He worried that the era of dangerous writing was possibly over, the liberated discussion of sex and mores, politics and society, the extravagances of human behavior put under the microscope of the genius poet’s Mind, all expunged from the Body Politic.
Perhaps there would be no more Conrad, Hemingway, Orwell and Maughn, no more Chandler, Hammet, Caine and Thompson, nor Keroac, Burroughs, Genet and Ginzberg, don't forget McCullers, Highsmith, Greer and DuMaurier, imagine no more Rechy, Bukowski, Williams or White, I cry for Dick, Wilde, Traven and Fante. And my much beloved Eco, Banks, Selby Jnr. and Algren.
(At least we've still got McCarthy, Ellroy, Gibson and Dawkins, no god forbid Llosa, Marquez, Asher and Rushdie. OK, I'll have to mention my favorite Indian writers still working, Mistry, Gosh, Sen and Roy.)
(This is not to say Artie's a megalomaniac, who thinks he's carrying on the baton of such luminaries, he wouldn't even try, he's only written his narcissist ravings. But he wouldn't let THEM worry him, nor a phantom reading public either, he would probably never even get published, he was a freak of nature unto himself and he just did what he wanted to do, masturbate, as always.)
Travel was more free, hippies could wander Europe, India and Africa with few limitations, sleeping in Natural or Public Wonders, imbibing their drugs of choice, fucking like pagans. Now they must have lots of money, visas and deadlines, and be policed into straight-laced scumbags, the era of ‘Seventies hippies referred to as “morally bankrupt”.
It all seemed to evaporate in the ‘Noughties, beginning with The 2000 Sydney Olympics, then The New York Twin Towers crashing down, the War on Terrorism and Difference sweeping all in its path, everything now supposedly “naughty but nice”, nothing much naughty, 99% nice. All that was funky has been gentrified, quaint terrace-houses knocked down for stacked-box apartment towers, the people with heads as square as their domiciles.
(OK, I hear you say, what's wrong with all the sleaze being done away with, it's safe to walk the streets at night again. Artie just liked bitching about the change, from funky to boring, gung ho to squeamish, candid to clandestine. Why does modernity have to bring a sanitized white-wash with it?)
By sheer tenacity, hard-work, brains, guts and heart, he had got his material out into the planet’s teeming multitudes, groaning in pain, squealing in pleasure. BAD stories can still be told. He’d gotten 50,000 page reads on his Blog tales, not much when compared to the millions of hits on a video of the Moment, the family cat beating off a marauding dog: anyway, he dreaded going viral, to him it was more like a social dis-ease than a cure for ignominy.
When last seen he was lying by the side of a dusty road, laughing tears. For it was half Okay with him, he’d achieved enough of what he’d set out to do and that made him happy, on some days. On other days he felt like shit.
( Believe it or not, even in a democracy like Auz, it's a struggle to get "free speech", it's not the sunny, gooey, sun-tanned lovie-dovie playground portrayed in tourism-vids. It's ultra-conservative, run by Catholics, little of alternative ideas, lunatic-fringe spaces or left of progressive agendas get support. Eg. climate control, Ganjha decrim and marriage equality, now overtaking America and Europe, are still far off dreams in Auz.)(In Time Magazine's recent 100 Most Important People on Planet Earth in 2016 not one of them was in Australia.)
To quit the yowling, all you pea-brained bigots, jealous artsholes and fascist power-mongers who tried to kill Arthur off, it’s too late, by the uptight 21st century his genie had already gotten out of the bottle. ( Yes, this rave proves he was driven mad, which was half the fun, he then had an excuse to get away with writing the most outrageous crap!)
P.S. Thinking about it, a lot of hot, edgy, dangerous writers moved over to film and screen-plays since the mid-20th Century, films like "They Drive By Night", "Ashphalt Jungle" "Sunset Boulevard", "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Misfits", "Bonnie and Clyde", "Midnight Cowboy" and "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" to name a few at the beginning of the post War explosion of provocative narratives, and lately movies like "Frozen River", "Winter's Bone", "Django Unchained", "The Homesman", "Nightcrawler", "Bone Tomahawk", "Tangerine", "Pasolini", "Far From Men", "Ex-Machina", yeah even "Mad Max - Fury Road", again to name just a few of the favorites. He still gets to swoon to the art of the Word.