The Libido for the Ugly

“David Matlin’s magisterial new book, “The Libido for the Ugly”, is an exploration of the genesis of the current Trumpian world, a deep delving that reveals both Trump’s antecedents and his own dark trajectory. If any reader wants to assay the earth from which Trump sprang, this is the volume to consult. Both its language and learning illuminate the unsightly birthing and the terrible consequences the current president’s rise has wrought. Matlin’s eloquence and unequaled insights offer both hope and solace to a belabored public.” -William O’Rourke, author of Politics and the American Language

“I found myself continually fascinated, disturbed, amazed, and amused by David Matlin’s LIBIDO FOR THE UGLY (“aroused,” not so much!). Part memoir about Matlin’s experiences attending a porn convention in Las Vegas, part sustained examination of the outrages of the Trump presidency, and part meta-analysis of the challenges that these outrages present for writers and citizens seeking to find an appropriate vocabulary capable of expressing these outrages outside the range of cliché and mass-media stereotypes, LIBIDO unfolds outside of linearity and progression in a kind of kaleidescopic array of hallucinatory images, fragments of poetry, surreal (and often hilarious) mashups of Trumpian prose and porn rhetoric, and Matlin’s super-heated prose. I can’t say that Matlin has invented a form capable of expressing just how bizarre this current moment is, but it seems to me that in LIBIDO FOR THE UGLY he’s come pretty damn close.” -Larry McCaffery, editor of Storming the Reality Studio

“Describing what looms before us now in the same way we speak of the past can shrink the catastrophe of our time - from the hold of Trump on our national psyche, to the scourge of racism most violently illustrated by the treatment of children - to a level of comfort that, dangerously, merits nothing more than to wait until this too has passed. David Matlin reaches deep for a means of describing the world of the early 21st Century, the damages it inflicts on the present and the blast disaster that it will mean for the future, as a call for clear vision. There are essays in this book that are apocalyptic in their language, some that are tender, and all of them a challenge to the reader and the citizenry to assess in a different, perhaps more difficult, but certainly more revealing, language what our world faces today. The illustrations by artist Gail Schneider are rendered in a pointillist manner calling to mind both ancient petroglyphs and a creeping disintegration to the future. Perfect companions to the writings in "The Libido For the Ugly.” -Spring Warren, artist and writer