Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The folks at Ultraculture (a nest of RAW fans) have just published an article, by Andrei Burke, on "8 Celebrities Who Practice Chaos Magic."
Robert Anton Wilson is listed as one of the eight, and the article explains, "Robert Anton Wilson’s books—like The Illuminatus! Trilogy and Cosmic Trigger—were early influences on the development of chaos magick. You could say that his suffusion of Sufism, Taoism, Zen, General Semantics, Thelema and a host of other philosophical and mystical traditions made him an early adopter of chaos magick."
If you're a little hazy on what "chaos magick" is, the article explains and offers a free ebook on the subject, along with Ultraculture's online courses.
The other seven celebrities are William S. Burroughs, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Grant Morrison, Alan McGee, Die Antwoord, Aphex Twin and Damon Albarn.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Krist Noveselic, who played in a band mentioned in the Illuminatus! trilogy.
Four noted Americans have announced the formation of the Open Source Party, which draws inspiration from the open source software movement, and which is inviting people to sign up.
"While Open Source Party wants to leave most of its political ideals and intentions to party participants, we do want to set a few policy and exploratory guideposts. We want greater governmental transparency, increased democratic participation through election reform and a defense of basic civil liberties," the group says on its website. Those sound like good goals to me. It might be a vehicle for liberals and libertarians to do good things. Maybe.
The four people announcing the formation of the party are Krist Novoselic, R.U. Sirius, Nathan Wilcox and Jon Lebkowsky.
If you read this blog, you probably know who R.U. Sirius is, and you may have read my interview with him earlier this year. He is a noted author and an expert on Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson.
I know who two of the others are, too. Krist Novoselic is a musician and the former bass player for Nirvana, the last great rock band, the famous band mentioned in Illuminatus! years before it actually formed. Jon Lebkowsky is a "digital culture maven" who was associated with the early days of bOING bOING (the magazine, before the web site). I used to buy weird stuff via the mail from his Fringeware store in Austin Texas, where he still lives. I had been wondering a few days ago, "Whatever happened to that Fringeware guy?" Jon, if you happen to read this, I'm getting really tired of waiting for you to reopen the store.
The only one I haven't heard of before is Nate Wilcox. "Since 2007 have worked as a sports writer and one of the leading bloggers covering Mixed Martial Arts for Sports Blog Nation/Vox Media.
Prior to that worked in the field of online political and advocacy communications since 1997. First with Austin, TX based Public Strategies Inc where I served as Director of Online Communications, since then with numerous Democratic campaigns and non-profit advocacy organizations, both as a staffer and as a consultant. Clients included Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Richard Morrison's challenge to Tom DeLay in 2004," he explains.
You can follow the Open Source Party on Twitter. It's on Facebook, too.
Monday, September 28, 2015
The Festival 23 Discordian event scheduled for the weekend of July 23, 2016 "at a secret outdoor location in the UK" now has a full-fledged website. Some of the listed "co-conspirators" for the event will be familiar, particularly if you are up on the British scene.
Also, the Festival 23 folks have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to make it happen. There are naturally various perks, but one that's worth noting is that for 23 pounds, you get a say in the festival planning and an invitation to a Nov. 28 meeting.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Ubuweb, the website that serves as an archive for all sorts of interesting avant-garde writings, video and music, is a site that many people who read this blog would enjoy exploring.
It has a monthly feature called Ubuweb Top Ten in which somebody is invited to list their ten favorite items on the site. I've never been invited to contribute, but here, anyway, is mind:
1. Conversations | William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Timothy Leary, Les Levine, and Robert Anton Wilson (7:10) This is about it for RAW material, but search the Internet Archive.
2. Music of Frederic Rzewski. Includes many of his best pieces, such as "Coming Together."
3. Joseph Cornell's Rose Hobart. The surrealist artist turns a hokey adventure movie into a dreamlike work of art.
4. Igor Stravinsky Chamber Music (link from the site), good collection of pieces.
5. L'Étoile de mer (English: The Sea Star), movie by Man Ray. Kind of an illustrated poem, with subtitles in English.
6. Contemporary Polish Music. The Penderecki piece is the most famous, but I also like the music by the other composers.
7. György Ligeti. Aventures-Nouvelles Aventures, Atmosphères & Volumina. Some of the important composer's best pieces.
8. Luciano Berio — Berio Conducts Berio. Another interesting modernist composer.
9. Steel Foundry, by Alexander Mosolov. Historic recording of famous piece by Russian composer repressed by Stalin. (Scroll down.)
