Monday, 9 November 2009

Bob Frissell, Nothing In This Book (1990s)


You know the moment in Spinal Tap where St Hubbins boasts that he believes everything he is told, and that this makes him a more discriminating person than the average joe? This book is a chirpy yet entirely straightfaced version of that gag. Here's Jay Kinney's endorsement on the back flap:
Nothing in this Book Is True But It's Exactly How Things Are proceeds to thread together every New Age belief and conspiracy theory into a grand unified field theory of kookiness. They're all here: gray aliens, ascended masters, free energy, cattle mutilations, crop circles, rebirthing, earth changes, the Great Pyramid, and secret colonies on Mars. And yet, despite the sheer unbelievability of half the book, the author's goodwill and spiritual intentions are so infectious the book ends up being a heartwarming experience.
The project, in other words, is to redefine Truthfulness so as to put the emphasis on goodwill and spiritual intentions, and away from veracity and actuality. A project we can all get behind, I'm sure. More specifically, this book is a detailed, lengthy exercise in eliciting one of the following phrases from the reader: 'no it didn't'; 'no, s/he didn't' and 'no, they didn't.' For example:
As Lemuria sank, the poles shifted and the land mass of Atlantis arose. The thousand or so immortal masters of the Naacal Mystery School of Lemuria went to Atlantis, specifically to one of its ten islands called Undal. [39]
No, they didn't.
When the Martians came to Atlantis they imported the effects of the Lucifer rebellion right along with them. [43]
No, they didn't.
Babaji sat in this position without moving and without food or water for forty-five days. [210]
Er, no, he didn't. Occasionally, for variety, the pattern is changed. So:
There now exist free energy machines. [154]
No they don't.
There is another monument complex on Venus that NASA also knows about. [155]
No there isn't, and no it doesn't. Otherwise the book is a compendium of cultural cliche and gullibility. Or to quote the author himself:
It almost doesn't matter if any of this is true or not. Just the fact that all this information is falling around us, for whatever reason, is a clear indication that we have passed into a strange new epoch. [11]
I'm not fooled by that 'almost', there, Frissell; this is the understated setting-out of an awesome metaphysical position. 'The fact that I am so gullible is itself an indicator of a new age in cosmic affairs.' A Glorious New Epoch is indeed upon us.

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