Thursday, August 30, 2001

I bought a copy of Myra Breckinridge to take back with me, and I read it on the airplane, or at least most of it. I bought it because I saw it on as a forgotten classic on some list or other. I haven't read all that much Gore Vidal, but I did like Lincoln and his memoir, Palimpsest was sufficiently full of homosexualist gossip, as the man himself would say. I can't say I'd ever want to meet him - after all, what person in their right mind would divide their time between homes in those oddly parallel cities, Los Angeles and Rome (Kenneth Anger should have called his book Hollywood Roma, a much better metaphor than Babylon if we're talking ancient decadence).

I didn't much care for the perfumey prose, it's a little too precious for me, regardless of how much it mirrors the narrator's character. But I was constantly struck by the modern themes and obsessions of the book - copyright 1968 - what with the eponymous transsexual Miss Breckinridge, the worship of forties-era movies (which would be the equivalent of worshipping movies today such as, well, ''Kramer vs. Kramer''), the pansexuality of Miss Breckinridge's students at the Academy of Drama and Modeling (where she teaches Empathy and Posture), the appearance of the Chateau Marmont Hotel. I suppose it all fits into Susan Sontag's definition of ''low camp'' (or is that high camp? I can't remember whether self-aware camp is high or low...) which was itself published in the mid-60s.

The Swedish word for the day is busunge. It means naughty little boy. - by Francis S.

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