facial recognition; he had his own reality show where he was the central personality, a platform to popularize his dictatorial fetishism.

Number 28 was the first true reality show—the Dutch precursor to The Real World, which aired a year later. Viewers could now witness the candid drama of people like ourselves, sympathize with their on-camera confessionals, root in some gruesome way for our favorite cast member. A little over two decades later, every public event on earth is a frothing nightmare of personalities. Predictably, the deep luring questions are already being asked: how will Kendall feel about being in Paris for the first time since her sister Kim got robbed there during Fashion Week? how does Karlie Kloss balance between the gurgling feud of Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian? is Bella Hadid’s nose job establishing a new trend of natural looking plastic surgery?

The nepotism of personality is the kingpin of our every fortune. Take the presidential election as the most consequential example. Many liberals are already murmuring that they would like to see Michelle Obama run for office in 2020. She’s never suggested anything of the sort—in fact, she’s only suggested how excited she is to have a more normal family life again. But the people who hope to see her take back the torch from the howling orange beast who will soon take it from her husband are merely looking at how modish and dignified she was as first lady. They’re remembering her few good speeches, repeating her “When they go low, we go high” mantra ad nauseam. Perhaps an elegant first lady, but her initial and only qualification is that she’s married to the standing president—otherwise, no one would even know who she is.

Rousing behind the idea that someone has the divine right of authority because they are related or closely intimate with another is what will turn the United States into the worst form of monarchy. It’s what Confucius advocated for 3,000 years ago—to balance “filial piety with merit”—the touchstone characteristic of a monarchy.

It’s one of the reasons that made Hillary Clinton such a terrible candidate for the first female president—her political clout was never self-made. She’s a royal automaton, a waxen effigy glued together with kindergarten paste who rode on the curtails of her husband. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Samantha Power, they are all better representatives of the self-made woman.

The parallels are obvious. The Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner have corralled millions of loyal disciples by making duck lips with the Snapchat doggy nose and the garland of butterflies and lilies, like some strange animal hybrid, hoisting themselves up towards unimaginable fame and fortune. The Victoria Secret Fashion Show is just their season finale. The U.S. presidential election was an eighteen-month reality T.V. show of a reality T.V. star and a royal family member—the perverse spectacle is turning back on itself in gruesome irony. The only option left is revolt.


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The Orlando Shooting: Religion, Gays, and the Ejaculation of Death

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by Guy Walker

Immediately following news of the shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub, Texas lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, tweeted a passage from Galatians: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” After the obvious retaliating vitriol from the Twitter people, Patrick removed the quote, apologizing for his “unfortunate timing.”

The Westboro Baptist Church tweeted another: “We thank/praise God, who in His infinite wisdom sent the shooter to: 1) execute wrath, 2) mercifully chasten.” Members of the church have turned up to protest the funerals of some of the victims. At this point, this is expected from the religious right; 46 percent of Americans think the world was created 6,000 years ago, so nearly half of us are insane and will say some pretty ignorant shit. But these types of statements are not just ignorant, but also incredibly violent and dangerous in their own way. And our backlash is merely a fainéant snort, a meager little puff of outrage that quickly fades into the scorching haze of all the other bad news.

The shooter’s father, an Afghan immigrant named Seddique Mir Mateen, said he had no idea what caused his son to gun down the gays, that it had nothing to do with religion, adding that “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality—this is not for the servants of God.” Meaning, Omar Mateen’s own forbidden homosexuality and violent repression within his cult of intolerance had absolutely nothing to do with the attack.

Omar just wanted to hold a huge palpitating dick with both hands, to stroke tenderly the promising baton, to softly kiss the tip of beauty. But it was religion—and religion alone—that corralled him into the stifling paddock of denial, brewing all that stink of perversity, that drove him to carry out the worst mass shooting in American history.

James Wesley Howell, the man from Indiana who was stopped and arrested for driving to the Pride Parade in West Hollywood with a car full of guns and potential explosives, was a pedophile back in Indiana. Something tells us he likely wasn’t a secular humanist in pursuit of scientific literacy. Something tells us he wasn’t a Quaker.

There is a growing necessity for our own intolerance of all oppressive faiths, the need for scabrous mockery of irrational tradition and blind belief. The mainstream left, and its quiet stink of politeness for people who believe in stupid perilous things, is what will impede any meaningful progress in a society’s pursuit of scientific literacy. And the truth is we are not tolerant of some faiths, as we shouldn’t be tolerant of many more. Take for example the case of Warren Steed Jeffs, the former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FDLS). He married more than 60 women and girls, molested his own daughters and nieces and nephews, and was finally convicted by a Texas jury in 2011 on two counts of sexual assault against children, and sentenced to life in prison. Or there are the Roma gypsies, who have arranged marriages soon after the girl reaches puberty. Whenever a girl escapes a Roma community and notifies the authorities, we, as seemingly sane judicial citizens grant the girl her individual human rights above the schizophrenic claims of religion or tradition. In instances of true oppression, American society does not tolerate the freedom of a so-called religious act. The same should be true when religion tries to oppress women or homosexuals or transgender or persons of other faiths.

So, why does religion hate gays so much? As a general rule, religion hates the body and the sexual act, most likely because these cults of puerility were founded by mothball ecchymosis men who were stuck on a mountain and couldn’t get laid, so they forbade it for everyone else. And homosexuality is a complete rejection of the conservative stoicism at the heart of religion itself.

The United States may have its Dan Patricks and its Westboro Baptists, but Islam has its ubiquitous quest for death and flogging if you even get near a dick.

In 2013, the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey on gay tolerance in 39 countries around the world. When asked, “Should society accept homosexuality?” Western Europe, Australia, and the Americas, to no one’s surprise, had a generally positive response. The Middle East wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. There were no crowds of heavily-oiled men unraveling their rainbow-colored hijabs and waving them in the air above all that the scalding sand. Pakistan, most notably, had only 2 percent of its respondents affirm that its society should accept homosexuality. Gay sex is illegal in Pakistan, best articulated by the Muslim cleric, Qari Hifzur Rehamn, who said “Homosexuals must be killed—it’s the only way to stop them spreading. It should be by beheading or stoning, which the general public can do.”

However, in direct correlation with their ideological repression of sexual preference, Pakistan loves its gay porn. They are the world leader in Google searches for the most gay shit possible, leading the way with the search terms “shemale sex,” “teen anal sex,” “man fucking man,” and a close second place behind the Kenyans for “gay sex pics.”

The correlation between the religious repression of sex and sexuality, and the violent perversity that follows, is obvious: hacking off the clitorises of girls, the systematic rape of boys in the Catholic Church, the “Kill the Gays Bill” in Uganda. Denying the gorgeous carnal pleasures leave you mad and wild eyed, anxious to moisten up your nasty bits. The pleasures of the body is the only redeemable thing a god or creator gave us on this ransacked plateau of existence, and denying them leave you with absolutely nothing fun to do.

If anyone honestly critiques Islam, they are called an Islamophobe or a bigot. When Sam Harris cited a poll that said 78 percent of British Muslims said the Danish cartoonist should have been prosecuted, Ben Affleck squirms and calls him a racist. With the gays, we’re in a bit of a quandary of rhetoric: the Muslim community is predominately homophobic, but saying that makes us Islamophobic.

Jacques Lacan’s famous statement that a husband’s suspicion that his wife is cheating on him is pathological even if that suspicion is found correct. Before the attack, Omar Mateen walked into a gun store in Florida and tried to buy high-grade body armor and a large quantity of ammunition, and spoke Arabic while on the telephone, and the store owners deemed Mr. Mateen suspicious, consequently rejecting his business and immediately notifying the FBI. Is this pathological of the gun store owners? What if he was not a terrorist, but just an innocent brown man who liked to dress up in full body armor and shoot shit in the desert? Would the gun store owners’ suspicions then been deemed bigoted and racist? Probably. But their suspicions would have potentially saved 49 lives if the FBI did anything about it.