10. The Music of Lou Harrison. (Scroll down). Good introduction to music of West Coast composer I like.
Check out the Ubuweb Top Ten archive for other suggestions.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Gerard O'Neill, whose ideas inspired the L-5 Society.
I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how some of Robert Anton Wilson's futurist ideas from the 1970s have been doing lately.
I have written already about how Peter Thiel and Elon Musk have worked to advance many of his ideas, including space migration and life extension, so now I am trying another angle.
The author biography from Cosmic Trigger says, "President of the Institute of Exo-Psychology, Robert Anton Wilson is a leading figure in the study of extraterrestrial psychology. As Director of the Prometheus Society, a Maryland-based lobby group, he is actively engaged in the scientific search for immortality. An active member of the L-5 Society, a group of scientists who are determined to send out the first space-city (designed by Gerard O'Neill of Princeton), Mr. Wilson is engaged in seeking new frontiers for humanity."
Here is an update on those three groups, or at least what I could find:
(1) The Institute for Exo-Psychology sounds like a Timothy Leary thing, but I was not able to get a great deal of information after querying two of Leary's biographers.
When I asked R.U. Sirius "Whatever happened to the Institute of Exo-Psychology?" he replied (on Twitter), "I didn't know it happened in the first place ... "
John Higgs doubts that it's still around, or that it even amounted to much in the first place, but with characteristic kindness and wit, he answered my email immediately: "In fact, I'd be surprised if it existed beyond some enthusiastic friends in Leary's circle, and a letterhead. I hope I'm wrong though! I for one would love to land a job at the Institute of Exo-Psychology!"
(2) The Prometheus Society. I wrote to retired professor Dr. Charles Tandy, who was associated with the group. He replied,
"An original Prometheus Society brochure I have in front of me right now was published in 1976. Dr. Thomas K. Donaldson (the American/ Australian mathematician who for many years now has been in cryonic hibernation) is listed as a founding member. RAW may have become aware of the PS soon after the publication of this brochure. It says the PS 'is a revolutionary non-profit corporation promoting individual and world survival and the transition to societal utopia and personal immortality.' Among other things, it sought to establish a U.S. National Institute on Low Temperature Biology and (O'Neill) Self-sufficient Extra-terrestrial Green habitats. Uniting the two sets of projects into a third set of projects was a major PS goal: 'a space polis of 100,000 cryonauts' [i.e., cryonicists]. 'With that reality, all past history may be viewed as ages of darkness and death'."
"Although not explicitly-literally, I suppose we could say that in spirit the PS morphed into
(3) The L-5 society merged in 1986 with the National Space Institute, which became the National Space Society. See this Wikipedia article, and this one and this one. I will probably join the National Space Society.
Friday, September 25, 2015
George Carlin and Robert Anton Wilson were big fans of each other, as you'd know if you read RAW's underrated, out of print book, Chaos and Beyond. Jake Shannon has written a piece that explains why many RAW fans tend to like Carlin's work.
Jake's piece is posted at his new Fnord University website, which resembles his Discordian Libertarians group on Facebook but which provides a place beyond Facebook's control (and censorship.) The initials for Jake's new venture allows him to put "FU and Your B.S.*: A Winning Team!" at the top of the home page.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
California already seems like a pretty cool place to me. I'm on vacation; the above photo is a view of the Pacific Ocean, a picture I snapped on my cell phone while standing on the deck of the house we are renting in Mendocino.
But the state is about to become even more cool, with the announcement from Daisy Eris Campbell that she is bringing her Cosmic Trigger play to California.
So here's the plan, Seekers - hot on the heels of a UK reprise, we plan to be in Santa Cruz on July 23rd 2017 performing Cosmic Trigger.
