Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary
by Lydia Lunch
This edition comes with its own bookends: we have an introduction by Jeffrey Stahl (subject of Permanent Midnight) and an afterword by Sonic Youth noisemeister Thurston Moore. However, what will keep Paradoxia available in perpetuity (if at times only by swiping from the old man’s sock drawer) is the salacious, provocative kaleidoscope of porno-pathic remembrance of things past the pale that is the juicy meat of this mighty memoir. As easily as Lydia’s life moves from gritty New York to unexpected Florida to decadent New Orleans, the unfettered tales move from promiscuity to rough sex, chemical celebration to addiction afire, cocaine sodomy to Satanic pedophilia.
Stringing together the scandalously dirty laundry are brief mentions of Lydia Lunch’s career beginnings as performance artist, art-rocker, and filmmaker. The creamy confessional of this self-directed Justine opens with a Freudian exploration of the forging of the Lunch character in the crucible of childhood sexual abuse. This lays the foundation for her sexual predation, which appears resolved and dealt with in reflective retrospection by a more mature Lunch in the final chapter. (A hint of studied consideration by Lunch of her path may be reflected in the book’s title.) Along the way, she heightens aggressive sex for her own titillation and samples runaway teenage boys and thug street youths like chocolates from a box. The entire arc of the story is prose so purple as to be florid with the details and exhilaration of pre-AIDS, post-love selfish and sordid thrillseeking. It is an impossible tale that was lustily lived and unabashedly told for the benefit of those who couldn’t, and perhaps shouldn’t.