In Defence of Sam De Brito

In my last post, it may have appeared as if I attacked Sam De Brito. I described his novel The Lost Boys as a “mediocre horror story for women”. I then went on to say he was part of a new wave of Australian authors working to establish themselves with a predominantly female readership through a peculiar combination of obsequiousness and provocation. While I think both comments are true, he writes some terrific posts for his blog, All Men Are Liars.

Sam has an incandescent understanding of the male pack-mentality. The Lost Boys contains one of the most disturbing sequences I have read in recent times; a group of ten guys have been out drinking with one of their girlfriends. They end up in a park where she gives them all blowjobs, one after the other, while her boyfriend sits nearby in the dirt and cries. It’s made all the more disturbing by the fact she is a willing participant; all the dark things that lap at the corners of your understanding well up while you’re reading.

Years ago, I worked with a guy named Geoff. He once told me that when he and his group of ten mates would go out together, if one of them picked up, then they would all go home with the girl and ‘pull a train’, which meant they would all fuck her, one after the other. He said that it went ahead whether she liked it or not; but that was never a problem, because the girls were always willing participants. One night, he told me about going out with his mates in a van and picking up a prostitute in St Kilda. She negotiated a price with the two in the cab and when they all got down to the beach, they opened up the back where the other eight were waiting.

“Surprise! We said,” and Geoff began to laugh.

“So what happened?” I asked.

“She was a good sport about it.”

“She had sex with all of you?”

“She did.”

“Did all ten of you pay her?”

“Don’t be silly!” he replied.

This goes near the top of my list of all-time most nauseating real-life anecdotes. It is made all the more remarkable that he told it without any sense that I might be offended/repulsed/disgusted. If I can say this without sounding ‘holier than thou’, that scenario has never made any sense to me at all. Such things have never made their way into my fantasy life. It may be because I would find that an immensely threatening situation; being naked – and horny – in a roomful of other men. It’s not the homo-erotics that bother me; I think it’s possibly more a case of being vulnerable in front of other males while competing for a female. While on the subject of group sex, De Brito gives a sensational analysis of the Matthew Johns saga here:

http://blogs.smh.com.au/lifestyle/allmenareliars/archives/2009/05/do_aussie_men_like_women.html

And that’s the thing about Matthew Johns. From my point of view (as a spectator) he almost certainly is a ‘decent’ man. Probably an excellent husband and father. But that’s the point, and is exactly the reason why he’ll never be able to work as a television presenter again; when people look into their televisions to see his face, they’ll be wondering how many – and what kind – of snakes are writhing beneath the façade.

***

The thing a blogger should do is enlarge your knowledge or understanding. A blog reminds me of a stall at a flea market; to be perfectly organised and schematic, like a department store, you need to be full-time. A blogger arranges the rag-and-bone shop of their knowledge somewhat haphazardly, and some of the fun comes from sorting through the stuff, the only schematic being the order in which stuff appears.

http://blogs.brisbanetimes.com.au/allmenareliars/archives/2008/09/this_is_water.html

This link takes you to a column on the subject of the American writer, David Foster Wallace. I don’t know a whole lot about him, but I bought his book of essays, Consider the Lobster after reading this.

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