The Talking Penis

Basic Instinct author crawls up Bill Clinton's pants and hangs on tight.

 I am Vlad the Impaler, Joe Eszterhasí penis. You know Joe, right? Bigfoot-looking son of a bitch, like Jerry Garcia after he swallowed Brian Wilson on an Acapulco Gold high? The guy who wrote Basic Instinct and Showgirls and Flashdance and a whole lotta crap for which he was paid inexplicable millions? My palís the most famous screenwriter in America, and youíd better believe he knows it too. Joe swears that he hates being famous, that itís too much trouble, but itís all bullshit. Being famous gets you a young wife, young kids, a "safe house" in Maui, and a publishing deal with Knopf even when the whole world swears your new book is nostalgic juvenilia, jerk-off rants about Monica and Bill and Ken and Hillary--a big effiní joke. But thatís my Joe, God love him. I know he loves me and only me. He writes about me constantly in his new book, about how I used to get him in trouble back in the 1970s, when he was "balling" all the chicks at Rolling Stone, doing coke and cooz on Jann Wennerís desk. Yeah, like I made him cheat on his old lady; like I made him go home to her, reeking of dope and sex sweat. But thatís Joe--canít let go of the past, canít let go of me. We make a good team. Without me, heíd be nothing more than a fat guy with a tan, broke and forgotten somewhere on the beach. I am his Bill Clinton, his Sharon Stone, his Rolling Stone, his Elizabeth Berkley, his Showgirls. I am his master, his pet, his hobby, his obsession, his Adolph Hitler, his ice pick, his David Caruso, his Sly Stallone, his Britney Spears, his screenplay...his doom.

Joe Eszterhasí new book, American Rhapsody, ends with a chapter titled "Willard Comes Clean," in which Bill Clintonís penis speaks and, God help us, raps. It is, by far, the most compelling chapter in a book otherwise full of so-what anecdotes (Farrah Fawcett once took a dump on a Hollywood producerís lawn while New Line head of production Mike DeLuca was out getting a blow job on the balcony), ho-hum revelations (Chinatown producer Robert Evansí description of Sharon Stone as "a lying dumb cunt whoís had all the brains in her head fucked out"), and far-flung lunacy (Bill and Monicaís "oral-anal" contact, as referenced in Ken Starrís report). The book is indeed the summerís must-read: You must read it to believe what absolute insane garbage it really is. And you thought Showgirls was bad.

By the time you get to the chapter about Clintonís talking pecker (called Willard because itís longer than Willie, or so says Gennifer Flowers), youíll merely shrug, then collapse into a mass of giggles--as Jon Stewart did last week on The Daily Show, when the author read the final two paragraphs of his book, in which Willard delivers his one-eyed monologue. ("I am his banana peel, his smoking gun, his Mannlicher Carcano rifle..." and so forth.) Stewart looked as though heíd wet his pants, and Eszterhas, who wrote the book during a three-year period spent watching ImpeachTV at his Maui home while poring over The Starr Report a dozen times, took it as a compliment. He was quite pleased, a smirk poking out of his bushy beard.

I am his haircut, his reefer, his beard crumbs...his Joe Eszterhas.
I am his haircut, his reefer, his beard crumbs...his Joe Eszterhas.

And maybe he ought to be. Maybe this book--part confessional, part obsessional (not a real word, which never stopped Joe)--is one 432-page punch line to the national joke known as Bill Clinton. Maybe itís a big put-on, a nyuk-nyuk rant-and-rave for which Alfred A. Knopf paid a hefty hunk of change to publish alongside the works of John Updike and Toni Morrison--neither of whom ever hinted, wink-wink, that Bill Clinton slept with Sharon Stone and Barbra Streisand. How can you take seriously a book in which Sasquatch insists Stone rubbed herself to climax on his corpulent flesh? Even Stone has insisted she was unaware Joe could write comedy.

The 56-year-old, Hungarian-born Eszterhas, talking from a hotel room in Chicago, likes to call the book a "mutant"--meaning, itís neither fact nor fiction, neither memoir nor exposé. At most, itís a mishmash of previously published "truths" and whispered rumors--say, Hunter S. Thompson dishing dirt with Matt Drudge over Thai stick and tequila, or Ken Starr penning porno for Henry Miller freaks. American Rhapsody bounces from reflections of days gone by ("We were the free-speech generation of the sixties, the generation of free love and communal sex, of one-night stands and no guilt, of bedroom experimentation..." blahblahblah) to bitchy backstabs about Hollywood whores and Washington weenies. Pick it up, and you canít put it down. That, or youíll hurl it against the wall just to see whether it sticks.

"Itís an outrageous, in-your-face, middle-finger-extended kind of book, especially in a politically correct world that I think in some ways is Stalinist in its politically correctness," Eszterhas says. "Itís a full-scale, full-frontal assault, and I knew there would be people who would love it and there would be people who would hate it, and that seems to be whatís happening."

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