The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Spotlight on … J.G. Ballard The Atrocity Exhibition (1970)

 

‘In 1966, New Worlds, a British science fiction magazine edited by the writer Michael Moorcock, published a “condensed novel” by JG Ballard titled “The Assassination Weapon”. Moorcock was, he remembers, “delighted” to receive Ballard’s copy. “It was exactly what I’d been looking for and I demanded more. He complained I was making his eyes bleed, turning them out. For me it was exemplary, a flag to wave for authors and readers.” Later that same year New Worlds published “The Atrocity Exhibition”, which would become the title story of Ballard’s most notorious book.

‘In 1970 the American publisher Doubleday agreed to print an edition of Ballard’s condensed novels under that title. Marc Haefele, a young Doubleday editor at the time, remembers that a few weeks before publication, the company president was touring a warehouse in Virginia when the book was drawn to his attention. On the spot, he gave the order to pulp the entire print run. A British edition went ahead, but it wasn’t until 1972 that an American edition was published, under the title Love and Napalm: Export USA.

‘Whatever the guardians of public morality found so hard to stomach about The Atrocity Exhibition, it was surely more than dirty words and lèse-majesté. The novel presents fragments or avatars of a traumatised man, variously named Travis, Travers, Traven, Talbot or Talbert, who is conducting some kind of spun-out scientific experiment, which also takes the form of a lecture or media spectacle. Traven is both a researcher and an experimental subject or patient in an institution where white-coated medical science has become contaminated by other things: pornography, celebrity, the imminence of violent disaster. He is observed by one Dr Nathan and has a highly fetishised sexual relationship with Karen Novotny or Catherine Austin or Coma, names for a blank, damaged woman who often seems to be constructed from fragments of female celebrities – Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe.

The Atrocity Exhibition visits terrible violence on these female celebrity bodies, in the form of plane and car crashes, nuclear fallout, disasters of all kinds. Ronald Reagan and the car-safety campaigner Ralph Nader get the same treatment. The book’s obscenity, the reason it still has the potential to shock, is a function of its objectivity. It is clinical when, for decency’s sake, it ought to feign emotion. It looks on our sacred treasures, our culture’s real sacred treasures – the imaginary bodies of famous people – and responds with all the violence and lust and revulsion that the healthy well-adjusted citizen suppresses. Decency is what separates rational economic actors, dutifully maximising their personal benefit, from the racaille, from scum. It is the source of order. Ballard’s fictional refusal of it was – and remains – a threat.

‘Each section of The Atrocity Exhibition is a flight over the same apocalyptic landscape, a landscape that is also the human body, observed with a clinician’s eye as it undergoes trauma, as it is anatomised, penetrated, cut and crushed and humiliated, scorched and fucked. This body-landscape is also an image of itself, a mass-media projection made up of Hollywood movies and pornography and news footage of the Vietnam war. Living in the shadow of disaster, Travers is an exemplary modern subject. The only difference between him and the average suburbanite is that he doesn’t disguise his abjection. He is a burnt-out case, a celebrity stalker, a kind of psychological crash‑test dummy with a detached professional interest in the brick wall that’s about to make contact with his skull. He may, of course, also be insane.

The Atrocity Exhibition is a melancholy book, fixated on something terrible that it can’t let go. Its landscape is both dead and accelerating, a windblown desert strewn with the wreckage of modernity that is at the same time a place of unbearable speed and intensity. In 1964 Ballard’s wife Mary died suddenly of pneumonia, leaving him to bring up their three children alone. In 2007, when he was already terminally ill, I interviewed him. “I was terribly wounded by my wife’s death,” he told me. “Leaving me with these very young children, I felt that a crime had been committed by nature against this young woman – and her children – and I was searching desperately for an explanation … To some extent The Atrocity Exhibition is an attempt to explain all the terrible violence that I saw around me in the early 60s. It wasn’t just the Kennedy assassination … I think I was trying to look for a kind of new logic that would explain all these events.”’ — A Useful Fiction

 

