Little America

Kyoto, December 2019

Chapter 20

Hollow Earth

Subterranean regions of the continent excavated in cyclopaean caverns, cathe- dralspace fractal networks, labyrinthine gargantuan tunnels, slow black under- ground rivers, unmoving stygian lakes, pure & slightly luminiferous, slim wa- terfalls plunging down watersmooth rock, cataracting round petrified forests of stalactites & stalagmites in spelunker-bewildering blind-fish complexity & un- fathomable vastness…Who dug this hollow earth beneath the ice foreseen by Poe, by certain paranoid German occultists, Shaverian UFO freaks? Was Earth once colonized in the time of Gondwana or MU by some Elder Race? their reptil- ian skeletons still mouldering in the farthest secret mazes of the cavern system? Sluggish backwaters, dead-end canals, stagnant pools far from the centers of civ- ilization like Little America, Transport City, or Nan Chi Han, down in the dark recesses and boondocks of the Antarctic caves, fungus & albino fern. We suspect them of mutations, amphibian webbed fingers and toes, degenerate habits — Kallikaks of the Hollow Earth, Lovecraftian renegades, hermits, skulking inces- tuous smugglers, runaway criminals, anarchists forced into hiding after the En- tropy Wars, fugitives from Genetic Puritanism, dissident Chinese Tongs & Yel- low Turban fanatics, lascar cave-pirates, pale shiftless whitetrash from the prole- warrens of the industrial domes along Thwait’s Tongue & the Walgreen Coast & Edsel-Ford-Land — the Trogs have kept alive for over 200 years the folk-memory of the Autonomous Zone, the myth that someday it will appear again. . . Taoism, libertine philosophy, Indonesian sorcery, cult of the Cave Mother (or Mothers), identified by some scholars with the Javanese sea/moon goddess Loro Kidul, by others with a minor deity of the South Pole Star Sect, the “Jade God- dess”…manuscripts (written in Bahasa Ingliss the pidgin dialect of the deep caves) contain mangled quotations from Nietzsche & Chuang Tzu. . . Trade con- sists of occasional precious gems and cultivation of white poppy, fungus, over a dozen different species of “magic” mushrooms…Shallow Lake Erebus, 5 miles across, dotted with stalagmitic islets choked with fern & kudzu & black dwarf pine, held in a cave so vast it sometimes creates its own weather…The town belongs officially to Little America but most of the inhabitants are Trogs liv- ing off the Shiftless Dole — & the deep-cave tribal country lies just across the Lake. Riffraff, artists, drug addicts, sorcerers, smugglers, remittance-men & perverts live in crumbling basalt-&-synthplast hotels half-encrusted with pale green vines, along the lakefront, an avenue of squalid cafes, gem emporia guarded by armed ninjas, chinese krill-noodle shops, the crystal-tinselled hall for fusion-gamelan dancers, boys practicing their mudras on sleepy electronic dark blue afternoons to the rippling of synthgongs and metallophones. . . & below the pier perhaps a few desultory bathers along the black beach, genuine low-budget tourists gawking at the shrine behind the bazaar where pallid old Trog pamongs tranced out on fungus drool & roll up their eyes, breathe in the fumes of heavy incense, everything seems suddenly menacingly bright, flickering with signifi- cance. . . a few cases of webbed fingers but the rumors of ritual promiscuity are true enough. I was living in a Trog fishing village across the lake from Erebus in a rented room above the baitshop. . . rural sloth & degenerate superstitious rites of sensual abandon, the larval & unhealthy mysteries of the chthonic mutant downtrodden Trogs, lazy shiftless no-count hicks. . . Little America, so christian & free of mutation, eugenic & orderly, where ev-eryone lives jacked into the fleshless realm of ancient software & holography, so euclidean, newtonian, clean & patriotic — L.A. will never understand this innocent filth-sorcery, this “spir- itual materialism,” this slavery to the volcanic desires of secret cave-boy gangs like laughing flowers jetting with dynamo erections pulsing up pure life curved taut as bows, & the smell of water, pond-scum, nightblooming white flowers, jasmine & datura, urine, children’s wet hair, sperm & mud. . . possessed by cave- spirits, perhaps ghosts of ancient aliens now wandering as demons seeking to renew long-lost pleasures of flesh & substance. Or else the Zone has already been reborn, already a nexus of autonomy, a spreading virus of chaos in its most exuberant clandestine form, white toadstools springing up on the spots where Trog boys have masturbated alone in the dark. . .

— Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.

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