If you’d go out and buy Volumes I and II, you wouldn’t have to read this synopsis.
Long shot of a gigantic shadow falling across a map of the United States. A tiny hand rises and pins a flag on Chicago. Camera pans back, and we see Markoff Chaney, a midget with an incredibly malignant smile. He chuckles.
Mr. Chaney, in fact, is carrying on a one-man war against the standardization (he is very substandard) and mechanization (he is very alive) of modern society. It is he who has rewired the traffic signals in all large cities so that the WALK sign flashes on red and DON’T WALK on green; he who, infiltrating printing plants, set the instructions on tax forms; he who decorates business places with idiotic instructions, signed THE MGT. (i.e., the Midget—but most people think the abbreviation means The Management, and dutifully obey). “The Midget versus the Digits” is his mahamantrum—“I’ll get them before they get me!” he cackles.
(On the side, Markoff is writing a book proving that all culture and science was created by men under five feet tall. Little Men with Big Balls, he calls it; but you can be sure that when it is finally published the publisher will have changed the title to Little Men with Big Ideas. If you ever see the graffito STAMP OUT SIZEISM, you can be sure Chaney has been there before you.)
Alas, unknown to himself the very small Chaney has become a very large monkey wrench in the plans of the Illuminati, a secret society seemingly dedicated to rationality, science, law’n’order, and Total Control of Everybody. Not being able to trace the activities of the elusive midget, however, the Illuminati attribute his surrealist insurrectionary activities to ELF (the Erisian Liberation Front), another vast conspiracy, headed by the Dealy Lama, an old mystic who lives in the sewers below Dealy Plaza, Dallas, and seemingly plots irrationality, mysticism, anarchy, and Total Liberation of Everybody.
Cut. Tight closeup of Joe Malik as he tells us about his own involvement. “Uh...I put out Confrontation magazine—you know, the last of the red-hot liberals.” He shrugs ambiguously, Arab-American intellectual out of his depth, feeling as archaic as the Underground Railroad. “It...uh...all began at the Democratic Convention of 1968, when I...uh...lost faith in liberalism and joined the JAMs. Simon Moon recruited me.”
Simon enters the frame, all wild hair and curly black beard, eyes aglow with LSD visions. “Tim Moon was my father, and he taught me to sing “Joe Hill” and “Union Maid” before I knew the alphabet. I knew Wobbly headquarters in Chicago before I saw a classroom. When I got my Master’s in math from Antioch I could have gone to work for any corporation in the country, but ten thousand dead Wobs rose from their graves singing “Which Side Are You On?” and I decided it was more honourable to make my living selling weed...”
Simon, in fact, is a marijuana dealer only by profession; by avocation he is a fanatic member of the JAMs—Justified Ancients of Mummu, a secret society which has endured since Babylon and worships Mummu, goddess of chaos. The JAMs are now in the fifty-ninth century of their war against the Illuminati.
“Before joining the JAMs,” Joe Malik says, “the only people I ever heard talk about the Illuminati conspiracy were right-wing cranks. I was sure Simon was putting me on at first. But then I met the leader of the JAMs...” (Thunder on the sound track; eerie shadows cross Joe’s face.)
We are standing outside a bungalow in Los Angeles; Simon knocks, and Joe looks nervous. The door opens, and a feisty old man says, “So you’re the new recruit. Come in and tell me how a goddamn intellectual can help us beat the shit out of the cocksucking Illuminati motherfuckers.” This little old gentleman has a peculiarly mocking and stony glitter in his eyes, and why not? He is John Dillinger, now living under the name Frank Sullivan, and president of Laughing Phallus Productions, king of the rock-music industry.
Flashback to 1923: Dillinger unsteadily holds a gun on grocer B. F. Morgan, who is giving the Masonic Signal of Distress. John makes a deal with the D.A. but lands in prison for nine years anyway. Sure that the Masons are behind this betrayal (although older cons tell him, “Never trust a D.A.’s deal or an automatic pistol”), John joins the JAMs and subsequently uses their motto—“Lie down on the floor and keep calm”—during each of his bank heists. This is his way of taunting J. Edgar Hoover, a thirty-third-degree Mason and high Illuminatus Primus. Hoover, in turn, recognizes John as a JAM revolutionary and gives shoot-on-sight orders that result in the massacre of three businessmen who are mistaken for the Dillinger gang at Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin. Smarting from criticism after this embarrassing incident, the FBI subsequently keeps quiet when the man they shoot at the Biograph Theatre, July 22, 1934, also turns out to be an innocent bystander. Dillinger is promoted to higher rank in the JAMs and abandons such “crude tactics” as knocking over banks.
