Marty Beckerman, author of Generation S.L.U.T. (sexually liberated urban teens): A Brutal Feel-up Session with Today’s Sex-Crazed Adolescent Populace (MTV/Pocket Books, 2004) and self-proclaimed greatest writer of his generation, took some time from working on his forthcoming political tome, Nation of Retards: America’s Sexxxiest Young Journalist Exposes the Bastardly Forces Keeping You Stupid (Simon & Schuster, 2006), for a thoroughly offensive and often hilarious interview conducted over AOL Instant Messenger.
Brash and outspoken, Beckerman began his writing career in high school. His piercing columns for an Alaskan newspaper chronicling teenage life eventually inspired Death to All Cheerleaders: One Adolescent Journalist’s Cheerful Diatribe Against Teenage Plasticity, a work Beckerman self-published in 2000.
Editors in New York quickly took notice of the ambitious young writer, and it wasn’t long before he pitched and sold his treatise on adolescent sexuality, Generation S.L.U.T.Beckerman has since emerged as an author on the rise. In addition to Nation of Retards, the 22-year-old writer has sold the movie rights for Generation S.L.U.T. to HBO Films and is currently working as a freelance writer for Playboy.
MB: We should do an interview that shows a personal side of Marty Beckerman. Like, Marty Beckerman talks about finding love, the pain of people not liking his book, and why on the inside he’s just a scared little boy who loves to snuggle and listens to Paul McCartney solo records.
JC: Well, I’d like to talk about that first—a lot of people rag on you pretty vigorously. You seem to take it in stride but does it ever really get to you?
MB: It really drove me crazy at first, because up till Generation S.L.U.T. the only people who criticized my writing were cheerleaders, teen beauty queens and their football player boyfriends who occasionally threatened to crack my neck open. So I laughed that off—after cowering in fear and asking my dad to keep his rifle loaded—but when the criticism started coming from book reviewers, literary hipsters and so-called intellectuals, I took it way more personally… These people wanted to rip my fucking balls off, but fortunately my body is swift, chiseled and Godlike.
JC: You gave them some good reasons to be pissed off.
MB: They didn’t just hate the book; they hated me, and the truth is that I’m playing a character in my writing, kind of like Neal Pollack. In real life, I’m quiet, polite, nervous—unless I’m drunk, which is often—so when people make these vicious personal attacks… I can handle it, but I really want to entertain people with my writing, not piss them off. It’s this weird thing, I’m a big fan of rape jokes and knocking religion, but I want everyone to like me. In my heart, I’m a humble humorist, not a perverted provocateur. Seriously, I’m just trying to make people laugh… and collect moisture… in their panties… dripping-wet cotton panties… mmmmmm….
JC: Some people must have enjoyed it, though.
MB: Honestly, I’ve never received criticism from any teenagers. Just today a teenage girl wrote and said S.L.U.T.made her cry for two hours. So while these self-appointed intellectuals accuse S.L.U.T. of lacking a basis in reality—despite the hundreds of news clippings and quotes from kids across the country—the biggest fans are the ones who are experiencing everything in the book. And I wrote it for high school kids, not snooty 30-year-old bitches who are sad because their biological clocks are ticking and they’re too ugly for mating, plus Sex and the City is cancelled.
JC: How the hell do feminists wind up picking up your book in the first place?
MB: Obviously they see the teenage girl’s naked legs on the cover and buy the book because they’re turned on, those nasty fuckin’ dyke bitches. Not that I have anything against lesbians—especially when they’re sisters and blonde—but you know feminists aren’t the hot kind of lesbians. They’re like the Bruno Lesbians, the kind with mustaches and pussies that taste like mustard-coated armpits, not that I’d know or anything. And they’re so desperately jealous of male writers, who are obviously their superiors. Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of women who’ve ever written good books: Mary Shelley, Ayn Rand, Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson and Lois Lowry. Maybe a couple others, but that’s it, unless Shakespeare chopped off his wang or something. Otherwise, female authors are primarily responsible for romance novels and diet books, which—although erotic and informative—are hardly literature.
JC: Dude, if I printed that you’d be besieged by e-mails promising castration.
MB: I don’t care. As our leader in Christ, W. says: “Bring ‘em on.” Anyway, I’ve learned to laugh at the nasty feminists who hate me. This one bitch wrote me and said she’d never destroyed a book before—because she believes literature is sacred—but Generation S.L.U.T. is the first she’s ever thrown away, right after taking a shower because she felt filthy after reading it. And I was just like, “Thanks for the twelve bucks, bitch. See you in Hell.”
JC: We’re essentially immersed in a culture of political correctness right now, especially in the lit world. I sit at a Jersey bar and expectations of any level of PC-ness are thrown right out the fucking window. Not so in the lit world.
