“Schwarzenegger Imagery?”

I used to get some of my more off-beat book recommendations from my high-school best friend, Maya.  She never failed to suggest some book that I would have never otherwise found, such as Mark Leyner’s The Tetherballs of Bougainville.  Mark Leyner, a writer for both Esquire and MTV, has a very unique, post-modern style that had me cackling within the first few lines.  (Wiki article on Mark Leyner)

I have been jumping back and forth between 3 differents books at the moment: Big, Bad Love by Larry Brown, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn.  In the fight to keep my eyes open after late rehearsals, Robbins is faring best, but his books are so damn clever that I feel like I’m missing things in my commando reading sessions.  So, suffering from exhuation and literary ADD, I looked to see if Leyner has written anything recently.  Something light and completely frivolous.  Turns out he’s been blogging with a doctor: The Body Odd Blog- Article on Aphrodisiacs (Scroll down for Leyner’s portion.)

But in my search, I find this article about his writing:  Schwarzenegger Imagery in Mark Leyner’s Et Tu, Babe   And it’s priceless. 

Here’s my favorite part:

Because Schwarzenegger is dressed entirely in leather, Goldberg suggests that he represents the “Leatherman”, sado-masochistic subculture which fetishises pain, breaking the boundaries between pleasure and pain. For Goldberg, the leathermen recognise that the phallus is only powerful when concealed. They seek to reclaim or re-eroticise power relations: to expose the phallus: “As the relentless refusal of heterosexual imperatives, [the Terminator] embodies, – or bears the image of – displaying machismo with a difference” (189). Leather sex is not about orgasm and closure, but rather “about boundaries and their transgressions” (190).

Huh?  This is so awesome I can hardly stand it.  It’s a thesis to make any MFA-monkey jealous.

Intrigued by this ‘erudite’ analysis of Leyner, I also noticed this from the Wiki article on his book My Cousin, the Gastroenterologist:

David Foster Wallace uses this novel as an example of how empty self-referential and post-modern literature can be in his essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction”, originally published in the Summer 1993 issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction.

Who is this David Foster Wallace character anyways?  Humorless, I tell you.  I think Leyner is hilarious.  Who cares if his writing is self-referential, empty, and overflowing with pop-culture ephemera- it’s entertaining.  Like ‘Laguna Beach.’  I must be revealing my own low-brow taste, since Leyner’s writing might appeal to the same audience.  Those that can read, that is.  God forbid. 

And I quote Leyner on his thoughts of artifical insemination: “Being a writer, the idea of being paid to masturbate does not seem odd in the least.”

That goes for you, too, Herr Wallace und Herr Wise. 


~ by ladamesansregrets on June 12, 2008.

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