Cyber Corpse 2
Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
issue 2 home || ec chair || critical urgencies || burning bush || ficciones
stage and screen
secret agents || letters || portfolio

Books by Hariette Surovell available at (click on the title for reviews and ordering info):

Lovestrokes: Handwriting Analysis for Love, Sex And Compatibility

Dissing 'Salon' Again
by Hariette Surovell

When I ratted out those P.C. Fascists at "Salon" I was initially nervous about biting the hand that didn't feed me, until I received over 80 e-mails from other writers, and even editors, who had had similar unprecedentedly unprofessional experiences with the Premiere Exploiters of the Internet.

"Salon" has become such an embarrassment that I have deleted the two articles I published on their site from my resume. Yet, still, people consider this insufferably badly-written (with a few exceptions, like my articles) and completely unedited webzine to be "The New Yorker of the Internet". Why? Let's examine one of their favorite obsessions. First, they published a cover story claiming that "mainstream acceptance" of actress Jennifer Lopez's abundant buttocks is a "victory for multi-culturalism". Since when is the fact that men develop fetishes over female body parts newsworthy? But "The New Yorker of the Internet" didn't stop there, and followed up by printing a black woman, Erin Aubry's, response: a prolonged meditation on her own ass, about which she says she has "alternately embraced and lamented and written about extensively as a metaphor for tortuously unrealized black assimilation in America". Really? Physically embraced? Like, she fondles her own ass-cheeks all day long? In public, or does she work at home? Wow, a real-live exhibitionist!!! Well, thanks so much for sharing, Erin! We're not fascinated! Can anyone spell N-A-R-C-I-S-S-I-S-T? By the way, you can easily access this article the way I did, by just entering the words "black butts" under the Search section in "Salon". Yes, that's Search in "Salon", not "Hustler On-Line". Since a magazine called "Big Butt" already exists, I often muse that they should re-title "Salon": "Big Butt II, Without Photos."

A short while back, Dorothy Allison, author of "Bastard Out of Carolina", which is an excellent book and was an even better Showtime movie special, wrote an essay entitled, "All Books are Lesbian Books". Yes, Dorothy, and all people are Lesbians, even men, and the earth is flat, except that we don't really live on the earth, but in the land of Oz, somewhere in the sky, which is ruled by a Wizard ('s a secret.) Notable "Lesbian" books would, of course be, "Pride and Prejudice", because if you read carefully between the lines, the five sisters didn't really want to marry all the men they fell in love with, but each other, and "Gone With the Wind", where Scarlett O'Hara was just pretending to be in love with Rhett Butler, but her heart really belonged to her devoted Black slave/handmaiden.

The sickest thing about "Salon" is the reverence afforded to award-winning writer Anne Lamott, who previously wrote numerous "Mothers Who Think" columns (shouldn't mothers who don't think leave their children in foster care?) How this writer ever won any awards is a mystery to me, because each one of her articles follows the same rigid, contrived formula: Lamott misbehaves, becomes enraged over something petty, and then has some sort of phony religious epiphany...which never really seems to stick with her, because in each consecutive confession, she's become even more disturbed. Isn't there a publication like "Mental Health Weekly" she could vent in? From reading her oeuvre, it is painfully obvious that Anne Lamott is mentally ill and is using the Internet as a giant cry for help ("Please, would someone tell me it's okay just to go into therapy and take Prozac already?") since none of her idiot friends seem to have enough sense to steer her to a shrink. She is so angry that she scares me. Her anger encompasses everything except for the repulsive sketch that was drawn of her and which is posted alongside many of her pieces. Ferret-faced with stringy hair...I saw a photo of Lamott in "Mirabella"-- and while the artist's likeness may have been accurate, couldn't s/he have improvised just a bit? Or maybe Lamott did get mad, and that's why her name appears on "Salon's" ever-lengthening list of "Discontinued Columnists".

Here are some excerpts from "Salon's" Anne Lamott archives:

In "Momcat" she informs us that she grew up in a dysfunctional alcoholic Atheist family, and that her childhood best friend's mother Lee was a Christian Scientist who prayed for her constantly. Lamott has only contempt for her own parents, who were, as I see it, justifiably upset that Lee never got her children medical attention when they became ill.

