Friday, April 30, 2021

RAW in 1960: A mystic but not a theologian [UPDATED]


Issue No. 14 of the Realist, December 1959 and January 1960,  (available here as part of the Realist Archive Project) has an "impolite interview" of Alan Watts, conducted by Robert Anton Wilson. Hat tip to @antlerboy on Twitter for pointing to it.  [UPDATE: In the comments, Prop Anon says both Paul Krassner and Wilson did the interview.]

As I was looking at the issue, I noticed something else. A. Finley Schaef, pastor of First Methodist Church of Astoria, N.Y., pens a very brief letter to the editor, printed under the headline "Accusation." It says, "Mr. Robert Anton Wilson's chronic rage against the Church notwithstanding, my impression is he is just another theologian in the Antichrist's clothing."

An editor's note in reply (I assume Paul Krassner) says, "Coincidentally, I accused Mr. Wilson of more or less the same disguise when he chose to title his column in Issue #13 'Notes of a Skeptical Mystic' rather than 'Notes of a Mystical Skeptic.' His response, to both Rev. Schaef and myself:

" 'I admit that I am a mystic. I deny that I am a theologian. For an interesting distinction between mysticism and theology, see Alan Watts' Myth and Ritualism in Christianity. If I were to be pinned down, I would describe myself in Erich Fromm's words -- 'a non-theistic mystic'.' "


Thursday, April 29, 2021

FBI literary critic reviews Thornley's 'Oswald'

 

Kerry Thornley

At Historia Discordia, Adam Gorightly quotes an FBI review of Oswald by Kerry Thornley: 

“This book by Thornley is not a good piece of literature. The language in the book at times is raw and there does not seem to be any continuity of contents. It sells for seventy-five cents a copy, in paperback form and appears to be an effort by Thornley and the publisher to make a quick financial killing. It is highly doubtful if it will achieve this purpose.”

More here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Notes on the contributors for the new RAW book

 


As I mentioned yesterday, the new Hilaritas Press edition of Sex, Drugs & Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits has an unusual number of additional pieces, from eight different people. I thought it might be useful to tell you a bit about each one and offer links to find out more. Checking out their music etc. should keep me busy for awhile. 

Grant Morrison

The comic book writer and author of The Invisibles.   Prop Anon interviewed him about Illuminatus! and other RAW topics. You can follow him on Twitter. 

Damien Echols

Damien Echols is a ceremonial magician. You can find him on Twitter and also he has a Patreon account.

Phil Farber

Philip Farber is the author of many books on magick; you can browse his titles on Amazon

Cat Vincent

Ian "Cat" Vincent is a British magician and writer, mentioned quite a few times on this blog; you can for example read my 2016 interview with him and listen to an interesting recent podcast.  He is active on Twitter. 

Rodney Orpheus

Rodney Orpheus is musician known for his band The Cassandra Complex but notice also his book Abrahadabra: Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thelemic Magic. He also is active on Twitter.

Andrew O'Neill

Andrew O'Neill is a British comedian, musician, presenter and writer.  On Twitter, but also check out the Patreon account. 

Alexis Mincolla

Singer in the band 3Teeth. He also is on Twitter. And you can find him on Patreon.

Arden Leigh

Lead singer for Arden and Wolves and for Prospertine. Follow on Twitter. Also, do yourself and favor and check out this music video, which I couldn't really explain at the time. 


Monday, April 26, 2021

Hilaritas publishes new edition of 'Sex, Drugs & Magick'


Hilaritas Press has announced the publication of a new edition of Robert Anton Wilson's Sex, Drugs and Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits. 

The full announcement is here, but one aspect of this new title that makes it unusual is that an unusual number of people contributed supplementary material this time. Eight different people contributed new forewords or afterwords to the book: Grant Morrison, Damien Echols, Phil Farber, Cat Vincent, Rodney Orpheus, Andrew O'Neill, Alexis Mincolla and Arden Leigh. 

"A lot has changed for sex, drugs and magick since this book was written in 1972-73 and revised by the author in 1987 and again in 2000. Offering an updated perspective on these topics for both new and long-time RAW fans seemed sensible, so we created a magickal ritual for calling forth interest in the world of writers familiar with sex, drugs and magick. We used the sacred ritualistic tools of email and Zoom to cast our spell. That really seemed to work," Rasa explains.


Prometheus Rising exercise and reading group, Week 29


Downtown of Berea, Ohio, where I live and write this blog. (Creative Commons photo by science fiction writer and NASA scientist Geoffrey Landis, who also lives in Berea.) 

I spent Sunday morning doing the second exercise in Chapter Two of Prometheus Rising. (I had already done the first, which is "buy a computer if you don't already have one and re-read Chapter Two" -- I already own two laptops and a smartphone which obviously is a third computer, so I didn't feel a need to buy another one, but I did re-read the chapter.)

The second exercise is the one where you sit in a room where you won't be interrupted for half an hour and think "I am sitting in the room doing this exercize because" and list as many reasons that you can think of. RAW specifies that he wants you to come up with specific facts, not metaphysical speculations. 

One of the things I realized as I did the exercise is that I was sitting in a particular place at a particular time, e.g. in my living room in Berea, Ohio, late Sunday morning. Obviously I did the exercise in my home because I live. But I did it at a particular time I had to find a time when I would not be interrupted. So the particular time relates to the fact that my wife is a night owl and likes to sleep in late, and I know that I will usually have some time in the morning to myself (it's usually when I write my blog posts.)

One of the other things I figured out was that the reasons I was sitting in a particular room of a particular house in a particular American city was a mix of reasons that I have in common probably with everyone reading this blog entry (e.g., the factors that led to the writing and publication of Prometheus Rising, such as Robert Anton Wilson becoming friends with Timothy Leary and Robert Shea) and reasons that are particular to me (I used to live  in Oklahoma but I married a Cleveland girl). 

And the list of reasons why I was sitting in my living room late Sunday morning, April 25, 2021, in fact goes on and on. I completed the exercise and as I have been sitting here writing this, I have thought of more reasons!

Anyway, here are some of the reasons for sitting why I was sitting in the room in Berea, Ohio,were:

• On a whim, more than 10 years ago, I decided to create a blog when I could write down thoughts about Robert Anton Wilson.

• I read a sentence written by Tyler Cowen which said most blogs fail if they don't have regular entries, at least once a day. I decided to do a blog entry each day and discovered it was something I could do.

• I discovered there were other very dedicated Robert Anton Wilson fans, and I began getting comments and emails from some of them. This led me to continue the blog, which led me to launch online discussion groups of various Robert Anton Wilson books, and after some of the obvious titles had been covered such as Illuminatus!, we got to Prometheus Rising. 

