The Sarah Palin Sex Tape and other Hyper-Urban Expectations
By R. D. Flavin
If you feel like leaving you know you can go
But why dont you stay until tomorrow?
And if you want to be free, all you have to do is say so
Partial lyrics from “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates (Daryl Hall and John Oates, 1976, Atlantic Records).
Photo manipulated images of ex-governor Sarah Palin, Israeli gay activist and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Pres. Barak H. Obama, Jr.
It’s the goal of most to possess the ability to distinguish between what is true and false, possible and probable, and unlikely and patently metaphysical. Some are able to accomplish such, though increasingly too many don’t care. I know folks who watch MSNBC and believe they are being informed of current events (cue laugh track). There are radio “shock-jocks” and assorted personalities who some folks believe are merely sharing an opinion to help us better figure matters out in these complicated times (turn up volume of laugh track). And, as is well known, for those who haven’t gone the MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter route yet, the Internet “blogs” are now the best places to seek unbiased information (it’s okay to cry...). Is misinformation a new American media schadenfreude? Do "Enquiring minds want to know" if ex-Govener Sarah Louise Palin née Heath has a sex tape online they can download or is this another absurd, though disturbingly not uncommon, example of hyper-urban expectation?
The recent “rumors” of Palin making plans to divorce her husband, those somethings about how it started with a “blogger” and then a lawyer sent off a nasty letter, are now presented as reliable information by such respected online web-sites as the Alaska Report "News and Information Since 1999." I’ve yet to read about Palin’s end run where she divorces, becomes the third wife of uber-investor, Warren Buffett (after, of course, signing a pre-nub guaranteeing Palin $20 billion after his passing). Would or could Sarah Palin turn her back on her family, her community, her church, her country, and follow Anna Nicole Smith's financial investment policy? I doubt that a sex tape of the ex-governor actually exists, but if so, it would join a list of other celebrity video mistakes.
Marlon Brando, Barbra Streisand, Chuck Berry, Rob Lowe, Pam Anderson, Tonya Harding, Paris Hilton, Jayne Kennedy, Fred Durst, Mimi Macpherson, Colin Farrell, Jenna Lewis, Kid Rock, Erin Andrews, Kim Kardashian, Sly Stallone, and John Travolta.
The existence of a 1913 silent-film sex tape with Gloria Swanson has never been confirmed. Before the rise of the Internet and the World Wide Web, old school video-cassette tapes of such notables as Marlon Brando with an African-American man, a very young Barbra Streisand, and rock n’ roll pioneer, Chuck Berry, with a hired German friend on vacation in the Poconos, were passed around at truck stops and not-so-chic art galleries. In more recent times, celebrity sexcapades became water-cooler banter with Rob Lowe, Pam Anderson, Tonya Harding, Paris Hilton, Jayne Kennedy, Fred Durst, Mimi Macpherson, Colin Farrell, Survivor’s Jenna Lewis, and Kid Rock. ESPN sportscaster, Erin Andrews, is the most current victim of a video voyeuristic crime. And, as I’ve yet to discuss (insert “clearing of the throat” sound here) the alleged Kim Kardashian and Ray J. sex tape with anyone, it would be best to ...well, we’ll just have to wait and see. And, according to a reliable source, the leaked tape of Eric Dane of Grey's Anatomy, and his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, with ex-Miss Teen USA, Kari Ann Peniche, was not a “sex tape,” per se, as they were just ...all naked, stoned, and doing stuff. [Note: The well known early porn tape of Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone shouldn’t qualify as a “sex tape,” as he was an actor who got paid. As far as the alleged video of John Travolta with a guy, said to have been filmed when he was confused after his Welcome Back, Kotter television series ended in 1979, and which the Scientology cult has blackmailed him for these past decades, ...it could be just a minor misunderstanding (or an extortion frame-up like Scientology did with the IRS to get tax-free status).]
