Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fresh Eyes and a New Look

I hope no-one mistakes the Maybe Logic Academy for a bunch of disciples, even if many of us did get to study directly with RAW for his last three years. heh heh.

Doesn't make us a core group, or anything we talk about canon. Only the other day we disputed whether Ben Mack's Poker Without Cards belongs in the ELF project group, or simply cashes in on (and targets readers of) this kind of material (Bucky, RAW, Vonnegut, etc). My stumbling into the Principia Discordia Forum to get flamed (or stung by bees protecting the hive) last year still makes some of our locals chuckle (mostly at my naivety and clumsiness). Discordians, don't ya love 'em? The invite to contribute to a Wiki for The Illuminatus! Trilogy (or TI!T, if you insist) still stands.

It has felt good to have fresh blood (or DNA) join the MLA in the last year, and motivate us to take another look at all the material we have worked on.

Dedroidify seems to have taken on the task of animating the 8-Circuit Model. Here's an initial video, but he's working on another, I understand. The Dedroidify site's worth a visit, too! (follow that link...) His blog may keep you up to date with his progress.

Use the Label on this post, to find further references to the 8 Circuits and various courses and links related to the subject.


Ben Mack said...

Care to join in...
over here:

Bogus Magus said...

Hi Ben, I have gone to the Copywriters' Board, and contributed a brief explanation of my own viewpoint, as you can see

But I can't speak for the group.

Ben Mack said...

Bogus, you are a brave man for diving into the persuasion hive known as the Copywriting Board.

Thank you for your assessment...
* Some of our group seem to see it as a worthy contribution to the spread of these ‘alternative ideas’.
* Some see it as attempting to cash in on these ideas.
* Others may see it as a fellow student’s worthy attempt to digest and redistribute such ideas.
* And so on.

I am grateful to those who see me as a fellow student. I see myself as a lifelong learner. If anybody has a clue as to how I might cash in on my efforts to date I am open to coaching. If you can see how PWC is my Henry Fool, I'm all ears.

Please know Liz Boswell doesn't exist. Yes, I reference her in Think Two Products Ahead and in FREEbookWORTHreading, but she's a wholly invented avatar.

I am full of hyperbole and snake-oil.

Thank you for your intelligent reply on the copywriting board. The Dreams-End folks are the only group that had a cult-following. I included this link as a way to work that group around to discussing how a marketing group doesn't like to be "played."

I'm sorry if I created any groupings that felt uncomfortable, such is language when not speaking ePrime. My business partner Paulie Sabol spent over a year and a half speaking ePrime. I can hear the affect. Or... Paulie appears to me as speaking with ePrime patterns... something like that.

Over on the other board, I'm a salesman. I am a magician attracting a crowd and giving a pitch. I want them to buy and promote my $7 report at For this group, I would be grateful if you read

IF PWC LACKS HUMOR, it is because it has taken me a long time to recover from having been labeled a Paranoid Schizophrenic and I was under duress when I wrote this at BBDO. For the record, BBDO has noting to do with CCEO. I don't know why people keep bringing this up. Omnicom has nothing to do with Omniscient Corporation. I don't know how these rumors get started.

I know many fans of RAW found my radio interviews on Christian radio stations about the dangers of fnords to be wrong. I found that funny, until I learned something I don't want to type in public.

I am a shameless self promoter. My dad cried one time that he couldn't believe he raised a marketer. So it goes.

I've been on groups that state they seek to make a change, have an impact and blah, blah, blah. They don't want that from my perspective or they would care more about effectiveness. To that end I learned a lot from the late great Dr. Hyatt...

I don't have a great sense of humor. I'm dating a wonderful woman named Eva May at and she is helping lighten me up.

Otherwise, when I see a group like Loose Change that won't follow the basic tennets of marketing, finding a single message to rally around... and yet they claim they seek to be effective, but they won't read the basic texts like In The Line Of Fire... well, I have to laugh.

Where did the wings go?

Cat's Cradle, now that's a funny book, NOT. However, its levity is something to which I aspire.

Most of my work is unpublished.

Much of it is like Hip Hop, I swipe from works, post an original essay under some name and see if the meme swims or sinks.

