Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tom Robbins: More

More From Tom Robbins
P. Schultz
June 24, 2012

            Here are some interesting passages from another interview with Tom Robbins. You might like them – or not.

“Interviewer: ….you’ve been quite outspoken in your criticism of U.S. foreign policy and the current wave of ultra-patriotism. Why do novelists such as you, Kurt Vonnegut, Sherman Alexie, and Peter Matheissen seem to get away with this criticism more so than do entertainers and political figures?

“TR: Tragically, a nation that was created by intellectuals and visionaries has been completely taken over by venal corporate gangsters, delusional Christian fruitcakes, and hopelessly shallow Texas shit-kickers. In such a dumbed-down environment, the cowboys in power probably don’t feel that they need to pay much attention to the protests of the intellectual or artistic community. We’re considered irrelevant. That’s why when Jerry Falwell included me on the list of ‘traitors’ he wants rounded up and shipped back to Guantanamo Bay, I was honored. Just put me in the same cellblock as the Dixie Chicks and I’ll be happy to go.

"Having said that, I must point out that I try to avoid the blatantly political both in my life and in my work. Instead, my approach is to encourage readers to embrace life, on the assumption that anyone who’s saying ‘yes’ to life will automatically say ‘no’ to those forces and policies that destroy life, suppress it or reduce it to mere survival.

“Interviewer: How dangerous is the threat to independent thinking today?

“TR: Worse than it’s been in a long, long while. However, independent thinking has always courted danger because it’s always bolstered enlightenment in its ongoing struggle with ignorance and dogma. It’s a threat both to those who fear liberty and to those who profit financially from mindless obedience and herd control. Jesus, you may recall, was an independent thinker.

“Interviewer: Are there any escape routes left?

“TR: Of course. Villa Incognito, for example, takes history, current events, and myth, braids them into a circus high wire, stretches that wire across the yawning abyss of consensual reality, and tempts us to walk across it if we dare. The wire leads inward. It’s anchored in the soul, in full consciousness, in our ancient animal past. It connects us to the Mystery. It’s the ultimate escape route. It’s always been there. It can be obscured, but never destroyed.”

Conversations with Tom Robbins, pp. 137-138.

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