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This Is The Most Vile Passage I’ve Ever Read

And we’re back to talking about Naked Lunch, perhaps the most uncomfortable, steaming pile of dog poo novel I’ve ever read.

With hesitation, I want to give you an idea of what I’m talking about when I say this book is incredibly difficult to read.

It’s one thing for me to say that, but it’s another thing for you to read some of it yourself. Instead of block quoting the passage below, like usual, and inviting all sorts of creepo internet traffic, I thought I’d simply take a photo of the passage.

Here it is. Start from the top to get the full sicko affect, and proceed with extreme caution.

nakedlunchpassage

Guys, I think I’ve established that I’m not a prude over the last nearly 5 years of writing this blog.

I’ll power through any novel and read some uncomfortable stuff that makes my stomach churn, all for the sake of having read through this list and, at least, opening my mind to what other critics view as art.

But a pedophile raping a young boy? Nope. Absolutely not. The above passage just about undid me. I can’t read that kind of filth. Just can’t.

The problem with Naked Lunch is that passage isn’t an exception. If you read this novel, you can expect 200 pages of that. It’s the literary equivalent of a truck stop men’s room.

So now you know why I have such a problem with Naked Lunch. However, I’m powering on, mainly skimming through the rest of the novel to continue on with this list.

I don’t know what this novel is, but it isn’t art.

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66 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  2. Well that certainly explains a lot about why this novel has been difficult for you to get through. I have not read this novel, but just that one passage is enough to make me cringe.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 24, 2015
    • Ardas3 #

      It is a disguisting book but a masterpiece.You should read it.I’m serious,you can’t find better than this.Do not listen his insults to this classic.

      Like

      May 28, 2015
  3. You should watch ‘A Serbian Film’ – now THAT is disgusting

    Like

    March 24, 2015
    • Brandon #

      I’ve heard just enough about A Serbian Film to ensure that I will never, ever watch it. Blah.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 24, 2015
      • Don’t. I wasted two hours of my life to be permanently emotionally damaged for life with that one. It’s the definition of the word ‘disgusting’.

        Liked by 2 people

        March 24, 2015
      • Same, ugh!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 24, 2015
  4. Brandon #

    I feel like this is one of those books that benefited from initial censorship and the resulting publicity. The writing in that passage (disgusting content aside) was in no way exceptional, and it seems to me like it would’ve been forgotten pretty quickly if it hadn’t been roiled in controversy. I could be placing too much faith in humanity though. . . .

    That was pretty foul.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  5. Naomi #

    Life’s too short to read things you find nauseating, in my opinion. Naked Lunch isn’t one of my favourite books, though I understand what the writer was trying to do with it and respect that. But then, I’m a troglodyte who *hates* Jane Austen’s work :p

    Liked by 2 people

    March 24, 2015
    • What do you think he was trying to do? For the life of me, I don’t know. It just reads like 200 pages on a heroin binge.

      Liked by 4 people

      March 24, 2015
      • Naomi #

        Sorry, I didn’t realise you’d replied – my computer’s been dead for the past couple of weeks! So far as I can see, the reader’s supposed to be disgusted. It’s a disgusting act and a disgusting topic. Remembering that so many books previously, partly due to obscenity laws, had to use euphemisms when discussing things like that. There’s nothing genteel about sexual assault.

        Like

        April 10, 2015
  6. The problem I see is that many of those branding something as ‘art,’ are themselves often twisted and seeking to validate and make acceptable their own agendas. Others just want to be thought as trendy and sophisticated, and agree with the trash. It takes a great deal of courage to speak your mind and risk being called ignorant or worse. I admire your honesty and agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 24, 2015
  7. I couldn’t finish it either, it’s just too disgusting and non-sensical, in other words a lot of bull****. Read ‘Junky’ instead if you want to read a good book by Burroughs.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  8. EddieB #

    This should be on a list, but a greatest novel list? Wow. I’d have to move on from that. Good luck.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  9. I don’t find that kind of passage so bad because it’s so absurdly metaphorical – which I think is the point, that it’s satirising the way sexuality (and especially, er, non-standard sexuality) is whipped up into a pornographic fantasy/nightmare everywhere in our world now. But a straightforward, true-to-life, detailed account of rape I would struggle much more to read. Still, I think you should feel you can quit the novel, you’ve given it a good chance and you shouldn’t have to suffer for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 24, 2015
  10. priyanka #

    Agreed !! This definitely isn’t art . I’ve been wanting to read Naked Lunch for a long time but somehow a different book always comes my way . That page is like , what the fuck was that guy even thinking when he wrote that ??? I love words ,, and I love books and this book is definitely not the one that I wish to have in my library. I read “On the Road” a year back , and I actually loved it . Since this guy is also from the same beat generation , I just thought it would be a good read too. But this is sick seriously .