I try and keep an eye on the ones that swim. I hope the breed in suck a way that they bring levity. I can't always actualize my desires. Because of this some say I am not a magician.

Magician? I don’t know about that. Performer, vaudevillian or businessman. I like businessman. I’m mostly not a fan of being called a magician because it brings out the puritanical witch-hunt in some people. Nobody ever got arrested in The Unites States just for being a businessman. In fact, some get suspicious if you aren’t trying hard enough to make money. I’m not too concerned with labels. I’ve been called worse, than magician, by people who can really fuck with you. That’s not what I want to talk about. Not here anyway. I say fuck a lot. Look…

I’m looking for my opening act. I’m a closer. The closer brings down the house. As a 14-year-old I was a strong opening act. By 15 I was getting standing ovations. By 16 I could command a standing ovation and I glimpsed great on several occasions, but it didn’t stick. I was a closer stuck in the role of an opening act. At 17 I sucked. Some pop, some don’t. I didn’t. So it goes. My story is common. My role now is to help the next generation. To do this, I coach when I’m asked and I share what my experiences were like more often then when I am asked. What my experiences are like. I don’t limit what I share to the past, but that’s usually where the good stories are. There is a lot to life. For many people, now is not the most exciting time. I’m truly excited about right now. However, you can’t talk about now. By the time you’re talking, the now you are talking about is the recent past. I’m getting heady. I just don’t want you to think I’m one of those guys who goes around saying ‘I could have been a contender.’ I was a contender. I peaked out at 17.

Something happened. Some day in the early part of my 17th year of breathing air on this planet I suddenly wasn’t cute. That was the chasm I didn’t cross. I was stuck on cute. As a performer I couldn’t transition from being cute to being powerful… I came close. I got right to the verge and suddenly I went tumbling backwards. I got to the show, glimpsed the bright lights and spent another five years in the minor leagues trying to scratch my way back onto the stage.

Cute is easy. Cute and authentically talented is dangerous. I was a killer. When I was fourteen I was performing a magic routine based around an unstoppable bumbling magician. My act had me keep messing up. Watching a 14-year-old mess-up is painful; discovering he can magic his way out of the situation is such a relief I regularly got a standing ovation. I wasn’t commanding these ovations to stand… it was the energy in the room and the music makes it difficult for an audience to stay in their seats. My mentor engineered this. It’s not that difficult. You just have to have an opening act that will do as they’re instructed. I can make them famous. I can get them through the magic turnstile before something happens and things change.

Steve Martin was on The Tonight Show 18 times before he was well enough known to be able to attract a full house based on the power of his name. 18 times and he still could not fill a room. The 19th time of The Tonight Show? Magic.

When I was 15, I was on to the powers of the mind. More of a variety act, really. I was modeling an old school vaudevillian parlor act. I was a mentalist. I would peer into people’s eyes and tell them I was seeing their mind and some of these people freaked-out. I mean they seriously lost their shit and were ready to worship me kind of freaked-out. I could have started a cult if I hadn’t found these people pathetic. The worst was probably a married woman who wouldn’t stop repeating “You read my mind” while her husband was in tow and I was literally fending off her touching me until I realized I needed to forcefully tell her to sit down and be still. I could have told her just about anything and I imagine she would have followed my instructions. The magician is an actor who plays the part of somebody with supernatural abilities. When the audience forgets you are an actor, they stop applauding; they start praying. Sounds funny. It’s actually scary the first several times you see it. I’m not alone in this. I’ve spoken to numerous mentalists who have shared similar experiences.

What I’ve found is that the powers of the mind are more powerful than most people will comprehend. Most muggles are far more fragile and unstable than they imagine. I can create a faux illusion and have a girl eating out of the palm of my hand while her husband impotently watches. I’ll spare you the graphic details. I’ve done some sick things in my life, but nothing I’m really ashamed of. Nobody has died because I fucked with their mind. A couple have been hospitalized, a few maybe. Could be several. And if I talk about that some in your line of thinking will call me crazy. They’ll say I suffer from magical thinking. Suffer? That’s an interesting word for a healer to use. Its sort of like calling indigenous people primitive… there’s a moral judgment built into the labeling. If you see me as eternally suffering because of my magical thinking we’ll never see eye-to-eye.

