Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Illuminatus! The excerpts continue! Hail Eris!

Simon, in fact, had what can only be called a funky education. I mean, man, when your parents are both anarchists the Chicago public school system is going to do your head absolutely no good at all. Feature me in a 1956 classroom with Eisenhower's Moby Dick face on one wall and Nixon's Captain
Ahab glare on the other, and in between, standing in front of the inevitable American rag, Miss Doris Day or her older sister telling the class to take home a leaflet explaining to their parents why it's important for them to vote. 
"My parents don't vote," I say. 
"Well, this leaflet will explain to them why they should," she tells me with the real authentic Doris Day sunshine and Kansas cornball smile. It's early in the term and she hasn't heard about me from the last-semester teacher. 
"I really don't think so," I say politely. "They don't think it makes any difference whether Eisenhower or Stevenson is in the White House. They say the orders will still come from Wall Street." 
It's like a thundercloud. All the sunshine goes away. They never prepared her for this in the school where they turn out all these Doris Day replicas. The wisdom of the Fathers is being questioned. She opens her mouth and closes it and opens and closes it and finally takes such a deep breath that every boy in the room (we're all on the cusp of puberty) gets a hard-on from watching her breasts heave up
and slide down again. I mean, they're all praying (except me, I'm an atheist, of course) that they won't get called on to stand up; if it wouldn't attract attention, they'd be clubbing their dicks down with their geography books. "That's the wonderful thing about this country," she finally gets out, "even people with opinions like that can say what they want without going to jail." 
"You must be nuts," I say. "My dad's been in and out of jail so many times they should put in a special revolving door just for him: My mom, too. You oughta go out with subversive leaflets in this town and see what happens." 
Then, of course, after school, a gang of patriots, with the odds around seven-to-one, beat the shit out of me and make me kiss their red-white-and-blue totem. It's no better at home. Mom's an anarcho-pacifist, Tolstoy and all that, and she wants me to say I didn't fight back. Dad's a Wobbly and wants to be sure that I hurt some of them at least as bad as they hurt me. After they yell at me for a half hour, they yell at each other for two. Bakunin said this and Kropotkin said that and Gandhi said the other and Martin Luther King is the savior of America and Martin Luther King is a bloody fool selling his people an opium Utopia and all that jive. Go down to Wobbly Hall or Solidarity Bookstore and you'll still hear the same debate, doubled, redoubled, in spades, and vulnerable.

(While the most obscure, seemingly trivial part of the whole puzzle appeared in a department store in
Houston. It was a sign that said: 
NO SMOKING. NO SPITTING. 
THE MGT. 

This replaced an earlier sign that had hung on the main showroom wall for many years, saying only 
NO SMOKING 
THE MGT. 
The change, although small, had subtle repercussions. The store catered only to the very wealthy,
and this clientele did not object to being told that they could not smoke. The fire hazard, after all, was obvious. On the other hand, that bit about spitting was somehow a touch offensive; they most certainly were not the sort of people who would spit on somebody's floor-or, at least, none of them had done such a thing at any time since about one month or at most one year after they became wealthy. Yes, the sign was definitely bad diplomacy. 
Resentment festered. Sales fell off. And membership in the Houston branch of God's Lightning increased. Wealthy, powerful membership. 
(The odd thing was that the Management had nothing at all to do with the sign.)

[Sorry for the initial formatting, but blogger editing and copy pasting from PDF is a pain in the 3rd eye :p]

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. 

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