Thursday, July 8, 2021

Ishtar Rising Week Four: The Simian Stripped Bare


I'm decently sure when you die, you're tricked back into incarnation with the promise of naked ladies. 

Ishtar Rising Chapter One: It Began With An Erection

Apologies all, traffic was crazy. 

Reading this chapter, I can accede that it is dated, Wilson is talking in full early-Seventies patois and towards an extremely small demographic. Wilson, understandably, considering the publisher and original title, assumes that his audience is made of straight-white males. While I have no personal issue, or stake, in this game it was striking how the voice Wilson employs might alienate readers outside the target demographic. Considering the outpouring of knowledge, curiosity and humor that composes the main bulk of this work, that would be a great shame and hopefully more people were turned on by his scintillating prose than turned off by the mandates of society's circumstance. 

Secondly, this chapter is dated insofar as it is an important piece of the foundation of Wilson's corpus. The beginning quote from Tim Wheeler shows Wilson's dedication and involvement with the Discordian religion. Past that we are treated to a long example of Wilson's biological reality checks that he utilizes gleefully and more succinctly in later publications. Decades later in 2021, when terms like "biological determinism" can lead to accusations of bigotry and the field has produced celebrities such as the rather odious Richard Dawkins, it is hard to imagine relying upon biological reality as heavily as Wilson does in the beginning of Ishtar Rising for fear of misinterpretation. 

I admit, I have little patience for research in areas that I am not already familiar with and might not have done my homework when it comes to Desmond Morris and his work. However, it seems like there have been no "major" refutations or rejections from the scientific community and I have always found Morris' arguments in The Naked Ape common-sensical and valid. After all, Darwin was able to figure out natural selection from "mere" observation and Morris' observations seem to be just as valid as the shape of finches' beaks. I have very few certainties, but I have suspicions. I suspect that Morris, and Wilson's, suppositions are correct in some (perhaps large) part.

I will admit that I am enough of one of RAW's target audience that I have bristled in the past when I've heard of nefarious "breast fetishization" and argued using Morris' explanation that the breasts are a naturally erogenous zone and object for sexual fascination. 

It is odd to read about Jayne Mansfield, knowing her tragic fate. Raised on Hollywood Babylon, it is extremely hard for me to disassociate Mansfield's beauty and sex-symbol-status from her tragic fate. Oh, and all the nonsense surrounding her association with Anton LeVay. Consequently, Mansfield may be one of the least sexy sex-symbols to me personally. It is also tragic, and hopefully something the Goddess will correct when she finishes ascending to the Earth, that our sex-symbols, that bring comfort and joy to so many, are too often raised like lotuses in the mud of exploitation and personal tragedy. Blow-job Ape brought all of us more joy than any other inventor in history, she should have a goddamn statue in every blissful bedroom. (Edit: It strikes me upon rereading this that it is ridiculous to assume whether Blow-job Ape was female or male; God bless 'em, either way,) 

Linda Lovelace, a modern incarnation of Blow-job Ape, brought salaciousness mainstream and pure ecstasy to many a man and adolescent. To read about her frank sexuality, coupled with her eventual conversion to the Faith of Misery, well, it is tragic. Yet again, we are faced with flowers in the mud. No doubt Lovelace was exploited in the late-twentieth century culture of pornography (along with simply being born an attractive female) and yet I hope that one can still wish for a sexuality not based around sexual hegemonies, new or old. Wilson's book gives an excellent example of a possible balance; something in between leer and worship, crude jokes and sincere orisons. 

Wilson wrote this tract during a time when sexuality seemed perhaps a little less complex but belied a rotten world. Now we constantly have to deal with the complexities, real and imagined, of sexuality and it all speaks to a rotten world; but now we have the honest shot at having love for our crooked neighbor with our crooked soul. 

Sex and death are our two primary compulsions. Yet, in the myth of Inanna and the text of Ishtar Rising, we can locate a myth of Sex that overcomes Death, temporarily perhaps, but still. Tend your garden. The green force that flows through the flowers in her hair...



12 comments:

  1. Thank you for your post. I don't think I've read this book since the week Bob died back in 2007.

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  2. Eric, it took me 15 years to realize that was my favorite Beatles song. Thanks for keeping up with my trite nonsense.

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  3. See me, feel me, touch me, heal me ... great video!

    I remember thinking this chapter seemed oddly, for a chapter praising the Goddess, directed at men - for example, explicit instructions for the perfect blowjob - then recalled the original publisher and target audience. The rest of the book either seems less so, or I ignored it.

    Once again, a group discussion of a RAW book synchs with current events. To wit: "The force that sends men hurtling through the gravityless vacuum of interplanetary space, risking the most truly cosmic terrors in all human history ..." (p.31)As I write this, Richard Branson has blasted off in Virgin's spaceship prototype for its initial flight. Not quite interplanetary, and they'll only be gravityless for a few hours, but it's a start.

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  4. The rest of the book pretty quickly turns into RAW's more usual way of jumping from subjects and overall erudition. Less dated and more "classic" in his writing.

    This post makes me think that there does not seem to be so many women in the RAW community around, or they aren't as vocal as men. Then again, someone like Daisy Eris Campbell seems like an incarnation of Ishtar herself.

