Book: Jim Goad’s Gigantic Book of Sex
Author: Jim Goad
Type of Book: Non-fiction, parody, humor, human sexuality
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: There are some writers whose body of work points towards odd, even if they occasionally produce work that would appeal to the average reader. Jim Goad is one of those authors.
Availability: Published in 2007 by Feral House, you can get a copy here:
Comments: This discussion is the stretching I need to do before I attempt the marathon that will be my discussion of the compilation of Jim Goad’s Answer Me!, plus a pdf of the infamous “Rape Issue,” which Goad was kind enough to send me. And it will be a pleasant stretch because I found this collection of Goad’s articles over the years to be interesting, amusing and at times, strangely touching. It’s always a good trip when someone invites you into his or her id, albeit sprinkled with mini hoaxes along the way.
There is no way to discuss all of these articles covering almost every aspect of human sexuality unless I really abused the good nature of every person who reads here, which means there is a chance I will not discuss your favorite article and you will think me an asshole. I’m just discussing the ones that stood out for me in some manner or other. Sorry about that, but please be sure to share your perspectives in the comments.
Goad, because he is a man largely misunderstood by liberal audiences and one of those writers about whom people form opinions without ever reading a word he has written, stands in a unique spot. He’s a scoundrel to some and as a result, everything he writes is seen as a real attempt to harm. But he’s also such a good writer that if one does not know who he is, he can make a simple person think that children direct porn and that pugs survive gang bangs. Part of me wants to call such people idiots but I can’t because I personally know folks who were certain Bonsai Kitty was for real and they aren’t completely without merit. But it is a unique place for Goad to occupy – a man seen as a monster by some extreme feminists who can still plug into moral outrage and provoke panic in even the most over-the-top articles. It’s a talent, to be sure. Believe me, there have been times I would love to fuck with people’s minds but I lack the dedication. Or the talent.
On the cover of this compilation, Goad separates this book into “Fake,” “Real,” “Opinion” and “Personal” and I will just follow that handy separation as I discuss the articles that stood out the most for me.
Let’s start with pug porn first. “Pug Porn: Inside the Sinister, Glamorous and Lucrative Underworld of ‘Pugnographic’ Cinema” sports two introductory paragraphs that are so repellent that I sort of want to tell Jim to go fuck himself, and perhaps that is the point. But at the same time, animal lovers will find themselves in a weird place wherein we know it’s a hoax but sort of want to track the dog-fuckers down and beat them with a stick because the description of a doggy gang-bang is sort of sickening. But if you have the strength of character to read on, the article is full of tells wherein Goad cleverly lets us know this article is a riff on all the myriad moral panics that have swept the Internet. Yeah, animal porn exists, and if you’ve seen the movie Zoo, you know that there are tons of people who want to bang animals, and knowing just enough to know that people can be very horrible shuts down our critical faculties. But just like those poor children in the McMartin case in California, Goad gives us enough details so that we know that what he’s describing could not happen. A pug could not survive a gang bang. The picture of
“Bambi Sue,” title character in the World’s Biggest Anal Pug Gang Bang, relaxes after taking more than 100 cocks in her ass over the course of 11 grueling hours – a new World Record for a pug!
is of a puppy, a fat little pug puppy, sleeping sweetly. Add that to the descriptions of Steed Bronson, who has a 23-inch penis, a woman who is the director of REPUGNANT, an anti-pug porn activist group (she orders a coconut-shrimp platter at Denny’s) and two really obvious, horrible photoshops, and it’s hard to see how anyone thought the article was in earnest.
Another excellent hoax article is “The Sad, Strange World of Adult Films Made by Children.” And again, people thought it was real despite some brick-in-the-face tells. The article discusses how
Children are involved in every phase of film production, EXCEPT they’re not involved in the sex scenes as participants. So it’s not really kiddie porn – it’s BY-kiddie porn.
Kids are used as directors because they are cheaper than adult directors because there are so many kids in Brazil that it just makes sense to use them as directors of adult porn. Sure. And then we have this:
“Mario deserves the appellation of auteur,” Bernstein says. “His films display an emotional complexity almost unknown in mainstream cinema, much less pornography. His use of the jungle’s natural lighting is almost heartbreaking in its evocative power. It’s fair to call him the Hitchcock of By-Kiddie Porn.
