Notes and Quotes – The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), Tom Wolfe

 

– Notes and Quotes –

 

Tom Wolfe (1931-present)

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)

 

1

“bleached blue eyes” (6)

“I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph . . .” (8).

Warhol? (9)

New York is about two years behind (9)

North Beach that was dying (10)

“Spades” (10)

“beyond acid” (10)

“thing and freak”(11)

“All the freaks came and did their thing.” (11).

“chlorine blue” (13)

Cassady flipping sledgehammer (13, 15)

Nowhere Mine (14)

Joe Cuba “Bang Bang” (14)

“you understand –” (15)

 

 

2

The Look (17)

Day-Glo crazies (17)

“. . . head down in the mull of the universe, just mulling the hell out of it, and the blam, the sledgehammer, he misses it . . .” (18).

Kesey, Chief, mysto (18)

“– when Cassady misses, it’s never an accident. He’s saying something. There’s something going on in the room, something’s getting up tight, there’s bad vibrations and he wants to break it up.” (18).

“Everything in everybody’s life is . . . significant.” (18).

Parable of life, that’s typical. (18)

“. . . why don’t you just kick it in the kneecaps and let it go at that.” (19)

“I never got into an abstract discussion with a total stranger so fast in my life.” (19).

“. . . may nest year’s seniors remember our motto– “transcending the bullshit –” (20).

“‘Fuck God. Up with the Devil.’” (22).

 

 

3

And that’s what the cops-and-robbers game does to you.” (27).

“‘I took some acid and threw the I Ching.’” (29).

 

 

4

“the current fantasy” (32)

“the blissful counterstroke” (32)

“a considerable new message” (32)

feeling” (38)

“. . . Superheroes as the honest American myths . . .” (39).

“ma-li-cious, de-li-cious” (43)

“. . . so let it be.” (50)

“the Chateau” (51)

“sliced, splices, diced, iced” (52)

“The inevitable bullshit hasn’t constipated his cerebral cortex yet.” (52).

“:::::: light ::::::” (54)

 

 

5

“. . . the whole world knows I have cunt on the brain.” (60).

“. . . 120 household volts of jailbait if I ever saw one–” (61).

“Now it’s Kesey’s trip.” (61).

“holy primitive” vs “intellectual communion” (62)

Cassady: “. . . this is my own trip, you understand . . .” (62).

Intrepid Traveler (65)

 

 

6

The Bus: 1939 International Harvester

“‘Furthur’ with two u’s.” (68).

“‘Caution: Weird Load’” (71).

Cassady monologue: “Well, yes, sir . . .” (69).

Paula Sundsten: “She was good looking like a TV witch.” (71).

“. . . he just has to do the American Man thing of when somebody’s car is broken down you got to come over and make your diagnosis.” (72).

“I’d say you need is a good mechanic. Now, I’m not a good mechanic, but I–” (72).

“‘I’m sorry I kicked you in the ass, but I’m not sorry I’m an asskicker.” (73).

“Wikieup” (74)

weird shit” . . . . “. . . I am with you – if only I could be with you.” (77)

“tripped over her shadow” . . . . “an unaccountable adventure, you understand.” (79).

“. . . looking to score, which is natural . . .” (80).

“You’re either on the bus . . . or off the bus.” (83).

“And the y went with the flow, the whole goddamn flow of America.” (85).

“. . . what in the name of hell to do . . .” (86). ?

 

 

7

“. . . the Deep South in July was . . . lava.” (88).

Cop Movie (89)

“. . . I am off the bus.” (93).

“. . . separate the grass from the dirt . . .” (96).

The music: “. . . raining into his head like needles . . .” (97)

Kesey: “I know how you feel, Sandy. I’ve been there myself.” . . . . “But if you think I’m going to be your guide for this trip, you’re sadly mistaken.” (97).

 

 

8

Cassady driving in the Blue Ridge Mountains: “. . . without using the brakes.” (100).

“. . . what a dirge New York was. The town was full of solemn, spent, irritable people shit-kicking their way down the sidewalks.” (101).

Kerouac and Kesey: “It was like hail and farewell.” (102).

“. . .back-woodsy, arch, yep-bub-golly stetting . . .” (102).

 

 

9

Cryptic Trip: “The clear message was, Fuck you, Millbrook, for your freaking frostiness.” (106).

 

 

10

“. . . serene.” (110).

“. . . the trouble with Leary and his group is that they have turned back.” . . . . “. . . copped out of the American trip.” (112).

A game called “Power” (115)

Fritz Perls, Now Trip (118)

“Psychokinetic powers” “unpaint the bus” (119)

 

 

11

weird shit” (124)

“It turns out they’re out of gas, which is a nice situation because it’s nightfall and they’re stranded totally hell west of nowhere with not a gas station within thirty, maybe fifty miles.” (125).