Hail, history! The latest news, fun facts, funnier fictions, those lies, those damned lies, and the jokes, and the really bad jokes, with gossip and innuendo making trouble, rabble rousing, screaming “fire” in a theater while the sky is falling, being told “Watch out behind you... No, you dipstick, you REALLY better watch out behind you,” as we trust, have faith, show reason, demonstrate judgement through trial and error, living free or dying with laughter or crying, as the stage of history changes actors, but the roles remain the same – it’s not news, it’s Fox News!. Jimmy projected history as a nightmare, yet others approach history like someone who keeps a friend close and an enemy closer still. A little history, along with an apple, everyday couldn’t hurt, could it?
The Golden Apple of Discord inscribed with kallistsi or “for the fairest.”
In the past, to hear and read the stories and quasi-history contained in the epic poetry of Homer, students would gather around campfires, the Agora or Forum, the Academy or Lyceum, the colleges and universities, and other centers of higher learning (sometimes overtly religious) to learn what the legendary blind bard had to teach. Since the mid-19th century of our Common Era, the Bostonian banker and writer, Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867), has introduced more recent generations to the story of the so-called “Trojan War” through his popular works on mythology and legends. Though criticized by academics, his works continue to sell and are enjoyed by many. Bulfinch began his re-telling of the Trojan War with:
“MINERVA was the goddess of wisdom, but on one occasion she did a very foolish thing; she entered into competition with Juno and Venus for the prize of beauty. It happened thus: At the nuptials of Peleus and Thetis all the gods were invited with the exception of Eris, or Discord. Enraged at her exclusion, the goddess threw a golden apple among the guests, with the inscription, “For the fairest.” Thereupon Juno, Venus, and Minerva each claimed the apple. Jupiter, not willing to decide in so delicate a matter, sent the goddesses to Mount Ida, where the beautiful shepherd Paris was tending his flocks, and to him was committed the decision. The goddesses accordingly appeared before him. Juno promised him power and riches, Minerva glory and renown in war, and Venus the fairest of women for his wife, each attempting to bias his decision in her own favour. Paris decided in favour of Venus and gave her the golden apple, thus making the two other goddesses his enemies. Under the protection of Venus, Paris sailed to Greece, and was hospitably received by Menelaus, king of Sparta. Now Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was the very woman whom Venus had destined for Paris, the fairest of her sex. She had been sought as a bride by numerous suitors, and before her decision was made known, they all, at the suggestion of Ulysses, one of their number, took an oath that they would defend her from all injury and avenge her cause if necessary. She chose Menelaus, and was living with him happily when Paris became their guest. Paris, aided by Venus, persuaded her to elope with him, and carried her to Troy, whence arose the famous Trojan war, the theme of the greatest poems of antiquity, those of Homer and Virgil.” (Bulfinch 1855)
Bulfinch’s almost casual mention of the myth of Eris and the golden apple with the implication that this story set in motion a series of events which started the Trojan War necessitates investigation.
Depiction of Eris ca. 575-525 BCE and The Judgement of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens, ca 1636.
The myth of Eris (Latin "Discordia") and her inscribed golden apple was apparently well known in ancient times, perhaps as early as the seventh century BCE, with the basic elements of the story contained in eleven “books” of dactylic hexameter verse entitled the Kypria (Latin "Cypria"). Unfortunately, no complete copies of the work have survived and all that remains are fragments quoted in a “Chrestomathy” (var. Chrestomathia, a collection or anthology of passages of text) with this particular one of uncertain authorship, though most often ascribed to Eutychius Proclus of Sicca (fl. 2nd century CE), a respected grammarian and instructor of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Monro 1883, p. 305).
While Proclus’ Chrestomathy survives in several manuscripts from the Middle Ages, and there are a few wonderful modern editions with commentary, most of these are not published in English, with the convenient exception of the prolific British classical scholar, translator and archaeologist, Hugh Gerard Evelyn-White (d. 1924). The pertinent passage (Evelyn-White 1914) concerning events leading up to the Trojan War is:
“Zeus plans with Themis to bring about the Trojan war. Strife arrives while the gods are feasting at the marriage of Peleus and starts a dispute between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite as to which of them is fairest. The three are led by Hermes at the command of Zeus to Alexandrus (2) on Mount Ida for his decision, and Alexandrus, lured by his promised marriage with Helen, decides in favour of Aphrodite.