Mario is six. Goad ends the article imploring his reader to do something to stop this horrible injustice, just like he did in the pug porn. And readers fell for it.
I can’t be too harsh because the plight of animals and children can make idiots of us all. And then there are all those people who think The Onion articles are real. But still, these are clever manipulations, I think, because really, only a complete fool would have believed Goad’s article about the face of the Virgin Mary appearing in a wet spot. Right? Because we all know faces of the holy only appear in toast and the floors of houses in Mexico and Serbia. And I don’t even remember how I know people believed the pug porn and the by-kiddie porn but I know I read it somewhere. I’m digging for the links but I know I read it and was all, “No, really?”
A couple of the real articles jumped out at me, mainly because they were utterly disgusting, though strangely fascinating. Some were just interesting in a web macro sort of way, like articles about relative penis size of various animals. The article “Strange Sex Laws” was pretty amusing.
ALASKA: Moose are not allowed to have sex on Fairbanks city streets.
Well, that just makes sense, right? Nothing worse than copulating moose clogging up the snowy streets. But then we get to this:
Iowa: In the town of Ames, husbands must take no more than three sips of beer while in bed with their wives after sex.
I am left wondering what the hell happened in Ames that forced the city officials to think this was necessary. I’m sure it was epic. I could go on and discuss the foreign laws Goad dredged up, because they mostly involve animals and we covered the whole animal-sex thing with pugs and I’m bestiality-ed out at the moment.
Interesting to me was “Rage Against the Fucking Machine.” I read this right about the time a professor at Northwestern University had a fucking machine live demo in his human sexuality class. I think it was a drilldo or a sawzall, and it seemed strange to me at the time that the prof insisted on a live show when there was so much machine porn online, but never mind. Goad describes fucking machines as a phenomena that “mix the Marquis de Sade with Bob Vila,” and he sort of addresses one of the strangest elements of these machines: why do men like watching women use these machines – because the vast majority of them in porn are used on women and the marketing tends to be toward men. It’s a genre of sex that more or less eliminates a partner from the equation, though Goad discusses a gay man who enjoyed watching the distress of a bound man who cannot get away from the machine. Why do men like watching machine porn? Not sure because Goad discusses the machines more than the porn they have generated, but Goad does make an interesting observation:
I asked a female friend whether she was aroused at the idea of these newfangled electrostuds, and, at least for the record, she denied that they moisten her lap. “I can’t get turned-on by anything that doesn’t have a heartbeat,” she told me, possibly lying.
But then Goad notes:
That all may be true, Toots, but I can’t wiggle my pickle 300 times a minute and keep it up forever. And that is why point, set, and match go to those goddamned fucking machines.
That led me down a strange but not entirely dark road wherein I wondered if men like watching porn with these machines because the porn is an even better stand in for the all-too-often unattractive men who star in porn. Mr Oddbooks told me that unattractive men in a porn are a selling point to men because if an ugly man can get the pneumatic hot chick, so can the viewer. But that always seemed strange to me because I saw the other side wherein a man would think, “Damn, even a fat bald dude can get a pretty girl and here I am watching porn. AND he’s getting paid! FML!” Perhaps seeing video projector welded to contain a dildo is less threatening to the male-porn-audience’s collective ego than Ron Jeremy with a spray tan. But I’m no sexologist at Northwestern, so what do I know.
And despite the irreverent tones Goad uses in most of his writing, the article “Nunfucked: The Hidden Story of Sexual Abuse by Nuns” was a saddening, sickening read and Goad’s prose reflects the gravity of the situation. Having read about the Magdalen Laundries and the Hephzibah House (a protestant school but horrific nonetheless), none of this was wholly surprising. Still, the breadth of the problem coupled with the fact that society does not like looking at women as sex abusers is brought into startling focus in this article.
Although one rarely hears about it, there are dozens of documented cases of nuns sexually abusing children, most of them girls. Some cases suggest a level of sadism far beyond anything that priests have been accused of doing.
In the past decade, more than 100 nuns have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct with children in the United States alone. Over a dozen lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. alleging sexual abuse by nuns. Most have been settled out of court. But there is no evidence that an American nun has ever been criminally prosecuted for sex crimes.