There are anti-Muslim gun stores across the United States, and one could well-argue that this kind of discrimination is proto-psychotic paranoia, that far more young white men carry out mass shootings across the country than Muslims do. Our own societal pathology and paranoia is reaching a critical breaking point. When a professor on an airplane was solving math problems with a pen and paper, and a woman, terrified that maybe the hypothetical cosine parabolas were the arcs of terrorist missile strikes, erupted in fear and the plane made an emergency landing and the man was escorted off the plane. Clearly this is pathological, clearly a symptom of our increasing fear of Islam. But what is there left to do? Because the political spectrum is so polarized in the United States today, if you criticize Islam especially, you are cast alongside the supporters of Trump and all his porcine patriots.

Following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, major television networks and newspapers refused to publish the cartoons of Muhammad, in fear that they would put them and their staff at risk of violent retaliation. This is precisely the problem. Our mockery of archaic belief in the stupid should popularize en masse. A fake respectfulness towards the belief that an illiterate businessman transcribed the final revelation of God, or that the Earth is 6,000 years old, is a suppression in itself, and allows violent dangerous belief to propagate and spread across the world. Every newspaper and television network should have projected the cartoons for the world to see.

Christopher Hitchens postured it best. In public debates with senior Rabbis, Bishops, Muslim intellectuals, he has repeated the challenge to them all: name a moral act or thought that you can have as a religious person that I can’t as a non-believer. There is nothing. Now, reverse it, and name a crime or sinister act that you can carry out only because of your belief. And you’ve already thought of one. And now another. And yet another.

Is Ryan Seacrest the Erection of God?

I think of my great swan with his crazy motions,

Ridiculous, sublime, like a man in exile,

Relentlessly gnawed by longing! and then of you.”

-Charles Baudelaire

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You wake up squinting under the blinding effluvium, the jasmine-scented hand lotions overwhelming your dream state, the ocean breeze of Malibu shoving its way into the white marble living room, the long alabaster silk curtains blowing in and gently caressing your glossy buttocks. The couch is, of course, made from endangered hippopotamus leather, dyed bright orange. A bowl of plastic peaches and bananas are arranged in stellifariously kinky positions. A six-foot portrait of pop radio host turned reality tv producer, Ryan Seacrest, looms above the fireplace, and Don’t Stop Believin’ is playin’ softly somewhere—in the surround sound perhaps. You look around, still half-awake, not entirely sure what all this is about. Then a meaty little Guatemalan maid dressed up as a Sugar Plum Fairy walks into the room, her huge feathered wings knocking over a vase of pearl-plated dildos, smashing them to the ground; she ignores the mess completely and greets you with a crystalline bowl of M&M’s, except instead of the colored chocolates they are a blazing assortment of muscle-relaxers, anti-depressants, opioids, and sleeping pills. She smiles, and then opens her lipless mouth. “A tribal offering from our leader, mister Ryan Seacrest himself,” she says. You take a handful and pop them into your mouth, and spend the next 30 minutes thoughtlessly scrolling through photos of your ex-girlfriends, when the maid returns. “Mister Ryan Seacrest will see you now. You must wear this when in his presence.” She hands you a pair of leather pants and suspenders, with the dozens of miniature faces of the entire cast of Keeping up with the Kardashians (a show Seacrest created and produces, as well as the spin-offs Khloe and Lamar, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and of course Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami) printed all over them, every one of Bruce’s face crossed out with a red marker and Caitlyn’s printed even larger next to it. You walk across the living room and push open the white marble door, and there is a roundtable of the entire cast. Caitlyn is sitting with her legs spread, her cryogenized shriveling raisin face barely held together with Elmer’s glue and Onabotulinumtoxin, her neck skin hanging loosely like a chicken’s gizzard. She drums the tips of her long red fingernails against the glass covering of the walnut table, staring at you blankly. Kim Kardashian has disappeared completely into her own ass; she is just one huge glistening ass sitting in the leather chair, an amorphous sphere, she is used more as a steatopygous scrying stone for Kanye and company to peer into. You look up at the wall, and Ryan Seacrest is a flickering hologram, a static two-dimensional image talking to everybody—yet nobody—about cooking utensils, then nail polish, then dead cats. Then he turns his gaze and stares directly at you, his eyes piercingly familiar. “I want to make a television series of you,” he booms over the loud speakers. “You will become a black woman who’s only desire is to be spanked by Donald Trump. We’ll call the show Margaret gets the Donald. You will be famous. You will be wretched and hideous, but you’ll be incredibly famous.” You turn and flex in the mirror, and you smile.

The question remains: Exactly who is Ryan Seacrest? Of course, he’s the radio and television personality, but who is he beyond the coruscating blush of personality? In Adorno’s Minima Moralia, he writes, “The self, its guiding idea and its a priori object, has always, under its scrutiny, been rendered at the same time non-existent.” The ego, the superego, and the id, are dressed in the womb and then shoved into the florescent screaming world, growing unwittingly into a child, then an adult, then a drooling automaton, all with varying degrees of morality, decency, and libidinal dandyism, until death finally sweeps us into the curdled pile of wet ash. But Ryan Seacrest is not actually human. He is perhaps something closer to Baudrillard’s “hyperreality of God,” a turgid simulation of a man, or beast, pretending to be a god. He is not even a thing, but rather a personality. He’s an abstract filament of the psyche itself that has manifested into a man on your television screen, asking movie stars what it’s like to be human. It’s obvious that Ryan Seacrest was the voice inside Nietzsche’s head, forcing him to toss himself onto the horse in Turin. He is the complete and final annihilation of the Self. Adorno continues “…that which posits itself as ‘I’ is indeed mere prejudice, an ideological hypostasization of the abstract centres of domination, criticism of which demands the removal of the ideology of ‘personality.’” But the ‘personality’ is the necessary lie that holds all the chaos and drama of our lives together. The award-winning actor, for example, is a chameleon of personality, beautifully blending into the charismas of crime lords and superheroes through his mastery of method-acting. But wild-eyed fans don’t want the man or woman behind the mask—they only want the personality. When Hunter S. Thompson was interviewed on his property in Colorado, he confessed he never knew if people wanted Hunter or the caricature of himself that he portrayed in his books—because they were drastically different persons, one a man of desires and despairs, the other strictly an ‘ideology of personality.’ This rationalization “confirms man’s non-being,” as Adorno later put it, for personality is everything, and it is itself fraudulent. This is why man can never be in love without a bit of mystery. We are drawn more by fantasy, more by the picture of a gorgeous woman or man that we say we would ‘love to know,’ when in fact we must never really know. Because once the facade fades, we are merely another hairless ape trying to dampen our private parts. The divorce of intimacy naturally ensues when the alpha and the cowboy and the ballerina are dragged out into the open, and the shattering despair of reality is all that’s left. We live for eternal desiring, eternal longing for beauty, for something that will make us ache for life. Slavoj Žižek said in A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, “there is nothing spontaneous, nothing natural, about human desires. Our desires are artificial. We have to be taught to desire […] Cinema is the ultimate pervert art—it doesn’t give you what you desire, it tells you how to desire.” It’s obvious that Ryan Seacrest studied Adorno and Žižek when constructing the psychoanalytic format for American Idol and Keeping up with the Kardashians—these shows gently stroke our incessant desire for personality more than anything else. The culture industry is a great machine of glistening asses, led only partially by Ryan Seacrest. If he wasn’t there, somebody else would be, tirelessly grinding away at the stone of desire. Soon there will be nothing left. Just an orgy of holograms, rubbing against the immense black emptiness all around, a white burning comet hurling by.

Tits on Rattlesnakes: Oedipus and the chase for checkered demonoids in Mexico

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by Guy Walker

As usual, it fell apart all too quickly. Stuck in Mexico, having spent the last of my money on a cowboy hat and a bottle of tequila wrapped in a cow’s hide and hoof, my best friend stabbed four times at the strip club, and now in the hospital. And here we are, off a dirt road somewhere, in an abandoned lot next to a birthday party, the waves crashing beyond the cliffs, the whole love-maddened spectacle not that far off anymore. This thin little veil, where the deranged landscape meets the ocean, is the best place on earth. It’s a marvelously somber and defiant strip of world, a place where we could all die laughing. Bring me here. Let the dogs take me. Let everything be a desert again. All that water smashing against the earth, the little pebbles rolling down again and again, and the tide swelling up once more, about to swallow everything.