“There was something so . . . religious in the air, in the very atmosphere of the Prankster life, and yet one couldn’t put a finger on it.” (126).

Experience, ecstasy, dear-but-square-ones (126-8).

“. . . frequently he emerges from simple folk . . .” (129).

Buddha: god as an impersonal force

“. . . you’re either on the bus or off the bus.” (129)

“. . . homes with Culture but no money or money but no Culture . . .” (134).

“. . . the hell with the ladder itself . . .” (134)

Lags: “. . . we are always acting on what just finished happening.” (144).

“God is not dead, God is red.” (145).

“Yeah! Yeah! Right! Right! Right!–but that’s in his movie.” (145).

 

 

12

“hipster Christ,” “a modern mystic,” (153)

Dream wars: “‘–then I started having dream wars . . .with somebody,’ said Sandy. He didn’t want to say who.

“‘Yeah, I know,’ said Kesey. ‘With me.’

He knew!” (154).

Sign: “Hail to All Edges . . .” (156).

Scandinavian girl: “We’ve all got hang-ups . . and we’ve got to get rid of them.” (156).

Day-Glo Death Mask on mirror: “. . . underneath the mask is a typewritten message pasted on the mirror: ‘Now that I’ve got you attention . . .” (156).

“–we are all on to something here, or into something, but no one is going to put into words for you.” (157).

Cassady’s thing: “christalmighty Cassady” “Cassady’s Gestalt Driving” (158).

Pancho Pillow’s (ball breaker) movie (160)

Kesey: “Why should I take your bad trip?” (161).

Paul Foster: “iridescent teal-green suit of Zirconpolyestherethlyene” (162).

“O.K., a duplex tree house.” (163).

Sign: “No Left Turn Unstoned.” (163)

Group Therapy for the Young and Immune: “. . . like a marathon encounter with group therapy . . .” (164).

 

 

13

“creep suck-ups” (169)

“invasion by baby-raping Huns” (169)

KLSD: “This is Non-Station KLSD, 800 micrograms in your head, the station designed to blow your mind and undo your bind, from up here atop the redwoods on Venus!” (172).

Second feature: Who Gets Fucked?: “. . . one nice soft honey hormone squash . . .” “. . .–but that is her movie, it truly is, and we have gone with the flow.” (176).

Bummer: “. . . hip world’s term for a bad trip on LSD.” (178).

“Kesey was the magnet and the strength, the man in both worlds.” (179).

“‘Oh, the vi-bra-tions . . . Oh, the vi-bra-tions . . .’” (179).

“The subject was ‘people who are bullshit.’” (179).

Kesey: “But I know him, Sonny. If I didn’t know him, I wouldn’t call him a bullshit person.” (180).

 

 

14

Whose Angels?

Hell’s Angels . . .” (183).

“The secret of this vibrant communion: Angel Black & Prankster Day-Glo.” (184).

“–Now wait a minute. That flag is a symbol we attach our emotions to, but it isn’t the emotion itself and it isn’t the thing we really care about.” (187).

Control (190)

“Kesey emerged from the bus that afternoon with a huge swath of adhesive tape plastered across his mouth.” . . . . “. . . I’m through talking.” (191).

“Nevertheless, the age of bullshit was over. They were on the bus for good.” (192).

 

 

15

The Merry Pranksters Welcome the Beatles: “Control, Attention, Imagine the little freaks into the movie . . .” (199).

“We’re too obvious and we’ve blown their brains.” (204).

The Beatles: “Control–it is perfectly obvious–” . . . . “–but they don’t know what in the hell to do with it . . .” (206).

“Cancer” (206)

“. . . –everybody figures the strange Day-Glo people are for whatever they’re for.”

“lollipop eyes” (209).

“Owsley blues”: Batman, 500 micrograms worth of Superhero inside your skull.” (212).

“[Owsley] is, like, arrogant; he is a wiseacre; but the arrogant little wiseacre makes righteous acid.” (212).

 

 

16

Painting the bus: “Art is not eternal.” (218).

“And the picture of the greatest anti-war rally in the history of America ending in a Day-Glo brawl to the tune of Home, home on the range . . .” (224).

“–and here they were, calling each other Martin Luther Kings and other incredible things–” (226).

 

 

18

Motto: “Never Trust a Prankster” (233).

The strobe!” (240).

Cosmos Tasmanian deviltry (244)

“blue bruise dawn” (245)

One human cell” (247)

“The world would be, like, over.” (247).

 

 

19

“Kesey is feeling old . . . . with the strain, of . . . the eternal hassling . . .” (256).

“. . . Oh, the logic of the groove and the synch.” (256).

“You’re in the Pepsi generation and I’m a pimply freak!” (259).

“Under Ass Wizard Mojo Indian Fighter” (260).

