The Televisionary Oracle
"I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN LITERATURE AND ITS NAME IS ROB BREZSNY."
--TOM ROBBINS (author of Another Roadside Attraction, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, and Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
"The Televisionary Oracle is a book so weird it might drive you stark raving sane."
--Robert Anton Wilson
"Like a mutant love-child of Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin, Rob Brezsny writes with devilish humor, spiritual audacity, and erotic intensity. The Televisionary Oracle is a kick-ass gnostic tale. Prepare to be astonished."
--Jay Kinney (author, Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions
There are two main protagonists in THE TELEVISIONARY ORACLE, a male named Rockstar and a female named Rapunzel Blavatsky. One-third of the chapters are narrated by Rockstar in the first-person, and another one-third of the chapters are narrated by Rapunzel in the third person.
The rest of the chapters are "Televisionary Oracles" -- programs broadcast by a sacred infotainment cabal which resembles what the television industry might be if it were a source of wisdom, integrity, and blessings instead of propaganda, degradation, and junk food for thought.
Rockstar is an aging rock star who has been plugging away at his trade for 20 years with very modest success. He's a legend in his own mind, a fiery bard who leads his band in pagan rituals disguised as rock and roll shows. The story that Rockstar tells revolves around his encounter with Rapunzel Blavatsky. It seems that she and her gang intend to begin initiating certain selected men -- maybe even him -- into the mysteries of menstruation.
Rapunzel is the chief shamanatrix of a Goddess-inflamed mystery school called the Menstrual Temple of the Funky Grail. She might be the pranksterish reincarnation of Mary Magdalene and the time-traveling possessor of a ten-million-year-old television -- or else maybe just a foxy, jive-talking babe with delusions of grandeur. Her goal? To "kill the apocalypse" in the most enjoyable ways possible.
To accomplish this noble aim, Rapunzel and her crew employ countless tricks that reside on the borderline between wacky performance art and sacred, kick-ass rituals.
Given her high-concept mission, Rapunzel might be expected to cast herself in the role of an intellectual femme fatale. And yet her thoughtful, tender narrative reveals her to be anything but that. Compassionate, humble, lyrical in her drive to live a life that is both moral and beautiful, she is a lovable mystery.
And what about those "Televisionary Oracles"? Any more hints about them? Let's just say that they're love spells designed to aid readers in debugging the black magic they've inadvertently practiced on themselves.
NOW FOR THE Q & A
QUESTION. Rumor has it that the original title of your book was A Feminist Man's Guide to Picking Up Women. Is the material that tempted you to use that title still in the text?
ANSWER. A lot of it, yes. As the widely published witch Starhawk commented, "This book effectively poses the question, 'Can a really horny guy achieve feminist consciousness'"? One of my goals was to create a character who embodies all the most beautiful and positive aspects of lusty virility while at the same time being a sensitive nurturer with a deep respect and reverence for women. In other words, a macho feminist.
QUESTION. What do you mean when you talk about the "genocide of the imagination"?
ANSWER. The word "imagination" doesn't get much respect. For many people, it connotes "make-believe," the province of children and artists. But I believe the imagination is the most important asset we all possess; it's the power to form mental pictures of things that don't exist yet. As such, it's what we use to shape our future.
That's why it's so disturbing to realize that the imagination is increasingly becoming a vestigial organ. It's being pummeled into dysfunction by the numbing onslaught of generic and nihilistic images that endlessly flood from the mass media. How can you generate your own images or ask your own questions if your mind's eye is swarming with dazzling yet inane creations crafted by news and entertainment companies that possess what amounts to sleek multimillion-dollar propaganda machines?
To get a sense of the growing devastation, wander around a grade school at recess. Kids' conversations will overflow with the regurgitation of stories that have been blast-furnaced into their sensitive psyches by movies, TV shows, and video games.
QUESTION. Short of a medical textbook, there's probably never been a book written by a man that has dealt so extensively with the subject of menstruation. Do you have some weird fetish?
ANSWER. While I am probably more at ease with actual physical menstruation than any man I know, my primary interest is in its poetic and mythic meanings. For instance, I sincerely believe that everyone, men and women alike, would reap lush rewards by honoring the menstrual cycle and dropping out of the frenetic routine for four days every month. The menstrual huts of indigenous culture were a recognition of this profound human need. They honored the value of regular escapes.
QUESTION. Why is it so important to the future of daffodils and sea urchins and the jet stream, as you assert in your book, that childbirth be shown regularly in prime time?
ANSWER. Giving people constant graphic reminders of the single most astounding act of creation is one of the best ways to kill the apocalypse. Keep in mind how well-hidden it is now. Compared to the easy availability of televised murders and porn on the Internet, the mysterious miracle of a child being born is an invisible taboo.
QUESTION. Is your coinage of "killing the apocalypse" meant to sound like a joke?
ANSWER. You make it seem like that would be a bad thing. My philosophy holds that one of the most effective weapons against evil is humor. That's why all the major religions are useless to me: At best they all regard laughter as irrelevant to the spiritual quest, whereas I give it a central place.
QUESTION. But how can you "kill" the apocalypse without reinforcing the very hateful, adversarial attitudes that contribute to the possibility of apocalypse?
ANSWER. You're neglecting to state the principle in its fullness. The point is to kill the apocalypse with love and beauty and truth.
QUESTION. Everyone has a secret agenda. What's yours?
ANSWER. To show what a moral vision would look like if it were rooted in the quest for beauty, truth, love, pleasure, and liberation instead of order, control, politeness, fear, and self-denial.