Monday, November 18, 2013

Coincidance Week Ten

"Religion for the Hell of It."

Readers who are interested in the topic of recent invented religions might perhaps read my blog post on the book Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith by Carole M.  Cusack. As I wrote in the earlier post, the book covers Discordianism, the Church of All Worlds, the Church of the Subgenius and other groups touched upon in Wilson's "Religion for the Hell of It" article.

I've just finished Lawrence Wright's excellent book on the Church of Scientology, Going Clear. As I read RAW's essay, I realized that in some ways, the Church of the Subgenius can be understood as a satire on Scientology. The Secret of Power sounds like what Scientologists are after, and the absurd claim that the Church of the Subgenius has "10,000,000 members" parodies the Scientologists' claim to have millions of members worldwide.

"Comix and Cut-Ups"

When I was in high school, before the publication of Illuminatus!, I read about Tristan Tzara's method of writing poetry -- cutting words out of a newspaper, putting them in a hat, shaking the hat and then drawing out the words -- and I experimented with the technique for my creative writing class.

Although RAW does not mention it, introducing elements of chance has been an element in the composition of modern classical music for decades. John Cage was a famous exponent of the practice. I am a fan of a John Cage disciple, William Duckworth, who used elements of chance in composing his best-known work, a piano composition called "The Time Curve Preludes." (I own three recordings of the work.)

I  love this sentence: "I am not interested in lazy readers, however, but in the attentive and awake."


Arthur Hlavaty said...

The Church of the SuperGenius hereby denies that its name is a parody of the SubGenius, that we call them the Scarlet Whore of Mad Dog, Texas, and that we are the ones spreading the rumor that their guru, the soi-disant J. R. "Bob" Dobbs, is actually one Norman Appleton, who wrote his gospel while doing time on multiple counts of felony child abuse.

michael said...

As a Discordian Pope, I hereby anti-excommunicate Arthur Hlavaty.


Steve said...

Aren't all religions "invented?"

gacord said...

@Michael & Arthur, as a Discordian Pope AND a SubGenius reverend (Praise "Bob" and Hail Connie) I'll happily excommunicate both of you (for a fee). But don't come crying to me when the pleasure saucers arrive.

@Steve, what, are you mad? Sumbunall religions are founded by divine (or fiscal)... (or both! yeah maybe both.) inspiration!

Eric Wagner said...

Thinking about Stranger in a Strange Land reminds me of the shock I had reading Helter Skelter back in 1982. The three things that had most influenced me (Heinlein, the Beatles, and the Bible) had also shaped Charles Manson.

Thinking of the Mormons, I really enjoyed the TV series Big Love. Also, I used to take ballet classes from a man named TJ who had danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. David Moroney taught the men’s classes at Winnipeg, and TJ often quoted him as gospel when it came to men’s ballet technique. I came to think of him as the angel Moroney.

Weston LaBarre’s The Peyote Cult has an interesting appendix which covers the legal history of the Native American Church and the racist condescension of the court rulings.

I find it interesting how it has now become common for people to become ordained to officiate over their friends’ weddings.
God bless the RNADNA. Er, Goddess bless the RNADNA?
I find it interesting that aging white poets became more and more interested in goddess worship in the 1930’s: Robert Graves, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, etc.

Note: the Catholic high school where I teach used Stranger in a Strange Land as religion textbook in the 1980’s, but the school would not allow me to use it as a textbook in my science fiction class this century.
I find it funny how the Rastafari colors permeate the culture. Disney even has a Rasta Mickey for sale.

The Javacrucians have succeeded, perhaps, noticing the number of Starbucks stores. A student told me the first mate of the Pequod in Moby Dick inspired the name of the chain. They originally intended to call it Pequods, but they decided no one wanted to drink a cup of Pequod, so they changed it to Starbucks.

Arthur Hlavaty said...

Michael & gacord, it is my pleasure to excommunicate you guys right back.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

But may I have your blessing for this blog, Pope Guilty I?

gacord said...

Tom, excommunicated purely on the grounds of maintaining this blog!

michael said...

To paraphrase the poet Rodney King:

Can't we all just...obtain some slack?

gacord said...

You bet... for $35! :-)

Arthur Hlavaty said...

Tom, you are simultaneously excommunicated and blessed. The Church of the SuperGenius is versatile,

gacord said...

I'm starting The Church of the Mostly Adequate. We'll neither bless nor excommunicate, but rather just suppose that everyone is pretty much alright.

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