Not that Obenzinger seems to have intended any partisan commentary or topical reference in this disorienting postmodern work. I'm just saying ... .
Consider the terrible consequences of a seemingly minor verbal gaffe: Through "the usual corruption of words," young Jesus, the Logos -- the Word, the Law incarnate -- becomes Jesus, the Legos, building miniature houses of brightly colored plastic blocks, peopling them with clay into which he breathes life, only to smash the whole lot into oblivion when he gets bored.
Under the care of an unsure adolescent god, the world has gone so soft and insubstantial that a Nike-geared New York boy falls into the earth and pops (or is that poops?) up in the Philippines, where, knowing only two phrases of Spanish, he unwittingly spawns the cult of La Vida Loca, whose supplicants keep secret the sacred swoosh and chant the holy phrase, "Hasta la vista, baby."
In an underground of a different sort, a detective of nostalgia tries to reunite Patty Hearst with fellow traveler Tania, and a young woman with the nom-de-plume of Prophetic Attractions attracts the interest of the CIA for her flawlessly accurate reviews of movies that have not yet been written.
Obenzinger has constructed an entire teleology of turds, a sacred scatology of sphincters complete with neo-cannibal rites and the saintly ablutions of Our Lady of Shit, who cleanses the public toilets of the world. A*hole is a little harder to follow than, say, Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, but, like finally sending a constipated pain-in-the-ass shit to its watery rest, is much more satisfying than the effortless release of looser bowels.-- Thomas Bell
Hilton Obenzinger reads and signs A*hole on Thurs., Nov. 11, 8 p.m. A Cappella Books, 1133 Euclid Ave. 404-681-5128. www.acappellabooks.com. Book: $12.95. Soft Skull Press. 204 pages.
Other worthwhile words
New York Times writer Warren St. John spent a season with the most fanatical of football fans, the caravan of RVers who follow the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide. A lifelong Crimson Tide fan himself, St. John put on his giant foam anthropologist's hand and went native in his own RV, trying to find the heart of our national obsession with spectator sports in Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey Into the Heart of Fan Mania. St. John reads and signs Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m., at Smith's Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave. Sponsored by Chapter 11 Books. 404-872-7986. www.chapter11books.com.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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