Fast-forward to "Cracks", where Anne has become a cokehead alcoholic who spends her days having an extra-marital affair and watching t.v. in "X-rated motels: tasteful erotic 'The Bitch of the Gestapo'". I doubt that this was the movie's actual title, but who says an on-line magazine needs editors? Or could this be accurate, and Lamott is confessing that she's a closet Nazi? During a sober moment, having run out of money for blow, Lamott heads over to St. Stephen's Church in Tiburon, CA, (oh, poor Anne, she's living in one of the most exquisitely-beautiful and expensive locales in America) and becomes "born again" after a man tells her that re-discovering Jesus is like "discovering you're on the shelf of a pawnshop, dusty and forgotten and maybe not worth very much. But Jesus comes in and tells the pawnbroker, 'I'll take her place on the shelf. Let her go outside again.'"

Voila--his attempts at conversion are successful, despite the utter banality of the words of this mysterious spiritual helper. Lamott thrives on similar trite slogans like, "Jesus is Coming: Look Busy!" as if she were a gullible eighth-grader.

Thus, we get "Spiritual Chemo-therapy", in which the instantly ultra-religious Lamott says, "I got sober, I got pregnant, don't ask me how that works..." Um, Anne, I think the way it works is that you fuck without using birth control, and then you get knocked-up. Her young son, Sam, the only kid in his peer group who is forced to go to church, resents doing so deeply. But she forces him to go weekly, because, "I make him because I can. I outweigh him by nearly 100 lbs." In another words, she's a bully. "My relatives all live in the Bay Area," writes Lamott in this odd opus..."but they are all as mentally ill and as skittishly self-obsessed as I am." Finally, finally, she has admitted the truth: she's totally fruit-loops!

"A Heart's Breath" is about her 45th birthday in Hawaii. She begins by informing the readers that the weeks before her birthday happen to be her "most bereft and neurotic". In the past, Little Ms. Vindictive had a birthday reminder on her answering machine for weeks, "and then, on the day after, changed it to include an alphabetized and frequently updated list of family and friends who had neglected to send anything. There were fewer people every day"...and finally, only one despicable person is listed: Evan Connell. I am SO disappointed that the classy author of "Mr. Bridge" and "Mrs. Bridge" takes Lamott seriously enough to be included in her social circle. Or maybe he doesn't, which is why he didn't send a gift, and she's just name-dropping.

Anyway, partying away in a free hotel room "with tropical beauty filling the windows", (oh, poor Anne, she got an all expenses-paid trip to one of the most exquisitely-beautiful and expensive locales in America) her son Sam goes swimming, gets sand in his eye and cries, as all children do when they are injured. All the Empress of Spiritual Saintliness, Lamott, can think is, 'Oh, for God's sake! This is not Kosovo! And you're ruining my birthday!'

I doubt any child psychologist would maintain that a child's mind would wander along the lines of, 'I have an eye infection, and it hurts, but I shouldn't complain, I should instead hope that the NATO missiles hit their correct targets in the Kosovar villages tonight.'

Does Lamott really expect her readers to react with, How dare your son spoil your birthday when you're only a little baby yourself, just 45 years old? Can anyone spell P-A-T-H-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L NARCISSIST? How about borderline personality disorder with sociopathic tendencies? Yet the idea of seeing a therapist, even going to a Children of Alcoholic's Self-Help Group never occurs to her, even though faith doesn't keep her burgeoning, disproportionate anger and immaturity in check.

On to "Mother Rage", in which Lamott candidly "shares" details about her screaming fits which are "so charged and toxic" that they actually shock her...when they're over and the damage has been done. Son Sam (who will doubtless one day read his mother's oeuvre in which she vividly details everything she loathes and detests about him, and compares him to "a rat"), is her perpetual pathetic victim. "I have felt many times over the years that I was capable of hurting him....I have spanked him a few times, yanked him and grabbed him too hard." Lamott admits that she cannot tolerate children's "tiny problem with self-absorption". Yes, Anne, children tend to be self-absorbed, because THEY'RE CHILDREN. After she freaks out when a "playdate" that had been set up for Sam is canceled, and the little guy gets upset (he had probably been fantasizing all day about the chance to get away from Monster Mommy) she thinks, 'What about all those times this week when I DID arrange playdates? Do I get any FUCKING credit for that?' No, you don't, Anne, did anyone tell you that you should? Here's the deal: you are the parent and he is the child, and arranging "playdates" is YOUR responsibility. Sam constantly interferes with her desire to watch the evening news (apparently the idea of taping the news on a VCR has never occurred to Mommie Dearest), provoking her to threaten to allow his pets to starve to death; even to have made "worse threats; thrown toys off the deck into the street and slammed the door to his room so hard things fell off his bookshelf. I have screamed at him with such rage for ignoring me that you would have thought he'd tried to set my bed on fire. And the list goes on." Lamott justifies "Mother Rage" by speculating that we "blow up at our kids because all day we've been nursing anger toward the boss or the boyfriend or mother," and "If regular people saw your secret angry inside self, they'd draw back when they saw you coming." What's the secret? The woman has been spewing venom non-stop ever since "Salon" anointed her their poster girl for political correctness. Is there ever one single moment in Lamott's life when she's NOT furious?

