Saturday, August 9, 2014
For a dude who made a career out of being the world's most famous heroin junkie, William S. Burroughs sure does seem to get a hell of a lot wrong in Junky: The Definitive Text of "Junk". For instance, he claims it takes a few months of serious, daily heroin use to become a full-blown junkie. That's just bullocks. Although it's true the nannies out there who try to tell you you'll be hopelessly addicted after your first fix are equally erroneous, the truth is actually far closer to the alarmists' stance than Old William Lee's. Best to just stay away from that shit.
One notable element of this particular version - there have been many over the years since the first, essentially disposable Ace paperback edition came out in 1953 - is the inclusion of a barely literate introduction by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, as well as a junkie's "hep lingo" lexicon at the back of the book. If you ever wanted to find out how a "lush roller" makes a living, then this appendix is the place to find out.
By the way, if you buy this book - or any book, as long as you access Amazon through this link - I will get a few pennies in my cup! Do it for yer old pal Jerky! Either that, or fucking donate, why don'tcha?! I've got three blogs on the go here, and only 60 dollars worth of ad revenue over the last three years to show for it!
Eric McCormack's The Paradise Motel.
"Postmodern" is a word that gets tossed around like... well, like stuff that gets tossed around a lot! See? Even that little "joke" of mine could be considered postmodern, or PoMo as its most fervent and hip adherents tend to call it. Filled with the kind of gruesome grotesques that literary critic and philosopher Julia Kristeva termed "the carnivalesque", Canadian author Eric McCormack's four-part
parade of nightmare imagery is episodic and disjointed.
And yet, there still remains a compelling and occasionally thrilling multi-layered narrative involving one man's quest to find out whether or not his grandfather's tall tales about the gruesome fate of the MacKenzie family, with whom old granddad had grown up back in rural Scotland, are true.
If you like your fiction steeped in violent, gruesome physicality, with a surrealistic twang that occasionally reminded this reader of Yann Martel's Life of Pi by way of the Russians (I'm warning you... it's grim!), then perhaps you might want to give The Paradise Motel a try. Don't let the non sequitur title throw you. This isn't a John Irving pastiche.
As with every book appearing on JERKY'S BOOKSHELF, if you decide to purchase it via Amazon, please go through MY LINKS. The few extra pennies a month this nets me goes a long way towards compelling me to continue producing this blog.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
According to this Huffington Post report, written in response to this Aspen Times article, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin "Fat Tony" Scalia has taken his campaign against "activist judges" by opening a talk to the Utah Bar Association with...
...a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble.Okay, so, Godwin's Law notwithstanding, I suspect I get the subtext of what Scalia was going for, here.
In a way, for Scalia, it's not about German's judicial history at all. I'm quite sure Scalia - who is more of a cultural critic than a judicial mind, anyway - knows very little about how the courts worked and what they did back then. What Scalia is really referring to is German culture in general in the pre-Third Reich period.
That period was known as the Weimar Republic, which lasted just about 14 years, between the end of the first world war and Hindenberg's assumption of dictatorial powers in 1930, which paved the way for the Third Reich.
One feature of the Weimar Republic was an extreme liberalism, including a very open attitude towards homosexuality and "decadent" Modernism in the arts.
It doesn't take a genius to read between Scalia's lines, here. There is no academic critique to be sussed from Scalia's intemperate words. He is simply comparing the USA to Weimar Germany for its growing acceptance of homosexuals and homosexuality in culture.
Oh, and the other, darker, equally "between the lines" notion that one can take from Scalia's comments is that there will be a Holocaust-like backlash coming soon, too, for American gays, just as there was for German gays and other groups who were Holocausted into oblivion in Germany back then.
Typical right-winger, praying for a Holocaust.
Who would have guessed that Julia Louis-Dreyfuss's all-American, sitcom-style approach to comedy acting - excellent and compelling though her talents certainly are - would mesh so well with the revolutionary approach to televised comedy developed by legendary BritCom writer/producer Armando Iannucci over the last couple decades? Compare and contrast, for instance, any random season of Seinfeld with, let's say, such deeply experimental shows as The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Time Trumpet, and you'd be hard-pressed to think of any way for these two extremely different approaches towards comedy to gel.
But then there's I'm Alan Partridge, featuring perhaps Iannucci's most successful character (co-created with fellow BritCom titan Steve Coogan). It's arguable that Partridge's brand of cringe comedy owes something to Seinfeld (by way of The Office), even if it takes things a great deal further. British censors are, after all, far less reactionary than their American counterparts. So yes, fans of Partridge might have had an inkling that a "comedy bridge" of sorts could one day be constructed in order to reach across the pond.
An Americanized take on Iannucci's BBC series The Thick of It and its 2009 spin-off film In The Loop, Veep is just such a bridge. And it is an unmitigated success. All three eight-episode seasons are excellent, equal parts funny, smart and - yes - even sexy. As American Vice President Selena Meyer, Louis-Dreyfuss is, if anything, better than she was in Seinfeld. And I really loved her in Seinfeld.
The supporting cast are also uniformly superb, with special kudos going to Tim Simons as the detestable White House flunky Jonah and Tony Hale as bag-toting Vice Presidential gopher Gary Walsh. Also, it's kind of awesome to see My Girl's Anna Chlumsky avoiding the child star curse and bouncing back with, arguably, the best role of her life so far.
If you're a fan of Seinfeld, you need to check out Veep ASAP. If you're a fan of the BritCom explosion that has led to some of the finest satire since the days of Johnathan Swift... ditto. Oh, and on a side note, if you're one of the many people who've been wondering and worrying about where the Hell Chris Morris went after directing 2010's incredible Islamic terrorism satire Four Lions, please note the fact that he's directed four episodes of Veep for his old pal Iannucci.