It's a book about the rise of LSD culture in California. It's a book about Ken Kesey as something like a charismatic cult leader, about the Merry Pranksters. It's easy to look back and criticize these folks; but that's hindsight talking. At the time, it was a new exploration of the mind; nobody knew how it would turn out.
There is also a lot of talk about games. The straight world outside, it seems, is made up of millions of people involved, trapped, in games they aren't even aware of. A guy they call Hassler comes comes in out of the sunlight screen on Harriet Street and, zoom, he doesn't even wait for the metaphors. I never got into an abstract discussion with a total stranger so fast in my life. We began talking right away about the games. Hassler is a young guy, good-looking with a wide face and long hair with bangs just exactly like Prince Valiant in the comic strip and a turtleneck jersey on with metal stars on it, of the sort generals wear on their shoulders, and he says, "Games so permeate our culture that…" rumble rumble ego games judge everything screwed up brainwashing tell ourselves "…keep on oppositioning". … "—but you know what? People are beginning to see through the warf of the games. Not just the heads and everybody, but all sorts of people."
This book gives Ken Babbs credit for introducing the nature of pranks. Maybe I should read more about Ken Babbs. I learned that Kesey read comic books, which might help explain some of the pranksterish flair for costumery. Tales of folks all tripping at the same time, all gibbering together, "going into echolalia," which sounds just a couple of settings away from fitting in at a revival tent.