Herwig Zamernik assumed bass duties with the group and Naked Lunch signed to the Mercury label, which released the band's second album, Superstardom, in Aligning themselves with the Weilheim, Germany music scene that also spawned the Notwist , Naked Lunch became a quartet with the addition of keyboardist and synthesizer player Stefan Deisenberger to the lineup, and issued the album Love Junkies in After a hiatus that saw the group coming close to dissolution, Naked Lunch -- now incorporating electronics more heavily in their sound -- entered the studio to record their fourth full-length, Songs for the Exhausted, but only after drummer Hornbogner departed, to be replaced by Thorsten Thonhauser.
Thonhauser did not remain in the fold, however, and the band entered the studio to record its next album, 's This Atom Heart of Ours, with new drummer Alex Jezdinsky. Listen to Naked Lunch now.
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Before, you mentioned the unconscious and subconscious. Do you have a feeling, as a writer, that one of the important tests of a writer is to be able to summon up, to evoke unconscious material and put it into artistic form, and that in order to make his contribution, as a writer, to society?
And if so, has Burroughs done this very well? Let me rephrase the question more simply. Do you think that Burroughs in this book has drawn up out of the unconscious, in one way or another, a great deal of material which has become useful, which by being placed in artistic form, has become unique? I think this work, as one of the gentlemen who testified earlier spoke of St. To me this is a simple portrayal of Hell. It is Hell precisely. In fact, Your Honor, I have written a little bit about that to bring in — Should I read that, if you wish? I have written about William Burroughs before; and I wrote about him in Esquire two years ago, I think, a year and a half ago.
The remarks were complimentary, but I felt I wanted it freshly. If you wish I can give this to you? William Burroughs is in my opinion — whatever his conscious intention may be — a religious writer. It is a vision of how mankind would act if man was totally divorced from eternity. What gives this vision a machine-gun-edged clarity is an utter lack of sentimentality.
The expression of sentimentality in religious matters comes forth usually as a sort of saccharine piety which revolts any idea of religious sentiment in those who are sensitive, discriminating, or deep of feeling. So it is the sort of humor which flourishes in prisons, in the Army, among junkies, race tracks and pool halls, a graffiti of cool, even livid wit, based on bodily functions and the frailties of the body, the slights, humiliations and tortures a body can undergo.
It is a wild and deadly humor, as even and implacable as a sales tax; it is the small coin of communication in every one of those worlds. Bitter as alkali, it pickles every serious subject in the caustic of the harshest experience; what is left untouched is as dry and silver as a bone. Just as Hieronymus Bosch set down the most diabolical and blood-curdling details with a delicacy of line and a Puckish humor which left one with a sense of the mansions of horror attendant upon Hell, so, too, does Burroughs leave you with an intimate, detailed vision of what Hell might be like, a Hell which may be waiting as the culmination, the final product, of the scientific revolution.
At the end of medicine is dope; at the end of life is death; at the end of man may be the Hell which arrives from the vanities of the mind. We are richer for that record; and we are more impressive as a nation because a publisher can print that record and sell it in an open bookstore, sell it legally. But a Great Society can look into the chasm of its own potential Hell and recognize that it is stronger as a nation for possessing an artistwho can come back from Hell with a portrait of its dimensions.
Would you specify before me, for the Court, a few examples or illustrations of ideas having social importance which you feel are expressed in this book? Well, there are a great number of ideas in it that have social importance; and they are all interrelated in the presentation of the book. One of the main ideas is a theory of junk addiction or a theory of heroin addiction applied as a model for addiction to many other things besides drugs. Addiction to money is mentioned in the book a number of times; and most of all, an addiction to power or addiction to controlling other people by having power over them.
So throughout the book there are dramatic illustrations of people whose composition or lust is for control over the minds and hearts and souls of other people. Did you mean to limit the — I think you said — spiritual? That is, Mr. Jackson a few minutes ago testified to a couple of episodes where the horror of the situation seemed to involve the homosexual relation, almost enforced, socially enforced! Well then, going back to your last answer —. This theme that you are referring to, of sexual control, certainly plays a very large part in the book and is referred to at great length in the episodes involving Carl and also in the practices of Dr.