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    1. Hi, female RAW reader here, and from my limited experience of the community I’m inclined to agree with you. I doubt I’d have read him if the illustrious Apuleius hadn’t introduced me to his writings (full disclosure: I’m also Apuleius’ wife.) I’ve been remiss in not starting Ishtar Rising yet, but I am planning to catch up soon and start responding regularly. I’m also signed on to proofread a RAW-adjacent work coming out from Hilaritas Press in the not-too-distant future, which I’m quite excited about!

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    2. Hey Adie, great to hear from you!
      Looking forward to read your thoughts on Ishtar Rising, would have been a shame not to have a single woman joining in the conversation on a book that deals with the return of the Goddess.

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  5. There is this weird bit early on in the chapter about homosexuals "who are, ethologically considered, men who have been conditioned to become sexually aroused by other men". I believe the debate on where homosexuality "comes from" is, to this day, still open.

    RAW is here using this as an example for conditioning because he then writes that some "have been counterconditioned, in a few notable cases, and suddenly get turned on by women". I'd say this proves, if anything, that these men have been indeed conditioned to get turned on by women, but says nothing of the source of their original homosexuality. I'd be curious to know what method was used on these poor people, apparently in dire need of fixing in the eyes of some "scientists"...

    Regardless of the argument on homosexuality, this passage illustrates a tendency in the book for RAW to be seemingly more definitive in many of his statements, much more so in my opinion than in his later works. Nothing else comes to mind right now (and I am not done reading yet), but I did notice this on several instances.

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  6. Oz- I streamed Branson's flight. It was interesting, still hoping Bezos' ship blows to smithereens. Forgive Me Goddess, but I longed the other day for robber barons who cared about posterity and flaunted parts of their wealth on libraries and schools instead of escaping our hellbound planet.

    I think you, Spookah and I feel the same way about the first chapter.

    Speaking of whom, @Spookah- Knowing what we do today about conversion therapy, that was a disturbing little bit of bullshit for me. I'm in no position to judge but one can only imagine the pressures on someone seeking to change their sexuality in the mid/late twentieth. As far as where homosexuality comes from, I'm pretty sure its the Liberal Agenda.

    I find it funny that the bait is less tasty than the hook for the actual audience of Ishtar Rising. We'll be moving on to more fertile pastures soon tomorrow. God(dess) Willing.

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  7. I liked much of the chapter, but the Linda Lovelace material does not date well for me. Other bits don't age well, but I liked the sentences about the oceanic experience.

    One of RAW's main arguments is that the male fascination with the female breast is not something unique to our modern American culture, and there is some evidence that he might be correct, for example the story from ancient Athens about the acquittal of Phryne when she was accused of impiety:

    "Even though there’s a great dispute among historians about what really happened that day in the court, one of the most credible sources (that of Athenaeus) states that Hypereides tore off Phryne’s robes in the middle of the courtroom to show the judges her beautiful breasts. His reasoning was that only the Gods could sculpt a body so perfect and as such, killing or imprisoning her would be seen as blasphemy and disrespect to the Gods."

    Does it need to be explained the judges were male? Citation:

    https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/phryne-ancient-greek-prostitute-who-flashed-her-way-freedom-007571

    I like Amazon and I wish Jeff Bezos well.

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  8. Tom- I don't think we've reached Phryne quite yet though she is one of my favorite characters in the book. I'm excited to get to her. Ribbit. I'll read the article tomorrow.

    I use Amazon but I don't like it. I don't care for Bezos' aloofness and while I don't mean to sound like a member of the IWW, I'm no fan of the way he runs his business. That said, I respect your opinion and I promise when the Lunar show trials are over you'll only stay in the Neptunian gulag for a month or two.

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  9. Rarebit Fiend, I hoped to point out the synchronicity: as we study Ishtar Rising, particularly a chapter mentioning space travel, at the exact moment I read and write about it, a spaceship named VIRGIN GALACTIC makes its initial flight with the guy who manifested it. The moral question on whether he should spend his money differently distracts from this point.

    Speaking to that distraction, capitalism appears a severely flawed system for providing decent living conditions to every creature on earth let alone every human. See Deleuze and Guattari's 2 volume epic Capitalism and Schizophrenia where they delineate the self-destructive tendencies of Capitalism. However, I would no more blame a Capitalist for making money than I would a cat for hunting and eating mice and lizards. The implied Aristotelian argument of the choice between investing in space exploration and solving the world's problems seems flawed to me. Easy to provide a decent lifestyle to everyone, if we all stop fighting each other. As Bucky Fuller said, convert all the "weaponry" to "livingry" and use technology to solve problems rather than blow people up and/or make money in the process. Sounds virtually impossible in our current world, I know.

    A friend of mine hung around his friend and band manager Richard Branson in the early days when Branson worked to get Virgin Records off the ground, metaphorically speaking. My friend related an interesting story about Branson that I'll pass along when time permits. He seems like a good guy with more of a conscience than Bezos or Musk from the little I know. He has started a lottery the winner of which gets a free ride into space with a friend.

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