Gore Vidal and the Elixir of Victory

I discovered Gore Vidal (wikipedia) pretty late in life. For my first 25 years or so I always thought he was a Norwegian; seeing his name in print, I pronounced it Gåre Vidahl. So it’s a good thing one has friends (thanks, Stefan!) who can put the right books in your hands.

This book for me was Myra Breckinridge (wikipedia), which Vidal wrote in 1968, and which was turned into an infamous movie starring Mae West in 1970 (wikipedia).

The book is a jauntily written satire, but it’s also permeated by Vidal’s great wisdom. When I heard Vidal had died (yesterday), I walked into my reference library – a kind of Pantheon for the ancient homosexuals that I take inspiration from – and picked out my old copy of Myra Breckinridge. Read and admire:

Myron’s restless cruising of bars was the result of a desire to draw into himself, literally, that which men possess for quite another purpose. For him to be able to take from Woman her rightful pleasure – not to mention the race’s instrument of generation – became a means of exercising power over both sexes and, yes, even over life itself! That is why he was never drawn to homosexuals. In fact, once the man wished to penetrate him, Myron lost interest for then he himself would become the thing used, and so lose the power struggle. What excited him most was to find a heterosexual man down on his luck, preferably starving to death, and force him to commit an act repugnant to him but necessary if he was to be paid the money he needed for survival. At such moments, Myron confessed, he knew ecstacy: the forbidden was his! He had conquered Man, even though to the naïve observer it was Myron who seemed to be the one used. But he was almost always the user, and that was his glory.

What is it that I like in this? Oh, what’s there not to like! The description of an old-school homosexual true to his instincts, the clear understanding of his motives, and, not least, concepts taken to their extremes. If anything, that’s the feature that all my favourite authors have in common, from Socrates/Plato to Witold Gombrowicz. I hate half-measures. As you may know.

Ready for more?

The sailor who stands against a wall, looking down at the bobbing head of the gobbling queen, regards himself as master of the situation; yet it is the queen (does not that derisive epithet suggest primacy and dominion?) who has won the day, extracting from the flesh of the sailor his posterity, the one element in every man which is eternal and (a scientific fact) cellularly resembles not at all the rest of the body. So to the queen goes the ultimate elixir of victory, that which was not meant for him but for the sailor’s wife or girl or simply Woman.

One word: Homosexual Canon!

Let’s exhale (before we reach the climax) with a matter-of-factly yet over-the-top observation of ordinary men:

Of course most people successfully disguise their power drives, particularly from themselves. Yet the will to prevail is constant and unrelenting. Take that charming, seemingly unaggressive man who makes apparently idle jokes that cause others to laugh. In a sly way, he is exerting power quite as much as Hitler did: after all, his listeners were not laughing until he made them laugh. Thus it goes, at every level.

And now the climax. Where Hollywood agent Letitia van Allen tells Myra about her latest (and possibly last) sex with Rusty, which landed her in a hospital. In a way the logical acting out of the example with the sailor boy above. A sex scene so extreme that it can only be topped by Sebastian Venable:

“It was perfection!” She roared happily. “Total perfection! I have never in my life known such absolute and complete happiness. Such a … no, there are no words to describe what I went through. All I know is that I am now entirely fulfilled. I have lived and I have loved to the fullest! I can at last give up sex because anything more would be anticlimax.”

“Not to mention fatal.” I must say Letitia’s happiness depressed me mortally. “Just what did Rusty do to you this time?”

“What did he not do!” Her eyes became glazed with memory and gin. “It all happened the day he signed the contract at Fox. You know I got him the lead in that series with top money, special billing, participation, the works. Anyway, after the signing, we went back to Malibu to celebrate.” Her voice was dreamy. “It began upstairs when he tore my clothes off in the closet. Then he raped me standing up with a metal clothes hanger twisted around my neck, choking me. I could hardly breathe. It was exquisite! Then one thing led to another. Those small attentions a girl like me cherishes … a lighted cigarette stubbed out on my derriere, a complete beating with his great thick heavy leather belt, a series of ravenous bites up and down the inner thighs, drawing blood. All the usual fun things, except that this time he went beyond anything he had ever tried before. This time he dragged me to the head of the stairs and raped me from behind, all the while beating me with his boot. Then, just as I was about to reach the big O, shrieking with pleasure, he hurled me down the stairs, so that my orgasm and the final crash with the banister occurred simultaneously. I fainted with joy! Without a doubt, it was the completion of my life.”

