Chuck Palahniuk. I don’t quite know how to pronounce his last name.

I am weak. I am so easily creeped out I don’t watch the evening news. I watch a great many movies with my fingers smooched up against my eyes. Hell, I can’t watch most horror movie commercials on TV. As a child, I found certain portions of Sesame Street to be terrifying. It was with great trepidation that I saw the movie Fight Club. I ended up loving it and buying it and watching it numerous times (through my fingers). I recently saw my hands-down favorite film of the year Choke, by the same author as Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk. He’s one hell of an author, and his books translate well to the screen. I would love to tell you all about Choke, but I took a vow to maintain some semblance of tastefulness on this website, so I will do my best to describe the not-too-nawsty bits for you. Main character is a sex addict who works at a Ye Olde American Waye of Lyfe park. Think Williamsburg, churning butter and blacksmithing in authentic garb, that kind of thing. When he’s not getting his groove on with random strangers or describing his role in American history to disinterested schoolchildren, he’s doing one of two things: visiting his mother in a home (she is suffering from dementia) and making himself choke on food in restaurants so the patrons who save him will feel a connection to him and also possibly send him money. Heartwarming tale, isn’t it? Well, it would be totally awful if it wasn’t Sam Rockwell playing the lead. I don’t know how he does it, but Rockwell makes the character into something other than a big bag of pathos and lameness and greed and vile dreck. He’s funny and sweet at times, and you really feel for him. And even though whole pieces of plot are hard to believe (you could say they are “hard to swallow!” Haw! See what I did there?), I let it slide because Sam Rockwell is so great. This is going to become a big cult classic, I’ll bet.

Continuing in this Palahniuk vein, a blog I read called FourFour (I referenced FourFour when describing the cat show) talked about another CP book, called Haunted. If you’d like to read Rich’s entry, here’s the link:

If you want a quick summary, here’s the best part: Palahniuk wrote a short story called Guts. It makes people faint. No, really. From Wikipedia:

While on his 2003 tour to promote his novel Diary, Palahniuk read to his audiences a short story titled “Guts” … which appears in his book Haunted. It was reported that to that point, 40 people had fainted while listening to the readings. Playboy magazine would later publish the story in their March 2004 issue; Palahniuk offered to let them publish another story along with it, but the publishers found the second work too disturbing. On his tour to promote Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories in the summer of 2004, he read the story to audiences again, bringing the total number of fainters up to 53, and later up to 60, while on tour to promote the softcover edition of Diary. In the fall of that year, he began promoting “Haunted”, and continued to read “Guts”. At his October 4, 2004 reading in Boulder, Colorado, Palahniuk noted that, after that day, his number of fainters was up to 68. The last fainting occurred on May 28, 2007, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where 5 people fainted, one of which occurred when a man was trying to leave the auditorium, which resulted in him falling and hitting his head on the door. Palahniuk is apparently not bothered by these incidents, which have not stopped fans from reading “Guts” or his other works. Audio recordings of his readings of the story have since circulated on the Internet. In the afterword of the latest edition of “Haunted”, Palahniuk reports that “Guts” is now responsible for 73 faintings.

Now, when Rich on FourFour described the story, I thought it sounded familiar. See how above it says they published it in Playboy? Cricket has a subscription to Playboy and guess what? When the story first came out in 2004, I READ IT. I READ THE WHOLE STORY. I did not pass out. I did not throw up. It made me walk and sit funny for about a week, but other than that, I made it where others failed. Whoo hoo! I am one tough cookie. Please turn on the night light before you leave.

Here are some links if you want to learn more:




One Response to “Chuck Palahniuk. I don’t quite know how to pronounce his last name.”

  1. Gem says:

    Odd coincidence! I just picked up his book “Invisible Monsters”… I will let you know how it is (when I get around to reading it). TTFN

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