Last week ago I read and reviewed some satirical filth from Morbid Books, Sex With Theresa May And Other Fantasies. Author (and publisher) Lewis Parker took umbrage with my disapproval of his violence and sent an email justifying – in his opinion – the choices he made. What follows is the closest this blog has ever come to a text interview. Please note I have cut all the pleasantries that sat before and after these comments in all emails to make our exchange much more taut than it actually was.
[U]nlike the immaculate work under review, I found your analysis of SWTM to be hasty, repetitive and poorly researched. Nowhere, for instance, do you mention SURREALISM – even the direct reference to Breton didn’t ring a bell? If I were to justify this undoubtedly obscene material, I’d invoke the surrealist doctrine: the imagination is not (and should not) be confined to what is socially or morally acceptable. I want to lead people on a rebellion of the imagination. Let’s stop pretending liberal lefties don’t have dark and twisted repressed thoughts lingering inside their heads. Look at all the barely repressed malice from the left on FB, trolls threatening MPs with rape and death – this is the psychic reality.
And if they exist in thought they should exist in art – that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
I of course did no research, though would counter – as counter I must – that surrealism doesn’t have the import or contemporary resonance (particularly not to my [small] audience) of contemporary gender politics, which is something I have researched. It’s not my role – as blogger (nb not reviewer) – to justify content that I, and I believe many readers, would find problematic. For me, the text itself didn’t always justify its own violence, and given the ferocity of that violence I feel it’s unreasonable to expect a reader to apply almost 100 year old ideology to counter their disapproval at reading an educated white man “do satire” that involves sexually humiliating middle-aged women. And I’d completely disagree with your assertion that the evocation of all/any thought is the purpose of art, but that’s a much bigger conversation. For me, art is linked to emotion, not thought, which is the method I apply to my blog posts – they are how a book has made me feel, not necessarily what a book is. Hence repetitions. Everything on my blog will ALWAYS be hasty, it’s splurging, not essaying.
I’m prepared to agree to disagree.
Btw I think the Bataille quote also cements SWTM in the surrealist tradition. And she’s not a woman, she’s a lizard!
Anyway Supervert liked it if thats any help. I’ll use him in my (nonexistent) marketing materials!
Ps I hardly ever feel emotion when reading or writing, apart from bitterness or anger or apart from when it’s Sylvia Plath.
Well, there you go! Do you think Lewis Parker has justified his book? Or do you think I was right to – my head full of emotion – criticise his violence? Please comment below or on the social medias with your thoughts!