This is one of Goad’s better articles because while I appreciate his dark, snarky and frequently vulgar sense of humor, Goad also possesses a capacity to write well-researched pieces that are the peer to anything appearing in national, print news. I’m glad he included a few articles like this to show that even as he is writing hoax articles about venereal disease, he’s not being gross because he is capable of nothing else.
However, his opinion articles have that caustic, bombastic, offensive and at times intensely funny tone that make reading Goad so fun. Take “The Vanishing Handjob: Mourning the Death of ‘Heavy Petting,’” an article that makes some interesting assertions about the death of intense making-out:
…back in the 1950s and early 1960s, open talk about sex was still taboo, which makes it more exciting in the same way that severe hunger makes a hamburger taste better. The female orgasm was still only hinted at, like the Lost Continent of Atlantis. Males and only males were thought to have uncontrollable sex drives and the only way to give them “relief” while still retaining one’s hymen and reputation was through the act of “heavy petting” – what today is crassly referred to as a “handjob.”
Just an oldish dude remembrance of the ways sexual mores used to be. The opinion pieces are interesting and funny but nothing too new. Just a man talking about why men like cat fights, the possible links between breast obsession and bottle feeding, and how Muslim women can be sexy. Funny stuff but nothing too mind-blowing because the Internet has several message boards where these issues are being discussed this very second.
But the personal articles were great, some deeply interesting and one so sweet and touching that I will discuss it last because my reaction is all kinds of mushy.
The most interesting was “Pleasuring Myself in Prison,” which does what it says on the tin. It can be a bit rough going and Goad admits it:
The whole experience is often workmanlike and mundane, like taking a shit – just squeezing out the toxins. It’s rarely what I’d call transcendent. But at least I forget about the razor wire for a while. I forget about all the ugly bodies I see in the shower. I forget about having to scrub and mop latrines. I forget about the IRS and the Victims’ Restitution Fund. I forget about all the chances I had to leave this state before I got into trouble. I forget about the fat farmboy’s farts. More than anything, I temporarily forget that I’m in prison jerking off. If I truly pondered the fact that I’m a convicted felon with his dick in his hand, I’d probably never be able to achieve an erection again. What could be more pathetic than beating my meat in the Big House?
Reading about it.
Other personal articles included Goad’s sexual drive in the summertime, a sexual admiration for older women, and testing out Viagra. All interesting, some funny and all vaguely offensive in that way that is inimitably Goad. All in all, the personal articles were the best, I think, raunchy and funny and occasionally a bit gross. Great stuff.
The personal article that I loved was “My Teenaged Celebrity Crushes.” Of course, we all change and who knows if Jim still finds these women attractive but the list was touching and interesting in its omissions. Absent was Farrah Fawcett and Brooke Shields or any other ringer, though Linda Blair and Linda Lovelace made his list. So did Barbra Streisand, whose costumes in The Owl and the Pussycat influenced his youthful libido, and Penny Marshall, whose overbite he found sexy. But the best pick for me was Carol Kane, who was a girl crush for me from the first time I saw her in Annie Hall, with her wild hair and her creepy, pretty eyes. Here’s what Goad says of her:
Bushy hair, dark circles under her eyes, and one of the prettiest faces I’ve ever seen. For years I’ve thought she was the hottest celeb on earth. She is best known as Latka’s wife on the TV show, Taxi rather than as a featured player in my masturbatory delusions.
Also on the list are Bernadette Peters and Donna Summer. I liked this list of women who turned on a young Goad. It was a pleasant look into his id, and a somewhat unexpected look at that.
Unless you are an easily offended person, I think you should buy this book. I have not touched on a tenth of the content, if that, so even if what I discuss here does not pique your interest, there is something in the book that will be relevant to you. Also I think we should all reward a man who saw how beautiful Carol Kane was (and still is). Yes, I am seriously recommending this book on that basis. But clearly the book has other charms, so if you read it, come back and let me know the article that you liked best or the article that appalled you the most.
(Content irrelevant to this entry: The links that take you to Amazon are my affiliate links, which means that if you click the link and order the book, I get a small amount of the purchase price. All other links in no way benefit me and my only affiliate relationship is with Amazon. I loathe that the FCC makes me say this because to me it is akin to begging, making people focus on my affiliate links, and it’s offensive to my readers because I have to think that when y’all see my links to Amazon, you know they are affiliate links. But there you go, this is the world we’re living in. Yay.)