From Reality to Digitality
corpse of a past life. Burroughs’s abandonment of Vollmer, and the snub of her contributions to the Beat mentality, transformed her into another iteration of the Ugly Spirit. Billy’s orphaning at the hands of his father did the same, sinking further into his cynicism before his early demise.
William Burroughs had surrounded himself with a host of superstitious beliefs: Scientology, mystic prophecies, shamanism, the list goes on. They only strengthened the grip of the Ugly Spirit. Joan Vollmer and Billy Burroughs Jr possessed the necessary power to be William Burroughs’s tangible Ugly Spirit if they hadn’t been swept under the wave of Burroughs’s literary career or explained away by lenient biographers. As his overtly-commoditised role in the Nike advert showed, Burroughs twists his beliefs and superstitions to fit circumstance. If there’s a buck to be made at the sacrifice of his integrity, he’ll take the buck. If he has to engage his Ugly Spirit and obliterate his family in order establish himself as a writer, Burroughs, as he has so palpably shown, will happily pull the trigger.