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king ubu

The Wisdom of Sun Ra - Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and

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Since the search won't help, I am posting this not knowing if it has been discussed before.

Just got the following notification from Chicago University Press and thought it might be of interest here:

0945323077.jpeg

Sun Ra The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets. Edited by Anthony Elms and John Corbett. Distributed for WhiteWalls. 144 p., 56 color plates. 6-1/2 x 9-1/2

Paper $20.00 0-945323-07-7 Spring 2006

From the Arkestra to his experiments with synthesizers, Sun Ra was one of the most inventive jazz musicians in history. Yet until now, there has not been a collection of his earliest writings that reveal the beginnings of his work as philosopher, mystic, and Afro-Futurist. This new volume unveils over forty newly discovered typewritten broadsheets on which Sun Ra expounded his wholly unique philosophical message.

While in Chicago during the mid-1950s, Sun Ra preached on street corners and occasionally created scripts to accompany his lectures—intricate texts that invoke science fiction, Biblical prophecy, etymology, and black nationalism. Until this point, the only broadsheet known to exist was one given to John Coltrane in 1956. These newly unearthed writings attest to the provocative brilliance that inspired Coltrane. Sun Ra annotated many of them by hand, and together the sheets reveal fascinating new aspects of his worldview.

The Wisdom of Sun Ra is an invaluable compendium of writings by one of the most intriguing and influential jazz figures of the century.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

one of everything: blount hermeneutics and the wisdom of ra

John Corbett

broadsheet images

transcriptions

what america should consider

jesus said, "let the negro bury the negro."

language of gods

spo de o de........hoc way.....

a spook sho' is a dragg, man.....

he's a dragg

satan is the god of the spooks negroes are the children of the "devil"

the negro is a burden to the white man!

message to the spook

negroes are not men

jacob in the land of u.s.

there's a nigger in the woodpile

the way of the cross

there are two ethiopias

days of vengence

the light isG

the true way to life

wake up! wake up! wake up!

the bible was not written for negroes!!!!!!

the great whore

little i's i love you

i don't give a hoot

big brother left you holding the bag!

the stumbling block

moms & pops

the poor little rich one: the prince of this world

neptune is rex...

the ruler with the iron fork...

johnny one note

"a nigger is a mess"

why don't you turn again!

the god of israel

united states at the crossroads

solution to the negro problem

[illegible title] it is time to discuss

basic truths

humpty dumpty

keys to understanding the hidden meaning of the bible

the wisdom of ra

the reach for a better world

what negroes do to be saved

the truth

the truth about jesus

i have set beore you life and death--choose life

lucifer means light bearer

zoroastrianism

satan

the end

Edited by king ubu

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Hi All,

Has anyone read this book, and is it recommended? It looks fascinating, and the Bastards have it on sale right now... should I pick it up?

Cheers,

Shane

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Shane, if you think it looks fascinating I think you'll find it fascinating.

I bought this when it came out and spent a part of an afternoon with it. . . .That was a very bad time for me to pick it up, my life having been cluttered with my wife's medical care and we were about to leave our home for a few more months at that time. . . .I was distracted, didn't get into the book as much as it deserved. I'll try to pick it up again soon. There's more to look at than to read really. I think you'll like it.

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Shane, if you think it looks fascinating I think you'll find it fascinating.

I bought this when it came out and spent a part of an afternoon with it. . . .That was a very bad time for me to pick it up, my life having been cluttered with my wife's medical care and we were about to leave our home for a few more months at that time. . . .I was distracted, didn't get into the book as much as it deserved. I'll try to pick it up again soon. There's more to look at than to read really. I think you'll like it.

Thanks Lon!

I appreciate your suggestions, and I'm sure I will grab this from DG this week. Also, please know that I wish your wife (and you, of course) nothing but the best in her road to recovery.

Cheers,

Shane

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There's more to look at than to read really. I think you'll like it.

That was my impression when I saw it in the shops over here recently - about £15. Resisted the temptation but maybe I shouldn't have.

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My review in The Wire 271, September 2006

The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra’s Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets, Ed. Anthony Elms and John Corbett (Chicago: Whitewalls).

