Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: while the worst are full of passionate intensity

 

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Slouching Towards Bethlehem: The Story of Leonard 

Is there any way to read the Story of Leonard as anything more than a warning? Perhaps we can look at it as a funny anecdote, but that seems cruel- so a warning it must be, since Wilson doesn't paint a very positive picture of "Leonard." 

From the beginning of the chapter, where Leonard asks to masturbate in front of the others, the average reader would be inclined to see this person as an extreme abnormality. Even if Wilson wasn't personally offended by the request, he surely would have known that even his open-minded readership would, for the most part, find this to be a shocking incident. Wilson, who was obviously uncomfortable with the request, is more even-handed in his actions than most people would be. Perhaps, in Wilson's mind, this is meant to be a psychological profile, similar to the story of Jane, but it is far removed from the clinical setting. Thus it becomes something of a curiosity, a grim invitation to see where being too malleable and adaptable to new ideas and phases can lead. 

I knew a couple of people who resembled Leonard greatly in my youth. Around the time I first read the story I was immediate reminded of a pair of particular acquaintances. Both were bright, for as Wilson points out "dimwits do not acquire such remarkable notions," but I didn't think too highly of either of them. Both came from a fundamentalist/evangelical background which they divorced from more-or-less violently during the blossoming of late adolescence. One went on to obsessively follow atheism and then Ayn Rand libertarianism, came out as gay, had a brief dalliance with drug-inspired spirituality, became a drag enthusiast and then a punk anarchist (still can't quite wrap my head around what that even was) and last I heard had settled into a new type of religion: the insufferable modern academic. The other was the more irritatingly Christian of the two, who went to NYC, became a fashion model, came out as gay, became a cocaine and nightlife enthusiast and last I heard was back home, an enthusiastic fundamentalist lay-preacher who publicly renounced his "evil" ways. It is truly bizarre where life leads you when you become an operative of ideas instead of making ideas work for you. 

In college I witnessed many friends try psychedelics or marijuana for the first time and experience periods of LSD-evangelism or spiritual dabbling that faded as quickly as it came on. By the time I tried LSD, I was so fully influenced by watching others that the trip wasn't particularly revolutionary- I was painfully aware that all of the "revelations," while fun in the moment, would fade when faced with the harsh light of day(s). Indeed, one of my favorite parts of Mad Men is Roger Sterling's brief acid enlightenment that is referenced a few episodes later when he has resumed his capitalist, shallow ways: "I guess it wore off." This isn't to say that my LSD experiences weren't enjoyable or had no effect, but by that time in my life, filled with the history of acid's ups and downs, the glamour wasn't quite as convincing. 

I can think of a few reasons I didn't go down a similar path: my endemic cynicism makes me resistant to groupthink or finding other people's lifestyles enviable, I have kept a few obsessive interests which align outside experiences firmly within my lenses, and I was deathly afraid of ever appearing foolish or impressionable. (And unlike the two aforementioned "Leonard-types," while I was raised in a Christian family, they weren't fundamentalists.) These tendencies have their downsides as well, but I personally consider avoiding fundamentalist Christianity and public masturbation as wins. I don't think much of dabblers and am somewhat of the belief that a too-open mind lets in a lot of trash. Our intellectual discrimination is a valuable, essential tool in navigating the forests (and weeds) of ideas we encounter in life. 

Stray Thoughts

  • It is somewhat obvious that Leonard, or at least Sandra, were students at Antioch while Bob and Arlen lived in Yellow Springs, OH. Wilson was fond of writing about how Antioch was filled with strange, ahead of the curve ideas in other pieces; I imagine that Leonard/Sandra were part of his inspiration for that belief. Concerning Sandra, I think it is interesting how contemptuously Wilson describes her- if anything, the brief sentences given to her are perhaps more unflattering than the entire portrait of her wayward beau. 
  • Another bit of history in this chapter is how Wilson describes himself as following a radical right-wing libertarian philosophy. This notion of a superior "right-wing" libertarianism is presented in Illuminatus in the form of Hagbard Celine and his crew of merry submariners. A reader could notice that Wilson does not describe himself as "right-wing" in his writings from the eighties onward. (This isn't to say that Wilson ever paid lip-service to being left-wing.) One can imagine (presume?) that the rise of the Moral Majority and the Reagan Revolution made the notion of being a right-wing anything distasteful to Wilson. 