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Further

The Atrocity Exhibition @ goodreads
TAE @ A Useful Fiction
Rob Doyle on TAE
JG Ballard: five years on – a celebration
TAE @ Ballardian
TAE @ Conceptual Fiction
TAE @ mewsings
Piecing Together J. G. Ballard’s “The Atrocity Exhibition”
Disaffection and Abjection in J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition
Atrocity Exhibition Archive Paradoxe – Déambulations dans La Foire aux atrocités
LA DISSECTION DU MONDE CONTEMPORAIN CHEZ J.G. BALLARD
Anybody here read JG Ballard’s “The Atrocity Exhibition?”
Analysis and Interpretation of the Visualisation of Traumatic Experience in J.G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition
TAE @ Fantastic Fiction
Piecing Together J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition
J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition and Trauma Narrative
Acts of reconsideration: J.G. Ballard annotating and revising editions of The Atrocity Exhibition
La mort de l’affect dans The Atrocity Exhibition (1970)
Reading The Atrocity Exhibition: A History of Forms
Jarry, Joyce and the Apocalyptic Intertextuality of The Atrocity Exhibition
The Art of The Atrocity Exhibition
”Sex(ual identity) Is Dead: J.G. Ballard’s Post-Humanist Myths of the Near Future,”
J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition and Postmodern Dystopia
The death of JG Ballard considered as an atrocity exhibition

 

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Extras


The Atrocity Exhibition (JG Ballard and the Motorcar) [1970]


JG Ballard on science fiction, technology and the future


Harnessing Perversity: J.G. Ballard, David Cronenberg, and Crash

 

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JG Ballard’s Excerpt notes



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Interview

 

Do you prefer using a specific locale in your work? In The Crystal World, for instance, you set the scene in Central Africa.

I use the locales that seem suitable to the subject at hand. I’m drawn to certain kinds of landscape: deserts, jungles, deltas, certain kinds of urban landscape. I suppose I like very formalised landscapes, like great dunes or sand bars. I’m drawn to freeways, concrete flyovers, the metallised landscapes of giant airports.

As far as naming a particular place goes — well, take something like Atrocity Exhibition. It’s not really set anywhere. It probably is England, in fact, but it could equally be elsewhere. A lot of Americans think it’s the United States. It’s not specifically the U.S. but it could be. It’s really a landscape we see in our minds, which we carry around with us, which we might see as we dream.

Why did you start writing the so-called condensed novels?

I wanted to write directly about the present day, and the peculiar psychological climate that existed in the middle sixties, when I started writing them. I think the key to that book was Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, which I saw — and still do see — as the most important event of the whole of the nineteen-sixties. It seemed to me that to write about this, and about similar events that were taking place, like the suicide of Marilyn Monroe, and the emergence of political figures like Ronald Reagan, and the whole tremendous explosion of the mass media, the way politicians and advertising corporations were using them — well, it was to try to come to terms with all this. It seemed to me it was creating a landscape around us that was almost like a gigantic novel; we were living more and more inside a strange, enormous work of fiction.

Reality and fiction were crossing each other.

Yes, they’d begun to reverse — the only point of reality was our own minds. It seemed to me that the only way to write about all this was to meet the landscape on its own terms. Useless to try to impose the conventions of the 19th-century realistic novel on this incredible five-dimensional fiction moving around us all the time at high speed. And I tried to develop — and I think successfully — a technique of mine, the so-called condensed novels, where I was able to cross all these events, at right angles if you like. Like cutting through the stem of a plant to expose the cross section of its main vessels. So this technique was devised to deal with this fragmentation and overlay of reality, through the fragmentation of narrative. Although the plot lines are very strong in those stories.

And they’re all variants. Each of the main stories in that collection describe the same man in the same state of mental crisis, but they treat him, as it were, at different points along a spectrum — as you might compile a scientific dossier about someone, explore various aspects of his make up. On the one hand a story like ‘The Summer Cannibals’, where a man and a woman have turned up at a kind of super-heated resort. This is a completely naturalistic account of two people on the level of their sweat glands. In fact they don’t have names, because their names are not important. Right through to the other extreme, where the character is seen as a kind of cosmic hero, a second coming of Christ, in ‘You And Me And The Continuum’. The same character appears in a whole series of different roles. Any of us could be fragmented in the same way, we are all to some extent.

Atrocity wasn’t liked very much by critics.

It had very bad reviews over here, on the whole. But in Europe, oddly enough, the response was completely different. Denmark, Germany, Holland — it had a terrific reception, absolutely stupendous, What impressed me about the reviews was not that they were flattering, but that they grasped straight away what the book was about. Most of the English reviewers seemed to resent not just the technique, the style in which the book was written, but also the subject matter, that I should want to talk about such things.