Then Alexandrus builds his ships at Aphrodite's suggestion, and Helenus foretells the future to him, and Aphrodite order Aeneas to sail with him, while Cassandra prophesies as to what will happen afterwards. Alexandrus next lands in Lacedaemon and is entertained by the sons of Tyndareus, and afterwards by Menelaus in Sparta, where in the course of a feast he gives gifts to Helen.”
This seemingly minimal and sparse translation by Evelyn-White uses “Strife” instead of Eris, an exchange deserving of further examination. Perhaps some philological fun with the Oxford English Dictionary?
[a. OF. estrif, related to estriver: see STRIVE v.] 1. a. The action of striving together or contending in opposition; a condition of antagonism, enmity, or discord; contention.
I’m not pursuing the Old French etymology of “strife” for Thelemic reasons, however the inclusion of “discord” might be worth a trivial amount of time. Just a suggestion...
[ME. des-, discord, a. OF. descord, descort (12th c.), discord, -cort (14-15th c.), vbl. n. f. descorder: see DISCORD v. (OF. had also des-, discorde (ad. L. discordia), whence perh. ME. spelling discorde.] 1. Absence of concord or harmony (between persons); disagreement of opinions and aims; variance, dissension, strife. apple of discord: see APPLE n. 5.
Okay, that wasn’t fair! The OED goes from “strife” to “discord” then cites the Latin discordia, which is (...hold the drum-roll, please) the Roman name for the Greek goddess, Eris. Oh, and then there’s the “apple of discord” thing that is starting to ...annoy, yet interest me.
Phrases: P3.b. apple of discord n. a cause or subject of strife or dissension; also apple of contention, apple of dissension. With allusion to the myth that a golden apple inscribed ‘For the fairest’ was thrown by Eris, goddess of discord, among the guests at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and contended for by the goddesses Hera, Athene, and Aphrodite. The story is told in the Latin author, Hyginus (Fabulae 92 (2nd cent. A.D.)). [Compare post-classical Latin malum Discordiae (3rd cent.), Middle French, French pomme de discorde (1593).]
The Oxford English Dictionary, while an outstanding resource, may sometimes only assist the researcher partially and one is required to delve deeper into the past. With the goddess, Eris (Greek Ερις, "Strife"), we are now able to place the term alongside other Indo-European words and propose an early form as *erei, based on the still earlier Proto-Indo-European *er, which means “to set in motion.” It has been claimed that Eris, the Goddess of Discord, “set in motion” the events which led to the Trojan War. Could the tossing of an inscribed apple between a bunch of vain mythological supraterrestrials (the mountain-dwelling Olympians), a troublesome prank in appearance, have really been perceived by the ancients as causing the Trojan War?
Though debated for nearly two and a half millennia, a growing consensus among historians is to date the ancient Greek poet, mythographer, astronomer, and farmer, Hesiod, to a period ca. 750 BCE. In his Works and Days, Hesiod seems to distinguish between two different goddesses named Eris or "Strife," with one being nasty and the other not immediately so (Agar 1918, pp.56, 57). Hesiod wrote in his Theogony (Evelyn-White 1914):
“(ll. 211-225) And Night bare hateful Doom and black Fate and Death, and she bare Sleep and the tribe of Dreams. And again the goddess murky Night, though she lay with none, bare Blame and painful Woe, and the Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Ocean. Also she bare the Destinies and ruthless avenging Fates, Clotho and Lachesis and Atropos (10), who give men at their birth both evil and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods: and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bare Nemesis (Indignation) to afflict mortal men, and after her, Deceit and Friendship and hateful Age and hard-hearted Strife.
