Wednesday, January 27, 2016

RAW Currency


Back in the summer of 2006 I created a novelty currency for Robert Anton Wilson to use in a crowd funding effort to help pay for his end of life care. The idea, as conceived by Vincent Murphy, was to print up some RAW money, Emperor Norton style, which Mr. Wilson would then autograph, and auction off on eBay. A plan which was pulled off w/ modest success, and ended up chipping in around about $1,000 to RAW’s medical bills.

(Eventually Douglas Rushkoff & Mark Frauenfelder would initiate a much more substantial fund drive, which afforded RAW the opportunity to pass away in comfort & levity.)

At that point I’d been studying w/ Bob for 2 years, and had become accustomed to regularly learning mind blowing life lessons from that damn old crank, but this one got me good!

See at that time I couldn’t sell any of my artwork to anyone at any price. Hell, I couldn’t even give the shit away! But in his hands 10 scraps of paper I made were worth $100 + each. Now the obvious difference is the autograph right? Except at the same time the RAW bills were selling on eBay, I won an auction for a signed coffee mug of his for $10. So what made the difference? How did RAW transform my paper into money? Well, magic, of course!

RAW had a bit about the surreality of the Federal Reserve, a private bank, printing money into existence, ex nihilo, which begged the question: what transforms that paper into money? And why does only the paper printed by that particular institution pass for money, and all else is considered counterfeit? RAW mused that the Federal Reserve must have a magic wand! After they print paper bills they wave the magic wand over the paper and presto change-o: the paper transubstantiates into money.

And the truth in that joke makes for some very funny money indeed!

So as to honor the lesson learned from this almost decade old caper, I should like to release the RAW currency into the wild. Print it, enjoy it, spend it, whatever you want it!


A 2 page pdf, which if you print on a duplex (double-sided) printer, will give you 3 RAW bills per sheet.
(Cut out along the front page for correct trim size)



“Wealth is nature’s abundance, freely given, plus the exponential advance of technology via human intelligence, and as Korzybski and Fuller demonstrate, this can only increase at an accelerating rate. Money is just the tickets or symbols to arrange for the distribution—either equitably, in a free money system, or inequitably, as under the tyranny of the present money-cartel.”

From: Illuminating Discord: An interview with Robert Anton Wilson

I was reminded of all this recently after watching the entirely excellent film “The Big Short” wherein the absurdity of the finance industry is elucidated w/ stunning clarity. As the movie so bluntly states: “It’s possible we are in a completely fraudulent system.”

In other RAW related news: A new eBook edition of Cosmic Trigger has been released by Hilaritas Press & the RAW Trust!





Monday, January 25, 2016

Strange Universe


I'm currently reading the heck outta John Higgs' new book "Stranger Than We Can Imagine" - An Alternative History of the 20th Century.

I enjoy being reminded of J.B.S. Haldane's cosmic humility, in any of its various phrasings.

Here's a fuller version:  "I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

Which I tend to associate w/ a complementary sentiment from Warren Ellis' Planetary: "It's a strange world.  Let's keep it that way."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jersey Shore Caricature


Back in 2014 I had a brief run of drawing caricatures of local business people for Jersey Cape Magazine, until reader outrage had me ousted from the gig! Apparently the magazine received a flood of reader complaints, as the locals were scandalized by my wild cartooning, which is kind of neat :) Though to be fair the artist that replaced me was way better suited to the job, and drew in the traditional Caricature style, which fit the ad book style magazine way better. So it goes!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Eighth Wonder of the World


I had the good fortune of reading, not one, but two Andre the Giant graphic novels this weekend! 

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown 

An underground/indie style comic that tells Andre’s story w/ a delightful “print the legend” type of ethos. Brown backs up his anecdotes by providing his sources, but since so many of them consist of oral histories given by other wrestlers, for whom blending the real & unreal is a way of life, there may be a few tall tales in the mix :)

For example, the too good to be true, but also too awesome to deny, story about Samuel Beckett driving a young Andre to school, because he was too big to fit on the bus.