What I’m getting at is that life doesn’t happen over coffee. We live in a simulacrum when we talk about relaxing over a stimulant. Orwell called it doublespeak. Our words are constantly being used to signify the opposite of their original meaning. We send ‘peace-keeping’ troops with guns, grenades and tanks and they blow the shit to hell out of anything that moves and we call that peacekeeping and nobody in the hegemony flinches.

I can’t tell if you are following me and I won’t slow down to discover if you do or not.

I guess it doesn’t really matter. I mean, hopefully what I’m saying here matters, like it materializes into something productive or whatever. What I’m saying is that perhaps simply having you here to hear me is enough of a context for me to keep my forward momentum. Maybe it doesn’t matter that you aren’t listening, or that you can’t listen.

I’m looking for my opening act. I’ve looked all over the place. I’ve put myself out there so that somebody may say, ‘Hey Ben, pick me.’ But the ones who show up aren’t serious. If they’re all talking about Fight Club it is a sure sign they can’t mean shit. There are other bastions for the intellectually weak. The biggest one is academia. They don’t know shit about magic, about persuasion, about the powers of the mind. They don’t know a Jedi Mind Trick from an old joke or a quote from a movie. How can you teach persuasion and never have studied Edward Bernays? How can you teach media studies in America and never have heard of None Dare Call It Treason? These names mean nothing to you. You are looking at me blankly. That’s ok. Never mind.

I wanted to talk to you about dating. I went 2007 without getting laid. The oddest part about this is that this fact didn’t dawn on me until January 9th, 2008. Had I known this was approaching, I would have gone out and gotten laid just to avoid the statistic. Maybe it is best that it didn’t dawn on me because how depressing would it have been to have been totally desperate to get laid and not to have gotten laid. I probably would have gone on CraigsList and invited one of those girls who will do anything for 200 roses. I said I probably would have gotten a call girl. It looked like you might not have understood me. When the girls say 200 roses it means they charge $200. There are ways around most laws. It is the fact that we keep illegal that which many, many people do everyday that allows the darkest magick and the utterly evil magicians to wield their craft.

I don’t speak grammatically correct. That’s part of how the dark magicians inflict their inferiority techniques on the young and the weak-minded, they tell them they are wrong, repeatedly, incessantly. It’s disgusting really.

So there was this girl that I was sleeping with, Lisha. She made me excited and she made me hard and she made me money and, well, what’s not to love about a girl like that? Except that Lisha didn’t keep making me excited and she didn’t keep making me hard. I found I held her in contempt because she made her millions based on a lie that got people to take vitamins. I mean since then I have laughed about this. People have gotten rich in far worse ways than getting people to take quality vitamins, but at the time I was hung up on the lie. More than that I was hung up on the fact that Lisha couldn’t see the lie. I wanted her to see more ideas, like the structure of the ideas. I didn’t know how much I was asking.

Lisha wanted me to be more like a man that this newvo passion expert was defining. Lisha thought I had trouble enjoying myself, which is true. However, I have difficulty accepting solace from a guy who makes his millions telling wealthy people they deserve their wealth regardless of what anybody else says… I mean that’s too easy money. If you are going to do that, why not just apply for a grant to explain why war is good. You’ll get the grant if you fill out the forms right.

So this girl and I were growing apart and Lisha kept asking, ‘why did you bring me up here?’ and all I kept thinking was that Lisha said that she wanted to see. `It's time for you to see the FeBeNes.’ I replied. FeBeNes are selling devices used to capture somebody’s attention and snake into their wallet where we never leave because we are going to marry you to an idea.

This was before I realized most people don’t think. They have sub-vocalizations they mistake as cognitive choice but they don’t even use words consistently, let alone literally and so the words get contorted to the mind’s path of least resistance instead of a mind being trained to explore ethereal terrain. So, I was committed to show her the FeBeNes. We talked about FeBeNes all night and I was holding to the idea that you can’t show anybody the matrix, they must see it for themselves except that, well, Lisha already knew about front-end hooks and so Lisha wasn’t seeing the FeBeNes because Lisha was thinking Lisha already knew what I was talking about. But I could see that she didn’t and she got frustrated with me that I was holding out granting her that she saw what I saw. But she couldn’t speak a simpatico language and she was expecting me to conform to her language and I wouldn’t live there. After sex that was unsatisfactory for her, I got her off but I couldn’t keep my erection while fucking her, we went to sleep.