The place is where Bob lived and died; the year is the ten year anniversary of his death; and the day is not only the anniversary of his contact with Sirius, but also the official Robert Anton Wilson Day as declared by the mayor of Santa Cruz. If ever there was a day and place for the ultimate Discordian pilgrimage, this is it.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
I recently was elected to the board of the Libertarian Futurist Society, the group that annually gives out the Prometheus Award and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. So I am busier than ever with the group (I also sit on two judging committees, the panels that come out with the list of finalists for each award.)
The way that the award works is like this: Any dues-paying member of the group can nominate a work. Each of the two committees then goes through the nominees, reading as many as possible and coming up with a slate of five finalists. All of the members of the LFS then are emailed a ballot to vote on the awards.
Here is a list of the Prometheus Award winners for the last ten years:
2015 -- Daniel Suarez, Influx
2014 -- Cory Doctorow, Homeland and Ramez Naam, Nexus
2013 -- Cory Doctorow, Pirate Cinema
2012 -- Delia Sherman, The Freedom Maze and Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
2011 -- Sarah Hoyt, Darkship Thieves
2010 -- Dani and Eytan Kollin, The Unincorporated Man
2009 -- Cory Doctorow, Little Brother
2008 -- Harry Turtledove, The Gladiator; Jo Walton, Ha'penny
2007 -- Charles Stross, Glasshouse
2006 -- Ken MacLeod, Learning the World
What I am struck by looking at this list is that I'm rather proud, in the main, of the works that have won the award. If you are well read in science fiction, you may have read some of those books.
What you may notice is that most of the winners are not, in fact avowed libertarians. Ramez Naam noticed this and remarked on it when he accepted his award last year, according to an article in our newsletter. "I have a great respect for the intellectual rigor and honesty of this award that you can see by the fact that more than half of the winners of the award in part are probably Marxists or socialists. At least as many Marxists or socialists have won this as libertarians in the past. I think this is a testament to the honesty of the award. By awarding it to whatever book and author has most advanced liberty from whatever end of the political spectrum it has come."
If you happen to enjoy reading science and you have libertarian leanings, I would invite you to join us. More information here.
George R.R. Martin recently wrote a nice piece on the various SF awards, suggesting that if conservative SF fans are unhappy with the Hugos, they could start their own award. Incidentally, did you hear David Gerrold's joke about Martin? He had to leave Twitter because he killed off all 140 characters.
Monday, September 21, 2015
As we inch closer to Halloween (is it as popular in the rest of the world as it has become in the United States?) it seems to be appropriate to read Robert Anton Wilson's rather good essay of appreciation, "My Debt to H.P. Lovecraft," which I read after Arthur Hlavaty called my attention to it on his blog.
I feel that HPL and Stapledon expressed very powerfully a species-wide problem – our disorientation in space and time, consequent upon the Copernican and post-Copernican discoveries which revealed that the human race is not the center of the universe and not the special darling of the gods. Few “mainstream” writers have tackled that intellectual and emotional shock as unflinchingly as did HPL and Stapledon. For that reason, I think many, perhaps most, “mainstream” writers are not ultimately serious. HPL, in his terrified way, and Stapledon, in his (guardedly) optimistic way, were serious.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Ludwig van Beethoven
The latest Beethoven biography, by Jan Swafford, is on sale this month, $2.99 for the Kindle edition. Tyler Cowen says it is "As good or better than the classic biographies of the composer." He was perhaps RAW's favorite composer, but I listen to a lot of Beethoven, too.
I bought it, but while I was trying to decide, I did a "search inside the book" on Amazon of the hardcover edition for the search term "Illuminati." Yup, 23 results!
