His name is George Cockcroft, and though no longer young, he is alive
November 16, 2019 4:26 PM   Subscribe

 
Ron is 30, introduces himself as a conceptual artist and urban pirate, and heads a community of dice people who meet every month for what, under all the new-age jargon, seems to be good old group sex, where the dice above all decides who will be on top, who on the bottom and so on.

aaaaaa
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As a strict philosophy, it's peak '60s-era white guy nonsense. But as a therapeutic aid, a coin flip or dice roll really can help you with tough decisions, especially by making you realize that you do want to do one thing more than another.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:46 PM on November 16, 2019 [12 favorites]


This was a great read. Thanks for posting.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:00 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Nothing sorts priorities faster than a flipped coin at its apex.
posted by dobbs at 5:16 PM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Journalist Ben Marshall spent two years from 1998 to 2000 experimenting with being a Dice Man and reporting his experiences in Loaded magazine. Loaded subsequently named Rhinehart as novelist of the century.
says wikipedia. That's so very Loaded.

I remember my dad read it round about the time the family started to get very evangelical. Never read it, but several of my friends were very keen on it when they were 15. I did read “Adventures of Wim” though because it was remaindered. It wasn't great.
posted by scruss at 5:29 PM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ten times it was almost adapted for the cinema, but mysteriously the project never came about.

Just ten bad rolls, I’m guessing.
posted by TedW at 5:54 PM on November 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


I had a similar experience to the author of the Who Is article.

Mine was one of those ten ‘bad’ rolls.

I too was influenced by the book in my youth, and carried it with me for decades. It’s still one of the 3-4 books I mention in my couchsurfing profile.

In 1992, I moved to Los Angeles, and I was broke as a church mouse. I met a young movie director, who just won a prize for a short film. Somehow, I convinced him to read The Dice Man, and even more so, convinced him that it will make a great movie to make.

After a long pre-internet search, I traced Luke Rhinehart‘s location, and sent him a letter. We started corresponding, and a couple of months later, he invited us to come to his place in upstate New York.

We stayed with him and his lovely wife for a weekend, and ‘negotiated’ an option on the movie. There was a previous problem, because Paramount did own the rights to it, but for $5,000 he allowed us to try and buy it from them.

Unfortunately, nothing more ever came out of it.

About 5 months ago, I got rid of everything I ever owned, and for $50, “sold” my 3,000 books to a Southern California used books lady. She came with a van, and picked up dozen of boxes of old books.

I didn’t want to go through all of them, these were books I collected for over 50 years. But I remember seeing my old copy of The Dice Man sitting on top.

Into the van it went....

Sigh...
posted by growabrain at 5:59 PM on November 16, 2019 [26 favorites]


Huh. I thought I was fairly conversant in 60s-70s new age nonsense (not as a subscriber, just as someone who's been on Phish tour a time or three and knows a lot of hippies) and I've never heard of this book in my life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:18 PM on November 16, 2019 [11 favorites]


memorialized in talk talk's such a shame.

"When asked what drove him to respond to Rhinehart's book, Hollis replied, 'A good book, not a lifestyle I'd recommend.' "
posted by Clowder of bats at 6:44 PM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Gotta say George Cockcroft is an entirely plausible Richard D James alias.
posted by juv3nal at 8:00 PM on November 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


But as a therapeutic aid, a coin flip or dice roll really can help you with tough decisions, especially by making you realize that you do want to do one thing more than another.

See also: Casting runes, tarot, the I Ching, etc. It forces you to pause and reflect on things, especially if you're asking yourself questions about true desires and the like.

