Ludwig making his way to Ithaca, is a real gem and goes nicely with him moving into a room at the back of the Saint Louis Cafe in Oklahoma. Ludwig is seen as a THE CLASSIC ODDBALL. I hereby declare Ludwig the model for Kilgore Trout.
HE LIVES! He can not die! He is The Lost Hero of Ithaca, that may be the Channel island on Saint Croix, off the coast of Los Angeles. Now I can bring Mr. Trout to the Bozeman Art Festival.
While visiting my childhood friend, Nancy Hamren, at the Springfield Creamery, she suggested I write the history of the hippies because I recalled so much in artistic detail. Thinking this was a Thankless Task, I began ‘The Gideon Computer’ which is about The Last Beat-Hippie Standing. I recall that I tried to read Richard’s book, but in those days it took three months to read the back of an album cover. Down So Long seemed – too heady – and was making some questionable claims about who The First Beat-Hippie was. Alas, the twain do meet, in Ludwig getting on a plane and coming to The Lost Horizon in Ithaca.
Alas, I own a philosophical theory about why Hippies make the WORST MOVIES EVER MADE. It looks like the movie made from Farina’s book – is the worst movie ever made. It is worse then Pynchon’s ‘Inherent Vice’ that may never again be viewed by a human soul. It had no Ripple Affect. We saw the STONE thrown in to the lake, but no waves headed for the farthest shore, then back.
“What the fuck! Did you see that?” I said as I stood up with my jaw dropped, and my bag of popcorn heading for the grimy floor. “What happened to The Good Vibes? We Hippies need good vibes!”
The Kesey family has been trying to piece together footage shot by an infamous speed freak – for half a century – it seems. I call this The Lost Shangri La Syndrome…..where you lived in this idyllic place, but you become real old and wrinkly – the minute you leave! Any movie, book, work of art – instantly turns to shit! This theory is strait from the reincarnated mind of Kilgore Trout. Thjs is why I did not author the History of The Hippies, because Lost Horizons is one of my favorite movies.
In the next three posts I am going to present the idea that Ludwig Wittgenstein made a special trip to America, in order to bring A HOLE where one can get out of Shangri La, with your fantastically beautiful visions. For the last six months, I have come to suspect Thomas Pynchon has told our ex to let me post away on her facebook, because he saw what I had done when I compared his lousy movie to the movie ‘Tobacco Road’. My review is full of good laughs. Do you think Ludwig read Caldwell’s book? How could he not?
Theories on the location of “Homer’s ‘Ithaca'” were formulated as early as the 2nd century BC to as recently as AD 2005. Each approach to identifying a location has been different, varying in degrees of scientific procedure, empirical investigation, informed hypothesis, wishful thinking, fervent belief, and sheer fantasy. Each investigator and each investigation merits interest, as an indicator both of the temper of the times in which a particular theory was developed, and of the perennial interest in Odysseus and the possible facts of his life. Some of the latest “Homer’s ‘Ithaca'” approaches resemble some of the earliest.
Being a Hippie involves extensive contact with human beings, mostly other Hippies. The word “Hippie” was uttered twenty times in the movie ‘Inherent Vice’. I am not sure why.
The term “Lil Hippie” spew out twice from the faux fog that Kesey brilliantly created in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. I winced with embarrassment! Only when I awoke this morning with a marijuana hangover garnished from the contact high I got as a bonus at my movie house, did I see what work of literature, and movie art, this sophomoric offering ripped off. Does this line jar your memory;
“Hmm-yummy! I sure could use some turnips right now.”
Yep, that’s from the movie Tobacco Road, made from a novel that had a simple plot, and a lot of characters. Erskin Caldwell is an extremely generous author compared to Pynchon who has Doc Bogart the whole damn movie! Somehow, it never got passed over to me – THE PLOT! Doc looked like he didn’t have a clue, either. It is never quite clear – he wants a clue. Reese Withersppon looked like the Ice Lady who was married to the Silver Surfer, but, we don’t even get a taste of her sub-plot, and, off the set she go with a big bag of turnips.