(ll. 226-232) But abhorred Strife bare painful Toil and Forgetfulness and Famine and tearful Sorrows, Fightings also, Battles, Murders, Manslaughters, Quarrels, Lying Words, Disputes, Lawlessness and Ruin, all of one nature, and Oath who most troubles men upon earth when anyone wilfully swears a false oath.”
With Hesiod we have some biographical material and grammatical characteristics to help in establishing an approximate date for his life and works. Overlooking those Semitic and proto-Greek Cretan Linear A “shopping-list” inscriptions ca. 1800-1450 BCE, and until such a time as someone makes a convincing argument for a neolithic Old European linear script, Homer is sometimes credited as the first European author of literature (oddly enough, in the Iliad, the first word used is menis, Greek for “rage” or “anger’). The legendary wandering Greek poet and singer was once dated to shortly after the so-called Trojan War ca. 1250 BCE, then guesses grew later to ca. 1000 BCE, then recently ca. 900 BCE, and now we have well-founded arguments which would place the oral composition of the Iliad (“Homer,” in all likelihood, being a personification of several contributors) to around 850 BCE, with the oral epic being committed to written script for the first time shortly before or around the time of Hesiod. The history and diffusion of the alphabet aside, the grammatical characteristics of “Homer” are stylistically distinct from Hesiod, simple while using complicated mnemonics to assist in recitation, to sufficiently merit the priority of a century or so.
In the Iliad, Homer employs Eris or Strife as both descriptive condition and goddess (i.e. personification of phenomena, condition, etc.). An appropriate corollary would be the modern English language convention of using a minuscule (lower-case) letter to begin the name of a common noun and a majuscule (upper-case) letter to begin a proper name or pronoun. Among the several uses of Eris or Strife in the Iliad, some are clearly the proper name of a goddess, while others seem to define a primal behavior that often leads to war and death (Nagler 1988). In Book 4 of the Iliad, Homer is clear about the seemingly unescapable nature of the goddess Ερις:
"But the clamour of the Trojan ranks was as that of many thousand ewes that stand waiting to be milked in the yards of some rich flockmaster, and bleat incessantly in answer to the bleating of their lambs; for they had not one speech nor language, but their tongues were diverse, and they came from many different places. These were inspired of Mars, but the others by Minerva--and with them came Panic, Rout, and Strife whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Mars, who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth. She it was that went about among them and flung down discord to the waxing of sorrow with even hand between them."
Prof. John D. Reeves (Hofstra University, classics and English literature; retired) briefly discussed Homer’s usage and meaning of Eris and Strife, though he was more concerned with whether or not a 1584 Elizabethan play by Geoge Peele revealed evidence that Peele was familiar with the “Stasinus-Euripides conception,” which as near as I can make it, concerns a certain “Stasinus” of Cyprus or Hegesias of Aegina, who were credited by Proclus with composing parts of his Chrestomathy, who when combined with the opinion of the fifth century BCE Greek tragedian, Euripides, are all thought to have regarded the Trojan War as a divine winnowing of Earth’s increasing, and increasingly problematic, population. Academic inspiration politely bypassed, Reeves eruditely surmised (Reeves 1966, p. 214):
“Perhaps the most reasonable conclusion in the face of these perplexities is simply that Western man, many centuries ago, outgrew the concepts implicit in his earlier religions,  increasingly recognized the myriad tales of gods and heroes as a vast corpus of myth and legend, felt superior to them and competent to analyze them as imaginative efforts to explain preternatural phenomena, and finally retained in pleasurable memory the charming, the instructive, and the noble.”  As early as Hesiod we find a serious effort, in the Theogeny, to set people right concerning the confused complex of divinities and their provinces. Pindar often challenged the validity of old distorted myths (e.g. the story of Tantalus and Pelops in the first Olympian ode). Cicero, Lucretius, Lucian, and Apollodorus, among others, were also highly critical mythographers.”
