Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Orgone Box
From this weeks New Yorker article, "Novelty Acts," by Ariel Levy, on Wilhelm Reich and the sexual revolution:
1. "Still, many Americans were taken with Reich's contention that sexual liberation was crucial to resisting Fascism that was spreading through Europe."
2. Reich came up with "a new apparatus . . . " a machine to trap the potent, healing force of the orgasms. His orgone-energy accumulator, or orgone box, as it became known, resembled a wooden telephone booth lined with metal sheeting and steel wool."
3. "Like the celestial bed, the orgone box acquired a celebrity following: J.D. Salinger, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroghs, Saul Bellow, and Norman Mailer were all devotees.
4. "Reich had his detractors, notably Albert Einstein, who, after two weeks of tests on the box, declared it useless."
5. "In 1954, after an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, a court ruled that Reich could no longer rent and sell his orgone boxes."
6. "In January, 1964, Time called Riech a "prophet," and claimed that "all America is one big Orgone Box . . .