Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My safe word is "HIPPOS!"

From the bat bridge in Houston. You've been warned.

Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms
Drug Kingpin Hippos
Harper's Bizarre, Feelin' Groovy: The Best of Harper's Bizarre
R.E.M., Dead Letter Office/Chronic Town
Edouard Levé, Suicide
  • Drug Kingpin Hippos on Animal Planet is the reason that Ted Turner died for our sins and brought the light of cable television down from the mountains of the gods to us mortals. It's an hour-long documentary about the hippos that Pablo Escobar bought from Audubon Zoo in the 1970's (the zoo was pretty cash-strapped back then) to stock his private zoo at his Colombian compound Hacienda Nápoles. When Escobar died in 1993, the estate went in disrepair and the hippos ran feral, basically granting Colombia the largest hippo population outside of Africa.

    There is in Drug Kingpin Hippos plenty of raging, tusks-aflare hippo footage with which ones dreams may be haunted, and endless repeats of how hippos kill more humans each year than any other animal in Africa. Add into that a dumbed-down history of the War on Drugs and the fact that one hippo still terrorizes the swamps outside Medellin, "a living symbol of Escobar's lasting terror on the country." Did you know Hacienda Nápoles is a theme park now? Thank you, TV!

  • No amount of recreational sedatives can make Harper's Bizarre not sound ridiculous.

    Harper's Bizarre, "I Can Hear the Darkness" I want to hear this issuing from a crackling PA as I suffer a cotton candy headache on the carousel at Hacienda Nápoles.

  • I'm not sure if I enjoyed Imperial Bedrooms (reviewed up at the Goodreads) as much as I enjoyed the enjoyment of it, if that makes sense. Isn't that how the whole degradation fetish thing works anyway? I'm not sure. I am the least hedonistic person in the world that digs kinky literature.  Perusing the other reviews, I suppose I should be more appalled by the book than I am, but I had my college This Is Literature moment with Bataille, Burroughs, Genet and The Olympia Reader, about which one Goodreads commenter astutely remarks, Remember when "erotica" was more porny? Maybe that formative exposure to desensitized literary cruelty is why I find the fact that the cash strapped Audubon Zoo sold the world's most notorious criminal some hippos a delightful morsel of Truth. My soul is defiled with cartoon rot, it seems. My safe word is "HIPPOS!"

  • This one is a corker.

    Harper's Bizarre, "I Lost My Love Today"  I love when a sickly sweet band gets vaguely menacing. It's how I feel when I read trangressive fiction. This is also how the sinister algebra of Wes Anderson works.

  • Like nerd-era R.E.M. on their cover of Pylon's "Crazy." There is something about the existential crisis in "your head is shakin'/ cuz' your arms are shakin' / your feet are shakin' / cuz' the earth is shakin'"
    and "no / thing / can / HURT / YOU" that gives me a chill every time. We are pawns of the cosmos, invincible like Pablo Escobar riding three-wheelers around our menageries in our jungle compounds, burning $2 million in cash to keep our daughters warm, kings of the world, until we get eaten by our own swamp hippos. Crazy, y'all.

    R.E.M. "Crazy (live)"

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