Space Man: “Kesey . . . in a silver space suit complete with a big bubble space helmet.” (260).

“. . . letting it all flow in until–satori–the perfect state is reached and he realizes he is God.” (261).

dues ex machina” (261).

 

 

20

“non-navigator” (266)

Pancho Pillow: “The human bummer: :::::” (268).

“. . .always billed as the wave of the future, and was inevitably a drag. (271).

Films: “. . . the commentary was a rather dull travelogue and the film seemed fairly uninspired and confused.” (272).

“kittens” and “tigers” (273)

“Her scream shrieks . . .” (280).

two-tone dude” (283)

“. . . sour-milk L.A. sunshine of 9 A.M. . . .” (283).

“Pranksters–and the Pranked.” (284).

 

 

21

“[They]–whistle in that slow-brain brown Mexican huarache day-laborer way . . .” (287).

“. . . cook creak of speed rush in his veins.” (287).

“‘Shall get her over and ball her, man?’ . . . . “Wanna Coke, or not?” (290-1).

fiercest fear” (293)

“cocktail gloom” (293)

“Always nice to hire some help to commit suicide.” (296).

Mexico: “. . . man, it is honest and real here . . . and just as miserable as hell . . .” (301).

“Beautiful People letter” (301)

 

 

22

The New Super Fugitive, Steve Lamb, KSRO Mighty 590 (309).

“. . . we must find out the cause and the cure–or could it possibly be that yesterday and tomorrow are merely more of Now stretching fifteen miles and three miles wide immortal–” (313).

“. . . cocoa palms and all sortsa jungle shit.” (313).

“. . . here, on Devil’s Island, us fugitives; no sense of time at all . . .” (314).

“. . . break the spell . . . of 3,000 years ago.” (314).

“. . . even taking biblical identities . . .” . . . . “Kesey is Esau;” (315)

Never trust a Prankster!” (321)

 

 

24

“Kesey’s new alias, Sol Almande. Salamander, you understand–the beast that lives in fire.” (327).

“. . . lonely . . . in the Prankster hierarchy.” (330).

 

 

25

Russian submarines: “A tough code. But we’ll break it yet.” (332).

The Fugitive movie, Casablanca (334)

“. . . cross between Zorro and Nero.” (335)

Elizabeth Taylor, maricón (335-6)

“In any case, better him there gathering more data for his fabulous career than lurking in the cocoa palms working himself up to spring his ultimate cop fantasy on them.” (337).

Sandy: “The trip had been liberation and captivity all at the same time, liberation, power, will, the greatest in the world–” (341).

Sandy: “You know . . . I’ll always be on the bus. (342).

Fire to Water, Stone Age to Acid Age, and Furthur (343)

Purloined-letter principle: “Paint it big enough and brigh enough, and they will never see you.” (344).

 

 

26

“Honesty’s the best disguise” (346)

“Marching to a different bummer” (348)

“. . . badass moment when [Bill] Graham put out his hand to shake and make up and Kesey just looked at it and walked away.” (354).

Panhandler sign: “My Heart is Prouder than my Stomach” (355).

Topless shoeshine: “And the funny thing is, it’s a damn good shoeshine!” (356).

A bunch of fraternity men in their Mustangs!” (357).

Crab jungle: “A-200 Time” (358).

Haight-Ashbury, Owsley, the White Rabbit (359)

“Trans-Love Airways” (359)

“The Probation Generation! Not the Lost Generation or the Beat Generation or the Silent Generation or even the Flower Generation, but the Probation Generation . . .” (360)

Telegram: “Rains Came Mushrooms Up” (361)

The Outlaw: “The [Hell’s] Angels were too freaking real” (365).

The Hip: “Behold my wings! Freedom! Flight!–but you don’t actually expect me to jump off that cliff, do you?” (365).

 

 

27

“. . . Kesey is no dragon, just an ordinary jackass . . .” (373).

“. . . it was about . . .” (378).

“Never trust a Prankster . . .” (280).

“DMSO with LSD . . . what a vision!” (381).

Graham to Cassady: Look, Neal, we’re in two different worlds. You’re a hippie and I’m a square . . .” . . . . “I got off the subway in 1955, but you’re still on it.” (385).

“. . . wild tow trucks heading to the four points of the compass . . .” (386).

“aftershave smile” (392)

Cassady: “Yes! Violence, you understand . . . There’s not going to be any violence here. If we wanted some violence we have some fellows here who could furnish it . . .” (396).

“Got religion!” (398)

“. . . Making a mistake is not important . . . it’s the context in which the mistake is made . . .” (398).

“Life is shit, said the Buddha, a duress of bad karma, and satori is passive . . .” (403).

The New Dimensions” (406)

“He can’t figure out who the hell to alienate.” (408).