In America the entire Doubleday edition was destroyed, on the orders of an executive, for similar reasons. The book has just been published in America under a different title [Love and Napalm: Export USA], by Grove Press. As far as response to the stories on the US SF scene goes, you’ve got to bear in mind that there I was seen as the originator of the so called New Wave — terrible phrase — and I was absolutely loathed by most of the American SF establishment. The old guard — Isaac Asimov and company — would almost go red in the face with anger. But that particular storm, New Wave vs. Old Wave, has died down; it was just a sort of last spasm of the old guard, I think,

The Atrocity Exhibition was published in 1970 — could you say anything about what you’ve done since?

Well, my last novel I finished three weeks ago. I’d rather not give the story away as it won’t be published here for a year [presumably Concrete Island; SS]. But a previous novel, entitled Crash, will be published in June by Cape. I spent about two years writing that. As the title implies it’s about the motor car, and its whole role in our lives. It’s a cautionary tale in a sense, how I see the future. Sex times technology equals the future. In the novel I take the motor car as most clearly representing technology in our lives.

Taking off from ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’?

In a sense it’s a follow on, but it’s written in completely conventional narrative. I felt that was the best technique to use.

So you still feel it’s OK to me conventional structures?

I think one has to adjust the style to the subject matter. People have accused me of being an experimental writer, but I’ve written 90 short stories and 6 novels, of which 80 short stories and 6 novels are completely conventional, in technique and form. I think the subject matter comes first; the style and technique serve the subject matter; and I still think there’s a place for conventional narrative. It’s the idea that needs to be needled. My real criticism of most of the fiction written today is that the content is so banal, so second rate, so imitative of itself. It’s a fiction based on fiction, other people’s fiction, rather than based on experience and ordinary life.

 

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Book

J. G. Ballard The Atrocity Exhibition
Grove Press

‘First published in 1970 and widely regarded as a prophetic masterpiece, this is a groundbreaking experimental novel by the acclaimed author of ‘Crash’ and ‘Super-Cannes’, who has supplied explanatory notes for this new edition. The irrational, all-pervading violence of the modern world is the subject of this extraordinary tour de force. The central character’s dreams are haunted by images of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, dead astronauts and car-crash victims as he traverses the screaming wastes of nervous breakdown. Seeking his sanity, he casts himself in a number of roles: H-bomber pilot, presidential assassin, crash victim, pscyhopath. Finally, through the black, perverse magic of violence he transcends his psychic turmoils to find the key to a bizarre new sexuality.’ — Flamingo

Excerpt

 

 