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  11. I wish I hadn’t read that. How are you going to erase all that from your mind when you are finished? If you must finish (which I understand), skimming is a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 24, 2015
  12. ‘Naked Lunch is a banquet you will never forget’ J. G. Ballard. I agree. Brilliant novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 24, 2015
  13. I personally think it is time you closed the book, threw it across the room and moved on. This is indeed crap. Did the Time people say why they put it on the list other than to disgust the reader.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 24, 2015
  14. Facebook refused to run an ad on my novel because it showed the lead character (hippy painting) on the cover nude and holding pumpkins over her breasts. They said it violated their – for lack of a better term – decency rules. I have some explicit sex scenes, but “Naked Lunch” makes my book look like a fairy tale. That passage is beyond disgisting

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  15. sally1137 #

    I read “Running With Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs for a book club. This passage reminds me of that book. No more book club for me, thanks.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  16. View my review blog? binauralape.wordpress.com

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  17. Reblogged this on Fonte da arte.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  18. Urghh! What a horrible mental picture. That’s one book I will definitely not be going near.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 24, 2015
  19. I really do not understand what the point of the book was from what you have written about it. It just doesn’t make sense unless it was simply written to incite a riot of critics denouncing it as provocative. I think I will pass on this one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 24, 2015
  20. How does a book like this make its way into the 100 greatest novels? I know I am not the best person to comment on artistic expressions, but this just does not read like something that would make it to the list.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  21. I just skimmed over this and it is awful. I agree that such a situation being put in a book is a total no-go. Put it on a banned book list.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
    • What banned list is this??? Would love to know.

      Like

      March 24, 2015
      • I meant that there are often “must read” lists. Why not make a “burn it” list. 🙂

        Like

        March 27, 2015
  22. Thankfully I didn’t really understand that passage but what I do understand is I won’t ever be reading that book. Thanks for the warning

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  23. Well, you’ve got a stronger stomach than me – I couldn’t make it all the way through that single page.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  24. Now I know why I never finished the book.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  25. Hmmm… I don’t know. From what I’m reading… it’s hard to put together exactly what’s going on and I think that context is crucial. I haven’t read this one but it’s on my list and I’m personally not turned off from reading it because of this passage. I have read some really screwed up things in my lifetime– some of which have actually been nonfiction and therefore really really difficult to power through.

    What I keep in my mind is that writing about something is NOT an endorsement of it.

    As for the social value of the book, part of it might be connected with its place in American history.

    I am actually more curious about this one based on what you’ve written. I personally don’t agree that this one has endured just because it was wrapped up in scandal. That kind of stuff doesn’t last. This book didn’t just come out ten years ago you know? In my mind there has to be something that makes it last. That being said, the explanation by Richard is completely disappointing– it makes it sound like the book was chosen simply for being vulgar and I can’t support that.

    Liked by 4 people

    March 24, 2015
    • Finally! Something with a brain on this thread. Good comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 24, 2015
    • I agree with you that writing about something isn’t an endorsement of it. The more I read from this list and find out about the authors, the more I realize that. However, I’ve yet to read a good summation of the purpose of this novel. Burroughs himself didn’t remember writing it…that’s how strung out he was at the time.

      I guess my point is that if you’re going to make your reader endure 200 pages of heroin use, gang bang rapes, and explicit pedophilia, at least have a purpose for doing it.

      Like

      March 24, 2015
      • Super interesting. I really am quite curious about it.

        Like

        March 24, 2015
        • Venture carefully, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂

          Like

          March 24, 2015
          • MutantSupermodel – it’s a great book despite what all the rather narrowed minded comments above say.

            Like

            March 24, 2015
          • Saying someone has a narrow-minded opinion is, by definition, narrow minded.

            Liked by 2 people

            March 24, 2015
  26. I am actually speechless… I will pass on that book as well. Thank you for taking one for the team by reading it and warning those of us who couldn’t… Just wow.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  27. Tobi #

    Thanks for entirely wrecking my day. I have wittnessed a, fortunately foiled, suicide attempt, immediatley followed by a tram crashing into a car and there’s only the plane crash on the telly. Now I couldn’t even enjoy my well-earned beer.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
    • Wow. Sorry man. I’d buy you a second beer if I could, after a day like that!

      Like

      March 24, 2015
  28. Jasmin #

    Is this the most vile thing I’ve read? Yes. Does that deter me from wanting to read Naked Lunch? No. This passage doesn’t make me more excited to read it, but I’m still open to finding out exactly why it made the list.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  29. Utter crap!

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  30. I don’t know how you’re going to make it through the book, because I barely made it through the page and I feel sick. Reading any more than that would scar me for life.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  31. I’m glad this never made it to my TBR pile.

