You may be asking why Jackie Susann? She's camp, she's glam, she's frivolous, she typed her manuscript pages on pink paper, she understood the appeal of modern celebrity better than anyone else (except maybe Warhol), she loved melodrama, and on top of it all, her heroines were always powerful, independent women who were not afraid of going after what they wanted. Jackie is a prophet of pop culture-- about her various heroines she reportedly said, "all the people...in my books, the ones who are glamorous, or beautiful, or rich or talented--they have to suffer, see, because that way the people who read me can get off the subway and go home feeling better about their own crappy lives, luckier than the people they've been reading about." And if you don't buy her insights into the need for modern celebs to have a tragic flaw, then how can you help but love someone who kept nothing but dog food, nembutal suppositories, a bottle of cocktail capers, and Dom Perignon in her refrigerator? How can you help but worship someone for whom the concept of "practical" seemed totally alien?
A recent New Yorker feature on Jackie, while offering plenty of choice quotes like the one already mentioned, ended by poo-pooing Ms. Susann's over-inflated opinion of her own historical significance by snickering that she had the nerve to predict that the 60's would be known for three things: Andy Warhol, the Beatles, and Jackie. Of course clueless individuals like Mr. Korda who penned the article can guffaw, but those of us who are attuned to deciphering the cultural undertow are keenly aware that the Cult of Jackie Susann pulses through the shadowy underbelly of our amnesiac pop landscape nearly as heartily now as it ever did. Things are coming up Jackie wherever we turn-- in the last few years the film adaptation of Valley of the Dolls was released for a more than eager home video audience, a computer generated version of a Jackie book was recently published, a drag version of the Valley of the Dolls played for many months, and the final jewel in the crown comes in the shape of one peroxide siren currently doing duty as the patron saint of rock-- the one and only Courtney Love-Cobain. Love her or hate her, you have to admit that in Courtney, Jackie comes to life in ways that only perhaps Roger Ebert could ever have imagined.
Almost daily it seems like pages of Valley of the Dolls spring to life in numerous sound bytes and headlines made by a coterie of suicide obsessed, professionally unhappy grunge(TM) rock millionaires. One week's study of MTVs buzz bin yields enough heartache and perversion (and I'm only counting one Alanis video) to prove dead Jackie was blessed with Cassandra-like gifts of foresight. Forget Warhol, McLuhan, Baudrillard, and Jackie Collins, Jackie Susann is the one and only grandpooba of pop, the true prophetess of fin de sicle mass media. Jackie's everywhere, it's a given--there's a sort of spiritual kinship found in Kat Bjelland's songs of love and loathing, 7 Year Bitch's aggro raps about love "truly" and love "cruelly," and bringing it all home is the Geraldine Fibbers Carla Bozulich whose languid laments for the blissful haze of a drug binge that "makes me happy/makes me forget my name" are pure expressions of Jackie's unique brand of melodrama. Yet, despite all these Evocations of the Goddess Susann, it is Love that qualifies as the most pure embodiment of Jackiness since Our Darling left God's green earth. And Love alone seems to have faithfully resurrected the Valley of the Dolls as the bible for molding her public persona. Eerily similar not only to Susann's fictional characters but also mirroring the real life outspoken and extravagant Jackie in both word and deed the evidence of Love's faith in the Jackie mythos is overwhelming--she has asked audiences from the stage if they know Valley of the Dolls, reportedly used Neely O'Hara as a hotel name, thrown Neely like tantrums as PR stunts, resurrected a Helen Lawson/Neelyesque feud with neo-folkie Mary Lou Lord, and posts on AOL recently revealed that "Jennifer's Body" is supposedly a reference to Jennifer North in Valley of the Dolls.
Ok, now that I've rambled on about Jackie, what is Dead Jackie Susann Quarterly about? Well it is nominally about Jackie Susann, but mostly it is about camp, satire, and keeping the sick, demented, warped and twisted view of fame, power and celebrity that was embodied in Jacqueline Susann's romance novels alive and well. The zine was started about 3 years ago and there hasn't been an issue in nearly 2 years because of our own battles with various personal tragedies. But ours are not the epic battles of Jackie's heroines, so I'll spare you the details. For whatever it's worth, while Jackie's books were often filled with omnisexual love and desire, so will DJSQ be. What you are reading here is an abridged version of issue #3--the printed version will have more of everything, the least of which being photos. It will be printed as soon as we have the time and money to do it--hopefully in the next month. So there! Oh yeah, one more thing, one of the Red Aunts said her band was about pissing people off and the more she pissed people off the better she felt--well that's also what this zine is about, so if we piss you off, good! Send us mail and tell us about it. You'll make our day!!! And oh yeah, if ya wanna contribute something, send it!
Email us at: DeadJackie@aol.com
Snail mail us at: DJSQ, 61 E 8, #178, NYC 10003
Editors, writers, troublemakers:
Sydney, Amyd, AimeeC
Special Guest Star:
Amyd, AimeeC, Oliviu