Benway in brainwashing some of his patients. Have you found in the book, among the many ideas that you have indicated, the book contains an idea relating to the issue, the social issue of whether punitive or medical psychiatric treatment addicts is the wiser or better method?
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The book treats this problem from any number of different angles. I think it is the opinion of the author of the book, as he expresses it very directly in the Introduction and also, I believe, in the Appendix, at the conclusion, that a medical treatment for heroin addiction is to be preferred over punitive treatment. And he illustrates, or gives example of, his opinions, by dramatic representation of addicts being treated punitively and carrying these representations to fantastical or weird extremes: such as the pictures that he gives on page 16 and thereafter of Bradley the Buyer, who is an agent for the punitive forces and takes pleasure in the power that he has over the junkie, and finally can get no pleasure at all unless he is in direct physical contact with a junkie.
THE COURT: Well, would you be surprised if the author himself admitted it was obscene and must be necessarily obscene in order to convey his thoughts and impressions? Sickness is often repulsive details not for weak stomachs. He is dealing with matters very basic and very frightening.
Do you mind my asking these questions?
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It relates to nakedness of seeing, to be able to see clearly without any confusing disguises, to see through the disguise. DE GRAZIA: Among the ideas you have noticed in this book, you have spoken of the idea of control and the problems surrounding control, individual over individual, institution over individual. What it boils down to, controlling them sexually, politically, socially. From page 21 on we have a picture of Dr. Benway, who is specifically referred to as a very highly specialized, scientifically prepared, technologically adept control addict.
There is one who, in this case, is one who is addicted to controlling and brainwashing large social groups. He is sort of a — this is a parody in a sense of a super, modern, efficient bureaucrat. And also in the pages that follow page 21 and later on, throughout the book, in the Freeland and in the next sections there are almost scientific expositions given by the author of techniques of mass brainwash and mass control, and theories of modern dictatorships, theories of modern police states, presented suggestions for the possibility of using both drugs and electrical shock, somewhere else nerve gasses.
When these suggestions appear or are dealt with, are they dealt with in the sense of being recommended or being fearful things? I think he is laconically, satirically analyzing them and presenting evidences of these activities in our modern culture, now and then in a science-fiction style, projecting them into the future, nightmare situations if control took over.
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Good for young and old, man and bestial. Nothing like a little snake oil to grease the wheels and get a show on the track Jack. Which side are you on? Fro-Zen Hydraulic? The unnatural acts portrayed are part of exhibitions of control. THE COURT: Would you go so far as to say it is associated with a description of a person eating excrement, served on a plate here in the front part of the book? Certainly that would be included also. All levels in the title would be acceptable, I think.
From page on, maybe to, say, page or , you have a complete and very detailed exposition of about four imaginary political parties. This is the political meat of the book; and the one ultimately of the most interesting parts of the book, and the most significant. They warned of control of the whole, control of the public, as with Dr.
They take, in a sense, a very anti-State or anti-creeping State position. Burroughs, himself, considers himself a Factualist, then the Factualists might also be considered radical. Burroughs considers himself a Factualist. The Extremist party would be both of the left and the right. They would be the Liquefactionists. There are two extremist parties. There is the Liquefactionists. They are dealt with on page Very much so. The word liquefy comes from Fascists or Communists, the liquidation policies spoken of by Stalin. They want to liquidate or liquefy all opposition and everybody is to be liquefied or eliminated except one controlling personality to run the whole world.
They have a different method of taking over. They have one faction or one man who they refer to as the Sender, who is going to survive by inundating the world with his own replicas. He will divide in two and make replicas of himself. Wherever he travels he will have someone to talk to. The Divisionist is a parody of a homosexual situation also; but Burroughs is attacking the homosexuals in this book also.