Andre The Giant: Closer To Heaven by Brandon M. Easton & Denis Medri

This is the much more official seeming version of Andre’s life story, authorized by his estate, and with more mainstream production value. This is a wonderfully illustrated & poetically composed account of the Andre the Giant mythos. The details in this version diverge quite a bit from Brown's account, often telling the same stories in very different ways, but they end up painting a strikingly similar portrait of AndrĂ© Roussimoff, the heroic, flawed, and very human person behind the larger than life icon of the Giant. 

I always find it especially fun when highbrow & lowbrow culture become intertwined, and Andre's story is a perfect storm of the sacred & profane.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How James Joyce inspired Star Wars


This is a fairly easy observation to make, but I’ve never seen anyone else connect these particular dots, and so here’s How James Joyce inspired Star Wars.

It’s a well known piece of trivia that George Lucas borrowed from Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero With a Thousand Faces while composing the story of the original Star Wars movie. Luke follows the archetypal Hero’s Journey that Campbell outlined in his book. Though then another well known piece of trivia is that Joseph Campbell borrowed from James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake while developing the structure of The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell’s concept of the Hero’s Journey was inspired by Joyce’s monomyth. There is thus a direct line of influence from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to Campbell’s Hero w/ a Thousand Faces to Lucas’ Star Wars.


 

Not that there are all that many recognizably Joycean elements in Star Wars, but there does remain the general theme of the common man contending against oppression while on a mythic journey of self discovery. What is it that the Finnegans are supposed to do once they awaken? Why they begin to rebel against the empire of course! In Finnegans Wake nothing ever means only one thing, but one interpretation, offered by Joyce himself, suggests the title is a warning to the ruling classes that the oppressed rise, eventually, in every historical cycle. That is, the Jedi always return.

The latest installment in the Star Wars saga, Episode VII, includes 2 potential high-profile references to the monomythic source material. The episode title The Force Awakens is a pretty simple jump from Finnegans Wake, and it’s an even smaller leap of logic to Finn, the stormtrooper turned rebel hero. Of course, these may be merely coincidental creative decisions, but it’d be cooler if they weren’t!

The Rorschach test like aesthetic of Finnegans Wake’s holographic prose pretty much guarantees that you can find any number of Proto-Star-Warsian elements buried within, depending on how hard you are willing to look for them. For example: “right glad we never shall forget, thoh the dayses gone still they loves young dreams and old Luke with his kingly leer, so wellworth watching” (JJ, FW, Pg 398).

This telephone game of inspiration reminds me of my other fav second gen iteration: Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy influenced Grant Morrison’s Invisibles which influenced The Wachowski’s Matrix trilogy. Though then of course Finnegans Wake was a huge influence on the Illuminatus! trilogy to begin with, and so it goes for what Terence McKenna called the quintessential artwork of the 20th century.

If you’re interested in diving into Finnegans Wake, without the commitment of contending with that impossible sea of textual mish-moshing, I heartily recommend WAYWORDS AND MEANSIGNS


A free unabridged musical version of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake created by a collaborative collective of intrepid Joyceans. Surf's up!



Monday, January 18, 2016

Portrait of the Artist as a Reddit Alien


I recently joined up as one of the mods of the James Joyce subreddit, and have put a bit of elbow grease into a redesign of the site, which you can check out here: http://www.reddit.com/r/jamesjoyce





Sunday, January 17, 2016

Writing Agnosis! on a snowy Sunday

Ineluctably making my way through the captions of Agnosis EP. 26 "Millennial Wasteland" (A really bad title out of context, and hopefully even worse otherwise!)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick!





I'm super hyped about the new posts that have been popping up over at my favorite blog, Overweening Generalist!  

The OG is a reader's reader & a writer's writer and his blog is an indispensable source of grist for any sufficiently quixotic mill. 

His latest is an examination of what Robert Anton Wilson called "The Jumping Jesus Phenomenon"

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Remixing The Collective


Another iron I've got marinating in the fire is a redux version of THE COLLECTIVE, a 2005ish cyber punk comic I made w/ writer & legendary mainframe hacker Stunning Steve Houston.

It's already got some of the weirdest & wildest stuff I've ever drawn in there, and we haven't even made it to the main event yet!