Saturday, September 19, 2015
In light of yesterday's blog post, the one about the famous political scientist who says that all libertarians are a buncha gun totin' warmongers, every last one of them, I thought some of our British friends, and perhaps others, too, might be interested in this Lew Rockwell blog post defending Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the British Labour Party. It's a short post, so I'll reproduce it here in full:
The British media have been flipping out for some time over the Labour leadership contest. The Tory press was advising the opposition that Jeremy Corbyn, if elected, would hurt the opposition. It’s an idiot argument, of course, since they want to hurt the opposition. Is it because Corbyn, who won in a landslide, is a socialist? No, since Conservative corporatism is anti-free market, too. Is it because he’s bad on the “migrants”? So is the whole establishment. It’s because he openly advocates ideas that are supposed to be suppressed: get rid of the immoral Trident nuclear missiles; get out of all the wars, no matter what the US and Israel want; put Tony Blair on trial for war crimes; be friendly with all peoples, even Russians and Palestinians. He doesn’t like the EU or NATO, either. Unlike Bernie, a warmonger, Jeremy is a man of peace. Suppose we can trade?
If you don't recognize the name, Rockwell is a hardcore libertarian, associated with the hardcore Ludwig von Mises Institute. I'm sure he'd consider me too moderate, practically a socialist or something.
Incidentally, this points up something interesting about the U.S. presidential race — there's been very little discussion about foreign policy, at least among Democratic politicians. I covered Hillary Clinton's speech in Cleveland for my paper a few weeks ago, and she spoke never mentioned foreign affairs once, even though she is the former secretary of state.
Sorry about all of the political BS. Normal programming resumes tomorrow.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Top, some of Bobby's latest; bottom, the RAW tribute magazine.
Your favorite and mine, Bobby Campbell, will be occupying one of the tables at the Small Press Expo this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland. ("The Small Press Expo is North America’s premiere independent cartooning and comic arts festival. SPX brings together more than 4,000 cartoonists and comic arts enthusiasts every fall in Bethesda, Maryland." Sounds pretty good!)
Mr. Campbell reports: "I'll be at table G14 w/ numerous stacks of comix (Including a RAW tribute magazine a bunch of us Maybe Logic critters put together several years ago!)"
Also, special discount for RAWIllumination readers (and, OK, everyone else). "All my comixology comix are on sale for 50% off using the code 'SPX'."
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Political scientist Alan Wolfe, who penned a strikingly dishonest piece about libertarianism.
I know that libertarianism is not for everybody. A large percentage of the time, it's not for me. Although I tend to self-identify as a libertarian, I don't find the ideology terribly useful in discussing environmental issues, for example. Many libertarians are not very good at talking about the poor, or discussing issues that concern minorities. (There are quite a few honorable exceptions.)
This doesn't mean that I'm pleased with the seemingly endless parade of asinine critiques of libertarianism that appears in the American press.
I didn't think any publication in America could top Salon for shallow unfair hit pieces on libertarianism, but Commonweal, which describes itself as an "independent lay Catholic journal of opinion" which is "tolerant in tone," appears to have set a new standard. It's just published a piece called "Libertarianism's Iron Cage," by Alan Wolfe, a formerly Marxist political scientist who morphed into a Bill Clinton adviser.
Much of the criticism from libertarians has focused on this passage:
There is a libertarian way of riding a bicycle, of taking your medicine, finding a spouse, giving blood, and even calling a cab (can you say, “Uber?”).
And it certainly is a weird passage. I've gone to Libertarian Party gatherings subscribed to "Reason" magazine, followed libertarian blogs and read books by libertarian thinkers (not just Robert Anton Wilson, but also more mainstream libertarian authors). I've never heard of a libertarian method for riding a bike, or swallowing pills, or giving blood, or any of Wolfe's other examples.
I mean, really. What would the "big government" method be for swallowing an Ibuprofen?
But there's a much worse passage:
There are few pacifists among libertarian activists and thinkers; though the movement theoretically opposes force, it has no place in its ranks for those who reject war.
Here, weirdness shades over into outright dishonesty.
Where to begin?
Robert Anton Wilson, while not quite a pacifist (he could envision using force to defend his family) was antiwar. He participated in the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War and strongly denounced the Persian Gulf War and Iraq War.
Jesse Walker, a Libertarian editor at "Reason" magazine and a RAW fan who has helped this blog many times, is a co-founder of the Come Home America antiwar group (whose blog runs on the side of this blog.)