I used to travel quite a bit when I was younger. But I got a serious case of staph infection on my penis when farming in Thailand, and almost had to have it cut off. And I nearly died sailing in a storm in Norway. So I’ve stayed put in Los Angeles for a couple years now, not getting staph, running along the auto-iterative treadmill of work and sleep and driving, drinking lattes, masturbating into socks, watching Youtube videos of bears attacking eagles, surfing at sunrise or sunset, and all the quotidian lethargy of making the time pass smoothly, that which we call ‘hobbies’. Hobbies are the vital and obvious condiments of our peasantry that make life tolerable. There are those who start families, which Adorno calls ‘the fatal germ-cell of society’; and although families still serve as a perfectly acceptable and effective way to help pass the many years we have left plodding around these parts, starting a family today, in the epoch of new-age fascism and fuckery, is no longer a physiological necessity, but more of a nostalgic pastime, like knitting and laughter. Baudrillard postured our postmodern condition as a fascination with neutral, indifferent forms. We are passionate about the luster of nihilism, the methodological realism of our day to day, everything slowly passing away into this beautiful ‘era of involuntary transparency.’ Everyone says humans are obsessed with fame, that our vainglorious motivations are trite and insecure, but the truth is we are all trying to vanish. Every minute of the day we’re yearning to disappear behind the high waves, lost in the fields, the journeywork of stars reaching from end to end, ablaze all around, lost in the bottle, in the smoke and glamour of toxicity, in Mexico, off a dirt road where only an old lady stares with her chickens.

The night before I left, the cops killed another kid, leaving him outside an after-hours Korean club, the stink of gun smoke and a late-night donut shop wafting down Hollywood Boulevard, and a Korean lady whimpering at her storefront. I rolled myself a cigarette and walked passed the neon karaoke bar, next to the burlesque bar, next to the store selling gold Byzantine costumes; two of the dancers from the burlesque place were hurrying along, wrapped in their furs, their long blonde legs fastened in eight inch heels, their cosmopolitan laughter echoing down the quiet side streets. A homeless man limped down the sidewalk, wrapped in a soiled baby blanket, texting on his iPhone. A dog with matted fur sniffed an escort magazine dispensary, then lifted one gaunt quivering leg and peed on it. I exhaled a huge cloud of smoke. It was going to rain tonight. You could already see it coming.

I got into my car and drove down to Monte Carlo’s. Only one other person there, Gregory, the old Hell’s Angel who’s always there, wearing his Santa Anita racehorse hat, hunched over his buffet of beer, whiskey, water, and a great pile of peanut shells. He slowly creaked his neck around to identify me, and barely nodded in his wasted saloon.

“The cowboy’s back!” he snarled at me. “Where the pretty lady?”

“I’ll have a whiskey on ice,” I asked to bartender, but she was cutting up some chicken on a blue china plate for her toddler, and didn’t hear me.

“I asked you a question cowboy!” Gregory was permanently hunched over the counter. He would die here, churlish and ugly. “There didn’t used to be so many goddamn white boys around here, especially you kids strolling in here in your cowboy boots. My family has a hundred years in these parts, did you know that? And they actually ranched, boy!”

“I don’t really care about your family’s ranching habits. You have a temper tantrum about what shoes somebody wears  .  .  .  A whiskey please,” I asked the bartender again, a little filipino lady who barely spoke any english. “Besides, I’ve worked on ranches, and my grandparents grew up here. And I don’t spend my last tragic days at the track, screaming at the horses, spit flying everywhere like a rabid animal. You’re drunk Greg. Don’t yell at me because your woman left you.”

“TITS ON RATTLESNAKES!! I’ll eat the porcupine faster than you, you goddamn kook!” his eyes popped out of his head, veins bulging from his short little determined neck. “Strolling in here in your hawaiian shirt like this, your hair like a jamboree faggot. I would snake you every fucking time in the water before you had time to stand up!”

His teeth were stained from years of grotesque occupation. His face was burned and tanned, layer upon layer, after so many endless years of cursing at his betted horse, sick with alcohol, like a longtime Vegas veteran who went to die in the sun. You always see the racehorse guys in bars alone, licking their edges of denial, icing their cursory failures again and again. The round little man just challenged me to a paltry surf contest, a hodad puffing for a duel, floundering in his glory days. “I’m leaving tomorrow. But I’ll gladly meet you in the water next week,” I responded.

“No I don’t think so pal! That’s not how this works. We don’t go meet there, we’ll just find each other there when we find each other there.”

I was done. I paid for my whiskey, pulled out a large bar of dark chocolate, and went over to the bar’s computer screen to play a brain game. You stare at two nearly identical pictures, side by side, of a naked porno man or woman, and try to find the five or six subtle differences before the timer runs out. It’s very fun. Maybe a strand of her hair curls differently. Maybe there’s a small palm tree in the background of the left one. Maybe his foreskin is uncut in the right one. I shoved some quarters into the jukebox and queued a bunch of Waylon Jennings just to stab Gregory a little deeper, and racked the billiard balls on the old mangled pool table, its faded light green cloth ripped at the ends, and a small marionette skeleton hanging on the wall. I chalked up and broke up the balls with a loud crack that shook Gregory’s head right up. It was beginning to rain outside, at first lightly, the utopian wash of headlights reflecting off the wet streets, the splash of tires driving through puddles, thousands of young single women rushing to their windowsills in their pajamas, holding a mug of steaming chai tea with both hands, pondering their existence, still hopeful that life can be like a Godard film. Maybe we all wish the same. The rain is our favorite spurious muse. I finished my whiskey and walked out of there, leaving the billiard balls all spread out, leaving Gregory crushing his peanut shells, and went for another walk. I popped my jacket collar, stuffed my hands in my pockets, and smoked a cigarette from the corner of my mouth, the way Clint Eastwood did in the spaghetti westerns.

The rain strengthened into a loud melanoid dramaturgy, momentarily ending our three years of drought, washing out the gutters and storm drains from all their built-up pigeon shit and oil and cigarette butts, torrents of filth headed for the oceans. A friend of a friend died a few years back surfing at Third Point, Malibu, with a cut in his foot after a big rain like this one. Los Angeles is a stink of perversity, a fetid vesicle with a $400 hat. I walked passed a storm drain and saw a live raccoon wash down the river, scrambling at the concrete walls, unable to cling on to anything. Women and men scurrying into their doorways like cockroaches. The perfumes of vice and revelry all washing away, the miasmic haze will blush blue-green in the morning. I came back to my car, and a leak was beginning through my sunroof, dripping on my blanket of rabbit furs that my dad sewed together as a boy scout. I headed home, roaring down the 101 in my old pearl-colored Mercedes-Benz at ninety miles an hour, the diesel chewing through the concrete night, the rain flooding the windshield faster than I could wipe it away, water now constantly streaming through my sunroof, Herbie Hancock as loud as he could go, barely making it over the engine. Another lone freeway vampire passed me, his bright red mustang rubbing his dick behind tinted windows. I kicked the gas as hard as I could, the whole car beginning to rattle, and realized I wasn’t going to die for the phantom racer, and so I cooled it off. I exited at De Soto, and someone’s blinding headlights came up behind me, and it’s a customary gesture to flip off the greasy offender behind you by raising your finger in front of your rearview mirror where they will certainly see. I stopped at the red light at the bottom of the offramp, and a rusty dented F-250 pulled up next to me, with his window down, another soiled degenerate who’s father left him as a child. “FUCK YOU CUNT!!” he screamed, wild-eyed, spitting on my car, his German Shepard barking and spitting violently halfway out the window. This city is so desperately mad. Locked and safely belted in our metal carriages, cursing at the world, hernias almost erupting, white saliva pooling in the corners of our mouths. I rolled down my passenger window. “EAT MY SHIT YOU FAGGOT!!!” I screamed back, certain that would get him. “Pull over, let’s work this out on the street!!” he yelled again. The whole despondent brutish noumena of our grunts and farts will break free one day. The Democritean flash of science will save us. Why are we so mad? Where are our tender women to ease the shattering despair? Let us just run in the canyons, drenched in the warm rain, drinking a gallon of wine, wrapped in a beautiful woman. I got out of my car right there, and walked around to the truck, but he skidded away, screaming a chorus of ‘fuck you’s’ behind him. I went home, drank a glass of water from the tap, watered my orchids, and went to sleep with my kitten curled under my neck, purring loudly against the rain.

