Yes No

Francis Picabia

Hanuman Books are sweet strawberries covered in the most delicious creamy chocolate in the feast of literature. They are petite and firm, exotic and very, very sexy little items, guaranteed to add secret glamor and sophisticated depth to even the most shallow of pockets. Yes No, by “dadaist” and painter Francis Picabia, is 47 discerning, midget pages of evanescent aphorisms. Gems of cynicism, melancholy observation and caustic comment worthy of any aspiring, or asp-like, queen’s tiara of wit. The brief messages, warnings and considerations are drawn from his journals and notebooks dating from 1939 through 1957.
“Beauty is relative to the amount of interest it arouses”—Picabia
This is an anthology from the revered lineage that includes the dandyish sublimity of Oscar Wilde; the fastidious camp of Quentin Crisp, or even the more obscure English Edwardians like James Bertram and F. Russell, whose Victorian misogyny and skepticism were illustrated more exquisitely than the “corpse” itself by Austin Osman Spare in The Starlit Mire. Yes, aphorisms are a justly grand tradition of which one can only approve, given that one is a reasonable person. And—in this age of advertising slogans and soundbites, bumper stickers and designer corporate logos as street fashion—a reminder of the priceless art of word games, the contradiction, collision and collusion in fresh revelation “to see what they really say,” as Brion Gysin so prophetically indicated in his cut-ups.
“Art is the cult of error”—Picabia
We are to savor the menu of resident connoisseur Picabia’s palette of human tinctures and emotional flavors. As you have rightly guessed, dear reader, all is artifice, contrivance, and bouquet.
“Serious people have a slight odor of carrion”—Picabia
Yes No is sublime evidence for one of the essential conclusions of any intelligent 20th century culture: that “art” has been distilled repeatedly and thoroughly until it may quite rightly be perceived and defined as an attitude of and to Life (yes, complete with an “if” right there in the middle).
“Many artists devote their time to their painting, I ask myself why are these people so fond of bad company?”—Picabia
There are strong arguments to suggest that “art” is merely an expression of a neurosis given space in our personae by the luxury of free time thanks to the advent of tools, technology and overt or covert economic systems of slavery and privilege. “Art” has no biological source, no survival imperative. What was once a “craft” for making functional and magical “things” is now a dubious and unnecessary postexistentialist requirement of taste. Nothing more than that. Just an obsolete but amusing symbol of a fantasy of neurological superiority.
“Art is a pharmaceutical product for idiots.”—Picabia
By the way, don’t worry if the word “art” never enters your vocabulary! This simply means that you are extremely culturally healthy, and/or blissfully and justifiably elsewhere. So, at that next soiree, or opening, or dreadfully dull social occasion, nip into the bathroom, sneak out your well-worn copy of Yes No and just try substituting any old power word or enemy’s name for that tired old word “art” and you will be surprised at the good time you shall have. GPO

Publisher: Hanuman
Paperback: 57 pages

Michael Jackson Was My Lover

Victor Gutierrez

Forget Lydia Lunch, Nick Zed, Henry Rollins, Michael Gira and all those contemporary writers trying to achieve an ultimate expression of sordid nihilism and depravity layer by layer. This is the shit! This book outstrips them all. Superstar diarrhea dribbling into shoes; tampons up the ass to plug the loose anal sphincter; physically damaging excessive enemas; pedophilic consensual cocksucking; prostitution of their very own minors consummated via the feigned naiveté of compliant parents; gross-out greed and paltry pay-offs; a virile, rampant eruption of egomania that makes Hitler’s megalomaniacal ambition a withered stump by comparison—all this pure filth and Macaulay Culkin’s warm, wet lips too! Yippee! Nobody can ever compete. Everyone should at the very least have this book in their toilet for guests as a matter of decadent etiquette. Perfect water-closet reading for the closet cases. Forget the relentless character assassination of Goldman’s Lennon book. Or any Elvis exposé. Here we have achieved a nirvana of the gratuitous. Thank you Victor. Oh, thank you, Victor!
All my life I hoped that a book that proclaimed it told you “the whole unexpurgated, shocking story” would really do it. Fifty years after my birth, here it is. This is the most perfectly fabulous and amoral book about the excess and undeserved privilege accorded the celebrated, successful and rich in America ever to be inked onto dead trees. Everything it claims to contain is contained within its hallowed bowels, and more, and more. Fantastic. I can’t believe that it’s not exposed prominently in every cornershop bodega, supermarket and bookstore chain across America and number one on the best-seller lists everywhere! As the back cover says: “The boy reveals how he got to know Jackson (and sex); trips to foreign countries with Jackson (and sex); what he saw when Jackson got naked in front of him (and sex); the sexual games he played with Jackson (and more sex).” There are snapshots, love notes, depositions, even spindly drawings of Michael’s malodorous and “smelly” penis by the boy; (oh, “the boy,” by the way, is Jordie Chandler, who rather surprisingly is credited with having co-written the screenplay for Robin Hood: Men in Tights with his father at age 10. Go figure!).
It has to be noted, however, that, falling temporarily prey to his integrity, his acute sense of social responsibility and his principles of investigative journalism, Victor Gutierrez does dwell a little too much upon the mundane legal ramifications and maneuverings of all the parties involved for my prurient tastes. Although, I guess, upon reflection, I am forced to concede that it probably is, in the end, important to be led through the opportunist treacle that glues every character forever together in Michael “Willy Wonka” Jackson’s sexual Chocolate Factory. After all, this is a real-life (real?) fairy tale with multiple professedly happy endings. A terminally degraded Michael Jackson gets his man, or rather his boy, and gets away with it. Jordie Chandler gets his man, or rather his pedomorphic superhero and millions of dollars in perpetuity. Daddy Chandler gets his boys, notoriety and access to millions of dollars. Mummy Chandler gets vacations with her endearing superstar, nice gifts of expensive watches and jewelry, and the rewarding parental pleasure of seeing her beloved son taken good care of by the man, or rather boy, Jackson. Victor gets his man, mother and boys, and, I sincerely hope because he deserves to, his own share of dollars.
Yes, sirree, it’s that good old-fashioned American success story once again. This kind of shameless self-corruption is what made America great; and I for one am deeply grateful. There is something calming, and infinitely reassuring about having one’s deepest cynicism about human nature and its innate badness confirmed so rapidly, uproariously and completely. I can sleep better now, safe in the knowledge that the poor scum get banged up, but that the rich and famous scum are, and will always remain, pillars of the community in any truly democratic, and free, society. All hail the American dream. GPO

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 216 pages