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p.s. Hey. If anyone out there would like to hear Diarmuid Hester talk about my work and me on the Bad Gays podcast, you can do that here. ** Dominick, D-ster!!!! Yay!!! Everyone, It’s a great day among days because the new, eighth issue of Dominik’s key lit/art zine SCAB is now available to peruse, absorb, scour, and more. The new issue has tons of amazing stuff in it including pieces by DC’s familiars Josiah Morgan and Golnoosh Nour. Set aside most of your brain cells and click this ASAP. I saw the announcement yesterday, as you know, and I’m going through and loving the issue to death. You rule, maestro. Great work! I think there’s a Zoom meeting about the fundraising in the next day or so, so I’ll know better then. That duo you chose would make very fine Cooper characters indeed! Hm … I think my first assignment for them is to, first, become the embodiment of love in two parts, then to silkscreen SCAB onto every article of their clothing and make signs advertising SCAB to carry around with them everywhere and print out piles of SCAB #8 and set off into the wide world with orders to employ their yumminess in service of that great cause, G. ** Misanthrope, The escort posts do seem too becoming more and more comedic. Whereas the slave posts seem to be becoming more and more horrifying. I wonder why. Going on ‘Rise of the Resistance’ is one of my biggest dreams right now. Sigh. Being parents to overgrown children is good for your soul maybe? ** David Ehrenstein, One hopes, yes. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff! Yeah, a pretty good batch, I thought so too. So happy to hear the darkness is abating, man. And that you’re into the novel, which is, obviously, the best news. Sure, Skyping sounds great. I’m around, by default. Let me know when is good. I read that Tobias Carroll interview a while back. Nice convo. He’s cool. Everyone, Jeff Jackson is interviewed about the connection between his novel ‘Destroy All Monsters’ and band Julian Calendar by the fine-minded Tobias Carroll at Vol 1 Brooklyn here, and it’s a goodie. Yes, I did a Robert Kramer post. Let’s see … Here I don’t think I’ve seen ‘Guns’, no. I’m due a visit to the Re:Voir shop and I’ll look for it. Will do on the Milford Graves doc too. RIP to that great one. Great to see you, bud! ** Nathaniel Kochan, Hi, Nathaniel, welcome. Thanks about my stuff. At my first quick peek, those videos look amazing, I must say. Thank you! I’ll go check out the lot of them later. And go see your show at Le musée du Fumeur if at all possible (I’m a bit bottled up with a film shoot this week, but I think I can swing by). Funny, my friend and collaborator Zac Farley lives practically across the street from that place, and I’ve walked by it a billion times and never entered. Thanks! I’ll do that. Take care. ** Steve Erickson, Best of luck quelling the deal with your super, obviously. We don’t in fact have a strict lockdown here. Closed restaurants/cafes/museums and a 6 pm curfew is what we have. The govt. is trying to do everything possible not to lock Paris down again because the economic disaster and public outcry that would ensue, but it is looking more than a bit grim. I know the name Emmanuel Mouret, but I don’t think I’ve seen his films. Huh. Your description of that one film isn’t a huge magnet towards it, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled. ** Mark Gluth, Hi, Mark. I totally understand your thinking or deliberative lack off thinking about your process. As much as I graph things out for my work, I still feel pretty confused when I’m actually writing it. I guess it’s like wanting the safety of a conceptual path in which to lose myself or something. It’s funny, the US has seemed like such a total disaster over here about the pandemic, and yet at the moment everyone here is envying the speed of your recovery. The French authorities have really fucked up the vaccine roll out. It’s very surprising. I hope we’ll be in the hopeful phase over here, god, soon. ** Brian, Totally tip-top, tremendous Tuesday, Brian. ‘Playtime’ is a sublime masterpiece if there ever was such a thing. I know I’ve seen Yang’s ‘That Day, on the beach’. Maybe another one, I can’t remember. He seems like a good director to take a dive into. Thanks! My yesterday wasn’t one for the books either. Today my collaborators and I will be at the Pinault Foundation trying to firm up our ‘home haunt’ event with them, meaning trying together them to agree to pay for it. That’s today’s crux. I hope your Tuesday finds and rewards you. ** Thomas Moronic, Mr. T! I know that feeling when you find out someone whose work you admire likes your work. It’s really just the ultimate feeling ever, no? Well, if our govt. is to be believed, ha ha, you might just get to pop over here and gorge on espressos with moi by April or so. Hey, you never know. Love, me. ** Right. I decided to spotlight my favorite JG Ballard book today, and that’s what I’ve done. See you tomorrow.

10 Comments

  1. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I have a lot of friends who are Ballard fans and The Atrocity Exhibition is their favorite. I’ve only read two by him, Crash and Running Wild. I liked the latter better. I know, heresy, right?

    Would like to read The Atrocity Exhibition, though. It looks good.

    I’m reading Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island. He’s a funny dude. Sometimes outright, very often subtly.

    Yeah, Kayla said the Star Wars rides were awesome. “It’s like you’re in the movie!” Hahaha. I told her that we’ll someday take a trip and do Disney World and Universal in the same week, which is the way to go, I think.

    Eh, maybe it is good for the soul. We’ll see, hahaha.

    With these blood thinners, it’s very important that you take them at the same times every day. Two a day. My mom’s sleep is so fucked that I have to wake her up at least once a day to take one of them. She gets pissed. “It’s not fair!” “Well, it won’t be fair when you’re in the hospital, lady.” Shit, I think it was easier getting David up for school. 😀

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Oh how I love J.G. Ballard! Theterm forhis work is “speculative fiction”– which is to say well beyond “Science fiction.” Incidentally today is Davd Cronenberg’s birthday and his finest film to date is “Crash” — a superb adaptation of one of Ballard’s greatest novels.
    “Here he is talking about it with Viggo