MB: The lit world is full of pretentious elitist twits who will never amount to anything. I mean, Christ, who writes for poetry journals? How fucking pathetic can you get? Do I want to listen to your 500 lines about the pain of ambiguous gender identity, or how your parents won’t pay for grad school because they don’t support your poetry “career”? No, I do not. Please stop living.
JC: Well, I was kind of leading into the whole Salon.com interview debacle. We’ve spoken a little bit in the past about it, and you felt you were taken out of context.
MB: Well, I gave the reporter—who is just a wretched, incompetent writer, even for a left-wing hack—a lot of ammunition. I’ve gotten much better at sound-bytes and judging the audience of a publication, and I’d answer those questions differently today. That said, during the interview I discussed the gang rape scene in S.L.U.T. and then ten or fifteen minutes later I mentioned that my ex-girlfriend inspired parts of the book; but in the interview those subjects are directly juxtaposed. That was so unbelievably low, making me sound like I was taking out my vengeful rape fantasies in my writing. The truth is that I take out my vengeful rape fantasies in reality, by raping my neighbor’s newborn kittens.
Anyway, Salon’s editors are just bitter that the USSR lost the Cold War. These people are fucking jokes, their rhetoric is stale, their politics are just shy of Stalinism, and they have no clue that the Left is officially dead. The cool kids aren’t liberals anymore, they’re “South Park conservatives.” Besides, Salon is fucking depressing. On Valentine’s Day, they actually ran a collection of stories about lost loves and breakups. I wrote a letter to the editor: “I’m taking my girlfriend out to dinner now. Have fun crying into your bowl of Ben & Jerry’s, you depressing whiny bitches.”
JC: Hahaha and you wonder why people hate you. Well, you libertarians aren’t friends of Commies…
MB: No. I don’t like Jesus Freaks either, but as long as they don’t legislate their morality—which unfortunately is the mantra of the post-Gingrich Republican Party—they’re preferable to Stupid Hippies.
JC: Which leads to the next book, Nation of Retards: America’s Sexxxiest Young Journalist Exposes the Bastardly Forces Keeping You Stupid (Simon & Schuster, 2006). Your political treatise? Or Marty Beckerman bitching at the world for being stupid?
MB: Well, it goes beyond bitching. It’s a book about the innocence of childhood, and how the Left and the Right are both targeting toddlers and little kids for political indoctrination. Plus it deals with these big classic themes like Individuality Vs. Collectivism, “Freedom of vs. Freedom from,” and the existence of God, which I’ve basically come to recognize after years of agnosticism. Also I examine how free speech isn’t safe with liberals or conservatives, so I’m basically going to piss off everyone. But at least I’m not writing about teen sex anymore, which is good because I want to vomit every time I talk about teen sex these days. I’m so goddamned sick of the subject.
JC: It made your name, though.
MB: Well, I’m 22 now. If I keep talking about 13- and 14-year-olds giving blowjobs, the FBI will notice soon. But the good news is that I have found Love, and Love is the meaning of life, for it shall make your existence not shit. Every now and then I meet these girls in bars who’ve read my book and want to sleep with me—God, I just sounded like such an asshole—but they’re not going to rub my back and tell me everything’s OK whenever I feel down, you know? So yeah, I don’t cheat on my girlfriend, because I love backrubs too much.
JC: Love is great till they start doing piles of coke and dump you.
MB: Well, I’m never lonely anymore, and that’s very good for my writing. Maybe loneliness has led to some of the best books ever written, but what I’m working on now is so much more confident than anything I’ve written before. I’ve got my mind together this time around… I think S.L.U.T. showed a lot of development from Death to All Cheerleaders, but I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown—half my friends had attempted or committed suicide, I’d been dumped by the first girl who ever loved me, I was utterly alone at college, my dog died… And my writing was still 25 percent Hunter Thompson and 25 percent Bret Easton Ellis, whereas now I’m totally happy and the 60,000 words (out of 90,000) I’ve written for Nation of Retards are 100 percent Marty Beckerman. I’m really proving myself as a writer with this book, coming into my own, coming out of the closet, coming into a girl’s face, just coming everywhere…
JC: Whatever you say, jizzmop. So what does 100% Marty Beckerman give me? What are you doing with Nation of Retards that is stylistically or ideologically different than what you did with S.L.U.T.? Is it just little Marty Beckerman all grown up?
