Sunday, January 22, 2006

In the Guyana Monastery

In the Guyana Monastery

In the Guyana Monastery (2001)

Later that same afternoon, “revolutionary suicide” came to stand for the religious life. Often wearing an abbot’s clothing, Jones entered the compound barefoot as a lifelong penance. His personal autonomy was prostrate. He was on a fact-finding mission seeking a jungle airstrip and a scapula extract. His diet was sparse, consisting mostly of undyed wool and chloral hydrate. Translation: an Anglo-Saxon free meal. Was his socialist philosophy a meager belonging? Was his blood sugar problem due to leg bindings? His monastic life cut his throat, and all spouses slept in separate beds. His brethren made their way in a dump truck filled with prayer and manuscripts, but Jones was only a copy. Contact was inevitable -- cinched at the waist by a rope. In the South American fields, Saint Benedict was shut up for eight hours on Sundays. Dig a shallow grave of oratory -- an electronic form -- precarious and deranged. During his California days, a rosary was as sociological as a cult to Jones. Both took brainwashing and much practice. “Dad” appears to have shot himself, but in his drawstring pouch were cyanide and a strict vow of silence. But, after hearing an evil thing, probably the chatter of lice, Jones consolidated an ambush and a large vat of purple Fla-Vor-Aid. The final body count was 914 dead. No laughing was allowed for weeks. For the dead children, defectors all, the outside world was a very bad influence. Now, they are very stoic, ascetic, and have too much time to spend alone.


Using the "cut-up" composition method popularized by William S. Burroughs, two blocks of text were run through a virtual cut-up machine. The result: a randomly scrambled "found" text mirroring chaos theory and yielding new meanings.

The two texts used here and merged were:
1) an article on the final days of the People's Temple--
2) an article on monastic life and dress--


Were you wondering, given the composing process, if every cut-up would shake out with comic overtones?

Good advice...taken too late...

Dead followers of Jones lay beside his "throne."

For more background on Jim Jones and the events at the People's Temple, surf here and here and here.

1 comment:

Neil Shakespeare said...

Yeah, that Jones stuff was wonderful, wasn't it? Ah, the memories! And not Kool-aid but the cheap stuff. "Kook-aid" it could be called.

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