Now, in the mid-1970s, an old man, Dillinger has decided to amalgamate the JAMs with still another secret society, the Legion of Dynamic Discord, headed by enigmatic Hagbard Celine: engineer, lawyer, mystic, and owner/designer of FUCKUP (First Universal Cybernetic Kinetic Uni-Programmer, the world’s smartest computer).
SIMON MOON: “Hagbard’s a right-wing crank.” JOE MALIK: “I don’t know. Hagbard’s a genius, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, his IQ is mostly devoted to keeping the world confused about his real motives. I just don’t know...”
Hagbard, in fact, fancies himself a sociologist, and has created the Snafu Principle, which holds that Communication is possible only between equals. All hierarchical organizations in which people function as non-equals are therefore in perpetual communication jam, he asserts; the paradigm is the Army, where the phrase SNAFU (Situation Normal: All Fucked Up) indeed originated. But every hierarchy has the same jam-up, Hagbard holds, and this includes corporations, governments, and every other variety of unequal social construct. According to this theory, Hagbard cheerfully announces, the Illuminati plot to create law’n’order must always lead to greater and greater chaos.
Where the JAMs worship Mummu, Babylonian goddess of chaos, Hagbard’s Legion of Dynamic Discord honors Eris, Greek goddess of confusion. Unbeknown to the JAMs, Hagbard is also allied with the Erisian Liberation Front (ELF), in its program of Operation Mindfuck (OM), a project to overthrow authority by spreading confusion and uncertainty everywhere. Even Hagbard, however, does not realize that the tiny Markoff Chaney is serving that cause better than all these conspiracies...
Closeup of FUCKUP, Hagbard’s genius computer, as it throws an internal I Ching reading (scanning open circuits as yin lines, closed circuits as yang.) These are correlated with current astronomical-astrological parameters, CBS news, Facts on File, and reports from Hagbard’s agents in world capitals. FUCKUP summarizes: “World War III is imminent. Prognosis: many megadeaths. No blame.”
“My ass, no blame!” Hagbard rages; he now realizes the true importance of the Fernando Poo incident.
Fernando Poo is a tiny island in the Bay of Biafra, off the coast of Africa, where Captain Ernesto Tequila y Mota has arranged his own promotion to Generalissimo by staging a coup d’état. Crack CIA agents quickly report to Washington that the new regime is under the control of Russia and China; top Soviet agents report to Moscow that it is controlled by China; Chinese Intelligence pronounces it under Moscow domination. As the three gigantic empires quarrel with one another under this mutual misapprehension, Hagbard, recognizing the fine hand of the Illuminati, reprograms FUCKUP to locate the source of the real threat. (Fernando Poo is, of course, only a smokescreen.) The computer warns that Las Vegas needs watching.
Sherri Brandi gives us her version: “In this hardass town, the only way to make the scratch is to sell your snatch, sister. So I work for Carmel, who isn’t bad as pimps go, if you don’t mind getting beat all black-and-blue every so often. But now Carmel thinks we can get rich...”
Carmel is convinced that Sherri’s new john, Charlie Mocenigo, who obviously works at a secret government installation in the desert, has discovered the Ultimate Secret Weapon. Oddly, Carmel is right: The weapon is Anthrax Leprosy Pi (ALP), a virus of omnivorous appetite. Carmel’s plan to steal the formula and sell it to the first communist he can find in Las Vegas backfires, and Sherri and Mocenigo are both killed by an accidental infection. Carmel, also unknowingly infected, becomes a kind of Typhoid Mary.
Meanwhile, acting on a tip from Hagbard, Joe Malik sends Confrontation’s ace reporter, George Dorn, to Mad Dog, Texas, to investigate right-wing groups there rumoured to be behind the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, George Lincoln Rockwell, and Spiro Agnew.
In Mad Dog George is busted for possession of marijuana and locked in jail by Sheriff Jim Cartwright. George’s cellmate, a snaky-looking individual named Harry Coin, first boasts about killing various famous people, then attempts to rape George. The jail is then invaded by a mysterious group led by Mavis, a young lady with a Tommy Gun, and they remove George by way of a secret temple with a pyramid-shaped altar bearing the slogan EWIGE BLUMENKRAFT! Mavis tells George that Mad Dog Jail is the secret chapel of the Illuminati.
George is driven to the Gulf of Mexico, where he and Mavis quarrel about politics and enjoy some oral sex until the Leif Erikson appears. This is a gigantic golden submarine owned by Hagbard Celine. George is whisked off with Hagbard to the ruins of Atlantis.
Back in New York, Saul Goodman, inspector on the Homicide Squad, investigates the bombing of Confrontation, the mysterious disappearance of editor Joe Malik, and the even more mysterious disappearance of all Malik’s dogs. Danny Pricefixer, a young detective, finds a series of memos to Joe Malik from a researcher, and Saul reads them. They allege that:
1. According to French sociologist Jacques Ellul, the Illuminati were founded in the 11th century and were a Christian-Communist heresy dedicated to redistributing the wealth.
