Being or Nothingness redux

by Eric on April 6, 2013

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So, I got these two packages from Sweden today. Obviously, this is part two of this episode. Which Jon Ronson wrote about here.

I’m not going to try to analyze the books I received yet, except to note that yes, that’s clearly the Giant Rat of Sumatra speaking the slogan from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “BORN” as a reference to the original Being or Nothingness and, uh, probably some other stuff. One of the books says “Facsimile” and the other doesn’t. I already confirmed with Jon Ronson that he got one too.

I won’t attempt any further analysis for now. But if anyone else got one (or two) please write in to say…



marcel 04.06.13 at 1:18 am

It’s probably too late, but you might want to wipe down the books and check for white powder…



Vance Maverick 04.06.13 at 3:25 am

So are the books interesting?


rf 04.06.13 at 3:26 am

“and a letter from someone to a third party critiquing my views on the New Deal”

This is surely much more worrying?


SN 04.06.13 at 4:15 am

I sometimes get random self-published books or booklets from people. I used to save them but now I throw them away.

I did not get one of these–but I want one.

I don’t understand the reference to Jon Ronson’s book. Did he get one of these from Sweden? What does it have to do with psychopaths?


Olov 04.06.13 at 6:32 am


Katherine 04.06.13 at 8:22 am

This feels like looking in on an inside joke. Do we have to buy the book to understand?


js. 04.06.13 at 4:23 pm

I had the same thought as rf.


William Timberman 04.06.13 at 5:14 pm

Count your blessings. It could have been two copies of Being AND Nothingness.


marcel 04.06.13 at 6:32 pm

Well, that’s one of the nice things about a matched set: it could have been 2 copies of Being. Even worse would be 2 copies of Nothingness; I don’t know about you, but that would make me feel ill at ease, since I don’t know any Valerie or Vivian.


Philip 04.06.13 at 9:29 pm

SN, Ronson starts his book ‘The Pyscopath Test’ writing about the first book that was sent out to various academics.


Chris Armstrong 04.07.13 at 3:42 am

I also got sent the original ‘Being or Nothingness,’ but it was WAY earlier than 2009 – I know that because I was working in Belfast at the time, so that means it was between 2003 and 2005. I never paid that much attention to it, perhaps because it was obviously trying very hard to be mysterious. In a typically modern, vain way, I think I spent more time wondering why it had been sent to ME. But anyway, now there’s a sequel I’m quite interested to see if I get one! Or perhaps I failed some kind of test last time?


Salient 04.07.13 at 4:04 am

Can I have the one marked Fascimile? That way if someone asks me about it, I can say, “I don’t have it, but I have a copy of it. It wasn’t sent to me, but someone sent me it.” Seems befitting.


Lymie 04.08.13 at 1:29 am

Ooo, ooo, Firesign Theater reference! What else?


Dorothea Barrett 04.08.13 at 10:22 am

I got the first envelope in May 2009. In the past two weeks, I got three other envelopes: the facsimile of the collectors’ edition; the collectors’ edition; and the volume of recipients of Being or Nothingness. This third book was a revelation. I had previously thought (on the basis of the blogs) that only about eighty people – all academics – had received the book, but apparently 700 people received it, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Bob Dylan, Pope Benedict, Condoleeza Rice, Bill Gates … (????#!!??)

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