Friday, March 27, 2009

Howard Dully

I've been meaning to get to this; about a week ago I saw one of the most riveting films in a long time, courtesy of PBS's American Experience - The Lobotomist, based upon Jack El-Hai's bio of Walter Freeman, the P.T. Barnum of medicine.

One small part of the flick stood out for me, and that was when they spoke to Howard Dully. A big man, he reminded me of an older Hulk Hogan. His short piece had me mesmerized; at the age of 12, he was lobotomized by Freeman, the youngest ever.

Here he is at the time, in a pic from his file that he tracked down:

Post lobotomy.

I won't say more story-wise, but I immediately got his book and would have a full review but have only gotten about 60 pages in - Renee's picked it up and is raving about it, saying that it's "super interesting."

I couldn't agree more.

If you're looking for creative writing, forget it. Dully's book is great at least in part because it is straightforward and direct. In this way, it's like Anne Moody's bio. One dipshit on Amazon downgraded the book because of its "poor writing." People are such imbeciles, they will recognize a urinal as art if someone famous signs it and enters it into a show, concentrating on the object because it can be seen. But it's the person who has no sight and learns of this act that laughs. Wasn't it Picabia who made fun of (presumably, sighted) people by saying, "you need to be told how to feel"?

You can watch The Lobotomist online here. NPR did a piece featuring Dully about four years ago; it's here.

Dully in 2004, holding one of Freeman's ice picks.

And here's the great cover to Dully's book, designed by Kyle Kolker.

Howard, you seem like a cool guy, and man, your story is something else. Stay up.