"Jesus and the Lemon", details Anne wanting to trade in her Jeep for another vehicle, but when she determines that the salesman is patronizing her, she feels "like Gandhi in diapers, on bad cocaine". Hello, calling all editors to help explain what that image means. She then pounds on the salesman's desk and, like "the towering Lion of Judah" (isn't that a symbol for Rastafarianism?) yells at him, "Don't you DARE patronize me." Later, she consults with her priest to see what Jesus would have done in a similar circumstance (why, does she have delusions that she IS Jesus Christ?) and is told, "Jesus would have bought a bicycle." Actually, I don't think that bicycles were invented back then or Jesus wouldn't have kept wandering the desert in those tattered, raggedy sandals. Nor is this priest particularly helpful...does he expect a mother with a small child living in California not to possess a car?

Again, in "My Advent Adventure" Lamott comes clean about how barely functional she really is, as the sub-title for this piece is, "It's not that I don't have a lot of faith that God will heal us. It's just that I have a lot of mental problems. And I want to fix them now."

"Advent ('a big time of year for my Jesusy people') is about the coming of Emmanuel, which means 'Godwithus' ", Lamott writes. She says she wants that belief, that patience, and yet..."I have instead been feeling a little--what is the psychiatric term?--cuckoo." She considers calling her pastor, but the woman has left town, which is "intolerable" to the livid Lamott. "I have told her more than once that we wouldn't have hired her if we'd known that she was a minister with boundaries." I'll just bet she did! After all, Lamott's the expert on "boundaries"...she doesn't have any!

So, she starts calling all the other religious people in her personal circle. A Jewish friend's children were "'keening' in the background." Lamott advises her friend to smack them. Her friend asks if she's joking; she isn't.

She calls another minister and says, "My mind is on the fritz." The minister provides no counseling, nor do any other of the people she calls.

So I, Hariette Surovell, would like to make a plea to the California Department of Mental Health: Can someone create a file for Anne Lamott? She has been using the Internet as a cry for help for years, and I HAVE HEARD HER. Please, instruct a mental health professional to make a home visit, to refer her to a therapist, perhaps to a doctor familiar with the many new psychotropic medications before she hurts her son, herself, or her elderly mother."

"Thanksgiving", the last piece of hers that I could bring myself to read, describes a visit to the aforementioned elderly mother. She had seen her a few days before, and looked at her "through the moo-goo-gai-pan eyes of love."

I don't think a college freshman Creative Writing teacher would let a student get away with writing such an incongruous image. Did this mean that Lamott had bits of chicken, cashew, celery, mushroom and water chestnuts stuck in her eyelids?

Lamott's mother is in her mid-70's, and has "profound problems with memory."

Although, "This is not a problem when I am spiritually fit". Lamott was apparently extremely unfit on this particular day, whatever "spiritual fitness" means. When Lamott offers to run into a Safeway Supermarket and pick up a few items, Senior Citizen Mom says, "I do need toilet paper and cat food" and expresses the desire to go into the store herself, as she prefers certain brands (doesn't everybody?), so Lamott allows Mom to accompany her. (This is probably the homebound oldster's first contact with anyone other than her deranged daughter in a week...) Then, she notices that her mother, whom she has for some bizarre reason nicknamed "Coyote Trickster" has snuck into the deli section! Not only is she speaking with the employees, but, writes Lamott..."She had coupons hidden in her purse!!! In an instant, I saw myself in the housewares department, picking up a hammer to kill her with."

Is anyone besides yours truly paying attention?

Hariette Surovell

Exquisite Corpse Mailing List Subscribe Unsubscribe
issue 2 home || ec chair || critical urgencies || burning bush || ficciones
stage and screen
secret agents || letters || portfolio
home || search || submit || archives || mall || cafe || our gang || hot sites

©1999-2002 Exquisite Corpse - If you experience difficulties with this site, please contact the webmistress.