2. According to Daraul’s History of Secret Societies, the Illuminati were based on two medieval Arabian secret societies, the Roshinaya and the Assassins.
3. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Illuminati were founded by professor Adam Weishaupt in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, in 1776, and destroyed by the government in 1786.
4. According to a letter in Playboy, the Illuminati still exist, and masterminded the assassinations of recent years.
5. According to Teenset magazine, the Illuminati control the rock-music business.
6. According to American Opinion magazine, the Council on Foreign Relations (which has included virtually all recent Presidents and Secretaries of State in its membership) is an Illuminati front.
7. According to the Spark, a Chicago newspaper, Mayor Richard Daley used the Illuminati slogan “Ewige Blumenkraft!” during his diatribe at the 1968 Democratic convention. Furthermore, George Washington was actually Adam Weishaupt in disguise.
8. According to CBS-radio news release, portraits of Washington appear to depict several different men.
9. According to the East Village Other (New York), the known leaders of the Illuminati in 1969 were Malaclypse the younger, Mao Tse-Tung, Mordecai the Foul, Richard Nixon, the Aga Khan, Saint Yossarian, Nelson Rockefeller, Saint McMurphy, Lord Omar, and Mark Lane. (“This one,” Saul decides thoughtfully, “must be a hoax...”)
10. According to Flying Saucers in the Bible, the eye-on-pyramid Illuminati symbol was given to Jefferson by a man in a black cloak.
11. According to the Planet (San Francisco), the eye-on-pyramid was the symbol of Dr. Timothy Leary during his campaign for governor.
12. According to Proofs of a Conspiracy, by 19th-century freemason John Robison, the Illuminati controlled European Masonic lodges but not the English lodges.
13. According to World Revolution, by Nesta Webster, the Illuminati inspire and finance all socialist and communist revolutions.
14. According to History of Magic, by Eliphas Levi, the Illuminati are black magicians.
15. According to High IQ Bulletin, the Illuminati are invaders from Venus.
16. According to the Los Angeles Free Press, the Illuminati taught black magic and psycho-politics to Adolph Hitler and J. Edgar Hoover.
17. According to the Los Angeles Free Press, the Illuminati are thought to control the Theosophical Society through California right-wingers.
Barney Muldoon, of the Bomb Squad, meanwhile uncovers evidence that the Illuminati are actually Jesuits.
Comparing notes, Goodman and Muldoon emerge with the tentative theory that the Illuminati are Satanists and have infiltrated virtually every organization from the Catholic Church to freemasonry. Unfortunately, Saul next finds himself in a mental hospital, where the staff assures him he is Barney Muldoon, suffering from the hallucination that he is Saul Goodman.
Hagbard Celine, meanwhile, is rushing toward sunken Atlantis to seize some long-buried art works before the Illuminati spider-ships get them. (On the way, George Dorn is initiated into the Legion of Dynamic Discord by Stella, a lovely black lady. “When can I be initiated again?” he asks immediately. “Soon,” Stella says lewdly...)
In the battle between the Leif Erikson and the spider-ships, Hagbard is aided by a dolphin named Howard, leader of the AA (Atlantean Adepts), a delphine secret society.
(“Lot of conspiracies on this planet,” George decides.)
George is next sent to the Blue Point, Long Island, home of Boston banker Robert Putney Drake, richest man in the world and secret governor of the Mafia and other crime syndicates. In exchange for the Atlantean statues, Drake switches his allegiance from the Illuminati to the Legion of Dynamic Discord.
Flashback: Drake in 1918, Château-Thierry, the last, wounded survivor of a dead platoon, weeping among the corpses: “Dear Jesus, let me live, let me live...”
Drake in 1936, Zurich, mescaline-tripping with the Eastern Brotherhood, investigating Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, seeking the Illuminati.
Carl Jung musing on Drake, 1936: “He doesn’t want to murder his father and possess his mother. He wants to murder God and possess the universe.”
Arthur Flegenheimer (Dutch Schultz) dying in a Newark hospital, October 23, 1934, raving in delirium: “A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim...French Canadian bean soup...The bears are in trouble and the sidewalks are in trouble...”
Drake studying Schultz’s last words under hashish, gradually reading the secret of the Illuminati control over organized crime.
Present time again: George Dorn, after the deal with Drake, is being entertained in his bedroom by Tarantella Serpentine, the lady who taught Linda Lovelace everything. George is very entertained indeed; but later, waking suddenly, he finds the house under attack by a gigantic sea monster. With Drake’s help, George escapes in a Silver Wraith Rolls-Royce.
Drake, with a strange grin: “We deserve to die.” (He is quoting the last scene of Bride of Frankenstein, but George doesn’t know that.)
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