Getting out of Los Angeles always feels like a miracle. It’s a last minute escape, running away from the coming election, from cops in body armor, from bad ecstasy, from fedoras, from the encroaching white race and their eight-million-page flipbook of airbrushed headshots. Getting out of the U.S. is even that much more remarkable. From the troglodytic buffoonery of guns and muffin tops and light beer. Or as Sarah Palin described the smooth-bottomed penetralia of good Americans when she endorsed Donald Trump in Iowa: the “right-wingin’ bitter-clingin’ proud-clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion  .  .  .  and our Constitution.”

I didn’t know what a bitter-clingin’ proud-clinger was, but she was grinning puckishly when she said it, shaking her fist at the same time, so it must have been good. At the event, she spoke ravenously about her God, eventually throwing both hands up in the air, and rolling her eyes back so just the whites could be seen, and began speaking in tongues, shaking violently. The crowd cheered. “I like poodles!!” one lady in a woolen turtleneck with the sleeves cut off screamed. “I ate my entire breakfast!” another man hollered, lifting up his shirt to show Trump his pink porcine belly. After Palin finished shaking, she waved and thanked the crowd normally, and Trump returned to the podium. “THANK YOUUUU IOWAIANS!! Cat emoji, lmfao, We Can Make America Great Again! Poop with smiley face emoji, laughing crying emoj. Mexicans are dirty, and so can you!” The crowd went nuts, seizuring and foaming at the mouth, some of the women fainting and then being dragged away into cold isolated cells, the blue florescent lights flickering absurdly.

I knew I had to get out for a while. Mexico was the fastest and easiest from here. For one, I wanted to verify if everybody was a rapist and a criminal there, as Trump had asserted before. For another, there is good surf and not too many people  .  .  .  maybe a stray dog sniffing around the tide pools, maybe a boy selling cheap tequila  .  .  .  but not the smutty glazed pungency of our cities. There’s a wild innocence to Mexico  .  .  .  yes, it has the cartel, and yes, it’s police will take your money, but at least it’s corruption is honest. The United States has bankers and weapons manufacturers who rob trillions from the American people, who steal old ladies’ retirement funds and blow up foreign hospitals so they can snort cocaine from a stripper’s asshole. They are somewhat rotten and prudish about it all, like wearing silk-lined leather opera gloves when they throw a dog shit at your chest. The Mexican cartels and police are at least upfront and reliable about their larceny. They don’t hide behind a veneer of exceptionalism. They don’t wave a flag when protesting at a bird sanctuary, asking their supporters to send them free snacks. They just put a gun to your head and ask you for your money.

I left my house in the morning. The scaturient air was bright and delicate, and the clouds were pushing themselves out of the way. From my patio, up in the hills, overlooking the sodden corpses of our buildings and neighborhoods, a hawk dropped from a tree, plummeting to the ground, to some unsuspecting rodent, his whiskers twitching in the cool morning air, the hawk eventually disappearing behind the next hill. The vines and flowers weighed down in the garden, morning robins bathing in the two bird baths we have next to spreading rosemary and poppies and marijuana plants. My landlord, Sal, a stout Falstaffian man who looks more like Danny DeVito, was already on the roof, drinking a beer while cleaning out the gutters, his little legs hanging over the edge.

“I’m gonna FUCK YOU UP, man!! Ha! ha! ha!” Sal laughed. “I’ll see you later. Hey WYATT! Take me with you! I don’t have a passport though  .  .  .  maybe you can just wrap me in a blanket and tie me to the roof.”

“Ha! ha! ha! I wish. I’ll see you in a week or so. You’re good to take care of Huckleberry? I left food in the closet!”

“Sure ma-an! We’re gonna miss you.” There are two other men who live there, both divorced, both alcoholics. But Sal gardens all day during his days home, stumbling out of his forest of vines and succulents, high on Vicodins and cocaine, his hands and polo shirt covered in wet earth. He’s one of the nicest men I’ve ever met.

I ran down to my car, strapped two boards on the roof, and soaked up as much water from the back seat with a towel, wringing it out on the street. There was a bottle and a half of whiskey left, half an ounce of mushrooms, and a vile of GHB Sal had given me earlier, and I was meeting Axel and Raul down in Baja, at a bungalow that Axel had rented for a week. He was a trust fund kid who was always smiling about something, who voted for Mitt Romney four years ago only because he liked the sound of his name, who could have been a world-class rock climber if he stuck with it. He had been down there for a couple days already.

I howled down the freeway, rolling down my passenger window as far as it would go, as it was the only window left that sort of worked, the cool coruscating air flooding the inside, a bath of religion and samphire pouring over everything. I stopped at San Onofre to surf alone once more. Surfers are like dogs who will chase a ball again and again, returning loyally to receive a few more seconds of their excitement. A squadron of pelicans flew by, edging just in front of a wave, the tips of their wings almost skimming the surface, completely poised. We can’t fly, so we surf. I pulled in, and everything was clean and handsome again.

……..

……..

I continued to Mexico, arriving late at night, meeting Axel and Raul at some strip club, the gross peeling linoleum wallpaper touching you as you walked by. I ate a handful of mushrooms in the bathroom, drank half the flask of whiskey, and went out and ordered a beer.

Cowboys, or old men with cowboy hats, crowded their corners against the walls, hunched over their glasses of tequila, occasionally looking up at the stripper on the stage as she humped the squalid air, or stuck her ass out, pointing it at all the drunken nodding men like her asshole was shooting an invisible laser. The good strippers do exactly that: the crease in their panties is some sort of hypnotic beam, some sort of vaguely nostalgic origin; like staring at the womb from which we came. We can’t turn away.

The other strippers strutted around the floor in their high heels, stopping at a man’s table every now and then, shoving the man’s knees between her legs, rubbing it against her pussy, trying to make a dollar for a feel. There wasn’t a bill on the stage, so I threw a dollar out of sympathy. The poor fat woman strutted awkwardly in her stilettos, her enormous tits weighing under all that gravity, those darkened nipples gnawed on by however many children she had waiting back at home. She couldn’t even lift herself onto the pole, couldn’t spin or twirl like the young scarlet dancers I occasionally visit on the Sunset strip—she just thrusted about, shoving her artless soporific pirouette around and around, all that neon light flashing against her sweat. Night after night she came here to fuck the air. Night after night she pressed her ass against the pole, rubbed her tits together in some sort of swollen massage of despair, hoping to feed her children, as men sat silently in their dark corners, their heads nodding softly as the night pushed on.

No one sat in front. Just one man, his head collapsed on the little round table, his hand still gripped to a bottle of tequila, completely gone. The somber Mexican melodies rolling softly on, the bartender filling another glass, the foam rolling over the rim, and she wiping off the nozzle with a sullied rag, rubbing it down more than necessary. The stripper laid on the ground, spread her legs, and began rolling around, from corner to corner like a human roller, the blot of period stain in the middle of her panties growing larger and larger. No one noticed it at first. The spot grew to the size of a quarter, then a pepperoni. She was on all fours, crawling around from one end to the other in the most degrading human frolic, the most starless display of adventure, the Freudian phenomenology of prurient jouissance and ecstasy and motherhood in one regaling lunge, like a wasted overgrown Eden, everything bright and poisonous. How did we get here? More than that, what are we still doing here? This depraved circus hoisted on a stage. And we are worse than the main act. We are the one’s who drove hundreds of miles to pay for this, as if there were some sort of exotic novelty to this. This is what it’s come to. “All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare. We are the momentary actors, entering and exiting at our fortuitous times, grasping for a bit of elegance, or even a moment of it, dancing in the spotlight. Here we are. Sitting on our stools, getting drunk and high and wasted, staring at strange women moving around in their grotesque fashion, waiting for the night to end. Getting drunker and madder the more we try to escape.

“Hey WYATT!!” Raul waved at me from the back corner. I stood up and walked over to him and Oscar, some other Argentinian who was much smaller of a man, who smiled and talked a lot, but all of it was unintelligible, because his voice had been curdled and destroyed by cigarettes and coal mining.

“I couldn’t find you, I been over there with Monica,” Raul said. “Put your hand out.” And he dusted out a clump of coke onto the back of my hand. But the mushrooms were really starting to kicking in, and the clump of white powder was a bright odorous poison, a neon white dog shit that my body wanted very little to do with. Raul himself was beginning to degrade into a body of dark smoke, with snarling wolverine-like teeth. His long curly ponytail was now a bundle of leather whips, bouncing and sliding from side to side, slithering off his shoulders and clawing at me inches from my face. Every bead of sweat on his face was a heaving dam about to burst, running down his cheek, breaking free the others below it.

