Published December 18, 2019
“Sex is now a conceptual act, it’s probably only in terms of the perversions that we can make contact with each other at all.”― J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
Ugly people have lots of sex. Uglier people have lots of fucked up sex. The polyamorists are all ugly. Furries are ugly. How many Chads are resorting to self-asphyxiation and scat porn? If you’re a normal, well-adjusted and reasonably attractive member of society, the more vanilla and restrained your sex. Ugly individuals take every opportunity they can get.
As it happens we live in an ugly society, and so people can’t shut up about sex. It’s all they talk about. They can’t keep quiet about their perversions, whether in the positive or negative sense. We’re all sitting around identifying with the enemy and using argumentation as a masturbation surrogate. We’re getting off on other people getting off. This sort of perversion is what makes us uglier and uglier. The worst outcome of dysgenics (that is, ugly people surviving and breeding) is that the sex becomes ever more perverted, a schizophrenic feedback loop as awful sexual acts lead to an ugly society leads to more awful sexual acts. How do we escape?
All this is to say that there seems to be a correlation with ugliness and perversion. I think that Richard Power, the author of Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert, is probably quite ugly given the content of his memoir. (It is fair at this point to note that ‘Dick’ Power is a little on the nose so far as pseudonyms go.) We know that Matt Forney, the editor and publisher, is not exactly the most handsome gentleman in existence, but he has been able to fuck a lot of women around the world, apparently. These two ugly people have come together to publish a book about depraved sex and expect the audience to believe every word. Perverts lie; it’s very simple.
These lies have some element to truth to them, though. Sometimes it’s good to gaze into the ugly side of life. Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert is a series of short, sharp loosely connected stories that are nominally factual. The most unbelievable part of the book is that Forney has written a foreword (you may ask why and the only possible answer is ego) and suggests that publishing some of Power’s stories had gotten him laid. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Thankfully it doesn’t take long to get into the meat of the book. You will not need a solid attention span while reading. You don’t need much time. You just need to dive in and let Power tell you just how fucked up he is willing to go, and therefore how far humanity has gone and how much further it can fall. The depths are endless: piss, shit, analingus, beating, incest and even a chapter on snot. The acts are beyond depraved and yet you’ll walk away with a boner at times. Either that or skip right past. I read this on the train sitting next to a woman, scrolling through the lurid tales on my iPhone while wishing that she would both fuck off and read a paragraph over my shoulder, a perverse desire to see her squirm. It made reading feel risky for once.
Perhaps this description paints a negative picture of what it’s like to read Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert. The writing itself is sparse and evocative. Power is a talent, no denying it. He seems to acknowledge his talent when he writes, ‘But alas, my biology is as imperfect as ever, and I’m left with only the power of the written word and a single tongue.’ There is only so far his body can go, but his mind, the words he puts down, can go to unforeseen places. Ultimately this is a book about love and loss and longing and with that in mind there is a beauty that unfolds. We’re in the hands of an artist, someone who appreciates literature. ‘As an example, I noted that while Mr. Melville could certainly compose some masterful novels, no one would want to see him drenched in cum,’ Power writes in the story ‘Why I Lie’, a piece that went viral when Forney published it, and it goes to show how succinctly Power can juxtapose the vile with the virile. At times it really feels like you’re in the hands of a mad genius.
This book won’t appeal to the straightedge unless as a case study. It is, however, a perfect book for the schizo, the ADHD riddled mind and the social media addled head space. In their book Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Deleuze and Guittari describe the pervert as, ‘someone who takes the artifice seriously and plays the game to the hilt: if you want them, you can have them – territorialities infinitely more artificial than the ones that society offers us, totally artificial new families, secret lunar societies.’ These ‘lunar societies’ are, perhaps, the menage a trois as seen in the story ‘A Poem’, one of my favourites for its sheer verve, where a babysitter is drawn into the full-on fucking of her employers. The new families are the endless parade of women that the pervert seeks and destroys, breaking down their reluctance for anal. Deleuze and Power would have got on like a house on fire. Power says, ‘I’m not crazy about hierarchies; it’s the union of the depraved that I’m after.’ Deleuze himself says, ‘It is therefore of vital importance for a society to repress desire, and even to find something more efficient than repression, so that repression, hierarchy, exploitation, and servitude are themselves desired.’ Birds of a feather fuck together. Not only is Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert a book of ‘erotic’ acts and a tale of love lost, but some of the most poignant moments are the descriptions of society. On blowing a load in a glory hole Power says, ‘In a way, it might be the purest form of conscious capitalism: I hate my job, so I throat-fuck a stranger to feel better.’ We yearn for this is the kind of scathing commentary.
This is not a book where one would buy a physical copy. The content is ethereal, all punchy little anecdotes and asides, and more suited as an ebook. The cover design is lackluster and not something you want on your shelf, but it is a commendable first foray by a new publishing operation. Perhaps it will never be a classic, but it is a sign of what is to come.