When I woke up in bed it was the next morning and Lisha was cooking me breakfast. Lisha asked if I had dreamt my way around to showing her what was so important about my way of thinking. I felt defensive. I said that I had never said that my way of thinking was so important and that Lisha had wanted to know what I know and see what I see; Lisha had said that. This wasn’t like I FOISTED MY BOOKS on her or anything. Nor had my ideas and my philosophies not come up. Lisha had repeatedly said Lisha wanted to see what I see.

I know I had some pretty gruesome ideas about FeBeNes before I started engineering my own. Some will argue that we can’t use the techniques and tools to which we object to their use. I ask not to be included in this conversation. I object to the use of Jedi Mind Tricks because there appears to be a system in place that prohibits the teaching of Jedi Mind Tricks, the same system that prohibits teaching protection from the dark arts. This doesn’t mean I won’t use Jedi Mind Tricks myself. Of course I will. Furthermore, I will publicly take on the idiot leftists who say this is immoral. You can stuff your morality into your own head but please quit contaminating the youth of America with your vacuous rhetoric. These tools are necessary to fight the greatest war ever waged… Corporatacracy. I see I’m out here on a limb again. Suffice it to say that I am a fan of studying the dark arts so as to expose the techniques. Lisha is concerned with getting richer, staying richer and inspiring people to be richer than they imagined they could be.

I must admit that before I met this girl, I saw money-making FeBeNes as largely ugly creatures. Animals with three eyes and tentacles, survivors from Atlantis, who walked among us, invisibly protected by some form of mind shield. I thought FeBeNes did hideous work for the Illuminati. It was unnerving to contemplate. My inquiries down this direction had once lead me to be hospitalized. While I was in the hospital, most of the workers were just as blind as anybody else. One of the doctors could see what made me squirm. He would point to FeBeNes and I wasn’t allowed out until I learned to say, ‘I see nothing. Just ordinary sleepy people, heading for their busses and subways.’ ‘Very good.’ he would say and after a few days of this ritual they allowed me to move along. This is the only time I have been formally incarcerated in my life. But there is something of human bondage that is different. I wasn’t held captive by Lisha, but my thoughts were held captive. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t show her what she said she wanted to see.

I drank my coffee. That calmed me a little. So I ate down some of the toast and eggs she presented me and I fetched the New York Times from the hallway. I turned the radio to WIIFM and caught some classical music, Cialdini’s Four Seasons. I sat down, grabbed another piece of toast on which Lisha had smeared marmalade just the way I like it and I started skimming the front page.

Then I saw the FeBeNes glowing. I couldn’t imagine not seeing the neon light around the purring and prickley words, the righteous adjectives that invisibly instruct the reader how to ‘objectively’ see the event being reported. The feature story involved another of the endless squabbles between Iraq Insurgents and the U.S. and our never ending profits being risked by a lack of peacekeeping. If we pull out our bloodletting warriors how can they ever nurture peace?

The second most prominent article was about a debate in congress on getting our troops out of Costa Rica; every argument presented by Senator Bacon was followed by another FeBeNe for more spending which would benefit a contractor based in his home state that happened to have been a major contributor to his election campaign and was currently running commercials about the quantity of jobs this manufacturer of killing machines was providing the God loving local economy.

At the bottom of the page was a Times in-depth-study of the growing evidence that global warming may be real and it’s creating pollution. The pollution problem of New York may not be our problem but a symptom of Global warming. Further study is required. Nevertheless, the increasing use of gas masks among New Yorkers is evident, especially in their color picture. Gas masks are now available in 58 stores on Manhattan. Wow.

Lisha asked me what I was thinking about. My sub-vocalizations kicked in. I heard my inner voice say: ``You don’t want to know.” I’ve learned to notice what my mind tells me. I’ve also learned not to let my monkey brain run my mind.

