Monday, January 15, 2007

RIP, RAW 1932-2007

paul krassner ".....Robert Anton Wilson---guerrilla ontologist, part-time post-modernist, Damned Old Crank, my weirdest friend and favorite philosopher."

RAW, in interview with krassner from 2003 "Then I started calling myself a post-modernist after that label got pinned on me in two different books, one on my sociological works and one on my science-fiction. Then I read some of the post-modernists and decided they were only agnostic about other people's dogmas, not their own. So then I switched to Damned Old Crank, which seems to suit my case better than either of the previous labels. Besides, once my hair turned snowy white, some people wanted to promote me to a Sage, and I had to block that. It's more dangerous to a writer than booze. By the way, Congress should impeach Dubya and impound Asa Hutchinson."

if you read the transcript of this interview you'll see that raw mentions some action against dubya and hutchinson at the end of almost every answer he gives.

i can't recall the first time i heard, or read, about raw, nor even the first book of his i read. doing a bit of research for this post i see that i have not read all of his work. but i have read most, and still look at "quantum psychology," my latest read, for interesting ideas and conundrums. he was a practitioner of guerilla ontology--- creating cognitive dissonance by mixing fiction and fact, or maybe just facts in opposition to some worldview, aiming to shake people out of their fixed ideas.

i fell right into the world he created in the "illuminatus trilogy." it was bizarre and funny. there was a chinese character named "ped xing." he and his co-conspirator, bob shea, set out to write a story that included every conspiracy they knew of.

i once saw him in person. must have been about 1985. i was living in santa cruz at the time, as was one of my brothers who was also a fan. we drove over the hill to a coffee house in palo alto to hear raw. i recall a gnomish sort of leprechaun of a man with a sly smile and twinkling eyes. who knows what he said. he was a consummate standup comedian.

raw was not a well-known big-time author. you can read more about him here and here, where there are links to other interviews with him.

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