Of course! It’s a philosophical paradigm akin to Xenophanes’ “Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw, and could sculpt like men, then the horses would draw their gods like horses, and cattle like cattle; and each they would shape bodies of gods in the likeness, each kind, of their own.” Independence from socio-religious groupthink... "Think for yourself, schmuck!" Okay, I think I just heard the sound of one hand clapping...
The Fifth Commandment of The Pentabarf – A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing What he Reads (Hill 1979, p. 00004).
Robert Shea (1933-1994), the Great Seal of the United States of America, and Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007).
"Who the hell’s mind was that? George wondered. The tent was dark. He looked around for the woman. He rushed out of the tent. No one was looking at him. They were all, Hagbard and the rest of them, staring in awe at a colossal figure that grew ever taller as it strode away from them. It was a golden woman in golden robes with gold, red, black hair flowing free. She stepped over the fence that guarded the festival grounds as casually as if it were the threshold of a door. She towered over the Bavarian pines. In her left hand she carried an enormous golden orb..
Hagbard put his hand on George’s shoulder. 'It is possible,' he said, 'to achieve transcendental illumination through a multiplicity of orgasms as well as through a multiplicity of deaths.'
There were lights advancing down the road. The woman, now ninety-three feet tall, strode toward those lights. She laughed, and the laughter echoed across Lake Totenkopf.
'Great Gruad! What’s that?' cried Werner.
'It’s the Old Woman!' shouted Wolfgang, his lips falling away from his teeth in a snarl.
The sudden cry 'Kallisti!' reverberated through the Bavarian hills louder than the music of the Ingolstadt festival had been. Trailing a cometlike cloud of sparks, the golden apple fell into the center of the advancing army." From Seite 372 von 470, “Leviathan,” Book III of The Illuminatus! Trilogy (Shea and Wilson 1975,1984).
As a nineteen year old selling ceramic and vinyl tile in a suburb just south of Chicago, anticipating the emerging punk scene, reading every odd publication I could get my hands on and doing fun things that nineteen year olds should best not speak of when they are older, I became intrigued by a weird, loosely non-fiction paperback book I’d picked up entitled Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (Wilson 1977). Within a couple of weeks, I’d bought all three paperback volumes of the The Illuminatus! Trilogy (Shea and Wilson 1975), an adventure fantasy with genre categorization issues. [Note: SPOILER ALERT!] The climax of the "trilogy" involved secret societies, Nazi zombies, occult sex, drugs, and a giant woman killing a lot of zombies and their human supporters. It was a psychedelic version of Homer’s “...and Strife whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Mars, who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth. She it was that went about among them and flung down discord to the waxing of sorrow with even hand between them."
From early 1978 to mid-1984, I lived in Boston, a city where folks wear Red and not White Sox, and apart from living life in relative mundanity, I continued to acquire the works of Robert Anton Wilson (aka RAW). Space limitations, most unfortunately, necessitate that I leave out personal accounts of the purchasing and reaction to every new book by RAW that came out during those years and only cite those that concern this column (Wilson 1980/1981, 1981, 1982, 1983). I’ll try and stick to the skinny and only describe the occasions when there was direct contact with RAW (and, later, Robert Shea). Gosh, I wish I had an editor...
In 1984, I left Beantown and returned to a Chitown that was preoccupied with some youngster named Michael Jordan. Techno-pop was asserting itself, and I could again enjoy White Castle's Slyders®. A couple of months later, I read a notice in a weekly alternative newspaper of an upcoming lecture featuring Robert Anton Wilson discussing his new book, Prometheus Rising, a non-fiction guide to improve our thinking and gain a better control of our actions. The lecture took place in a mid-range hotel in the South Loop, tickets weren’t that expensive, and about thirty assorted RAW enthusiasts showed up. Bob was funny, encyclopedically resourceful, and there were exercises! Everyone lying down on the hotel short shag to perform, I believe, a short version of Israel Regardie’s Qabalistic “The Rite of Three Pillars, chanting “Eheieh (Eh-hey-yay), Yhvh Elohim (Yode-heh-vav-heh El-oh-heem), Shaddai (Shah-dye),” was an unexpected ...experience. It was a great lecture and at the end Bob mentioned that he’d be back in Chicago offering a “second part” to the Prometheus Rising lecture to a smaller crowd in a year or so. No further details. I think I took a special smoke within a dozen paces of hitting the sidewalk outside of the hotel. Bob was a dynamic and inspiring speaker.