Proselytisers, preachers and demagogues dotted the sidewalks and crowded the storefronts of Southside Chicago in the early 50s, the speakers variously espousing Christianity, Islam, Marxism or proto-Pan Africanism; quieter thinkers deprived of any institutional outlet aside from the street also engaged in public scholarly discussion. Sun Ra was known in the area not only as an idiosyncratic swing-to-bop bandleader, but also as one of those intellectuals, and while this activity of Ra’s has always been known about – his musicians have reported how Ra’s writings circulated among the national jazz community – little was known of their content until a few years ago, when a cache of Ra ephemera was retrieved from a skip and the 46 pieces collected in this book were discovered. The torn, yellowed, crayon-marked original scripts are presented here in facsimile and followed by typeset transcriptions somewhat easier to read. Somewhat, but not much. Ra’s investigations of biblical interpretation, which form the basis of every text, are rhetorically oblique to say the least; further, removed from performance and so deprived of the verbal and gestural persuasiveness that the performance of good talk guaranteed, however they sounded, the pieces read strangely indeed.

Ra’s ambiguous and sometimes-inconsistent attitude towards his chief subject doesn’t help. The musician betrays a Nietzschean distaste for Christianity which he seems to have seen – like many black discontents of the time – as part responsible for a perceived black social docility: ‘To be CHRISTLIKE is to be meek and led to the slaughter without protest. The AMERICAN NEGRO HAS DONE ALL THESE THINGS’. The Bible and the religion, Ra polemicises, are not things for ‘negroes’; behind much of this is an intense (and rather Protestant) suspicion of institutional authority, and a relentless questioning of authoritative interpretations. ‘Who would you rather give you freedom and all the happiness that life can bring: NAACP, Democrats, Republicans, Churches and Religion, Communism, or the true God?’

For Ra the Bible does contain that true God’s true word – but that truth is not the truth the book purports to contain. ‘THE CONCEALED TRUTH’, Ra types with one finger on shift, ‘IS THE ONE OF MOST IMPORTANCE TO THE NEGRO. THE BIBLE IS WRITTEN IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT HAS ONE MEANING FOR THE NEGRO AND ANOTHER MEANING FOR THE WHITE MAN’. And many of Ra’s texts are devoted to the uncovering of this true meaning, through outrageous hermeneutics, endless language gaming, operations squarely at the centre of African American talk culture. Words are for Ra not symbols given meaning when linked by grammar or in argument, rather, Nommo-like, material repositories for the very thing they name. Words are plastic things, and the skill of Ra the sculptor reveals hidden unities, as in the game that tracks back from a contemporary black cultural anonymity to a glorious past: ‘JOHN DOE, OD, OUD, SPODE ODE, DRINKIN’ WINE SPOITHE OITHE, ETHIOPS’. Much of Ra’s etymological bullshitting (in English, Cantonese and Latin) is in this way illustrative of thought and language in motion, bearing more metaphorical and creative meaning than literal. But sometimes that elucidating is overcome by autodidact obfuscation: ‘In the English Alphabet 2 is ten (X) from Z which is a non curved 2. Z then is equal to 2 because the first is the last’. ‘Truth is Frank. Frank is French. The French language is the Truth language. The mind of every Frenchman is a key to ETERNAL LIFE in the TWO world.’

Ra could be a disingenuous man, which is perhaps how after all this verbal play he can chide: ‘TOO MUCH MOUTH IS THE CAUSE OF THE AMERICAN NEGROES CONDITION TODAY’. Indeed, his attitude towards his audience is continuously provocative, and while mentions of music are rare, it is once introduced as a pretext by which to chide black people as uncultured for not subsidizing the arts, specifically – surprisingly – symphony orchestras, ballets and opera companies.

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Shane, my apologies: I was in a hurry and thought this was the Pathways to the Unknown book. I don't have this one yet. Check out the Amazon prices. . . .

Thanks also for the kind words. Unfortunately I lost Helen on October 8. I'm copiing well.

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This thing is off the charts now, priecewise. Any alternatives?

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, JSngry said:

This thing is off the charts now, priecewise. Any alternatives?

