"So Real It Hurts is the perfect title for this collection. It's a mission statement. A few bleeding slices straight from the butcher shop. A sampler from an enormous archive of work that will, no doubt, be pored over by grad students, book lovers, film historians, music nerds, and straight-up perverts a hundred years from now." (Anthony Bourdain, from the Introduction)
Through personal essays and interviews, punk musician and cultural icon Lydia Lunch claws and rakes at the listener's conscience in this powerful, uninhibited feminist collection. Oscillating between provocative celebrations of her own defiant nature and nearly-tender ruminations on the debilitating effects of poverty, abuse, and environmental pollution, along with a visceral revenge fantasy against misogynistic men, Lydia Lunch presents her exploits without apology, daring the listener to judge her while she details the traumas and trials that have shaped her into the legendary figure she's become.
Inserted between these biting personal essays, Lunch's thoughtful cultural insights convey a widely-shared desire to forestall inevitable cultural amnesia and solidify a legacy for her predecessors and peers. Her interview with Hubert Selby Jr., and profile of Herbert Hunke, her short unromanticized histories of No Wave and of the late 60s, and her scathing examination of the monetization of counterculture (thanks, Vivienne Westwood!) all serve to reinforce the notion that, while it may appear that there are no more heroes, we are actually just looking for heroes in the wrong places. The worthy idols of the past have been obscured by more profitable historical narratives, but Lunch challenges us to dig deeper.
So Real It Hurts pulls the listener into a world that is entirely hers - one in which she exacts vengeance against predators with an enviable ease and exerts an almost-sexual dominance over authority, never permitting those with power to hold on to it too tightly.