    It’s Victor Grber’s Birthday

  3. Bzzt

    Heyo DC, Quinn here, how’s it going? I’ve been meaning to write you, I can’t recall when I was here last. Long time no chat. Really enjoying the post today, I’m somewhat familiar with JB Ballard. I read Crash a long time ago for a college class and I don’t think I was ready for it, I enjoyed his prose though and have been meaning to give Ballard another try. Are you fond of him?
    I’ve been fairly busy lately although not so much busy with writing or reading. Work has been a handful lately, we just moved to a new office and there’s been swirling chaos everywhere. I work the front desk so I can’t hide from the chaos and I’ve been getting super agitated from the noise and the people passing by. Plus my commute has been a disaster, sometimes it’s an hour in one direction. I feel like I’m always running late. I think I’m going to move to the LES soon or just somewhere closer to Manhattan. It makes me feel really stupid sometimes that I can’t just “do” certain things, like show up to work on time, wake up when my alarm goes off, do my admin work correctly, etc. I dunno. I also feel stupid about my writing lately even though I know I shouldn’t. Working on my short story and I’m trying to break it down and outline it into a three-act story structure, and I went and spent a great deal of time revising the first act, but it’s only like 3000 words or something. It makes me feel shitty because it seems like so many people can just sit down and bang out 6000 words without fussing over it as much as I do. At some point I’m gonna have to accept myself and embrace the reality that I’m a slow worker, both in my writing and just in life in general. I guess it’s part of being slightly Aspergery and ADD, and you have to find strength from your quirks or whatever. But yeah, it feels like the value system held up by society is that you should produce a ton of work and you should produce it super quickly and anyone who can’t do that is stupid and lazy. Maybe I’m projecting a lot of my own insecurities onto society, I’m sure there are tons of successful artists and writers who work as slowly as I do. Maybe that would be a fun podcast idea if I ever wanted to do a podcast, it would be illuminating for folks to talk about their insecurities about their processes.
    Turns out I’m not gonna go do an MFA this time around, got rejected. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve been feeling insecure. I guess most people in New York feel like MFA fiction is pretty bland, and I tend to agree actually, but it’s a sensitive spot for me, feeling as though there is a standard of “normalcy” and I just can’t fit into that box. I’m not even trying to make a deliberate break or deviation, I just am not resonating with certain audiences I guess. When I was growing up teachers used to pick on me a lot, which I suppose looking back you should be horrified that a teacher would bully a student. And it wasn’t even issuing consequences or enforcing discipline, I remember I used to get picked on for stuttering and things like that. Maybe it’s actually best to not study in an MFA environment then, but yeah I guess I’m feeling similar emotions and projecting similar fears onto academics or whatever, feeling like they resent me for being an oddball. The positive thing is that I seem to be forming a network of people in New York, actually the nice news is that I’m making friends at Artforum and Bookforum and can send my pitches there now, which I’m really excited for. I love both of those mags, I remember the first AF pieces I read were from your Smothered in Hugs collection. I would honestly probably be far happier among those crowds and would improve more as a writer among them rather than at an MFA program. But still, it’s just tricky, figuring yourself out and whatnot. I have always had this strange conviction that my life would get better as the years progressed. I don’t know where it came from but I must say, it’s true that my life just will just get better and better, even if I’m facing some hardships and whatnot. I know you’ve said some similar things about always having an earnest faith in the process of making art. It does get one through the tough spots, don’t you think?
    I got a chance to see the new cover for I WISHED, I was really moved by it, I thought it was terrific. Are you happy with it? I’ve never heard of Kier Cooke Sandvik, I followed him on Instagram and went through some of his work and am instantly a superfan. I wonder if I could write about his work for AF? Do you think that’s a good idea? His work reminds me of Jack Pierson and Vincent Fecteau, although Sandvik’s might be more aggressive and overtly sexual, which I find rather attractive….I dunno. But anyway thanks for turning me onto him. Is he a local of the blog?
    Sorry for the long winding comment but I’m glad to be back, what’s up with your summer plans? How’s the grant writing going? Wishing you a nice sunny spring, catch you later DC.

  4. Dominik

    Hi!!

    Ah, Dennis, thank you so much! For the shoutouts here and on Facebook and even more for the kind words! I’m really glad you like the issue; I think it’s my favorite so far (though I seem to say this every time a new one comes out, haha)!

    I hope all will work out well with the fundraising! I keep my fingers tightly crossed!

    Well, honestly, there’s not one thing I even remotely dislike about this love. In fact, I couldn’t wish anything better for SCAB. Thank you! Love only getting aroused by boys whose head looks like a chihuahua’s, Od.

  5. Steve Erickson

    I listened to the Bad Gays/Diarmuid Hester podcast. I don’t think I really understood the “Against Nature”/Douglas Crimp beef, and I couldn’t find anything more than vague allusions to it online. He thought all gay art needed to address AIDS directly, with an obvious Larry Kramer-style message?

    I had to stand in line for more than an hour to get my vaccination, but it’s in my arm now. I’ve experienced a little discomfort since then, but (knock on wood) not the full-on pain my father and some friends have suffered through. I’m actually relieved to see that the U.S. has been able to get more than 8 million vaccinations done in the past three days. The city administered the site I went to today, and although there was a lot of paperwork and red tape involved, it was very well organized.