I pushed The New York Times to Lisha. I saw her heart remain calm. Her adrenalin gland remained calm. She was calm, all-over calm. I flashed on an image of my first-grade teacher writing FEBENE on the blackboard, while a wheel with a spiral design turned and turned on his desk, turned and turned, and I heard Lisha’s voice say “Well, If I don’t see the FeBeNes they can’t eat me.” She’s so right.

She casually passed the paper back to me. I looked back at the paper and still saw the FeBeNes. This is as yet uncontrollable for me. This is one step beyond Pavlov, I realized. The first conditioned reflex I learned from my parents was to experience the panic reaction, the activation syndrome, whenever encountering a blatant FeBeNe.

My second conditioned reflex, I’ve thankfully unlearned. Most quasi-liberals will black out what is actually happening. If somebody doesn’t learn this skill they are dysfunctional. They can’t function in our modern society. These folks always feel a general low-grade emergency without knowing why. Of course many will actually attribute this anxiety to the news stories, which were bad enough in themselves anyway. But the root of their anxiety is not in the news, it is not in the elementary school that was accidentally hit when retaliating against the evil-doing-insurgents.

I couldn’t show Lisha that the essence of control is fear. This seems so self-evident to me that explaining it to somebody that doesn’t see it requires a very measured approach so that my contempt doesn’t come coursing through my veins. She doesn’t see the cows the way I have.

We both see a whole population walking around in chronic low-grade emergency, tormented by ulcers, dizzy spells, nightmares, heart palpitations and all the other symptoms of too much adrenalin. She sees that. What she doesn’t see is how this connects with FeBeNes.

All I can say is that my left-wing arrogance and contempt for my countrymen contrinues to melt. I feel a genuine pity. No wonder the poor bastards believe anything they're told, walking through pollution and overcrowding without complaining, watch their son hauled off to endless wars and butchered, never protest, never fight back, never show much happiness or eroticism or curiosity or normal human emotion. Because they have implemented the second conditioned reflex, the ability to black out what is actually happening.

They live with perpetual tunnel vision. Most people can walk past a slum without seeing either the human misery it contains or the potential threat it poses to their security. Lower income families tend to either see more FeBeNes then the comfy elite or virtually none at all because they are aligned with a tithe-extracting, devil-warning-delivery-mechanism. A church. Can we describe institutions by their function? I can. Can you hear me? Never mind. This is for my own good. The point I’m getting to is that only in consumption, endless consumption, could somebody escape the amorphous threat of the invisible FeBeNes. Church will do that. Endless TV watching will do it. Self-improvement seminars and training will do it. Lisha wasn’t about to see the FeBeNes.

When I painfull pointed out a FeBeNe to Lisha, she'd read the word before and after it. And she would again read the judgmental word modifying the adjacent word. But her their panic level would never rise. She would say how fascinating that was. She would call it ‘cool’ but, she wouldn’t see the next one on her own. The conditioning, after all, goes back to grade school. No wonder we all hate those teachers so much: we have a dim, masked memory of what they've done to us in converting us into good and faithful servants for the Illuminati.

I’m joking. The Illuminati doesn’t exist. If you can’t see the FeBeNes they can’t eat you.

The psychologist asked, “You call yourself a magician?”

Bogus Magus said...

heh thanks Ben.

Curiously enough, I ended my post 'over there' with

Thank-you for listening (if you read sub-vocally) but went back and took it out, as sarcasm often doesn't work in online writing, especially around strangers.

On our forums I have famously had some 'battles' with people into 'magick' but I chilled out now. I studied a lot of this stuff, but remain 'voluntarily poor' (a blasphemous heresy in the modern world) without kidding myself that such a decision makes me 'spiritual'. hahahahaha

I just have a more Daoist approach to most of my life path...

And the Jedi Mind Trick reference makes me laugh, as one of the more successful jobs (that one of my sub-personalities took on) involved working inside Jabba the Hutt on Return of the Jedi. So you can find me inside Jabba at the very moment when he delivers the lines:

You weak-minded alien fool! He's using an old Jedi mind trick.
Young Jedi, I am not affected by Human thought. I'm afraid your mind powers will not work with me, boy. I have killed many Jedi Knights in my time…

Funny old world...

Ben Mack said...

bogus, if i ever "i convert you to" anything... Label me a failure.