• One of the reasons we did Prometheus Rising was to promote the Hilaritas Press republication of the title. 

• Hilaritas Press exists because RAW's daughter and literary executor, Christina Pearson, was able to launch a successful small press because she found a reliable and talented person to do much of the actual work, Richard Rasa, who was such a RAW fan he also would be willing to work for almost no money.

• Richard Rasa became a RAW fan because he was a guitarist for a rock band, Sweet Smoke, that was based in Europe. While in Europe, he met an attractive young German artist Marlis Jermutus, who was smart and interesting and the two became close. He also met the members of the band and jammed with them.

•  The rock band actually did not have a need for a sitar player, Rasa's main instrument when he first met them. However, when Rasa returned for awhile to the U.S., he decided to learn guitar. By coincidence, members of the band had a big fight with their rhythm guitarist and fired him, and they suddenly needed a guitarist and asked Rasa if he was interested.  So, ultimately, Hilaritas Press published Prometheus Rising because a rock band most of you have never heard of had a fight many decades ago. (See this podcast for details.) 

• Ultimately, Prometheus Rising was published because an eccentric from Brooklyn, N.Y., named Robert Wilson, who had held a succession of different jobs but wanted to be a professional writer, found success in the 1970s with the Illuminatus! trilogy, which allowed him to launch his writing career and publish many other books. 

• Because a man named Hugh Hefner came up with the idea for a men's magazine in the 1950s, "Playboy" magazine was born and became a success. Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson met because both became editors of "Playboy" magazine and became friends, as they had similar interests. One day, in a Chicago bar, Shea joked about writing a book that would treat all of the crazy conspiracy theories held by Playboy's readers as if they were real.

Illuminatus! was actually published because Shea had a friend at the Dell book publishing company, coincidentally also named Bob, Bob Apel. Shea wrote Apel a letter pitching some book ideas, and Apel liked the idea of a book about the Illuminati,  so Wilson and Shea were able to sell Illuminatus! as a book to be published by Dell. (See my blog post, "Three Bobs and the origin of the Illuminatus! trilogy.")

• I read Illuminatus! while in college in Oklahoma in the 1970s and became a RAW fan, buying his books for many years afterward and eventually launching a blog. I cannot remember why I decided to read the first book in the trilogy; I may have run across it and decided it looked interesting. But I also realized I was a "libertarian" in political orientation when I was in college, and one of the libertarians I met on campus may have recommended it.

• I could in theory have found myself sitting in a room in Oklahoma in 2021, doing the exercise, as I lived for most of my life in Oklahoma. I wound up in Berea, in the Cleveland area, because I married a woman from the Cleveland area and moved up here.

• I was sitting in a room in Berea, a suburb on the west side of Cleveland, because my wife has lived for most of her life on the west side of Cleveland, and she wanted us to buy a  house in that area. My wife has lived on the west side of Cleveland for most of her life because when she completed her master's degree in library science at Kent State University, she was hired to do cataloging for a library on the west side of Cleveland. She could have been hired instead by a library on the east side, or in the Akron area, for instance.

• My wife is not an Ohio native but is from Pennsylvania. She came to Kent State because the school offered her a graduate assistant opportunity. So I was in Berea because of a decision made in the 1970s by somebody at Kent State University's library school.

• Ann and I met through Single Booklovers, a club created so that people seeking a partner could meet other people by writing letters to them (it was created before the internet and email, although when I met Ann we quickly switched to email). So I was sitting in Berea because a couple in Pennsylvania decided to start the organization in 1970.  (I can't find any evidence Single Booklovers still exists.)  

• We are living in this particular house because a woman I never met had serious illness more than 15 years ago and died at a relatively young age in 2003, leaving her sister and her husband as the guardian of two children. The couple already had two children and had to sell the house I live in now and move to a location that could accommodate six people comfortably. 

This is really only a partial list, as I was able to think of other reasons, too.











Sunday, April 25, 2021

Project to translate Illuminatus! into Spanish


Orciny Press, apparently based in Spain, has launched a crowdfunding project to translate the Illuminatus! trilogy into Spanish and publish a Spanish edition. Details here.  Various swag is offered for different levels of contributions. 

Hat tip: RAW Semantics on Twitter. Orciny Press also is on Twitter. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

New Bodge is out


The Discordian folk at the Liverpool Arts Lab has released the new issue of Bodge. As usual you can purchase a paper copy or download the PDF; get it here. 

The new issue is accompanied by a statement:

"Happy 23rd. Welcome to the 4th issue of Bodge, lovingly crafted for you by 32 creative souls. That 32 more pages of original writing, poetry, art, provocations and experiments. We delighted to say, this issue also contains the return of the Lost Doctor.

"Over the last couple of months we’ve had a few enquiries about submitting to Bodge. Thank you for getting in touch. The concept of Bodge is to provide a communication channel for a fixed group of people for one year, to see what happens. Its an experiment. All of our contributors signed up in January and we want to keep space for them to develop their ideas. For this reason, we wont be accepting additional submissions. We hope you’ll understand.

"However, if Bodge is stimulating your creative energies, that fantastic. Please, please think about starting your own zine. You only need a handful of souls to get it off the ground, and it really is worth the effort. There is a shed-load of beauty and wisdom, magick and madness within you that needs to get out into the world. Open a portal and let it come through. Find the others and invite them to join you on your trip – that’s what we did and look what happened! We’re showing you ours. We’d love to see yours."

Friday, April 23, 2021

Twitter notes


Unsplash photo by Claudio Schwartz (@purzlbaum on Twitter)

Using Twitter as a kind of headline service to find out what's going on is one of the best ways to use the service, I think. And one way to use Twitter to keep up with the news is to put together a curated list. If a list is public, you can bookmark it and follow it without having a Twitter account.  But if you have a Twitter account, you can save a list, making it easy to follow. Here are a few Twitter notes, in case anyone else is interested.

My RAW list, a public list I put together,  follows just four accounts: @RAWilson23 by Bobby Campbell, which reports RAW news including postings on this blog; @RAWSemantics which publicizes the RAW Semantics blog; @TheRAWTrust, the official account for the Robert Anton Wilson Trust, and @RAWArchives, for Martin Wagner's RAW Archives site. I don't always have much time for Twitter, but this is the list I check every day.

