clap clap blog: we have moved

Monday, September 22, 2003
Klosterman update: via an, um, anonymous source, my attention is directed to an old New York Observer story about Mark Ames, the author of the original review.

Mr. Ames grew up outside San Jose, Calif. He was a weird, smart kid who started smoking pot at age 8 and got into fights. He spent five years at the University of California at Berkeley. After college, he tried writing screenplays. He grew more miserable. "I didn’t even think of women anymore because they could just smell failure on me," he said. Then in 1991, he vacationed in Leningrad right after the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev.

"It was the first two weeks of my life that I’d lived really," he said. "It was pretty much just fuck whoever you wanted to. It was just very epic."


They say they also take advantage of what they like to call the "white god factor" and make trips to the provinces. "Tens of millions of people live in dire circumstances, stranded in the center of the world’s largest continent, with little hope of going anywhere," said Mr. Ames. "Which means–sexual opportunity for me."

We walked to the Village Idiot. Beer, pool, darts. Two college girls were dancing together to Elvis, provocatively.

Mr. Ames said he didn’t like the trend toward lesbianism among American women. "Nothing coils my dick up faster," he said. "When I was in school in Berkeley, there were dykes all over the place who hated my guts for being a tall male. They don’t like tall men, really."

He spoke about his sex life in Moscow. "Russian women, especially on the first date, expect you to rape them," said Mr. Ames. "They’ll go back home with you and say, ‘No, no, no,’ and if you’re an American, you’ve been trained to respect the ‘No,’ because you’re afraid of sexual harassment or date rape, and so you fail over and over. But it took me a while to learn you really have to force Russian girls, and that’s what they want, it’s like a mock rape. And then you come back here and you’re really freaked out–because you don’t know if that actually exists deep in all women’s psyches, that that’s what they all want. All relations between guys and girls is basically violent, I think. It’s all war."

Uh, yeah. That's...hmm. Interesting.

It is nice to know a few more things about Ames. Like, for instance, that he grew up in San Jose and went to Berkeley which, at the risk of being glib, goes a long way toward explaining why he can't possibly conceive of people actually liking Billy Joel and Guns 'n' Roses and The Real World. It's also nice to know that he went to Russia because he was a loser, since only someone from that area would respond to an inability to write a successful screenplay by the age of 30 by thinking that a) this constitutes "failure," b) success is all anyone everywhere in America cares about (yes, Mark: there is nowhere in this entire country where you can meet someone who doesn't care that none of your scripts have gotten past pre-production--certainly not, say, North Dakota, or, sweet baby Jesus, fucking Williamsburg) and c) it's way better to live in a decaying foreign country and have sex with girls who wouldn't touch him if they had more money. I've known a few Russo-philes like Mark in my time, and, well, they aren't the best of people. I won't respond to the rest of it because presumably it's supposed to be Jim Goad-ish provocation, but since when are assholes like Ames and not weirdoes like Klosterman "gonzo journalists"?

Anyway, for those of you not yet convinced to pick up the Klosterman book (although I know there's the hardback v. paperback consideration), here you can find an excerpt from the Cusak essay.