Thursday, March 19, 2009

Subterranean adolescent blues. The wit of Michael O'Donoghue

Old Ivan, straddling three generations, and yet, still, somehow in love with the Great Bitch, the Great Unattainable. Idyll. She? Did I want to be Rider Haggard?...Well, there have been women I would have loved to have ridden haggard. Again and again, the adolescent image. Alice in Chains long before the rock group? Was it the idyllic woman or the unattainable novel that I sought? I was certainly stuck on my novel. Nowhere near the real Great Bitch.
Norman Mailer:The novel is the great bitch of your life."
He could have added, "Write the novel and you get the 'bitch.'"
Years later, the cad had seduced many a "bitch" with his novel.

Ah but there was Phoebe Zeitgeist.
Here was wit, here was genius in four-colour form, comic book form, actually, a gorgeus idyll, though often (gasp!) in chains. And in situations that stopped just short of bondage and discipline. Oh scorn the porn!
Oh-oh. Is porn in the eye of the scribbling beholder?
"Porn is in the groin of the beholder", an ad saleman explains whil I am trying to do this column.

My reseach started in the late Sixties, A comic book collaboration between SNL genius Michael O'Donoghue and comic book artist Robert Springer, "The Adventures of Phoebe-Zeitgeist", a gorgeous drop-dead Moonbeam McSwine, almost out of old Al Capp, perhaps-- but nothing McSwinish about Phoebe- Zeitgeist. She is beautiful, especially when drawn nude and in extremely stressful situations.

She is a Serbian debutante, an aristocrat, really--I don't want to mention Raquel Welch and Phoebe in the same breath, but she is certainly as gorgeous as Britney, but younger, and very, very sexy, in no matter in what scene, or at what level of chains and degradation.

Heh. Am I turnning some of you pervs on?

Phoebe-Zeitgeist, the belle of any ambassadorial ball, is suddenly kidnapped and captured by a series of bizarre characters, such as crazed Eskimos, Nazis, Communist Russians, Chinese foot fetishists and lesbian assassins.
She does have a hard time of all this.
She is variously rescued, recaptured and rescued again. How I would have loved to have rescued Phoebe from the clutches of those evil Red Chinese, Russian Communists, Chinese foot fetishits and all the assorted rejects of Katmandu.

I was fresh out of liberal arts school, still high on old Hegel's notions on the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, that old German shepherd seeming more abreast of the times even today, than he was during Bismarck's reign, where a united Germany seemed to be the actual zeitgeist. And Hegel had all the brains. Until recently, America from the Sixties on, seemed to be short on that commodity. But there were seers.
Bob Dylan: Don't let Henry Kissinger tie you in a knot...When you gonna wake up?)

But cut to the chase: I was just out of the liberal Arts school, a former army guy, like James Blunt, guitar handy, sitting in front of a radar console to look for Russians, a real Norman Mailer character, inspired by the best art of my time, like Howl, by Allen Ginsberg, Advertisments for Myself by Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac and, especially Michael O'Donoghue. His was the "Mr. Bill", plasticine puppet on Saturday Night Live, always being dismembered by some sadistic ogre-puppeter.("Oh, Oh, no! Ooooh!)

I was half in love and on the way to writing a beautiful novel about Toronto, and if not that, at least I hoped to meet my personal Phoebe-Zeitgeist. Beautiful elfin women are a magnet for losers like me.

And the image of a naked woman in chains, political correctness be damned,was a huge turn- on for a young horny fool who wanted to write.

I had to be as good as Michael O'Donoghue. I had to find a love object as beautiful as Phoebe-Zeitgeist. Ah, but what is wit? Mine couldn't come close to the master.

Three novels later, I found myself in the unenviable position of an old balding guy in love with a woman out of an erotic coming book, the very epitome of some pimply guy as in the illustration above.

Always the Phoebe- Zeitgeist comic strip. In old Evergreen, Grove Press and even Playboy.

Michael O'Donoghue's perfervid imagination, a Diogenes not with a candle in his hand, but with a candle on the top of his head, the picture of his chained porn queen firmly embedded in the demented seeker's brain, and he had to get her. "Gotta get!"

Well, I typed and sweated.

Well, I was done. The book was done.
And wouldn't you know it? The Idyll appeared.
And didn't she ride me haggard?
Or is it "I wish?"



Midnight said...

Fortune favours the Bold.

The Goddess is real.

She emerges from our imagination,
into real life.