Keep your head on your shoulders, not between your legs. Enjoy the scenery, but don't become a part of it. 



Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: We shall win Jackie is an ego bitch Farewell

Taken from the Kerista Commune website

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Chapter One: Overview The Brews of Aphrodite

Wilson starts us off with a comprehensive overview of the subject matter of the book using a familiar cast of backing sources. Much of the information is outdated or wasn't accurate at the time; but the gist of his argument remains strong. Indeed, we can see the seeds of the philosophy behind today's (often misrepresented and unfairly maligned) harm-reduction policies in this chapter in his arguments that people aren't going to stop using drugs and therefore accurate information and safety measures should be put in place. On the other hand, as utterly charming as the Burroughs version of Hassan-i-Sabbah and the Hashashin might be, we know that it is fantastical, to say the least. Given the benefits of hindsight, modern readers can clearly see Leary's showman shift while talking about sex and acid to Playboy magazine...we are in waters that are still muddled by decades of red tape and corpses piled up from the ever-raging Culture War. 

Nevertheless, we are in good hands as Wilson's specialty is navigating the muddle and he takes an appropriately skeptical position while relating the arguments. He builds up to this at the end when he sets up the idea that he can only present the information he has been given. Wilson cannily uses a mixture of research, sourced-ideas and personal anecdotes throughout the book, providing the audience with something more than a single research paper, prepared with amateurish enthusiasm. (I do not use the term amateur as a slight or as a belittling word choice, but rather in the true sense of the word.) 

During his foundational chapter, Wilson also begins his tour of odd peoples and ideas which proliferated in the latter half of twentieth century America. The Kerista cult is a suitably fascinating group that he passes over and has led me to research the group multiple times when reading this book. This time around I found that there is now a documentary on the group which I'll have to watch titled Far Out West. (Interestingly Kerista's free love commune introduced the word "compersion" into the lexicon. Compersion is the supposed feeling of fear/pleasure that comes with sharing your intimate partner's affections.) Kerry Thornley was a member of the San Francisco Kerista commune and it is likely much of what Wilson knew about the group came from him, along with "Tree," as it were. Kerista was heavily inspired by Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange land and interestingly, one of the "acid-cults" that Wilson chooses not to name for their privacy clearly seems to be the Church of All Worlds, which Margot Adler would later write about in Drawing Down the Moon

If one pays enough attention we can see that the article in Time magazine that Wilson cites as saying that Gnosticism is the most important idea in the modern world must be discussing the work of Voegelin's which introduces the phrase "immanentize the eschaton," made famous in Illuminatus!. It appears that the article might have been penned by that King of the Squares, William F. Buckley Jr.. The article appears in the larger context of Wilson's argument that the War on Drugs can be seen as an extension of the religious wars that have plagued mankind since Rome. It is a frustrating argument because it is convincing. Wilson also relates some sober history lessons about our country's founders views on religion that more Americans need to read today. Desperately. 

Next Up is the Story of Leonard, which I have already mentioned slightly horrified me every reread. I'll see if I can come up with something useful to say. As a editorial note: we are back to our regular broadcast schedule this week as I am finally free for the summer. It was a sprint to the finish line the last few months and it is a relief to be able to focus on my personal projects now. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Beethoven Himself Turning Into A Gigantic Female Bull

Fossil Angel- Cameron

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Prelude, Ice Maiden: The Story of Jane 
or, You Know She's A Drag By The Jive Things She's Done

I'm not sure I feel comfortable writing about frigidity. I am familiar with the concept, but I am unsure that it is or was anything more than a result of the psychological war our society wages against female sexuality. It is significant to me that "Jane's" story closes with her writing for magazines aligned with the nascent Women's Liberation movement. 