If I have more time, I also look at my Calm and Insight list, which is where I put many Twitter accounts that, at least in my mind, are related to Robert Anton Wilson. But I also include a few unrelated accounts, simply because I am interested in them. So, for example, I use the list to follow science fiction writer and historian Ada Palmer and Roman Britain News (because I like looking at old Roman buildings, forts, roads etc. in Britain.) 

I also have an Illuminate list meant to be of interest to Robert Anton Wilson fans, but I haven't been updating it; these days, when I notice something of interest, I put it in the Calm and Insight list. There is a lot of overlap between those two lists.

You can browse my other lists, but at the end of the day, they are set up for me. Not everyone cares, for example, how the Cleveland Indians are doing. 

I also look at Toby Philpott's Maybe Art list, which follows many accounts that could interest RAW fans. For some of you, Toby's list will be more interesting than any of mine. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

John Adams' psychedelic piece

A  scene in Verona, Italy. Unsplash photo by Giuseppe Ruco.

The New York Times runs an interesting article on "Grand Pianola Music," a piece by one of my favorite modern composers, John Adams. 

The article explains that the tone of the piece and its unexpected musical juxtapositions was a contrast to the stern modernism still in vogue at the time, but it was Joshua Barone's description of Adams' inspiration that caught my eye:

"It was 1970, and the composer John Adams was tripping on LSD.

"He was at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, and he wandered into a rehearsal for Beethoven’s 'Choral Fantasy,' with the eminent pianist Rudolf Serkin sitting at a Steinway.

"Adams saw — or thought he saw — the piano begin to stretch into a cartoonishly long limousine. A similarly fanciful vision later came to him in a dream: He imagined driving down a California highway as two Steinway grands sped past him, emitting sounds in the heroic vein of Beethoven’s 'Emperor' Concerto and 'Hammerklavier' Sonata."

The resulting piece got a mixed reaction at the time but has been much recorded; this album, on Hoopla Digital, available to most Americans with a library card, has "Grand Pianola Music" and some of Adams' other better-known pieces. 

Note: John Adams should not be confused with John Luther Adams, another modern composer who gets a fair amount of ink. 


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

St. Olley

 


If you saw the recent Journey to Nutopia event on Robert Anton Wilson, you will have noticed Michelle Olley was the master of ceremonies/chat show host. 

Bobby Campbell has now depicted her as a Discordian saint. "Added to the slowly but surely growing collection of Discordian Saint Tarot Cards!" Bobby writes.  (Other Discordian saints may be viewed here.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: Scott Horton's 'Enough Already'


Scott Horton's new book, Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism serves as an excellent guide to America's misadventures and war crimes since the 9/11 attack in 2001, including the endless war in Afghanistan, the wars with Iraq, our constant bullying of Iran, the destruction of Libya and the destructive civil war in Syria, which the U.S. helped create.  The book was published in January and has in my opinion not received the attention it deserves.

Many of the places Horton writes about remain in terrible shape. Libya, attacked during the Obama administration, is still embroiled in a civil war. Yemen remains under a famine that kills children. 

Much of what Horton writes about will be known to any American who bothers to pay attention to American to foreign policy, but I suspect that's a minority of Americans. In any event, the details in Horton's book are startling. Did you know, for example, that the Obama administration sided with radical Islamists in the Syrian civil war, supplying them with arms? (We supposedly were arming "moderates," but that's not what took place in practice.) Or that Russia intervened on the side of the Assad regime largely to save Syria's Christian community, which could have been wiped out by the Islamists for all that most Americans care? 

Horton's 2017 book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan was heavily footnoted, but Enough Already does not have footnotes. When I asked Scott about this, he explained, "I skipped the footnotes because I decided to err on the side of brevity and timeliness. If I had given it the full Fool's Errand treatment, each chapter would have been its own book and it wouldn't be done for another long while. I really wanted it to be the everyman's guide to it all, rather than another liberal professor book that nobody reads. And the end of an era was fast approaching with the end of the 20-teens and the Trump government."

Still, Horton gives enough information about the source of his assertions that it's easy to find documentation. When I went look for the claim that Putin intervened in Syria partly because of pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church to save Christians, I found articles such as this one. ("One does not have to grant a single noble motive to Russian President Vladimir Putin to grasp that secular and religious leaders in Russia do not want to risk the massacre of ancient Orthodox Christian communities in Syria.")

In his chapter on Pakistan, Horton writes about how President Obama's policies resulted in many civilians being killed in drone strikes and that the civilian population was terrorized by the drone attacks. He cited a 2012 report by Stanford Law School, "Living Under Drones." That report is available on the internet; you can download your own copy. 

The details in the report are appalling. Here is a paragraph about a drone strike that killed 42 people, mostly civilians:

At approximately 10:45 am, as the two groups were engaged in discussion, a missile  fired from a US drone hovering above struck one of the circles of seated men. Ahmed  Jan, who was sitting in one of two circles of roughly 20 men each, told our researchers  that he remembered hearing the hissing sound the missiles made just seconds before  they slammed into the center of his group. The force of the impact threw Jan’s body a  significant distance, knocking him unconscious, and killing everyone else sitting in his  circle. Several additional missiles were fired, at least one of which hit the second  circle. In all, the missiles killed a total of at least 42 people. One of the survivors  from the other circle, Mohammad Nazir Khan, told us that many of the dead appeared  to have been killed by flying pieces of shattered rocks. Another witness, Idris Farid,  recalled that “everything was devastated. There were pieces—body pieces—lying around.  There was lots of flesh and blood.”

The report has pages and pages of similar accounts. Your tax dollars at work!

I am not a big fan of war crimes in general, but at least with some of the things the Allies did in World War II such as the bombing of Dresden, you can argue that there was some military justification, the war wasn't started by the U.S., etc. What is the justification for killing civilians in Pakistan, or destroying Libya, or menacing Christians in Syria? Did any of these countries attack the U.S.?

Scott Horton is the editorial director of Antiwar.com.  More information here. 

If you've read Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger 2 and you wonder what America has done in the area since Wilson's book was written, this will bring you up to speed. 





Monday, April 19, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Week 28

 
I chose this because I couldn't find anything else and instead came up with a random picture of Taurt illustrating a quote about RAW from Tom's favorite author Jesse Walker on Wikiquote.

Chapter Two: Downloaded Souls

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger

Fortuitously, this past week I’ve been reading two books that complement “Hardware & Software.” The first, which I am a few chapters away from finishing, is Joanna Harcourt-Smith’s Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary, which would, I imagine, complement the entire book. The second, which I reread and have finished, is specifically appropriate to this chapter: Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. 