By Ben Mack

UCLA’s Clark Library is usually occupied with patrons who restrain themselves to whispering. Today is not a day for restraint. The silence vanishes with an loud, guttural gasp that can be heard in the stacks a floor below.

Molly’s anger destroys the silence, “What kind of a question is that?” Suddenly self-aware, she flushes. The embarrassment escalates as Howard replies in a solemn yet louder-than-library voice, “It’s the kind of question a sexually conflicted girl finds objectionable.”

Holy fuck. Who does this boy think he is? Bright red. Molly’s face is Beet RED, a red tent atop her kneck. Mortified. Her neck is red now, too.

In a library-whisper Molly says, “You can’t know that about me.”


The neutrality of Howard’s reply felt sociopathic, pure ice. He was gazing at her but without intensity. No lust or desire, just a casual curiosity, a presence. Molly felt small, an awkwardness of crushing proportions. She had just thrown searing intensity into an emotional abyss and there was not the expected thud of defensiveness. Searing words don’t make a thud when they land on indifference. Without landing on anything her intensity did a weird reverberation inside her. Some would call this nerves, or anxiety. For molly it was a more kinesthetic experience. He entire innards were vibrating.

God Damn. How Molly hated these boys. He’s not good enough looking to be this sure of himself. Must be born rich she decided.

And why now, more than ever, more than yesterday, does she want this man’s attention? Validation. Ahhh crap. It is such bullshit the way the world works.

I don’t want to talk about sex, thought Molly. I can either walk away or this guy is going to lead the conversation around, and around, and around the sex pole.

“What if the system is broken?” interrupted Howard in a library whisper.

“What system?” she said louder than intended. She felt small again.

Standing up Howard says, “Who else feels like going to the book store?”

There’s an agitated silence while packing up and getting going… going outside. Howard’s leading and that doesn’t help.

The biggest question in Howard’s mind isn’t how to get in her pants. Rather, more like, at what point in conversation do you tell somebody you’re dating or trying to pick up that you were once labeled as a paranoid schizophrenic? He’s in a level of abstraction as he heads for the door, roughly following a plan he had envisioned the day before. It gets boring being able to so exactingly manifest physical events.

Schizophrenia. It’s not exactly what you put on the front page of your MySpace profile. Well, maybe you do. You can do whatever you want. However, having a conversation with somebody over whether or not humans make choices or if the concept of choice is another sub-vocalization illusion, that’s not foreplay.

In fact, try having that conversation with psychiatrist and they are likely to label you a paranoid schizophrenic. They did me.

My name is Howard Campbell. I will be your moderator. You probably think of me as your narrator. I am the person typing these words and presenting myself as the first-person narrator. I know, I know, some grammar-smart over-achieving know-it-all is making noises in their head that I started the dialogue in a 3rd-person-omniscient sort of way. Forgive me. I’m not a very good narrator. I’m new at this job. I used to be a consumer researcher, a focus group moderator, the kind of guy who turns human insights into great big fricken huge piles of cash for corporations with brands you use everyday to reinsurance companies so large most people don’t even know they exist.

This is the kinder, gentler Howard Campbell. The old me would have told that know-it-all in the previous paragraph where they can stick their knowledge.

Okay, Molly and I are walking down the front steps of Clark Library. I’m a few paces in front of her, so she can’t quite say what she’s building-up to. I say, “Let’s just go outside.” She’s really worked-up.

When she does mutter something it’s original material. When they start repeating themselves you’ve got a droid. Throw ‘em back or use them as you will. My religion says do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. I’m a psychological outlaw. Anybody that can’t see the value of a book based on lies what comprehend what I’m pointing out to my brethren. I wish I had my material when I was 14, I would be so much further along now in my study, in my research.

Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a repressed nymphomaniac. Your normal college boy will praise her, and immediately pull open doors for her and let her go first.

This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the repressed heart. Make the girl chase you. She will follow. She will be telling herself what a pompous ass you are. Okay. Her sub-vocalizations are none of your concern at this stage of the game. You may have to fabricate an elaborate ruse to get her to chase you.