“I don’t want it,” I grinned, unable to keep a serious face, but terrified as hell.

“Hurry up with it, we don’t have all fucking night.”

“No I’m serious. I just need a glass of soda water.”

“What the fuck are you mumbling about cowboy? You want, you don’t want. You fucking gringos are the strangest things.” He stuck a house key into his baggie and pulled out a sizable bump of the glowing uranium, and lifted it into his huge flaring nostrils. It was now shining bright enough for anyone in the club to see, and was probably reflecting off our faces like we were staring into a suitcase of florescent lightbulbs. The only way to ensure we wouldn’t be caught was to get rid of the awful stuff. I snorted it way back, as far as I could, and felt it shatter into the back of my brain—a cold stinging wet surge, the bottom half of my brain now a soaked sponge, slowly dripping down my throat.

“Agghh!! Christ almighty” Raul snarled, smiling with crazy-eyes, dusting out another bump onto the back of Oscar’s hand. Oscar grunted something incoherent, it looked like he was trying to make a joke, the corners of his mouth twitching like an animals; he was just a fiend of the arenaceous homeless frontier, another destitute who wandered the desert for fifty years, finally ending up here. All of us are the same. “Come back on Wednesday and we all go down to Crazy Girls,” Raul said, “There’re rock bands on a stage there, and the girls are always much friendlier and more generous. Better than this fat shit.” He was pointing at the woman still rolling around on the stage. There was a second of hesitation in his voice. I knew he was double-checking that what he saw was real. I looked up and by this point, she had turned into a huge amorphous bleeding thing, the visible scent of a wounded animal following her around the stage. Her entire vaginal area was soaked, and the psychedelic exceptionality of it was more terrifying than being a wounded rabbit yourself, being chased down the desert plain.

“O JESUS CHRIST!! YOU’RE FUCKING BLEEDING LADY!” Está sangrando!! Está sangrando!! Ha! ha! ha! ha!” Raul began cackling like a preying hyena. He was the godforsaken thing attacking her, gnawing at her heels, and he wasn’t going to let go until she quit, until he had her by the throat and she lay limp for him to feast on her. She looked down at herself, and with a shock of realizing her misfortune she scurried off the stage, pointlessly covering her parts with both hands, Raul booming with laughter every step of the way.

The stage just laid there abandoned, the soft Mexican love song rolling on, “recordar de qu color son los cerezos,” the stage left only with a huge baby-blue bra and a single dollar bill crumpled up. The other men barely noticed, everyone still hunched over their glasses, more and more of them turning into wild boars, orange heat flaring from their nostrils. I knew we had to get out of here before they all jolted up, kicking over the tables, smashing every last bottle behind the counter, and some gross orgy of bristling death would ensue. I could see Axel across the room, drinking a bottle of rum with a gangbanger with tattoos all over his face.

“Take the bottle!” Raul shoved the bottle of tequila into my chest. Pure distilled poison. You can intellectually discuss that tequila and cocaine are bad for you, but you don’t know its reality until you’re swimming in the depths of psychedelics, seeing the twisted stinking venoms flooding your bloodstream, the ornery héautontimorouménos soaking into your flesh from the inside out.

A stripper in a flashing red bra that was hoisting up her glossy silicone tits approached us. The scars above her bra line were white hot, with wrinkles visibly gripping her tighter as she walked closer. She smiled wide, and it was clear: this was the first definite vampire I’d ever seen, her fangs poking way out from the rest of her teeth. I carefully leaned my head down to hers, to check again, to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. “Are those real fangs?” I asked, reaching to touch them. But she stepped back and stared at me, obviously offended. She started yelling at me, something in Spanish. I didn’t mean to offend her, but they were definitely real, no doubt about it. You can re-check yourself, like when you think you might be in a dream, and so you look at certain details to confirm this is real. “I’m sorry,” I said, “You just have really nice teeth.” And I began laughing hysterically, unable to hold it in. I looked to Raul, but he didn’t seem to notice. He just looked at me with wide eyes, his prurient facial contortions getting worse, the Francis Bacon squirming advances too ugly to look at.

“I’m sorry mother, but I MUST confess my sins,” Raul said, shoving his face into her scarred ashen cleavage. She leaned her head back and began laughing, grabbing the back of his head and rubbing his face in deeper. This was obviously how she was planning to murder us, shoving our faces into her deep venus flytrap of tits, and then grab our neck and bite it.

“I’m gonna step out for a cigarette” I mumbled, and slowly backed away, then turning around and walking briskly for the door. And then all I heard was someone yell, and then a bottle smash. I turned around and Axel was on the floor, completely limp, blood all over his shirt.

[to be continued..]

Ashley Madison and the Pursuit of Happiness

by Guy Walker

paiting-picasso-sex

“I stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; gold chains from star to star, and I dance.” Arthur Rimbaud

I am in the middle of a luxuriant passionate love affair with a married woman. The love is more immediate and valiant than I’ve know before, a sort of semblant ecstasy of familiarity as we swim in the ocean at midnight, naked, laughing uncontrollably on mushrooms, and in our soberest hours we still smile involuntarily just from looking at each other. In a way, it brings a transitory peace to my regular fainéant cynicism, because love is just that: it’s the momentary reprieve from our furious blue minds, it’s a storm of huge dawns filling a dingy moor. But it’s restless and coarse: it’s the oasis in the enormous grim desert, you just hope that when you arrive, the bursting mad gardens are real and not a delusion driven by thirst. Loving a married woman is the spice of life, the forbidden dynamism that keeps us laughing.

At the same time, I know my role in this affair. Her husband is a wealthy clean-cut stockbroker on Wall Street, from a prideful pecunious family with a summer home on Cape Cod. He is stability and security; I drink warm champagne and overdose on GHB with my overweight landlord. I fit the role of her summer spent with a “surfer from California” who drives an old shitty Mercedes-Benz that sounds like a cement mixer. Is it novel to have no economic prospects? Is poverty avant-garde? It’s romantic from a distance, the way the Wild West is romantic only when it has been two-hundred years separated. It’s the reason we prefer the stories of the antihero and the whore to the clean upper-middle class family. Celine, Dostoyevsky, Thompson, Rimbaud, Steinbeck, Henry Miller, Bukowski—we love them because they were braver than we, because the flowering dawns of our youth were never enough, because the madness of emeralds and poison was seen and not forgotten. Those who live in the tame eidolons of domesticity, nudging vicariously for a bit of adventure and peril and storm by reading books of those who did are not all that different from those who carry on affairs with those they will never really have the guts to love. The world is cursed by timidness and phobias; there is too much politeness, not enough heartbreak. To be true, I wasn’t a man until I was heartbroken. No one is, nor ever can be without a bit of misery. But we keep drinking our cocktails, waiting in the dingy bars, yelling at the sport’s teams on the screen, privately wondering if any of this will be good again.

Last week, anonymous hackers published a mass of data containing the private information of 33 million people from around the world, all registered to the website Ashley Madison, which patrons to married people who want an affair. Tinder for the already married—an inevitable construct for those who fucked up by getting married in the first place, and need a solution. If the solution is a full-fledged affair, a single-night motel fuck, or even knowing that you have the option to do so—they are all a gasp of clean air in what seems like a prison. The data of private information released includes their names, email addresses, physical addresses, their personal sexual desires and fetishes, and their credit card purchases. Using the site, a man could pay $259 for an “affair guarantee package,” and women used the site for free  .  .  .  although most of the female profiles were fake. The fraudulent caliginous design of Ashley Madison is acutely perfect, because no one would publicly claim that they got ripped off. The hackers stated that their intent was to expose Ashley Madison as a fraudulent service, suggesting that the hackers may have been registered to the site previously, and were disgruntled with not getting laid. At least two men have already committed suicide due to the release of their information. And predictably, the guilt-shaming has begun with a sort of religious piety, a moralistic self-righteousness that says those who were exposed got what they deserved, that they shouldn’t have cheated in the first place. But it’s the repressive nature of marriage to push men and women to this point, to escape the long wasting ferment with a night of lust and laughter.