In the past few weeks my class has been working our way through parts of Higgs’ Stranger Than We Can Imagine. Recently we read the chapters on “Id” and “Science Fiction.” During the Id chapter I tried to get the student to experiment with automatic writing, surrealist games and free association to understand the deep structures of their own minds. During the Science Fiction chapter I talked extensively about how science fiction, perhaps more than any other genre, can be shown to have demonstrable success in commenting upon and predicting societal trends. (I realize that this is a bias of mine and could simply be a case of enthusiastic pareidolia.)

In hindsight, there is little surprise my mind went to reading Stephenson’s first big novel to help redigest these concepts. Snow Crash not only accurately predicts much of the early twentieth century (at least if you squint your eyes and tilt your head) but also contains long dialogues about the similarities between language and computer programs. Fantastically, the Sumerian language is proposed to have been a vector for a virus (or, as Crowley/Tolkien would have it, a “disease of language”), represented by the pre-Semitic goddess Asherah, that infects and rewires the mind. The novel goes on to propose that the Babel myth is an allegory for the release of a counter-program that differentiated human languages and disallowed access to the original viral language. There’s a lot of allegory about this process and the development of language being easily expressed in coding terms; humorously, one of the participants cannot understand the allegory as they are themselves a piece of software. 

Perhaps it was reading the chapter after reading Snow Crash, or the fact I’ve read Prometheus Rising so many times, but this chapter wasn’t particularly shocking in the way that I believe Wilson intended. However, I suspect it is simply the time that we are living in at the moment. The first exercise of this chapter is hilariously unnecessary in 2021. We are surrounded by computers and I doubt that many people reading this can count many days in the past month where they haven’t utilized one (don’t be pretentious--streaming services, smartphones/watches, GPS etc. all count). We are all so inured to cyber-reality that I doubt this chapter was terribly difficult to grok for any of the readers. I would also wager that many of us already occasionally model our conception of the mind in hardware/software terminology. Perhaps it is because of reading this in the past...much like the three later exercises at the end of Chapter Two, there are multiple answers for why we are where we are. 

Those exercises are based on Crowley’s first task for students: a complete backwards biography. When you begin writing in your magical journal, perhaps the most powerful tool in Crowley’s Scientific Illuminism, you are to write exactly why you are writing in this journal at this moment: why you choose to undertake the study and discipline of magic, why you are are at the geographic location where you are located, the circumstances under which you came into being. I’ve always found this exercise particularly useful and have always endeavored to perform some version of it when I begin a new journal. After a while you find yourself doing it occasionally in the back of your head. Crowley’s Liber ThIShARB consists of elaborate directions for an ultimate undertaking of this task. 

This week we finished the chapter “Nihilism” from Stranger. In the text, Higgs discusses how Roquetin, the poor schmuck at the center of Sartre’s Nausea, first encounters existential dread upon seeing a stone on the beach and thinking of why it is there -- there is no reason, no meaning, only chance. The fourth exercise amended to this chapter could conceivably lead to that, but I would posit that would only be from a lazy or half-assed examination. To repeat myself, Wilson points out that there is a quasi-infinity of questions and answers for why someone or something is where it seems to be. Settling on the random chance answer seems premature and unimaginative. As Higgs points out while discussing nihilism, an excellent inoculation against it or cure is experience of the “flow” state, Colin Wilson’s “peak experience,” or satori. However, Higgs points out that the experience of these states requires intense engagement with the subject. Twenty four hour Samadhi perhaps, fake it until you make it. 

“I could never be an atheist because I wouldn’t know what to say during a blow job. Oh random chance! Oh random chance! doesn’t have much of a ring to it.” -my probably flawed remembrance of a RAW quote 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

What did RAW like to eat? Well, everything

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

So in following up with Rasa about the podcast I wrote about yesterday, I mentioned that he didn't get to finish a statement he began during the recent Nutopia show, and when Rasa said he was probably going to say something about Robert Anton Wilson's diet, we had this exchange:

In fact, I am very interested in food -- what did he like to eat? And I know he liked Chinese food, but did he like the usual American Chinese food, or the authentic stuff in Chinatown?

Rasa: Well, this may have been a topic that I would have mentioned in talking about Bob, the “normal” guy . . .

Christina half-joked that Bob loved eating nearly anything, and was not so discerning. The example she gave was him dreamy-eyed effusive over a greasy hamburger he once got from a rather normal diner. I know he really liked Italian food. We used to regularly eat out with him and Arlen in their favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant in Capitola. And, indeed, he did love lasagna. Once, Arlen and Bob invited us over for dinner. Arlen was serving her homemade lasagna. Arlen was an energetic person, often animated and verbal as she went through her day. As if from a surrealist novel, while Arlen was serving a piece of lasagna to Bob, a small movement in her hand caused a small piece of lasagna to go flying past Bob and onto the floor. We all paused, and I suspect we were all suppressing grins, and all thinking what no one actually said aloud, “Keep the Lasagna Flying.” I think that was a “given” in that room.

I suspect Bob was not much of a cook himself, but he was a coffee freak, which Christina confirms. He loved to try out new types of coffee and even mix different strains, brew cups for his friends and then ask for impressions. In many areas, like science, literature, music, all of the arts, really, he was a connoisseur of a high order. Maybe it had to do with his humble upbringing, or lack of "disposable" income, but for his entire life, his tastes in food were easily met and never so demanding. Marlis and I would often marvel at that. We were wondering how the guy could be such an astounding maverick in explaining and promoting brain change and conscious evolution, but he didn’t seem to apply that same sophistication to his diet. Maybe I’m just being a vegetarian snob, but honestly, I don’t care if people eat meat, in moderation. But, as all the world follows the American model, as seems to often be the case, gluttony and factory farming are disasters in the making. I don’t recall Bob ever talking about that part of the planet’s environmental challenges. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did somewhere, especially when considering models like Bucky Fuller’s World Game scenarios. I know Arlen steered him towards eating healthy foods, but when he was on his own, on the road, or after Arlen passed, he just seemed to totally appreciate whatever food came his way. 

[It sounds like if Rasa comes to see you in Texas, you don't invite him to the local barbecue ribs joint --but RAW would have gone. Compare with when I interviewed Scott Apel in 2017 and asked about food. (It's a good interview, you should read the whole thing.)]

RAWILLUMINATION.NET: I liked the Red Lobster story. Can you tell me a little more about what Robert Anton Wilson liked to eat? I know he liked Chinese restaurants, but did he like "American Chinese" food, or the sort of Chinese restaurants that mostly attract Chinese diners? Did he particularly like lasagna?