The quintessential novel of the 1960s that most people have never heard of, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, is a seminal work of counterculture fiction, and required reading for anyone seriously interested in the Summer of Love.
The novel, published in 1966, takes place in the late 1950s—a time of major transition in American and youth culture. Set at a lightly fictionalized Cornell University, the book touches on some of the student protests over strict curfew rules that actually took place. Demonstrations and impending fights for civil freedoms and liberties of the Swinging Sixties loom large in the events of Been Down So Long.
The campus novel follows the modern-Odysseus Gnossos Pappadopoulis as he returns to Mentor University after a long journey across America, during which he gains ‘Exemption’—ostensibly, exemption from all the sins and problems that affect humanity. While away, he nearly dies fighting a wolf in the forest, witnesses an atomic bomb explode, and watches a ritualistic murder in the desert. It’s debatable whether Pappadopoulis really is enlightened in any way, but he sure thinks he is, and as the novel progresses so too do the students of Mentor, who eventually elect Pappadopoulis as the reluctant leader of their protest.
It’s hard to say why a group of 1950s-college students would elect Gnossos as their leader, but it’s indicative of the seismic social shift that occurred at the time. That’s part of the mastery of Been Down So Long—it captures the transitionary period of the beatnik era into the hippie era with fine detail, and expresses with great clarity the Sixties counterculture that so many people love. The book is like one long song by any San Francisco band—it immerses you in a hearty dose of freedom, rebellion, and flower power, but with much greater detail.
Author Richard Fariña didn’t just write about it—he lived it. Fariña was a Cuban-Irish who fought for the Irish Republican Army, smuggled guns for Castro, studied English at Cornell before being expelled for his role in the 1958 protests, married Mimi Baez—sister to Joan Baez, accomplished folksinger and Bob Dylan muse—and made a name for himself as a folk singer, often accompanying his wife on dulcimer, before penning his cult classic. Tragically, he died at 29 from a motorcycle accident, two days after Been Down So Long was published.
Tom Pynchon, a friend of Fariña’s, famously described Been Down So Long as “coming on like the Hallelujah Chorus done by 200 kazoo players in perfect pitch.” You have to read the book to get what that means. It’s transcendent, and a beautiful piece of art, but it’s zany, and off-putting, and not quite right. It’s a wacky bildungsroman that reads like a lot of drugs were involved, as Pappadopoulis comes of age in a plane of existence slightly round-the-bend from ours. But Fariña crystallizes a mythologized time period better than anyone else, and that’s what makes Been Down So Long so worth reading.
Farina, a high priest of hip, was into dope, tripping, mysticism, and guerrilla fashion at a time when his fellow students were into Murray the K, hot rods, crew cuts, and conformity. That Farina was 10 years ahead of his time, and that he did not proselytize others to follow him, are perhaps the reasons for the current generation’s interest in his work. Although he was adrift in the Beat Generation certainly he was not representative of it. The fact that Farina was not of his time gives the film-makers an opportunity to blend fashionable nostalgia for the 1950s with the hipness of the present. Now and then are conveniently captured in the same scenes without having to resort to distracting flashbacks.
The best episode in the novel turns out to be the best sequence in the film: when Gnossos, firmly an outsider and a freak, crashes the frat house scene in search of a free meal and a chance to hassle the cleancut brothers. Gnossos promptly turns on and does battle with all the fraternity cliches. On one level he easily destroys the fraternity ethic, yet on another he never firmly convinces that he wouldn’t rather be accepted as one of the group.
It is after Gnossos splits with his self-professed virgin, Kristin, and heads for Cuba with Heff on a combination drug-dealing and anarchist trip that gaps occur both in the exposition and motivation. The paradox of having contracted venereal disease from his “virgin” does not adequately explain Gnossos’ actions in Havana thereafter. Nor after Heff’s death does the act of digging a jungle grave demonstrate a renewed determination in Gnossos to return to the life from which he dropped out.
