Page 13, "we're closer to the pet shop here," to Page 23, "rather close to the Weatherman faction." I'm using quotes as well as page numbers to make things easier for folks who may be using ebooks. -- The Mgt.
This is the section in which Saul Goodman and Barney Muldoon begin examining the memos to Joseph Malik, editor of "Confrontation" magazine, giving background to the magazine's mysterious Illuminati project.
Most of the references in the memos are quite straightforward, and even now, when interest in the Illuminati seems to be continuing, looking up the references in the memos is a good way to research the alleged secret society. But one of the memos is, well, kind of different.
Page 20 cites a letter and answer that appeared in the Playboy Advisor column for the April 1969. For those unfamiliar with Playboy, this is the feature in which readers pose questions about stereo equipment, women, tipping, etc., and the gurus of cool at Playboy reply with advice. (Well, in 1969 they probably seemed cool.) I don't know if the column still runs now (in many ways, the magazine is kind of shadow of its former self) but for years, the magazine would send a personal reply if you mailed it a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Questions about the Illuminati are kind of a switch from the feature's usual topics. It turns out that it's not a coincidence that Wilson and Shea worked at Playboy when the letter and the answer to it was published.
Illuminatus only gives part of the letter, but here is the complete letter to Playboy magazine, courtesy of Jesse Walker, which I previously posted about. Walker, who researched Discordianism for his latest book, says the "faux letter" actually was written by Wilson, possibly in collaboration with Kerry Thornley; RAW also wrote the reply.
The centerfold in that issue was a Ms. Lorna Hopper from Texas and Wikipedia, which tracks these things, says that she is now 63 years old.
Nick Helweg-Larsen tracked down a copy of the magazine and kindly sent me some images from the issue; some offer a clue on why "Playboy" was considered interesting in its heyday. As you can see from the cover image Nick sent me, above, the cover was not aimed strictly to attract the attention of the intelligentsia, but it plugged an Allen Ginsberg interview and a Vladimir Nabokov piece.
"THIS PHONE BOOTH RESERVED FOR CLARK KENT" (page 23), this is from August Personage, not Markoff Chaney (see Page 27). The way that the bits tie together to construct a narrative resembles Joyce's
Next week: Page 23 "Hagbard Celine's gigantic computer" to Page 32 "Clark Kent and his Supermen swing into a reprise."