SCOTT APEL: Well, I have to admit, this question made me LOL, and for several reasons. First, in all the years I’ve done interviews and been interviewed, no one has ever asked about food, and I must admit I never thought about asking a question like that. But you can tell so much about people by what they eat and like to eat! It’s a natural question to ask, but no one ever has asked it before in my interviewing experience. Kudos to you for being original!

When it came to food, Bob was never particularly picky. Early in our association, he seemed pleased when we showed up with KFC, for instance. Briggs and I used to say that the old joke about an Irish 7-course meal (a potato and a six-pack) applied to Bob. But this is not to imply that he was without taste — he knew a great meal from junk food, and preferred the former. But I can’t recall ever hearing him complain about food.

I know he loved Guinness and Jameson’s Irish whiskey, although I rarely saw him drink to excess (a couple examples below). And man, did he love coffee! Giant cans of Trader Joe’s French Roast were a constant fixture in his homes.

Bob loved going to restaurants (as do I), and over the years he had several favorites. I mentioned Red Lobster; when he and Arlen were living in Capitola, they were within walking distance of a RL in the Capitola Mall, and he told me they went at least once a week.

There was a time in the early ‘90s when their daughter Alex was spending a lot of time with them, and the four of us went to dinner regularly. I was always very fond of Alex, who had Bob’s brain and Arlen’s boldness (as well as her red hair). Bob once took us to a pricey dinner buffet at Chaminade, a resort and restaurant in the Santa Cruz area. When they started bringing out baking sheets of crushed ice and dozens of oysters on the half shell, I was convinced I’d died and gone to heaven. Bob got quite a kick out of the fact that with all the buffet had to offer, all I went for was one plate of oysters after another — but eventually decided he was going to do exactly that next time they came.

Another place Bob loved was Aragona’s, an employee-owned restaurant in nearby Soquel. (One of the owners was the illegitimate grandson of W.C. Fields, which made the place that more attractive to us both.) We went there frequently in the late ‘90s. There was a bartender named Bear who Bob claimed made the best martini in the world. He’d usually have two and would stagger out to my car ... and when he had three, Cathy and I would nearly have to carry him out to the car, which we all thought was hilarious. We went to Aragona’s so often that one time when we were seated I said, offhand, “Well, I’m gonna have the Chicken Piccata, and Bob, you’re no doubt gonna have a couple martinis and the spaghetti and meatballs.” He just stared at me, wide-eyed, and exclaimed, “My Gawd! Am I that predictable?” (Only at Aragona’s, I assured him.)

In 1999, when Arlen was bedridden and Bob was her main caregiver, Cathy and I would drive from San Jose to Capitola every Friday night (after I got off work) and spend anywhere from 24 to 48 hours with them. Cathy tended to Arlen, giving Bob a much-needed “day off.” On Saturday afternoon I’d take Bob to The Crow’s Nest, a pier-side restaurant in Santa Cruz, for sandwiches and several pints of beer or Guinness. After Arlen passed in May of 1999, Cathy and I continued to visit Bob every Saturday. We’d cook, or bring take out, or go out to dinner. He had a couple favorite restaurants, including the Golden Buddha in Soquel. We all loved their Chinese food, and often ordered takeout to eat at Bob’s place. (It must run in the family—we ran into Christina and Rex there one night, also picking up takeout.)

I brought my homemade spaghetti sauce to his house one time and we got into a (joking) pissing contest about who made the best sauce. The next week, he cooked his spaghetti sauce, and I had to admit, it was quite good. The secret ingredient, he confided, was tiny shrimp. I never knew Bob to cook anything — he could barely make coffee — but he was proud of his spaghetti sauce. (But I can't recall ever seeing him eat lasagna ... )

One thing I know for sure is that Bob loved seafood. I mentioned Red Lobster, for instance. When we were in Seattle, we went to the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle and I watched him consume several buckets of shrimp. And when Cathy and I moved to Santa Cruz from L.A. in 2003— specifically to be near Bob, whose legs and health were failing — we re-instituted our weekly Saturday night dinners, and often went to a place on the pier near the Santa Cruz Boardwalk —Stagnaro Bros. Seafood, I believe. We’d load his collapsible wheelchair in the trunk of my vintage (i.e., old) Jaguar and take him there, where he usually got some sort of fish, or lobster. When he got too frail to take out, we’d bring him oysters from a nearby Mexican restaurant in Capitola, El Toro Bravo. He told me he’d had oysters all around the world, and El Toro Bravo made the best he’d ever tasted. (I believed him, because I knew they made the best enchiladas I’d ever had.)

Sometime around 2002 or ’03, RAW had a lot of dental work, and had all his teeth pulled. He had dentures, but rarely wore them (he said they were uncomfortable). This severely impacted his ability to eat solid foods. He was stoically resigned to a life of soups and puddings when we discovered the miracle of pureeing food. He got a high-powered food processor and we tested most of his favorite foods in it, including steak and, of course, lobster. He was extremely pleased with the result, and even told us that he now preferred his food pureed — he felt it was more flavorful, since there was more surface area exposed to the taste buds.

From that time on, we spent virtually every Saturday night with Bob. Our SOP was to drive from San Mateo to a Red Lobster in San Jose, where we’d pick up dinner for ourselves and 3 or 4 dinners (mostly lobster) for Bob, then head on to Capitola and have our feast and our evening of conversation and laughs. Cathy prep’d several days worth of meals in the food processor, so all Bob had to do was toss ‘em in the microwave and eat.

Finally, the recent passing of Carrie Fisher reminded me of this RAW restaurant anecdote: Bob was fond of telling a story (that must have taken place in the early ‘80s when he lived in L.A.) about when Dr. Leary took him out to dinner with Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. He said they were all tripping, and at one point he looked across the table and realized, “My Gawd, I’m having dinner with Princess Leia and Han Solo!”

Saturday, April 17, 2021

A long interview with Rasa


Rasa playing his sitar

One way to find out  a lot about Robert Anton Wilson is to talk to Rasa, who runs the RAW Trust and Hilaritas Press for trustee Christina Pearson (RAW's daughter and the the trustee) and who was close to Wilson and his family in Wilson's last years. 

Rasa is interviewed in a long podcast (about two hours and 45 minutes) in Episode 23 of the F23 podcast, and it deserves a listen if you want to know more about Wilson, how Hilaritas Press operates, the story behind the "lost" book The Starseed Signals, and much more. 

