Stealworks: The Graphic Details of John Yates

John Yates

Jello Biafra describes Yates’ work as lying somewhere between Jenny Holzer and The Crass. Most of the work was produced for a self published sociopolitical graphics magazine called Punchline, which Yates started producing in 1987. Most of the works are stark, powerful collages, using a minimum of imagery and a few well-placed words to evoke ironic statements. (The strongest piece portrays rows of flag-draped coffins with the caption “Mom, we’re home!”) The older viewer might recognize elements of a style that was especially prevalent in the 1970s—South American mail art. The book’s most haunting and original work is part of a series entitled “The Smear Campaign” created by moving montages on a photocopier. This is the first time they have been reprinted in a collection and probably the best reason to seek out this book. Without the use of words they manage to convey the inherent dread that lies within this imagery. SA

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 136 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