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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SubGenius and SuperGenius

I've finished Carole Cusack's book, which also had an interesting chapter on the Church of the SubGenius.  I particularly enjoyed the explanation on that chapter of Hakim Bey's concept of Temporary Autonomous Zones, which I had not understood before. (Robert Anton Wilson, in his unfortunately out of print collection Chaos and Beyond, has a rave review of Bey's TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchism, Poetic Terrorism. Wilson concludes, "In sum: Anarchists who fail to read this book have lost track of the cutting edge of their own philosophy. Any disciple of Freud or Nietzsche or Wilhelm Reich who doesn't read it, has missed a chance to see their own beliefs in a new and Apocalyptic light. And any Sufi who ignores this Vision deserves twenty years imprisonment in a 'respectable' white collar job with no access to any implements of suicide."

Cusack says that many people consider the Church of the SubGenius as an offshoot of Discordianism. Another arguable offshoot is the Church of the SuperGenius, promulgated by the Discordian Pope Guilty I (e.g., Arthur Hlavaty.) (When I wrote this post and linked to Hlavaty's bio I was startled to see that Arthur went to Swarthmore, the same school as Paul Williams, although Williams apparently showed up after Arthur left.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Church of the SuperGenius hereby denies that it took its name as a parody of the Church of the Subgenius; that we refer to it as the Scarlet Whore of Mad Dog, Texas; and that we are the ones spreading the rumor that "Bob" is really named Norman Appleton and wrote his soi-disant "gospel" while doing time for felony child abuse.

Paul Williams was after my time at Swarthmore. I saw my first copy of Crawdaddy in the smoking lounge when I went back for a visit in '65 or '66, read it, and liked it. I don't believe I ever actually met Paul.