    Dare anyone follow in Ballard’s footsteps and write a book with the chapter “Why I Want to Fuck Donald Trump?”

  6. Jack Skelley

    Dennis – the Cronenberg clips remind that long ago I went with someone on a first-date movie and it was… “Dead Ringers”!! That was a mistake. (Or was it?) Love all Cronenberg shit but re-recommend the later “A History of Violence” for its out-of-character restraint… which might have made it even more disturbing. Off now to click some links. See you in the Fun Zone!

  7. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – Thoroughly enjoyed this post on ‘The Atrocity Exhibition.’ It’s such an astonishing book. This reminds me that I need to make my way back to his short stories, so many of which are fantastic.

    Curious what you thought of Ballard’s comment that ‘one has to adjust the style to the subject matter’?

    Thanks for the link to the Robert Kramer day. His work seems ripe for major rediscovery. Maybe Re:Voir will do more of it. Apparently the ‘Guns’ dvd includes several rare experimental shorts he did. Let me know what you think if you check out.

    I just saw the new cover you shared for ‘I Wished.’ It’s very cool and has significant curb appeal, though of course I also loved Michael’s artwork. Was it changed because of marketing?

    Appreciate the kind words about the Toby Carroll interview. I’ll email you about finding a time to Skype in the coming week or so.

  8. John Newton

    Dennis, Thanks for writing/blogging about J.G. Ballard I read all of his works while I was a university student. I miss having access to university and college libraries and being able to borrow lots of books, films, and music.

    I am sorry you have nightmares. Are you stressed or anxious? I have had insomnia since age 5 does Melatonin help with it? I took some before and it made me take a short nap with lucid dreams so I stopped taking it.

    I am glad you are able to get your old blog posts even if it is time consuming.

    Thank you for the link to the podcast. My local library bought a copy of Diarmuid Hester’s book about you and your work, so I am reading it and I really enjoy it.

    I loved the short stories, and comic/grahic novel about Horror hospital. It reminded me of being in highschool going to punk shows and how a friend had a punk band that we promoted with a zine.

    I enjoy the escort/slave ads. The slave ads remind me of men and women I have met who are submissives/slaves. The escort ads are getting more hilarious!

    Passiv-Twink could just go to the Fickstutenmarkt event. What do you think about the Truvada/prep? I refuse to ever take it as people I know who are HIV+ said like all HIV meds it has not so good short and long term side effects, and safer sex works.

    Do you ever read French novels? I know they are very dated and old but I enjoyed savage nights by Cyril Collard, to the friend that did not save my life, all of Genet’s novels, and in my room written by the French judge or magistrate Guillaume Dustan.

    Have a wonderful rest of your week.
    John

  9. Brian

    A wonderful Wednesday to you, Dennis.

    I have been meaning to read “The Atrocity Exhibition”—and Ballard in general, especially “Crash” (of course I’d also like to see the movie)—for ages now. I have one friend who’s really big on him and is constantly telling me I’d love him, so he’s been on the radar for a while. So far I’ve only read “Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan”, collected in this book (I think), which was amazing and weird and wonderful. The excerpts shared here are equally tantalizing. So I have to read it. Thank you for the inadvertent reminder. Sorry your yesterday wasn’t anything special. Today wasn’t exceptional for me either, outside of my dad getting the vaccine (yay) and a confirmation from the vet that my dog needs surgery (nooo). Mixed bag. Most of it was taken up trying to ploughing through this paper I have to write on “Opening Night”, which is proving to be a drag. I know what I have to say and that I can do it, but the inkwell is dry; the words aren’t just coming easily. I think I’m experiencing real academic burnout lately. I’ll have to deal with it. That was it. Hoping tomorrow will be better because yay, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. My father’s Irish and me and my brother are dual citizens, so that’s a mini-event for us. We’ll celebrate in whatever meager way we can. That’s the plan. How was your Tuesday? Did you succeed in winning the favor (and cash) of the Pinault Foundation? Anything else spring up? Or just another day in the grind? I hope it sparkled in some way. Talk to you tomorrow.

  10. Allan Kausch

    RE: (Above) “Dare anyone follow in Ballard’s footsteps and write a book with the chapter “Why I Want to Fuck Donald Trump?”
    Try Moorcock’s novel from 2018: Pegging the President.
    And Dennis, Mike would make a great subject for one of these tributes!
    I met JGB twice. Asked him if he’d read Celine.

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