The next year, somehow, probably on a bulletin board at one of several occult and New Age bookstores on the North Side of Chicago (I can’t remember if they’d expanded northwest of Bronzeville at the time), I saw a notice for the second Prometheus Rising lecture by RAW. Tickets were a little expensive for my meager budget, advanced registration was required, and there was a limit of ...synapse failure, maybe a dozen or so. Yeah, I got a ticket that day. A few months later, I did the CTA-thing up north to the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, on one shelf in a seldom used room in the basement of my Medieval-ish mnemonic memory mansion could be an image of my passing a Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant open to the public, perhaps not, but I do remember my relief at finding the rather tiny, unremarkable, single-family sized home where the second “lecture” took place.
It was approximately 23 years ago and my memory is not what it could be. I remember a small group of no more than a dozen soft-spoken participants (with the assumption that 2 or 3 of that number lived in the house and hosted the event). Bob talked for about 45 minutes, we might have done some small group-thing (prayer or breathing exercise?), and then a few large boxes of pizza showed up. I felt relaxed enough to produce a half of an ounce of fine, imported seasoning from my pocket, which went well with the pizza, though I seem to remember Bob smoking a lot and eating more than his share of the pizza. Well, there was all that stuff, as well as a short (too long) and entertaining (everyone was wicked bored, Bob nodded at one point) story I told the group. The story, actually the relating of different events which occurred during the so-called Dog Days of August in the late summer of 1973. There was Dr. Tim Leary’s Folsom Prison “Starseed Transmissions,” the bombing in Cambodia ended (essentially ending the Vietnam War, with the next two years devoted to getting the hell out of Dodge), and the sad, unfortunate death of my brother, Bob, in a Volkswagen minivan collision with a big tree. Everyone was moved by my story, that is, Bob shook my hand and immediately went into another room for a nap, and the “lecture” officially ended and everyone said their goodbyes and went home (except for the folks who lived in the house). Kismet coda? I was nervous, kind of high from the fine seasoning, and I got my years confused – my brother’s car accident was in August of 1974, not 1973. Ouch...
I saw RAW at three more lectures (Joyce, the “8-Circuit Model of Consciousness,” and one on quantum mechanics and futurism), said “Hi!” a couple of times, sent him a few letters when necessary and all were promptly answered, even one penned by his wife, Arlene, when Bob was in the hospital for eye cataract surgery. They were both very nice and exceptionally talented and gifted people. Mom Terra is less fun without their company.
Two squared years later, I was walking past City Hall and there was a tall, skinny, full-tilt whack African-American handing out an anarchist screed. Single page photocopy , hand-written on both sides, without any unused space larger than a postage stamp. Took a copy, folded it up and stuck it in my pocket. When I read parts of the vituperation later, I noticed the name Robert Shea mentioned several times. I’d read that Shea toyed with anarchy and even self-published a newsletter occasionally. I guess I’d stumbled upon a Chitown anarchist feud. The photocopy was carefully placed in a miscellany file and forgotten for a time. Actually, only a couple of months.
So, it was like this, I was getting married, she had arranged for a local Irish judge to do the ceremony, the judge got sidetracked with a corruption scandal, she panicked, and in an ad-libbed moment, I remembered reading something recently about the local Unitarian Universalists ordaining pagans. A couple of phone-calls and days later, I was in the home of Christa Heiden Landon, D.Min. The visit was supposed to be about the upcoming nuptials, but as at least a third of the books on her shelves I either owned copies of or had read, we ...chatted like geeks at a convention. At one point, The Illuminatus! Trilogy was brought up, she mentioned something about knowing both Shea and Wilson (and even being the basis for a character?), and doing a radio interview with them back when the trilogy first came out. I went into collector-mode, she offered cassette copies, and a short time later I got married in a bar by a witch. Of course, that’s not how I usually phrase it, but it’ll do for now.