MB: It’s definitely more adult subject matter, but it’s all my own voice. It’s hard to describe, but it just feels less derivative. I don’t know if I’m allowed to call my own work “original,” but I’m not imitating any of my influences for this next book; it just feels very natural and self-assured. Stylistically it might be the same—anecdotal reportage, shock humor, mountains of research—but the themes are much deeper. Strangely, the tone is more like Death to All Cheerleaders than S.L.U.T.since my humor is getting more and more vicious, back to where it was before I pussied out and became a pseudo-intellectual “Spokesman for His Generation.” Goddamn, I feel 16 again… Does that make it OK to sodomize high school chicks in the back of a 1984 Dodge minivan like old times?
JC: Sodomizing girls in a minivan? Hmmm… probably not. Let’s jump into the young author issue a little bit. You said you received positive response from teenagers, but did you get a lot of flak for being a young writer?
MB: Not really. Some reviewers wrote things like, “Beckerman shows promise but needs development,” which I’d take as complimentary. Nobody said anything like, “Beckerman doesn’t deserve a book deal at 20,” because let’s face it, I’m easily the greatest writer of this generation—excluding Ned Vizzini, my only equal—and my work deserves to be published in every nation and language across the globe.
JC: Speaking of the perils of young authordom, though, do you regret cooperating with that Lowdown item in September?
MB: Yeah, I do regret it. I mean, basically I talked shit about another writer to get publicity for myself, and while that other writer deserves to be shit-talked—his dad got him a publishing deal, and he only spent eight weeks writing his novel—it was low and cheap and I’m better than that. But hey, now I know.
JC: So no troubles with Nick McDonell now? You’re not fighting each other to suck Hunter Thompson’s cock?
MB: It’s funny, we both got HST blurbs for our books. He got his because his dad used to edit HST at Rolling Stone, and I got mine because I gave HST weed.
JC: Oh dude, you so have to fully tell that story.
MB: Happiest night of my life, including the evening I lost my virginity. HST was promoting Kingdom of Fear in New York, and I’d scheduled an interview, but his plane arrived hours late and his press agent said the interview was off. I had to get back to D.C. for a test the next day, so I called his room at midnight and begged for five minutes of his time. His wife said, “No, absolutely not,” but in the background I heard, “WAIT! Does the boy have DRUGS?”
JC: And you found drugs?
MB: I plead the Fifth. I’m done smoking forever though, because I… I don’t know if it was laced or I freaked out or what, but I wound up on a 15-hour trip where I couldn’t remember my own identity. It was fucking hell, a total ego death. My girlfriend had to keep telling me about my life and showing me pictures of myself, and I kept thinking about how we’re all on this ball floating in the middle of infinite nothing, and how there might be an invisible man in the sky watching everything we do… I mean, if you really start thinking about this shit hard enough—especially on drugs—you can lose your fucking mind… I thought I’d wind up in an asylum somewhere disappointing my parents forever, totally wasting my potential, making my girlfriend cry over what could’ve been… I couldn’t stop thinking about reality, existence, time, God, involuntary actions like breathing and brain activity—all the classic stoner subjects—but it freaked me out in a way that I’d never been freaked out in six years of smoking. So now I’m sticking to liquor, because I definitely think about these horrible heavy subjects less when I’m drunk.
JC: You should dip. My boss dips. I think it makes people look cool.
JC: It’s tobacco that you put under your lip and the nicotine gets right into your blood stream and you just spit a lot.
MB: That sounds pretty gross… then again I enjoy licking pussy… she comes first, as they say…
JC: Good boy. You are a wise Jew, indeed.
MB: I’m a very sensitive lover, tender and luscious.
JC: Hot, Marty. Very hot. Let’s talk some more about your interview with Hunter, especially considering that our interview has taken place in two parts—one before and one after his death. You said he was in a tremendous amount of pain, even at the time of your interview with him. Was it difficult to see an idol of yours in that condition? In the interview, he seemed to still be pretty sharp.
MB: I didn’t realize he was in so much pain until the very end of the interview, when he tried to stand up and it took him a couple minutes. At that point I was already hash-bombed out of my fucking mind, so I didn’t give it too much thought… His death is sad, but go back to the introduction of The Great Shark Hunt, published 30 years ago, and he’s seriously debating suicide.
Anyway, Hunter’s work is timeless. He’ll have fans until the earth crashes into the sun. I don’t know if there’s another American author who has written something that keeps trickling down to new generations like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” The thing is, he was about so much more than drugs and weirdness; he was deeply pained by the loss of freedom in America, and that’s why people keep reading him, not for the cartoon Gonzo shit. He was a true patriot—a man who lived freedom—and the world is poorer now.
JC: At least you had an experience that a number of people would kill to have at this point. What’s next after Nation of Retards?
MB: I’m freelancing for Playboy right now; I just finished a story about College Republicans who have sex, smoke weed, watch porn, etc. HBO is also developing S.L.U.T. as a movie, but I’m not too involved in the process. As for books, I’m outlining a novel titled Egosexual, a spin-off of S.L.U.T.following the characters Trevor and Julia after college. It’s not a proper sequel though; I’m only dealing with those two characters. I’d reveal the storyline, but someone might rip it off. Seriously, it’s fucking genius. This book will be so fucking hot, I can’t stop masturbating thinking about it.