If we've got the patience,
and the Balls,

To deal with Her,


the walking man said...

I am of the mind that if I write enough, mine enough from every vein that I can find, eventually the zeitgeist of a generation will say; "He's our hero."

Of course I'll be long dead by then and I really won't care...O wait, it just occurred to me that I may be dead already. Shit! I want a naked young trollop in chains, her name doesn't even have to be Alice. said...


Interesting speculation about maybe being dead.
Long ago Willliam Golding( Lord of the Flies) wrote a novel called "Pincher Martin", where a man actually died but his ego, refusing to die, somehow kept him alive and going.
He becomes sort of a Robinson Crusoe at a life all over again, seemiingly on a kind of virtual island. He lives, has adventures, captures and eats crab (like Survivor Man), but it is all ego and illusion, for at one point he stands outside his faux-self and sees himself at the point where he actually died. It's all ego. An ego refusing to die, long after the body is gone.
I found the book fascinating....Borgers before Borges?
Interesting speculation indeed.

Middnight said...

Just don't ask for Lola.

She seems to deliver, no matter what your previous presumption, may have been. said...

The goddess thing. Jung called it the anima.

My wife used to say, "Go to the hospital. They'll give you an anima." said...

Lola is gay Roger Davies and his Kinks trying to work out their homosexuality.

Midnight said...

Heh. If She was a Scot,
She would simply say :

'Up yur shaft!' said...

That should be Ray Davies.

Midnight said...

"Stop draggin' my Targ around."

-- Lursa and Betor, the Klingon Sister Bitches.

ivan@c said...

This is not so good for us in the Borg civilization.

benjibopper said...

gotta watch them crazed eskimos.

just curious, any women authors get your goat back in the day? diane di prima maybe? she wrote some hot erotica. ginsberg was nuts for her.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oops, that's one I can't look at at work said...


Anais Nin was still floating around in print, tagging her Henry Miller. Have you had a chance to see "Henry and Louise", the movie of some ten years ago? It's about Miller and Nin. It is a gem, both of art and soft porn! Surprised at the quality of the movie, as Miss Nin could be a little insipid at times in her writing.
And in more recent memory, that Erica Jong could craft a mean moth*rf*cking line.
I happened upon Susan Sonntag in Copehagen in 1969. I was so busy talking about myself in the bistro we went to that I was hardly aware of who she was.She had introduced herself a just Susan. She asked about my novel and I gave her a load of soliptiscic shit.
She gave me a lecture on plotting, said I hadn't even scratched the surface yet as a writer, went "Harrumph" and left me alone at the table.
Here I had been with a top-drawer woman author, was hardly aware of who she was, and giving her bullshit.
But apparently, Ms. Sonntag was this way even with succeful male authors.
I guess I joined the line of rejected suitors.
"You don't plot? Then you don't know anything at all."
Hm. She not only got my goat but pretty well told me to F-off.
"Who me? God's chosen?"
"Yes you!" :0 said...


Yeah. I gotta watch my classification. Last time I checked it said this blog was all right for young adults.
Gotta scorn the porn!

ivan@c said...


I notice the ladies seem a little chary of coming into Ivan's blog today. :)

Donnetta Lee said...

Ivan: WWJD? That is to say, What Would Jung Do? (Just a joke. Don't anyone throw stones at me.) Wondering if an archetype has grabbed you by the b---s uh, the hand. Had to hold on to a shooting star to get the words splattered across the page. D

Uh oh. Only estrogen showing up so far. said...

Ah poor Phoebe Zeitgeist.
From goddess to ganga.

How prophetic that dead Michael O'Donoghue.
With Phoebe, it was the pornographic unattainable for the young fool.

And today, something else.

Google onto Empowered. Comics.

Ms. Empowered, a super heroine,finds her match. And who he?

Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name
But what's puzzlin' you is the nature of my game

Says Ms. Empowerment "You seem like a very nice person. You're not like that, are you?"

But what's puzzlin' you is the nature of my game

The Devil's tongue.


Ms. Empowerment....Totally unexpected as Ms. Testosterone meets Garbagehead, male super devil.He hot. Estrogen makes her tight hero suit melt.

De debbil!

Heh. Am I turning anybody on? :) said...

Well Donnetta, you said it once before. "Forever Jung."

Lana Gramlich said...

As they careful what you wish for (for far too many reasons to get into here.) said...


I think I wasn't careful what I did wish for.
Wow. Buzzsaw.

La belle dame sanse merci!

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