...I think it has been almost two weeks since I wrote the previous paragraph. I apologize. My profession has a the delightful (irritating) proviso that one must continue their education (waste time you don't have) to keep you license. I just finished a gauntlet of "streamlined" classes that left little time left for anything aside from light reading and being with my family in the evenings. I am now able to breathe a bit and I am back. In class, we just finished our Higgs-centric unit and I suggest checking out his latest newsletter that seemed like a fitting coda for my qualms, this time around. 

Two weeks does give one time to think, even when there isn't much time to think and I thought to ask my lovely wife, who is conveniently female, a historian and a therapist, about her ideas about so-called "frigidity." This is an approximation of our conversation: 

Frigidity surprisingly does exist as a diagnosis anymore, but under a different name in the DSM-V; it is now deemed "female sexual interest/desire disorder." Hilariously, this and its male counterpart "male hypoactive sexual desire disorder" (interesting that terms are different, no?) include what we would today call asexuality and cheating on a partner. I wondered if frigidity could have been caused by underdiagnoses of endometriosis, pelvic inflammation or other conditions that cause sex to be painful. That ended with a "maybe" and a discussion of vaginismus. I have been under the impression that vaginismus mostly occurs in religious communities and it seems that the data would back that impression up. Therefore I'd wage a lot of "frigid" women were merely warped by their repressive, nigh-criminal upbringings. 

I wanted to ask about anorgasmia which I was interested in for two reasons: one) I had a hunch that it didn't truly exist and two) I share Wilson's impression of parties who haven't had an orgasm as having been unlucky in the lover lottery. (Can you imagine the amount of men that were knowledgeable about women's pleasure in the fifties/sixties?) It seems that, cases of nerve damage and medication excepted, anorgasmia is almost entirely due to what are, in my opinion, easily identifiable psychological traumas. I'm not saying that periods of decreased sexual interest or decreased orgasms are a reason to rush to the doctor, but if they should persist (for more than four hours) one should probably consider checking in with a professional. 

But Jane didn't have that option, given that she was a woman in the mid-twentieth century. How many competent doctors could there have been at the time; one should remember this was shortly after the fad of living room lobotomies for depressed housewives. 

One of the greatest charms of these semi-fictionalized mini-biographies is that we get glimpses into a younger Wilson's life and thoughts. As I have contemplated Wilson's life in relation to my own many times, however drastically dissimilar they were/are, I can't help but see some reflections in the story. When I was younger, I met a waitress where I worked who was addicted to heroin. Because I was visibly hippieish at the time, she believed I had access to LSD. I didn't and hadn't tried "Leary's panacea" at that point. She desperately wanted to try acid as she believed it would be the trigger to cure her addiction. I don't remember ever hearing if she ever found LSD, so I don't know the results of her experience. I've known a few people whose lives were revolutionize the first time they tried Hoffman's problem child, but it never seemed to last. It would wear off surprisingly quickly after a couple weeks of elation and revelation...a few times I can remember it led to much more bitter worldviews than that of the pre-trip personality. I also don't think the profound physiological addiction of heroin works that way. I do hope she found some safety and peace. 

The first couple time I read this book, I took these anecdotes as solemn warnings where almost every character seemed like a pathetic nut who ends up worse than they were before. I'm not sure I see Jane's story as something like that now; instead, it seems to be an account of a human dealing with life in the way that many humans do that has a happy-enough ending. Jane was born into a world that was hostile towards her in many ways and rose to prominence in a field so misogynistic, they made an award-winning show about it. No wonder she was all bothered without being able to get hot. Good for her for jumping in on the future, even if she didn't get paid. Perhaps the sixties were the last time money truly didn't have to matter. I will say this, my wife got the final word on the tale: "maybe don't fuck a teenager, though." 


