Saturday, January 13, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson

Wilson just died--he had written a few pieces for Fact magazine while I was an editor there--one was about his taking drugs, which I titled, Of Transcendantal Beauty and Crawling Horror--a little over the top, I'd say now--(the headline)

When Ralph Nader, virtually unknown then, wrote a piece for us about auto safety, the publisher, Ralph Ginzburg, hated it--and it was actually unreadable. So Ralph had Robert Anton Wilson write a story about how sexual symbolism used to sell cars had made automobiles unsafe! And later Ralph G. advertised that we had "discovered" Nader!
(Meeting between the two Ralphs)

Me: Ralph, I'd like you to meeet Ralph Nader...
Ralph G: Busy! (walking away)

Wilson was an uncomfortable person. Fidgety and nervous. But clever. And a facile writer.

He wrote a piece for us about Mad magazine. I asked him to find out what the Mother of the Year thought of Mad magazine. He scoffed.

Later my wife and I wrote a piece for a magazine he was editing--a piece on Tom Swifties. Offcolor ones. Too offcolor to repeat. Anyway, he sent me a note: What does the Mother of the Year think of Tom Swifties?

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