A Harper’s Hodge Podge: Roger Hodge through a Fishtern-eye lens

When Fishtern Maureen Miller suggested running a hodge-podge on Rog Hodge, we were thrilled, and eagerly awaited what we were sure would be the type of work that transcends the run-of-the-mill video artist masturbating in his studio. (Masturbating in one’s studio is so 2004.) We were not disappointed; our Maureen got the goods on Hodge and his Onanistic, genital-celebrating proclivities, which delighted her almost as much as his manly chin and strong cowboy arms made for balin’ hay. This, dear reader, is her breathless story.

Rodge Hodge.pngWhen I heard that Roger Hodge, aka “Rog Hodge” had been named editor of Harper’s, my reaction was strangely akin to Gawker’s: A prettier Wes Anderson, with better-fitting blazers — the boy was fiiine!

But beyond that, I quickly saw that this was, in fact, a story of the West. More accurately, Hodge is exactly what the New York media is missing, its very own cowboy poet, a real-life Eli Cash (Hodge is even writing a profile of “Western epics” poet Cormac McCarthy. Coincidence? I think not.)

Which made Maureen think: What poetry is the fruit those tenuously clasped hands, that sober expression? Unfortunately, LexisNexis did not provide the good word, and we lack McCarthy’s facility with parataxis and hypermasculine prose forms to translate Hodge’s print output into poetry ourselves. But Factiva had the articles.

Here at Fishbowl we shall call these excerpts, ever so creatively, “The Hodge Podge” (full name: “The Hodge Podge of Rog Hodge: You Can’t Take The Boy Outta Dodge”). Deep thoughts on genitals and our sacred seed after the jump.

Remember “Onan the Magnificent: The Triumph of the Testicle in Contemporary Art,” Hodge’s 3,000 word art review-cum-highbrow parody of the genius of genitals in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 2? Let’s see what Hodge rubbed out for Harper’s in March 2000:

The 1990s, in the arts as in politics, were the decade of the genital, and Barney falls squarely within this strain of recent art… What even the artist’s most ardent admirers have failed to recognize is that Matthew Barney is the Michelangelo of genital art, the supreme master of the genre, whose work so transcends the run-of-the-mill video artist masturbating in his studio that he also may be said to bring his tradition to its unsurpassable realization. All the alleged perversions and excesses of Barney’s genital precursors now stand justified, for without them the Cremaster cycle might never have existed. Yet Barney’s work, as it sets about redeeming genital art, also moves beyond it, revealing it to be a style of world-historical significance by both recapitulating its development and announcing its mannerist phase. It remains only to give the style a fitting name, a name of sufficient grandeur, one that will echo through the halls of future museums and not-yet-imagined artistic movements. Let us call it Onanism.”

But far be it from Hodge to limit himself to the freak nasty. Hodge made a bid for another crown in the ’90s media zeitgeist trifecta —- for he, you see, hearts irony. See “Thus Spoke Jedediah: The distilled wisdom of a cornpone prophet,” Hodge’s delightfully scathing September 1999 review of Jedediah Purdy‘s precocious anti-irony treatise For Common Things:

Alas, such books are all too common. Jedediah Purdy belongs to a publishing tradition that includes Dinesh D’Souza, Katie Roiphe, and Wendy Shalit, a line of young Ivy-educated authors whose prose briefly quickened the hearts of the marketing executives who decide which titles will appear at the front of book catalogues, in Barnes & Noble display windows, and on the banner of the Amazon.com home page. How nice that these young sages were fortunate enough to attend expensive schools, how nice for them to be published at such a tender age. And yet how utterly worthless are their books, stacked on remainder shelves in the basements of used-book stores soon after their publication, their notoriety worn thin, their authors’ careers all but over.

What was that banging noise? That was the sound of Maureen falling, falling in love with Roger Hodge. If you have the means, and can get your hands on these articles in the full text versions, she highly recommends picking these up. (Ed. Aka, “a full text version of one’s onan”).

Apropos of nothing, we’d also like to note a peculiar coincidence: Hodge is a native of Del Rio, Texas, and became an intern at Harper’s in 1996, the same year that Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” was the number-one Billboard single. Coincidence? We think not.

The Royal Tenenbaums [IMDb]
“I meant to say ironing was dead.” (Graydon Carter) [Dead Irony]
Los Del Rio[VH1]

Bonus: Google Image Search for “Roger Hodge” (courtesy of Jossip)