JC: You’ve never written a pure novel. Generation S.L.U.T.included fiction, but was primarily journalism. Is it going to be a challenge?
MB: I don’t know, I think it’ll be fun. Fiction is much harder for me than nonfiction; I can write 7,000 nonfiction words in a day, but one page of fiction can take me a week. I really like the results though. It takes a lot of time, but at some point it clicks and the characters start writing themselves. Like at the beginning of the process it’s, “What would Trevor say in this situation?” But at the end, the lines go straight from your brain to your fingers; no time wasted deliberating. It’s natural, not forced, and then it flows.
JC: Can you talk a bit about what’s been happening with the HBO deal? I understand that the fictional story of S.L.U.T. is being shifted around quite a bit. Is that difficult to deal with or are you able to take the money, tip your hat and move on?
MB: It might still be a good movie, but it’s going to be very different from the book—way less tragic and emotional, more like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” When I signed the contract, I was told that the plot and message would closely resemble the book, but… I’m contractually forbidden to give out plot points, but I’m now told the movie has no deep messages like the book, some of the main characters have been deleted, and the storyline is radically different. So it can get really frustrating, when Hollywood executives fundamentally change these characters you’ve put your heart and soul into creating over four years. The way I’m trying to view things is that I’m powerless, so I hope the movie—even though it’s different—is still worth watching. Either way, it will eventually lead to greater sales of the book, which I consider the “true” story of these characters, so I can justify it that way. Plus, I’m fucking rich now, which certainly helps.
JC: How did the editorial process work with Generation S.L.U.T.? You have a non-fiction book but with a large fictional work within that… Nonfiction and fiction editors are working from completely different angles, aren’t they?
MB: Well, I sold it as a novel mixed with statistics, so we knew what it would be from the beginning. The major work between the sale and publication was fleshing out the fiction segments—which I’d already been working on for three years—and collecting all the nonfiction research. Some people hated the mix, but I thought it was perfect because the fiction presented the emotional case—you see what happens when the characters stop believing in love—while the research and quotes from real teens provided the intellectual case. That’s the thing everybody missed: S.L.U.T. is not a book about sex, it’s a book about love, but no reporters are interested in that. So I got dragged into this whole abstinence education debate, and all this condoms/STDs bullshit, when I seriously could not care less if kids are using condoms or getting herpes.
JC: The American public at large isn’t interested in hearing a 20-year-old’s ideas about love. It’s not a sound-byte topic.
MB: Yeah, so I played the game, but my heart was never in it. The kids understood though, especially these 15- and 16-year-olds who tell me S.L.U.T. is the first book that’s ever helped them stop feeling alone, or made them cry because they’ve been repressing so many emotions for so long… So I’ve really stopped caring what my critics say, because I know they’ll never get those kinds of letters from anyone. They sneer at everything good in the world, they’ll never change a single life, and history will forget their every stupid word. They’re just worthless bitches—and if there’s one thing I do well, it’s fucking bitches.
JC: On my blog, I asked people to post questions to you. Here’s what some wrote:
1) “How about: Do you ever get tired of being you? (I’m serious…in order to get heard, he has to be controversial, loud, and cuss a lot. Does it get tiring?)”
2) “You should ask him how effective his web site where he poses as Christian fundamentalist Marty-bashers has been. Maybe all writers should get web sites likestopmartybeckerman.com.”
Any responses, killer?
MB: No, I don’t get tired of being Marty Beckerman, and I never feel the need to become more and more shocking, because I’m saying what I feel about things. If nothing else, I hope people enjoy my honesty—I’m not putting on a shock act for anyone, I’m just being myself. As for the Christian website, that was fucking stupid—but it was good for a laugh, and it fooled a lot of people. I wish somebody would create a “Christian Jihad for the Elimination of Marty Beckerman.” That would make life interesting.
JC: There were people who thought you were trying to “trick” them and that it wasn’t a joke, but like a deliberate ruse of some sort…
MB: No, it was just a joke… OK, I was trying to start a boycott of myself for publicity so I’d sell more books, but it was also a joke.
About the author:
Jackie Corley was born in 1982. She developed Word Riot in March 2002 with the help of Paula Anderson. Word Riot Press, an independent publishing press, evolved out of the magazine in January 2003.
Her writing has appeared online at SerialText, 3AM Magazineand MobyLives. Her work has also appeared in print in Boom! For Real (Better Non Sequitur, February 2005) and is forthcoming in Little Engines (TNI Books).