OK, maybe RAW is a "weirdo" libertarian, and maybe Jesse read too much RAW. What about mainstream libertarians? Let's look at the main libertarian movements and organizations.
The Libertarian Party puts out official press releases on its web site; here is a release denouncing the Republican-controlled House for voting to "jack up military spending"; here is the release that calls for shutting down the CIA. And here is the open letter to Rand Paul, arguing that the U.S. should stay out out Mideast wars. Go ahead, look at the other releases. Find me all of the pro-war ones.
When the Kochs exercised a hostile takeover of the Cato Institute, the only big libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., there were fears that Cato's antiwar stance would be watered down and that it would be turned into an arm of the Republican Party. (I was one of the people who was worried.)
Well, all of my favorite Cato foreign policy pundits are still there. Was Doug Bandow purged? Nope, still there. Christopher Preble? Still there, too. You can view the Cato foreign policy and military affairs section, which says, "Cato’s foreign and defense policies are guided by the view that the United States is relatively secure, and so should engage the world, trade freely, and work with other countries on common concerns, but avoid trying to dominate it militarily. We should be an example of democracy and human rights, not their armed vindicator abroad." Sounds just like Dick Cheney, huh?
The Von Mises Institute has a very strong antiwar stance. The Center for a Stateless Society crowd, i.e. Kevin Carson, Roderick Long, Chad Nelson, etc.? There are to the left of other libertarians on certain issues, and solidly antiwar.
Antiwar.com, to whom I have given money, was founded and run by hardcore libertarians. Murray Rothbard, a very influential libertarian thinker, was solidly antiwar, to the point where he was willing to form somewhat odd coalitions in the hopes of keeping the antiwar movement alive. Ron Paul, easily the most popular and influential libertarian of the modern age, is solidly antiwar. Rand Paul's campaign for president has pretty much fallen apart, at least for now, largely because of a sense of betrayal fans of Ron Paul feel over Rand's stance on peace issues. The popular EconLog blog is strongly antiwar in sentiment, with contributions from David Henderson and Bryan Caplan.
Trust me, I could go on.
Yes, there are some libertarians who have been pro-war, at least for certain wars. As with other political movements, there are differing opinions, and people who think for themselves. But everywhere you look in the libertarian movement, at the official political party, for example, or all of the main think tanks, you can't help but notice that in general libertarians are strongly antiwar. It is hard to see how an honest political scientist, considering the evidence, could miss that.
Wolfe ends his piece with a cliched complaint about "Americans dismayed by political cynicism." Perhaps one reason why Americans are cynical about politics is that they are tired of the dominance in political discourse of propagandists like Wolfe.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Ian 'Cat' Vincent
Fresh from his successful recent talk on Robert Anton Wilson, now available on video, Ian "Cat" Vincent has announced he will publish his first book next year. New Gods and Monsters will be issued in summer 2016 from Daily Grail Publishing.
From the Cat's mouth:
This will be an expansion of my previously published thoughts on hyper-real religion, Slenderman, multi-model occultism and basically everything I care about, heavily revised and re-examined – plus a lot of new material on how mythology and stories intersect our modern world.
The Daily Grail also has issued an announcement.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Actress Yvette Nicole Brown plays the character Shirley Bennett, who Bobby Campbell says represents the first circuit, the Oral Biosurvival Circuit.
The Eight Circuit model of consciousness, as developed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson, can be used to analyze an American situation comedy.
Or so says our friend Bobby Campbell, who has written an analysis of the situation comedy Community.
Bobby says, "It is most certainly an imperfect mapping of the show, based on an imperfect psychological model, which cherry picks certain characteristics, and ignores others, but I found that it ends up fitting far better than I expected it to, and since the show is known for its impeccable story structure, it’s interesting to find something resembling character structure as well. For the sake of simplicity this is based on the original “Greendale Seven Study Group” incarnation of the cast."
I've never seen the show.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
In Cosmic Trigger, Robert Anton Wilson describes how his daughter Luna was brutally murdered, and how friends in the Bay Area Cryonics Society helped the Wilsons freeze Luna's brain, in hopes that someday some way would be found to bring her back to life. (I've linked to the American Cryonics Society, but that's what the group is called now.)
