Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Apotheosis of the Self: Matthew Levi Stevens’ THE MAGICAL UNIVERSE OF WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS





When the reputation of a literary figure extends far beyond his words, there’s always the danger of the legend eclipsing the literature itself.  Of course, this eclipsing process has occurred with any number of cult writers.  Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs are prime examples.  Sometimes, one gets the impression that the number of Burroughs books sold every year far outnumber the amount of Burroughs books read.  When articles are written about Burroughs in the popular press, they generally focus on facile aspects of his personal life (e.g., his drug addiction, his sexuality, the accidental murder of his wife, etc.).  The complex themes Burroughs explored throughout his oeuvre are very rarely discussed. 

Here are only a few of the heady concepts one can find woven throughout Burroughs’ work, from Junky in 1953 all the way to My Education in 1995:  the struggle between libertarianism and control, the undeniable fact that civilization has enslaved itself to a psychological “algebra of need” (a phrase employed by Burroughs in his most famous work, Naked Lunch) far more addictive and destructive than illegal drugs, and a consistently Gnostic view of the hypostatic world.  For the most part, these ideas have been ignored even by those who consider themselves to be Burroughs mavens. 

In his recent study, The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs, Matthew Levi Stevens offers us a book-length examination of Burroughs’ obsession—arguably a positive obsession—with “magical thinking.”  Stevens unveils the hidden reality underlying the opaque prose found in Burroughs’ most seminal works such as The Soft Machine (1961), The Ticket That Exploded (1962), Nova Express (1964), The Wild Boys (1971), Cities of the Red Night (1981), The Place of Dead Roads (1984), and The Western Lands (1987).  By focusing on the hermetic notions that lay at the heart of Burroughs’ darkly humorous brand of phantasmagoria, Stevens adds valuable insights to our understanding of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial and misunderstood storytellers.

Stevens provides a comprehensive view of Burroughs’ unique writing methods, magical practices that tapped into (what Burroughs called) his “unknown and so unpredictable” creativity, and successfully demonstrates that Burroughs “sought to exploit the ability of the brain to perceive apparent connections or resemblances between things which, rationally speaking, are not linked” (as Stevens writes at the end of Chapter 9, “The Lost Boys”).  This type of “magical thinking” was the key to unlocking many of the innovations Burroughs unleashed on the too-often benign world of American literature from the 1950s onward.

Tellingly, David Conway (author of the bestselling nonfiction book, Magic:  An Occult Primer) writes in the chapter entitled “The ‘Priest’ They Called Him”:  “[Burroughs] was not first and foremost a ‘magician,’ any more than I am, but a human being for whom magic (among other techniques) might lead not just to enlightenment but to a glorious (and liberating) apotheosis of the self.”  By documenting the precise magical techniques Burroughs used to develop the ideas behind his groundbreaking novels, Stevens has succeeded in uncovering more than just a few missing links in Burroughs scholarship.

Those interested in cutting to the core of Burroughs’ secret self, and perhaps even their own untapped potentialities, should not hesitate to plunge into The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs

Published by Mandrake of Oxford
252 pages, paperback


Note:  This review appeared originally, in somewhat different form, in NEW DAWN MAGAZINE #154 (January/February 2016).  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

United Together (or) Everything You Need to Know About Campaign 2016 Can Be Learned from THE PRISONER

Anyone confused by the blatantly Machiavellian/Orwellian/Huxleyesque machinations on display during this unique campaign season need only watch a single episode of an almost fifty-year-old television show to fully comprehend the peculiarities of the nightmarish dilemma in which we now find ourselves.  In 1967 writer/actor/director Patrick McGoohan created The Prisoner, which remains the most prescient drama ever aired on television.  The series chronicles the Kafkaesque adventures of a man known only as Number Six (McGoohan) who attempts to resign from his highly sensitive position as a secret agent, and as a result is abducted, held prisoner, and tortured repeatedly by entities unknown.  

 
In light of the surreal overtones of our current campaign season, it's noteworthy to keep in mind that such absurdities are not at all unprecedented in the world of dystopian fiction, The Prisoner being the prime example.  Everything you really need to know about Campaign 2016 is embedded in "Free for All," one of the best episodes of the series, in which Number Six is recruited to run for political office in The Village, a fascist island resort where life would appear to be utterly pleasant and utopian, except when one attempts to contradict the party line, speak one's mind, and tell the truth.  

