Saturday, 2 May 2015

Why I Want to Fu*k Ronald Reagan

I'm currently 3/4's way thru a four part PBS documentary about Ronald Reagan but only this evening thought to re-visit J.G. Ballard's 1967 Atrocity Exhibition piece "Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan" a short skit written in the cold dispassionate style of a scientific report investigating the sexual appeal of the then Governor of California. It's one of Ballard's finest moments, very funny to read, yet it remains quite shocking:
"The genitalia of the Presidential contender exercised a continuing fascination. A series of imaginary genitalia were constructed using (a) the mouth-parts of Jacqueline Kennedy, (b) a Cadillac rear-exhaust vent, (c) the assembly kit prepuce of President Johnson, and (d) a child-victim of sexual assault. In 89 per cent of cases, the constructed genitalia generated a high incidence of self-induced orgasm."
Ballard said of Reagan that he projected the image of Buick salesman, but in the notes for The Atrocity Exhibition, Ballard felt Reagan was "a figure far closer to the brutal crime boss he played in the 1964 movie The Killers, his last Hollywood role". Ballard's story was enough for Doubleday to destroy their initial print run of US edition of The Atrocity Exhibition, which outraged Ballard, but in an 1982 interview Ballard said: "Afterwards I permitted myself the pleasure of sending a copy to Ronald Reagan complaining about whichever respectable US publisher dared print this smut and filth. Of course I never got any reply but it was worth it for me"


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