Rockers, artists pay tribute to James Joyce with massive project

“What I found out,” says Pyle, “was that there were all these niches and subcultures — dead heads, punk rockers, out-there artists, avant-garde classical musicians, Robert Anton Wilson fans — and within their subcultures ‘Finnegans Wake’ has a lot of importance. ... What I think happened was we were able to bring together a bunch of niches, people who were interesting and also supportive — that cult thing, when you’re really into something, you’re really into something. We brought together those people as both audience and contributors.”


A note to Bob

Dear Bob,

the world seems so messy without you, and we all miss your social commentary and King Kong like presence on the underground. Raw heads still turn to you for the clearest perspective on any particular issue, be it concerning intelligent signals from outer space, the perils of totalitarian government, any conspiracy you can think of, no matter how wild or crazy (as nothing could be stranger than the truth) We miss your humor and willingness to confront the boogie man in every corner of the cultural living room, where others fear to tread.

new readers are discovering your books daily, both fiction and non-fiction (oh whats the difference these days?) i dream of picking apart the bride of Illuminatus with a 10'000 strong, open on-line community, and to witness the films and games and weird works dedicated to you light up your face. Shit, it's easy to forget how well you're ideas are preserved due to your due diligence when writing. You might chuckle to see us all pushing onwards into the dark woods with the world on our shoulders, taking on the TSOG with art and magic. May you rest in peace, and continue to extrude your ubiquitous entanglement with those who wish to tune in. Please visit at any time.

--Steve Fly



In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

INTRODUCTION THE TALE OF THE TRIBE "I hold that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that the phrase 'a long poem' is simply a contradiction in terms. . . . If at any time, any very long poem were popular in reality—which I doubt—it is at least clear that no very long poem will ever be popular again." —Edgar Allan Poe, "The Poetic Principle"

1 "A heroic poem, truly such, is undoubtedly the greatest work which the soul of man is capable to perform." —John Dryden, "Dedication Of The Aeneis"

2 In 1920, Georg Lukacs published a critical study entitled The Theory of the Novel. The subtitle of this work, "A historicophilosophical essay on the forms of great epic literature," announces Lukacs' decision to treat the novel as the fundamental form of epic literature in modern writing. Subsequently, he justifies this decision, explaining: The epic and the novel, these two major forms of great epic literature differ from one another not by their author 's fundamental intentions but by the given historico -philosophical realities with which the authors were confronted. The novel is the epic of an age in which the extensive totality of life is no longer directly given, in which the immanence of meaning in life has become the problem, yet which still thinks in terms of totality.

3 The conviction that verse could no longer deal adequately with "the extensive totality of life" (while the novel was now 

4 · INTRODUCTION regarded as uniquely suited to attempt such a task) was by no means original with, or restricted to, Lukacs. Rather, he is representative of a widely shared attitude: a narrowing of the sphere regarded as "appropriate" for verse, which any poet seeking to equal the breadth of scope and subject matter of great novelists was compelled to confront. In 1917, when Ezra Pound began to publish his long modern verse epic, The Cantos, he was distinctly nervous about the problematic nature of his undertaking, and in the unrevised version of Canto I, he speculates whether it would not be wiser to "sulk and leave the word to novelists."

4 As late as 1922, after he had already completely revised the poem's opening and published the first eight Cantos, Pound's correspondence reveals a man still anxiously defending the ambitious intentions of his work-in-progress: "Perhaps as the poem goes on I shall be able to make various things clearer. Having the crust to attempt a poem in 100 or 120 cantos long after all mankind has been commanded never again to attempt a poem of any length, I have to stagger as I can." (L:180) Underlying both Lukacs' critical pronouncement and Pound's initial self-doubt is a questioning of the essential nature of poetic discourse, of the formal limits within which the special language of verse must move if it is to remain faithful to its fundamental character as poetry. The question is really one of "decorum" in the full classical sense, an attempt to discover anew which modes of literary presentations are intrinsically most suitable to the different areas of human experience. By the end of the First World War, a verse epic was not so much a form as an oxymoron, an anachronism that seemed to violate what many poets as well as critics had come to regard as the characteristic structure and horizon of poetic discourse. Edgar Allan Poe's strictures against the long poem in "The Poetic Principle" (1848) exercised a profound influence throughout the nineteenth century, especially upon the decisive figures in the development of modern French verse— Charles Baudelaire, Stephane Mallarme, and Arthur Rimbaud —but, in their own writings, Poe's argument was taken up as only one aspect of a fundamental upheaval in the connection between language as a literary, poetic artifact and the INTRODUCTION · 