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: That Paleolithic Sentiment

As an attempt at apology for my absence, I'm going to cover both the Preface to the 1987 Edition as well as the original introduction to keep the group moving ahead apace.


The possibly suppressed first edition.

Sex, Drugs and Magick: Preface to the 1987 Edition

While not as humorous as the Preface to the 2000 Edition, Wilson's 1987 Preface is a valuable addition to the text. As it seems that the New Falcon edition of the text was the first that would be widely available, Wilson adds some much needed context to the book and reveals the secrets of its composition that he was unable to in 1972 when it was published under the title Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits.

The anecdote about what Hefner supposedly said about Wilson's original title for the book, Sex, Drugs & the Occult, has always managed to elicit a chuckle and is one of the main things I think about when I think about Hefner. That and the scene from The Sex Magicians where the Hugh Hefner stand-in receives a blowjob while conferencing with one of his editors about how much he hates Spiro Agnew. As Wilson notes, the real Hugh Hefner was hard to pin down, as he was hidden behind an aura of the sophisticated lothario who shielded himself at the heart of his media empire. Over the years Hefner became a figure who reaped laughing accolades for maintaining his libidinous lifestyle until the end of his nonagenarian life. In the information-rich dissipative structure of the year 2022 E.V., a new docuseries supposedly reveals more salacious details about the publisher, including allegations of rape and bestiality. The myth continues to spawn questions, and now that the man is five years dead, it is unlikely we'll ever get to know much about the "real" Hugh Hefner. He is now firmly in the company of the imaginary rabbits listed by Wilson, although he casts a distinctly more sinister shadow.

Wilson's Greater Feast proceeded his former employer's by a decade and Wilson seems to have never met with Hef in the flesh, so less can be revealed about the potential suppression of Sex and Drugs during the Seventies. Wilson points out how rare the original edition of the book was, even for those who were seeking the title, and links its scarcity with the cessation of much of the underground press and a possible conspiracy on the part of the counter-revolution of that chaotic decade. I didn't live through the counter-revolution, but Wilson's books have made me fear a perhaps-imaginary period of American life where the vestiges of the Cultural Revolution of the Sixties were savaged by Nixon's dogs. My own hunch is the book was extremely niche and was most likely forgotten about; perhaps a few cases of the title were never distributed and pulped, but I'd imagine the original print of the book wasn't that expansive. If anything, the perhaps-imagined quote from Hefner would indicate that the title was simply published by the wrong company. If Hefner truly said that, well, that indicates that was how he was feeling on that particular day, but a mythical quote still indicates a general ethos in the Playboy realm against such unsophisticated shit as occultism. I could see the title having sold better under the auspices of Llewellyn, which contemporaneously released Louis T. Culling's A Manual of Sex Magick and The Complete Magickal Curriculum of the G.'.B.'.G.'., each of which will be mentioned in the forthcoming pages.

On a personal note, I do think Wilson's quick addendum about cocaine usage is why I never got into that drug and I thank him for that. Having seen a relationship and a friendship dissipate due to the increased usage of what are today called "party drugs," I deplore the effect that powders white and deadly can have on the course of life. I consider coke particularly pernicious because of the effect it has on Latin American countries who are terrorized by cartels and would bring up the karmic debt of a drug whose granules are disproportionately small compared to the blood each it is weighed against. This blood is obviously also on the hands of the United States government which fucked around with these countries and the drug's supply in a seeming bid to be as terrible as absolutely possible. Today, like Wilson says about sex in the era of AIDS, I would also urge any users, causal or habitual, to consider that using any powder without a testing kit in the era of fentanyl is like playing Russian roulette.

Wilson's entire oeuvre has a charming consistency, but his early work has an even clearer overlap of sources, favored anecdotes/examples and quotes. The original Introduction is prefaced with a quote form the Firesign Theater, albeit from a different album than the quote which prefaces Cosmic Trigger, and the 1987 introduction repeats Crowley's stunning introduction to Liber O which was used as an epigraph for Cosmic Trigger. Wilson's reasoning for considering cocaine "particularly pernicious" is the drug's linkages to the CIA/Vatican Bank conspiracy that fascinated Bob during the latter half of the eighties and early nineties and appears in his books, interviews and lectures.

