Free Radical Book Now Under Copyright


By Neal Comment

In certain underground circles, the Principia Discordia is honored as the founding document of Discordianism, one of the late 20th century’s most enduring parody religions (except for when it isn’t a parody), where every man and woman is a Pope. For decades, the document has been distributed on a “kopyleft” basis, with co-author “Malaclypse the Younger” inviting readers to “reprint what you like.” Recently, a small press in Berkeley, California, called Ronin Publishing that specializes in “personal development, visionary alternatives, and expanded consciousness” took the Principia and, in the words of one critic, “altered [it] ever-so-slightly and had a big-ol copyright slapped on it,” retitling the book Discordia: Hail the Goddess of Chaos and Confusion in the process. (I’m waiting to hear back from Dr. Potter about the business rationale behind the revisions.)

Many Discordians are offended by the move—”there are numerous just-wrongs throughout,” goes one complaint, “far too many to list here”—but one wag thinks the “hijacked” edition is just dandy: “I am readily giving it five stars, for it has thrown upon modern discordians even more Chaos and Confusion than they deserve.” (Thanks, BoingBoing!)