Hosted by Jack Mason, the Perfume Nationalist is a continuing radio soap opera in which art and culture, high and low, are discussed through the historical lens of fragrance. The show pairs perfumes with works of art, typically cinema, in a psychedelic fantasia of sight, sound, and, most importantly, smell.
RYAN: Ninth Gate is the Johnny Depp one?
JACK: Yes. Ninth Gate is awful. It’s the worst one. But I was just thinking about what would cinema be like if The Exorcist didn’t exist, because literally like hundreds, probably thousands of movies have just been aping that movie in every way, down to the opening in a mysterious Middle Eastern location that’s tangentially connected to the story.
RYAN: Was that the same year as The Devil in Miss Jones? 1973?
JACK: I believe so. That’s really good, that’s really scary. Yeah, that one’s really downbeat. Georgina Spelvin—she’s cool. She’s actually still alive and she seems pretty sane. She’s like the rare circus freak person who could just do porn and be normal, because she’s an exhibitionist. I listened to this podcast, The Projection Booth—they did a really long episode on Devil in Miss Jones, and they interviewed her over the phone. She seems like a really nice lady. She was like cooking food for people on a porn set, or something. But yeah that one’s all like suicide—a lot of those ‘70s pornos are like suicide, depressing… [Laughs] It’s really awesome.
RYAN: Yeah, they’re a lot of fun. I cruised through several of those during the Through the Looking Glass era of Perfume Nat. Miss Jones I watched on my tab while my girlfriend was watching TV, and she’d peek over to see, you know, the hairy double penetration of Georgina’s ‘70s bush, after she already caught me watching Through the Looking Glass.
JACK: When the camera goes up into her vagina. That’s not even what’s shocking about it though. It’s just so pure depraved—like the fact that she goes up to that mirror and masturbates in front of her dead father.
RYAN: The way those pornos framed sex and lust as like Satanic possession, too, versus today’s sort of positive, uhm… whatever you want to call it.
JACK: Positive or just like nothing. I mean, previously there was some art that would go into porn.
RYAN: Your episode with Filthy Armenian—[to waiter] thank you—the Filthy episode on The Fountainhead, that was another one that got me to finally read something that’s been sitting on my shelf forever. Maybe since Sexual Personae, it’s the first book I speed-read. I just devoured it in a few days.
JACK: Oh my God. Once it clicks, it’s just so undeniable. But it’s also just exhausting to talk about her.
RYAN: Yeah, people hate her.
JACK: First of all, that hate is all contained within The Fountainhead. The reaction to her is all built into it, and the reaction to her has been the same since the ‘40s. It has triggered the same kind of people. It’s especially just dumb received wisdom now, like over the last 10 years, since people just kind of latch onto it as this social signal, like, “Oh, you’re not supposed to like her, because she’s associated with the Tea Party 10 years ago.” With like cringe libertarians, and stuff like this. But yeah the most hate I’ve gotten and the most heated reactions are when I defend her—not “defend,” she doesn’t need my defense. You just tell people the objective fact that The Fountainhead is great, that she’s a great writer, and that she’s a genius—which I’m sorry but none of you online are a superior writer to Ayn Rand, okay? No one. They’ve all just learned what to say—these little tidbits like, “She’s a bad writer.”
RYAN: I don’t get that at all.
JACK: No, she’s hilarious. It’s people with no sense of humor who don’t get it. She’s a brilliant satirical writer. Everything is hilarious in The Fountainhead.
[…to be continued…]