Part IV Q & A
The questions answered in Part IV span 25 years and seven different interviewers. There’s a lot of material in the last section and most of it has already been covered in the book. Taking this into consideration, as well as the fact that our reading group seems to be winding down with the summer, I’ll touch lightly on a couple topics and wait to hear what your thoughts are as we draw near the end.
The fourth part of email to the Universe begins with the overly familiar dying words of the Old Man of the Mountain and another of the other Old Man’s quips preceded by a pronouncement by Federico Fellini. During my undergrad years I was enchanted with Fellini and would stay up late watching 8 ½, Juliet of the Spirits, La Dolce Vita, Amarcord and whatever else I could find. I’ve mentioned I am not a huge film aficionado but Fellini, like Lynch and Ken Russell, is one of the directors who has captured my attention. “Nothing is known. Everything is imagined” make sense in light of fates of his protagonists. I’ve always prefered to think that Guido didn’t commit suicide at the end of 8 ½ but instead found a way into his memories and fantasies, away from drear, demanding reality.
My favorite line of any haiku from the “Old Man” sequence has to be: “caw caw caw Lord Lord.” This is an astounding rendition of how the crow’s call registers to the human ear...I often listen to their croaks and wonder why they make me shudder so.
The first questioned answered is from Neal Wilgus back in the prehistoric year of 1977. In a footnote RAW reflects on the dismal state of the political circus as of 2004 compared to the year when the question was first offered. Eleven years after the Wilgus interview he states on pg. 239 that Reagan has brought more stupidity to the White House than any other person in Wilson’s lifetime. RAW seems to have had a consistent state of bewildered dismay at the blatant progression of conservatism’s bald-faced goal of despotism. When Clinton is mentioned on pg. 256 Wilson points out the increased scrutiny of President’s private lives by the media (he also acerbically ends his thoughts on the subject that even if it is “open season” on politicians, they deserve it). Like most of the political repartee in email these observations are still evergreen and the situation(s) unresolved.
Wilson discusses his writing influences, his interests, marijuana, conspiracies, mysticism, life extension, and space migration. These subjects are all covered multiple times in different parts of the book; I’ve just finished rereading The Homing Pigeons after the other two volumes of Schroedinger’s Cat and Cosmic Trigger II while we’ve been covering email so I haven’t had many days go by the last month without reading some story involving Pound or Hemmingway, Korzybski or P2. RAW was consistent. Not that these interviews aren’t enjoyable and don’t serve as a refresher of the many different topics covered in this book as well as Wilson’s general corpus, but I really have very little to add.
Between the lot of us at some point in these write ups or comments we’ve shared our thoughts on pretty much everything that is covered in these interviews.
So I’d like to ask those of you who have stuck with me a few questions:
Has your general perception of RAW or any of the ideas discussed altered significantly while going over email to the Universe? Was this anyone’s first time reading email?
Where do you feel email to the Universe fits in RAW’s overall output? Does it compare to collections such as Coincidance or Right Where You Are Sitting Now? Or does it remind you more of the later Cosmic Triggers or TSOG?
Is this a fitting final book for RAW? Is it meant to be a final book? Does the chronology of publication mean anything?
What are some of the differences you noticed between younger and older Bob in the text?
Next week we’ll finish Part V and read Krassner’s afterword.
Note: The formatting for the last paragraphs on pg. 234 and 256 seems to be centered instead of aligned left with the rest of the text.