I followed the link for this TV appearance by Robert Anton Wilson from Jesse Walker's Twitter account; Jesse remarked, "Robert Anton Wilson does daytime TV. 1985ish." Right he is; the link at RAWilsonfans.com says it aired March 17, 1986.
The audio and the video could be a little better, unfortunately, but I was charmed by the video. It's fun to watch someone who isn't a member of the "RAW cult" interviewing him, and I thought that both RAW and the cute lady did well. (Her name is now Nancy Graham Holm; she retired in 2007 as a professor at the Danish national journalism school and was working on a book in 2010, according to a bio I found online.)
By coincidence, the show aired on St. Patrick's Day.
Nice interview, and that lady is so sweet and sympathetic. Thanks for this Tuesday Treat!
I'm pretty sure the life of this clip originated with RAW's San Francisco friend Kurt Smith, who had a VHS cassette he'd taped digitized and sent to Mike Gathers.
In the first editions of Prometheus Rising, Kurt is one of the dedicatees.
RAW and Smith exchanged a lot of snail mail when RAW moved to Ireland. I highly suspect Smith aided RAW/Arlen financially when they hit tough times; I met Kurt Smith and he's a little younger than RAW but thinks RAW is one of the great undiscovered minds of our times. I remember his license plate was something like FNORD23.
I thought Holm was charming and so much NOT what you'd expect a morning TV person to be like when encountering RAW. Thanks for the follow-up dig on her, T-Jack!
Am I the only one who cringes when RAW is identified as a "science fiction author?" I realize the proles need to have everybody and every thing shoved into a limited number of boxes for easy identification, but RAW was a one-or-a-kind author and never once appeared in the pages of Analog, Galaxy or the Annual Years' Best. Even Kurt Vonnegut, another one-of-a-kind author, had a story in Galaxy during the very early days of his career, but neither he nor RAW wrote anything other than what came madly tumbling out of their unique minds.
I hear ya: RAW was in that favorite category of mine: The Almost Impossible To Categorize.
However, he often repeated one of his favorite quotes, by John Gribbin, who reviewed Schrodinger's Cat, that it was the "most scientific of science fiction novels."
When Semiotext(E) put out a collection of SF stories, RAW, Rucker and Peter Lamborn Wilson were the editors and wrote intros...RAW's piece there was a Burroughsian cut-up, and WSB himself loved SF and used it in his own way. I think RAW is a lot like Burroughs in that regard...RAW seemed to parody SF even though he loved it. See, "Ad Astra," pp.195-197 of the SCT omnibus ed, the very beginning of The Trick Top Hat.
Basically RAW agreed with you. In the interview with ROC in CT2, (later ed), see pp.159-160:
ROC: Your next three novels are all fantasy. Why did you switch over from science fiction?
RAW: I didn't switch. "Science fiction" and "fantasy" are just merchandising labels. I would call my books "gonzo ontology" or maybe "postmodern slapstick," but they don't have a shelf for that in the bookstores.
It's not uncommon for booksellers and librarians to have to struggle over where to shelve a book, or how to pigeonhole a writer. Is "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson a science fiction novel, a historical novel or just a novel? Is "Ha'penny" by Jo Walton a historical, a thriller or a science fiction novel? The librarian has to make a decision on where to shelve the book. You could argue that the folks at the the TV station were doing RAW a favor -- because if they went to the local bookstore to find a copy of the "Illuminatus!" trilogy, they would likely find it shelved in the science fiction section. Of course, it's true that RAW did not think of himself as a "science fiction writer," but for better or worse, and you could argue both, that's how he was published.
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