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Monday, November 25, 2013

Coincidance, Week 11

"No Waters in Cherry Valley by the Testicles"


Fans of Robert Anton Wilson's  "Historical Illuminatus" books will recognize "No Waters in Cherry Valley by the Testicles" as a remix of some of the more arresting passages in the novel Nature's God, intermingled with quotes from the movie  "Casablanca" and other bits that I didn't recognize. The piece would seem to have something in common with the remix culture that we've seen in electronic music for years.

The other day, a few hours after I walked in a small Ohio park, I picked up my copy of Coincidance, opened it at random, and read the sentence, "Sigismundo Celine, in the woods of Ohio, meditated."

The sentences in Nature's God about Celine finding himself in the woods of Ohio are reminiscent of the opening sentences of Dante's Inferno, "Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost."

When Wilson lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio, he lived in one of the older states, one that had been settled for a couple of centuries. But during the Revolutionary War, Ohio was the western wilderness, and a man in the woods there was very far from Europe, indeed.

Isn't Wilson's "Cosmic Schmuck" principle a recognition that we should stop, every once in awhile, to consider whether we have found ourselves in a dark forest? 


By coincidence, I have been reading Holy Blood, Holy Grail, one of the books mentioned by Wilson. Isn't "Dagobert" a wonderful name? The first "Dilbert" comic strip, featuring a character named Dogbert,  was published in 1989, after Coincidance was published. I am confused about why Scott Adams has never been able to work Dagobert II into the strip. A couple of years ago, I listened to Yale professor Paul Freedman's posted online lectures on the early Middle Ages; the professor neglected to mention the theory that the Merovingian kings of France were descended from Jesus, but he did tell his students that the Merovingians had wonderful names that make good names for cats.

Update: Scott Adams answers my email:

Dear Scott,
I am curious  whether Christmas is the most important holiday in the Adams household next month, or whether you place more emphasis on the feast day of St. Dagobert, which of course is celebrated on Dec. 23.
I enjoy the "Dilbert" comic strip very much, although frankly it's a little disappointing you haven't worked in any reference by now to Dagobert II, the last important Merovingian monarch. No doubt you are biding your time, waiting for a chance to unleash the perfect Dagobert joke upon the world.

I have heard of that holiday. But they keep spelling it wrong.



Eric Wagner said...

I think of "Shrapnel" as a preview of Nature's God, which Bob hadn't finished yet when Coincidance came out. I remember rereading it for clues about Bob's upcoming novel.

gacord said...

It's been "forever" since I've ready Nature's God. Adding it to my growing reading/re-reading list.

In addition to fits and giggles I got from just reading the Cherry Valley piece, I got this image of the Vatican pope selection process. All those red robed cardinals locked aaa, each laying their dicks on the table. longest one wins. But then, was it hard or limp comparison? If hard (or both) what did those oh so holy fellows have to do to get it hard? Pray or play?

Illiaminated said...

Just would like to leave a couple of little Bob moments that happened over the weekend. On holiday in Thailand and a friend gave me and the gf a weekend voucher to a hotel/ executive residence in Bangkok and we were, of course, ensconced on the 23rd floor. Then today go and visit another mate who is living in an apartment block over a shopping centre. He's drunk and drags me into an irish styled pub on the ground floor. The waitress brings the drinks menu and i see it's called Flann O'Brien's. Then he shows me his apartment - it's on floor 32

michael said...

Re: RAW and Siggy in the Ohio woods near Yellow Springs. See RAW's account of his own really hellacious belladonna trip there in 1962, gathered in Email To the Universe, pp.138-141, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci."

Eric Wagner said...

When I pass Cherry Valley driving on the I-10 east of San Bernardino, I think of Bob Wilson’s writing.

This week’s reading reminds me of Philip Jose Farmer’s “After King Kong Feel” - .

I had forgotten the frequent references to Casablanca.

Oz Fritz said...

If Coincidance was laid out like a cabalistic Tree of Life then No Waters in Cherry Valley by the Testicles would represent the ordeal of Crossing the Abyss. The Abyss often gets represented as a desert ie No Waters.

Aspects of this essay remind me of a theme from Pynchon's Bleeding Edge whose main antagonist, Gabriel Ice, has a name suggesting frozen waters.

The King Kong references seem an extension of the same theme symbolized by the Werewolf earlier.

George Washington's name fits right in. Testicles recalls "test" for me.

Although a little off geographically, these sentences seem a little precognitive of 9/11/01:

(p.212) "It wasn't the planes in the Waldorf Astoria on me in all directions."

(p.213) "The wreckage of mid-town Manhatten was also the howling bottle of wine.

Oz Fritz said...

I forgot to mention that Simon Moon's name fits right in to the notion of No Waters in Cherry Valley by the Testicles as an allegory for Crossing the Abyss. The cabalistic path most closely associated with this ordeal, Gimel, corresponds with the Moon in ancient planetary symbolism.

Washington promoting Moon also seems most appropriate in this allegory.