introducing readers to writers since 1995

October 04, 2004

Paul Maher Sticks The Foot He Didn't Shoot Last Time
Deep, Deep Into His Mouth

by Ron Hogan

I'd like to introduce new Beatrice readers to Paul Maher, author of the so-called "definitive biography" of Jack Kerouac who apparently has little better to do with his time than tell people who criticize his book that he's going to ignore them. Until, that is, he returns after a two-month absence for yet another round of self-defensive commentary. (Scroll all the way down to see his latest.)

In August, Maher complained, "Your slant in the review seemed biased and pointed more toward character assasination (hinting that I was somehow homophobic)," because I pointed out his dubious assertion that Kerouac never, ever had sex with another guy. Today, he declares, "Hogan comes across as a prissy little queen pointing out homemade gowns at a high school prom." Here's the funny part: I didn't think Maher was a homophobe back then; I just thought he was relying too much on Kerouac's self-serving homophobic perspective. But it's certainly nice of Maher to remove any doubt on the question, isn't it? Of course, one wonders why Maher thinks Allen Ginsberg and Gore Vidal's statements are "questionable" while Kerouac's aren't, but maybe he just thinks all prissy queens are big liars.

Oh, and as for the "numerous positive reviews" on his site, I count less than a dozen. While that might be more than the two negative reviews of which I have personal knowledge, it's also substantially overwhelmed by the number of people who simply never gave Maher the time of day. Could it be that the Taylor Trade Publishing employees he called "sales reps and marketing geniuses...who feel that misaligning one's work to sell books and make room on bookstore shelves counts more than reading the work" figured they'd had about as much of him as they could stand and stopped asking people to consider his book? I'm just wondering aloud here...and glad that Paul Maher's doing such a good job of getting on with his life that he can track down comments to two-month-old posts in order to show us all how effectively he's ignoring me.


I followed the link to Mr. Maher's web site and all i saw was good reviews even from the Kerouac's estate. They don't seem to since they dont seem to have their blurb on any of the other biographies you have such a high opinion on . Do you not like Mr. Maher's book it offends your gay sensitivity ? Had it been filled full of made-up gay encounters would you like it more ? Would it then Mr. Hogan , deem worthy to you ? If Maher had a whole chapter on how Allen Gisberg sucked Kerouac's penis and sodomized him, you would have given it a stellar review. I must say you do come across as a bitchy little queen .

How do you have the time to read all the things you claims to review yet still maintain a vigilant watch on your website seemingly 24/7?

Originally I happened upon your site and now I come back to not only find your statements against me but the author himself Mr.Maher 's replies and all of a sudden he is being accused of a gay basher. Why are you so concerned with the sexual life of any man? Is this really what you feel your time with? Do you sign your allegiance with the gays because you feel they will support you?

Hey, maybe you could pick out more typos, isn't that your style? Once again you are true to form.

Posted by: Fresca at October 4, 2004 06:07 PM

LOL, you are struggling Hogan, I merely stated you "came across" as a "prissy queen" - that you took offence to it says a lot more about you than it does of me.

There isn't one passage in my book stating that Kerouac never had sex with men; instead, I implied that that topic was covered in depth by Elllis Amburn (a biographer of whom I contributed a back cover blurb when so many others (like Joyce Johnson for the L.A. Times) bashed the book critically for its thesis of Kerouac as a tormented closet-case) so it did not warrant for me to explore it at any length or detail. I simply question Vidal's or Ginsberg's veracity, the latter of which only stated sordid details about Kerouac's alleged bisexuality after the author was dead. Furthermore, I left the judgement calls to Kerouac through his letters and journal entries; nowhere in my book have I inserted a negative reference toward gays, Jews or any minority.

Posted by: Maher at October 4, 2004 06:13 PM

"Hey, maybe you could pick out more typos, isn't that your style?"


Posted by: Jeff at October 4, 2004 06:21 PM

And with that, Maher and his one lone supporter finally prove themselves not only pathetic and untalented, but loathesome as well. Would that Maher would fulfill his promise to ignore you, but let's face it -- this is probably the most attention the man has ever received in his life, especially considering that he passes his days in in front of a class of bored high school students.

Btw, I wonder what the authorities at Maher's school would think of his musings on this site? I wonder if they'd be interested in an e-mail...

Posted by: Laura Proctor at October 4, 2004 08:14 PM

Authorities? You think a police state runs public schools? And if so, would they take issue with me defending my book from a hostile and biased "critic"? Also, Laura, do you feel confident to make good on your threat that if I should express myself against your liking, then I should be ineffectively silenced? Do you think this is pre-war Iraq? For your information I only teach college now, but if it suits you send an e-mail their way. Just let me know if it was the incendious adjective "prissy" or the offending noun "queen" that has gotten your panties in a bunch. For either word lifted straight out of its context, I level at anybody ignorant enough to believe the folly of their own untruth(s).

Posted by: Hogan's Hero at October 4, 2004 08:41 PM

"Would that Maher would fulfill his promise to ignore you..."

Now that would really suck. Why would you wish that this grand form of entertainment leave?

Posted by: Dan Wickett at October 4, 2004 08:44 PM

Could you please parse this for me? It's imcomprehensible: "Also, Laura, do you feel confident to make good on your threat that if I should express myself against your liking, then I should be ineffectively silenced?"

I sure hope you teach something other than English. You could use a couple lessons yourself.

Posted by: Laura Proctor at October 4, 2004 08:50 PM

Just explain to me what this means since Hogan is so anal about proper grammar ("Would that Maher would fulfill his promise to ignore you..."), does she want me to leave? So in other words, you are an exclusive blog community, and not inclusive? If I am "loathsome," please have the courtesy to explain why . . . .?

Posted by: Maher at October 4, 2004 08:51 PM

Very well Laura, I will reduce it to a simple sentence for easy processing . . . "Are you threatening to make good on your claim to contact a school I no longer work at in order to silence me from defending myself?"

Posted by: Maher at October 4, 2004 08:54 PM

Uh, you've honestly never heard the construction, "would that he..." And you say you teach English? At college level?

Keep right on digging, dude. Like Dan says, it's damned entertaining to watch.

Posted by: Laura Proctor at October 4, 2004 08:59 PM

I leave this little community with Kerouac's words lifted from the same book that Hogan liked so much, Windblown World (which I contributed to) . . .

"I say to these critics: "Don't be ass-holes all your life."

People, don't be so quick to hate, don't be so instinctual to disarm your intellectual (or I guess in my case, nonintellectual) and love one another. I like Ron in an absurd way, heck I'll buy him a beer some day if we ever meet in Manhattan. He does his job, I do mine, I just look for explanations that's all. Love to you all and keep up all that good reading. Life is to oshort for all of this. Peace. PM

Posted by: Maher at October 4, 2004 09:00 PM

Oops, I meant to type "intellectual foes" and Laura , you, like me, missed "he," ( as in "would that he") else I would have been able to understand what you had typed.

Don't be so vindictive girl . . . . . .

Posted by: Maher at October 4, 2004 09:03 PM

Man, there's just nothing so stupid that you won't type it, is there?

Posted by: Laura Proctor at October 4, 2004 09:08 PM

Damn Ron, I saw 13 in the comments box and thought I was over at Sarah's site. Then I see they're all by a group of three people.

Again, thanks to all for the entertainment.


Posted by: Dan Wickett at October 4, 2004 09:47 PM

"You are struggling, Hogan." What is this? High school gym class?

Posted by: Ed at October 4, 2004 11:05 PM
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