In the first hour, Rasa discusses how he met Wilson and how the two got to know each other. He says how Wilson answered when he was asked what sort of philosopher RAW was. (Rasa forgets to say at first what RAW's answer was, and interviewer Jamie Dodds alertly picks up the thread.)  There's also a lucid explanation of "the universe is non-simultaneously apprehended," one of RAW's favorite sayings.  Rasa also discusses one of RAW's phrases that is commonly misunderstood, and explains how the manuscript of The Starseed Signals was saved (it was Greg Hill's photocopy, and part of the "Discordian Archives" materials that Adam Gorightly has preserved. Rasa's story that it was rescued from a dumpster is an exaggeration; Adam's account is here.

By "press time" for this blog, I had not consumed the whole podcast, but I'll be working on it through the weekend.

Jamie hopes that if this episode catches your attention, you'll explore other episodes of the F23 podcast,  which include familiar figures of the RAW fandom/Discordian scene, such as Brenton Clutterbuck, Daisy Eris Campbell, Oliver Senton, Kate Alderton and others. 



Friday, April 16, 2021

Reading, and writing, under the influence

Farewell Bend Park in Bend, Oregon

The Bulletin, a newspaper based in Bend, Oregon, runs an article,  "Tokin' about books: reading and writing under the influence," by David Jasper that mentions RAW. After interviewing a local reader named Karie Alexander who likes to read while she's stoned, Jasper lists a number of "Stoned Authors," including this one: "Author Robert Anton Wilson began using marijuana around 1950, and in the 1960s tried mescaline eventually becoming a counter-culture favorite with books such as the "Cosmic Trigger" series and his friendship with Timothy Leary."

I should probably clarify that marijuana use and possession in Oregon has been legal since July 1, 2015, thanks to passage of a state question in 2014. About Ms. Alexander, Jasper writes, "Alexander likes to take a toke or two in the morning before heading to a coffee shop near here east Bend home, where she has a bagel and reads for an hour every morning. That's been a tradition for her for 20 years, Alexander said."

Paul Krassner once wrote that Wilson "became a dedicated pot-head in 1955." Krassner also wrote, about Wilson's writing process, that all of Wilson's books were "written with the aid of that good old creative fuel, marijuana. He once told me about his creative process: 'It’s rather obsessive-compulsive, I think. I write the first draft straight, then rewrite stoned, then rewrite straight again, then rewrite stoned again, and so on, until I’m absolutely delighted with every sentence, or irate editors start reminding me about deadlines — whichever comes first'.”

I don't know how to survey this, but I have to assume that some of RAW's readers have been known to consume marijuana before reading his work.

Hat tip, Nick Helweg-Larsen, who can't read the article because something called "General Data Protection Regulation" keeps the minds of the British public from being polluted by articles published in Oregon newspapers.  



Thursday, April 15, 2021

The 23 Enigma goes way back

 


The above was posted on Twitter by Jenna, @joaktree33, who writes, "Robert Anton Wilson & William S. Burroughs are often credited as the originators of the “23 enigma”, but there’s an even earlier reference to the mysterious number in the Sept. 1952 Black Magic comic book by Jack Kirby." And please follow the link for another posted page. 

And in fact, interest in 23 goes back well before the 1950s, as the Illuminatus! trilogy notes. See this interesting Wikipedia piece on the phrase "23 skidoo."  

As the piece notes, a dire 23 dates back to Charles Dickens' classic 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities. At the end of the novel, poor Sydney Carton is No. 23 in line to the guillotine, as I verified by looking up the text at Project Gutenberg. (Fun fact: Sydney Carton was once portrayed on radio by Orson Welles.)


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Science fiction news

The finalists for this year's Hugo Awards have been announced; here are the Best Novel finalists:

Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery / Saga Press)       

The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com)

Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com)

Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)

The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books)

Piranesi and Network Effect are very good, in my opinion; I haven't read the others yet. I read last year's Best Novel ballot and by and large it was quite good; I suspect this year's batch also will turn out to be good.

The Libertarian Futurist Society -- I am a member -- also has announced its slate of finalists, for the Prometheus Award, here they are:

Who Can Own the Stars? by Mackey Chandler

Storm between the Stars, by Karl K. Gallagher 

The War Whisperer, Book 5: The Hook, Barry Longyear

Braintrust: Requiem, by Marc Stiegler

Heaven's River, by Dennis E. Taylor

More information on the finalists and the awards at the two links; my personal favorite among the Prometheus Awards nominees, Situation Normal by Leonard Richardson, did not become a finalist. 



Monday, April 12, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Week 27

John Lilly 

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

The role of computers has radically transformed and expanded since Prometheus Rising’s publication in 1983. Coincidentally, I first heard Timothy Leary speak in 1983, and he talked a lot about the importance of computers that night. I first heard of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs when Tim talked about them that night. Of course, John Lilly had paved the way with his 1968 book Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer. I remember attending the Visiting Nurses Book Sale in Phoenix, a huge annual used book sale, once in the mid-1980’s. The one book I wanted to find in those pre-internet days: Lilly’s Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer. I did find a copy that day. I think it cost ten cents.

In Schroedinger’s Cat a character refers to T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets as “the gospel of my youth.” Books like Prometheus Rising, especially the sections dealing with the semantic dangers of the verb “to be” seem like the gospel of my youth. Of course, I don’t think Bob wanted his books to serve as anyone’s gospel. I have tread a Kinbote-like path too close to that of a disciple of Dr. Wilson’s for decades. Nonetheless, the discussion of the verb “to be” seems very useful in chapter two. Bob doesn’t mention E-Prime, but he outlines its importance.

Wilson’s idea that our brain software exists “anywhere and everywhere” (Prometheus Rising, pg. 17) parallels Proust’s notion that our memory exists outside of us in the world around us. Anything in the exterior world can act as a trigger to stimulate the release of non-voluntary memories, memories we could not consciously recall. The madeleine famously acts as such a trigger in Proust’s novel. The narrator dips a madeleine in tea where it partially dissolves. When he tastes a teaspoon of the mixture, it brings back a flood of memories. 

On page 20 Bob says of the eight circuit model of the brain, “I assume it will be replaced by a better map within 10 or fifteen years.” The revised second edition of Prometheus Rising appeared in 1997. It seems time for a new model.

