I use “obscene” as a term of praise. When I wrote the book, I was conscious of working within the tradition of Marquis de Sade or of Dennis Cooper, who is a very important writer to me. My generation and my personal trajectory were marked by an ethics of provocation and transgressive performance art; shock art was part of my time. 1988 was the year of the NEA Four. I had just gotten my Ph.D. and was beginning to write avowedly queer books. My whole aesthetic—and the urgency of that moment—gave priority to the unashamed voicing of erotic undergrounds.


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