There are two small flights of stairs before the double-doors to the outside. I say “We’re almost outside.” When I get to the bottom of the steps, I do hold the double doors open and I say, “We have arrived.”

She doesn't know what to make of my hospitality, my holding the final door for her, it signals that I’m serving her and that I’m calm cool and collected.

This is to let her know you're showing her a safe and proper place to talk.

It'll take her a moment to realize she's about to make a 180-degree turn, at down-stairs plowing speed. She’ll have to turn around because you don’t immediately exit. Hopefully you can be holding the door for at least one more person.

After you break through the doors to outside, she’s going to want to have the first words. Let her. She’s amped-up on adrenaline and righteousness. Let her have the first words. Let her speak until she’s run out of things to say. You want to listen very closely. Be taking mental notes. During the race outside she’s been working out some prime things to say to you right now.

We break through the front double-doors.

Some fast heel-toe work on her part and she’s turned around and waiting for me expectantly. NOW is her show. I honor her. I am listening attentively…

“Howard, I don’t know who you think you are to ask me if I’ve had a one-night-stand in the middle of the library. Why would you invite me to the library and…”

This is called time-shifting. By racing somebody ahead and keeping your tempo you appear calm-cool-and-collected.

“…and ask me something like that? I’ve never really noticed you before and you ask me to a study session and instead of talking about school you ask me if I’ve ever…” Molly catches herself before saying a one-night-stand. She looks around and sees people looking at her.

In poker, they call it putting somebody on tilt. As a pick-up artist we call it teasing. I just see it as technology.

“Come with me.” She grabs my arm and leads me to a bench. This is good. Physical contact is good. Heightened energy is good. If she calls me an asshole it will be more work than if she calls me a cock. She leads me to a bench and sits down quickly. I join her. I am present, open, no words in my head. I am here for whatever energy she cares to exchange.

Molly, “I don’t know who you are. I see you in my class and you make a good point and you ask me to go studying and then suddenly you are asking me about sex and we haven’t even been out on a date.”

She pauses.

I’m with her. I won’t speak until invited.

The pause becomes pregnant. A pregnant pause that becomes too pregnant for Molly...

“Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“Thank you for asking.” Howard turns to Molly and crosses his legs on the bench. “I wanted to see you again and I asked you on a date.”

“This wasn’t a date. This was a library study session.”

“Molly, I’m not a student here.”

“What are you doing in my class?”

“You can stop me from coming by telling the teacher I’m not a student. I live nearby and when there an interesting class I just show up. The course schedule has all the classes and their times and what buildings. I just don’t pay the $20k a year and I don’t worry about studying or grades.”

“You’re an imposter.”

“I’ve been called worse.” Howard opens up his backpack and he has a Tupperware container with sliced cheeses, crackers and grapes and sliced apples.

“What’s this?”

“Cheese and crackers.”

“You always bring cheese and crackers to the library?”

“No. I was expecting to be on a date and I thought this would be fun.”

“I’m not having fun yet. I’m still sore you asked me if I’ve ever had a one-night-stand.”

Here’s a tricky move. It is so tempting to correct her. That’s not what I asked her. I asked her about the last time she had a one-night-stand. There’s a difference.

“I liked what you said about Burroughs.” She eyes me. She’s appraising whether I’m sincere or if I’m trying to get in her pants. This cynical side of her will require tolerance. In that moment of disengagement she feels my distancing and reaches for more…

“Tell me something I don’t know about William S. Burroughs. Wait, what was it that I said that you found interesting.”

“You talked about how his maternal uncle was Ivy Lee.” She nods. “Most kids in a Beat poetry class would know or care about the man who invented the press release. But you asked for something you don’t know about Burroughs.” Pausing for dramatic effect… “Hmmm. Did you know he created the myth, the legend around The Number 23?”

“You mean that stupid Jim Carey movie?”

“You mean that million-dollar-script Jim Carey movie?”

“That script sold for a million dollars?”

“Yup. The first million dollar screenplay was sold by a UCLA student, Shane Black. The first million dollar book by an unpublished author was Donna Tart. I study these things.”

“You study what things.”

“Breakthrough novels, million dollar ideas, what makes culture rumble.”

“So what are you telling me about William S. Burroughs?”