Though I recommend watching all seventeen episodes of The Prisoner, McGoohan himself felt there were only seven essential episodes:  "Arrival," "Free for All," "Dance of the Dead," "Checkmate," "The Chimes of Big Ben," "Once Upon a Time," and "Fall Out."  McGoohan wrote and directed at least three of these episodes.  After absorbing these seven stories, an equally illuminating experience can be had by watching a rare 1977 interview with McGoohan on a Canadian show called The Prisoner Puzzle, in which the actor offers further prescient comments on the real world parallels to his (at that time) ten-year-old allegory.  

THE PRISONER ("ARRIVAL"):


THE PRISONER ("FREE FOR ALL"):


THE PRISONER ("DANCE OF THE DEAD"):


THE PRISONER ("CHECKMATE"):


THE PRISONER ("THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN"):


THE PRISONER ("ONCE UPON A TIME"):


THE PRISONER ("FALL OUT"):


THE PRISONER PUZZLE (1977):


United Together.

A Still Tongue Makes A Happy Life. 

Questions Are A Burden To Others; Answers A Prison For Oneself.

Be Seeing You....

Monday, July 25, 2016

UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES

I’d like to announce that I just sold my fourth book (and, more importantly, my first novel).  The novel is called UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES and will be published by Night Shade/Skyhorse in the Fall/Winter of 2017.  I put the finishing touches on the novel last summer, but began working on the idea way back in 1998.  In fact, I workshopped several chapters while I was enrolled in the MFA Program at CSU Long Beach.  The first chapter, in slightly different form, was originally published in THE CHIRON REVIEW back in 2005.  So… the whole process has been a very long haul.  Oddly enough, the editor who bought the manuscript is the very same editor who bought my first short story, “The Infant Kiss,” way back in 1997.  I’ll no doubt post more details as they emerge.  Be Seeing You!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Propaganda Machine Strikes Out Against Targeted Individuals

In the wake of a tsunami of "lone nut" shootings that have flooded the United States in recent months, mainstream news sources are at last publishing extensive articles that dare to mention the formerly taboo word known as "gangstalking."  As could be expected, the "journalists" responsible for these articles distort the facts for the purpose of portraying innocent victims of organized government harassment as paranoid schizophrenics.  The first of these propagandistic hit pieces was Mike McPhate's 6-10-16 New York Times article entitled "United States of Paranoia:  They See Gangs of Stalkers."  This hack job, which could easily have been churned out by a third rate word processor with no help from a human being, contains such wonderfully inane reportage as:  

"Dr. Lorraine Sheridan, who is co-author of perhaps the only study of gang-stalking, said the community poses a danger that sets it apart from other groups promoting troubling ideas, such as anorexia or suicide. On those topics, the internet abounds with medical information and treatment options. An internet search for 'gang-stalking,' however, turns up page after page of results that regard it as fact. 'What’s scary for me is that there are no counter sites that try and convince targeted individuals that they are delusional,' Dr. Sheridan said."

Ah, yes, the New York Times has revealed the astonishing truth:  The most serious problem that has emerged as a result of the unconstitutional gangstalking program is that not enough victims of organized government harassment are being assured by competent mental health professionals that they're hopelessly delusional.  If only psychiatrists dictated the content of the internet, a new day would soon dawn in America....   

The unsettling fact is that most targets of gangstalking would be relieved to discover they're suffering from clinical paranoia.  After all, such a condition can be medicated with relative ease.  Alas, there is no medication in existence that can roll back the litany of unconstitutional laws that have been passed by Congress in the wake of 9/11, laying the foundation for the blatantly fascist surveillance state now entrenched in an Empire of Fear once known as The United States of America, a dystopic Banana Republic that no longer bears any official name whatsoever.  Its cowering inhabitants hardly bother to call it anything at all anymore.  The Few Who Are Aware label it by its behavior:  "Cryptocracy," a government ruled by secrecy. 

It's revealing to note that McPhate, the ostensible author of this piece, was given my name and contact information by one of the Targeted Individuals he interviewed for his article.  He assured this woman he wished to talk to me before he published the piece.  He never even bothered to do so.  Why?  Because the story I lay out in the pages of my book Chameleo does not fit the pattern he had already established in his inflexible mind.  Instead of investigating the gangstalking phenomenon, McPhate had a conclusion already in place.  He twisted the facts to fit that preordained conclusion.  To include the Chameleo story in his article would have meant opening a frightening can of worms he simply did not have the intestinal fortitude to deal with.  This would have meant contacting Richard Schowengerdt, a legitimate scientist with a track record that can be easily established.  This would have meant contacting Dion Fuller, the main subject of the illegal stalking chronicled in Chameleo.  This would have meant contacting Special Agent Lita Johnson, the NCIS officer responsible for kickstarting Dion's harassment in the first place.  More disturbingly, it would have meant telling the truth.  Oh, no, we mustn't have that.  No, no, no.  Too many leads, too many facts, too many disturbing realities.... 