The Wrong People by Robin Maugham

It’s very seldom that I read a book in just one day. When it happens, it’s the best praise a book can get. It happened today, and the book was The Wrong People by Robin Maugham (1916-1981). He wrote the book under the pen name David Griffin in 1967.

The Wrong People is set in Tangier at the time when the Moroccan city was an exile port for homosexuals, 1960s that is. A 35-year-old teacher on vacation becomes infatuated with a 14-year-old berber boy. But he’s as beguiled by the experience, wit and schemes of a 50-year-old Anglo-American resident, who convinces the teacher, by appealing to his passion, to go ahead with a sinister – and perfect – plan. A state-of-the-art thriller unfolds.

The suspense resides not only in the peculiar story, but also in the language, which reminded me of that in Sándor Márai’s masterpiece Embers.

Brilliant descriptions of the old queens of Tangier, habile and convincing character development – I was hooked! And very moved.

Five stars!

Especially recommended for my readers Erik and Niclas.

Praise for Entartete Shota

The praise for my recently published comic book Entartete Shota start coming in. Following this sweet post on Milkboys, a user in the milkboard wrote:

Fuck you Karl Andersson. Fuck you you white bourgeois scum for flogging cartoon child pornography to make a disturbing political statement. You idiots, the sexualisation of children isn’t good. The sexualisation of teen girls isn’t good, it’s fucking bad. IT’S BAD. Teen boys shouldn’t be sexualised. SHOTACON SEXUALISES TEEN BOYS, IT IS A BAD THING. IT IS BAD.

This almost brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

Entartete Shota aims to bring the best Japanese shotacon artists to the West in English translation. The first issue features a sweet sexual boy drama by Tsukumo Gou. Buy it here or – if in Sweden – at Adlibris.

Makode Linde Superstar!

I’m extremely proud of and impressed by my brilliant friend Makode, whose “genital mutilation cake” went viral over the last 24 hours and made the frontpages around the world:

BBC News: Swedish minister in ‘racist cake’ controversy

Mirror News: “A racist spectacle”: Swedish culture minister slammed for ‘black face’ cake

The Guardian: Swedish minister denies claims of racism over black woman cake stunt (with video)

New Statesman: The Swedish minister and the “racist cake”

Huffington Post: Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth Cake Controversy: Swedish Minister Of Culture Slammed For ‘Racist’ Cake (VIDEO)

San Francisco Chronicle: Swedish performance art against female circumcision in Africa has the whole world shocked

The whole scandal resulted in a bomb threat against the Modern Museum:

New York Daily News: Bomb threat at museum in Sweden caught in ‘racist cake’ scandal; Cake depicted naked African woman, featured actress in blackface

Washington Post: Modern art museum in Swedish capital evacuated after bomb threat

Fox News: Swedish museum evacuated after bomb threat

Makode himself gives some comments in Swedish media:

SvD: Konstnären: Jag ville förmänskliga tårtan

SVT: “Jag har använt mig av en nidbild av svarta”

Update: Watch Al-Jazeera’s interview with Makode!

Watch the hilarious video from the performance:

The secret to a happy relationship

In the movie Annie Hall from 1977, the frustrated main character Alvy (played by Woody Allen) walks down the street and asks strangers how they get their sex life and their relationships to work. The following exchange is just brilliant:

Alvy: You look like a really happy couple… Are you?

Woman: Yeah.

Alvy: So, how do you count for it?

Woman: Uhm… I’m very shallow and empty, and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.

Man: And I’m exactly the same way.

Whatever works!

My life has been devoid of culture lately, as I’ve been quadruple working and having visitors. So in my first free afternoon and evening in a long time, I first biked the Velothon route again, despite I knew it would rain, and then took a hot shower, made some tea and re-watched Whatever Works.

Whatever Works is my absolute favourite among Woody Allen movies, although I haven’t seen his early ones for a while. In recent years, the main character in his movies was always played by some young and famous actor who just couldn’t master the role that Allen so obviously wrote for himself. They just said the words without understanding them. I hated it. Putting Larry David, whom I’m a big fan of since watching all seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in Woody Allen’s role is just brilliant. He’s the only one so far who can pull it off!

Add a classic Woody Allen script that, as always, deals with existential questions in the ways of light comedy, and you get the ultimate feel-good movie.