Monday, December 27, 2004
LONDON - Tom Wolfe recognized for writing bad sex scenes --- AT LONG LAST!
(Wasn't it about time that they bestowed this umpteenth honor upon his venerable sexagenarian shoulders... hmm? hahaha ;)
Author Tom Wolfe has been given a rare honour – his latest novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, has been picked as the recipient of the annual Bad Sex award.
Given out by the Literary Review, the accolade is intended to "draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel."
Wolfe's novel, which runs almost 700 pages, is about an ingénue at a fictional university in Pennsylvania.
The judges said that the descriptions of sex in the book are ghastly, inept and unrealistic.
Wolfe's past works include best-selling classics like The Bonfire of the Vanities.
The author who receives the award is given a statuette and a bottle of champagne if he or she attends the ceremony. Wolfe is the only winner in the 12-year history of the award to decline the invitation.
The Sex May Be Bad But It's Ironic, Says Tom Wolfe
20/12/2004 10:42:03 PM Rebuttal...
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novelist and social critic Tom Wolfe admits some of the sex scenes in his new book "I am Charlotte Simmons" are tasteless but he didn't expect to win a prize for the worst sex in fiction.
Britain's Literary Review announced last week Wolfe had won the year's most dreaded literary accolade -- the Bad Sex Award -- but the 74-year-old author made clear that his sex scenes were meant to be more ironic than erotic.
"There's an old saying -- 'You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her sing.' In this case, you can lead an English literary wannabe to irony but you can't make him get it," Wolfe said in an interview on Monday.
The prize awarded by the London-based magazine aims "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel."
"Slither slither slither slither went the tongue," one of his winning sentences begins, describing the first significant sexual encounter of the heroine, a naive country girl, with an arrogant and popular frat boy at a prestigious university.
It continues: "But the hand, that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological (ears, nose and throat) caverns -- oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest -- no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now!"
The judges described Wolfe's prose as "ghastly and boring." The new novel -- his third after "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "A Man in Full" -- has had mixed reviews, though it has been on the New York Times best seller list for five weeks.
"I've had a lot of fun with that award. You don't receive it so much as get the pie in your face," Wolfe said, describing the Literary Review as a "very small, rather old fashioned magazine" and the judges as out of touch.
Wolfe, a former New York Herald Tribune star writer, did his research by hanging out in student bars and coaxing kiss-and-tell stories out of 19-year-olds.
"I take the man from Mars approach," he said. He makes little effort to fit in, the only concession being a blue blazer in place of his trademark white suit.
TASTELESS TONSIL HOCKEY
Wolfe defended the passage picked out for the prize as an honest description of the feelings of a hesitant virgin when first experiencing "tonsil hockey."
"She's not aroused, she's clinically curious and she wonders what this thing is doing probing her otorhinolar...," Wolfe said, stumbling over the medical term which refers to ear, nose and throat.
"I purposely chose the most difficult scientific word I could to show this is not an erotic scene ... there's nothing like a nine syllable word to chase Eros off the premises."
"It's certainly tasteless," he added. "This poor girl has never had somebody else's tongue in her mouth before and that's tasteless."
The book presents a bleak picture of binge drinking and over-sexed students at one of America's top universities, the fictional Dupont, where athletes are demigods and many students care more about looks and money than academic achievement.
"I didn't write this book with the idea of shocking anybody," Wolfe said. "People say it's an indictment but frankly, just the way I was with 'Bonfire of the Vanities,' I was in awe that people live this way."
Wolfe took lessons in slang from his own college-age children and admits some of it has rubbed off -- though he still sounds like a Southern gentleman from Virginia.
"I've been cowed into not saying 'fabulous' any more. I will tend to say 'awesome' instead but as soon as I say it, it sounds so juvenile."
Wolfe questioned the assertion by the organizers of the prize that he was the first winner in the 12-year history of the competition to decline an invitation to pick it up.
"I love coming to London if they would only be so kind as to invite me," he said. "They never invited me. I have not heard a word from them. Why don't they send me the invitation?"
"Ask them how they wrote me. What form? Cleft stick?"
You reap what you sow, Mr. Wolfe...? *LOL*
Chasing Eros off the premises like that with unsightly multi-syllabic words most Virginians would frown upon and scoff at... that is not the way to go about it, surely!? Chasing Thanatos away, now there I would agree...
Happy New Year to you too, Mr Wolfe... and all! ;)