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Author Topic: Pseudopod 163: I Am Your Need  (Read 13047 times)


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Reply #25 on: November 06, 2009, 05:06:37 PM
Coming in late, but I just finished this one. Holy crap! Ben and Sara gave this an amazing reading. Usually, I love Ben's readings but I totally lost Ben at points in the story here and heard something else. That was awesome. And Sara gave Marilyn Monroe's voice everything it needed.

Liked this very much, as I always have time for Mort Castle since reading "The Old Man And The Dead" years ago (which is about Hemingway, so he has a decided thematic interest in reinterpreting the lives of icons).

For those who didn't like that it was specifically MM, eh, well, I bet if it had been someone who was "Marilyn in everything but name", there'd be others who would be posting on "why couldn't he have just made it Marilyn Monroe and be done with it?", so six of one...

(I totally need to read that other Mort Castle story now...)

I am one of those people who would have probably complained (at least in my own head) if this had not been Marilyn Monroe. By using her name Mort Castle's invoking quite a lot about culture, character, and our own perceptions. For me personally, it makes for a hell of a more complex and interesting story. If it had been some other unnamed actress, even if they had alluded to it being MM (but why just wink and allude with your skirt flapping up?) I would have probably shrugged a lot of this one off. Playing with an actual icon did so much for me. (I understand YMMV.)

I thought it would have been a cheat *not* to have acknowledged the sexual element. YMMV, but that was a quintessential part of MM as icon. Needed to be done, and I didn't think it was masturbatory, but instead humanizing.  I think some author who wanted to hack out a jerk-off fantasy about Marilyn Monroe would have spent less time and effort getting there.   I like that Pseudopod can present stories like this that are horror, just not the type of thing people think of when they think of horror.  Psychological, no external threat, the horrors of popular culture and history and the people ground up in the gears.

I agree. We're talking about a sex symbol here and it would've been a cop-out not to talk about sex. I especially liked the contrast between MM showing housewifes "You're supposed to like it" to the sex we were shown that was so disturbing.

As to the point - maybe I'm misreading (hearing), and I actually am hesitant at putting my thoughts down as a solid statement because I believe that its deliberately NOT spelled out for a number of reasons, but I believe the author's implication was that Marilyn was the victim of some form of molestation as a child, physical or mental - that's not the ultimate point, however, and I would leave the "Need"'s narration at the end to be re-examined by the listener with that thought in mind.  Marilyn as pop icon, a screen that millions projected onto, but her "Need" and its origin was also part of that.  The personal specific magnified out into a popular culture and finding resonances with her audience in ways not intended by her or her packagers, and what the arc of her "life story" then says to those who felt those resonances.  Every person carries their secret damage, if they have some, but when one person becomes this large of a figure, their secret damage gets magnified as well, and when the root, the personal specific's life, ends in such a way, well....

The Need, at the end, has become an icon, just like Marilyn.  It lives on after her, to our detriment.

Interesting. I'd take it one step further and say that The Need became the popular culture's need after Monroe died. All the daddy issues. All the feelings of abandonment and disillusion. The poor dog that got cut in half. America embraced it all. We got the assasinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, went to Vietnam, elected Nixon and got Watergate and we channeled our fury through rock n roll and Easy Rider.

And I think you could make the argument in this story that they embraced it after Monroe's death. So, I don't know, but that's my reading of the story. (I wish Anarkey was still posting so she could tell me different, or eytanz had listened to the end so he could do the same.)

In the end, I'd say this is kind of a dirty little love letter to America of the 50s and 60s (and to some degree, maybe even the 70s), and I haven't read anything that struck me as pealing away the glistening facade of Camelot so much since James Ellroy's American Tabloid. Very well done, PP! Thanks for making me think about all this a bit.


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Reply #26 on: November 06, 2009, 06:34:48 PM
In the end, I'd say this is kind of a dirty little love letter to America of the 50s and 60s

Exactly!  Well said!


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Reply #27 on: November 24, 2009, 03:17:28 AM
Wow. That was the first pseudopod story that I almost didn't listen to the whole way through. It didn't push ang of my horror buttons, didn't make me think, didn't really do much of anything other than make me say, "I'll listen to just a little bit more and see if it gets better." It didn't, and the ending left me flat. The only thing it did do, was get me to finally register on the EscapeArtists Forum, after listening to EP and friends since episode 1.

I guess that's something.


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Reply #28 on: January 23, 2010, 03:37:14 AM
For thouse who found this story intriguing, I'd seriously suggest taking a look at Angela Carter's book THE SADEIAN WOMAN - it's her examination the Marquis De Sade and there's a section called "The Blonde as Clown" in the chapter "The Desecration of the Temple" that goes into some depth about Marilyn Monroe and the origins of the standard Hollywood doomed, child woman sex-symbol as arising from Sade's JUSTINE.  It's fascinating stuff and very pertinent to this story!

A sample:

"In herself, this lovely ghost, this zombie, or woman who has never been culturally born as a woman, only as a debased cultural idea of a woman, is appreciated only for her decorative value.  Final condition of the imaginary prostitute: men would rather have slept with her than sleep with her.  She is most arousing as a memory or as a masturbatory fantasy.  If she perceives herself as something else, the contradictions of her situation will destroy her.  This is the Monroe syndrome."

and a little bit later:

"She is always ready for more suffering.  She is always ready for more suffering because she is always ready to please."


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Reply #29 on: March 03, 2010, 12:51:17 AM
Listening to the outro of the story I was thinking about the comments that I would find here. I expected:

1. complaints about the language
2. complaints about the sex
3. complaints about the genre

Y'all did not disappoint.

The production value was fantastic. The two narrators really held me for a story that wasn't really my style. A good reading can really elevate material that doesn't engage you.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Reply #30 on: June 03, 2010, 09:29:48 PM
Well-researched.  Great use of language.  GREAT narration.  Great pacing.  Great tone.


The whole thing can be summarized as: Marilyn Monroe blabs on and on about her life and contemplates suicide.  What little tension exists is wrapped up entirely in "Will she or won't she kill herself?"  Of course, this is destroyed by the fact that we all already know the ending.

I guess I'm just "old fashioned" or whatever, but I like brisk pacing, tension, drama and actual storytelling.  This sort of plotless, experimental piece does not do anything for me.

But MAN, the narration was top notch.  Probably the best I've heard here (except maybe Ian, I always like Ian's pieces).  PP can hold my interest even to a lousy story due to strong narration.

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Reply #31 on: December 03, 2019, 06:03:57 PM
I noticed several negative comments here, but instead of trying to dissuade anyone from their opinion, I think I'll just recommend another Mort Castle that I think will appeal to the listeners of Pseudopod. It's called "If You Take My Hand My Son" and can be found in the collection New Moon on the Water.

It's excellent.