Thursday, June 02, 2005

Arnold: 2, Girlie Men: 0.

Yes, that's pop cultural critic/novelist Gary Indiana. And, yes, he's wearing a feather boa. It's the author's photo used in his latest work, Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt. (Subtext: "Eat it, Terminator. I'm a girlie-man and I'm'a fuck you up.")
What sounded like a promising deconstruction of the intersection of politics and celebrity/film is, um, actually kinda crappy according to Marc Cooper in the LA Weekly. It seems that Mr. Indiana isn't so much interested in really digging into what happened in that 2003 election* and really exploring how pop culture shaped the outcome. No, he's content to offer up the same, tired bullshit about how dumb California voters are, how easily elections are bought and how the press manipulates us.
Cooper isn't having any of it:
There are much simpler explanations for what has transpired in California. An electorate thoroughly disgusted by the corrupt politics of both parties found itself slightly amused and guardedly optimistic that a wild card like Arnold could use his celebrity to make things a little better in a state that had seemed to lose its way. The voters elected him, gave him a one-year probation period, and when he began to fail, they started turning against him and now threaten his political future. Seems like good collective common sense to me. And in the meantime, no one was sent to Dachau.


* I haven't actually read any of Indiana's book, but I have picked it up and skimmed it in a store. The first "Houston, we have a problem" moment: the book jacket states that the recall election happened in 2002. Oops.


At 11:29 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Gary Indiana amuses me more than any other pomo homo. I mean, take his totally accurate, yet hilarious, take on Salo: "Salò tries to explain fascism as this physical expression of the will to power, and to lure the viewer into complicity by showing a lot of stunningly gorgeous, naked teenagers. So we become accomplices to this horror by virtue of our own desire to keep looking, to keep cruising these adorable kids."

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best part of that book jacket is that it's a crotch shot.

i mean really, after that you just do not need to flip it over.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger gary indiana said...

Let me correct some impressions left by other bloggers. I am not wearing a feather boa in the jacket photograph. I am wearing the full-length faux fur made famous by Louise Bourgeois in her portrait by Robert Mapplethorpe, which Louise gave me after the photo was taken: "I think you should wear this now." The photographer and I also intended a parody of the old Blackglama ads, for the fun of it. Marc Cooper's article implies that I "dropped in" to Los Angeles and consulted him to "pick his brains" about a trial I was covering. I was a full-time resident of Los Angeles at the time. Cooper's editor suggested that a meeting with him might be helpful. It wasn't. Cooper was imperious, almost megalomaniacal in his suggestion that he was, uniquely, the only person qualified to comment on ANYTHING that happened in California. He made it obvious that regarded me as an interloper and a neophyte, which, considering the discrepancies in both our educational backgrounds and our professional ranges--and, as far as I know, the amount of actual time we have been residents of California, in my case 30 years-- is a piece of presumption even beyond his usual flatulent presumption of authority in all matters political. Yes, I live in New York half the year. Perhaps that gives me a wider perspective on what happens in California than that of someone who thinks he owns the state and hasn't had a decent bowel movement in all the time he's resided there. Cooper further claims that our meeting was cordial. It wasn't. He's a liar. He even claims he picked up our lunch check. He didn't, I did. As far as I'm concerned, Marc Cooper represents the worst of the self-righteous, ignorant "left," incapable of systemic analysis of anything and deeply resentful of anyone who is. He takes great umbrace at my identification of him as "semi-educated." As someone who worked at Watts Legal Aid for three years during the worst part of the 1970s, I can't avoid considering him extremely ill-educated regardless of his community college degree. He's a limosine leftist, as far as I can make out, and, not to mince words, a bitter little overweight turd.

At 3:15 AM, Blogger gary indiana said...

Please allow me to add one further observation: nothing Marc Cooper criticizes me for is actually anything he seems to disagree with--he simply seems to object to the fact that didn't find what happened in California trvial and irrelevant, nor find its implications frivolously unimportant. What he objected to was the fact that I wrote the book and he didn't.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger Joshua said...

"someone who thinks he owns the state and hasn't had a decent bowel movement in all the time he's resided there."

Game, set, match Indiana. Huzzah!

At 6:46 PM, Blogger gary indiana said...

At the risk of seeming absurdly didactic, I did not write the jacket copy of the Schwarzeneggger book, so the "Houston, we have a problem" comment isn't my problem, but the publishing house's. I know perfectly well when the recall took place, as I was living at the Highland Gardens Hotel on Franklin Avenue at the time. If it pleases people to nitpick on the basis of what one has written, that's one thing; to bitch over something on a flap copy of a book jacket is truly malicious and stupid.
Gary Indiana

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Dashiell said...

Mr. Indiana,
You are a huge loser to worry about such trivial matters. It is slightly reassuring that even "famous" people like yourself still resort to this sort of thing.

Dashiell Hammett

At 7:38 AM, Blogger gary indiana said...

Every winner is a loser to somebody, honey.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger gary indiana said...

Also, it's funny how people construct
"famous." Everyone is famous to somebody, and everybody is nobody to a lot of people, and what
fucking difference does it make to a tree? You may not know this, but I am a half-Jew from Wales. My grandmother's family was thrown out of Spain in 1492. They went to North Africa, where they were welcomed by the Arabs. Later, in the 19th century, an opportunity occurred for them to emigrate into the British Empire.
My mother's famous family, on the other hand, were Huegenots who were driven out of France in the 1600s. Otherwise they would've been impaled on large wheel-like spikes such as one finds on Malabar Hill in Mumbai. Every been to Mubai? I spent a lot of time in Mumbai in the police commissioner's office--that was after spending 8-`10 hours every day for a month and a half in Tihar Prison, in search of Charles Sobhraj.
If I even attempt to defend myself I feel ridiculous. My doctor told me once when I asked him why "success" felt as shitty as failure, "Your body doesn't know the difference."

At 5:52 PM, Blogger gary indiana said...

PS What was having to fuck Lillian Hellman like, by the way?


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