Giving Head to a Hot Young Writer: A Special Column by Jay McInerney

We were drinking Stoli and snorting lines off an expensive hooker’s back, discussing a certain young stallion who’d the paper of record had puffed up before and who we had hoped to blow ourselves right when this Bolivian marching powder went straight to our heads. “Who cares, Jayster,” said my friend, who may or may not have been married. “Writers in their 20’s are good for one thing and one thing only: dependable fellatio.” I don’t know — I guess that’s possible, as many hipsters and not a few seedy men with glittering threads have claimed, that I’m a sad case for an author gone horribly awry after a stunning debut, but I remain, long after passing any literary relevance, strangely interested in wine and any book review opportunity where I can make a desperate stab at reclaiming any credibility I once had. I devour first novels, weeping profusely at the world that I shall never know again. I’ve tried to use second voice in some of my later fiction work, hoping for a comeback, but people have thought my efforts a pathetic gimmick. They’re right, of course. I have very little much to say any more. It doesn’t help that the weasley Michael J. Fox starred in the film adaptation of my book and that I have to explain constantly to people that I am not, in fact, married to Tracy Pollan.

But that’s where Benjamin Kunkel’s “Indecision” comes in. Ben (and I assure you that I have good reason to use his first name here) has penned a novel that I would gladly bob my head for. I would unzip Ben’s pants without a second thought. So should we all. When I read Ben’s book, I felt a certain inexplicable faith that I couldn’t put into words. The kind of ineffable sensation that one experiences when one undergoes an erection while flipping through a family album and fingering a hot cousin (not the cousin, silly, but the photo, of course!). It’s a bit taboo to think about this, but now that we’re all out here in the open, I’d like to see a show of hands. How many of you drop your pants when you get sexually excited by a novel? Furthermore, how many of you are compelled to call up the author, see if the author’s available for a hot weekend, and then perform as much fellatio (or cunnilingus; let’s consider both genders here) as this author demands over a 48 hour period?

Anyone who’s followed my work knows that I don’t hold back. I tell it like it is. And when I say to you that Benjamin Kunkel is an author who deserves as much fellatio as America can give him, well then you know that’s no bullshit coming from Uncle Jay! Ben is cute and cuddly and his book is the cat’s pajamas. And while I can’t quite figure out what it is that makes Ben’s book work, let me just say that I think he’s “deeply aware” of what a novel is all about — meaning that he has probably read at least fifty books in his lifetime and has picked up the basics.

Ben is ready to be fawned and groomed over like a hot coal in a blacksmith’s callused hands. Let him have groupies, masseuses, admirers, sycophants and, of course, we trusty fellators. You see, Ben Kunkel has exploded onto the literary scene like a ripe pinata. He’s the kind of man who I’d happily mix my metaphors for, if not Ben’s drinks.

Of course, once the ballyhoo dies down, you may just find Ben here on these review pages writing about some other hot young stallion ready to be spanked. Let us all hope that Mr. Kunkel’s grace and gratitude is as great as his talent. For so many others, like me, have been rash and wrong before.

The Last on Katrina

So all things considered, it turned out much better than projected. Katrina is now a Category 3 storm. New Orleans will survive. The loss of life appears to be minimal. There are floods, corrupted water mains and reconstruction will be a bitch and a half (and then some). But New Orleans will survive in some form. And this is the important thing.

With this in mind, we return to the quotidian, our hearts extended to a beautiful city and its population. We never got a chance to visit but we will someday.

New Orleans — Flood Status

Current report from Jon Donley: “Dispatchers questioning officers on the scene, trying to determine if there is a break in the river levee, or if water is pouring over the top. Independently, NOLA has received a flooding alert for the French Market area. Fairly heavy street flooding in front and behind the Times-Picayune . . . water appears about knee deep, whipped by the steady wind into whitecaps and breakers. Water is hubcap deep on the furthest vehicles in the employee parking lot, and rising quickly.”

