Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What the Hell is Dick Lit?

In my last review, I mentioned the genre dick lit, but I didn't really give it a definition. Upon googling the phrase, I found that I don't actually have to. It's already been done for me!

Dick lit, lad lit, guy lit…whatever, is typically written by men, about men, who are young, selfish, insensitive and afraid of commitment. Just picture Chuck Bass and you've pretty much got your quintessential dick lit character. If I had to put the blame on anyone, I'd start with Holden Caulfield. Which makes me realize that that I now understand Catcher in the Rye. Because I didn't before. I just thought he was a huge asshole.

While most men don't read chick lit, the same cannot be said for the other way around. Despite the fact that dick lit protagonists are essentially&133;dicks, women love dick lit.

Dustin Rowles explains:
"The penis ejaculates yarns rich with metaphor and, because young men aren't big readers, dick lit also has to appeal to women to be successful. In a way, then, dick lit is written by the music-loving, sensitive men so worshipped in the chick lit genre."
Hands up, who doesn't picture John Cusack when she's reading her dog-eared copy of High Fidelity?

And the Book Ninja has more to add (through the help of The Chronicle, but their own article has been taken down):
Each work is written in the first person, by a destabilized, unreliable narrator; these books are like one long run-on sentence of self-justification and rationalization. "I don't want your wholesome values, your reasonably good judgment," says Jeb Braun, protagonist in Erik Barmack's The Virgin. "My goal isn't to please you. So if you're expecting the whole handshake and nod routine, you can stop reading right now." (Several authors refer to "the book you hold in your hand," as if to distance themselves even further from their own sad story.)
Despite this holier-than-thou attitude, we want to keep reading. It's like you know your boyfriend's an asshole and he never goes down on you, but you still keep him around cause he makes you feel smarter just by being there. Eventually, though, you realize he's a dick and you dump him. But a part of you will always miss that boost of intelligence he gave you by his mere selfish, insensitive presence.

My personal dick lit hero is Tyler Durden. I'd follow that crazy mofo to the ends of the earth. How about you?

Image source: Save Ophelia

1 comment:

schinders said...

hey olga! you linked to my blog in this post, which i really appreciate. i'm writing to say, i've moved! while the article you point to is still available at the old addy, for newer, sillier stuff, people can go to
take care!