The Magic Christian
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In this uproarious and wicked cult-classic, Southern skewers American greed and pomposity
Guy Grand, an eccentric billionaire prankster, is rich enough to do whatever he likes. And what he likes is to carefully execute projects where he can cauterize by ridicule what the rest of the world ignores: complacency, greed, corruption, and idiocy. Determined to “make it hot for people,” Grand spends his billions staging a series of hilarious, sometimes bewildering stunts, lampooning along the way the American holy cows of money, status, power, beauty, media, and stardom. Concocting deliciously perverse mayhem, he throws a million one-hundred-dollar bills into an enormous vat of steaming offal, proving just what people will do for money, and he promotes a new silky shampoo that turns hair to wire and a deodorant that becomes a time-released stench-bomb. He inserts subliminally suggestive and perverse images into well-loved classic films, takes a howitzer on safari, and brings a panther to a kennel club dog show. His most elaborate adventure is an ultra-exclusive cruise aboard the S.S. Magic Christian, where elite passengers are treated to a series of madcap indignities. The Magic Christian is a hilarious and savagely satiric view of American commercialism, rich in Southern’s deft handling of detail, dialogue, and delightful deviancy. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Terry Southern including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.
“I started reading The Magic Christian and I thought I was going to go insane . . . It was an incredible influence on me.” —Hunter S. Thompson “[The Magic Christian] is at once the most profoundly satiric and wildly comic account of our life and times in years.” —Nelson Algren “Terry Southern is the most profoundly witty writer of our generation, and in The Magic Christian he surpasses Flaubert’s Bouvard et Pécuchet, a work similarly inspired by conventional wisdom’s serene idiocy.” —Gore Vidal “Terry Southern is the illegitimate son of Mack Sennet and Edna Saint Vincent Millay.” —Kurt Vonnegut “Terry Southern was one of the first and best of the new wave of American writers, defining the cutting edge of black comedy.” —Joseph Heller
Terry Southern (1924–1995) was an American author and screenwriter. His satirical novels—including the bestselling cult classics Candy (1958) and The Magic Christian (1959)—established Southern as one of the leading literary voices of the sixties. He was also nominated for Academy Awards for his screenplays of Dr. Strangelove (written with Stanley Kubrick and Peter George) and Easy Rider (written with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper). His other books include Flash and Filigree (1958), Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes (1967), Blue Movie (1970), and Texas Summer (1991). In later years, he wrote for Saturday Night Live and lectured on screenwriting at New York University and Columbia University.