5 world of quotidian reality. At bottom it was the representational nature of artistic language that was challenged, the traditional conception of verse as a mimesis of some external, and consequently independent, event. For Mallarme the poetic text was neither the discoverer nor even the celebrant of previously existent values: it was their sole originator, at once the source and only locus of meaning. The words of a poem, an incantation and hieroglyph, were absolutely divorced from their usage in the mundane world, and art, rather than offering an articulated duplication of reality, was seen as itself conferring the only reality, the only authentic and absolute form of being attainable.


Kurt Vonnegut on Paul Krassner and his poster - Fuck Socialism

by Kurt Vonnegut
Paul Krassner, 63 at this writing (1996), old enough to be my baby brother,
in 1963 created a miracle of compressed intelligence nearly as admirable for
potent simplicity, in my opinion, as Einstein¹s e=mc2.  With the Vietnam War
going on, and with its critics discounted and scorned by the government and
the mass media, Krassner put on sale a red, white and blue poster that said

At the beginning of the 1960s, FUCK was believed to be so full of bad magic
as to be unprintable.  In the most humanely influential American novel of
this half century, "The Catcher in the Rye," Holden Caulfield, it will be
remembered, was shocked to see that word on a subway-station wall.  He
wondered what seeing it might do to the mind of a little kid.  COMMUNISM was
to millions the name of the most loathsome evil imaginable.  To call an
American a communist was like calling somebody a Jew in Nazi Germany.  By
having FUCK and COMMUNISM fight it out in a single sentence, Krassner wasn¹t
merely being funny as heck.  He was demonstrating how preposterous it was
for so many people to be responding to both words with such cockamamie
Pavlovian fear and alarm.

What hasn¹t been said about that poster, and surely not by Krassner, is that
its author was behaving harmoniously with most of the Ten Commandments, the
Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States and the Sermon on
the Mount.  So, too, were his now-dead friends Lenny Bruce and Abbie Hoffman
and Jerry Rubin, roundly denounced and even arrested for bad manners and
impudence, and now mourned and celebrated as heroes, which indeed they were,
in this important book.  They were prophets, too, at the service of humanity
in jeering, like the prophets of old, at mean-spirited hypocrisies and
stupidities and worse that were making their society a hell, whether there
was a God or not.

And this book is emphatically not nostalgic, but raffishly responsive to the
here and now.  Nor are decades like chains of knockwursts, sutured off from
one another at either end.  To think of them as such, the 1950s, the 1960s,
the 1970s and so on, is merely a mnemonic device.  The only 1960s people are
those who died back then.  Everyone alive today has no choice but to be,
like Paul Krassner, a 1990s person.  Krassner does a good job of that.  So
should we all.

I told Krassner one time that his writings made me hopeful.  He found this
an odd compliment to offer a satirist.  I explained that he made supposedly
serious matters seem ridiculous, and that this inspired many of his readers
to decide for themselves what was ridiculous and what was not.  Knowing that
there were people doing that, better late than never, made me optimistic.