I’d shaken the hand of Robert Shea a couple of years previously at a showing of the 1934 gangster movie, Manhattan Melodrama, at the Biograph Theater at 2433 North Lincoln Avenue (ah, directly across the street from where I was to get married). The showing was sponsored by the John Dillinger Died For You Society, and Shea was handing out a bunch of freebies (post-cards, refrigerator magnets, etc.). Though I delighted in twisted largesse, when I left the theater and turned into “Dillinger's Alley” and saw a huge, hand-painted golden apple on an old brick wall of the Biograph with the word “Kallisti!” in the middle of it, the world seemed to get a little smaller. [Note: Sadly, the “Apple of Discord” was painted over a few years later.]
Shortly after receiving the cassette interview of Shea and Wilson recorded ca. 1975, I recalled the filed anarchist screed, and unabashedly telephoned Robert Shea at his home in a suburb just north of Chicago, and told him about the interview and the screed. He remembered the interview, didn’t have a copy, and even knew the whack African-American anarchist by name. As I was local, he invited me for a visit, a Metra train stopped near his house, and we agreed upon a date and time to meet. Yeah, I was cool with that, in that I’d enjoyed his writings over the years (read: I did the Snoopy dance, bragged to those who’d appreciate the coolness, and telephoned a buddy in Beantown who owned a copy of the one volume edition of The Illuminatus! Trilogy signed by Wilson and strongly suggested he mail it to me post-haste to get a Shea signature).
The author, Mr. Robert Joseph Shea, picked me up at the train station and several minutes later, “Bob” Shea welcomed me into his home. Different, of course, from Bob Wilson in many, many ways, but Bob Shea shared the same amiable genius as Wilson. We drove to his home, sat at the dining room table, had coffee, and talked for awhile. I, with embarrassment, don’t recall much of our discussion. It wasn’t a hero-worship or a celebrity thing which caused my attentions to be focused elsewhere, it was being in the presence of a nice man, one who did what he enjoyed, and apparently made financial ends meet. Now, for a guy who wanted to be a writer and was just married, and ...experiencing a fugue of behavioral schemes which might possibly conclude with me typing for a living “happily ever after,” I don’t believe that my ‘day-dreaming” amounted to any social dissonance. It went fine – he appreciated the cassette and anarchist tirade, remembered Christa (Dr. Landon), signed my buddy’s copy of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, and drove me back to the train station. [Note: Over coffee, I noticed a bookcase with various editions of Shea’s works. There was the slightest of smiles when he explained that his recent novels (Shea 1981a, 1981b, 1982a, 1982b) were “historical,” by which I took to mean they would perhaps appeal to my mom more than me, but he did puff a tad and stress that he and Wilson had once pledged some number of books (23?) which would concern the Illuminati (even, as in Bob Shea’s later contributions, the mentions consisted of a few words per book). My seasoned guess would be they’re currently at seventeen or eighteen. On his shelves were various foreign language editions of his novels; most had better bindings and presentations than the American editions, though the bottom line is readership and getting paid for it.] Well done, sir!
The plebeian “what goes around, comes around” is beyond any steamed pile of karma (sorry, John), smoke ‘em of ya’ got ‘em and if your doc says it’s okay, and the past is the past, with the future remaining ...ours. As the Joker, Heath Ledger’s question, “Why so serious?” continues to bother me. Put down the pipe, this isn’t Boulle’s La Planète des singes and no one took Chuck Heston (insert Dog Days reference here) seriously anyway! Go back to the shelf and re-read Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark! “The Empire never ended” could be more than paranoid hyperbole.
