Monday, May 14, 2018

I simply cannot imagine what they're going to do with this

I'd heard rumblings about this project a while ago, and then it slipped my mind.  But it seems that the Ridley Scott-produced series about John Whitehead Parsons is going to be streaming on CBS All Access, of all places, in June.

At first glance, it would seem to be a conventional series of the "mad genius" genre, sort of as if The Aviator were remade for TV.  Oh sure, Jack Parsons helped to create the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and had been interested in rocket engines since childhood.  And yes, a series devoted to just this part of Parsons' life would be interesting to a sizable geek audience.

But there was another aspect to Parsons, and that is his involvement with Thelema, the occultist movement founded by Aleister Crowley.  Crowley's ideas are reputed to have, over the years, attracted to varying degrees a number of surprising famous people in addition to Jack Parsons, such as Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page (a known collector of Crowley memorabilia who even bought Crowley's Boleskine House in Scotland), John Lennon, Daryl Hall, members of Pearl Jam, Jerry Garcia, Trent Reznor, and others.    David Bowie references Crowley in the song "Quicksand" on the 1971 Hunky Dory album and certainly his final "Blackstar" video is chock full o'occult references.  .  It's also attracted many non-famous people, including certain people I knew who were involved with this stuff long before I met them, and who grew disgusted with it in much the same way that many conventionally religious people grow disgusted with their own religious leadership. 

I've always chosen to remain somewhat blissfully ignorant about the details of this stuff under the assumption that one does not muck around with what one does not understand and may not be able to handle.  I've seen some really bad things happen to people who dabble in the occult without knowing what they're doing.  But I am curious as to how Ridley Scott and CBS All Access are going to handle this aspect of the life of Jack Parsons, and if there will be any commentary from those who are still into this stuff in a way that goes beyond "Do What Thou Wilt" hoodies.


1 comment:

  1. "one does not muck around with what one does not understand and may not be able to handle" Or as my teacher Rudi of long ago said, "You do not go to a Black Mass. Period."
    It doesn't matter if you're innocent or have siddhis up the wazoo. You don't go to a Black Mass. And if you are lucky, a Black Mass will never come to you.


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