The New York Times has just published the story of Kim Suozzi, a young woman who knew she was dying of cancer and who decided, with the help of her boyfriend, Josh Schisler, to have her brain frozen by Alcor.
I saw nothing in Amy Harmon's piece to suggest that the couple was directly inspired by any of Robert Anton Wilson's writings. But the couple clearly ran in some of the same libertarian circles as RAW and many of his modern fans:
"Josh, a political science major, fell in love with Kim, an agnostic science geek, shortly after encountering her freshman year at Truman State University at a meeting of the College Libertarians. There, in the fall of 2007, they bonded over a dislike for the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
"Kim, whose dark good looks came from her father, had a crush on someone else. But Josh, tall, blond and self-confident — occasionally overconfident, Kim would note — persuaded her to be his canvassing partner for the presidential campaign of Ron Paul."
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Well, you can if you have a computer that runs a version of Linux, such as Ubuntu.
Penguicon, the science fiction/open source culture convention held in Detroit, has announced its hack of honor. It's Sirius, which this time is not the dog star or a famous cyberpunk or a source of aliens sending messages to Earth, but an “open [source] end-to-end standalone speech and vision based intelligent personal assistant (IPA) similar to Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Echo," the convention says.
More here, but at least for now, you have to run Linux on a device to download and run it.
(You can still follow R.U. Sirius on Twitter, regardless of your smartphone's operating system.) NOTE: Had the wrong Twitter link posted earlier, now fixed.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Given that Illuminatus! is often compared to the works of Thomas Pynchon, here is a conspiracy theory that is too good not to share: Thomas Pynchon may have published a new novel this year, Cow Country, using the pen name "Adrian Jones Pearson." Alas, the claim is likely wrong.
This theory is advanced in a Harper's magazine blog posting by Art Winslow. The amusingly bogus author web site is here.
Harper's is apparently not interested in telling us who Art Winslow is, although he may be the former literary editor of The Nation magazine.
The Wikipedia article also offers the rather less glamorous explanation that it's written by one Jacob M. Appel, and there is some interesting evidence to support that claim. (Someone named "J. Appel" previously registered cowcountry.com. The Pearson site is at coweye.org.)
UPDATE: Now they're saying it's Anthony Perry.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
The other day I relayed an anecdote from Ian "Cat" Vincent about how RAW had supposedly written a script for the Babylon 5 TV show.
It now appears the story got garbled a little bit; apparently Wilson wrote a script which he felt might have helped inspire the series.
Nick Helweg-Larsen wrote to me to point to a bit in Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything (Or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance, a long audio recording. About 48 minutes into the first track, Wilson says:
"I met a lot of celebrities, including the head of the Producers Guild, who encouraged me to write an outline for a pilot for a TV series, without telling me you usually get paid for that. He said 'I'll see if I can sell it,' so I didn't get paid a damn thing for it, and it never went on the air, anyway. But something rather like it showed up two years later. Well, just slightly like it. Mine was set on a space colony between the Earth and the Moon. Then along came along Babylon 5, which is set on a space colony much further out. But the idea of living in a space colony rather than on a planet's face seemed very interesting to me. I think it's probably the future. I don't think we're going to colonize other planets. You climb out of a galaxy well, why climb back down into another gravity well?" [And then further discussion about colonies in space.]
Interesting to be sure, but I don't know what to make of it. Wilson seems more interested in talking about space colonies than pursuing his alleged grievance.
Does anyone else have information?
I guess the name of the show conforms with the Law of Fives.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Ian 'Cat' Vincent
Ian 'Cat' Vincent's talk on Robert Anton Wilson at Treadwell's is now online for those of us who could not make it to London, so I sat down and watched it. It's a very good talk, focusing on Vincent's particular interest in magick, but also generally covering Wilson's philosophy. It's in two parts, about one hour for the talk and about 15 minutes for a question and answer session.
For context and Mr. Vincent's other doings, see this blog post.
Lots of other interesting-looking stuff at his website.