I understand that shock media is all about money and take special comfort in such educational (and entertaining) television programs as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. After universal healthcare, and ...yeah, better not ease up on our wars against the bad guys, and more action on stabilizing the economy (perhaps involving repairing America’s roads and bridges), we better do something about ...education. Modern scientific education, not fictions with hate-speech. We might not be able to do much about the clown pundits and the silly sound-bite authority-for-rent blowhards, ever mindful of our First Amendment, but doing little or nothing is double un-good. We need more voices of reason to match the din of idiocy that has become the soundtrack of our lives. Change you can believe in? Change you can spend? I’m going to change the channel to something sort of soothingly proactive, like a Law and Order marathon. Wait, better check to see what’s on...
– To the Bobs, their families, friends, fans, and to all the other Bobs as well, POE and my best. –
Agar, T. L. 1918. “Three Passages in Hesiod’s Works and Days.” The Classical Review. 32, 3/4: 56-58.
Bulfinch, Thomas. 1855. The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes. Boston, MA: Chase, Nichols and Hill. Many later editions,
some edited, most re-titled with variations of Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable. Quote is from Chapter XXVII: THE TROJAN WAR.
Evelyn-White, Hugh G. 1914. Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica. English translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Hill, Gregory. 1979. Principia Discordia or How I Found Goddess And What I Did To Her When I Found Her (The Magnum Opiate Of
Malaclypse The Younger: Wherein Is Explained Absolutely Everything Worth Knowing About Absolutely Anything). Combined fourth and
fifth editions. Introduction by Robert Anton Wilson. Fifth edition introduction by Kerry Thornley. Afterword by Malaclypse the Younger
(Greg Hill). Mason, MI: Loompanics Unlimited. Online version here.
Monro, D. B. 1883. “On the Fragment of Proclus' Abstract of the Epic Cycle Contained in the Codex Venetus of the Iliad.” The Journal of
Hellenic Studies. 4: 305-334.
Nagler, Michael. N. 1988. “Toward a Semantics of Ancient Conflict: Eris in the ‘Iliad’." The Classical World. 82, 2: 81-90.
Reeves, John D. 1966. “The Cause of the Trojan War: A Forgotten Myth Revived.” The Classical Journal. 61, 5: 211-214. And, for
completeness, see: Reeves, John D. 1967. “The Cause of the Trojan War: Addendum.” The Classical Journal. 62, 7: 314-315.
Shea, Robert. 1981a. Shike: Time of the Dragons. New York: Jove/Putnam.
Shea, Robert. 1981b. Shike: Last of the Zinja. New York: Jove/Putnam.
Shea, Robert. 1982a. Shiké: Time of the Dragons. First British hardcover edition. Loughton, Essex: Putnam/Judy Piatkus Edition.
Shea, Robert. 1982b. Shiké: Last of the Zinja. First British hardcover edition. Loughton, Essex: Putnam/Judy Piatkus Edition. [Note: For
non-English language editions of Shea’s works, audio-books, etc., use WorldCat or try abebooks.com.]
Shea, Robert and Robert Anton Wilson. 1975. The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan. 3 vols. New York: Dell Books.
Collected into a single volume as The Illuminatus! Trilogy, 1984.
Wilson, Robert Anton. 1977. Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati. Berkeley, CA: And/Or Press.
Wilson, Robert Anton. 1980/1981. The Universe Next Door, The Trick Top Hat, The Homing Pigeons. 3 vols. New York: Dell Books.
Collected into a single volume as The Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy in 1988.
Wilson, Robert Anton. 1981. Masks of the Illuminati. New York: Pocket Books/Timescape. [Note: Honestly, nary a week passes when I
don’t hear the voice of Einstein crying out to Joyce, “Jeem! Jeem!,” and I chuckle.]
Wilson, Robert Anton. 1982. The Earth Will Shake. Los Angeles, CA: J. P. Tarcher, Inc. First volume in the uncompleted “The Historical
Illuminatus Chronicles,” the other published books are The Widow's Son (1984, New York: Bluejay Books) and Nature's God (1991, New
York: Roc Books).
Wilson, Robert Anton. 1983. Prometheus Rising. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press.
Waiting for Alien Autopsy on Blueray HD,