Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Seymore Butts :: Putting the Anal in Banal

About a month ago I received an interesting email, apropos of nothing, from a lady at Penguin – the publishers, not the wacky dildo people. She said she wanted to share a book with you, my discerning readers. She said she knew you’d love it. It was about sex. Everybody loves sex. So she sent it to me, hoping I’d devour it with alacrity and urge you all, with all of my heart, to rush out and buy it for Christmas. And I tried. Believe me, I spent hours trying to write a glowing review with a none-too subtle sardonic undertone, but it didn’t work. The fact is, this book is such a rancid, horrible mess that I couldn’t even pretend to like it.

In actual fact, if I’m completely honest, I think Rock Her World by Seymore Butts is probably the worst book I’ve ever read - and remember, I’ve read both Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. So, with apologies to Jenny Chun of Penguin, who I’m sure was just doing her job and is actually unutterably lovely, I forbid you, my discerning readers, I forbid you to buy this odious mound of literary effluent.

Really. The man makes Chris Moyles look like Vladimir Nabokov. (Don’t buy Chris Moyles either. VERBOTEN!)

Now, it’s safe to say that certain groups of people have a poor reputation for intellectual prowess. Models, for example. Football players, for another. Toilet attendants, boxers, BNP voters, people who work in Argos. And, of course, porn stars. Now I don’t know if Seymore Butts is considered a cerebral giant in the world of porn, but let me tell you, when he isn’t ball-deep in stretched rectum, or else pointing a camera at someone who is, Seymore Butts is a moron. And I neither use this term lightly, nor mean it as an insult. What I mean is that, having studied Butts and the language he uses to convey his ideas, I have concluded that he has the mental age of someone aged between 8 and 12 years old, and therefore, according to the original medical classification, he is, unequivocally, a moron. And that is nothing to be ashamed of. At least he’s not an imbecile. But should Penguin really be paying him good money to write horrible, rancid books? I’m not so sure.

‘This isn’t your ordinary book,’ says Butts at the offset. Of course, he’s flattering himself. This is barely a book at all. It’s more like a soiled bib around the neck of a retarded sex pest.

It could be, of course, that I am very wrong, and it’s actually more to do with the fact that I’m just not Butts’ target audience. I do use pornography, don’t get me wrong. I use it a lot these days. But also, I read, and Butts’ readers don’t read. Just as Butts himself does not write. In the opening chapter, in a touchingly honest exchange, non-writer addresses non-reader and lays it on the line:

‘I realize you may not be used to reading anything without a centrefold and may look at the number of word-filled pages ahead and say, “Who the fuck has the time to read all that?”’

This is a nice touch. It immediately puts the reader at his ease. Essentially, Butts is saying: ‘Fear not, my oafish friend. I too, am a moron. We’re all friends here. Stupid horny men friends. At ease.’

He goes on to allay his readers’ logophobia by promising lots of saucy cartoons (think Sun Fun circa 1975) and the following:

What do you think is on the following page? Can you guess? No, it’s not a bunch of poorly-drawn women promising sex with anyone who reads Butts’ book.

Oh, yes, sorry. It is.

I could stop there really, and I think you would agree that my loathing of this book is justified. But I'm not going to. Sadly, this is only just the beginning.

In the introduction to his book, Seymore Butts - real name Adam Glasser - lays himself bare in a brief biography of his sexual exploits and career highlights: porn star-cum-porn director-cum-reality TV (porn) star, all the while with the accent (maybe a bumlaut) on 'assplay'. He then embarks upon his first attempt to crystallise and clarify recent shifts in perceived gender roles which he maintains are responsible for the current socio-sexual environment, the very environment which he blames for necessitating the creation of this book.

‘Women are now becoming empowered through their sexuality and it is up to you as a man to keep yourself in the game. Refining your sexual skills is certainly a step in the right direction, and I will go into great depth to help you achieve this. However, to me, the quickest way to become a “legitimate player” whom women are drawn to, whom women can give their respect and admiration to - something they naturally crave giving their man - is through the acquisition of knowledge. In my opinion, this is the only way for men to combat the change in sexual behaviour patterns (which is most certainly a psychological reaction by women to centuries of male dominance in and outside the bedroom, combined with the rise of the gay community and the recent emergence of the metrosexual.)’

Hmm. You see what I mean about words? Butts knows some, for sure, and probably even knows what some of them mean, but he has great difficulty amassing and amalgamating them into a coherent argument. Instead he just hammers away haphazardly, embarrassingly, achieving nothing, like a half-blind dog humping a dead man’s leg.

