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<nettime> Is Watford in Ireland?
Luther Blissett Project Newz on Thu, 25 Nov 1999 07:16:34 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Is Watford in Ireland?

A prestigious yank's whimsical mythopoesis on the Luther Blissett Project:
is Watford in Ireland? Is Ireland even in Yoorope? Enter none other than
the American conspiracy novelist Robert Anton Wilson!


Reality Loop-the-Loops

By Robert Anton Wilson

"In the dialectic between nature and the socially
constructed world, the human organism is
transformed. In this dialectic man produces
reality and thereby produces himself." 
--Berger and Luckman, The Social Creation of Reality

Would you believe that an English football star has stolen the infant
Jesus--four times, from four different Italian churches--and is holding him
or them for a ransom of 100, 000, 000 lire?

Well, neither would I, but it seems to have happened, sort of. But then
most things in this confusing modern world only seem to have happened  . .
. sort of. . . .

Luther Blissett, to start at the top, was once the best footballer in
England, as well known and beloved as O.J. Simpson was over here, before he
got accused of cutting throats. Now Mr. Blissett is a coach in Watford,
Ireland. Unlike O.J. he has never been charged with a major felony, or even
with jay-walking. He says he knows nothing about the other Luther Blissett
who, in addition to holding Jesus for ransom, has written a number of
anarchist tracts, including a left-wing history of the Rennaisance, and is
suspected, by the Italian authorities, of being a group rather than a person.

Some, of course, claim he is the Devil. 

It seems to have begun--the miraculous multiplication of Blisetts--when the
true, original Luther Blissett became a hero, and a controversial figure,
in Milan while playing football there 10 years ago. Most sports fans loved
him for his derring-do, but Italian neo-fascists hated him for the double
offenses of [a] being black and [b] winning higher scores than white players.

Luther Blissett the First (as we better call him for clarity) went back to
England, remembering his triumphs and trying, I suppose, to forget the

Luther Blissett the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth manifested a few years
later when four workers were arrested for riding on a train without a
ticket. Each insisted his name was "Luther Blissett," and stuck to that
name, even when hauled into court for sentencing.

Then other Luther Blissetts began to appear, on Internet and even in
bookstores. As to whether he or they were or are a group or an individual,
they or he (or she) offered the following explication:

"Luther Blissett is not a 'teamwork identity' as reported by the
journalists; rather, it is a multiple single. The 'Luther Blissetts' don't
exist, only Luther Blissett exists. Today we can infuse ourselves with
vitality by exploring any possibility of escaping conventional identities.
The struggle is still against the language of the powers-that-be." 

If that isn't perfectly clear to non-anarchists, recall the Dada movement
in Switzerland during World War I. The Dadaists, in total rebellion against
the insanity of war and the general insanity of everything else, held
poetry readings at which the poet was drowned out by other Dadaists with
noise-makers. They had art exhibits where the audience was provided with
axes at the door and told to destroy any paintings they didn't like. They
held lectures in public urinals. In short, they began the "post-modern"
revolution against conventional "identities" and the language that divides
things and people into classes.

In 1923, in Paris, the Surrealists held their first art show. To enter the
gallery, the audience had to pass through a garden with an incongruous taxi
standing in the way. Working their way around the cab, they had the
opportunity to observe that it was raining inside of it but not outside. (A
whimsy of Salvidor Dali.) Once in the gallery, the audience-- or the
victims, as you prefer--confronted a sign devised by André Breton:


Or, to move closer to the present enigma, consider the time novelist Ken
Kesey met novelist Terry Southern. Kesey found to his delight that Southern
was just as funny in person as he was in his books and they had a wonderful
time together. Only long after did Kesey discover that he had not met Terry
Southern at all. He had met somebody else--an "imposter" in pre-anarchist

I also met Terry Southern once, or think I did, and also found him
hilarious. Of course, with Kesey's experience in mind, I might wonder if I
actually met the "real" Terry Southern. But modern anarchists would inform
me that even asking such a question is buying into the language and
metaphysics of the ruling class which oppresses us by defining us. One can
only say that Terry Southern has become a multiple single.

