Statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.
(This week: Page 173, “Welcome to the Playboy Club,” the beautiful blonde said,” to Page 184, “I can make bail for this man.”)
A few notes on the text:
"Welcome to the Playboy Club," the beautiful blonde said, (Page 173). Saul finds himself in a strange captivity, apparently held by the Illuminati. This scene reminded me of Sigismundo Celine's weird captivity in The Widow's Son, and the sexual fantasies of Leopold Bloom in the Circe section of Ulysses.
"That we can call these delicate creatures ours/And not their appetites" page 176, from Shakespeare's Othello, Act 3, Scene 3.
"Only the madman is absolutely sure," a frequently cited Robert Anton Wilson quotation, page 176.
"passing the mermaid of the harbor," page 177. On page 99, Rebecca Goodman muses on the statue of the mermaid Saul got her, and wonders how many Danes know it is a representation of Ishtar. The mermaid and its connection to oral sex ("mouth breeder," punning on an early section of the book) recurs on Page 192.
"While there is a soul in prison, I am not free," courtroom speech of Eugene Debs, sent to prison for opposing World War I. Debs did not get out until 1921, when his sentence was commuted by Warren Harding. Libertarian Gene Healy argues in his book, The Cult of the Presidency, that Harding was an underrated president who restored civil liberties after the president of Wilson, a warmonger still praised by "progressives" in the U.S.
Page 180, parody of Shakespeare, "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven," famous quotation from The Merchant of Venice.
"In 1923, Adolf Hitler stood beneath a pyramidal altar," page 181. In Appendix Lamed, the authors write, "In this connection—and also, en passant, as an indication that Adolf Hitler's link with the Illuminati was not invented for this work of "fiction"— we suggest that the reader look into The Morning of the Magicians, by Pauwels and Bergier." See this Wikipedia article for the book's possible connection to Lovecraft.
"Remember what happened to Ambrose Bierce," page 181, famous American author whose disappearance is still unsolved.
Page 181 has this passage: In Brooklyn, New York, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, returning from a party at which Hart Crane had been perfectly beastly— thereby confirming Mr. Lovecraft's prejudice against homosexuals— finds a letter in his mailbox and reads with some amusement: "Some of the secrets revealed in your recent stories would better be kept out of the light of print. Believe me, I speak as a friend, but there are those who would prefer such half-forgotten lore to remain in its present obscurity, and they are formidable enemies for any man. Remember what happened to Ambrose Bierce. . . ."
In the comments below, Michael Johnson suggests consulting Dan Clore to see if the letter Lovecraft is reading actually existed. Dan is the guy who runs the Robert Anton Wilson Fans group on Facebook, but he's also a Lovecraft scholar who wrote Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon, which he says has much of interest to RAW fans. So I wrote to Dan.
Dan replies, "Wilson and Shea just made that one up. I don't think HPL knew that Hart Crane (or their mutual friend, Samuel Loveman) was gay, either. In fact, in a letter Crane referred to 'that queer Lovecraft fellow'-- "
(Next week: Page 184, "MR. KHARIS: Does Mr. Celine seriously suggest..." to page 193, "Did it have anything to do with the weird dream he'd had of the temple in the Mad Dog jail?")