Friday, June 14, 2019

Celebrity and its uses

Years ago, when I happened to be in a business that had a TV set on, I was amazed to see a "celebrity endorsement commercial" that featured Mark Frauenfelder (RAW fan, writer, artist, Boing Boing founder, guru of cool etc.) He was explaining why he switched from a Windows machine to Apple. (I don't know when the commercial was made, but this Slate article, written by a guy who apparently has no idea who Mark is, dates to 2002).

This was a rare example of a celebrity endorsement I would actually be willing to listen to, although when I saw it (I think I may have been in a barbershop) I was already following my habit of buying used/cheap laptops and installing Linux on them. (Lately I do my home computer on a cheap Chromebook).

Anyway, it seems to me we need a high profile "celebrity endorser" for Robert Anton Wilson, or some other way to get his name out to the large majority of people who have never heard of him. RAW wrote somewhere once that he wished he could get on TV to share his ideas. During his lifetime, most people never had the opportunity to hear his ideas or find out about him.

My wife is a librarian; he specialty is cataloging. So by the nature of her job, she knows the names of many book authors. (If you describe a book to her, she can probably tell you from memory what the catalog number is likely to be) She never heard of Robert Anton Wilson  until she married a weirdo. Most of the people she works with in the library never heard of RAW.

I even did a blog post last year about a librarian at her library who has read Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Gordon White and H.P. Lovecraft, and he didn't know who RAW was.

So I think there's a potential audience out there for RAW that hasn't been tapped.


Oz Fritz said...

I agree with you Tom, one major celebrity endorsement would greatly up RAW's profile. The photo of Crowley on the cover of Sgt. Pepper increased his recognition tremendously. He seemed virtually unknown outside occult circles before that. The secondary book market, books about RAW and his work, can also go a long way toward broader recognition. Many people, very likely including The Beatles, first heard of Crowley from John Symonds, "The Great Beast." Despite its biased and salacious tone, it did have the effect of introducing Crowley to a much broader audience. It also inspired other books on Crowley trying to set the record straight that only increased his exposure.

Eric Wagner made a great start in the RAW secondary market, but we could use a lot more. I look forward to Prop Anon's bio of RAW and I know of at least one other book on its way that promotes his work.

Eric Wagner said...

Thanks Oz. I remember the anger I felt when Phil Dick died just before Blade Runner came out. I knew his books would appear in grocery stores shortly. Perhaps Bob will hit the big pop market someday.