This has a lot of writing, far from cheap but still on the charts:

41vIkbnD-aL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I have a copy, and to be honest I found it a bit disappointing. Having just finished the Sites book Sun Ra in Chicago, I think The Wisdom of Sun Ra (unfortunately, given availability) would be a better read.

Edited by T.D.

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First I've heard of this book and yeah, it's pricey. I've never read Sun's own writings, only previews here and there and honestly they've always been a bit sus to me. Still would like to see this get a repress and probably read it along with Kreiss' work on Ra and the Black Panthers to get a better scope on things. 

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20 hours ago, T.D. said:

This has a lot of writing, far from cheap but still on the charts:

41vIkbnD-aL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I have a copy, and to be honest I found it a bit disappointing. Having just finished the Sites book Sun Ra in Chicago, I think The Wisdom of Sun Ra (unfortunately, given availability) would be a better read.

I got this: https://www.dustygroove.com/item/978854?cat=books but would love a closer look at the broadsheets, just because of their format. I'm a fan of street-level pamphleteering, especially when it's less than even a pamphlet!

I also found a link somewhere that indicates that some library collection has 90+ such items, only 25(?) of which have been published. Maybe next-gen research gets them all out at some point 

9 hours ago, Dub Modal said:

First I've heard of this book and yeah, it's pricey. I've never read Sun's own writings, only previews here and there and honestly they've always been a bit sus to me. Still would like to see this get a repress and probably read it along with Kreiss' work on Ra and the Black Panthers to get a better scope on things. 

Ra was...multi-directional (no pun intended), often within the same thought  I find it beneficial to let it all sink in before drawing any but the most basic conclusions. However, if you are comfortable with the total veracity of  "Eurocentric" historical narratives of civilization and with the notion of Abrahamic religions telling The Whole Cosmological Truth, then... don't bother. :g

Otherwise, hey. A lot of people have said a lot of things about a lot of stuff. Past that... archaeology keeps turning up things.

Plus, if nothing else, Ra was a hell of an astute commentator on the nature of beauty and how society processes it 

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Posted (edited)

32 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I got this: https://www.dustygroove.com/item/978854?cat=books but would love a closer look at the broadsheets, just because of their format. I'm a fan of street-level pamphleteering, especially when it's less than even a pamphlet!

I also found a link somewhere that indicates that some library collection has 90+ such items, only 25(?) of which have been published. Maybe next-gen research gets them all out at some point 

Ra was...multi-directional (no pun intended), often within the same thought  I find it beneficial to let it all sink in before drawing any but the most basic conclusions. However, if you are comfortable with the total veracity of  "Eurocentric" historical narratives of civilization and with the notion of Abrahamic religions telling The Whole Cosmological Truth, then... don't bother. :g

Otherwise, hey. A lot of people have said a lot of things about a lot of stuff. Past that... archaeology keeps turning up things.

Plus, if nothing else, Ra was a hell of an astute commentator on the nature of beauty and how society processes it 

Cool. You got a good chunk of the poetry in attractive formats.

I found the poetry not uniformly excellent. Many awesome pieces, but quite a few that aren't particularly good, and Ra's verbal/typographical permutational tricks wear thin in large doses. Needless to say, YMMV.

The Thmei Research pamphlets, broadsheets, etc.  discussed in Sites's recent Sun Ra's Chicago seem weirder and more interesting. I'd like to read more of that stuff. Revisiting my copy of Szwed's outstanding Space is the Place bio, I was surprised to see no mention of Thmei.

 

There seem to be archives at

https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/findingaids/view.php?eadid=ICU.SPCL.ABRAHAMA (Alton Abraham collection at U of Chicago - the mother lode!)

and

http://archives.nypl.org/scm/29921 (NY Pub. Library, much smaller, from Pat Patrick estate)

 

Edited by T.D.

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11 minutes ago, T.D. said:

Cool. You got a good chunk of the poetry in attractive formats.

I found the poetry not uniformly excellent. Many awesome pieces, but quite a few that aren't particularly good, and Ra's verbal/typographical permutational tricks wear thin in large doses. Needless to say, YMMV.