In Michel Foucault’s Histoire de la sexualité however, he petitions for us to abandon the “repressive hypothesis,” the notion that modern societies inhabit great sexual repression. He argues that since the 17th century, since the Counter-Reformation, or Catholic Revival, industrialized societies have developed an “authorized vocabulary” to articulate their sexuality, largely through the Roman Catholic Church, as its citizens would be encouraged to confess to their sinful desires and actions. Foucault thought the academic could liberate the sexes. But this reasoning is flawed. The dividing up of sexualities set the tone for repression and prohibition. Homosexuality and heterosexuality for example, were coined at the same time, in 1886, in Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s book Psychopathia Sexualis. This categorization was inevitable with the evolution of language, to specify and detail the world around and within us, but still, it’s enough to wonder if there was more of a sense of “normalcy” or unity with the various sexualities before they were parceled out into their little dark grotesque corners. Gluttony, laziness, nymphomania are all forms of enslavement to “the pleasure principle,” as Freud called it; but if the pleasure principle is repressed enough, the man or woman or entire society will develop neurosis, or an etiolated perversion of health and decency. For example, the two States who watch the most porn are Utah and Mississippi, two of the most religious States in the country. Alabama, another State with a strict religious reputation, had by far the most registered accounts to Ashley Madison. This is more than just accidental correlation. It’s more than accidental correlation that the Catholic Church implemented the most organized and pervasive child rape program in world history, while at the same time they advocate against the use of condoms. In some traditional Jewish practice, after the rabbi cuts off the end of the baby’s dick—as if that is not barbaric enough—he orally sucks off the blood from the baby dick in a sort of nightmarish welcome into this fucked up world; and it’s only now becoming controversial as cases of herpes on Jewish newborns have been rising in New York City. There is female genital mutilation in Somalia, Guinea, Egypt, Sierra Leone, and countless others, both under Muslim and Christian instruction. There is the Christian conservative’s systematic hatred of women, as they obstruct funding for women’s health care. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical Christian, even alluded to using the National Guard to shut down all Planned Parenthood’s across the country if (or when as he arrogantly puts it) he were to become President.

I want to love Foucault, because his intellect of rebellion lit a fire of magnificent curiosity, but as a historian of ideas, specifically in regard to sexuality and it’s liberation, he is incorrect. The world was far less shackled sexually prior to the 17th century. Ancient Egypt had the Festival of Drunkenness, a nationwide orgy to appease the warring goddess Sekhmet—everyone from the richest to the poorest were directly fucking for peace. Today’s equivalent would be in response to ISIS and Putin and domestic mass shootings, the United States devoted a month of orgies and drunkenness. Imagine if Islam was sexually liberated. This is a very serious, yet unexamined point. Sam Harris, Bill Maher and others argue that Islam is an inherently violent religion and should be held accountable, while Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and others contest that it’s America’s endless wars in the Middle East that generates terrorism itself. Both arguments are correct, but what is never mentioned is Islam’s repression of a little guiltless p in the v. ISIS doesn’t actually want a caliphate—they are blowing shit up and kidnapping women by the thousands because they are angry men in the desert who are not getting laid. Dionysus and his debonair theatre were given up for dust and storm and suicide bombs.

Similar to the Festival of Drunkenness, the ancient Celts had the Beltane, a festival for the fertility of the Earth, in which they would fuck in masses in the fields. The Estruscans were notorious swingers, the women were equal to men, sometimes exercising in the nude. Today, orgies are by no means less common than before, but there is a secretive nature to them, a sense of pagan idol worship or sinful desecration that the very moral public has attached to it. Infidelity is no different  .  .  .  it is one of those unavoidable and yet necessary ameliorations of the human condition, signatory of a grim defect of marriage itself. It is deemed by the morally self-righteous as a tasteless betrayal, an unforgivable liaison, the excuse for so much divorce and needless misery. It’s an excuse for divorce, not the actual reason for it, as so many married couples are unhappy, but don’t have the gall to leave the banal asylum of marriage, so they point to one’s natural interest in tasting other pies as vile and indefensible.

What the Ashley Madison hacks reveals is the insanity of marriage. Yet the public has adopted a ubiquitous moral self-righteousness, a puritanical judgment of the men and women who sought or had affairs. The anonymous hackers made the statement: “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion.” It’s what Glenn Greenwald has compared to the digital branding of the Scarlet Letter, branding all adulterers with an unforgivable red “A”. But marriage is vile complacency, denial in its most wretched form. It attempts to convert the strong alpha classes into timid sterile Victorians (even though Queen Victoria had a secret sex castle in Scotland). In most marriages, the last remaining drops of pure animal honesty is held only in their most private thoughts, as they wish to run away and disappear into the wild tall fields. As everyone knows, marriage began as a means of diplomacy, a form of treaty between the noble classes. In Marriage: A History, author Stephanie Coontz writes, “You establish peaceful relationships, trading relationships, mutual obligations with others by marrying them.” Marriage never has and never will be about love. Because love is a fleeting masterpiece that will never be tamed.

In Bosnia in 2007, a married couple who didn’t realize they were both in need of an affair, were chatting online, under the names “Sweetie” and “Prince of Joy,” only to realize this when they eventually met on a date. They consequently divorced, accusing each other of infidelity. This can be quickly laughed at as a nescient sordid reason for divorce, but the man and woman were clearly empathetic to each others’ private vulnerable honesties for a more buoyant intimacy. This is true of the masses. Huge legions of married couples want the love that maddens and thrills, the gallant endless thrusts of wisdom and youth. It is their own timidness that has paralyzed their freedom.

The rise in divorce rates have paralleled the rise in education with women. Education, in its ideal form, is power and independence and strength, and most of all, freedom. It ignites the mad theatre of life, the parade of opportunity, and it is reasonable to assume that a modern Enlightenment would be governed with secularism and sexual liberation as the new empyrean acheiropoietons of our era. Nietzsche warned against alcohol, exclaiming that it didn’t allow us to face the uncomfortable darkness that is called life. Marriage is much the same  .  .  .  it’s a dipsomanian fart of escape. Marriage may be a grand perfect affair for a few rare birds in the world, but the piggish unctuous masses are desperate and lonely, and may find their sad compliment in someone, and settle with desperate fetid humping for decades. But loneliness is a wise god, pushing us in our most private hours to think about stars and poetry and death. And I’ve never known a night I did not love.

Iggy Azalea and the Death of Freedom

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“The high pool is always steaming. What witch will rise up on the white sunset? What purple foliage will descend? …While public funds flow into fraternal holidays, a clock of pink fire strikes in the clouds.” Rimbaud

An ambrosial heaving sun made the four men sweat, standing and talking amongst themselves on the asphalt atop the Santa Monica stairs. The insignificant veins of shade cast from the many manicured palm trees did not provide any reprieve for the men, but they were strong men so they were tougher than the sun. Their shaven chests were immaculate, perfectly glistened with diamonds of sweat, their iPods velcroed around their biceps, their headphones draped around their necks like loosened neckties. Beside them, a young black guy wearing a headband was playing Iggy Azalea’s Pu$$y on his boom box as loud as it would go as he hopped around on work-out cones. “Pussy, pussy, pussy” Iggy repeated. One of the four men adjusted his cock, just a useless reposition, as if to make certain it was still there. Another uncrossed his arms and then crossed them again. The man wearing Adidas striped basketball shorts cleared his throat and then said “There’s no way they’re real. No fucking way, dude. She’s a tease anyways. I’d let her suck my cock, but that’s it bro.” “I guaranfuckintee they are,” the blonde crewcut one said, “and no, I’d definitely fuck her, I’d just maybe slap her as well.” They argued like this as various libidinal types ascended the stairs, usually moderately young men and women reaching the top of the stairs and then turning back again, returning to the bottom. Everyone repeated this awful hopeless routine like Botoxed automatons, walking up and down again and again until everything was clenched and taut, until their tiny unctuous assholes pulsed in and out with stair-walking fatigue. Hundreds of people here do this every day, pacing back and forth in a way, like a Smerdyakov character lost on a displaced treadmill, kicking the modish dust back towards a desert. A tragedy of adventure, a drunken childhood that never explored a cave. In front, lined $10 million homes, all pruned and maintained by Mexicans—that’s what the owners of the houses called all of them anyways—their lawnmowers and blowers trimming everything into tidy slavish lawns, neat rose bushes that waited like old ladies sitting with clotted lipstick and heavy jewelry, geraniums tired of beauty, a few remaining bees fading away. A chihuahua barked obsessively at a Mexican man digging in the soil around a freshly planted birds-of-paradise. A woman in a purple bathrobe and perfectly combed hair and grossly thin lips opened the stained-glass front door and stepped outside. “Jeremy! Jeremy! Get back in here you adorable little monster!” And the chihuahua turned and ran into the house, and then barked again at the Mexican as the woman closed the door.