And so he continues, with pre-pubescent clarity, attempting to explain how his book had to be written, how the very survival of modern man - ‘in this new millennium filled with hypocrisy and contradiction and bound by a set of ambiguous new rules’ - depends upon it. He doesn’t really go into too much detail about the exact nature of the perceived hypocrisy, contradiction and ambiguity, but he knows it’s something to do with the media, and women. And probably the gays.

Once he’s established that his book is going to rescue the male species from... something or other, Butts gets stuck in, tackling the topics that other so-called sexperts just don’t have the cerebral retardation to address. Topics such as Is Assplay Gay? Just in case you were wondering, it isn’t: ‘I know I’m suggesting a rectal exam,’ says Butts, ‘but I can absolutely guarantee you won’t turn into a pickle smoocher.’

Ah, yes. ‘A pickle smoocher’. You might imagine that as a consequence of having slept with more than 600 women, Butts would at some stage have stopped guffawing about sex like a 10-year-old boy. Sadly, this is not the case, and moronic euphemisms are splashed across every page of this book like bukkake. Now I’m no psychologist, but let’s face it, you don’t have to be Emma Freud to wonder if perhaps Butts’ verbal moronia actually belies a deep-rooted shame over his feelings about the sexual act; shame which forces him to hide the physical reality of good honest genital contact behind a wall of infantile imagery, a veritable tsunami of bliss berries, love tunnels, clams, peaches, tushies, dipsticks, flagpoles, beanstalks and one-eyed monsters. Butts would probably argue that having a sense of humour about sex is a good thing. I would agree. Sense of humour is essential. However, referring to your genitals as your ‘twig and berries’ has nothing to do with humour. That’s just being a cock. And quite probably having something to hide.

Whether Butts is actually a giant prude in porn star’s clothing or a profoundly closeted, double-bluffing homosexual is a moot point, and not enormously relevant, but as he guides us through the labyrinthine anusphere of sexual relations like some brilliantine Venereal Virgil, his playground argot quickly becomes extremely tiresome.

The range of subjects covered by Butts, however, is impressive. In just 336 pages he covers everything from premature ejaculation to where to find virgins; from erectile dysfunction to what to do when your woman’s vagina stinks; from chat-up lines to controlling her gag reflex when you’re training her to deep-throat; from ‘how to properly fist a lady’ (presumably without splitting her infinitive) to how to spot if she’s trying to steal your sperm and trap you into marriage.


This by the way, is the same book that Lisa Scott was all over like genital warts just last week in the Metro. She couldn’t possibly have read it. Please, God.

At this point, it needs to be said that unfortunately, there is a broad seam of gender-related ugliness running through this book and you don’t have to be Andrea Dworkin to find yourself wincing in discomfort at certain points. The section entitled Conception Deception, for example, in the chapter Bun In The Oven, is particularly repugnant.

‘Some of the stories I’ve heard about women using deceptive methods to get pregnant,’ Butts begins, ‘simply astound me!’ I have no doubt that this happens, of course, but is Mr Butts really suggesting that this practice is common enough to warrant five pages on how to identify and thwart these nefarious, psychotic women? Ah, yes. Evidently he is.

Read this and despair.

Wow. What kind of world is this fucked-up man living in? A world where women have to be escorted to the bathroom after a blowjob and men have to keep a bottle of Tabasco by the bedroom bin. Just in case.

Then there’s the chapter entitled Something’s Fishy. Can you guess what that’s about? Yes. I’m afraid so.

It begins thusly, with all the tact and common courtesy of a gang rape (please excuse my outraged daubs):

Gorgeous. Overwhelming sensitivity.

Then there’s Cherry Picking, the chapter on the best places to find virgins. ‘Personally, I don’t get it,’ he writes. Still he devotes five pages to advising men who do get it where to find them and what to do once they’ve found them. Thankfully, Butts does not apply the same logic to paedophilia, presumably because there's a law against it.

However, having said all that, there is more to Butts' book than brutish ignorance and deep-rooted misogyny. There is also excruciating embarrassment.

At regular intervals throughout this book I found myself looking away from the text, my face contorted in a rictus of physical embarrassment. Sometimes it was because he was trying to be funny when he clearly doesn’t have it in him. Sometimes it was when he put puerility to one side and weighed in with some heavyweight medical fact or other, such as this: ‘Our testicles, the oval masses that sit within a sack called the scrotum, actually produce our sperm.’ And sometimes it was when he was offering suggestions for what to say to a woman. And you just know, before you even get into it, that Butt’s lack of word-wisdom is going to let him down.

‘Send her a naughty text message during the day,’ he says, ‘telling her some of the things you are going to do to her later that night. The anticipation of it all will have her literally marinating in her own juices all day as she watches the clock and thinks about what awaits her when she gets home!’