After his rote, if apropos, discussion of American puritanism and pharmaceutical hypocrisy, Wilson spends a few pages defending the new title of the work, Sex, Drugs and Magick. Wilson's apologia for his interest in occultism is all too familiar to me as Wilson, I believe, is one of the greatest defenders of the non-faith's worthiness of study and has become the basis of my own arguments. I am even known to happily trot out that beaten horse from Hamlet, beloved of occultists from the 19th Century onward, that Wilson closes his original Introduction with. Wilson's preference for the usage of "magick" as opposed to "occultism" is salient, as is Moore's preference for "magic" as opposed to "magick" which influenced my own naming preference. If this point seems tedious to you, remember magic is a disease of language and naming things is very important in our symbol-language-viral load. The remainder of Wilson's preface is concerned with a discussion of Illya Prigogine's dissipative structures and his evangelism of optimism. While I typically would group such words as "evangelism" and "proselytize" in a distinctly different bubble than "Robert Anton Wilson," I do believe it is inarguable that our author was an irascible optimist, determined to spread the glad news until he shed his mortal coil.

My "fashionable pessimism" does want to scream out when Wilson inserts "(intelligent?)" between "information-rich" and "forms [of society]." To bring out my favorite whipping boy, I believe that we are living in an objectively information-rich world which is demonstrably unable to cope and is quite stupid. However, I agree with Wilson that the results are not in yet and there is still time for that damned horse to learn to fly. Amidst the farcical pageant of politics and cultural discourse, there are bastions of momentum that are trying to propel humanity forward towards a more courageous, creative and intelligent world.

Sex, Drugs and Magick: Introduction

After reading the thoughts of 1987 and 2000 Wilson, 1972 Bob doesn't seem as revolutionary as he should. It is unfair he has to appear on stage following those two warm up acts as he seems to be repeating their words. Yet, if one begins here, we return to the burgeoning, romantic figure of the Seventies Wilson who was much more radical than he gives himself credit for. There was a radicalism in maintaining an unusual but cohesive family structure while exposing himself to the furthest realms of thought he could project himself into. And there is the basic radicalism of the insidious nature of the thoughts that Wilson is feeding to his reader, subtly reprogramming their mind to question more and more of their basic precepts about society and reality.

Wilson also deplores radicals during one part of his introduction when he says that the idea that we shape much of our reality through perception would be offensive to "radicals" as it would seemingly imply that "poor people" could think themselves out of poverty instead of needing government assistance. Perhaps this is the lapsed libertarian or ever-present socialist tendencies in me but I rolled my eyes at this barb. Perhaps it is simply the tribalistic inability to take criticism of your impressions seriously, but my experience working with lower socioeconomic families does indicate that government assistance is necessary to help people move out of poverty. Indeed, a large part of that upwards momentum is due to attitude change and setting higher goals, but for those parts to be in place, basic needs must be met. In the words of Bertolt Brecht:

You gentlemen who think you have a mission
To purge us of the seven deadly sins
Should first sort out the basic food position
Then start your preaching, that's where it begins

You lot who preach restraint and watch your waist as well
Should learn, for once, the way the world is run
However much you twist or whatever lies that you tell
Food is the first thing, morals follow on

So first make sure that those who are now starving
Get proper helpings when we all start carving


Not that Wilson was ever a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps” type of guy- he writes very bitterly about the necessity of social safety nets and those who would deny those systems in Cosmic Trigger. Nor was he ever the type of moralist that Brecht targeted in this song, and it is very necessary for those stuck in “the cycle” to disabuse notions of learned helplessness, but in this case, I believe the radicals would be right to be annoyed. Besides, the notion of “learned helplessness” only being applied to the poor is also ridiculous. The amount of learned helplessness in all levels of our society is astounding. Remember, in The Time Machine by perspicacious and farsighted Wells, that the Eloi with the withered arms are the descendants of the posh.