The egodystonic fuckery of our banal modern existence did not just appear out of nowhere. The utter triteness of affluent America isn’t merely the temporary prima donnian resolve of an ill-fated Big Bang, nor is it an ontological mess of countless evolutionary fuckups  .  .  .  yes, the four men standing around proud of their sweat are in some ways the horrid face of billions of years of cosmological occurrence, of various colliding supernovae and pulsars, but still, there is more complexity here. There is a demon at work, a heautontimoroumenos of a trite undertaking. Iggy Azalea’s Pu$$y—presumably the dollar bill signs represent ’S’ in the English alphabet, as Iggy repeats ‘pussy’ over and over again—signifies something close to the culmination of universal Self-Torment. In the music video, Iggy licks a few different popsicles, holds an umbrella on a normal dry day, and lays her head in the crotch of a little black boy who was previously riding on a plastic electric horse as he slaps the inanimate object’s ass. The video itself is not anything new or especially provocative—merely a blonde Australian girl with a huge ass supposedly rapping about pussy. But it is difficult to determine exactly what Iggy Azalea is trying to communicate to us—is she in fact rapping about the condition of her pussy, or is she stating that men spend egregious amounts of money and thought on getting any pussy they can, or is she actually claiming that the nomological determinists were correct about Laplace’s Demon, that in fact we have no moral responsibility today because the laws of the universe previous to our birth determined everything that is and everything that ever will be? Let us examine:

It is rumored that if you play the song backwards at the same time you play the audio of Kim Kardashian’s moanings in her sex video, you can hear Kamikaze war planes exploding. I tried it when I was alone and particularly bored, and the rumors lack any serious evidence of such. But the banality of her music video, as well as Kim’s as she imitates a donkey, as well as countless other spectacles of our sexuality in popular culture, represents something of a higher order. Iggy’s song and video is interesting because it is so uninteresting. Perhaps we are desensitized to the mountains of cock and tits that swell over us, but perhaps it is more than this. Aldous Huxley, author of the dystopian classic Brave New World, made the claim that the rise of our sexual freedom coincides directly with our political enslavement: “As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator  .  .  .  will do well to encourage that freedom  .  .  .  It will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.” Now, the religious folk will predictably applaud such a claim; they still protest that we should not have threesomes, that we should wait until marriage before falling asleep in the same room, that we should wear full-legged knickers over our bathing suits, that women’s panties should be huge. As a child attending Sunday school, I once had a teacher who told me we should all be striving to be like Mother Mary, to give birth to a child without any fornication whatsoever. Here we are caught between two worlds: one that popularizes sex until it becomes an indistinct fustian hunchback of dick, and another that is so afraid of anatomy and pleasure. And even though marriage as a societal institution predates all known recorded history, its original role was obviously never meant as a declaration of love, but as a banal alliance between families  .  .  .  and monogamy wasn’t mandated until the 9th century, when the Catholic Church could declare and enforce law.

The Church has always fucked everything up for us sexually. Dildos for example existed in the Upper Palaeolithic period 30,000 years ago, made of stone, tar, and wood, found in the Hohle Fels Cave in Germany. Didlo-like breadsticks existed in Greece prior to the fifth century. Today, American Baptist preacher Dan Ireland has spoken out against all fake dicks, stating “There are moral ways and immoral ways to use a firearm  .  .  .  There are no moral ways to use [a dildo]. They entice improper and potentially deadly behavior.” It is an interesting argument he makes: guns are good, but dildos can kill people. In some ways he’s right. I know a firefighter very well who found an obese dead guy prone on the bed, with a mechanized dildo still penetrating his ass after at least a couple days of laying dead. I wish I was making this shit up. Dildos are deadly. But then so are Bibles and toothbrushes and catnip. So why is Dan Ireland so afraid of dildos? Was he beaten with one as a child? Did he walk in on his father? In 1998, the Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act prohibited the sale of sex toys in Alabama, and it still stands today. Dildos are only black market material in Alabama. Condoms are another example. They were used at least as far back as 11,000 years ago. In China, in the 1400’s A.D., they would wrap it in sheep intestines, and then pack it into their lover like a marshmallow into a keyhole. The Catholic Church has always been outspoken against the use of condoms, but they are great at covering up child molestation. Religion prospers during war and economic strife, but when exactly does it fade, consequently opening room for further sexual liberation? French philosopher Michel Foucault agreed with Huxley, in that furthering sexual liberation also ushered in “devious and discreet form[s] of power.” But one must remain skeptical of the intellectuals, because yes, Foucault and Huxley are considered by most as smart men, but Foucault was bald and Huxley had a terribly dull love life, and a man is still a man, no matter how strict and revered an academic he is, meaning they were both likely bitter non-alpha types. Wilhelm Reich on the other hand ushered in the sexual liberation to the United States immediately following the second World War, and he did so as a psychoanalyst, and he fucked more women than the most pernicious Lotharios today. So where are we today? Yes, Iggy Azalea does rap about her albino vagina freely, but rates of sex-slavery are also higher today than any point in human history, something not so representative of an era’s sexual freedom. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, illustrates this perfectly  .  .  .  he spent £11,300 on his wife’s hair and make-up in a single year, and she is still fat and repulsive. So we are left wondering: does force-fed improvement actually improve anything? Does the popularization of sex actually make us more liberated? Edward Snowden even admitted the NSA can see all of your dickpics, something terrifying for modern man.

I slept with a Hungarian woman last night. It was fine and all, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we were only fucking because there is drone warfare spread throughout the Middle East, killing innocents who will never receive their justice. Does our gasping from a particularly sordid 69 originate as a direct way of coping with the NSA’s Prism program? Is reverse cowgirl in fact a testament of the disparity of wealth across the country and the world? Aldous Huxley thinks so. So does Michel Foucault. I spend a fair amount of my time and money staring at women in their lingerie as they twirl around a metal pole at Jumbo’s Clown Room, a burlesque bar in Los Angeles, and the dancers’ coquettish physiognomy that follows. Some people prefer to walk up and down stairs in the sun. Some attend church, handing money into baskets as they go by. I sit as the dancers twirl, throwing my money on the stage, drinking beer as California dries up.

God is dead. Iggy Azalea is dead. We are nearly there. The Chihuahua barks one last time then curls next to the woman and closes its eyes. Iggy’s fat ass wasn’t enough to keep the awful night away. She never had the guts to stay alive. Ferdinand Louis Celine said it best: “So many vaginas, stomachs, cocks, snouts, and flies you don’t know what to do with them … shovelsfull! … but hearts? … very rare! in the last five hundred million years too many cocks and gastric tubes to count … but hearts? … on your fingers! …”

50 Shades of Grey and the Attack of the Throbbing Penis

by Guy Walker

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The sun finally rose just enough to push through the beige tellurian blinds, the first ray of morning light shining through the dusty soiled bedroom, shining on the huge heaving butt cheek of the fat woman sleeping. Her breasts weighing down the bed, the blue veins beating slowly and tired, like each heartbeat was a victory. A fan in the corner oscillating over and over, blowing the long draping fern, then moving towards the sleeping woman, blowing all her starless sordid hair like she were really resting under a coastal breeze. A kitten was still waiting by its empty bowl, as it had waited there for most of the night, just waiting for the fat woman to stir, then wake, then feed him, then he could finally eat. But she didn’t stir  .  .  .  she just groaned as all the little robins sung outside.

