Book Review
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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Hella Nation

Conformity is the mantra of the civilized world. In every aspect of life, you are expected to ‘fit in”. Those who don’t are viewed with suspicion and distrust. It is against that backdrop that Evan Wright has penned Hella Nation (ISBN 978-0-552-16039-1, Corgi, 2009), beginning with himself, a nerdy drop-out failed screenwriter who joins the Larry Flynt organization as the entertainment editor for Hustler magazine. Hustler, if you are unaware of the publication, is a fairly hardcore version of Playboy/Penthouse.

He describes being on the set for your average porno movie, where scenes that would last 15 minutes would take five hours to shoot. To be a male porno star, priapism (continued erection) was a plus.

Author Wright calls the groups of people he describes as being the “Lost tribes of America”, and in some ways this is correct. These are also minority groups, whose raison d’etre does not fit in with the thinking of the day. However, it should always be remembered that popular mores do change over the years.

After describing the ins and outs of the porno film industry, Wright takes the reader to Pastor Richard Grint Butler’s Church of Jesus Christ Christian Aryan Nations, and introduces the followers of far right-wing bible thumping. These misfits wear Nazi uniforms, perform Nazi salutes and worship a god called Yahweh and venerate their members “who have sacrificed their lives setting off bombs in synagogues, burning crosses in people’s yards and assaulting strangers in the street.” These are not just your average nutters, these are nutters with a crazy agenda.

The next group of sociological misfits are the heavy metal rock band Motley Crue, and they are indeed a motley crew, with drummer Tommy Lee probably best known for his bedtime antics with the pneumatic actress Pamela Anderson. Bands such as this conform to the Dire Straits number which went, “Get your money for nothing, get your chicks for free.” And indeed they do get their chicks for free, and then criticize ladyboy waiters. Ah well, at least they have some sort of standards, no matter how ridiculous!

The next lost tribe are the taxi dancers, a ‘profession’ that I thought had died out with the final bomb drop of World War II. But no, Author Wright goes to the dance halls, where the girls sit behind a glass wall waiting to be picked out for a dance with misfits who would be unable to get a date with anyone, other than the taxi dancers, who seem to be perpetually high on speed. Wright describes the establishments as “seedy anachronisms”. So correct. By the way, the ‘fish bowl’ is exactly like the viewing room at the Thai soapy massage parlors, so now we know where that came from too.

Amongst the sorry lot is an item on a chap called “Wingnut” a principal player in the “Battle of Seattle”, acts of civil disobedience frighteningly like that occurring in Bangkok.

Almost 500 pages of even more fringe dwellers and at B. 395, a bargain if you want to peek at the lunatic fringe. Be careful, they are walking amongst us…