The Thmei Research pamphlets, broadsheets, etc.  discussed in Sites's recent Sun Ra's Chicago seem weirder and more interesting. I'd like to read more of that stuff. Revisiting my copy of Szwed's outstanding Space is the Place bio, I was surprised to see no mention of Thmei.

 

There seem to be archives at

https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/findingaids/view.php?eadid=ICU.SPCL.ABRAHAMA (Alton Abraham collection at U of Chicago - the mother lode!)

and

http://archives.nypl.org/scm/29921 (NY Pub. Library, much smaller, from Pat Patrick estate)

 

Agreed about the quality of the poetry, and the wordplay...YMMV indeed, as does mine on any given day. Which is why the braodsheet format appeals to me, it's very nature calls for cutting to the chase.

That NYPL collection, that's where I saw the unpublished bit...check out these titles (and these are, I guess, all broadsheets):

  • are you a hopeless case?
  • mystery babylon is the negro
  • judgement day continued for the negro
  • there are two ways in the bible
  • confessing is not repenting
  • humans all
  • the kingdom of heaven is now
  • message from the god of israel to negroes only
  • to the hypocrites!!
  • israel is the negro
  • the great sabbath-breaker
  • there is war in heaven!
  • the truth shall make you free
  • negro, an emblem of suffering and shame
  • the true origin of the so-called negro (god's chosen people)
  • god says, "choose life!"
  • the days of a tree
  • wisdom from god
  • salvation is of the jews
  • question: why do white people separate themselves from negroes?
  • the real truth
  • timely questions
  • all the gates are here!
  •  let there be light!
  • israel, the son of god
  • the land of nod
  • jesus sentenced capernaum to hell...also, his enemies
  • sinners will enter first in the kingdom of heaven
  • judgement day...be careful what you say
  • jesus is called the prince of peace
  • ...the truth about jesus
  • there's death on the cross
  • hi ho silver
  • how to live forever and never die
  • should cause every being upon this planet to hide in shame
  • the worship of the word "one" is a covenant with death
  • mesh/net/sieve
  • only true wisdom can save america
  • there are two jesus in the bible i, jesus and jesus
  • how the ethiopians deceived the world
  • the way
  • "The Solaristic Precept"
  • [illegible] of china, japan, asia, and africa
  • according the the bible: The negro is a beast
  • the black curse
  • [illegible title]

None of this should seem really strange to anybody's who's been exposed to "Black Muslims" (of any faction) or any other non-mainstream African-American "religious" sect.. What I'm really hungry for is to see Ra's "extra dimension" which you know is almost certainly there.

Published it the book are these:

  • why don't you turn again!
  • ...there are two ethiopias
  • "a nigger is a mess"
  • johnny one note
  • big brother left you holding the bag!
  • i have set before you life and death - choose life
  • message to the spook
  • the great whore
  • the way of the cross
  • the true way to life
  • i don't give a hoot
  • days of vengeance
  • the stumbling block
  • little i's i love you
  • moms and pops
  • the language of the gods
  • ...spo de o de...hoc way
  • neptune is rex...the ruler with the iron fork
  • satan is the god of the spooks, negroes are the children of the devil
  • a spook sho is a dragg, man...he's a dragg
  • the poor little rich one; the prince of this world
  • lucifer means light bearer
  • jesus said, "let the negro bury the negro"

Really hoping for a reprint, or at least a PDF.

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Posted (edited)

I used to get loads of stuff from Sun Ra Research a long time ago.
Included with pamphlets were postcards of various kinds that I've
since kept in a Ziploc® bag. Some wonderfully heady stuff!!!

bJabmCZ.jpg

Edited by rostasi

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13 hours ago, JSngry said:

However, if you are comfortable with the total veracity of  "Eurocentric" historical narratives of civilization and with the notion of Abrahamic religions telling The Whole Cosmological Truth, then... don't bother.

Oh, that ain't me. When I say sus, I mean reactionary.  

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Putting this out there just to show that the ideas of the Thmei Research writings did not occur in a vacuum, nor did they disappear into one. There's definitely been a strain of thought that presents, accepts, and actions on "non-traditional narratives" about the various mainstream narratives about the origins of civilization and all that comes from that.