GINSBERG: Well, I think the conservatives, if we consider the Factualist to be conservative, I think they have a feeling of laissez-faire, whatever is natural, whatever does no harm will be acceptable. When the homosexuality becomes an obsession or a compulsion or an attempt to control other people, then it is to be disapproved of. And I think the Factualists, as a conservative party, have issued several tentative bulletins which are given, I think, on page , dealing with this matter.
I think Burroughs would say these are representative of major forces moving in the world today.
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Perhaps that can be justified, in as much as there in the world that are police states. Other ways of doing it besides direct sexual manipulation; another is by brainwashing, equating a brainwasher who tries to sadistically trying to — who is sadistically trying to dominate another person — with a homosexual who tries to dominate another person. I am not talking about any crusade to make the world a better world in which to live, as you and I understand it today; but I am suggesting that from your answer, what he is trying to portray here, is that in the future there will be a political party, for instance, made up of homosexuals?
Ginsberg is trying to point out is that as the author deals with these questions and some of these categories of people and of parties that he is involved in; and he is dealing with issues of political importance and issues which have a bearing and a relationship to things like even present political parties or political parties of the recent past.
A party, an imaginary party like Divisionists, though homosexuality is one aspect of Divisionism, there are other political aspects. It is not just exclusively — Divisionists are not exclusively another name for homosexuality. The Divisionists in the book have other intentions, like, they are involved in a lot of dealing, with international deals with defective produce, back and forth at one point with the other group, the Liquefactionists.
For instance, I think he would compare them, not with the sexual group, but with a race group. He would compare the Liquefactionists with the racists. The Liquefactionists want everybody to be liquefied or eliminated except themselves. They want their image to be dominant over the group here. There would be no sexual connection between the political parties; and the names here, as Liquefactionists, I am saying it applies to more than a sexual level. That is one of the puns that is intended. Ginsberg, there are references in the book to the character, the County Clerk?
We have, I would say, an example of one of the Liquefactionists. It is a complete portrait; but down to modern, down-to-earth newspaper terms, in terms of kinds of people that we have read about in the newspaper, of anti-Negro, and anti-Northern, anti-Semitic, the Southern, white racist bureaucrat. The portrait is perhaps set here as a contemporary example of what Burroughs would refer to as Liquefactionists. I think this is actually one of the most funny and brilliant sections of the book, because it was written, you must remember, before these people came so much into prominence in the newspapers; and it is written in a very beautiful prose style, in the sense that the actual kind of vulgarism and slang of language of the character portrayed is set down very accurately by the author.
What you think about the Jeeeeews…? Anker, you know yourself all a Jew wants to do is doodle a Christian girl…. What Burroughs is doing, he is parodying this monster; he is parodying this anti-semite.
Burroughs is defending the Jews here. Burroughs is taking a very moral position, like defending the good here, I think. He really confessed completely, put everything down so that anybody could see it. He found a way to put it down as economically as possible. He found a sort of mosaic method to place all these different elements in order. But the important thing that struck me was the enormous courage it took to make such a total confession. There is absolutely nothing hidden or left out. That kind of courage and that kind of impulse as a kind of idealism on the part of the author, I feel is an integral part of literary art.
On a more superficial level there is the question of style of composition, like mosaic, I was saying. This is a fantastic gamut of speech rhythms, diction and still-life style, to be able to reproduce with great, short, economic exactness. In this way and the other ways you have indicated you, as a poet, have learned from this book, and others like you, others you know have also learned from it? And also there is another thing which is — there is a great deal of very pure language and pure poetry in this book that is as great as any poetry being written in America in my opinion, specifically one line which I would like to read.
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Prisons and visions presented with rare descriptions corresponding exactly to those of Alcatraz and Rose. A Naked Lunch is natural to us, we eat reality sandwiches. But allegories are so much lettuce. And the concomitant questions as to what is obscene, impure, is not asked, let alone answered, precisely because of barriers of semantic anxiety which precludes our free or, I think, objective scientific examination of sexual phenomena.
How can these phenomena be studied if one is forbidden to write or think about them? A phenomenon totally unknown because deliberately ignored and ruled out as a subject for writing and research.