Furthermore, poor 1972 RAW, now robbed of his radicalism, is subject to silent editing by Wilson, as is 87’s Wilson, which leads to a couple bits of anachronism. In his 1987 Preface, Wilson notes that Ken Starr’s career is a perfect illustration of Menken’s definition of “puritanism.” While Starr had been a federal judge and Bush the Elder’s Solicitor General, I could find little about his career during those years. In my ignorance, Wilson must then be referencing the Starr Report, which left that barmy Christian bitch’s dubious mark on history. Starr is a particularly odious man who defended rich ephebophile Jeffrey Epstein, as well as Trump during 45’s first impeachment. This was after Trump had described the man as “a lunatic,” “terrible” and “a disaster” back when he was friends with the Clintons in the late-nineties. I wish I had Trump’s ability to make allies out of people I had previously disparaged. Capping off Starr’s litany of skeeviness is his shameful resignation from Baylor where he seems to have covered up sexual assault. A good, Christian man indeed.

The second anachronism can be found in the Introduction where Wilson cites “our current President” as an example of behavioral evidence that men enjoy fellatio. Wilson did love to speculate about the sex lives of world leaders; in Illuminatus! he memorably describes the sexual habits of the leaders of the United States, Soviet Union and China identically as having been impotent with their wives for nearly ten years yet being able to achieve “orgasm in the mouth of a skilled prostitute within 1.5 minutes." While Nixon was certainly the model of the President in Illuminatus!, and the man certainly was a cocksucker, I don’t recall him being as notorious for his enjoyment of oral sex as Bill Clinton, ergo the President Wilson would have been referencing in 2000. These “anachronisms” are trite observations, but I found them interesting.

In each Preface and the Introduction, Wilson encourages his reader to keep an open-enough mind to hear his arguments and try the experiments as well as to have hope for their and the world’s betterment. I am happy to follow the well retrodden footsteps of our staunch opponent of entropy. Perhaps there are more things in heaven and earth after all.




Wednesday, March 30, 2022

False Start



I apologize for the non-standard schedule posts. I'm afraid this is going to be a bit of a moveable feast, at least at first. We're experience some turbulence right now so just remain seated and wait patiently. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick Week Three: Mourning for a Lost Century and It's Lost Hopes

Dadd

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Preface to the 2000 Edition

My first job out of college became immediately uncomfortable because I was promised the Human Resources manager's job after the first manager left. The quick transition to discomfort was caused by this; before I learned the actual job description, I had to fill out the standard application on my first day. The application included a page about a mandatory drug test to be taken the first day- I immediately texted my friend, whose family I was newly-employed by, in a state of panic. In fact, he and I had smoked a copious amount of cannabis the night before. Of course, the mandatory drug test wasn't necessary for office workers and by my friend's unnecessary, asked for, intervention, I was disqualified for the job. You see, the human resources branch of this office was mostly concerned with insurance and piss: it was grotesque. Perhaps it was the taste of sour grapes, but I do feel I had a true moral opposition to the requisition of urine. When I heard of one man being tested by an unwilling hair sample, whose results go back further in time than piss, I almost flipped out in the office. That was unconstitutional! (I was naïve.) That was unconscionable! (I was dumb.) That was against Natural Law! (I am an idiot.) It was wrong. (But the world has never really cared about "right" and "wrong.") Thus I failed at yet another job.  