In short, Mike McPhate would have had to do his job, something in which he clearly he has no interest.
Only one day ago, an eerily similar article appeared on Motherboard.vice.com, an offshoot of Vice Magazine.  In its 7-22-16 article, entitled "The Nightmarish Online World of 'Gang-Stalking,'" Roison Kiberd (an organic robotoid apparently programmed to masquerade as a journalist in its spare time) lays out a carbon copy series of distorted facts that appear to have been manufactured by the very same propaganda machine that churned out the "United States of Paranoia" piece as well as a more recent New York Times article (published on 7-19-16) entitled "The Baton Rouge Gunman and 'Targeted Individuals'"

Telltale similarities abound.  First, read this paragraph from the Kiberd article:

"Long is thought to be the third mass shooter to consider himself a 'targeted individual', alongside Myron May, who killed three people at Florida State University in 2014, and Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013 and who, like Long, had contacted anti-stalking association PACTS International (People Against Covert Torture and Surveillance)." 

Now read this paragraph from the New York Times article:

"Mr. Long’s attack represented at least the third recent mass shooting to be associated with people who believed they were being targeted by a government conspiracy. Myron May, who in 2014 shot three people at Florida State University, left behind videos in which he meticulously described his experience of being gang-stalked. And many members of the movement believe that Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013, also identified as a targeted individual."

It's as if both articles were typed out by the same substandard Artificial Intelligence Program.  A sidenote:  In the spring of 2015 a journalist for Vice Magazine contacted me after he had read Chameleo.  He was clearly excited about the book and interviewed me for at least two hours.  He wrote an excellent article about the book and the phenomena of gangstalking in general.  His editor summarily spiked the piece with the following explanation:  "If we publish this article, it might damage our brand."

It might damage our brand.  Yes, you heard that right.  Apparently, the endless interviews with heroin warlords and desperate prostitutes that Vice regularly features will not hurt their brand, but speaking out against rampant human rights violations will hurt their brand.  So instead of "damaging their brand," Vice hired an Artificial Intelligence Program known as Roison Kiberd to hoodwink its readers into believing that victims of government harassment are nothing more than paranoid schizophrenics.  Way to go, Vice.  That's one way to maintain your position on the cutting edge....

What follow are relevant excerpts from the aforementioned New York Times article, "The Baton Rouge Gunman and 'Targeted Individuals'":

"Many labels for Gavin Long have emerged from the rich digital footprint that he left behind — former Marine, antigovernment radical, alpha male, life coach. But one has stood out for its peculiarity, that of 'targeted individual.'

"Louisiana investigators have yet to describe a motive for Mr. Long’s carefully planned ambush that left three law enforcement officers dead and three others injured on Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.
But Mr. Long, who was killed in the shootout, said in online posts and videos that he was a victim of a vast government conspiracy that watches and harasses everyday Americans.

"Numbering in the thousands, the self-described targeted individuals, or T.I.s, say that they are being tortured with mind-control weapons and put under surveillance by armies of covert agents known as gang stalkers [...].

"According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist propaganda, Mr. Long appeared to have latched on to much of the targeted individual belief system, with a fixation on law enforcement officials as his persecutors.

"Mr. Long, who also went by the name Cosmo Setepenra online, said in a recent post that he had been watched day and night as a targeted individual for the past 11 years.

"In a blog he maintained, he shared an article that asserted that gang-stalking would better be described as 'police-gang-stalking' because '99% of all gang-stalking' is perpetrated by the police, SITE said in a report released on Monday.

"In one of his recent podcasts, he talked about being closely monitored by Marine Corps superiors who singled him out [...].

"'Once they knew that I was a man and I would stand on my rights, that nothing they could do could scare me, that’s when they knew, they really, really had to keep a close eye on me,' he said."
  
Chameleo readers will be intrigued to know that, according to the aforementioned article entitled "Online Trail Illuminates Baton Rouge Gunman's Path to Violence," Mr. Long’s military records indicate he "served from 2005 to 2010, including a six-month deployment in Iraq. He was a sergeant and a data network specialist who earned several awards, including one for good conduct. He was also assigned to Okinawa, Japan, and several locations in Southern California. He attended Central Texas College at its Marine Corps Air Station Miramar site in San Diego [emphasis mine] and via distance education, earning an associate of arts degree."  The San Diego connection, as any Chameleo maven will immediately recognize, is of extreme importance in this case (and many others as well).