Fake News & Made Up Truth

Fake News & Made Up Truth by Steve Fly “Keep it unreal”—Mr. Scruff. 
“Literature is news that stays news.”—Ez. The question "is it real" and "is it true" reverberates throughout the global village, sounding all the more desperate and panicked to me, as we all grapple with our place in the village, our individual identity and cultural identity, race, and hyperconnected cultural backlash. The black mirror of 2016.    I see fundamentalist materialism leading some once open-minded people down a concrete path to absolutism, and the dissolving of any critical method of analysis left. Some literally can't see the forrest for the trees. I feel that without some understanding of how our sensory nervous system operates, how humans tend to colour and edit perceptions, for the most part unconsciously, we will continue on a trajectory of global disinformation, lies, untruth and paranoia. Unless you take daily precautions and develop a sense for critical thinking, suspend your judgement, at least temporarily, the global village will have a tendency to seem full of fakes, snakes and events that do not fit your cagey convictions.   We all produce a kind of fake news to ourselves and to others. But stay with me here, we decide to narrow down the infinite flux of being, the infinite possibilities, to a particular point/opinion. A story, a single event, a particular such and such. Which is fine, unless the language you are using implies that your story is the only story, the true story, the singular almighty perception of the all seeing "I". And it seems to me that alphabet cultures have a tendency to lead to such a confusing of levels of abstraction. Alphabet cultures are ripe for fake news and made up truth, hell a good lawyer can prove anything these days, and a good old crafty orator can capture the hearts minds, and gullibility, of a nation of voters.    "Nothing is true, everything is permitted"--Hassan I Sabbah.



McLuhan and Holeopathic Quadrophrenia | The Mouse-That-Roared Syndrome by Bob Dobbs

McLuhan and Holeopathic Quadrophrenia | The Mouse-That-Roared Syndrome

ListenBob Dobbs at “Legacy of McLuhan Symposium,” Lincoln Center, Manhattan, sponsored by Fordham University, 28 March 1998
by Bob Dobbs
(published in The Legacy of McLuhan)

Phase 1
"…much of III.3 (Book Three, Chapter Three-ed.) is telephone conversation… As III.3 opens with a person named Yawn and III.4 displays the ingress of daylight upon the night of Finnegans Wake, the note on VI.B.5.29 is interesting:
'Yawn telegraph telephone Dawn wireless thought transference.' "
Roland McHugh,The Sigla of Finnegans Wake, p.19, 1976

"…Orion of the Orgiasts, Meereschal MacMuhun, the Ipse dadden, product of the extremes giving quotidients to our means, as might occur to anyone, your brutest layaman with the princest champion in our archdeaconry, or so yclept from Clio's clippings, which the chroncher of chivalries is sulpicious save he scan, for ancients link with presents as the human chain extends,…"
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, p.254, 1939

(In McLuhan's private library in one of his copies of Finnegans Wake he has pencilled in the words "me" and "moon child" next to Joyce's "Meereschal MacMuhun".)
"The ordinary desire of everybody to have everybody else think alike with himself has some explosive implications today."
(the first sentence in the first article McLuhan wrote for Explorations-ed.)
H. M. McLuhan, Culture without Literacy,Explorations Magazine, Volume1, p.117, December, 1953

"Entertainment in the future may have quite different patterns and functions. You'll become a yogi, you'll do your self-entertainment in yoga style."
Marshall McLuhan,Like Yoga, Not Like the Movies,Forbes Magazine, p.40, March 15, 1967

"T. S. Eliot's famous account of 'the auditory imagination' has become an ordinary form of awareness; but Finnegans Wake, as a comprehensive study of the psychic and social dynamics of all media, remains to be brought into the waking life of our world."
Marshall McLuhan,Letter to Playboy Magazine, p.18, March, 1970

"At electric speeds the hieroglyphs of the page of Nature become readily intelligible and the Book of the World becomes a kind of Orphic hymn of revelation."
Marshall McLuhan, Libraries: Past, Present, Future(address at Geneseo, New York-ed.), p.1, July 3, 1970

"The future of government lies in the area of psychic ecology and can no longer be considered on a merely national or international basis."
Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt,Take Today: The Executive as Dropout, p.227, 1972

