“Poems From BLOGr.VIP” | Before You Buy ‘Ready Player One’ Tickets, Read Ernest Cline’s Horrifying Porn Poetry

March 17, 2018

@newsCOflash

2018-03-17 12:26:50

Later this month, many of us will hop in our “Ghostbusters”-branded DeLoreans, cruise over to our local cineplexes and purchase tickets for a viewing of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” a gamer action movie based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 bestselling novel of the same title.

And that’s fine! We should find our bliss wherever we can in this crazy world. But first, there’s something we should all read.

It’s a slam poem, written in the late ’90s or early aughts, called “Nerd Porn Auteur.” You can, and indeed should, read the entire poem ― or, if you’re feeling particularly iron-stomached, his entire collection of poetry, The Importance of Being Ernest.

With apologies to Ready Player One, this early composition probably remains Cline’s most vital work. In just a few pages of verse, it lays out a compelling philosophy on masculinity, misogyny, pornography, sexuality and other “y”s that dominate our culture. Cline’s philosophy, to be clear, is: Nerd men are unloved mensches who simply must be given porn with more “Battlestar Galactica” references; other people are Bad and maybe not even human.

If you’re already having horrifying flashbacks to the aggrieved male nerds of #GamerGate: Same.

“I’ve noticed that there don’t seem to be any porno movies / that are made for guys like me,” the poem begins ― a baffling allegation, considering how much porn is made for everyone, but especially men and extra-especially male nerds. By 1998, there were multiple porn versions of both “Star Wars” and “Ghostbusters” in circulation.

But I digress. It would be uncouth not to let him explain:

All the porn I’ve come across

was targeted at beer-swilling sports bar dwelling alpha-males

Men who like their women stupid and submissive

Men who can only get it up

for monosyllabic cock-hungry nymphos

with gargantuan breasts and a three word vocabulary

Adult films are populated with these collagen-injected, liposuctioned women

Many of whom have resorted to surgery and self-mutilation

in an attempt to look the way they have been told to look.

These aren’t real women.

They’re objects.

And these movies aren’t erotic.

They’re pathetic.

These vacuum-headed fuck bunnies don’t turn me on.

They disgust me.

 Cline goes on to clamor for more nerdy women in porn:

The girl in the tweed skirt and the horn-rimmed glasses….

Betty Finnebowski, the valedictorian!

Oh yes.

First I want to copy her Trig homework,

and then I want to make mad, passionate love to her

for hours and hours

until she reluctantly asks if we can stop

because she doesn’t want to miss “Battlestar Galactica.”

 

[…] But do you ever see that kind of woman

in a contemporary adult film? No!

A porn actress wearing horn-rimmed glasses, pretending to be a geeky high schooler? Hey, maybe that extremely common trope emerged after he wrote the poem. Maybe Ernest Cline made it happen. Maybe I’m better at finding porn than he is. Let’s not speculate.

The point is: Wise, deserving nerd men love smart women, not only because they can effortlessly profit from women’s intellectual labor but also because they can have sex with them. And yet, thanks to life’s cruel inequities, they are denied these women (in their porn).

Cline ties the whole poem up by explaining that he plans to fix this injustice by making “fuck films for my nerd brethren / of all sexual orientations.” Presumably not for women, who do not act as porn consumers in his universe. They are the objects of the male gaze, in which position they may take one of two roles: repulsive “cock-hungry nymphos” or bewitching trigonometry whizzes who will let a studly nerd hump them for hours, well past the point of chafing. 

Step one in his business plan:

If you’re an intelligent woman who is interested in

breaking into the Adult Film Industry,

and if you can tell me the name of Luke Skywalker’s home planet,

then you are hired!

Yes, to be a valid geek girl, you have to pass this dude’s test. Sorry, you thought you might have agency and self-determination in his new regime ― lol, no.

In total, the poem is a weird amalgamation of self-pity, vicious slut-shaming, smug back-patting about his own nerd credentials and litmus tests for women who claim to be nerds themselves, and, of course, the performative, half-assed feminism that barely rescues it from being a straightforward incel/MRA manifesto. 

Sure, this all sounds like dated bullshit, especially cringey thanks to our post-GamerGate awareness of toxic nerd masculinity. To be entirely fair, that’s in part because the poetry is dated. In the introduction, Cline explains that these poems, which take about 20 minutes in total to read closely, arose from his time doing poetry slams in Austin, Texas, where, back in the golden years from 1997 to 2001, he often won spoken-word competitions.

This origin story accounts for some of his groan-inducing tendencies: The pandery rants celebrating geeks, “Star Wars” and oral sex while excoriating knuckle-dragging jocks and corporate jobs; the habit of ending lines and poems on easy puns, exclamation points and expletives. (Those strategies probably played better to a live, lightly drunk crowd of Austinites than they do to a gimlet-eyed solitary reader.)

The cultural conversation (and the availability of hyper-specific porn) has undoubtedly evolved since 2001. That was, after all, 17 years ago. It’s evolved a little less since 2013, though, when Cline composed a new introduction for his collection, in which he opines that he’s “still proud of [the poems]… most of them still hold up pretty well.”

One might remember 2013 was just one year after the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. Nonetheless, it seems, Cline felt “Cinéma Vérité (My Closing Argument),” his detailed poem about murdering three people for causing distractions in a movie theater, held up quite nicely in this changed cultural and political environment. A sample:

Did it occur to her inbred ass that bringing a 2 year old [sic]

To an R-rated movie on a Friday night was not a good idea?

No.

It did not.

Therefore, I think you’ll agree ― she had to die.

Cline’s collection boasts other non-porn-themed standouts. “Bottom Bunk Messiah” tells the story of a young man who shares a college dorm room with Jesus Christ, a foreign exchange student who wears togas, cures frat boys of gonorrhea and gets high with his girlfriend, Mary Magdalene.  

Jesus is, he writes, a welcome change from his previous roommate, “a dim-witted, misogynistic, knuckle-dragging / football-playing business-slash-physical education major” who was “luckily… now serving five to fifteen years / on three counts of date rape… where, if there is any justice, / he is being sodomized on hourly shifts.”

Jesus Christ and prison rape ― let no one say this poem doesn’t have range.

The book also features poems about his “Inner Geek” (“He wants to kick your ass in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. / And he will. / Because he’s a fucking Geek”) and cunnilingus (“Unenlightened, Neanderthal frat boys / can continue to feign intolerance / at the taste or the smell, while boasting about the size of their phallus, / all of them leaving a sea of unsatisfied women in their wake”).

At any rate, the book, and his spoken word album (featuring highlights of his work), are still featured on Cline’s website under the tab “Spoken Word.” He wants you to read it! So definitely take a moment before clicking “buy” on those opening night “Ready Player One” tickets, open up “Nerd Porn Auteur” and soak in every single unhinged word.

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