Based on all these facts, coincidences, and telltale synchronicities, a rational conclusion would be that a conspiracy is afoot.  But no...  the more logical conclusion, according to the trained simians at The New York Times and Vice, is that thousands of different human beings, who otherwise seem sane, all developed the precise same paranoid delusions at the precise same time.  This is tantamount to claiming that the Spanish Inquisition was a shared hallucination that spontaneously bloomed in the diseased minds of thousands of Jews, Protestants, Freemasons, homosexuals, and pagans.  As these transgressive individuals were being burned at the stake en masse, the 1490 version of Dr. Lorraine Sheridan would have been standing there on the sidelines with a pen and a clipboard in her hands, assuring all the poor souls they were merely suffering realistic hallucinations.  ("It's so good to have you on Our Side, Doc!" shouts one of the captives, her words soon drowned out by the sounds of flames consuming her naked flesh....) 

If you have any interest at all in learning what the phenomenon of gangstalking is really all about, I suggest listening to my latest interview on Brandon Holmes' excellent podcast called The Straight Line (which broadcasts out of a shipping container in Brooklyn).  This turned out to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had during any interview so far.  Posted yesterday, this interview covers the possible connections among the gang stalking phenomenon and recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando, and Dallas.  (Note:  The interview predates the Baton Rouge shootings by one week).  To listen to the entirety of The Straight Line interview, click HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Gangstalking in Baton Rouge

The following information comes from Jon Swaine's 7-18-16 Guardian article entitled "Baton Rouge Suspect Gavin Long Was Marine with Alias Cosmo Setepenra":

"Gavin Long, the man identified on Sunday as the deadly shooter of police officers in Baton Rouge, left behind an online trail to web pages featuring complaints about the treatment of African Americans by police [...].

Long was shot dead by responding officers on Sunday, his 29th birthday, after allegedly shooting three officers dead and wounding three others, one critically.

His history of rambling postings indicated that the attack was motivated at least in part by killings by police of black Americans in recent years and the resulting unrest. In one recent clip, he expressed disgust over the arrest of protesters demonstrating in Baton Rouge over the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling earlier this month.

But they also pointed to apparent paranoia and mental instability. Long complained last year to likeminded message board users that he was a long-term victim of 'gang-stalking', a supposedly intense form of government and corporate surveillance covering every aspect of a subject’s life.

Claiming to be a round-the-clock 'TI' – targeted individual – Long urged others in his situation to wear body cameras to monitor such surveillance and to warn companies involved in harassment 'that we are going to expose your involvement and rate your poor performances & games on the internet'."

If you would like to read Swaine's article in its entirety, simply click HERE.

Thanks to Jon Rappoport for the tip!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry and Esoteric Science"

The current issue of NEXUS MAGAZINE contains my latest interview with Richard Schowengerdt, the inventor featured in my book CHAMELEOSchowengerdt, who was awarded a patent for an electro-optical camouflage system that has had a profound impact on military intelligence and covert surveillance, shares his thoughts on the link between science and mysticism as well as on the cloaking abilities of UFOs.  The interview, entitled "Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry and Esoteric Science," appears on pp. 37-42 of the June-July 2016 issue (Vol. 23, No. 4).  NEXUS is available from Barnes & Noble or any well-stocked newsstand.  More information about this particular issue of NEXUS is available HERE 


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jack Kirby, the Pioneer Space Probes, and Hostile Aliens

Here's an excerpt from a 6-20-16 Daily Grail post entitled "Comics Legend Jack Kirby Worried that Our Attempts to Contact Aliens Might Attract a 'Tiger'":

"In 1972 and 1973, NASA launched the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes. Placed aboard each were gold-anodized aluminium plaques - now referred to as the 'Pioneer plaques' - which featured a pictorial message to any extraterrestrial species that might intercept the probes. The plaque imagery depicted a human male and female, as well as a series of lines emanating from a point, intended to act as a guide to our Sun's location in the cosmos (the lines represented the Earth's distance and position from pulsars, allowing aliens to triangulate our position). For even more detail, an illustration showing our position within our Solar System was also included.

"The idea for the plaques was championed by 1970s science celebrity and educator Carl Sagan, and it was he, along with SETI pioneer (no pun intended) Frank Drake, who designed the content of the pictogram.

"But not everyone was happy about this decision being made without public consultation. Comics legend Jack Kirby - who just six years previous had created the comic-book character of Galactus, an alien that devoured planets - denounced Sagan's move. Kirby's thoughts were outlined in a response to the Los Angeles Times, which in 1972 had approached a number of artists, including Kirby, asking for their own ideas on what should have been included on the plaque...."

To read the post in its entirety, click HERE.

As a special bonus, you'll find below a clip from Ken Viola's 1987 documentary, The Masters of Comic Book Art, in which Kirby briefly discusses the metaphysical and philosophical themes found in his work....