Ugly Man

March 20, 2011

I actually got kind of bored halfway through the third book of this series- it’s not in front of me so I’m just pretending it’s titled Angus Thongs etc- because it’s been years since I read the first couple and also there was a part where somebody touched Georgia’s boob without asking and I was like ‘okay, that’s not a big deal who cares EXCEPT I’m mostly reading this to get away from nonconsensual sexuality but there it is ANYWAY just for ONE SECOND could I read something where that isn’t what it’s about?’ So I read Dennis Cooper’s Ugly Man, which is mostly about dazed gay teenage boys fucking, killing and dismembering each other, over and over and over, sometimes with the help of older men.

I don’t know why that seemed less messed up than a fourteen year old boy brushing a fourteen-year-old girl’s boob, maybe accidentally, and actually there were times in this book that I actually felt like ‘ugh, I wish I weren’t reading this,’ the strange thing about which might be that I’ve never had that reaction to Dennis Cooper before. I mean, this is all he writes about, it’s variations on a theme of “dazed teenage boys fuck and dismember each other.” One I don’t know why that never gets old and two I don’t know why it’s never seems really fucked up but three I think it might have something to do with the fact that when it’s all men/male people doing it to each other the sexist aspect to it is removed- or even maybe inverted, like turned in on itself, so it’s actually the gazer (or whatev) gazing into more of a mirror than at a subject being objectified, y’know? Like, what happens to the oppressiveness of the male gaze when there are no women around? It’s a worthwhile question that I don’t have any answer/solutions about, but I’ve been thinking about it. Like maybe that’s why I feel not-guilty about participating in/being an accomplice to Dennis Cooper’s ongoing obsession with this stuff. Y’know?

This also marked the first time that one of those Harper Collins PS sections at the end of a book wasn’t infuriating for me, too. Like the DVD extra bonus making of featurette analogue, y’know? The part where they’re like “what’s your favorite translation of A Season in Hell, Dennis?” and he’s like “hands down, it is Peschel’s,” and then I go to the Strand to see if they have that translation but they don’t. Also apparently there was an actual double murder/dismembering of a couple gay teenage boys that happened near the author’s house when he was younger and that’s what’s led to him obsessing about that scenario forever? Like it is a psychological pockmark instead of a punk rock affectation? Except the punk rock affectation is saying it out loud so much.

I was just reading my old blog two nights ago and it was actually pretty good. I should blog more. I just moved this blog- Keep Your Bridges Burning- from blogger to wordpress- because blogger felt kind of like babytown, mostly because I’ve had a bunch of old blogs there and they were all baby ideas (“Why don’t I do a news blog!”). Maybe I will stick with this one here.

Oh in case I haven’t told you this before Dennis Cooper and Kathy Acker are pretty much my favorite favorites.

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One Response to “Ugly Man”


  1. […] on Avenue B, then walked back to the Strand and got the Dennis Cooper book I talked about in my last post and a tiny square book of Nan Goldin’s photographs by Guido Costa, boringly titled Nan […]


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