Now, either Butts is unfamiliar with the definition of the word ‘marinate’ or he’s unfamiliar with the definition of the word ‘literally’. But I’m being pedantic; his meaning is quite clear. So, to the point: if you’re unsure quite what to text to your woman in order to persuade her to spend the day soaking her ‘hot box’ in a combination of oil, vinegar, spices and herbs, fear not, for Cyrano de Butts is on hand to give a few examples of the type of texts he sends to his long-term partner, Mirna. Spices at the ready, girls:

‘I’ll pick you up at eight / and take you out to dine / then back to my place / for some hot 69!’

‘Lips so soft / body so tight / can’t wait to see you / gonna fuck you all night!’

Or what about this for a slightly more subtle role-play-themed text:

‘This is a courtesy reminder that you have an appointment with Dr Feelgood at ten P.M. tonight.’

Oh, Seymore. Dr Feelsick more like.

Speaking of feeling sick, it's probably worth dwelling for one moment on the stories Seymore tells throughout the book. Whether he’s being thrown out of a brothel for asking for anal sex, or being sprayed head-to-foot with some woman’s shit after having anal sex in a public toilet, or coming face-to-face with Crystal, or as he sweetly dubs her, ‘Elephant Anus’, the porn star with the monstrous haemorrhoids, every last one of Butts’ stories is as sweet and subtle as a sledgehammer made of excrement. They also have an air of the utterly contrived. Which is not to say that Butts is making stories up, but rather that, because he has no idea how to tell a story, everything he says sounds artificial, unconvincing and banal to boot. Although, having implied that I’m not accusing him of making stuff up, he does clearly get carried away at times.

For example, there’s the anecdote which begins with a young Butts and a bunch of his ‘practical joker’ friends - who may or may not be named Mr Muffhound, Mr Porker, Mr Diggler and Young Master Glans - eating together at a local restaurant when one of their group excuses himself to go to the bathroom. Oh, here, I’ll let Mr Butts tell it. In his own inimitable style.

Hmmm. Enchanting.

However, as much as I despise Butts for the childishness, the ugliness, the crass bravado and wilful idiocy of his writing, I think - perhaps - the worst section of his book sees him recounting his brush with genital warts.

He tells of how he discovered a series of bumps a short while before a planned trip to Palm Springs, ‘the whole purpose of which was to get laid, and I thought the cauliflower growing on my dick might not go over too well with the ladies!’ (He loves his exclamation marks.)

He told his friend Kurt. Turns out Kurt had them too. They wondered where they might have contracted whatever it was. Then it came back to them: ‘Tanya, the girl we gangbanged with eight of our other friends!’ So the first thing they do is to inform all eight of their friends, then a couple of them go to the doctor. There is no mention of anyone informing Tanya.

Then, and this is the really mind-bogglingly dumb bit, Butts tells of how, rather than follow the doctor’s instructions and return to the clinic for intermittent treatment, he steals the ointment and, along with his friends, applies it over a period of four to six days instead of the recommended period of four to six weeks. Just so they can make the spring break. And get laid. Cool.

What’s slightly worrying, however, is what if – and I know it’s a long shot – but what if some of the people reading this are real easily-led, suggestible types who think that if they read it in a proper sex guide with a hardback cover, then it must be perfectly acceptable to ignore medical directions and recommended dosages and generally play fast and loose with potentially fatal sexually transmitted diseases, as long as you can get another fuck out of it. Eh? Eh, lads?

The irresponsibility is breathtaking. As is the very next page of the book, in which Butts writes: ‘I’m hoping that reading this book will help you avoid many of the mistakes I’ve made.’ Christ. The really depressing thing about this blithering fuckwit is that he's not even aware of most of the mistakes he’s making.

So, to sum up, I would have to say that as well as being very, very, very bad, this is also a morally reprehensible and socially irresponsible book. It taught me nothing I feel better or richer or happier for having learned and it made me frequently despair at the parlous, unevolved state of the human brain. And not in a good way.

The really bad news, however, is that no matter what I say, Butts' abhorrent book will definitely sell thousands and thousands and thousands more copies than my absolutely beautiful and infinitely sexier book, which would make a wonderful Christmas present for just about anyone and which, if you haven't already done so, you must buy immediately. And that means you too, Jenny Chun!

Incidentally, if you have a product would like me to review, please drop me a line at the usual address. It would be my pleasure.

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HYE said...

'This is barely a book at all. It’s more like a soiled bib around the neck of a retarded sex pest.'

Well said.

The Gongman said...

No will learn how to fuck like a rockstar

But why should I lower my standards ????¿¿¿¿¿????

Catofstripes said...


La Bête said...

Thanks. Welcome back.

Nicky said...

And moreover, there's a supposedly decent publisher willing to peddle this guy's wares. Jeez, it makes you despair.

Beautifully written post by the way, as ever.

Larry Teabag said...

