Electronic Center of Arts

Direttore: Emilio Piccolo

Sans passion il n'y a pas d'art

Gatti rossi
Del situazionismo ed altre cose
a cura di Emilio Piccolo

I am he as she is me as we are all together
di Robert Anton Wilson

In the dialectic between nature and the socially
constructed world, the human organism is
transformed. In this dialectic man produces
reality and thereby produces himself.

Berger and Luckman, The Social Creation of Reality


Would you believe that an English football star has stolen the infant Jesus--four times, from four different Italian churches--and is holding him or them for a ransom of 100, 000, 000 lire?

Well, neither would I, but it seems to have happened, sort of. But then most things in this confusing modern world only seem to have happened  . . . sort of. . . .

Luther Blissett, to start at the top, was once the best footballer in England, as well known and beloved as O.J. Simpson was over here, before he got accused of cutting throats. Now Mr. Blissett is a coach in Watford, Ireland. Unlike O.J. he has never been charged with a major felony, or even with jay-walking. He says he knows nothing about the other Luther Blissett who, in addition to holding Jesus for ransom, has written a number of anarchist tracts, including a left-wing history of the Rennaisance, and is suspected, by the Italian authorities, of being a group rather than a person.

Some, of course, claim he is the Devil.

It seems to have begun--the miraculous multiplication of Blisetts--when the true, original Luther Blissett became a hero, and a controversial figure, in Milan while playing football there 10 years ago. Most sports fans loved him for his derring-do, but Italian neo-fascists hated him for the double offenses of [a] being black and [b] winning higher scores than white players.

Luther Blissett the First (as we better call him for clarity) went back to England, remembering his triumphs and trying, I suppose, to forget the racism.

Luther Blissett the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth manifested a few years later when four workers were arrested for riding on a train without a ticket. Each insisted his name was "Luther Blissett," and stuck to that name, even when hauled into court for sentencing.

Then other Luther Blissetts began to appear, on Internet and even in bookstores. As to whether he or they were or are a group or an individual, they or he (or she) offered the following explication:

"Luther Blissett is not a 'teamwork identity' as reported by the journalists; rather, it is a multiple single. The 'Luther Blissetts' don't exist, only Luther Blissett exists. Today we can infuse ourselves with vitality by exploring any possibility of escaping conventional identities. The struggle is still against the language of the powers-that-be."

If that isn't perfectly clear to non-anarchists, recall the Dada movement in Switzerland during World War I. The Dadaists, in total rebellion against the insanity of war and the general insanity of everything else, held poetry readings at which the poet was drowned out by other Dadaists with noise-makers. They had art exhibits where the audience was provided with axes at the door and told to destroy any paintings they didn't like. They held lectures in public urinals. In short, they began the "post-modern" revolution against conventional "identities" and the language that divides things and people into classes.

In 1923, in Paris, the Surrealists held their first art show. To enter the gallery, the audience had to pass through a garden with an incongruous taxi standing in the way. Working their way around the cab, they had the opportunity to observe that it was raining inside of it but not outside. (A whimsy of Salvidor Dali.) Once in the gallery, the audience-- or the victims, as you prefer--confronted a sign devised by André Breton:


Or, to move closer to the present enigma, consider the time novelist Ken Kesey met novelist Terry Southern. Kesey found to his delight that Southern was just as funny in person as he was in his books and they had a wonderful time together. Only long after did Kesey discover that he had not met Terry Southern at all. He had met somebody else--an "imposter" in pre-anarchist language.

I also met Terry Southern once, or think I did, and also found him hilarious. Of course, with Kesey's experience in mind, I might wonder if I actually met the "real" Terry Southern. But modern anarchists would inform me that even asking such a question is buying into the language and metaphysics of the ruling class which oppresses us by defining us. One can only say that Terry Southern has become a multiple single.

Anyway, once Luther Blissett was firmly established as both an individual sports hero in Ireland and one or many anarcho-surrealists in Italy, life became more interesting for Europeans--the way it was for most of us on this side of the pond in the 1980s when we could watch Ronald Reagan play the hero's buddy in a morning college football movie on TV, then catch him again playing the hero himself in a Western in the afternoon, and finally see him a third time playing the President on the evening news.

The Italian Luther Blissett(s) then published a book of essays allegedly by Arab-American anarchist, Hakim Bey. It later turned out that only one essay was by Bey; the rest were forgeries--although one was a translation from John Zerzan, the Oregon anarchist who became famous, or infamous, for declaring that the Unabomber was his personal hero.

Things became a bit stranger when the infant Jesus disappeared from a church in Belvedere, followed quickly by the vanishings of three more infant Jesi from churches in Marittimo, Tortora, and Diamante, all four cities being on the Tyrrhenian coast.

"What is the Buddha?" a student once asked a Zen Master.
"The one in the hall," replied the Master.
"But the one in the hall is a statue, a piece of wood! "
"True. . . ."
"Then what is the Buddha?"
"The one in the hall."

Italians seem to understand Zen logic better than most Europeans and the dematerializing Jesi (or Jesuses?) really caused mass emotional reactions. It was as if Andy Warhol had sued Campbell Soup for selling cheap imitation Warhols.

Then the ecclesiastical athorities received a communique (written on an old Olivetti typewriter) demanding that the Church distribute one hundred million lire to the poor, or else:
 "The Holy Child will be destroyed. Anyway, you  only care for the money, not for the Child's  sacral value. . . . In Calabria people die of  hunger, thirst, unemployment, mafia, corruption  and usury. Illegal employment is the rule. There are no houses. The Church doesn't care and gets  richer. If you don't distribute a 100 million  lire worth of food . . . the Holy Child will be  smashed into pieces."   --Luther Blissett

The prototype Luther Blissett in Ireland told the press he didn't understand what was going on."They keep doing all sorts of things and I keep getting the credit or the blame for it."

The police in Italy announced that they suspected a sort of Luther Blissett-X--not the "original" multiple singularity of anarchist pranksters, but a band of professional art thieves masquerading as the masqueraders. The infants stolen have a high commercial value, said the suspicious cops, and instead of being smashed they may be sold to the highest bidders, like the famous Maltese Falcon.

One incautious priest in Belvedere remarked worriedly that the only way to prevent future thefts would be to lock all the churches and keep everybody out. The press gleefully quoted him. If there were no thieves thinking of that before, there certainly are now. . . .

Will the Church distribute the100 million lire to the poor? Will the Infant Jesuses (Jesi?) be smashed or sold to private collecters? How many more Luther Blissetts will come forth from the shadows before this saga is over? You can follow future developments through the following websites:

I sort of think I know how the first Luther Blissett feels, because a lot of people on Internet still claim I was murdered by the C.I.A. on 22 Feb., 1994. No denials by me have stopped this absurd rumor, because the conspiracy buffs who believe it also believe that the C.I.A.replaced me with an "android" or humanoid robot which writes and talks just like "Robert Anton Wilson." Some even claim that my evident "sincerity" in claiming I am "Robert Anton Wilson" just proves how advanced the secret technology of the C.I.A is: Any really good RAW android would not only write, talk and look like me, but woud necessarily think it was me....

 As Oscar Wilde said, "The reality of metaphysics  is the reality of masks."