And yet, for all the parentheticals, even in this starry horizon of the loosening of drug laws, I can still relate to the red-hot iron anger of Wilson in his 2000 Preface. The "Book of Urinomics" is juvenile, crass and ridiculous, but it could never be as ridiculous as the societal trends which inspired its writing. Perhaps it is because I still live in an uncivilized land where cannabis is not completely legal; more likely it is because of my utter moral revulsion about the amount of prisoners with marijuana charges who remain in prisons all over this failing state, but I am still troubled by the state of our society's relationship to drugs. In the most basic, legalistic sense. Later in the book, Wilson will discuss a middle-class couple with a combustible, tamper-proof safe in which they stored their marijuana. While the paranoia is bizarre, and perhaps fictionalized as Wilson notes in this preface, I can understand its genesis in this society where a drug charge, or a hospital bill, can land you in the most dire of circumstances. 

When I first read my New Falcon edition, I was struck by the most recent preface because of Wilson's honest, striking analogy for no longer being the person who wrote the original book. As an adolescent/young-adult I developed a neurotic fear that I would continually turn into someone who felt nothing but scorn and disdain for the person he was last year. Thankfully, age has proven that I grow gentler in my reminiscences, recognizing my flaws and Wilson's original Enemy, "ignorance," within myself. And Wilson's expansion into Fuller's enemies is similar to my own: I don't own property, nor am I an architect, so I don't understand the malignancy of zoning laws. I am not immune to fear; indeed, I am full of it, but I focus on understanding that fear "is failure and the forerunner of failure", and my desires are simple enough where I desire little beyond what I have as an admittedly unambitious part of society. 

The second half of Wilson's preface, penned right before the iris of the twenty-first century,  is full of the same righteous rage but the target has moved. The barbs don't land as surely as they did twenty two years ago. That's space-time for you. While the federal government remains a fucking mess, it also seems much more reasonable in many ways than current state governments that seem to be contesting who can pass the most egregious, regressive law possible. The policies against drugs and the lack of civil liberties is not ideal; however, that does not make me sympathetic to the alternative health community that cheered on reactionary bullshit during a worldwide crisis and pushed anti-vaccination conspiracy theories to the point where people who question the FDA, a perfectly intelligent stance, can start spouting fluoride-in-the-water type insanity in a split second. 

I'm not an expert on Ruby Ridge. I don't know what happened, which sounds like a lame, post-truth cop-out. It was a situation that was escalated. I'll admit that I don't agree with Randy Weaver's ideology and believe he put his own family in danger. Weaver had an extreme worldview and took a course of action that was so extreme that it remains notable years later. The echoes of the Ruby Ridge disaster resonated when Waco erupted in flames. At first, many viewed the Branch Davidians as the ultimately wronged party. Janet Reno and the Feds had violated all that was good and true about America's guiding light of free expression with armed assault. Then one reads about Koresh and his batshit ideas, the facts of the Branch Davidian way-of-life, replete with pederasty and abuse, and that his idiot followers were the ones to set fire to the compound on his moronic, self-aggrandizing orders. 

Where do we go when we cross the wires of illegality and equate certain verboten matters to others? I don't think it is anywhere "good." Wilson couldn't have foreseen this a couple decades ago, in the autumnal years of his life, but as (one of) his chroniclers, I would be remiss if I didn't note incongruities with today's world. Wilson was no Saint, nor am I a hagiographer. I am against a strain of antigovernmental thought in today's world.  As quaintly horrifying as the Ruby Ridge incident might have seemed in the 90s, fodder for enflamed opinions and twenty-four-hour news, we are not living in the relative comfort of the past. The sentiment that led Randy Weaver to sacrifice his family's wellbeing in favor of his fanaticism has led to unnecessary strife and death. Whether it is COVID-misinformation, Q-Anon inanity, or pro-Putinism, there is a clear and present danger. What does one do when one simply wants to smoke weed and not endorse partisan fatuousness or the excess of the ancien régime? This is not the best of all worlds. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick Week Three: Incoming

 



Apologies, we have a few days off for break this week and I lost track of my obligations. I'm trying to finish a proposed introduction for Hilaritas during this time and will have our third post up soon! 

Sex, Drugs & Magick: while the worst are full of passionate intensity

  The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt Sex, Drugs & Magick: Slouching Towards Bethlehem: The Story of Leonard  Is there any way to read ...