Katrina Headlines X

  • Storm surge from broken levee? At present, inconclusive. NPR reports that the streets are not yet flooded.
  • Local coverage: 125 mph winds, some first-person accounts suggest that the streets of New Orleans are not flooded, but these assessments come from hazy views from high-rise hotels.
  • Metafilter down.
  • FEMA enters disaster mode.
  • There are at least two major holes in Superdome’s roof.
  • CNN reports one of local districts is six feet underwater.
  • National Weather Service reports “total structural failure.”
  • Oil now over $70/barrel.
  • I will report here later in a couple of hours, when I have more reliable information to go by.

Katrina Headlines VIII

  • Live WWL newscast reporting “substantial portion of roof” now off. Estimated number of peoplet here: 8,000 to 9,000.
  • New Orleans facing environmental disaster.
  • Correction: “Half of roof is pretty much gone.”
  • Superdome Seating Chart: people now being moved to concession stands.
  • Brainwidth reporting from Lafayette.

Katrina Headlines VII

Katrina Headlines V

  • CNN: “We need to recognize we may be about to experience our equivalent of the Asian tsunami, in terms of the damage and the numbers of people that can be killed.”
  • Katrina hits land with 145 mph winds. Electrical power at Superdome failed at 5:02 AM EST.
  • From Jon Donley: High rise windows blowing out, building collapses perhaps with people inside, somehow still power to blog from Times-Picayune building.
  • Louisiana Governor Blanco: Too early to assess damage, casualties.
  • Newspaper account from inside the Superdome.
  • Building codes in New Orleans not up to snuff.
  • Katrina so powerful that Florida panhandle hit with 46 mph winds.
  • Couple spends thousands on limo to get out of town.
  • Beyond money, Red Cross needs phone volunteers.
  • CNN IS NOW REPORTING THAT A PORTION OF THE SUPERDOME IS STARTING TO PEEL AWAY. (However, Superdome was constructed with multiple layers.)
  • Jeff offers his rememberances.

Katrina Headlines IV

  • Major spike in water level at Lake Pontchartian.
  • Instapundit uses the hurricane footage as an excuse to get into a personal pissing match. Classy, Reynolds.
  • Local coverage: 15,000 people are trapped on I-10 behind an accident.
  • More great coverage at Storm Digest and Brendan Loy.
  • Endless tales of people stubbornly staying at the French Quarter.
  • More live blogging.
  • KHOU: If the eye passes over the high-rise buildings, the windows will blow. Regardless of this, the buildings will sway. People secured in central ballrooms, often on third floors. All gabled roofs will fail.
  • More resources from About Last Night.
  • Also of note: Times-Picayune reporter Jon Donley, trapped in the Hurricane Bunker.

Katrina Headlines III

  • New Orleans price gouging going on. (Interestingly enough, in light of recent Alabaman law.)
  • KHOU: Damage now in Grand Isle. Wind gusts 80 mph. No electricity.
  • Another perspective on the Superdome.
  • Wikipedia entry now up.
  • KHOU: Hotels are not honoring reservations throughout state. Apparently, lots of hucksters trying to take advantage of emergency.
  • Functional webcam with live wet image of Bourbon Street. Here’s another one left on.

Katrina Headlines I

  • According to this live feed from WDSU, 10,000 people are at the Superdome with the National Guard and meals to spare. The Superdome management, which states that the walls will withstand 200 mph winds, claims that the Superdome will stand up. Others are not so sure.
  • A first-person account from a local from Pat O’s.
  • Dr. Jeff Masters: “This is an incredibly large eye for a storm with a pressure this low, and makes me very uncertain about what intensity fluctuations Katrina may undergo in the next few hours before landfall. I see nothing to change the label of “catastrophic” for Katrina at landfall.”
  • Katrina has potential to leave 1 million homeless.
  • Oil now shooting past $70 a barrel. Area that Katrina hits crucial to U.S. energy infrastructure.
  • When Cafe Lafitte closes, “you KNOW its bad.”
  • Phone post from LiveJournal user ZeldaKitty.