1988. High Weirdness by Mail
Starting, perhaps, in 1987, books appeared about the underground subcultures that I was most active in & I was eager to read the ones written by people I knew to see how they'd historicize it all. "Semiotext(e) USA" (1987) might've been the 1st one. This issue was edited by Jim Fleming (who I didn't know) & Peter Lamborn Wilson (who I'd corresponded with).
I was a subscriber to "Semiotext(e)" & had great respect for it. They'd already published "Italy: Autonomia - Post-Political Politics" & "The German Issue" & I'd liked both very much - but, then, I wasn't particularly knowledgable about the subjects at hand & was, therefore, less likely to be a critic.
I'd been invited to contribute something to "Semiotext(e) USA" & had sent the editors the following mainstream newspaper article about friends of mine & me illegally comandeering a space for our own victimless purposes:
I vaguely recall that when I sent it to them I commented to the effect that they might not want to use it & that I'd try to send something else. I didn't & they didn't use it. As it turned out, I was disappointed by the issue. It seemed that it was mostly things I'd already seen. Looking at it in retrospect it's reasonably representative of the wackiness of it all. Unlike the Italian & German issues there's not a ponderous militant Marxism to it as much as there is an "I don't get even I get odd" feel that I could identify with. A blatant perversity that welcomes in a humorous 'extremism' as much for entertainment as for any other reason.
Next up was Stang's "High Weirdness by Mail" (1988). Given that Stang was certainly in the thick of American underground culture this was bound to be a book written by someone who knew his shit. Instead of restricting himself to a narrow range of ideas about what constituted politics or culture, Stang represented most or all of his lunatic fringe interests & he gave contact information - the essential thing for the proactive rather than the passive consumer. The book's subjects consists of:
Jesus Contactees and Other "Channels"
More Weird Religion
Health / Self-Improvement and $chemes/$cams
New Age Saps
Cosmic Hippie Drug-Brother Stuff
Respectable Weird Publications
Religion vs. Religion
Groups You Love to Hate
Great Badfilm and Sleaze
The Audiocassette Revolution
Rudeness and the War Between the Sexes
The Great Kook-Finders
I'll return to "High Weirdness by Mail" at the end. In the meantime, to continue the countercultural histories, Stewart Home's "The Assault on Culture" might've been next (1988). I provided Stewart with most of his information on Neoism. There're probably many Neoists who wished I hadn't. This book had a subtitle claiming that its contents regarded "utopian currents from Lettrisme to Class War". As I recall, this may've been written as a school paper & rejected by a professor so Stewart went on to publish it on his own through Aporia Press & Unpopular Books.
To get slightly out of chronological order here, 6 years later, Bob Black wrote a book entitled "Beneath the Underground" which includes a chapter critiqueing "The Assault on Culture".
Since the purpose of these "Books" webpages of mine is to show my connections to the books, I'll quote 2 sections below that mention me from Bob's critique of Home:
But back to the chronology of overview books of Euro- & North American- centric underground culture of times fairly recent to the writing of said books. Next up was Bob Black & Adam Parfrey's "Rants and Incendiary Tracts" (1989). This was partially interesting because it covered a larger time span than its predecessors.
Bob had invited me to contribute to this one & I'd sent the following tract "TOWARD A REVOLUTIONARY THEORY (& SENSE) OF HUMOR":
This was rejected, perhaps by Parfrey, perhaps because it's not sensational enough. (By the way, the address shown above is no longer good & hasn't been for decades.)
Finally, there came Greil Marcus's "Lipstick Traces - A Secret History of the Twentieth Century" (1989). I never read this one, perhaps because it was the last in a series, perhaps because it wasn't written by anyone I knew. I had the impression this was more the faddish 'hipster' version of the history than an 'authentic' one but perhaps I'm being injust.
Finally, back to "High Weirdness by Mail" - possibly my favorite of them all because it provided contact information for people who wanted their contact info to be public. I make that distinction because Bob Black informed white supremacist groups that Stang had ridiculed in "High Weirdness" & given them Stang's home address, an address that wasn't meant to be public - as an act of revenge against Stang for not supporting Black in an interpersonal squabble. That's not the type of contact info sharing that I endorse. Here's what the cover of the "High Weirdness" proof looks like:
I didn't easily fit into most of the "High Weirdness" categories so I tend to think that, in some respects, I was 'the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe'. Nonetheless, Stang managed to fit me in there under "The Audiocassette Revolution" which was certainly fair enough:
WIdémoUTH Tapes still exists, albeit feebly.
For me, at least, the whole landscape of the interactive Lunatic Fringe has changed dramatically since those days. Postage was cheap then. Correspondence was fast & furious as were alliances. By the mid-90s, the internet was changing things. For one thing, email was supplanting snail-mail. Snail-mail became exorbitant. Catalogs are online, not sent through the mail.
If there were to be a new edition of "High Weirdness by Mail" it would more likely have to be "High Weirdness on the Internet" &, maybe, it, too, would be on the internet instead of a hard-copy book. If there already IS such a thing, I don't know about it, my interests have become much more local & much less about networking.
- August 24, 2017 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
idioideo at verizon dot net
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Anti-Neoism page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Audiography page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Bibliography page
to my "Blaster" Al Ackerman index
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Books page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE BYOC page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Censored or Rejected page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Collaborations page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (d) compositions page
to Amir-ul Kafirs' Facebook page
to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's GoodReads profile
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Haircuts page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Home Tapers page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE index page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Instagram Poetry page
to a listing of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's manifestations on the Internet Archive
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee index
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer index
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE'S Linked-In profile
for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
to the mm index
to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Neoism page
to the DEFINITIVE Neoism/Anti-Neoism website
to the Philosopher's Union website
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Score Movies
to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important
to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page
to Psychic Weed's Twitter page
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Vimeo index
to Vine movies relevant to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE made by Ryan Broughman
to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's presence in the Visual Music Village
for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH
to a very small selection of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Writing
to the onesownthoughts YouTube channel