“Burroughs was a real cock.” Molly hadn’t broken the ‘fuck’ ice, meaning she hasn’t said the word fuck and if she and I are to fuck the chances become far more likely if I can steer the conversation sexual. That’s why I used the word cock. That would be a great name for a screenplay, Cock. Nix that idea. I get distracted. Easily bored. Molly can see me thinking. “Burroughs created a mythology around the number 23 when he was high on acid sitting in the park at Haight-Ashberry with Robert Anton Wilson, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and…”

“How do you know Burrows was on acid?”

“Timothy Leary was there. Anyway, this kid in a suit walks by, does a double take and starts rattling off quotes from all these cats’ books. It’s awkward and flattering. There’s this sense like, who the fuck is this stiff in a suit, but he’s read all their stuff. There a moment like, well shit, maybe this kid is cooler than all of us. He can where a suit and he can hang. Shit.”

“How do you know they were on acid.”

“I don’t. It’s a likely guess. So this kid is sitting with these soon to be legends. Back then they were trustafarians and drop outs, they weren’t famous yet. They just wrote.”

“This comes around to The Number 23?” At this moment I don’t know if I want to sleep with Molly.

“Yes. Have you ever seen a fnord?”

“A what?”

“You know, like somebody mentions Sigmond Freud’s nephew was Edward Bernays instead saying that Bernays created Freud.”


“Not what, who. Bernays. Edward Bernays.”

“I don’t know who that is.”

“who that?”


“You said ‘who that.’”


“So, ‘that’ isn’t supposed to be used for a who.”

“Who says?”

“Says who.”


“Second base.” Yeah, this is getting boring. I can’t even tell my story. “So Burroughs gets the idea that this stiff suit isn’t really cool, that he really is a stiff, and they’re all tripping right and Burroughs blurts out… ‘The Number 23 is the open symbol of the illuminati.”

“Is it?”

“It is now. Wilson made it so, but only because of Burroughs. You see you brought up Ivy Lee. Burroughs spent family dinners and holidays with the man who created media consensus by inventing the press release. Burroughs and Wilson hung out together and Robert Anton Wilson is attacking modern media on a deeper level than most academic media theorists can grasp because he’s intermingling two languages that simply happen to use the same vocabulary.”

“I’m not following at all.”

“Burrough simply said the most absurd thing he could think of. That the Illuminati, a secret organization would have an open symbol. It’s like saying that Martians shake hands like Mork, like Robin Williams from Mork & Mindy. IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE but the suit wearing stiff nods along like he already knew this and Burroughs keeps feeding him examples of 23 in society and why it is magical like how there are 23 human chromosomes. The Earth spins on its axis at 23 degrees. The Dog Days of Summer begin on July 23. Timothy Leary and Jack Kerouac start chiming in on other examples of the number 23 in culture and celestial coincidences and the dude goes about his way.”

“And so Burroughs created the legend that spawned a crappy Jim Carrey movie.”



“Actually it was Robert Anton Wilson who wrote a book about it that was largely viewed as indecipherable but Beat readers dug it and it was about how the number 23 was the open symbol of the Illuminati. Then he wrote another book and another. Eventually they were published as trilogy.”

“I need to go.”

“Yeah, ok.”

“I thought you were going to press me to stay.”


“Why not?”

“Because we don’t really have anything to talk about since you won’t tell me about the last time you had a one night stand…”

Redness. Molly is angry again.

“…Earlier I didn’t correct you, but my question wasn’t whether or not you’ve slept woth a guy on the first date. It was about the last time.”

“You can’t know that about me.”

Bogus Magus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Mack said...

what's the difference between theatre and marketplace?

thank you. I enjoyed and smiled.

Fenris 23 and Wes Unruh just passed around The Art of Memetics. Blowing my hair back. Bryan Berndt has a copy.

Bogus Magus said...

Whoops! fucked up my first attempt.

Thanks for the smile, Ben!

Do You know Francis Bacon's Four Idols? Perhaps the Idol of the Market Place might interest you?

What made me laugh tonight appears in the Maybe Maybe post

Bogus Magus said...


That's the problem with 'real time' corrections. Now my question comes after your answer...

..and I still haven't answered your question! Aaaargh.


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