Trivia about Mr. Vincent (from the Internet Movie Database): "Was the basis of the character 'Romanov' in Diana Wynne Jones' novel 'The Merlin Conspiracy' (2003)."
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Louise Lacey in the 1960s
Adam Gorightly returns with a blog post about Kerry Thornley and his circle in 1967 in California, when the hippie movement was at its height. I particularly enjoyed the story about how Thornley and Louise Lacey, who must be an interesting character in her own right, tried to get high from bananas:
In March 1967, the Los Angeles Free Press ran an article about how you could get high from smoking banana skins, including instructions on how to prepare the stuff. Kerry decided to give this new craze a go, and in the company of co-conspirator Louise Lacey visited the local Safeway supermarket, as the two of them cleaned out the produce section of their banana supply, then brought home the banana bounty, removed the fruit and baked the inner portions of the skins on cookie sheets just as the Los Angeles Free Press article had instructed.
While this cosmic concoction was cooking, Kerry and Louise went around the Watts neighborhood, ringing door bells and offering skinned bananas to any interested parties. As Louise recalled: “This was a mostly black neighborhood, who knew Kerry, at least by sight, but still they weren’t interested. He explained that it was an experiment, and that no one had messed with the bananas (which were getting brown), but they thanked him and shut the door, again and again, so we gave up.”
You'll have to read the whole post to get the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Ms. Lacey remains interested in plants.
Monday, September 7, 2015
He would let you send in some of your tax money as a campaign donation; Jesse Walker is skeptical, but I'd rather give me money to an antiwar candidate (assuming I could find one) than the government. Walker's post gives details and then links to his earlier post with more information.
I also like Lessig's ideas on copyright reform and hope he gets to raise them on the campaign trail.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
I've been trying to get caught up on some of the blog posts I've missed recently, so I read PQ's latest, "A Drought-Ending Inundation of Art." It's about Surrealist art, and the fact is, I love Surrealist art and always hope to find some when I walk into an art museum. You can also read about the book Peter is working on.
If Peter wants to tackle some Surrealist writing, I strongly recommend English and American Surrealist Poetry, edited by Edward Germain. That's how I discovered a poet I've long been interested in named Charles Henri Ford. The above is one of Ford's "collage poems" from the 1960s, which I reproduced because I needed something visual, although in point of fact, I prefer Ford's 1930s and 1940s work,
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Artwork promoting the Guns and Dope Party
The Guns and Dope Party has an announced candidate for president. White Lightning says he has filed with the FEC as a candidate. I have followed his Twitter account, which sometimes confuses me. Twitter may be confused, too, because when I followed @light_of_white, it recommended three "similar accounts": Arabia Now, from Saudi Arabia's U.S. embassy; Giggles ("Oops dropped me mums spaghetti") and bigballbumpty ("fuck all.")
Anyway, White Lightning's candidacy does not appear yet on the FEC's already long list of 2016 candidates for president (featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton, and also Dinesh Ravishanker, Mr. Ronald Reagan's Ghost and Hairy Jay-Mz MC Pawter of Griffyndor, among many others), but Mr. Lightning Tweeted a form showing that his filing has been confirmed. Mr. Lightning also has released a record album.
A tipster wrote to the Guns and Dope Party website, and Richard Rasa of the RAW Estate passed on the word, so I emailed several questions to the candidate, and he answered with one long statement, which I reproduce here.
Dear Tommy boi,
First off let me say thanks and I also would like to point out (you can put this in your article if you want) that I will answer some questions with a sort of odd twist that pertains to my fucked up persona.
