This low culture theme which is a trade mark of many post modernists is evident in Kathy Acker's novel, Empire of the Senseless. It is evident in her writing that she does not take the term "low culture" lightly. The novel is saturated with sex and violence and strange ocurrences which would not be typical topics of writing. This is not to say that sex is not a theme in many works of literature, but Ackers obsession with this low culture theme is evident througout the novel. Acker writes with a sense moral recklesness, her characters being the epitome of "low culture.
The main characters, Abhor and Thivai, are both involved in sexual and violent activities associated only with the lowest members of society. Acker writes about their involvement in such things as incest, homosexual rape, and sexual promiscuity at a young age. Abhor is raped by her father at a young age and the language Acker uses to portry the event is vulgar and and crude to the unsuspecing reader. "After he put the phone receiver down on the table, he put his cock up me. There was no more blood than in a period." Acker uses shocking "low culture language," which includes curse words and sexually explicit descriptions. She uses this language repeatidly througout the novel, which creates a world lower than low, full of perverted sex obsessed individuals.
Acker paints a clear image of "low culture" for her readers. In the world that Abhor and Thivai live in the rampant sex and violence is the norm. After finishing her book there is no doubt about Acker's preoccupation with sex and violence in her literature. She rejects the idea of incorporating the concept of traditional culture in her writing. Instead she creates a society that contridicts society today. A world where things like homosexual rape and incest are regualr ocurrences which are almost common place. And the vulgar explicit language is used in every-day, casual conversation. Through her low culuture writing she has openly rejected the acceptable actions and speech of modern day society.
Acker also follows the post modernist tendancy to reject the grand narrative ." Her novel in no way follows the traditional format of classic literature Empire of the Senseless includes no concrete plot. The writing is very flighty, and Acker often skips from one event to another without a clear transition. The characters are not formally introduced or described. The reader is left to make his or her own assumptions about what is going on at any point in time within the novel. The colorful language and unorthodox sexual escapades also add to the divergence from the classic novel. Acker's nonconformist, post modernist outlook comes through in both her obsession with low culture themes and with her rejection of the grand narrative.