Although at the time of his death Farina had not produced a full-length scenario, he understood film writing technique. I was present once when Farina and Joseph Heller were discussing how best to adapt “Catch 22” for film. Heller seemd visibly impressed by what he heard. One of Farina’s unpublished stories, a western, was intended to be developed as a film property to star Bob Dylan. Perhaps some canny producer will pick up that project and give Farina another try.
Fariña wrote the novel while a student at Cornell University. The novel is laced with pseudonym references to Cornell University (“Mentor University”), Cornellians and Ithaca landmarks. Gnossos is a gleeful anarchist, heaving creche statuary off a bridge into one of Ithaca’s famed gorges, smoking dope at fraternity parties, poking fun at the pompous, self-righteous and well-to-do, swilling Red Cap ale, retsina and martinis, while pursuing the coed in the green knee-socks and seeking karma. After a detour to Cuba during the anti-Batista revolt, Gnossos returns to “Athene” to become the inadvertent leader of the student rebellion against a university edict that would have banned women from men’s apartments.
Farina’s agent, Robert Mills, began advertising it as a work-in-progress to several British publishers in 1963. It was eventually submitted to Random House and accepted by them in April 1965. Jim Silberman was the book’s editor. Fariña was paid the advance fee of $5,400 for his novel and its release was announced for the autumn of 1965 but was rescheduled for the spring publishing season of April 1966. The title appears to come from a line in the 1928 blues song “I Will Turn Your Money Green“, by Furry Lewis, which was included on records issued in 1953, 1959 and 1961. Fariña himself recorded a version of the song with Eric von Schmidt in 1963.
On April 30, 1966, two days after the publication of his book, Fariña attended a book-signing ceremony at a Carmel Valley Village bookstore, the Thunderbird (to be followed the next day by another at the Discovery Bookshop in San Francisco). Later that day, while at a party, he saw a guest with a motorcycle and went for a ride up Carmel Valley Road east toward Cachagua on the back of the motorcycle. At an S-turn—coincidentally, just above the place on the Carmel River where John Steinbeck set the frog hunt that the Cannery Row denizens perform in the novel Cannery Row—the driver lost control. The motorcycle flopped on one side on the right side of the road, came back to the other side and tore through a barbed wire fence into a field where there is now a small vineyard. The driver survived, but Fariña was killed instantly.
Thomas Pynchon, who was acquainted with Fariña while they attended Cornell University together, later dedicated his book Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) to him and described Fariña’s novel as “coming on like the Hallelujah Chorus done by 200 kazoo players with perfect pitch… hilarious, chilling, sexy, profound, maniacal, beautiful and outrageous all at the same time,” in an introduction to the paperback version of Been Down….
Main article: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (film)
Paramount Pictures began filming a cinematic adaptation of Fariña’s novel on May 25, 1970, with principal photography finished by late July. It was filmed on location at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The film was directed by Jeffrey Young and featured Barry Primus (as Gnossos), Linda De Coff and David Downing. It did not receive good reviews and remains a difficult-to-find home video
10. Wittgenstein: From a Religious Point of View
Since Malcolm passed away while writing his final book, Wittgenstein: From a Religious Point of View, the final draft was edited into the published form by Peter Winch, who also contributed a lengthy critical essay to the book. The book takes its point of departure from Wittgenstein’s remarks to his friend Drury that “I am not a religious man but I cannot help seeing every problem from a religious point of view” (1995a, 1). Malcolm admits, with Drury, that this remark makes him wonder whether there are dimensions to Wittgenstein’s thought that he and others have not understood (1995a, 1). The book is Malcolm’s attempt to fathom this elusive dimension of Wittgenstein’s thinking.
Malcolm identifies four respects in which there are analogies between “the grammar of a language” and “what is paramount in religious life”:
First, in both, there is an end to explanation; second, in both, there is an inclination to be amazed at the existence of something; third, into both there enters the notion of an illness; fourth, in both doing, acting, takes precedence over intellectual understanding and reasoning. (1995a, 92)