Thursday, November 01, 2007

More pranking of Pranksters and general befuddlement...

"Aw, Steve, you pulled your own covers. The mystery that was Steve Minton was part of his charm. Doesn't matter, everyone agrees it is a totally entertaining piece of writing, adding to the befuddlement that the subject matter deserves. I got another email about the phrase, If you can remember the sixties then you weren't there, and it was a learned astute thing that went through all the people the phrase was attributed to, but none of them mentioned Tim Leary, whom I first heard it from.

"So, your credentials are impeccable and your sense of humor is intact, go now into your future grinning and learning and keeping up the good work, for as Kesey once said, Our job is no less than saving the world.

"Thanks for the emails."

Ken Babbs

-- A happening can't be planned. An event can be planned and a happening can happen within the event. A happening is something that suddenly erupts and grows like a roman candle and explodes all into everybody.

[Note: the following content is published as I wrote and intended it. The first email to Ken Babbs is without the additional and unintentional gaffes added by his cut and paste onto his website, which I added on my previous posting as it appears on the Babbs site. Rest assured that my own gaffes are very intentional and part of my already over-explained satirical intent. The second, non-moronic email is the "extended play" version I sent to Babbs, which he edited for brevity on his website. - ed.]

Dear Mr. Babbs,

I understand you were one of the main antagonists in the "Electrical Cool Aid Acid-Test", a famous novel from the swinging sixties and that you actually rode with Dr. Timothy O’Leary on his Magical Mystery Bus and did many other “far out” things back in the day. As such, I am very interested in your perceptions about that era’s long-term effects on cognition and memory. Also, do you still smoke “grass,” to use the vernacular of the time? Please review the little ditty I have cut and pasted below, from one of my web pages at... …and let me know if I have all my facts straights as sometimes I myself get a little “fuzzy.” Or at least recall as much as you can, ha ha.

A while ago I emailed to Mr. Paul Krassner, a famous pornographer and from what I understand co-founder along with Jack Karoake and Wavy Gravy of the “Merry Prankster” acid test concept and magical mystery tour movie. However, he wrote back that he didn’t get the joke or couldn’t open the link or something like that. Please help clarify my confusion and get me up to speed on this wonderful era that I missed out on.

Also, I look forward to the new Magical Mystery Bus movie by Stevie Ray Van Zandt….don’t you?

Cordially yours,
T.S. “Steve” Minton
Tucson, Arizona

Dear Ken,

Thank you for posting my preposterously inaccurate email and website excerpt on Looks like I finally pranked a Prankster - or did I? Surely you could not take seriously my deliberately absurd mish-mash of historical fact, riddled as it was with grammatical and typographical errors (made even worse by the glitches from your cut and paste job!) and suffused with a generally subliterate level of rhetoric. Most likely you didn't know what the hell to make of it, although I'm glad you found it to be a laff-riot and put it on your site.

Keeping in mind that brevity is the soul of wit, and that to over-explain satire surely diminishes its impact, allow me a few words of clarification. The inspirations that impelled me to craft this piece were several: the back-asswards statements of the late rapper Proof that "the Grateful Dead had previous to their shows (been) the protestors to legalize acid"; Sacha Baron Cohen's hilarious persona of Ali G, that know-nothing Generation Y hip-hopper masquerading as a know-it-all; Kesey's story in "Demon Box" about that befuddled hippie straight outta Woodstock who straggled up to his Oregon porch and claimed he never read "Sometimes a Cuckoo Nest" but saw the movie; and my mixed sense of bemusement and disgust at those lovable dim-wits among us who are too slovenly to properly research the chronology and key players of events that are not, in the span of history, that many decades old. I note that you express similar sentiments, in response to the recent History Channel documentary "The Hippies":

"Further disinformation--that picture of a bus, calling it the Ken Kesey prankster bus. I suppose it doesn’t do any good to point out that it is not Further but someone else’s bus, for as time goes on whatever anyone portrays as reality works just fine, for anyone who was there is probably dead by now, if not in body then probably in mind. Or as that girl shouted for a couple of hours at the Watts acid test, ‘Who cares?’ Yes, who. Who indeed.”

You've given me enough space already, Intrepid Traveler, and I don't want to over-toot my own horn regarding my hipster credentials, but just for the record, I am hardly an ignoramus on the lore of the Beats/Pranksters/hippie counterculture. Au contraire, as I was born in 1969, smack-dab into the swirling matrix of psychedelia and radical protest that was Berkeley, California, to parents who were (still are?) second wave (or third wave?) hippies who hit the Bay Area scene right after the Summer of Love. My birth name "Thodal" is of course from The Bardo Thodol or Tibetan Book of the Dead. My mom was a resident at Leary's Millbrook mansion for about a year circa 1965, sandwiched between the arrival of that raucous busload carrying Cassady, Kesey, yourself et al., and G. Gordon Liddy's bust. As a wee tot I lived for a while in the early 70s at the Cascabel Clayworks commune in southwestern Arizona (Google my poem "Cascabel Meditation"); as a teen my dad practically force-fed me a diet of "On the Road," "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" and "Kesey's Garage Sale," actually giving me extra allowance for reading them when I was about in 8th grade. As a student at Boston University, I chatted with Ginsberg after his reading at the Museum of Fine Arts, and I did my senior thesis on Kerouac (and I agreed then and now with your astute statement in a High Times interview circa 1990 that to really understand Kerouac, one needs to understand the full arc of his mighty "Duluoz Legend"). Also, in the course of my own travels I have paid my respects to Kerouac's house of birth and gravesite in Lowell, Mass., and paid homage to the house where he died in St. Petersburg, Florida as well. When Kesey made it to Tucson in the early 90s and read at the University of Arizona, I got to slap the ole teddy bear on the back as he walked down the stairs of the lecture hall.

All of the foregoing is a long-winded way of saying that "Yes, I really do know my ass from a hole in the ground, contrary to my satiric persona" and that my intentionally asinine email and webpage were attempts to see how many inaccuracies I could compound, and how many laughs I could compact into such a tiny space. Apparently I have succeeded on both counts. Thank you for allowing me to work my way into the pudding.

Ciao for now,
Steve Minton
Tucson, Arizona

p.s. Please post this on your site if you feel it is fit to print.

"Businmotion" episode 17, with Ken Babbs

Ken Kesey & The Merry Pranksters - excerpt from BBC documentary. Shows part of the arrival at Timothy Leary's Millbrook, New York mansion, and Neal Cassady at the wheel of Further and presiding over the Acid Tests.

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