[This speech was originally delivered by Ted Hash-Berryman at the 2014 National Book Award Awards Ceremony while awarding the award for Most Worthless Poet.]
Jim Behrle raped Bill Cosby’s daughter.
Now that I have your attention, I’d like to say a few serious words: There aren’t too many people in the world like Jim Behrle. He’s a white, college-educated man in his early 40s, and yet somehow he still remains to be successful. That is, unless you believe the actually-worthless poet, Josef Kaplan, who became a minor one-hit internet wonder by blatantly ripping off my own Molest List. (Molest List can be downloaded for free at tedhashberryman.com, where what you see is not only what you get, it’s what you perceive™. (But wait! Not only can you access my major work of art, Molest List, at tedhashberryman.com, for a limited time, all of my projects can be downloaded for free, right here at tedhashberryman.com, where the grass is always greener, and the human meat is always grass-fed™. (Support your local tedhashberryman.com: America’s Favorite Family-owned Human Meat Farm Since 1857™.))) However, “comfortable poet” Jim Behrle isn’t going to be comfortable for much longer—now that I’ve got my hands on his flabby midsection.
Since at least 2009, Jim Behrle has been embarrassing himself on the internet. Despite this, he’s just the kind of working man’s asshole whom you can’t help but find yourself reluctantly rooting for. As an experienced street troll, Jim’s not afraid to ruffle a few feathers, usually by half-assing some cockamamie scheme or another. In fact, Jim makes a habit of starting projects and giving up on them before they get off the ground. (By the way Jim, whatever happened to your ‘free online poetry workshop’ from a few years ago? I was really counting on that feedback you promised to send me. Don’t worry, though; those poems you ignored were published without your help, under one of my pen names: Dean Young.) Nevertheless, what Jim lacks in self-confidence, he more than makes up for in toe fungus.
All joking aside, Jim Behrle actually has a very serious toe fungus problem. And that brings me to the reason we’re all here tonight. Jim Behrle won the Most Worthless Poet contest on tedhashberryman.com, beating out such worthless luminaries as Matthew Zapruder, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Louise Glück. It may surprise you, but this isn’t the only accomplishment that has graced Jim’s illustrious career. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’ll take a look at the screen behind me, you’ll see a PowerPoint presentation that I made just ten minutes ago highlighting the top five accomplishments of Jim Behrle’s life.
The Top 5 Things that Jim Behrle has Ever Done:
5. Rapping about Fanta:
You’ve gotta admit, that’s a pretty nice flow.
4. Terrifying a national television audience with the haunting images of his rampant, festering toe fungus:
3. Best American Poetry: The Cartoon: Jim’s Best American Poetry Cartoon is, in all actuality, the most legitimate, enjoyable, and necessary poetry anthology that’s released each year. Jim’s cartoons do the impossible and blow the breath of life into Lehman’s annual selection of corpselike poetry.
2. Winning Ted Hash-Berryman’s Most Worthless Poet Poll.
Honorable Mention: That asparagus joke he tells at the end of the toe fungus video.
All joking actually aside, let’s get to what we’ve truly gathered here to talk about tonight: Is Jim Behrle a hoax? In short, no, he is not. In fact, his presence has benefited the poetry realm overmind far more than most. For starters, Jim has written at least one good poem, which is more than can be said for many of today’s ‘trending’ poets, such as Michael Robbins, Patricia Lockwood, and Gregory Sherl.
Additionally, before I came along, Jim was essentially the only truth troll to be found operating within the poetry domain. Yes, he may have never lived up to his potential, but this fact doesn’t take anything away from the true importance of his masterwork, the inspirited treatise on contemporary poetry’s cultural failings: ’24/7 Relentless Careerism.’ Many people brushed this essay aside as a clever gimmick, others got a good laugh, but few recognized its true significance, going so far as to hold the essay to their face as a mirror, gazing unobstructedly into the reflection of their own heart’s desire’s intentions.
Jim, you are someone whom I would gladly go to war with and one whom I would not easily go to war against. You are a wise individual with a bit of gumption and a winning personality. For now, you have my respect. But I believe you are capable of more. Under my tutelage, you could become an unstoppable force.
Jim, I would like to offer you this opportunity to hire me, Ted Hash-Berryman, as your personal persona consultant. Give me one year, and I will boost your life to the next level of being. If you accept my offer to make me an offer, my ideas will refresh your spirit the way a cup of cool Kool-Aid refreshes a young lad during the dog days of summer.
Not only do I personally guarantee you more fans, a marked increase in Twitter followers, a heightened level of fame, more monetary worth, increased self-worth, further self-actualization, probably a lifetime ban from the AWP Conference, 24-hour protection against the naysayers and do-gooders within the institution, unlimited publications in the poetry journal of your choice, and a true comrade, but also an end-all cure for your debilitating toe fungus affliction (other funguses not covered). And if that’s not enough, I will even grant you the honor of judging the 2015 Ted Hash-Berryman Award For Poetry.
Look, pushing all of this ‘joking’ fully to ‘the side,’ I believe you and I could foster a real friendship, [pause for dramatic effect] as soon as you unblock me on Twitter. I’ve even been told that we look alike, Jim. Just the other day, a famous poet said I could pass for a ‘female Jim Behrle.’ Oh, and one last thing. Remember that person you were talking to in the corner during [that poetry thing you hosted this summer in Boston]?
Yeah, that was me.