"And do you know," he (Eric McLuhan-ed.) enthuses, "there are actually (four-ed.) laws governing media communications? At last we can prove to people that we aren't just theorists. This is a real science.... We know there is one more law," says Eric. "And we'll find it. Sooner or later."
Olivia Ward,Now! Son of Guru!,Toronto Star, p.D1, March 30, 1980

Marshall McLuhan made two decisions in 1937: one was the spiritual strategy of becoming a Roman Catholic, and the other was the secular strategy, after intensive study at Cambridge, of translating James Joyce's Work-in-Progress (later given the title of Finnegans Wake in 1939) into an aesthetic anti-environment useful for countering and probing the cultural assumptions of a practicing Catholic.
For the next twenty years he refined his understanding of, first, the Thomist concept of analogical proportionality as the expression of the tactile interval, and second, its usefulness in perceiving the cultural effects of the new electric technologies, through an ongoing dialogue, analysis, and sensory meditation on the nature of metaphor and consciousness (including extrasensory perception) as an artifact. Since McLuhan defined "metaphor"(1) as the act of looking at one situation through another, each situation constitutive of figure-ground interplay (a concept borrowed from Gestalt psychology), then a metaphor was an instance of mixed media, or two figure-grounds. And so was consciousness - because of its essential subjective experience as doubleness, which is doubled again as the objective effect of its autonomous interplay with other consciousnesses. Metaphor, for McLuhan, was hylomorphic(2). In retrospect, the equation McLuhan was playing with could be flattened out as:

metaphor=mixed media=doubleness =consciousness=tactile interplay=the Christian Holy Cross=figure/ground=analogical mirror=iconic fact= cliché/archetype=resonant field= hendiadys=menippean irony,

each and all (except for "metaphor") squared. However, after he made personal contact with Wyndham Lewis in 1943, their dialogue enhanced his appreciation of adopting Wyndham Lewis' social probing style as a political anti-environment to McLuhan's own commitment to the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, and James Joyce. Hence, his own studies simulated the doubleness he was observing technically. For the rest of his career McLuhan juggled the artistic approaches of these five artists in miming the tactile qualities of the analogical drama of proper proportions - the drama of being and perception. For him, language was the drama of cognition and recognition, or consciousness.

"The measure of our (Catholics-ed.) unawareness and irrelevance can be taken from the fact that no Thomist has so far seen fit to expound St. Thomas's theory of communication by way of providing modern insight into our problems."
H. M. McLuhan,The Heart of Darkness(unpublished review of Melville's Quarrel with God by Lawrence Thompson, 1952-ed.), p.8, 1952

"The analogical relation between exterior posture and gesture and the interior movements and dispositions of the mind is the irreducible basis of drama. In the Wake this appears everywhere. So that any attempt to reduce its action, at any point, to terms of univocal statement results in radical distortion.(p.33)... It needs to be understood that only short discontinuous shots of such a work as Joyce's are possible. Linear or continuous perspectives of analogical structures are only the result of radical distortion, and the craving for 'simple explanations' is the yearning for univocity."(p.36-7)
Marshall McLuhan,James Joyce: Trivial and Quadrivial (1953) in The Interior Landscape, pp.33 and 36-7, 1969


On McLuhan's Mental Mosaic - Hologrammic Prose

"But McLuhan created a more fundamental means to a more organic understanding in the very aphoristic style in which he chose to convey his ideas one consciously embodying the concept that the medium is the message. Its means is not to follow a continuous, linear, and unbroken line of thought, but to create a tessellated pattern of ideas, with each of the tiles in the mental mosaic a particular facet of the overall pattern. Like fractals, an analogue that has gained currency only since McLuhan's last work, the grand, overall pattern is contained in miniature in each of the parts. He also took as models for this style writers in the symbolist and modernist movements, particularly Mallarme, Eliot, Pound, and Joyce."