Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lunar Park By: Bret Easton Ellis

A few days ago I finally completed my reading of Bret Easton Ellis' latest novel Lunar Park. Having read a couple of his earlier novels, Less Than Zero and American Psycho, I was already a bit of a fan of work and I went into my reading of this one with certain expectations:

1.) This book would portray the lifestyles of the upper-class in a rather negative light.

2.) There would be a lot of drug use on the part of the characters.

3.) Sex scenes would be very graphic and almost hard to read.

And you know what?

I think that with Lunar Park, Bret Easton Ellis took those expectations that I had of his work and turned them on their heads. What he has done has been to take some of the conventions that he subscribes to and craft a rather supernatural thriller of a book.

What I love most is how he has taken himself, Bret Easton Ellis, the novelist, and placed himself as the protagonist of the story, a man who is trying to build a life with what is, by and large, a surrogate family. Married to a movie star, an actual live-in father to two children, he is working on establishing a domestic lifestyle after years of reckless indulgence and controversy. It is that controversy, though, that seems to manifest itself in apparitions that begin to creep up around Bret's life as the novel progresses. I won't go into great detail as to what manifests itself so as to not spoil the surprises should you decide to give this book a read yourself, but above all else it should be noted that Ellis takes his undeniable writing style and applies it in a way that I haven't seen him apply it before. It's refreshing to read. He does new things with his old tricks. For example, mixing the elements of his real life with a fictitious world blurs that barrier between what I know is real and isn't real until I can suspend my disbelief easily, alarmingly so. He seems to reveal a lot about himself insofar as the specifics of his life and just throws in the supernatural bits and you can't help but question sometimes, Is any of this real? If so, how much?

If there is one downside to the book it's that once the climax hits and Ellis begins the denouement begins I found myself still left with a lot of questions. A few of them never really get resolved. I have to admit, though, that because this is a book that is about the supernatural it's not necessary for Ellis to explain precisely what happens or why it happens. As a reader I'm experience the story through his eyes and, in all likelihood, he knows about as much about the why's and how's of the supernatural happenings around him as I do. It makes for a book that is genuinely creepy to read at some points.

I'm not sure how I would rank Lunar Park against the other Bret Easton Ellis books I've read and I'm not sure if it would even be fair of me to do so. It's still a book that I found to be very enjoyable to read and I would highly recommend to anybody who's in the mood for a good book.

Also, the last couple of pages are some of Ellis' best writing. There is one monster of a paragraph that is written in such a way that it could easily be taken out of its context and read as, say, a prose, poem. Actually, as I was reading that monster I stopped about three sentences in and decided to go back and start reading it over again, this time out loud as I would a poem. It was almost worth the price of admission alone, for me anyway.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Bottom Ten, December 2005

10.)The FTC- Wow! It's so great to live in a world where the FTC has finally taken credit for their "effective" stemming of the shit-tide that is spam. "Effective" to the FTC means 62% more spam in the last year alone. Does anybody ever actually check the results before they declare themselves victorious anymore. This reeks of GWB landing on the aircraft carrier and making that speech in front of the Mission Accomplished banner regarding the success in Iraq. I bet the FTC even had that same banner flown in for their press conference.

9.)The Canadian Supreme Court- The Supreme Court of Canada is currently mulling over the legality of swingers' clubs. What's a swingers' club, you ask? Well, it's a club where a bunch of adults go to participate in group sex acts or swap partners or do whatever else their kinky minds can think of. Newflash Canada: consenting adults fucking is legal. Consenting adults fucking in groups? Still legal! Okay, I can see the problem lying in the fact with what constitutes public indecency, but I really don't think the kind of people who go to swingers' clubs are the kind of people who think anything is indecent. So why the fuck not let them go about their business of fucking? Don't you have something more vital to do than stick your gavels where they don't belong?

8.) "People Are Still Having Sex" by: La Tour- I fucking hate it when I'm talking about something that pisses me off and a shitty one-hit-wonder from the 90's gets stuck in my head. Damn you La Tour! Damn you!

7.) Wal-Mart Sex Toys- I'll take words that don't belong together for $500, Alex. Answer: This greedy multinational with it's tentacles squeezing the life out of the world is entering the sex toy market. What is Wal-Mart? That's right. Cock rings and 13 inch wall-mounted dildos are coming to a Wal-Mart near you. It's funny that here in Canada we can't even make up our minds about whether or not groups of consenting adults can fuck legally, but you can bet your fucking ass we'll try to market anal lubricants and fleshlights to the Wal-Mart clientele. Welcome to topsy-turvy world, population: us. It's sad that the big boxes are now going to force the mom-and-pop "neck massager" stores out of business and, in turn, make fucking suddenly less cool. Discount anal beads, anyone?

6.) Flamboyant Celebrity Bachelor Parties- Bachelor parties by definition are supposed to scuzzy, sleazy affairs that usually end with multiple arrests and mysterious cases of "the herpes." I don't know what the fuck Elton John did, but that sure as shit wasn't a bachelor party.