Was anybody paying attention to the Massachusetts police standoff with "The Rise Of The Moors" group?

Initial reports had me thinking that that was an...interesting name for a sovereign citizens movement, I wonder if...

and sure enough (although this part is not turning up in too many reports): Massachusetts I-95 standoff: What is Rise of Moor, Moorish sovereign (usatoday.com)

 

"Different factions and leaders cobble together bits and pieces from a variety of sources and craft their own legal theories," MacNab wrote on Twitter, saying they rely on beliefs from "Moorish Science Temple, Black Hebrew Israelism, Nation of Islam, UFO theories, phony Native American tribes, and the pseudo-legal arguments crafted by white supremacist 'patriot' groups in the 1970s."

On its website, Rise of the Moors says, "Moor does not mean Black. The noun ‘Moor’ is a shortened variant of the word Moroccan." The group also says the term Black was used by Europeans to "strip us of our illustrious history."

The group also denies being sovereign citizens on its website but says the records "show that the Moors are the organic or original sovereigns of this land – America."

MacNab said some believe Moors were the first settlers of the U.S. Some also believe Morocco and the United States signed a treaty shortly after the American Revolution that exempts Moorish people from the law.

The Moorish Science Temple of America, a religious sect, dates back to the 1913.

 

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10 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Putting this out there just to show that the ideas of the Thmei Research writings did not occur in a vacuum, nor did they disappear into one. There's definitely been a strain of thought that presents, accepts, and actions on "non-traditional narratives" about the various mainstream narratives about the origins of civilization and all that comes from that.

Was anybody paying attention to the Massachusetts police standoff with "The Rise Of The Moors" group?

Initial reports had me thinking that that was an...interesting name for a sovereign citizens movement, I wonder if...

and sure enough (although this part is not turning up in too many reports): Massachusetts I-95 standoff: What is Rise of Moor, Moorish sovereign (usatoday.com)

 

"Different factions and leaders cobble together bits and pieces from a variety of sources and craft their own legal theories," MacNab wrote on Twitter, saying they rely on beliefs from "Moorish Science Temple, Black Hebrew Israelism, Nation of Islam, UFO theories, phony Native American tribes, and the pseudo-legal arguments crafted by white supremacist 'patriot' groups in the 1970s."

On its website, Rise of the Moors says, "Moor does not mean Black. The noun ‘Moor’ is a shortened variant of the word Moroccan." The group also says the term Black was used by Europeans to "strip us of our illustrious history."

The group also denies being sovereign citizens on its website but says the records "show that the Moors are the organic or original sovereigns of this land – America."

MacNab said some believe Moors were the first settlers of the U.S. Some also believe Morocco and the United States signed a treaty shortly after the American Revolution that exempts Moorish people from the law.

The Moorish Science Temple of America, a religious sect, dates back to the 1913.

 

Stuff like this is almost always an op of some sort. See: http://hrlr.law.columbia.edu/hrlr-online/the-anatomy-of-a-federal-terrorism-prosecution-a-blueprint-for-repression-and-entrapment/

 

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See, that's why you gotta come from Saturn...

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1 minute ago, JSngry said:

See, that's why you gotta come from Saturn...

Or at least one's perspective...

And this is why I'm interested in this now too-high-priced book. There are several aspects of Ra's story and life that play into that coin telly-pro ecosystem that I highly suspect the BPs were possibly keen on, and it has me wondering if Kreiss addressed that in his work (and if not there, where else would it be discussed? Chusid's book?). 

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You might have a hard time getting the/a/any really true story there...no matter what gets said about the Panthers, there's always somebody ready to jump in with a counter-narrative. Same thing with the NOI...nobody remembers Wallace Deen Mohammed today, they go straight from Elijah to Farrakhan...a lot of easy/lazy thinking and eagerness to avoid/divert though away from more nuanced engagement.

And yet - it doesn't go away.

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Posted (edited)

7 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Same thing with the NOI...nobody remembers Wallace Deen Mohammed today, they go straight from Elijah to Farrakhan

Not to mention HL Hunt bankrolling them. It's indeed complex

Edited by Dub Modal

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HL Hunt himself was a bizarre individual...

51edX4cKGEL._SX357_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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