Anyway, once Luther Blissett was firmly established as both an individual
sports hero in Ireland and one or many anarcho-surrealists in Italy, life
became more interesting for Europeans--the way it was for most of us on
this side of the pond in the 1980s when we could watch Ronald Reagan play
the hero's buddy in a morning college football movie on TV, then catch him
again playing the hero himself in a Western in the afternoon, and finally
see him a third time playing the President on the evening news. 

The Italian Luther Blissett(s) then published a book of essays allegedly by
Arab-American anarchist, Hakim Bey. It later turned out that only one essay
was by Bey; the rest were forgeries--although one was a translation from
John Zerzan, the Oregon anarchist who became famous, or infamous, for
declaring that the Unabomber was his personal hero. 

Things became a bit stranger when the infant Jesus disappeared from a
church in Belvedere, followed quickly by the vanishings of three more
infant Jesi from churches in Marittimo, Tortora, and Diamante, all four
cities being on the Tyrrhenian coast. 

"What is the Buddha?" a student once asked a Zen Master.
"The one in the hall," replied the Master.
"But the one in the hall is a statue, a piece of wood! " 
"True. . . ."
"Then what is the Buddha?"
"The one in the hall."

Italians seem to understand Zen logic better than most Europeans and the
dematerializing Jesi (or Jesuses?) really caused mass emotional reactions.
It was as if Andy Warhol had sued Campbell Soup for selling cheap imitation

Then the ecclesiastical athorities received a communique (written on an old
Olivetti typewriter) demanding that the Church distribute one hundred
million lire to the poor, or else: 
 "The Holy Child will be destroyed. Anyway, you  only care for the money,
not for the Child's  sacral value. . . . In Calabria people die of  hunger,
thirst, unemployment, mafia, corruption  and usury. Illegal employment is
the rule. There are no houses. The Church doesn't care and gets  richer. If
you don't distribute a 100 million  lire worth of food . . . the Holy Child
will be  smashed into pieces."   --Luther Blissett

The prototype Luther Blissett in Ireland told the press he didn't
understand what was going on."They keep doing all sorts of things and I
keep getting the credit or the blame for it." 

The police in Italy announced that they suspected a sort of Luther
Blissett-X--not the "original" multiple singularity of anarchist
pranksters, but a band of professional art thieves masquerading as the
masqueraders. The infants stolen have a high commercial value, said the
suspicious cops, and instead of being smashed they may be sold to the
highest bidders, like the famous Maltese Falcon.

One incautious priest in Belvedere remarked worriedly that the only way to
prevent future thefts would be to lock all the churches and keep everybody
out. The press gleefully quoted him. If there were no thieves thinking of
that before, there certainly are now. . . .

Will the Church distribute the100 million lire to the poor? Will the Infant
Jesuses (Jesi?) be smashed or sold to private collecters? How many more
Luther Blissetts will come forth from the shadows before this saga is over?
You can follow future developments through the following websites:


I sort of think I know how the first Luther Blissett feels, because a lot
of people on Internet still claim I was murdered by the C.I.A. on 22 Feb.,
1994. No denials by me have stopped this absurd rumor, because the
conspiracy buffs who believe it also believe that the C.I.A.replaced me
with an "android" or humanoid robot which writes and talks just like
"Robert Anton Wilson." Some even claim that my evident "sincerity" in
claiming I am "Robert Anton Wilson" just proves how advanced the secret
technology of the C.I.A is: Any really good RAW android would not only
write, talk and look like me, but woud necessarily think it was me....

 As Oscar Wilde said, "The reality of metaphysics  is the reality of masks."
 For more intelligent convolutions from the  world's smartest CIA-made
android, go to:
 http://www.rawilson.com and prosper


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