Exercise 1 for chapter two says, “If you don’t already have a computer, run out and buy one.” Well, in 2021 most of us have multiple computers. I did the chapter two exercises in March, and I didn’t intend to buy a new computer, but my cell phone died that month, and I got a new iPhone. As I write this in April, I once again didn’t intend to buy a new computer, but my wife decided to get a new computer last week. The rhythms of this book and its exercises seem to play a synchronistic role in my life.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

My Bobby Campbell stash


 As I wrote earlier, Bobby Campbell is sending out goodies to subscribers to his Patreon account. Yesterday's mail brought a Discordian god card, a cosmic button and a limited edition Erisian Tarot card. Bobby also threw in an unadvertised bonus for subscribers, pieces of original art, and I was quite excited to get my drawing of Maria Babcock. Bobby's special offer of Weirdoverse packages remains available to new Patreon subscribers through April 21. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

RAW cites Tacitus

 


A status of Tacitus outside of the building housing the Austrian Parliament. (Public domain photo).

I recently finished re-reading Cosmic Trigger 2: Down to Earth, one of my favorite RAW books. 

As many of you who have read the book must have noticed, it has a strong antiwar theme, not just in the text itself, but in the quotations RAW selects for the chapter headings. The "Intercept & Pavane" chapter, about the first of the two U.S. Gulf wars, has this quote, attributed only to "Calgacus," "To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these they misname Empire, and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Robert Anton Wilson sometimes demonstrates that he was quite familiar with the classics of the ancient world, and this is another demonstration of that,  as he is citing a famous quote from one of the more prominent historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus, The passage is from Agricola, a book about Tacitus' father-in-law, the Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola which focuses on Agricola's time as governor of Britain and commander of the Roman armies in Britain.

The quotation comes from a section of the book about the clash between the Roman army and the Caledonians, a tribe in what would now be called Scotland; Calgacus, a leader of the Caledonians, is giving his army a pep talk shortly before a battle. Here is a bit of it, from the Edward Brooks translation available at Project Gutenberg: 

"We, at the furthest limits both of land and liberty, have been defended to this day by the remoteness of our situation and of our fame. The extremity of Britain is now disclosed; and whatever is unknown becomes an object of magnitude. But there is no nation beyond us; nothing but waves and rocks, and the still more hostile Romans, whose arrogance we cannot escape by obsequiousness and submission. These plunderers of the world, after exhausting the land by their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West: the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

The quotation also is referenced in a new science fiction novel, A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine, a sequel to her Hugo-winning A Memory of Empire. 

The Caledonians, by the way, were defeated in the Battle of Mons Graupius. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Happy feast of the writing


Here is an interesting literary note: Other people read books, but the Aleister Crowley folks actually celebrate a book. Thursday, today and Saturday are "The Feast for the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law," according to this handy Thelemic Holy Days summary offered by an OTO chapter in North Carolina.

The local equivalent near where I live is the Black Sun Lodge in Cleveland, which is observing the Three Days with a social event Saturday at a local park. So I guess it is generally observed by Thelemic folk.

The Book of the Law is "the central sacred text of Thelema," according to Wikipedia.  The text is available online.  I don't get why Project Gutenberg lacks a copy, as it is out of copyright, but the Internet Archive has it in a variety of formats, including ePub and for Kindle. 

Hat tip: Gregory Arnott.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Oz Fritz on 'The Starseed Signals'

 


Oz Fritz has an interesting post up that discusses The Starseed Signals. 

Here are a few sentences which I hope will give you the idea:

"The subtitle of this book, Link Between Worlds, ostensibly indicates the link between Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson yet this subtitle covers broad territory.  As a student of Magick, I took great interest in the presentation of Wilson's research into Aleister Crowley and how that connects with the Starseed subject matter.  

"Naturally, The Starseed Signals transmits multiple signals.  One could consider it a frequently modulating carrier wave like a radio or television (tell a vision) station. The root of signals = signs.  Cabala describes a complex lexicon of signs (semiotics) and we know that RAW availed himself of this method.  I agree with Eric Wagner when he states in his Insider's Guide that one can find Cabala in all of RAW's books, this new find doesn't make an exception.  The praxis of Cabala also opens links between worlds." 

Oz also has an interesting observation about the first and last words of the text, something I admit I didn't notice.

 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

OK, RAW community, what's the citation?


Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

  A question posted on Twitter:

I don't know, and other RAW folks on Twitter who have weighed in (such as Steve Pratt) have not come up with an answer. But it sounds like an interesting interview bit -- does anyone know what he is referring to?  

 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Alex Ross defends Orson Welles

 

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane. (Public domain photo)

The artistic legacy of Orson Welles isn't treated fairly or accurate in the movie Mank, which has ten Oscar nominations, Alex Ross writes in a recent article for the New Yorker.  Ross focuses on the movie's "endorsement of the discredited but somehow indestructible tale that Welles had nothing to do with the writing of Kane" and assembles considerable evidence to back up the claim that Mank gets it wrong. 

Ross also thinks Hollywood in general has not done well by Welles: 

"The deeper problem is that these movies perpetuate dubious biographical clich├ęs about Welles, characterizing him variously as a tyrant, a charlatan, or a drunk. The critic Joseph McBride has analyzed the subgenre in terms of Harold Bloom’s anxiety of influence: directors are 'so intimidated by the influence of Welles that they feel they have to tear him down.' They may also hold an abiding grudge against a filmmaker who never found a place within the Hollywood system and therefore never had to compromise with it."

Hat tip: Eric Wagner. 

UPDATE: Eric has now sent me a link to a Guardian article that calls Mank a "death wish of a movie."

Monday, April 5, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Week 26


John Donne painted by Isaac Oliver

In my last post for the Prometheus Rising discussion group, I explained that after reading a couple of authors using "selective attention," I would try to read passages as "magickal texts" piggybacking on a reading exercise that actually was formulated by Eric Wagner.

I am rather handicapped in this exercise by not really knowing very much about Magick. (I am working on this, by the way. I am currently reading S.S.O.T.B.E Revised An Essay on Magic, edited and revised by Ramsey Dukes, and I plan to follow that up by reading The Magic of Psychosynthesis by Will Parfitt.) 

In any case, I asked for suggestions on how to read passages and "magickal texts" and received some ideas.

I decided to try the approaches to a short passage from Robert Anton Wilson, the "Notes" at the beginning of Email to the Universe, and my apologies in advance to the people I took ideas from for my likely instances of getting things wrong, and misunderstanding what I was supposed to do.

1. Oz Fritz suggested (you can read the suggestion at longer length by going back to my post) by looking for "the ultimate expression of one's True Will i.e. what you really wish to do in life."

I see two places where this might apply. In his opening sentences, RAW writes, "This book intends to change your way of perceiving/conceiving the world, without drums or drugs or Voodoo, simply by using words in certain special ways."