5.) Prudes- "Oh my god! I can't believe how morally reprehensible I find it that your newspaper would run a story about a snow penis. I found the photo of the snowy phallus to be the most offensive thing I have ever seen! For shame!" I know what you mean, people. After reading the article about the snow sculpture of a penis and the controversy it created I felt compelled to go out and start raping people because that's what images of snow sculptures of penises do to my highly impressionable mind. Don't worry, I fought that snowy urge by dousing my eyes with gasoline and setting them on fire so those filthy thoughts could no longer be induced by that pornographic imagery. I especially love the letter that states, "May God damn this newspaper for running the photo of the snow penis." My first thought was, Yep, I'm sure God has nothing more important to do in this world right now than smite some newspaper for its story on a freakin' snow sculpture.

4.) Home Town Pride- Arnold Schwarzeneggar severed his ties with his home town in Austria after a number of officials from his town criticized the Terminator for his execution of Stanley Tookie Williams. You'd think that a man of Arnold's physical prowess would be a little less of a bitch when somebody back home makes a disparaging comment about him.

3.) Too Many Hyperlinks- I fucking hate websites that throw hyperlink after hyperlink at you with "witty" banter as some sort of segue between said hyperlinks. It reeks of effort.

2.) Fertilizer- Okay, I don't hate fertilizer just the fucking irresponsible abusive asshole parents who would make their four-year-old daughter drink the stuff down. People like this should be sterilized so they never raise children again. They have no fucking clue as to what it is they are doing and they are lowering the standards by which humanity conducts itself. No fucking excuse for this fucking behavior whatsoever.

1.) Santa Claus- At what age can you start to tell your children about the myth of Santa Claus and the rampant commercialization of the holiday season? It would all seem much easier to give your child the gift of cynicism than to track down a Ferby. Plus the jolly old elf never got me Hungry, Hungry Hippos and I never forgave him.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Classic Michael Appleby

Last week I performed "Vitriol" as a means of wrapping up the latest reading series by The Raving Poets. Here is the poem for those of you who aren't familiar with it. I will be back to my regular posting habits shortly. The past few days have been rather hectic and my sleeping patterns have been all over the map.

Fuck your tyrants, your pyros, the church spire steeples, the holier-than-thou hard dick like a cross indoctrinating peoples.
Fuck your five speed, pneumatic, microchipped, long-range dildonic devices, your intercontinental ballistic rectal rooter arms race strap-on motives.
Fuck your car, your hair, your icy blue-eyed stare, your mom if she cares, your planet if you dare.
Fuck your telescopic knee brace, broken down poker face homoerotic histrionics, Parliament Hill synonymy with ninja stealth boob job.
Fuck your phony cities of glass licking my ass, acerbic acroters applying the rim jobs on eternity, poke you in the eye with phallic imagery.
Fuck your credit card limit statements stuffing the mailboxes; the mailman’s arm pumping with pornstar precision.
Fuck your need for more speed, more tits, bigger dicks.
Fuck your procreation if the end result is just like you.
Fuck your recyclable telekinetic wishes, your dreams of unaided flight, your ideals of a bubblegum pop princess balloon.
Fuck your celebrity idolatry anal sex banter, your J.Lo hourglass hugging Brady Bunch trousers.
Fuck your statues of people, your history dizzy disease.
Fuck your alternative systems of homeopathy, your psychotic, homeostatic, armed to the braced teeth, low carb Atkins drink of doom.
Fuck your domestic origami, orgasms of renovate-ativity, your desires for dementia, schizophrenic duvet covers sheltering inability.
Fuck your forty-dollar two-piece birthday suit, your navel gazing, placenta-wet perfectly sculpted body.
Fuck your sex if it isn’t made kinky.
Fuck your commemorative plates, your dinner of battery heated gopher road kill du jour.
Fuck your matriarchal maitre d’, dressed to the sevens, Seven-11, dressed to the nines. 1 billion people starving. The other five smearing their genitals with peanut butter for dogs’ licking.
Fuck your fake love of fake arts, your pompous Pompadour pomander, pomegranate seed sperm, proliferate that shit sperm, hit-you-on-the-chin sperm.
Fuck your modification mortifications, your custom flame job on a penile implant, unhinged meat tube slapping you in the face.
Fuck your circus-time clowns, your wartime crowds, your mushroom clouds.
Fuck your family network of lies.
Fuck your Double-You Bush, your tree, your need to be green, your hip to the scene, your lists of currently has-been.
Fuck your executive privilege, balanced precariously on a high ledge, suicidal fuck fist raised to the heavens.
Fuck the feeling of being the last rebel.
Fuck the hopelessness against the empire.
Fuck George Lucas for making me think this could be Star Wars.
Fuck your lines of Pepsi, your love of being alert, your need to document it all, your diesel powered whisk stirred memento vat.
Fuck your word if your word is “YES!” when I’m asking you if you’re loving it wearing that Ronald McDonald vest.
Fuck your sleepless nights of cookie cutter x-ray scans.
Fuck your dreamless days of Richard Hamilton tans.
Fuck your institutionalized intentions intent on interns. All I do is cry.
Fuck your Windsor Pilates Tae-Bo.
Fuck your fuckee no more.