    Like

    March 24, 2015
  32. I haven’t actually made it to this one on my TBR shelf yet, but as I understand it through conversation or essays/opinions about the book, it is a both explicitly direct as well as metaphorical study of the culture of power, control, and unrelenting need in our society, as expressed through the lense of addiction and depravity. I may actually move Naked Lunch up a few slots on my list…but only if I can snag that rare, signed first US edition on hawk at my local bookstore… O.o

    Like

    March 25, 2015
  33. Tried to read it once. Failed. There just didn’t seem to be any advantage in continuing.

    Like

    March 25, 2015
  34. Just to clarify for those of you who haven’t read it yet. The Mugwump is a fictional creature. Excerpt from the novel:

    ‘Mugwumps have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each other to shreds in fights over clients. These creatures secrete an addictive fluid though their erect penises which prolongs life by slowing metabolism.’

    I really think people should actually finish reading a book before they make a viewpoint or comment on it – including the writer of this, normally, very interesting blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 25, 2015
  35. half way, full stop

    Like

    March 25, 2015
  36. To tell you the truth, I didn’t find the passage so off-putting, simply because it didn’t have that ring of truth. I couldn’t put myself into the scene or into the heads of the characters. It was purely an exercise in reaching for extremes, the result being more ridiculous than disgusting. I found myself wondering where he could be going with the scene.

    Compare this with the scene in Jon Clinch’s _Finn_, where the main character (Huck Finn’s father) performs surgery to remove a musket ball from a man’s shoulder, using a pen-knife in a pitch-dark swamp. THAT made me skip a page. I swear I felt it.

    Bruno Schulz’s surreal _The_Street_of_Crocodiles_ gave me a panic attack on a crowded train. This stuff? Not a chance.

    Like

    March 25, 2015
    • That’s the point – it is ridiculous. The Mugwump is a fictional creature. A swamp beast from the depths of the human psyche. It’s not meant to be real. It isn’t meant to go anywhere. The whole book is a voyage into the human mind. As JG Ballard said: “A comic apocalypse, a roller-coaster ride through hell, a safari to the strangest people on the strangest planet, ourselves.”

      Like

      March 26, 2015
  37. Please read my fashion blog https://fashtenn.wordpress.com/

    Like

    March 26, 2015
  38. brynhottman #

    Does the author want his readers to feel like they’ve been raped? I feel violated after reading the first two or three sentences! I would be willing to read someone’s clean summary and analysis of The Naked Lunch to know where the author was going with the novel. But unless that happens I won’t be reading it for myself. Filth in; filth out…

    Like

    March 26, 2015
  39. If THAT is considered art now-a-days, then I’m never bringing kids into this messed up world.

    Like

    March 26, 2015
    • I’m sorry, but who are you to decide what is art and what is not? Millions of people consider Burroughs a brilliant writer. I would also suggest, as would Burroughs, that you DO refrain from bringing kids into this messed up world. I would just also mention that Burroughs is not what made it messed up.

      Like

      December 19, 2016
  40. Buffalo #

    You realize that this didn’t really happen, right? It’s just words on a page and its imagry and meaning are entirely subject to the reader.

    Like

    March 27, 2015
  41. Definitely hard to read but I wouldn’t say it’s “obscene” in terms of totally lacking in meaning/artistic expression. I’ve read worse and w/o any artistry whatsoever. E.g., a phrase like “eyes blank w/ insect calm,” says to me there’s more to this than just being shocking.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 28, 2015
  42. “It’s the literary equivalent of a truck stop men’s room.” Best line ever! Laughed out loud at this one.

    Like

    April 9, 2015
  43. emilymullaswilson #

    I don’t mind graphic/explicit content if it has something to say. But in this case, I really do think that the emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes. Naked Lunch as a whole (and this passage in particular) doesn’t say much of anything except “This is why you shouldn’t do drugs, kids.”

    Like

    April 16, 2015
  44. Alright well, first of all the ‘Mugwump’ is not a pedophile. I’m pretty sure to be a pedophile you have to qualify as human, and a mugwump does not. It is some kind of weird alien being. The novel is ‘about’ control, addiction in all its forms (heroin being just one of them, some others including: power, communication, money, images, technology, etc.), and the idea of language as a virus. Burroughs is not, as emilymullaswilson suggests above, the emperor with no clothes. He was, in fact, a brilliant writer, satirist, political malcontent, and, as well as being a Beat, was in a larger sense part of the grand tradition of the European avant-garde. Now, I’m not saying I particularly enjoy reading passages like the one above, in fact, it gets tiresome, but to suggest that Burroughs was just a no-talent junkie is preposterous. He’s pointing out, in the vilest possible terms, the nature of manipulation, addiction and control in all its guises, and I think that deserves respect.

    Like

    December 19, 2016

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