I dislike the way you dismiss as "abolute bullshit" his distressing tale of the man literally rolling on the floor laughing his ass off.

I've seen it happen, and believe me it's not pretty.

Maureen said...

Painful just reading your review, as I struggle to finish another rewrite my own novel.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

"anal sex in a pubic toilet"

Tee hee! Great typo.

Great review too. Have retweeted it, not that anyone reads my tweets, or even knows I have any.

Anonymous said...

I am literally rolling on the floor laughing my ass off....

Maria in Oregon

Unknown said...

Excellent Emma Freud reference.

Anonymous said...

Aww… who needs a guy who can navigate through treacherous sexual terrain and fuck like a rock star, or train a gal to control her gag reflex and fist like nobody’s business, when there are men in the world who are capable of producing breathtaking, intoxicating, orgasmic gems such as this: ‘Labyrinthine anusphere of sexual relations like some brilliantine Venereal Virgil, his playground argot quickly becomes extremely tiresome.’ Now, that kinda writing is erotic as hell…

A Twitter friend (and wanna be rock chick)

Some Chilean Woman said...

What a coincidence! I went to Barnes & Noble just last week and when I walking around the Sex Books & Relationships section I heard my husband say behind me, "Rock Her World!" in his best deep let's-get-ready-to-rumble voice. It cracked me up because it fit the book cover so well, it looked ridiculous to both of us. So glad you reviewed the book so I could have another laugh.

PurestGreen said...

This was the single best book review I have ever read. My mind is burning with the desire to never buy this book. I also think you earn extra points for your cunning use of bumlaut.

Anonymous said...

My favourite bit of your review:

‘how to properly fist a lady’ (presumably without splitting her infinitive)'

I snorted, and was forced to cover my mouth with my hand and pretend to be merely choking.

You are brilliant.

amy grace said...


They could have just sent you Mentally Incontinent. You know, a good book. Published by them.

(Shameless plug on behalf of my good friend who wrote it :)

Jake Barnes said...

It's just been said, but the split infinitive line was indeed comic genius.

That was a great review; if it weren't so costly to one's soul, I'd urge you to read more pulp. Just for our benefit, mind.

Kate said...

I think this is the best book review I have ever read. Hilarious and great to see this piece of shit trashed.

Kate xx

AndrewM said...

So did you like it then?

Coco said...

Putting the Banal back in Anal... David Foster Wallace in his review of the Adult Video News awards (extended version w/ extra footnotes in "Consider the Lobster") draws the same conclusion regarding Seymour Butts, casting him as a kind of embodiment of the adult video industry.

Beth said...

A very funny review - I can just imagine the kind of people who will love this book ... yuk!

Anonymous said...

Lovely read. Ta. Warmed me cockles right up. Or somat.

Ann Anon

Anonymous said...

Excellent review. It's depressing to think there's even one such man in the world. A poster boy for abstaining from casual sex if ever there was one.

Misskreant said...

I was once strangely hooked on a late-night documentary series about this guy, but I smoked an awful lot of weed in those days so maybe that was why.

Swineshead said...

Jesus, his reality TV show was unutterably awful. Essentially: a man who pays abused, cokehead women to take DP with extra cocks under each armpit, then sit still while she gets an STD in the eye, bizarrely trying to present himself as a lovable family guy.

He honestly deserves to be burned at the stake.

Brilliant post.

Swineshead said...

'Whether Butts is actually a giant prude in porn star’s clothing or a profoundly closeted, double-bluffing homosexual is a moot point, and not enormously relevant, but as he guides us through the labyrinthine anusphere of sexual relations like some brilliantine Venereal Virgil, his playground argot quickly becomes extremely tiresome.'

Jesus, this sentence is so well-composed I'm in danger of becoming one of your burgeoning group of simpering sycophants.

Hats off.

rockmother said...

Fanstastic review. He should have just been done with it and called himself Total Retard. I wonder if the 'Ron' at crabfest meal was Ron Jeremy - another fat loser in a syrup.

Joanna Cake said...

If I admit to liking Chris Moyles, Dan Brown and Jeffrey Archer, does it preclude me from commenting...? :P

Like Marianne, I loved the split infinitive comment :)

circus monkey said...

If it's the same Seymour I saw in a so called docu series some years ago I am not surprised its such an odious book. He and his equally odious uncle make a good living out of sex but they have no respect for it - or people it would seem At least the baker has respect for his dough!

Anonymous said...

Idiots like this are why I don't use porn. I can't imagine other porn stars are any better. I don't want my sex life in any way associated with people like this, even for a quick wank. I would just feel dirty.

BeckyBumbleFuck said...

Well, you managed to spurn something delicious to read out of that lackluster waste of a tree. Thanks for the good time!