Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's in that container?


Did you know that William Burroughs was working on a book about Jesus Christ? I don't know if he ever finished it but here is an excerpt from an interview in 1987 where he mentions the project:

I've been predominantly painting for the last five years, since The Western Lands, though I'm working on this book about Jesus Christ. I can't really go into it to a great extent except to say that it's not a religious approach. You know, there's a whole spate of scholars who say that Christ never existed, sort of like the Baconian sort of thing, that the whole thing was cooked up by the church. I think this is completely erroneous, I don't care what they say. It was either Jesus Christ or somebody else! But just like Shakespeare it was done by one person. The same is true here. The same person is speaking; one person is speaking. So that line is all bunkum. Though to a certain extent, yes, because, well, his miracles. You know what the Buddhists say about miracles and healing? If you can, don't! In the first place you're upsetting, you're setting all sorts of factors into motion and upsetting all sorts of order with incalculable long range consequences. You don't know what you are doing in other words. The healer is often motivated by the most reprehensible self-glorification. I remember Wynn Chamberlain and his guru: they stopped in this little Indian village and the head man's son was very ill and dying and the guru said, "Well can't do anything about it." And Wynn said, "What's the matter how can you not be sympathetic?" So he said, "All right, you'll see what happens." So he went in there and did a couple of mantras and the boy got better. So he said, "We better get out of here fast." They barely escaped with their lives. Well, the people say, "If they can do that they can do something else." [Laughs] So there's that factor. But even so, I Think he did perform some of the so-called miracles. They're not so remarkable. I mean, any competent magic man can heal the sick sometimes. He can cast out devils, particularly if he installed them in the first place. Furthermore, I've seen weather magic. Many practitioners can perform weather magic, call up storms and things. I've seen it done. So what he actually did was not all that remarkable. But what was the result? A sort of miracle monopoly by the church, that they can only be performed by authorized personnel, that is, church personnel. And they have to have meticulous verification. They can't have too many saints, you see, they've got enough right now. So then in the story the Christ Virus gets loose in the museum of extinct species. Do you know their keeping small pox alive in three locations? Did you know that? There's one here, one in Sweden, and I forgot where the other is. Three locations. I bet they couldn't bear to see the last of it. So in my story the Christ virus gets loose in an unvaccinated population, so you have hundreds and thousands and millions of people all absolutely convinced, "I'm the way! None comes to the Father except through me!" Well one was more than enough, imagine if you had millions! And all of them gaining adherents, performing miracles. After all, special effects have come a long way since Christ. (ed. Lotringer 699-700)


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14 comments:

Jackie said...

why not both?

Mr Bigpants Cock (of the) Walk said...

yeah- thats what I was thinking.

Deanna said...

In case anyone still cares about Chuck Hagel.

Jackie, I own that shirt.

Deanna said...

Also, I just looked at your amazon wishlist, and my friend Linsey is in the Say Cheese episode of Good Eats. She went to culinary school with Alton Brown. I think that's weird.

Deanna said...

Oh okay now there's text.

Jackie said...

nepal has legalized gay marriage.

why can't we get our shit together?

Rich said...

I didnt get a chance to read this till yesterday. This is really fascinating. Thanks for posting it, Tim.

Jackie said...

hey liz, i started reading reservation blues. i'm in the middle of reading all of margaret atwood's books and needed a bit of a break. i like it a lot so far!

que ferions-nous sans vous pour nous guider? said...

good! sherman alexie was at uic on tuesday, but i couldn't go because my teacher got mad at us the previous week. half of the class (the seniors, including myself) had to go to a lecture and had to leave class early. needless to say she wouldn't let me or anyone else leave class without consequences on tuesday. i didn't even bother asking but some other guy asked to leave (don't know what for) and she said i'm sick of you all leaving my class. so, yeah, i missed him. and he was on campus. :(

i read the handmaid's tale my first semester of college and loved it. i always mean to read more of her books but never get around to it. i even bought oryx and crake for like $5 but haven't picked it up yet. when i graduate i will hopefully be reading more!

Jackie said...

ooooh, i just finished the handmaid's tale! i absolutely adored it. i'm just starting the edible woman and i'm plowing through her books so fast, i'm trying to take a break.

que ferions-nous sans vous pour nous guider? said...

music box is playing rebecca on saturday morning (11:30). anyone want to go?

Jackie said...

oh, i love that movie! i wish i could come....

Deanna said...

Oooooooh, I might just have to meet up with you for that!

que ferions-nous sans vous pour nous guider? said...

cool! i'll call you on friday night, then.