While I certainly get "input" to my brain in various ways -- I listen as obsessively and carefully to music as I ever did -- for much of my life I have tried to make sense of the world by reading. I read several dozens books a year and I am also often busy reading newspapers, favorite blogs, Twitter postings, etc. So in one sense, my "True Will" is to use reading to make sense of life and figure out how to improve it.

RAW in the next section of the notes acknowledges his debt to figures such as Remy de Gourmont, Alfred Korzybski, Richard Bandler, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener and Ezra Pound. 

In his Introduction to the book, Michael Johnson remarks, "it is my own personal experience, and that of many others with whom I've come into personal contact, that each of these ideas or any one of them can be studied or implemented by the Reader/Writer/Artist for a lifetime, without exhausting them. These meta-models for thinking and acting creatively can be thought of as disciplines in the sense that yoga or learning a musical instrument is a discipline."

It seems to me also that part of my "True Will" is to study the writings of Robert Anton Wilson and to see what I can learn from them. I have done that for much of my lifetime. I have not been able to "exhaust" my study of him. (I'm pretty sure Michael Johnson told me once that he reads RAW every day; I would not make the same claim, although I certainly read RAW often.)

2. Gregory Arnott also offered a suggestion, and the key sentence was "Just imagine that the radical ideas and expositions of the mind you experience while reading them are becoming reality: THC helps."

The opening sentence in the "Notes" talks about trying to "change your way of perceiving/conceiving the world" and certainly the radical ideas I first encountered in reading Illuminatus! in college and subsequent readings of related RAW/Robert Shea works have certainly "become" my "reality" in certain ways. The most radical ideas in the notes seemed to be the bits about intelligent design with "feedback from all parts to all parts" and the ideas about where good writing comes from, so I tried to concentrate on those bits. 

3. BFHN pointed me to the John Higgs interview of Alan Moore, which in turn pointed me to a concrete suggestion, that of using the cut-up technique popularized by William Burroughs. 

OK, let's try to use screen captures of the first sentence of the notes with passages I've attempted to select at random from a couple of my favorite pieces in Email to the Universe, "Left and Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective" and "Sexual Alchemy," 




Reading these three passages together has a a personal association for me, although I'm not sure I should try to impose that on everyone else. 

***

A note on our progress: This post concludes the attempts by Eric Wagner, Gregory Arnott and myself to come to grips with Chapter One of Prometheus Rising. Discussion of Chapter Two begins with a posting next week. If you have found the pace a little slow, with several months spent on Chapter One, you may want to know that we now pick things up, with each chapter covered in about a month. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Notes on 'Nutopia'


Oliver Senton (photo from official website). 

The Nutopia event I posted about yesterday was done to celebrate the publiction of Daisy Campbell's Cosmic Trigger the Play book by Hilartitas Press. The video of the event includes scenes from the play and two musicial numbers from it, so with the video and the color photos in the new book, it's possible to go beyond the script and get an idea of what a performance was like. 

And if you enjoyed Oliver Senton's performances in the video as Robert Anton Wilson, don't forget there are audiobooks of his readings of the first two Cosmic Trigger books. (Information here, and also here. )



Friday, April 2, 2021

'Nutopia' RAW show is a must watch


Clockwise from top left, Michelle Olley, Rasa, Daisy Eris Campbell and Christina Pearson in a globe-spanning show. 

I didn't get to see the Journey to Nutopia "RAW Power" show when it was live last Sunday; when I converted the time to my time zone in the U.S., I realized it would be in the middle of a busy workday, so I reluctantly refrained from buying a ticket. But the Nutopia folks have kindly posted the video (about one hour, 47 minutes) and it's a must watch for RAW fans. 

The broadcast's host is Michelle Olley (it was nice to finally see her). It features Kate Alderton performing the poems of Arlen Riley Wilson, an interview of Rasa by Olley explaining the background of the RAW Trust and how Rasa came to know RAW, Daisy Campbell on her new Cosmic Trigger the Play book, Claudia Bolton as Eris, Tom Baker in performance of a song from the play, Christina Pearson on growing up in RAW's family, and (maybe most exciting of all for us Americans who missed out) performances from the play by Oliver Senton and Kate Alderton. So much good stuff, sorry if I missed anyone. 


Robert Anton Wilson (Oliver Senton) takes a call from Timothy Leary to explain that he's not dead as Arlen Riley Wilson (Kate Alderton) looks on. 

Jesse Walker on the Leary-Liddy debate movie

G. Gordon Liddy on Miami Vice 

In his "Friday AV Club" column for the Reason magazine website, Jesse Walker pens "G. Gordon Liddy: The Hollywood Years," which includes a detailed review of Return Engagement, the movie about the lecture tour the pair went on, debating each other. The film is "weirdly compelling," Jesse says, detailing Leary's libertarian views and the moments when each man seems to show little self awareness.

The review also touches on the Iran Contra scandal (which Robert Anton Wilson wrote about in Cosmic Trigger 2 and probably other places), and Jesse spots something interesting in a Miami Vice episode, in which Liddy plays a CIA man who smuggles heroin: 

"If you think that sounds a lot like Oliver North's covert operations in Central America, you're right. You might even be grinning at the decision to cast a Watergate conspirator in an Iran-contra story, thus uniting the biggest political scandal of the '70s with the biggest political scandal of the '80s. But here's the wild part: 'Stone's War' aired on October 3, 1986. That's exactly one month before the Lebanese news outlet Ash-Shiraa exposed the Iran-contra story. Any old cop show can rip something from the headlines, but how many manage to air their version of the tale first?"




Thursday, April 1, 2021

Brenton Clutterbuck on the Illuminati



Discordian figure Gregory Hill, aka Malaclypse the Younger, aka Mad Malik

Brenton Clutterbuck has been writing a series of posts for Historia Discordia on the Illuminati. His latest, "The Illuminati Files, Part Two: A Truly Modern Conspiracy," takes the Illuminati into modern times and shows how Discordians, Illuminatus! authors Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea and others have kept the Illuminati in public consciousness. He writes,

"The Illuminati perhaps remains so powerful in the public consciousness today because it speaks to the need to fill in the gaps — the dark shadowy gaps — in our knowledge of the world. Every trove of top secret documents that spills out from a Wikileaks page or a pastebin, every release of unclassified documents, every whistle-blower and truth-teller betrays the existence of a murky world of conspiracy that lives beneath the surface of our otherwise normal and logically consistent existence."

Historia Discordia boss Adam Gorightly (who has a new UFO book out I've just bought) has been posting other items to the website, including a March Eris of the Month and a fine photograph of Kerry Thornley and his wife in the 1960s.