Lots of time had passed. The room was now full of steaming light, and the woman rolled over onto her back, naked, little heads of sweat pushing from their pores. She opened her eyes finally, her eyelids encrusted with all that grossly golden night, and she was staring up at a huge and absurd paper mache of a dragon hanging from the ceiling. It just hung there, completely lifeless, the blowing fan not even making it stir. Like it were some recoiled memory of life, just hanging there in the middle of the room. The woman shoved that whole body of hers onto her feet, picked up these old enormous panties, and slipped her legs into them one by one. And then those great breasts into a bra, trying to contain the impossible. She stood up and walked towards her desk, making the antique floorboards creak. She didn’t eat, didn’t wash her face, didn’t piss, and didn’t feed the little kitten. She just sat into the deep cracking leather chair, opened her laptop, and began writing instantly, her fingers burning furious, page after page written. Outside, the wet temporal English countryside buzzing and spreading, but the fat woman never once looked out the window  .  .  .  her words were just too magnificent. She can’t stop, she is so inspired. Words and love and scenic delirium devour her. Her heart beats with more nerve and adventure than she has felt from all the real wanton intrigue she’s had in the bedroom. She writes her next sentence: “Holy crap! He’s wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and tray flannel pants that hang from his hips.” She feels the poetry flood over her. It’s all too much. She’ll need a glass of water soon.

She is Erika James, EL James, and she is halfway through her life epic, 50 Shades of Grey. No one knows it yet, but Erika will excite and satisfy tens of millions of desirous desperate women seeking something far from their pallid arid landscape empty of any romance. In other words, Erika is going to sell books.

In its primitive and immature stage, it started as a Twilight fan fiction series named Master of the Universe, and her pen name was the extraordinary Snowqueen’s Icedragon. Unfortunate for us, He-Man, Prince of Eternia was cut from the original, and Master of the Universe was renamed to its current title, 50 Shades of Grey, a title of great enigma and enthusiasm. The book is nothing less than exceptional. Its prose is something that edges close to masterful, something that Tolstoy and Melville and Thoreau and Nietzsche and Joyce all writhe under envious graves that they did not come up with her words, or her bold original characters, or her complexly enraptured storyline: an average-looking young woman falls in love with a hot billionaire. And they have really hot sex together. In fact, our hero, Christian Grey, spanks the young woman, Ana. And she likes it. Then he whips her with a belt. Ana doesn’t like to be beaten that hard, so it doesn’t work out in the end. But in the midst of her libidinous appetite for abuse, we are graced with Erika’s natural talent for words, something that we as readers are forever in debt: “I pull him deeper into my mouth so I can feel him at the back of my throat and then to the front again. My tongue swirls around the end. He’s my very own Christian Grey-flavored popsicle. I suck harder and harder … Hmm … My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.” As an aspiring writer, I can’t focus on my own words anymore. I am completely aroused. My fully erect penis throbs for the next page. I read further and further, almost as fast as when Erika wrote the thing. This is as dangerous as Mozart’s Requiem. It’s something that has been sold to 90 million readers, in 52 languages, and read also by all the screaming shopping girlfriends who have borrowed the book from them. They’re all women of course. But the sorts of women who buy and read this shit come from all sorts of chivalrous conditions: single, divorced, widowed, married, prostitute, suicidal. All sorts. None of them have actually ever been in love, and none of them have ever even had reasonable sex, but they all read and dream and fantasize about being spanked on the ass. They like thinking about naughty stuff like penises but they would never dare to do anything about it. Quite seriously, women who join book clubs, and discuss over tea and biscuits the allure of being bitch-slapped is something akin to men watching hours of hazy porn as their eyes turn red under all that languid hopeless heat, their penises sweaty and tired and flaccid again. In other words, everyone is too coward to realize out their fantasies. Rather than having great sex with a great partner, the women who buy this kind of shit prefer to read a book in their sweatpants and drink green tea sweetened with three packets of Stevia as they text their girlfriends how much they hate their ex’s.

J.D Salinger may have forbidden any film adaptation of Catcher in the Rye, but E.L. James is smarter; she knows that her story is too important to keep from the masses of moviegoers, and so she sold the rights for $5 million. Hollywood makes great films about our most exigent ponderous heroes–American Sniper for example, about the smarmy brittle character of a man, casting his Châtiment de l’Orgueil across the deserted landscape by killing any brown male between the ages of 16 and 65. 50 Shades of Grey is opening on Valentines, which is just perfect timing if you and your date like watching sadomasochism but not actually taking part in it. You can watch a girl being tied up and beaten, and eat more popcorn while holding your girl’s hand. It’s something that hits right at the heart of a serious philosophic inquiry, something that Gilles Deleuze argued didn’t even exist as a real term. Sadomasochism is of course the combination of one’s desire to be bear pain through sexual acts, and another’s desire to inflict the pain. For Deleuze it’s something else. In his essay Coldness and Cruelty, Deleuze argues that the sadist actually attempts to destroy the ego in order to unify the id (the human’s basic instinctual forces) and the super-ego, while masochism alone is the desire that intensifies because of a delay of sexual gratification; its sexual frustration is ‘rewarded’ as ‘unwavering coldness.’ This is known as The Contract: the process of controlling another, and turning them into someone cold and cruel and callous. In other words, because a man is sexually insecure or unsatisfied, he will be more prone to tying up girls and whipping them in order to feel a little better about himself. This is something every sex-related serial killer has in common with Christian Grey—they all need to assert their dominance over their named inferiors. Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, for example, had an insatiable sexual appetite; he would charm women (mostly prostitutes) with a picture of his son, then he would have sex them, then he would strangle them—seventy-one of them in fact—and then he would dump their dead bodies in the river. Or David Berkowitz, Son of Sam, a New York serial killer in the late seventies who shot and killed several couples; whether they were kissing in their car, or having a picnic in the park, David didn’t enjoy seeing couples in love while he had nobody to share romantic company. The most exemplary failed masochist of all is Elliot Roger, the 22-year-old who couldn’t get laid so he decided to kill six people, targeting young women. Elliot Roger was Christian Grey’s imperial predecessor: wealthy, the son of a movie director, somewhat good looking, and sexually frustrated. In his last video before his killing rampage, he says, “I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. Within those years, I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because… I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.” Elliot was as much of a gentleman masochist as Christian Grey, the only problem was that he didn’t have anybody to turn cold and callous, so he just killed them instead. His masochism was so confidently intact as he waited outside a Dominos for hours and hours waiting for a girl to walk by and smile at him so they could start talking and eventually fuck in a glorious fashion. The only difference between Christian Grey and Elliot Roger is Christian actually fucked. In the masterpiece 50 Shades, Christian Grey loves a gentlemanly dominance as much as Elliot: “I don’t make love, I fuck…hard.” In other words, Christian is empty of any human empathy. He feels absolutely nothing except for his throbbing aching penis and his alpha carnality for dominance. He is basically a complete vacuous fuckwit. Again to Ana, he says, “I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living shit out of you.” According to Sigmund Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Christian Grey is probably just an incredibly guilty piece of shit who wasn’t breastfed enough. Freud argued that inflicting pain on another during sexual intercourse is “the most common and important of all perversions,” and that masochism is a form of sadism against the Self. Guilt, he continues, is very much a part of masochistic sexual tendencies, originating from an incorrect development of the child.

As much as people love discussing whether a pernicious chewing individual was born that way or the society they grew up in molded them that way—the old stupid debate about nature or nurture—it doesn’t really matter for Christian Grey. Christian was one lonely fantasy of one lonely woman. What is impressive is that 90 million women are desperate enough to go out and buy a book to quench their muted doloric utopias of being tied up and beaten by a hot rich guy. Master of the Universewas the perfect title. Its only problem is that its meaning is too straight forward. People love their subtleties.

Across the road from where Erika is writing her epic, there is a cherry blossom where a nest is shaking and the mother bird is peering down. Beyond that there is a garden, full of pretty flowers, still covered in morning dew. And beyond that there is another tall house. Inside, a fat man in a stained white wife-beater is sitting back in his sad porcine couch, his hand wrapped around his sweaty throbbing penis, tugging on it madly as the man on the television gets whipped and whipped again, naked, screaming for more. The fat man is almost there, he’s so close. His face contorts and freezes. Everything is silent for a second. Erika pauses for the first time in hours, thinking of her next word. She looks out the window. Outside, a group of pheasants erupt from the tall grasses. The fat man leans forward in the dim opaque room, coming all over his coffee table. Erika smiles, and then writes, “Why is anyone the way they are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese?”

 

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