Arts & Culture News

Papa Don't Preach: A Q&A With Hemingway Parodist Marty Beckerman

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the death of one of literature's manliest men: Ernest Hemingway. About a month ago, author Marty Beckerman released his latest book, The Heming Way. I figured it might be a tribute until I read the subhead, How to Unleash the Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested, Retro-Sexual Legend Within...Just Like Papa!.

Yeah. And that's the cover. The chapters include "For Whom the Beer Flows" and "A Farewell to Smooth Arms, Backs, Taints, Etc." Here are a few choice excerpts from within the pages:

Page 27: "Alcohol isn't about expressing torment. The whole point is burying it deeper, which is why nobody likes a sad drunk. But some inconsiderate people--specifically people with vaginas-- cannot help themselves; they have an ounce of schnapps and then weep about their latest breakup (with yet another soul mate) or their backstabbing girl friends (those bitches) or their dead pet (more like toy) or their horrible daddy (the molester)."

Page 42: "You've probably heard the Spanish word cojones (translation: a humongous, law-dangling ball sack) used to describe bravery. It's no coincidence that Papa, whose humongous ball sack dangled lower than any other land trotting mammal's, originally brought the euphemism to the English-speaking world in 1932 when he wrote of bullfighting: 'It takes more cojones to be a sportsman where death is...the game.'"

Pages 57 and 58: "Modern women, however, much like spoiled children, believe that performing chores it tantamount to oppression, so they watch television, belch, and scratch themselves (which is only attractive when we do it) while obsequious men-too afraid to object, too ignorant of history to know any better-cook, clean, and otherwise run a household. It's a small miracle that we aren't yet giving birth with surgically implanted wombs."


Anyway, we decided that Beckerman is a guy we needed to interview. You might want to sit down for this.

Why the hard-on for Hemingway? Because he is history's ultimate man, or at least he wanted us to think he was. He lived life to the fullest, globetrotting and adventuring, whereas everything we know today comes from Wikipedia.

He wouldn't care about his number of Twitter followers; he only cared about his number of confirmed kills.

Why a parody? Because Hemingway said, "The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer. The step up from writing parodies is writing on the wall above the urinal." And I'm all about graffiting urinals.

Do you secretly believe some of what you've written in the book is true? You know, a little truth in every jest and all that. It's half parody and half loving tribute. Do I really think we should drunkenly slaughter majestic endangered creatures of the Southern Hemisphere before we blow our brains out to finally escape our wives' nagging? Nah.

Do I think we need to grow a pair and stop going to yoga studios while eating miniature cupcakes and apologizing for everything we say in advance? For Christ's sake, yes. We need to feel proud of ourselves; we need to stop feeling guilty simply for being men with strong desires and strong opinions and strong body odors.

What was your motivation for writing the book? First off, I hope it encourages guys to stop waxing their pubes because what the fuck? Your junk is like Samson in the Old Testament; its strength comes from its wooly tangled jungle of hair. Full disclosure: I got my pubes waxed on video for the Huffington Post to prove a point. I miss my treasure trail... how am I supposed to find the treasure?

Secondly, I hope it gets people interested in reading Hemingway again, because I really am a big fan of his writing. People know the cartoon character more than they know the books. Even if you haven't read A Farewell to Arms or For Whom the Bell Tolls, you know about the mojito-swigging, battlefield-dominating, lion-eradicating beast of a man. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Do you belong to any sort of literary drinking clubs or hunting clubs? I'm a total cosmopolitan sissy. I don't know how to do anything rugged and outdoorsy. I'm part of the problem, and I'm trying to be part of the solution. But why the hell would I need a club to drink?

I can't decide if you're hilarious or hideous. Which is it? Or are the two even mutually exclusive? Have you seen my pecs? I am so the opposite of hideous.

Do chicks dig you? My fiancée tolerates me.

Does your mom read your stuff? My mother tolerates me.

Are you really a misogynist or do you just play one in your writing? The misogyny is 100 percent ironic. I truly believe that women are the equals of human beings.

I read some top-notch hate mail on your site. Have you gotten any doozeys about this book? Yeah, it's divided between Hemingway lovers who think I'm a poseur who couldn't reel in a goldfish, and Hemingway haters who think I'm a sexist, fascist, animal-hating retrograde simpleton. Can't it be both?

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Jenny Block