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“Snuff”- Enough with All the Bullshit

Nothing like a good gangbang to tickle the prostate I always say. And author Chuck Palahniuk must have figured the same thing. Why else write about one – and a fictional man pile of B.S. at that.

But in Palahniuk’s novel titled “Snuff,” fiction, it seems, is stranger and, apparently, a whole lot better than truth. Such is the basic fact – that most of what Palahniuk writes about here, bears little resemblance to what you’d come across in the real porn world.

If that’s the case, why should we quibble about minor details getting in the way of a good story, you might ask? Well, for Doubleday to cash in on a really bad, tedious book with Palahniuk’s name attached to it, for one thing. Although I’ve yet to come across a review that hasn’t gone out of its way to kiss Palahniuk’s ass which was one of my reasons, aside from the obvious, for grabbing a copy to begin with.

Or put it this way. If some Joe Blow nobody had submitted this idea, the publishing company would have been firing off rejection slips faster than premature ejaculation.

In Palahniuk’s somewhat tired, morbid, unappetizing and contrived rationalization of 600 men and one woman gathered together under smelly and unattractive conditions, porn performer Cassie Wright is a MILF with a lot of miles on her.

Wright, it seems, got pregnant early on in her once glorious career- this, during the making of a porn movie. And the father is porn vet Branch Bacardi, otherwise known as Mr. 600. Each of the guys in waiting has a number written on his arm. Astoundingly, Palahniuk imagines a gangbang world where 600 bozos all show up – although his descriptions of most of the participants sound more like the inmate roll call of the worst of California penal institutions.

Whether this would have been Wright’s last movie or not, in real porn society, you might have recruited 40 or 50 volunteers, tops, most of them card carrying members of a lonely hearts club.

Branch Bacardi [now there’s another really believable porn d’plume] is one of the voices that lends to the narrative. He’s a tan-obsessed egotist hanging on to his career by the sagging skin of his once proud pectorals. That in of itself is fairly believable because most performers- male and female – have no idea when to quit. And, with Bacardi’s convenient back story, Palahniuk also derives other cheap meditations on machismo, skin bronzers, the body beautiful and the possibilities of conception during a porn movie.

If there’s ever been a porn baby, this would have been ripe fodder for Internet porn gossip long ago, but, as such, I don’t recall one instance.

Yet, if we’re to buy into these intriguingly rich possibilities, then we must also accept the fact that one of the participants in this spectacle is the demon semen child of Cassie. Here we go. Just what porn needs, an incest storyline served piping hot.

With few real suspects at hand, however – the narrative’s elected style takes care of that- the reader’s guessing game of who’s the kid, comes down to a mere flip of a coin.

Meanwhile, Cassie’s grim idea is to, with the help of cyanide, be fucked to death [thus “Snuff”]; and with the notoriety of this being her final movie- Last Wright’s, now that would have been a title- this project would allow her heir to cash in on the presumptive wealth.

“Sales will last forever,” we’re told. Really.

“Long after Cassie Wright becomes old and demented or dead and rotten, her vagina will still haunt us,” we’re further told.

Well, not really, because social conscience rarely comes into play in these matters. And another obvious but not alluded to fact is that the distributor would have found some way of swindling Cassie’s love child out of his or her share of the residuals or proceeds and that I’d be writing about it on my website.

Palahniuk also derives bizarre and disgusting delight with a sidebar describing how one of the semen suspects, as a kid, would cuddle up and hump a slowly deflating Cassie Wright love doll, bought with money earned from mowing lawns. And make no mistake, Palahniuk affords himself a lot of gross out potential whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Not to mention self-amusement with a barrage of referred to porn parodies such as Lay Misty for Me, To Drill a Mockingbird, Chitty Chitty Gangbang, Gropes of Wrath and Beat Me in St. Louis. Will Ryder would be stocked up on titles for years to come.

And obviously no editor saw fit to stop Palahniuk with all the alliteratives before he hurt himself. Thusly, porn performers are referred to incessantly and annoyingly as tadpole tossers, jerk jockeys, yogurt yankers, monkey milkers, etc..

According to at least one review, I’ve seen [The Seattle Times], Palahniuk’s book is “well researched.”

This is the same review that tells us the book is 208 pages, when a quick turn to the last one reveals 197. A reviewer never actually having read the book? What a shocking notion to suggest.

In the spirit of all this alleged research, [Cassie thus becomes an unending factoid machine of mainstream movie legend and stories behind the Hollywood scenes], Chuck also names drops real gangbangs to keep some semblance of porn verisimilitude, sham events that they all were, anyway.

Annabelle Chong’s 251 man circus is brought up on a couple of occasions, although Palahniuk gets some of his facts and attributions entirely wrong. Chong was not the mastermind of her own destiny, as you’ve always been led to believe, but was the product of director John Bowen who dreamt the whole idea up. Curiously, Bowen is neither credited nor mentioned in the proceedings which is like Col. Tom Parker dropped from all discussions about Elvis.

And I met Chong at the outset of her career. Before the gangbang. She struck me as a pleasant woman who fell off her Chinese rocker and not some groundbreaking feminist as she’s painted in these pages, or in the documentary about her, even less so, a multitude of Google listings.

To spin some more plausibility, Palahniuk also hauls in a few facts from the Sabrina Johnson 2000 man gangbang- the most salient one being that there were a scant 39 participants involved in that one and only 500 recorded sex acts. Besides the fact that Johnson was cheated out of her money. I know all this to be true because I was one of the few journalists covering it and had interviewed Johnson on a number of occasions, while most of Palahniuk’s knowledge apparently comes from this website’s archives. Or so it would seem.

If Palahniuk were going to get an emotional charge and some real mileage out of a socially misbegotten set of circumstances, he neglected the most obvious one of all. This would have been the Brooke Ashley gangbang. And we all know the outcome of that travesty. Then, again, perhaps the flunkie who did the actual research for “Snuff” wasn’t even aware of it.


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