I White Lightning, have spent a musical career basically pretending to be a human thats is comprised of all the social constructions that have been devised by americans in the form of racism, religion-based discrimination, and all around fucked up beliefs. The whole goal of White Lightning was to create a character so absurd yet would also make the listener take a good look and evaluation of their own life. I decided to run for president initially because I thought it could be a good album topic. However, the reason now is to show that even a candidate running under a party named "guns and dope party" has far better ideas than any other shitwad who actually has a chance of winning. Yes Hillary Donald and Jeb, I'm talking to you. I now run to promote the great ideas of my party and spread awareness that congress in fact is turning into a piece of shit. Though I initially stated my album was the inspiration to me running, I honestly couldn't care less how the sales do. White Lightning albums are literally based after what I thought cancer sounds like. The new motive is to fall second behind deez nuts in write ins as well as achieve my ultimate goal, start a Twitter war with at least one major fucker in congress. It's harder than you'd think. The guns and dope party literally is the most badass political party ever conceived. Its literally like if Abe Lincoln and Chuck Norris had the best sex of their lives and conceived a beautiful and promise filled political party that basically talks about how awesome ostriches and dope are. The number one thing that I actually and seriously agree with (to a limit if we are being serious) is the idea that people really should be able to do whatever the Fuck they want. I mean this not in a sense where I think people should be allowed to rape and murder people, but I believe that is people want to be gay, have abortions, smoke some dope, shoot off a gun(however, I will actually admit I believe that the gun registration process is a bit to shtty and easy in this country) marry a cat, or be a retard, we really should just fucking let them. I get really ticked off at issues with religious intervention because it's just a whole waste that only delays our progress as a society. Most of the bible preaching republican fuck boys haven't even read the damn book nor have they read or realized it's an out of date, sex and incest filled, shitty user of symbolism, and all around boring book. I'm also a registered Dudist Priest so if you want to join a religioun that promotes bowling, white Russian cocktails, and doing whatever the Fuck you want, join Dudeism. It's also free. I have problems with both democrats and republicans, but the only candidate I see having any chance at being fairly decent is Joe Biden because he's like that fucking crazy uncle that is secretly a badass. And he's not even running yet. If any readers come across this interview, my main message is take time to look for a candidate that you actually want running your country, even if it's not a main candidate. Actually, especially if it's not a main candidate. Thank you.
UPDATE: After I wrote the above, I heard from BigBallBumpty, who writes, "Hey Tom,
It's the triple B! You mentioned me on your latest post. Me and White Lightning go WAAYYYY BACK (Proof: Build-a-Bear Workshop (ft. White Lightning), by BigBallBumpty). We basically invented a subgenre of hip hop and fuck. If his answer to your questions were too weird (idk), ask me or some shit. I plan to be vice president under his position. My submission has been confirmed. AMA I guess. We do indeed have motives."
The track he mentions isn't bad and is a free download. It's from the album, Fuck You, General Tso.
Friday, September 4, 2015
After his speaking engagement at Treadwell's in London, Ian "Cat" Vincent chatted with other Robert Anton Wilson fans and picked up an interesting story (or rumor, or fact): That Wilson wrote a script for the Babylon 5 TV show.
"Interestingly, guy in pub after my talk said RAW had submitted a B5 script!," Vincent wrote on Twitter. Comes from a RAW lecture/interview, source could not remember where. Story goes; submitted as full script, was used in full or in part without credit."
I wrote to Richard Rasa, projects coordinator for the Robert Anton Wilson estate, and asked if he knew anything about the report. He replied that he didn't know anything about that, but would ask Christina Pearson, Wilson's daughter.
If I learn anything else about this, I'll follow up.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Adam Gorightly checks in with a scoop: the Illuminatus! comic book is being re-released, as a free digital download. Material will be released on a monthly basis. Adam has posted an installment, but you can also download a zip file of everything available so far.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Terry Pratchett — literary treasure or potboiling hack?
I am sensitive to literary politics and literary fashion — I am convinced that perhaps the main reason Illuminatus! has not received the attention it should from literary critics is simply because it was published as science fiction. So when I found out via Twitter about the attack on Terry Pratchett and people who read "potboilers," published in the Guardian, I wrote a response for my newspaper.
There's a lot more I could have said. For example, despite what Jonathan Jones says, I am far from convinced that Gabriel García Márquez was a better writer than Ray Bradbury. Yes, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a good novel, and if you haven't tried it, you may have missed something. But although Bradbury was more of a short story writer than a novelist, I still think The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man are really good books, and stories such as "The Pedestrian" are really memorable.