"Wait, no, that cast can't be right at all! I really want... ohhhhh!"
posted by loquacious at 8:05 PM on November 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


So this is basically Two-Face: The Real, Non-Comic-Book Cult?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:50 PM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Apparently "dice" is an acceptable singular form but it just grates.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:52 PM on November 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


So this answers a question I never knew I had: “what if John Cage, but kind of a jerk?”.
That said this article was a good yarn, and I do find aleatoric processes fun, so I might check out the novel. Although the synopsis isn’t promising - surely we can have fantasies of throwing off life’s shackles where the protagonist doesn’t need to become a toxic sociopath?
posted by threecheesetrees at 2:24 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


threecheesetrees,I wonder (I mean, no, not really) how much the standard of 'throwing off the shackles of society' resulting in the main character becoming a terrible human being has to do with bored white men dissatisfied with where the choices they've made have taken them. By god, how much of what's on the shelves is bored suburban man trying to imagine a different life for themselves, but with limited imaginations (or what's fed to them as what real manliness is), and what always comes up is, 'shit, I wouldn't be here if I'd just been more of a dick!'

It's fucking sad, really. Unfortunately I don't know of any non-white-males writing books where the main character escapes the shackles, aside from (as far as I can recall) Nora walking out at the end of A Doll's House (still written by a guy, but pretty great). I think I'd be up for reading more of that, and less of Fountainhead/embittered wish-fulfillment fanfic.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:35 AM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh I read this back in the day (late nineties) but it's tarnished by the numerous men who've asked me if I've read it, then explained it to me. Must be more than ten at this point although popularity seems to have waned recently.
posted by sedimentary_deer at 8:02 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately I don't know of any non-white-males writing books where the main character escapes the shackles, aside from (as far as I can recall) Nora walking out at the end of A Doll's House (still written by a guy, but pretty great). I think I'd be up for reading more of that, and less of Fountainhead/embittered wish-fulfillment fanfic.

Sounds like a good AskMe. Let’s crowdsource a Thelma and Louise booklist folks.
posted by q*ben at 9:29 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


I would think much feminist sci-fi/fantasy would qualify for this category, no?
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:08 AM on November 17, 2019


Apparently "dice" is an acceptable singular form but it just grates.
Some dialectal variation is easy to appreciate as such, e.g., the spoken "ax versus ask." But the singular-dice always makes me think "ignorant, not variant." A couple others like that that I have trouble with: "verse" instead of "versus" and "convenient store" instead of "convenience store."

I guess it should be unsurprising that as I get older I actually notice language changing around me. And of course, the typical reaction to that is "you whippersnappers get off my LAN," but being inside it is like the first time you pontificate to your kids or another young person and realize "my god, I've become my parents." Aging gracefully is apparently a work in progress.

I'd never even heard of the book before, so this is a welcome post. I intend to get a copy. Sounds pretty interesting. Thanks.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 10:30 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


“surely we can have fantasies of throwing off life’s shackles where the protagonist doesn’t need to become a toxic sociopath?“

Could be the author intends/intended it as a cautionary tale that gets missed as such. “If you’re comfortable in the selves you’re rolling along with, then roll on.”
posted by Matt Oneiros at 11:05 AM on November 17, 2019


I keep seeing these things that apparently been around forever and I've never heard of, and feel like the simulation is screwing with me.
posted by bongo_x at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


This guy didn't invent Flipism, Carl Barks did. (Or maybe Bob Kane and Bill Finger). The President knows the origins of this philosophy.
posted by CCBC at 4:27 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


In Stockholm there's a taxi company called "Two Dices" with a logo consisting of a pair of dice. Every time I see one of their cars I wonder, "Who is Two and why is he advertising his knife skills on this taxi?"
posted by St. Oops at 10:01 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Apparently "dice" is an acceptable singular form but it just grates.

"The singular 'die' is seldom used, as per the ancient aphorism 'Never say die!'"
-Ambrose Bierce
posted by Mogur at 4:45 AM on November 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


a coin flip or dice roll really can help you with tough decisions

Call it, Friendo
posted by e1c at 1:33 PM on November 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


I read The Dice Man when I was 17 or so and really liked it as a thought experiment--my friend and I carried dice around for some weeks after (though, as a D&D nerd, this was not a stretch.) I think that's about the right age to read it.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:17 PM on November 18, 2019


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