[This week covers pages 85-104 in the Hilaritas Press edition, e.g. the beginning of Part II to "Get Your New York Garbage Online." -- The Mgt.]
By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger
I'm sure we're all familiar with the quotes that begin Part II of email to the Universe: they seem to be printed on all of Wilson's books.
"Joyce & Daoism" is an excellent little essay that encapsulates a lot of the overarching themes in Wilson's work. Like "The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory" and "Black Magick" this essay would work well as an introduction to RAW's thought. Perhaps the most interesting bit about this piece is the date it was penned; a year before his publication in The Realist (where he would similarly attack the masculine aspects of Western religion). Herein RAW lays out his patrist/matrist dialectic which he develops further in Ishtar Rising, The Illuminati Papers, and Coincidance (the book of essays in which it can easily be argued the highlight would be his even more developed exegesis of Finnegans Wake.) When I first read FW nearly seven years ago I used the Coincidance essays as my Baedeker and enjoyed the novel thoroughly. With Father's Day approaching I think it is worth pointing out the work of Carol Loeb Schloss and Alan Moore which has indicated that Anna Livia Plurabelle was based heavily upon Joyce's daughter Lucia (who is my own daughter's namesake). As Joyce worked on his map of time, space, and consciousness he seemed to believe that by finishing his impossible work he might be able to save his daughter who had already been institutionalized as a schizophrenic.
The most interesting point I think RAW raises in this particular essay is that the acceptance in Ulysses is forced and something that Joyce didn't personally feel or accurately express until Finnegans Wake. So there's still hope that I might actually understand the Dao someday. During an interview with Barry Hughart, the author of the ultra-charming Bridge of Birds he cited the Daoist tradition of hiding their teaching in novels during the Confucian hegemony; if we are to understand Finnegans Wake as RAW wishes in this essay a clear connection can be espied.
Another wonderful quote from Mr. Adams disproving the "Christian" origins of this nation.
The "Movie Haiku" section speaks pretty clearly on its own and considering I haven't watched many of the movies herein I have nothing to add. My favorite was Chimes at Midnight, one of my favorite of Welles' performances.
"He Who Thunders From On High" concerns Vico's theory that our belief in god derives from our primitive fear of thunder. It also contains another one of RAW's brilliant logic experiments that points out that Abrahamic religions must believe in a donut god. This is comparable to the aforementioned Realist essay where Wilson asked the pressing question: how big is God's dick?
In "Get Your New York Garbage Online" RAW seems to be anticipating the text speak that would develop rapidly over the next few years.
Our next reading goes from pg. 105-116 before "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary."