August 21, 2011
Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla
Living In The System
Kathy was born in 1943 so as she left high school the sixties were emerging. Everybody talks about the sixties but nobody does anything about them. The sixties didn’t just happen, they erupted, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable as Warhol put it. Andy was right. The reason no one can remember the sixties is because so much was going on all anyone could see was their little fragment, that includes the so-called taste makers. All that crap you get from the sixties politicos glorifying themselves and their exploits is just crap. They were performing their act in a small little corner or the room pretending it was the whole stage. They were just a bunch of hard core losers anyway. Abbie Hoffman! Excuse me! Jerry Rubin, get out of my way. Allen Ginsburg? Pardon me while I puke.
No, no. The sixties were a happening no matter where you were. I’ve already touched on the drugs in Part One. Trust me, everyone but we happy few was on drugs whether prescription or street. I mean, Valium, my god! Straights ‘needed’ it to get through the day.
As I touched on in my Edie Sedgwick series the sixties were ushered in by the big 707 flying non-stop between NY and Europe beginning in 1959. That created the Jet Set who were the envy of all. Airports were small and intimate at the beginning of the decade burgeoning into the behemoths they have become as the airlines reduced prices and seduced people to fly. Not that I was, I didn’t get into the air until the seventies but as soon as I could I emulated the Jet Set flying to Europe and back three times in my best year.
So there were drugs and the Jet Set and the Kennedies. The Kennedies were the worst thing that ever
happened to the country. Of course in pedigree sensitive USA we are all conditioned to ignore national, religious and racial origins as if they don’t count but, let me tell you, they do. John F. Kennedy began the decade in 1960 replacing the vacated spot of Dwight David Eisenhower. The change was not nominal. Eisenhower knew what he was doing, Kennedy didn’t. Ike, as he was affectionately known, engineered the victory in Europe in WWII. He’d done a stellar job from ‘52 to ‘60. Knowing the devastation of war he resisted the hawks to keep the peace, and we hawks were quite vocal. Having inherited the Viet Nam situation from the French and FFL collapse he had contention in Indo-China under control which Nixon, had he been elected, was pledged to honor, if he could have executed.
Like I said, we’re not supposed to think, much less talk about, race, religion and nationality but the Kennedies were Irish Catholics who finally won the triumph over the Anglo-Saxon Protestants in America. The war between the Irish and English was hundreds of years old in 1923 when the Irish freed themselves from the English yoke. The Irish and Anglo-Saxon war in America had only been going on since the 1840s when the potato famine drove the Celtic lads to our shores at which time, in reaction, the so-called Know Nothing Party was created. In 1928 the Irish put Al Smith up as the Irish attempt to capture the New Island after De Valera’s 1923 success on the Ould Sod.
Times were not propitious for an Irish Catholic and Al was soundly defeated. But a gentleman named Joseph P. Kennedy, accruing a bootleg fortune with solid connections to Organized Crime was about to engineer the election of one of his sons to the highest office in the land. God only knows what goes on behind the scenes but his first choice, Joe Jr., was blown up flying over the channel. His second son John F. was given one of the most dangerous posts in the Navy, commanding a PT boat. It’s hard to believe that whoever it was that got Joe Jr. didn’t want him dead but John survived the war and began the corruption of the land from the highest office in 1960.
Kenney with amphetamines coursing through his veins and a mind centered on sex, which is to say fucking, was clueless along with his brother Bobby and his other nitwit sibling, Teddy. Within a matter of months he had us involved in a shooting war in Viet Nam, threatened by Khrushchev in the Cuban missile crisis, after he had taken the drug addicts measure at the summit, and then aborting the reconquest of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Is it any wonder the magnificent crew Ike had assembled offed him. Regardless of how history has been revised their were a great many us who sighed and said: Good riddance.
When Bobby stuck his head up from under his rock in 1968 there was no doubt he’d get it blown off, and he did. If you think the two assassinations aren’t connected, think again. So ’63 and ’68 were big years of a decade of big years. Teddy kept his head down after that but gained a measure of revenge by sponsoring the 1965 immigration bill.
In far off Africa a gentleman by the name of Barack Obama Sr. was leaving for Hawaii to get a college degree and beget the future President of the United States on a little simple minded White girl. It was in 1957 when the African colonies renounced their allegiance to their European overlords that Ghana proclaimed independence from Britain. Thus the complexion of the United Nations was changed overnight as colony after colony of a congeries of warring tribes, now known as countries, declared independence and sent emissaries to the UN. Thus the balance of power was shifted from the capable to the incapable in that momentous decade.
It should be noticed that Marcus Garvey began the coordination of the African peoples of the world a
few decades before independence was achieved by Africans and not improbably Garvey also furthered the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, thus the African independence movement and the Civil Rights Movement were occurring simultaneously and I suspect coordinated. Thus the African presence in the UN complemented the enormous Black riots that began in LA in ‘65 and reached their apex through ‘67, ‘68 and ‘69. The fabric of the country was rent and torn. The future of the country became increasingly ugly.
It’s difficult to say but after the double whammy of the movies The Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without A Cause of the mid-50s a new tone emerged in which the youthful violence came to the fore and not just lower class kids. This senseless rebellion without a cause represented a change in outlook occurring in the mid-fifties perhaps aggravated by Elia Kazan’s influential movie. Gangs of young rich guys terrorized the well to do sections of LA in ways that were inexplicable. The graduating classes of ‘53, ‘54 and ‘55 belonged to the previous era while 1956, the year I graduated, was the swing year between what was and what would be that began with the class of ‘57. About half the class of ‘56 looked backward and half, maybe less, faced forward toward the future. I was in the latter half.
Then in 1958, a twenty year old, class of ‘56 actually inspired by Rebel Without A Cause and James
Dean, so it was said, by the name of Charlie Starkweather went on a murderous rampage in Nebraska murdering several people simply for the sadistic thrills. It was bone chilling, perhaps the first of its kind. Charlie was quickly apprehended and executed in 1959.
Also in the fifties the homosexual, William Inge, wrote and produced the play Bus Stop, turned into a movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray in 1956. From those emerged the astonishingly violent TV series of one year only, Bus Stop, the production of which was supervised by Inge. That TV series transcended by miles any sadism and violence seen as yet in either TV or the movies. It even made the comic book Tales From The Crypt look tame by comparison.
Perhaps the most sickening episode in a season of sickening episodes was the one starring the teen idol Fabian as a sadistic murderous thrill killer who was obviously based on Charlie Starkweather. The episode by Altman was ambiguously titled: A Lion Walks Among Us. So the sadist was compared to a lion. The episode altered the direction of TV drama breaking down the doors for whatever followed and you know what that’s like. The impact was so strong that a Congressional hearing was called immediately to denounce it.
Already in an excited delirium young people were shown a new direction that was seized. Serial murderers that were unheard of during the early and mid-fifties became commonplace escalating, so it seemed, year by year.
Thus the scene in New York where Kathy was living her life became more violent by the month until after 1969 and the liberation of the homosexual psyche by the Stonewall Riot, when the crime became ultra sadistic and unbearable.
By the early seventies Dirty Harry and Death Wish symbolized the era moving well beyond Rebel Without A Cause or even Bus Stop as sadistic sick, sick violence. Insanity, really, and it characterized the country in the coming decades.
At the same time beginning in the early sixties pornography began its rise into the mainstream. While it was a good sized underground business before, in 1953 Hugh Heffner began publication of Playboy Magazine which brought porn into the mainstream. Playboy was followed by a host of ‘men’s’ magazines that got raunchier and raunchier. In the early sixties in San Francisco I noticed for the first time open advertisements in the Chronicle of porn films. There was a very active push to further pornography which was participated in by Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey and the Factory. In 1968 I Am
Curious: Yellow and Curious Blue were released. I Am Curious: Yellow was very influential in loosening sexual mores. Blue and Yellow were the colors of the Swedish flag. A Swedish pervert made the movie. This all led up to 1972’s Deep Throat which for all practical purpose shot porn into the mainstream. Porn and the so-called Sexual Revolution went hand in hand.
Since sex had been practiced the same ways since the origin of mankind the real sexual revolution was whether you could say ‘fuck’ in public. The pervert Lenny Bruce led that charge followed by George Carlin and certainly by the mid-seventies few movies were made where the word didn’t constitute 20% or so of the dialogue.
And then, of course there was the Viet Nam war. This effort was hampered in the US by the Judaeo-Communist allies of the Viet Namese. Naturally the US Communists said that there was no reason for the US to be involved blithely ignoring the history of the situation. Actually the war was part of the US-Soviet confrontation in which the US had made several mutual defense pacts with countries on the Communist borders in an effort to contain it. South Viet Nam which came into existence when the French Foreign Legion forsook their reputation was part of a mutual defense pack called SEATO- South East Asian Treaty Organization. When they were attacked by North Viet nam, of which there an be no doubt they were, the clause of the treaty was invoked involving the US in the defense of South Viet Nam. So, the US was legitimate if foolish in going to the defense of South Viet Nam.
Now, because of the seeming passiveness of the Jews during the so-called holocaust the Jews had acquired a reputation for being a weak ineffective people. The skullduggery that established the State of Israel in 1948 did nothing for their pride but the seemingly easy triumph of 1956 against the Egyptians through which war Israel purloined the Negev Desert Jewish pride of prowess began to blossom. You started seeing identifying marks like gold Stars of David necklaces appearing on bosoms of Jewish men with wide open shirt collars unbuttoned to the penis. Little different than Nazi insignia they were now worn with pride.
The 1967 war against the allied Arab States completed the transformation of Israel into the Neighborhood Bully. Jews now began to strut down the streets virtually knocking people out of the way with the Stars of David dangling everywhere. The Jewish Defense League followed in 1968 soon splitting into an even more violent Jewish Defense Organization. Under their leader Rabbi Kahane a war not too different from the Jabotinsky days in Palestine ensued with the ubiquitous bomb exploding in NYC instead of Jerusalem.
Now, as has recently emerged, the crucial years for Jews in the United States, which had nothing to do with any so-called holocaust, were the years between 1933 and the accession of Wolf Hitler in German and the US entry into WWII in 1942. Before the war in the ‘30s the Jews called opponents to their machinations, Fascists. The name included anyone from Henry Ford to Charles Lindbergh. A marginalization campaign was begun against all American nationalists that largely succeeded. In that period the Jews created the notion in their minds that they were the true Americans who had created this near-perfect democracy and the Anglo-Saxons who had preceded them were out to destroy the country and turn it into a Nazi satrapy.
Philip Roth commemorated this attitude in his novel back dated to this period, The Plot To Destroy
America. Thus through the fifties and sixties the Jews conspired to dispossess the ‘New Nazis’, that is non-Jewish White Americans. The war of ‘56 emboldened them so that by 1964 they were encouraged to seize the university system of the US. The first front opened was the so-called Free Speech Movement on the UC Berkeley campus whose real purpose was to displace Free Speech with Jewish controlled speech.
This was successful and when the dust had settled the Jews were in control of the campus stifling the free speech that had been the ostensible reason for the battle. As Mark Rudd would later say: The issue is not the issue. Jewish commissars set up tables at the Sather Gate to which students were demanded to submit to Jewish governance or else.
From Berkeley the battles strung out to other campuses, the most notable being Columbia in NYC while the other Ivy League campuses fell in line. Freedom of speech was the last thing on their mind.
Having achieved their goal at Berkeley the next step was to escalate the resistance to the Viet Nam war hence shielding their Communist allies in Hanoi. This was furthered significantly by the 1968 world wide offensive led by Chairman Mao and his Cultural Revolution so that by the time of Nixon’s reelection in 1972 the country was in a State of near revolution although it wasn’t that apparent on the street. I was amazed just before the election to see truckloads of soldiers brought into Eugene where I was living and a revolutionary hotbed, to be secreted in the hills in the event of an insurrection.
I have no idea if John Lennon and Yoko Ono knew how close they were to the edge but in retrospect they were not only lucky to be allowed to stay in the country let alone avoid imprisonment. If they hadn’t been so high profile I’m sure they would have been arrested. They were committing some pretty provocative acts. I’m sure that the money they gave to the movement through A.J. Weberman found its way into bombs.
Back in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson had inherited the White House after John F. Kennedy had escalated the war so that there was no way out but to go forward, Johnson was presented with the choice of guns or butter. Would there be a period of austerity as in WWII when the choice had been guns or butter. Between those two choices Lyndon chose a third- guns and butter. Things would go on as close to normal as possible. It was weird. His administration occupied the center years of the decade while the Judaeo-Communists would give him no peace. I mean, you know, the hundreds of bombings went on with no qualms on the part of the domestic terrorists.
And lastly, while all previous generation had been known by their literature the current generation, my generation, was known by its song writers and music. Everyone picked up a guitar and wrote songs. This essentially came in two, maybe, three waves. The first was spearheaded by Elvis Presley, the second by the British Invasion from 1964 to 1966 and the possible third from 1966 to 1974 after which the generation exhausted itself. It was along about 1966 that Kathy made the fateful decision to become a groupie and this would define her life until her mental breakdown in the late seventies.
When the Beatles and the Stones hit these shores they were just singers and bandsmen, popular, but nothing more. The notion of the Group began to be deified in San Francisco after Ken Kesey’s Acid Test. The group members were suddenly invested with nearly superhuman powers and wisdom. All you had to do to become a Holy Guru was stand up on stage, hit a couple of chords, and shout out ‘Mercy, mercy me, the ecology.’ with a raised fist. The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother And The Holding Company, people of questionable character all became secular saints. One grows faint thinking it but, yea verily, gods. And this only from playing the guitar badly and voicing universal popular sentiments. Don’t trust anyone over thirty said a twenty-nine year old and immediately thirty-somethings were posing as teenagers. Too late now, isn’t it?
If you break down the ages, the first wave was born sometime in the early to mid-thirties, Presley was born in ‘35, Little Richard in ‘32.
The first wave of Rockers was spent by the late fifties succeeded by an interim group of nondescripts like Bobby Vee and Bobby Vinton. Nice enough but not essential or memorable. The Beach Boys were the top American group from 1960-64. Then came the second wave, these were men born from 1938 to 1945- Lennon ‘40, Dylan ‘41, Jagger ‘43 and this was the core age through the sixties. So the second wave, the true Rock phenomenon was a product of people born from 1938 to 1945. In the seventies Bowie ‘47, Billy Joel ‘49, those of the fifties came to fore as the generational impetus sputtered out. The Bowies and Joels were of a different sensibility than the main second wave. They grew up under different circumstances.
As the second wave gathered strength not as mere entertainers but as potent pop culture figures, adoring young girls emerged as groupies. Their sexual excesses were scandals although the concept of groupie was nothing new. Anywhere there are glamorous or powerful men accessible women will appear as well as, one might add, homosexuals. There are literary groupies and business groupies, etc. However Rock groupies tended toward being under aged jail bait not infrequently barely out of puberty and unconcerned for any consequences, indeed, not knowing of any.
So when Kathy discovered groupies she determined to become one although incongruously as old as the musicians themselves as she had been born in ‘43. It was kind of like somebody’s mother turning groupie. As she said of her groupie career she wanted a band to offer her a job. Finally David Bowie did.
This was the world in which Kathy Dorrotie was making her way.
Great Groupies Of The Sixties Series
Cherry Vanilla: Lick Me
Vanilla, Cherry: Lick Me, How I Became Cherry Vanilla, 2010, Chicago Review Press
The sixties were the first period of excessive drug use. Nearly everyone carried something, whether prescription or street. How influential drugs would have been without psychedelics is questionable. Psychedelics were legal for most of the sixties while enjoying great cachet. LSD led many a poor boy and girl into drug use. Live Better Through Chemistry was the parody of the motto. LSD stories are legendary, people taking thousands of mics. People dropping LSD daily for months on end. Doug Dillard of the Dillards Band according to legend dropped daily for a couple of years or so. Hendrix found in the desert crawling around on his hands and knees. Incredible stuff.
Cherry Vanilla, nee Kathy Dorritie, certainly qualifies as a heavy drug and LSD user. Staggering amounts. She tells of a friend of hers who had a vial of what she believed to be pure liquid LSD. She describes him saturating sugar cubes with it until the cubes began to disintegrate, then swallowing the cube. I can’t comprehend the dosage. After one massive dose she experienced a white out of her mind during which she went blind experiencing only a sense of blinding light. She doesn’t say, probably doesn’t know, how long it lasted. Life changing though.
Kathie was already an accomplished writer before beginning her autobiography so needed no co-writer. I had recognized her style of writing before I read the account of her LSD intake. LSD has an amazing effect on the mind which produces a very distinctive writing style. Very clear, very organized, written at a very intense level with the little variation in dynamics that inevitably becomes a numbing bore, but so well constructed that it reflects the blinding light that Kathy experienced.
Tim Leary who was a major acid freak wrote some truly amazing books reflecting the LSD experience while if you want to read an amazing virtuoso performance find a copy of Stephen Gaskins Haight Ashbury Flashbacks. These authors write with such amazing clarity and precision as to astound.
But, LSD is a totally inward experience, a complete divorce from the outside world which ceases to exist or becomes a sort of movie set. There is such an intense preoccupation with self that even though the writing is crisp and exciting the tone becomes boring as the inner self isn’t that interesting. The writing is on such an intense, unvarying level that there are no dynamics. (That I’ve repeated myself means I mean it.)
The dissociation from external reality is so complete that one loses all self-consciousness, thus Kathie, or Cherry Vanilla, is able to copulate in public without any sense of embarrassment, indeed, even with a sense of liberation. One might think she was an exhibitionist except that she is so preoccupied that she is almost unaware.
In time the inner world takes such precedence that one is unable to distinguish between the inner world of wishful thinking and the outer world of appearances. Thus Tim Leary could imagine shrinking a few acres of earth into a small size to take with him on a space trip to other planets and believe it possible. As if he wasn’t spaced enough. His final fantasy was incredible enough and he was actually able to realize it.
When he died he willed that he be cremated and his ashes put in a real space ship and rocketed into space. He’s up there now orbiting the planet every couple hours. As his orbit degrades he will one day reenter the atmosphere as a shooting star. Just absolutely incredible.
I don’t know how far out Kathy is but I imagine she finds it quite easy to draw a straight line from Point A to Point 9.
Now, not only did Kathy do amazing amounts of LSD but she was on the money on other drugs too provided they gave the proper result. She rejected heroin after a few times because it didn’t take her where she wanted to go.
She was a perfect child of the sixties even having a fine Dr. Feelgood. One finds her memoirs less than trustworthy because she feels compelled to change names, not all, but some, we just don’t know which ones.
For instance she calls her Feelgood, Dr. Bishop. That good doctor is the same as Dr. Roberts in Jean Stein and George Plimpton’s book, Edie about Edie Sedgwick. Dr. Roberts is also a false name so we can’t be sure. Perhaps Dr. Bishop is his real name but I can’t be sure. Jean Stein and George Plimpton also quote Kathy under the name of Cherry Vanilla concerning an encounter with Dr. Roberts/Bishop that Kathy repeats here but quite differently. Kathy’s memoirs were published in 2010 while Edie was published in 1982 so Kathy has had plenty of time to think about Dr. Bishop; while on the other hand Stein and Plimpton appear to have used a heavy editing hand. All of the dozens of people they interviewed sound remarkably alike so the interviews may reflect more of Stein and Plimpton’s modes of thought. Perhaps they edited to make the text more exciting.
It is quite possible that Dr. Roberts/Bishop may have been with the CIA doing drug experiments. The CIA was certainly active in the field at the time. Bishop was even happy to participate as his own guinea pig. This is an interesting topic so I am going to quote Kathy extensively as she repeats and edits her account from Edie.
By the summer of 1963 (when she was twenty) I had already become quite familiar with booze, grass, hash, coke, speed, opium, uppers, downers, and hallucinogens like mescaline, peyote and psilocybin because they were my favorites.
Those were just her favorites. So in two years since she left home she had really been doing some living while at the same time performing well at her advertising job on Madison Avenue.
And then, pp 50-53:
I’m in with the in crowd;
I go where the in crowd goes,
I’m in with the in crowd:
And I know what the in crowd knows.
By Billy Page as sung by Dobie Gray
c. Warner/Chappell Music
The Jet Set and the In Crowd
Two sixties institutions
Keeping up with the schedule I was on back then would have been impossible were it not for the drugs. And in 1966 I got introduced to the in crowd’s newest elixir. Dr. Bishop’s vitamin shots. At thirty-five dollars a pop, they were pretty expensive, but one or two a day would keep you up forever, and keep you looking fresh and vibrant the whole time. I forget who first introduced me to Dr. Bishop. It might have been Joel Schumacher (one of the original designers of the Paraphernalia store), whom I’d recently met at the Pines (Fire Island homosexual hangout), or Wally Clapham, a friend of Joel’s I knew from Mad Ave. Anyway, someone had to bring you there. You couldn’t just walk in off the street.
Dr. Bishop’s office was located on the ground floor of a highrise near First Avenue and later in a mansion at 53rd and Madison. It was a scene so quintessentially sixties you couldn’t even imagine a doctor’s office like it today. The clubby drug buzz in the waiting room was so dense and intense, you got high on anticipation just walking in there. The “nurses” (none of us knew or cared if they were really nurses or not) wore seductively modern sportswear and often pulled down your pants and gave you your shot in the hallway, while the examining room might be occupied by Dr. Bishop giving someone the sixty dollar special and/or somebody “having a bad reaction.” Everyone was always in a rush, wanted to be seen first, had somewhere to be, had a taxi waiting, whatever. But then once they got that shot in the ass, they often couldn’t tear themselves away from the clinically and socially charged atmosphere and would get caught up in the speed rap session that was always going on among the patients.
When the taste of the iron, or whatever it was, hit your mouth, you started getting off on the shot. And as long as the soreness in your ass lasted, your stamina pretty well lasted too, a good six to eight hours anyway. The first half hour after the shot was dangerous, because you often got a sudden urge to shop, buy someone a gift, spend the rent money on something pretty. And right across the street from the 53rd Street office was a shop called Hunter’s World and, oh my God, how many elephant hair bracelets and zebra skin notebooks could anyone possibly need?….The other temptation was a nearby crystal and rock shop, where it was especially hard to resist the colorful sparklers.
Dr. Bishop had his favorite patients, especially the one male and one female he’d singled out from each sign of the zodiac. I was his Libra girl. I can’t believe I had a huge sense of pride about that. It meant that, along with the vitamins and speed, my shot might get an extra dose of whatever he was experimenting with that week- things like adrenaline stimulants, niacin and even LSD. And he’d have his favorites call him about an hour after getting a shot to let him know what we were feeling. The guy was using us all as guinea pigs, and I thought he was some kind of savior, freeing us all from the need for food and sleep.
One night Dr. Bishop came by Aux Puces while I was spinning and offered me a free shot of something special if I’d come to his office after work. All night at the turntables my mouth was watering at the prospect of what was to come. And as soon as we closed I ran the two blocks over there to take him up on his offer. As his building’s open-sided elevator rose through its day-glo painted, black-lit shaft, I felt positively dizzy with excitement. A minute later I was alone with Dr. B. in his fabulous office space, with it high ceilings, mahogany paneled walls, dance studio, and all those delicious drugs in the cabinets. He loaded the needles and instructed me to slap his ass, poke him fast, and slowly push the plunger on the first one. And then he shot me up on the second. A few minutes later, he had his fingers up my pussy and I was rushing beyond belief.
Pretty soon, I was going numb all over, even in my brain. Then all of a sudden there was blood everywhere and Dr. Bishop just laughed and said rather flippantly, “My dear, you’re bleeding. Maybe you should see a doctor.” I knew I didn’t have my period and I didn’t feel any pain, but the shock of seeing the blood running down my legs made me come to my senses. Even though the bleeding seemed to be subsiding, I just wanted to get out of there and get away from him as fast as I could. It wasn’t easy, since he’d become perturbed and paranoid about the fact I was leaving.
I went back to Aux Puces, where the new maitre d’, David Smith, was tripping after hours with Jay Martin and a couple of friends. I banged desperately hard on the locked front door and, luckily, they heard me above the loud music they were playing. My shaken state and gory story must have been a real bummer for them on their LSD high but they snapped into action immediately and got a limo to take me to the emergency room. Turned out I had cuts and scratches inside my vagina made by a ring or more sinister object, though the doctors said no major damage had been done. By that time the bleeding had stopped and I still wasn’t feeling any pain. Though questioned I refused to rat out Dr. Bishop and was quickly released. I went back to join the gang at Aux Puces, where we opened a few bottles of Chateau Lafitte Rothschild ‘60, smoked some hash-oiled joints and partied until dawn.
Let’s examine the above. As I said Stein’s Edie was about twenty-eight years old when Kathy wrote this. She undoubtedly read Edie so was familiar with her testimony then and as the account combines and adds to Joel Schumacher’s and her own story it is possible she had a copy of the book before her and wrote from it.
The time she is writing about is 1966 which was the heyday of the Doctor Feelgoods. I don’t know that a study has been done on them yet but there were apparently dozens of these guys practicing dope medicine beginning in approximately 1960. As is well known a Dr. Max Jacobson was operating in the early sixties with an extensive elite clientele that included then President John F. Kennedy. Dr. Jacobson even accompanied Kennedy to the Khruschev summit meeting where he kept Kennedy loaded on these shots. So for roughly six years New York City had been speeding along and whatnot.
At the same time the uptown Doctor, E. 87th, that the Beatles refer to as Dr. Robert was managing an extensive clientele. Kathy refers to her guy as Dr. Bishop who is the same guy Jean Stein refers to as Dr. Roberts. We may assume that neither name is correct. Both Dr. Robert and Jacobson were Jewish, I believe Bishop probably was also. In fact all, or nearly all, of these doctors were probably Jewish.
Now Kathy believed Dr. Bishop was experimenting on his clients. If he was shooting them up with unknown drugs without their knowledge that was at the very least unethical not to mention shooting them up with amphetamines at all. To say that no one knew the effects of amphetamines at the time is nonsense. Amphetamines had been around since 1887 while every army of WWII issued tablets to their troops. Hitler’s own Dr. Feelgood kept him filled with amphetamines for years and his deterioration was obvious. But, perhaps, more clinical observations were wanted or a more precise understanding of how large numbers of people reacted and could be controlled was needed. Maybe they wanted to know how easy it would be to control and direct populations on drugs.
It is well known that the CIA and other governmental agencies experimented with drugs on soldiers and even to unknowing members of the civilian population. Extensive experiments with LSD were carried on by the CIA in the late fifties and early sixties. Stanford and UC Berkeley for instance were running programs in the mid-sixties running ads in the newspapers for volunteers as this was happening in NYC.
So who would have been the beneficiaries of knowledge obtained by these Jewish Dr. Feelgoods who had very large supplies of amphetamines, cocaine which wasn’t too common in ‘66 and was definitely illegal, LSD was just being made illegal, and who knows what experimental drugs? It could have been conducted under the auspices of the US Government agencies who were researching mind control. But the information most likely was going two ways- one to the US authorities, the other way to Jewish psychological ops who could draw their own conclusions for their own purposes. Let’s face it old drugs have been made available while new drugs are invented everyday and find easy distribution so every young person has had his or her consciousness altered beyond recognition.
At any rate with all those doctors with crowded waiting rooms the buzz over New York City must have been audible for miles and miles. And all that didn’t include freelancers like Brigit Berlin of the Andy Warhol crowd.
August 10, 2011
Psychoanalyzing Captain America
From Out Of The Depths
Must we be responsible for our own dreams?
In answer to the above question by Herr Doktor Professor Freud in his dream book, The Interpretation Of Dreams. published in the year 1900 Prof. Freud said that dreams were the royal road to the unconscious. He then proceeded to suppress the conscious will releasing the unconscious will to dominate the personality.
Of course in 1900 movies, TV and comic books were in the future and unforeseen by the Professor. It is through those media that the unconscious visualizes itself. The Dream is manifested, the unconscious becomes realized.
In the case of the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, first came the dream then came the comic book, then with movie technology undreamed of in 1940 when Joe Simon and Jack Kirby conceived the character, brought to the screen today. Comic books and movies are true projections of the unconscious. As might be seen by anyone with a ticket Capt. America is less a story than a dream, a dream that Sigmund Freud defined as wish fulfillment. So, one must examine the movie as a wish from the subconscious fulfilled as a visualization on the screen. What does the dream-wish fulfill?
First off we have a powerless wimp being knocked about by the big bad bully. We have a brief anti-bully list and then move on. However in this Cain and Abel story the rolls of bully and bullied are clear. The wimp then wishes to join the army to fight Hitler and is rejected on several counts of inferiority. But, never fear, the last shall be first.
Now, in 1940 the US was not at war with anybody while the America First Committee was determined to keep the country that way. But a powerful coalition led by the Jews had determined the European conflict was a ‘just’ war while it was morally compulsory for the US to butt in somewhat like Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and a few other places today. Unlike Viet Nam the usual suspects who opposed that war endorse all the current wars. The voice of dissent is unheard throughout the land.
So, bearing Freud’s Interpretation Of Dreams in mind that demonstrates the connection between dreams and the unconscious, Captain America is a daydream or psychological projection of Jack Kirby’s ne Jacob Kurtzberg and Joe Simon’s of Brooklyn N.Y. The relationship of these comic book writers to Judaism is explained by Rabbi Simcha Weinstein in his book Up, Up, And Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture, And Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero. This quote explains the real life origin of Capt. America:
Growing up in poverty, Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg) dreamed of being an artist but was forced to drop out of Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute after only one day because of financial hardship. Instead Kirby worked on newspaper comic strips under gentile-sounding pseudonyms such as Jack Curtis, Curt Davis, and Lance Kirby until he finally settled on the name Jack Kirby.
Kirby and his partner, Joe Simon, worked at Martin Goodman’s Timely Comics, where the mostly Jewish staff openly despised Hitler. When Goodman saw the preliminary sketches for Captain America, he immediately give Kirby and Simon their own comic book. The character was an instant hit, selling almost one million copies an issue. “The U.S. hadn’t yet entered the war when Jack and I did Captain America, so maybe he was our way of lashing out against the Nazi menace. Evidently, Captain America symbolized the American people’s sentiments. When we were producing Captain America we were outselling Batman, Superman and all the others.” Simon later commented.
Well, not quite all the others, as Whiz Comics Captain Marvel was the best selling comic of both the war years and the later forties. Certainly my favorite.
As in the years before the War The America First Committee enjoyed overwhelming popularity amongst Americans I would question Simon’s notion that Captain America overwhelmingly represented American opinion. As there were six million Jews in the country I might suggest the response from that quarter of ’Americans’ was more overwhelming than elsewhere. Jews might easily have accounted for sixty to eighty percent of sales.
It is also probable that no real American would ever have invented a corny jingoistic persona like Captain American. The image was certainly repulsive to me as a child. My prime comic reading years were from 1947 to 1950 and I and my entire generation rejected Captain America while embracing Captain Marvel. Even then Superman was a distant competitor to Captain Marvel which is why DC comics sued Whiz for copyright violation.
We disliked the hokey repulsive jingoism of Captain America as well as his dumb outfit and the stupid shield. (I’m speaking as a nine year old here.) Of course we knew from nothing about Judaism and almost less about any other religious sects but there was something othery about Capt. America and Superman although we embraced the equally Jewish Batman.
The origins of Captain America then emanated from the Jewish dream subconscious of Jack Kirby which was quite different from ours. He, therefor, as all writers must, made Capt. America in his real existence and from his dream fantasies. Thus, giving his creation the goy name of Steve Rogers he nevertheless gave him a Brooklyn Jewish origin. As Rabbi Weinstein also a Brooklyn Jew explains Jews had a sort of dual identity as powerless Jews posing as goys in a powerful goy world. Thus the sickly ineffective Rogers undergoes a scientific experiment that turns him essentially from a 98 lb. Jewish weakling into an all powerful goy Charles Atlas. I’m sure Kirby saw those ads while growing up.
Rogers having now been turned into a Superman had to have a name. Superman being taken Super Jew was out for obvious reasons or even Super Hebrew, there was no Israel at the time, so Kirby settled on Captain America. Rabbi Weinstein again:
Of course a more literal reading of the costume is that it is the American flag brought to life. Captain America’s star is, after all, five-pointed, not six pointed like the Star of David. The flag-as-costume notion reinforces the ideal of assimilation [Jews 'becoming' Americans]. By literally cloaking their character in patriotism, Kirby and Simon became true Americans.
In 1940 there was a desperate struggle going on between the Jews and America First who the Jews styled as American Fascists, i.e. actual Hitlerites. By that line of reasoning the Jews became the true Americans, creators and protector of genuine American Democracy while Anglo-Americans or Native Americans or America Firsters were out to destroy the great American Dream the Jews had discovered. This is the theme of Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America backdated to this period. The movie Captain America could easily be subtitled The Plot Against America Foiled.
Rabbi Weinstein once again:
Despite the patriotic appearance, Captain America’s costume also denotes deeply rooted [Jewish] tradition. Along with other Jewish-penned superheroes, Captain America was in part an allusion to the golem, the legendary creature said to have been constructed by the sixteenth century mystic Rabbi Judah Loew to defend the Jews of medieval Prague. “The golem was pretty much the precursor of the superhero in that in every society there is a need for mythological chracters, wish fulfillment. And the wish fulfillment in the Jewish case of the hero would be someone who could protect us. This kind of storytelling seems to dominate in Jewish culture,” commented Will Eisner.
According to tradition a golem is sustained by inscribing the Hebrew word emet (truth) upon its forehead. When the first letter is removed, leaving the word met (death) the golem will be destroyed. Emet is spelled with the letters aleph, rem and tav. The first letter, aleph, is also the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the equivalent of the letter A. Captain America wears a mask with a white A on his forehead- the very letter needed to empower the golem.
So, you and I thought the A stood for America but it is actually a symbol of Judaism. Captain America then is an unconscious dream projection of the Jewish subconscious following Freud’s thought in his Interpretation of Dreams. Now we know who and what the Captain America or The First Avenger is.
Like Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America the movie is backdated to 1940 although as the US is already in the war perhaps 1942-43 although in Kirby and Simon’s dream vision they could have already employed the usurped power of America in 1940. However the movie writers, are writing today so assume different interpretations and aspects.
In point of fact Hitler no longer exists except in the Jewish mind so the relevance of the movie is hampered. Goys are not reliving the Hitler experience on a daily basis. To correct this and bring the Nazi threat forward Hitler is relegated to an inept showman while the real brain behind Nazism is the Hydra.
The Hydra in Greek mythology was a matriarchal year deity with seven heads and one neck, Six of the heads prepresented the last six months of the year while the seventh head and neck represented the recurring and indestructible year. Everytime a head was cut off it grew back as time does march on.
When the Patriarchy was displacing the Matriarchy the story changed somewhat. Hercules was sent to fight the Hydra and everytime he cut off a head three grew back. Thus the Hydra is represented in the movie as a Red Octopus with eight arms thus embracing the world. Ils sont partout. Obviously Hydra is a dream projection of anti-Semitism the arch fiend of the Jewish unconscious.
The Jewish Doctor Erskine, Reinstein in the comic, playing God botches his first attempt at creating the superman, Hydra/Cain, but finds perfection in Capt. America/Abel. Thus Cain is blighted while Abel is God’s favorite. While Captain America begins as a song and dance man belittling Hitler on stage, when the fighting starts Hitler is relegated offstage while the super-Hitler, Hydra, steps front and center.
While the Americans that Rogers as Capt. America have nothing like the incredible weapons and organization of Hydra they are nevertheless with their bare hands able to defeat him. He is however immortal like all dream fears so that as Arnold said: He’ll be back.
The action is standard comic book action fare and needs no further comment. You could have written it yourself. Pretty clicheed but if you like this stuff you’ll find it very satisfying.
However Captain America remains a Jewish hero in American drag with a purloined identity.
August 8, 2011
A-Head Vs. The Hydra
A Review of Captain America,
The First Avenger
Weinstein, Rabbi Simcha: Up, Up And Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture And Values Shaped The Comic book Superhero, 2006, Leviathan Press.
Must a man be held responsible for his own dreams?
I set foot inside a theatre for the first time in twenty years lured by the comic book character of Captain America. Capt. America was about the least favorite of the superheroes for the post-war generation of kids. My primary years for comic books were 1947-50. I was revolted by the jingoism of the strip as well as the stupid costume
While Rabbi Weinstein touts the Jewish superheroes as seminal I should point out that our favorites and the best selling superhero during and after the war was the goy Captain Marvel, much more popular then even Superman. Further while superhero comics declined in sales after WWII I would suggest that it wasn’t loss of interest in the characters so much as a lack of interest in the material. If the comics had shifted from anti-Nazi to anti-Communist the sales might have become inflated. Of course such a shift was impossible as Communists were more or less in cultural control
This movie did nothing to refresh my memories pleasantly. And, further it turns out per Rabbi Weinstein that Captain America was 100% Jewish. Capt. America was the creation of two Jewish young men, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, assumed names of course. In keeping with that Kirby and Simon had their character socking Hitler on the jaw long before ‘America’ entered the war while being obsessed with Nazis so we may conclude along with the Rabbi that Capt. was indeed Jewish.
The movie purportedly takes place sometime during WWII. In this movie Hitler has been demoted to a minor threat as the super Nazi, The Hydra, has usurped his place while being immortal so that the Nazi threat can never die. In that case the Hydra must be on Steroids as Hitler was only fueled by amphetamines. Perhaps the A on America’s helmet stands for amphetamines and the Capt. was an a-head. Actually Capt. America’s striped mask or helmet has an A cut in the forehead which the Hydra slyly suggests stands for American arrogance. American arrogance came up two or three times.
So, essentially we have the Jewish Capt. America versus the arch-anti-Semite, the Hydra. It doesn’t stop there though as Hydra appears to be an alter-ego of the Jews. America, as they like to think of themselves and Hydra as they often behave. If you were to read Rabbi Weinstein before you saw the movie it would take on a whole different aspect and signficance.
The story itself is trite with no attempt at believability, after all this is a comic book. It is actually quite camped up. All action with a lot of slap bang stuff, stock characters and horrendous noise effects at a mind numbing volume.
Even though Capt. America crashes Hydra’s flying wing into an ice field at the North Pole Capt. America wakes up seventy years later in a New York CIA facility. Well, Christ, it is a comic book, I had already insulted my own intelligence by buying a ticket. Still, I think Stan Lee should be more than a little ashamed of himself.
Two stars if you’re mentally alert; four stars if you like noise and fireworks, five stars if this is your kind of movie. Pretty dumb in my book.
August 5, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
Threads And Strands Of The Web
For I must speak what wisdom would conceal,
And truth, invidious to the great, reveal.
More than likely it is a coincidence that Burroughs wrote a fictional account of time and space weaving a web at this time, for Fate was bringing together threads and strands of the web of his own life in a picture of unparalleled opportunity and deadly peril. The decisions Burroughs would make would determine the outcome. His life could have gone another way. Or, perhaps, Burroughs sensed the impending crises and fictioned them in an attempt to deal with them.
We are already aware of the conflicts with the Judaeo-Communists. It seems clear that they were the original aggressors and that Burroughs was in reaction to them, in other words, on the defensive. Thus these first two Tarzan novels of the thirties are direct attacks on both aggressors. If Burroughs expected counter attacks there seems to be no evidence that he prepared for them. He never seems to have sat down to coolly analyze the problem in order to have a plan.
In fact, there seems to be little evidence that he ever actually realized the consequences of his success or how to handle it. While he had incorporated himself he made no effort to corporately structure his writing enterprise. In point of fact as a creative artist he was fundamentally incapable of running a structured business. Doing so would have interfered with his creative function. In fact, I am convinced that he dissipated his creative energies by becoming involved in business decisions to the extent he did.
Developing an organization is very difficult. While he should have done this, without a very fortuitous combination of circumstances it is very doubtful he could have. Hollywood was full of sharpers ready to take advantage of creative talent and in this case and nearly all others they did.
On the positive side, from 1911 to, say, 1928 ERB had created an unparalleled intellectual property in Tarzan. One in a zillion chance. As the twenties developed unparalleled opportunities to exploit the property evolved.
Apart from publishing, the three key profit centers were comics, movies and radio. All three strands came to fruition as the thirties began. Each required a slightly different approach. Each required thinking out with an intellectual departure from the past.
At this crucial moment ERB’s past arose to drag him down from behind. He was unable to make the emotional transition from what was essentially an emotionally battered youth to a successful, affluent man in control of his destiny. He remained psychologically attached to his personal relationship to Tarzan as an aspect of his personality rather than objectifying the character as a psychological projection for the world. He had prepared the way to make Tarzan a savior man-god but then couldn’t separate him from his own personality. If Fate had thrown the right people in his way they could have done this for him.
Thus rather than maximize his financial returns he essentially shot his feet off. He carped at the various media companies to the point where he was viewed as troublesome, an undesirable actually. Thus while he expected great financial returns including the means to buy a yacht, he sabotaged his own efforts to obtain them.
He belittled the returns of the comic strip for instance, bemoaning that it only returned thirty dollars a day. Well, that was eleven thousand dollars a year, every year. He could count on it. His MGM contract for Tarzan, The Ape Man provided him the exact same return. Twenty-two thousand divided by two years is eleven thousand a year.
At the time ERB signed the MGM contract he had a very valuable intellectual property already fully developed but he had developed a reputation among the Studios. The Studios had already had extensive dealings with him from the silent era. ERB, without a plan to market Tarzan had accepted whatever money came his way. Two of his titles had been sold in 1921 although production of them had been shelved. In 1927 FBO Studios decided to film Tarzan And The Golden Lion. While this film was lost for decades a print of the film was discovered which was issued on DVD in 2006 so that it can now be viewed.
In my opinion FBO did handsomely by ERB. A good clear scenario was written by William Wing that remained true to the spirit of Burroughs’ work; perhaps more than it ought to have in a movie sense. The filming, the photography is terrific; it has never been done better, not by MGM, not by RKO. It is true that Wing invented a sister for Tarzan but this is a minor point.
I find it difficult to undertand what ERB was disgruntled about except that another writer was handling his alter ego. The difference between a movie scenario and a book is very distinct. There would have been no way to get the entire convoluted story of Golden Lion on the screen so Wing wisely chose to develop a variation on the story of the Valley of Diamonds. Even so he threw in an earthquake scene a la Jewels Of Opar and Tarzan’s jumping the gap in the tunnel.
If anything his attempt to write as closely to Burroughs as he did lessened the impact of the film with some needless clutter. If, in 1935′s New Adventures Of Tarzan for which Burroughs provided the story idea, Dearholt attempted to tell the story more or less as Burroughs wrote, then the result was a hopeless mish mash. The movie was no truer to Burroughs’ Tarzan than FBO’s film, while lacking the clarity and force of the latter. Burroughs should have been grateful to FBO for an excellent movie. My idea of the best of the lot even though silent.
Had I been associated with FBO I would have found ERB’s criticisms nitpicking and offensive. After all FBO broke the boycott ERB had been under since 1922. The FBO movie triggered a response from Universal which held the rights to Jungle Tales and Jewels Of Opar. These titles were released as Tarzan The Mighty and Tarzan The Tiger starring Frank Merrill. At present there is no print of Tarzan The Mighty while as of December 5, 2006 I am still awaiting the release of Tarzan The Tiger. ERB once again was unhappy with these films, voicing loud complaints. All this carping could have done little for his reputation among the Studios. Before the long hiatus of Tarzan movies from 1921 to 1927 he had been run off the lot during the filming.
According to the ERBzine Timeline for the ’30s ERB approached MGM in 1930 asking $75,000 for a movie and was rebuffed. If this is true, $22,000 in 1931 was quite a comedown. MGM solved ERB’s querulousness by obtaining the rights to do with the character as they wished. They promptly disdained Burrughs’ storylines for their own while changing the character of Tarzan from that of an international sophisticate to that of a feral boy.
As the first full sound Tarzan, MGM hit the jackpot with the victory cry of the bull ape. The Tarzan yell would be the trademark of the charcter, although hardly a blood chilling fearsome holler. Burroughs himself couldn’t do better as Herman Brix in New Adventures merely growls out a long drawn Tar-man-gan-eee with the last sylable in falsetto. More laughable than fearsome.
In between these two films Sol Lesser released a monstrosity starring Buster Crabbe. Lesser never got the handle on Tarzan on his own, instead borrowing the MGM Characterization when he acquired the rights from them.
Lesser and his brother Irving were independent producers of some substance. Sol was born in 1890 in Spokane, Washington, dying at 90 in 1980. There is even a biography of his life. Not easy to find and not available on any site when I looked. If anybody knows where one is or having one could make a copy for me it would be much appreciated.
Lesser’s father who was in the nickelodeon business died in 1907 in San Francisco leaving the business to Sol and brother Irving. Sol got involved in distribution in 1910 eventually forming the Golden Gate Film Exchange in 1915.
In that year San Francisco’s infamous Barbary Coast was shuttered. Before the closure Lesser filmed the area, selling the movie. It would be interesting if the film was still around.
He made the right moves. After distribution he became a producer for First National and then formed a chain of movie theatres. After an aborted retirement he reentered production forming his own independent studio called either Principle or Principal Pictures. David Fury spells the name Principal in his Kings Of The Jungle and that sounds right. This was apparently Sol’s status when he acquired the rights to Tarzan from a third party in 1928 and when he made the Crabbe abortion in 1933.
Lesser was influential in Hollywood. He made it a point to know and be known. In the early thirties it was he who was responsible for introducing Disney to Joseph Schench (pronounced Skenk) and facilitating Disney’s move from Columbia to United Artists.
One can’t be sure of his politics from the sources cited but according to the New York Times:
…Lesser forsook production for distribution again, returning to the creative end of moviemaking in 1931 when, through is friendshlip with writer Upton Sinclair, he became involved with the Sergei Eisenstein project, Thunder Over Mexico.
Thunder Over Mexico was undoubtedly a Communist diatribe. Sol Lesser while involved with consevatives like Disney and Burroughs, also played the other side of the street with the likes of Upton Sinclair and the Jewish film maker, Sergei Eisenstein of Battleship Potemkin fame.
It would seem probable that he at least knew such luminaries as Louis B. Mayer and possibly Irving Thalberg. Even though he could have foiled both Burroughs and MGM with his prior rights to Tarzan, he characteristically stepped aside, for remuneration of course, to let their films play through. It would be interesting to know how and why he obtained his rights from a third party and how they had obtained theirs.
One doesn’t know what his relationship to Mayer and MGM was at this time but it is noteworthy that he acquired exclusive rights to Tarzan when MGM abandoned the profitable series. Under Lesser the movies continued to gross two to three million a picture.
Sound movies should have been a gold mine for Burroughs if he had handled himself properly. Instead through his impulsiveness and vanity there were at least four competing Tarzans on the screens from 1930 to 1935. This must have created confusion in the public’s mind, while injuring Burroughs’ financial returns.
At the time sound brought the potential of immense movie profits to Burroughs the thread of radio also came to maturity about 1930. While the evangelists were quick to capitalize on the potential of radio, Burroughs wasn’t far behind. Perhaps the success of Aimee Semple Mcpherson showed him the way.
As the decade dawned, his eye turned in radio’s direction. By 1932 he was successful in launching a show. Once again ERB failed to analyze the difference between books and a new medium. Radio was for him the most lucrative of all his ventures. His revenues from radio equaled his income from all other sources combined. This income stream could have continued unabated through the thirties but, once again, ERB interfered with the show rather than contributed. Undoubtedly because of his constant carping the first series was not renewed. A second series was launched which was also discontinued. From 1935 until his death he was unable to get on radio again. After his death in 1950 a new series was launched.
Thus, between publishing, comics, movies and radio ERB was provided opportunities to exploit his great labor in creating the ultimate intellectual property of the twentieth century and blew it. The personality forming psychology of his youth popped up to prevent his realizing his most cherished dreams in this sphere of his life as it did in his relationship to women.
If ERB had read his Homer at some earlier time, or possibly, earlier times in his life, it seems evident that he reread the Odyssey, for sure, at this time. The evidence is prominent in these five novels, especially Triumphant and City Of Gold. A text in all five novels is the struggle between the La aspect of his Anima and that of Jane. Subconsciously he had steered his love life to this critical juncture where he would have to choose one and reject the other.
There may have been a fortuitousness in his choosing to concentrate on his own Odyssey at this time. He was able to capitalize on a number of good story ideas, while on the other hand a major story line of the Odyssey is the examination of a man’s control of his sexual desires. A key story of this aspect is the story of the seductress Circe. By inducing all men to abandon themselves to unbridled sexual desire she turns them all into pigs. A lesson for contemporary times. Odysseus avoids this by having a pocketful of Moly. Moly is some sort of charm that allows him to resist Circe’s seductions.
Thus Odysseus retains his manly integrity while securing the release of his crew. The Sirens, Calypso and the other women are all temptations for Odysseus to abandon his manhood for the luxuries of sex or in other word, the Matriarchy. He resists them all to return home to Penelope in Ithaca where she sits lonely endlessly weaving her web.
One can’t know directly how Burroughs read the story or even if the above details registered with him; nevertheless these five novels are about a man’s relationships with women and more specifically they concern the details of ERB’s relationships with women. The story as told by him is a troubled one.
It would appear that his cherished Anima image of the previous forty years or so, La of Opar, no longer answered his needs, so at the end of Invincible Tarzan abandons La of Opar. She and Opar disappear from the oeuvre never to be mentioned again.
In real life perhaps La has been replaced by Florence who now figures as the Golden Girl. With the appearance of Jezebel in Triumphant the Golden Girl makes her first appearance to dominate the stage until Lion Man and the end of this five novel series.
In Triumphant the Jane aspect which has been missing for the last couple novels parachutes back into ERB’s life. He marries her off to the stable aspect of his Animus while pairing the Golden Girl with the low life aspect of his Animus.
Emma had always said ERB was a low brow so perhaps he found it too unpleasant aping high brow manners giving up the fight to indulge that aspect of his Animus more comfortable to him.
In this struggle Florence had been removed from the scene. Back during the writing of this novel Burroughs quickly opted to join his low life aspect with his sexual desire for the Golden Girl. His Moly gave out on him. Thus Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick is transformed into Old Timer of Leopard Man while Jezebel becomes the platinum blonde, Kali Bwana.
Having made the decision to take the Golden Girl he has to eliminate the Jane aspect which he does in City Of Gold. Perhaps wavering a trifle in Lion Man he seems to have created a type of middle Tarzan Anima figure in Rhonda Terry. While he rejects Naomi/Jane he seems to have misgivings about Balza/Florence as the Golden Girl.
But, by this time the die had been cast so that in real life he does leave Emma to begin his life with Florence as a born again sex hound. As Old Timer in Leopard Men he says he was entitled to some pleasure in life and by God he was going to take it.
So, in both his business life and his personal life his past rose up and bit him in the behind destroying any chance he had to realize his true desires. I’m afraid I have to look at the remainder of his life as a failure as he was unable to eliminate the psychological impediments placed in his way by his early life. Not that he didn’t try. He appears to have studied psychology trying to find a way through to the other side of the maze of consciousness. Thus we have the subterranean passages too dark for anyone to find their way, yet his characters do. As he searches for a way out, the past rises up in the shape of deformed monsters like the Oparians beneath the Sacred City.
Or the round about way Tarzan and La found their way out of the lion cage in Invincible to be betrayed by the Old Man who professed to be true to La. Who was the Old Man? The shade of the past? David Adams has brought emphasis to this scene in his review of “The Ancient Dead of the City of Horz,” itself a dead city on the shores of a dead sea in Burroughs Bulletin #68.
By the writing of The Ancient Dead, ERB no longer had any hope to escape his past, while at the same time it was too late.
So, as the matter turned out, this period from 1930 to 1934 was the final crucial period in ERB’s life where he could have taken control of his destiny. He apparently sensed that the threads and strands of the web of his life were being brought together by Fate.
I neither condemn nor advise, unlike the literary fashion of today. I assume no superior airs, nor do I have a right to do so, but the fact is that had he been able to control his sexuality while restraining his impulsiveness, Fate might have been kinder to him at this juncture. As he was unable to order his psychology Fate, as it were, laid him low.
The critical junctures were the impetuous signing with MGM, his abandonment of Emma and his mismanagement of his radio affairs.
I have now covered four of the five Tarzan novels of this period. The last, The City City Of Gold deals with his ferocious sexual needs that destroyed his chances for success.
August 4, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
In The Footsteps Of The Lord
If anything the action of this novel reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man just as the invasion of Opar brings strong recollections of the last story of Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. In the latter all the great fictions of mankind, fairies, ogres, and whatnot have been driven from earth by Reason taking refuge on Mars. But as the true condition of Mars becomes known their world crumbles and disappears as there is no place in the universe left for them.
That fate will never overtake Tarzan as he represents very real hopes, dreams and desires of mankind. Even as the old world and old heaven of the Piscean Age begins to heave and crack as the new Age of Aquarius struggles to come into existence, the archetype of the Age is forming around Tarzan. Tarzan will emerge triumphant.
The next two scenes of Burroughs’ tapestry which come to life not unlike the pictures on the tattooed man are as vivid as any scenes Burroughs wrote. The agony of Gunner Patrick when he awakes to find himself alone is palpable. There is even an element of tragedy in his situation if one has sympathy for murderous criminals. Burroughs rather sneers that without his machine gun Patrick is a pathetic figure. But, while the machine gun represents advanced tochnology man’s prowess has always depended on his weapons, whether they be stones, spears and bows and arrows, an old harquebus or the machine gun or stealth bombers and self-guided blockbusters. The fellow with the latest model is always top gun on the block. Without his weapon he is naturally nothing. Even Tarzan would have been a dead man long before this without his father’s knife. What makes Gunner Patrick so reprehensible is that he uses his weapon for injustice rather than justice. Thus without his weapon he is subject to the same injustice he would inflict on others.
Still, he’s our criminal so we have to take his side. One would say he is less criminal than the men who stole Jezebel from him except that out there they live by a different lawless code. As Patrick would say: They ain’t no cops out there.
Law is a matter of the strongest; so Tarzan as the strongest and justest will reestablish Law and Order according to his terms. He acts as the judge and jury which some people with an opposing notion of Law might find offensive or even dangerous to their plans. How much of a coincidence then is it that in Tarzan’s New York Adventure he is stripped of his status as lawgiver and subsumed to a different legal code? No coincidence at all in my mind. The legal decision declaring Tarzan a criminal also showed who was strongest in Hollywood. In fact, in late 1941 and into ’42 Burroughs had been ousted from Hollywood himself, living in exile in Hawaii.
The Golden Girl, Jezebel, had been taken into custody by Capietro but Stabutch has eyes for her. The two men decide to play poker for her, best three out of five. Strange that an Italian and a Russian should be familiar with the quintessential American card game, but there you have it, they were.
Stabutch loses but calls Capietro a cheat.
This scene recalls ERB’s own loss when he and Emma were in transit in Parma, Idaho. While Emma waited upstairs ERB got cleaned of the couple’s last forty dollars in what may very well have been a crooked game. I haven’t played poker a lot but I’ve never been in a straight game, so as a stranger in Parma, the odds are that Burroughs’ game was crooked. He doesn’t say so, of course, but I’d be willing to bet he thought so. The memory was a horrendous one for ERB; it crops up frequently in the corpus. My memory of a Navy game is always with me. In fact, someone I hadn’t seen for forty years brought it up the first thing. These things are like the scar on Tarzan’s forehead.
Capietro and Stabutch fight, one out of one, that Stabutch wins. He then flees with Jezebel. the Gunner who has been gathering his wits above the scene sees the two ride out the gate. He follows in pursuit on foot.
Stabutch and Jezebel put up for the night during which a lion scares their horses away. Hungry the next day, Stabutch stashes the Golden Girl in a tree while he goes hunting. Staking out a water hole he is surprised to see Tarzan drinking. A golden opportunity to accomplish his mission but the strain is too much for his nerves; he misses his shot. Running as fast as he can, Tarzan following torments his victim with a couple of arrows before, as Stabutch begs for his life, putting an arrow through his throat. His throat! I was ready for ‘his black heart’ but was surprised by ‘his throat.’ As a probable surrogate for Stalin who sent him, why his throat? At any rate Tarzan has now completely defeated the Communists; once in Invincible and again here.
Patrick has been miraculously reunited with Jezebel but now all three are captured by the shiftas. The outcome is clear. The faithful Waziri stage a frontal attack on the shifta stockade. Patrick and Jezebel, who have been bound and left in the same tent, free themselves. The hard thing Patrick has been lying on turns out to be ‘his better half’, the machine gun. He then opens up on the shiftas from the rear. No contest.
The final picture in the web then, is the successful bringing together of all the threads and strands which began two thousand years previously in an entirely unrelated event, when Paul was martyred in Rome and Angustus fled for the African hinterland bringing his slave girl with him.
Lord Passmore as it turns out is Tarzan in disguise. He assumed the identity so as not to arouse suspicion. So once again Tarzan displays an effeminate side. A disguise hardly seems necessary for the Big Bwana but as ERB needed the faithful Waziri for the big battle scene finale, perhaps so.
Tarzan at this point seems to be a solo act; there is no hint of Jane awaiting him back in Kenya. Lafe Smith and Lady Barbara are brought together. Thus the bright alter ego of Burroughs is paired up with a member of the English aristocracy who may represent the writer Dorothy Sayers, perhaps a match ERB would have liked in real life.
Already three or four years into his affair with Florence, of which surely Emma was aware, one wonders what she thought when she realized she had been written out of the story. Well, she did turn to drink.
More interestingly, Burroughs’ dark alter ego, Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick and the Golden Girl, Jezebel are brought together. He is going to leave Chicago taking Jezebel to somewhere in LA to buy a service station. A worthy ambition; for some reason the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, pops into my mind. The screenplay for that movie was written by Raymond Chandler who, for no explicable reason, I associate with Burroughs. There must be some similarity between Philip Marlowe and Tarzan. Marlowe did get sapped a lot. Chandler even turns sapping into an art form.
In pairing Jezebel/Florence off with his dark side ERB may be hinting at the direction his relationship with Florence will take. His life with her was certainly different than his life with Emma as he let his hair down and began dressing like quite a dandy, or, perhaps, Lord Passmore.
On that score, in this novel, Burroughs selects his dark side to take the obligatory bashing. One wonders then if he attributes this dark side to the bashing in Toronto. Is he saying that his dark side was the result of the bashing? Did he begin living some sort of double life some few years after he was laid out? Was his character even more erratic than it appears? How much did Emma put up with?
His emphasis on the notion that every man has two characters that may diverge as did Jekyll and Hyde give reason to think so. At any rate the following couple years ERB himself would be leading a double life. As Lafe Smith with Lady Barbara/Emma and as the desperado Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick with his amour Jezebel/Florence Gilbert Dearholt. Jezebel is certainly appropriately named.
The next two novels explain his own relationship to Florence and Emma. Leopard Men, which I have already reviewed, deals with his opting for Florence while City Of Gold deals with his rejection of Emma. But first some conclusions and organization.
To be concluded in Part 6: Threads and Stands Of The Web
August 2, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
The Born Again Lafe Smith
The time has come the Walrus said
to speak of many things;
Of shoes and ship and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings.
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings.
The learned nonsense of Lewis Carrol was never far from Burroughs’ mind. In the long list of influences Carroll ranks fairly high although more disguised than others. Both adventures of Alice as well as The Hunting Of The Snark formed the backbone of Burroughs’ ideology. Thus the entrance to the Land Of Midian in many ways resembles Alice’s descent into the rabbit hole. The sexual implications of the rabbit hole should be self-evident as is the the entry into the Land of Midian.
The Lafayette of Smith’s name refers of course to the revolutionary Marquis de Lafayette who fought against the monarchy in the American Revolution. Recently General Pershing had repaid the debt when, as he stepped ashore in France he grandly proclaimed: Lafayette, we are here. A famous utterance then and now so that it appears that Burroughs is associating freedom and liberation to his alter ego. He might exclaim as he stepped through the hole: I am Lafayette and I am here.
Smith is studying the geology of the area when he discovers a cleft in the mountain which he enters. In some ways Burroughs old life ended when the Reds invaded Opar. La was forced out into the the real world when her people rebelled because of La’s fixation on Tarzan. The Big Bwana restored her to her throne having destroyed the rebel chiefs. We are led to believe that La reigned happily ever after even though her manifestation as well as Opar disappear from ERB’s dream world. With the death of his old dream world ERB seeks to find another; one which other people cannot enter. Jungle Girl written shortly after this novel provided one such place in the ancient Khmer kingdoms of Cambodia and Thailand.
Thus Midian is a pale reflection of Opar. While the way to Opar was known to the world, indeed, Zveri, Stalin and the Communists as well as many Africans knew of the fabulous wealth of Opar and where the city was located. They didn’t know where the gold was located because in was in Burroughs’ mind.
Having had his dream world violated ERB creates another but this time the location is so remote and the entrance so difficult, although identical to that of Opar, to find that none but his Anima and Animus figures can find it.
Like the great red and gold city of Opar Midian is surrounded by high cliffs but unlike Opar they are unscalable from either side. No casual visitors are going to get in there. Like the actual city of Opar the only entry is through a cleft in the walls. In Opar once through the cleft one climbs a stairway to enter the ruins. Here, led by his interest in geology Smith enters the cleft in the mountain reft by titanic forces ages ago to follow it deep within the mountain wall. To insure that he continues on down the rabbit hole Burroughs sends a lion in after him blocking any exit should he wish to turn back. Thus the lion as Fate is forcing him to his destiny. The role of the lion in the oeuvre remains elusive to me; I fail to grasp the nuances as well as the essence. The lion may be another side of Tarzan, the Lion Man, who is helpful. On the other hand the lion as an expression of Burroughs’ Anima is extremely dangerous and hateful falling beneath Dad’s knife repeatedly, these are usually female. Still a problem for me.
Following the cleft for some way Smith reaches the end which is a very small hole that he can just force his way through. The symbolism of birth is quite clear; the descent from the womb and the breakthrough to the other side through the vagina.
Both aspects of Burroughs’ Anima are already inside Midian. Lady Barbara parachuted there while Jezebel was born there. Thus, it would seem that the La, Jezebel, Balza figure was native to Burroughs’ X chromosome while Jane, Lady Barbara, Rhonda Terry was an acquired image.
Smith will also be joined by the two remaining Animus figures, Gunner Patrick and Tarzan. All five of his Anima/Animus figures that he acknowledges were then functioning in his dream world. This may have represented his brain or the womb or a combination of both. What seems to be clear is that with the destruction and death of his old dream world he is being born again. The resurrection scene will follow.
When Tarzan enters Midian as when he is entering the cleft of Opar it is necessary for him to manipulate his shoulders through by turning them sideways. Thus there is a clear reference to birth.
Perhaps when Burroughs began self-publication he felt as though he were making a break with his past. Leaving McClurg’s and Joe Bray behind, making a new start as it were, he was beginning a new life. That was probably part of it as was the invasion of Opar by his enemies but I’m sure there is personal development involved that isn’t clear to me yet.
Once inside, convinced that the lion is following him although one believes the small hole would have baffled the lion, Smith finds the convenient tree in front of the hole into which he climbs for safety. Then Smith does exactly what Patrick, the dark side of the ego, will do, he goes down to the lake and gorges himself on water. This could be construed as baptism of the born again man; the living water of redemption.
He then meanders in the direction of Midian. As night has fallen the bonfires attract him.
By this time Lady Barbara after a few refreshing skinny dips waiting for her clothes to dry, Burroughs actually writes these strange interludes, finds her way back to Midian. For some strange reason the Midianites pay no attention to her mind boggling miracles, sometimes you can’t buy a thrill, choosing to disregard the apparent will of their god.
She and Jezebel are condemned to be crucified and burned to death. Both have been placed on the crosses with faggots piled round when Smith and his trusty nickel plated .32 burst upon the scene.
Now we have the resurrection of Smith and his Anima figures. The implication is that the trinity have symbolically died and are now resurrected. This is some fancy footwork.
Imagine the scene: Two crosses are erected. The Anima figures are placed on the crosses. As I imagine it there is a space of four to eight feet between the arms. Smith forces a way to a place in fornt of the crosses as he kicks away the burning faggots between the two crosses. Although not on a cross himself he is symbolically so he and Burroughs assume the role of Jesus Christ in the middle while the Anima figures represent the two thieves, one on either side.
Thus we are playing out a reenactment of the Christian crucifixion that will have a different result.
The Christians are pressing in on Smith. This is yet another version of Burroughs’ confrantation with John the Bully on the street corner. Back then he turned and ran. Now Smith is in a quandary. Christ in the same dilemma turned the other cheek saying: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
We have all been taught to revere turning the other cheek. Some even attempt to practice the precept. I’m sure the ploy may work from time to time but in nine times out of ten it won’t. That is more or less the dilemma of the Western world today. it is steadfastly trying to turn the other cheek but every time it does a steel-toed boot gets planted on it.
Thus as Smith is dithering a clear cultured English female voice comes down from the cross saying: You’re going to have to shoot to kill, you know. In other words, turning the other cheek is sure death. Burroughs is especially good at surprise twists like this.
Astonished, perhaps thinking the angel of the Lord had spoken to him Smith complies, firing into the crowd. As the joke is that his aim is so poor he couldn’t hit the side of a barn he is fortunate enough to actually kill someone.
Momentarily stunned by the magical weapon but not overawed the crowd pauses long enough to allow Smith to get Lady Barbara down. Thus Burroughs chooses the older more stately aspect of his Anima rather than the Wild Thing, sex kitten. Perhaps as Florence was out of town ERB temporarily shifted bazck to the Jane Anima aspect. Within a matter of weeks or days he will decide on Jezebel/Balza/Florence when Florence unexpectedly returns and he writes Leopard Men in celebration.
Smith succeeds in lowering Lady Barbara but then Jobab challenges the efficacy of his .32. Smith fires at Jobab point blank missing him. Jobab vindicated rushes Smith knocking the gun out of his hand. Lady Barbara scoops it up, places the muzzle against Jobab’s side where he learns the efficacy of the Colt. Thus the Anima and Animus of Burroughs have now killed a man.
This give the crowd pause once again so that Jezebel is lowered and the Trinity run away. The two Anima aspects and Burroughs’ bright Animus are now whole. The confrontation with John the Bully has been resolved.
They attempt to find the opening but in the process wander into North Midian where they are captured by the fair haired, blue eyed, small nosed but no less superstitious North Midians. They manage to escape.
They capture a kid to eat but in the process the goatherd misses it. What the symbolism of eating the ‘lamb’ is escapes me just now. Smith and lady Barbara are recaptured, taken to the village.
In the meantime Tarzan and Patrick enter the crater. Burroughs now has all five of his Anima and Animus figures in the crater. Tarzan separates from Patrick. The latter comes across Jezebel who had escaped the North Midians. The meeting is apparently love at first sight so the Wild Thing Anima and the killer Animus are united. As they are tired they lay down together. You can draw your conclusions but Jezebel appears to be ready for any ‘beautiful’ man who comes along. Whether a comment on Floence isn’t clear however Burroughs in his mind would be seeing her in his Desperado aspect while she would be his Wild Thing or little Flapper girl.
Perhaps with Smith/Lady B ERB is representing his Dr. Jekyll side, his married status while with Jezebel/Patrick he is representing his Hyde side in his affair with Florence Gilbert.
Jezebel and Patrick leave the crater. On the outside they are spotted by Capietro’s men who bash the Burroughs surrogate on the head leaving him for dead while they carry Jezebel off. This would be the same situation with John the Bully or the bashing in Toronto however it may also represent Ashton Dearholt’s taking Florence out of town for a cooling off period.
Burroughs interjects a comedy routine back in North Midian with a lampoon of religosity over whether Paul had yellow hair or black hair. The upshot is that Smith is to die.
However a pair of eyes are watching the scene. An unknown lurker to the North Midians, Tarzan to us. Tarzan’s own role in this story is his battle with Capietro and Stabutch. Otherwise he functions as a deus ex machina– a God from the machine a common feature of Greek drama to resolve an otherwise unresolvable plot point — to get the Anima figure out of difficulty. He does in this case too.
Then leaving he crater Tarzan escorts the pair to his friend Lord Passmore’s safari leaving them there in safety with the faithful Waziri. Then he goes back to deal with Stabutch and Capietro.
Thus Fate and Burroughs go about weaving their web. The similarity to Penelope of the Odyssey is close with the exception that Burroughs does not unravel the previous day’s work. But one is invited to see this story as a series of pictures woven into the tapestry somewhat like the contest between Athene and Arachnae. One might also compare the novel, in the classical mode, to the Shield of Achilles which is decorated around the edge with a series of pictures portraying the life of the Bronze Age. So Burroughs has woven a series of such pictures into his tapestry. A clever idea and well executed. How many people have ever gotten it except for us is open to question.
So far Burroughs has insulted the Jews and ridiculed religion in general and Christianity specifically. He now turns to the strand of Communism, humiliating them in his dreamworld. It is all well that he should take the attack to them but one is surprised that he either didn’t anticipate a counter attack or didn’t anticipate the direction from which it would come if he was even yet aware that his defenses had been overrun by MGM.
The man was playing with fire without an awareness of real life consequences. It would be amusing to know if a copy of Tarzan Triumphant was rushed off to Stalin. One can be sure that the ADL/AJC/MGM combination had an advance copy perhaps even the chapters as they were being written. It is inconceivable that his enemies had no spy within his organization. That is just the way things are done and had to have been done in this instance. The usual mode is to capture the position of secretary through whom all information passes. That means that ERB’s typist may have been the conduit, Cyril Ralph Rothmund or perhaps even both. I’m betting on Rothmund for sure. I would love to see his finances. He may also have been on the ADL/AJC/MGM payroll was well as Burroughs’. Itr was he who negotiated the contract Burroughs signed giving away the control of Tarzan.
The next picture on the web is the reunion of Jezebel and Patrick followed by the battle of Tarzan and the Communists.
To be continued in Part 5: In The Footsteps Of The Lord
August 1, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
Two Peas And The Pod.
The ease with which ERB shifts from one complicated subject to another is truly remarkable; no less so in the facility he has for organizing these matters into a few lines or paragraphs. No one can do this without a firm grasp of his subject matter. ERB is simply one of the best informed writers of his era.
In a little less than a page ERB summarizes the Torrio-Capone years in Chicago from the beginning of Prohibition in 1920 while incorporating a fictional history of his character, Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick. Patrick as his name indicates is Irish. He was part of the Dion O’ Bannion gang led bhy Bugs Moran after O’Bannion’s demise in 1924. According to Burroughs Patrick took part in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.
…but Danny Patrick was ambitions. For years he had been the right hand of a Big Shot. He had seen his patron grow rich– “lousy rich” according to Danny’s notion– and he had become envious.
So Danny double crossed the Big Shot, went over to the other side, which, incidentally, boasted a bigger and better Big Shot, (Al Capone) and was a party to the hijacking of several truck loads of booze belonging to his former employer.
Many of the Big Shot’s enemies and several of his friends, had Danny taken for a ride. He knew the power of the Big Shot, and feared him. Danny did not want to go for a ride himself, but he knew that if he remained in dear old Chi he would go the way of all good gunmen much to soon to suit his plans.
Patrick is not not a nice guy, he is definitely not a nice guy. For my tastes ERB is much too tolerant of a man he describes as a psychopathic killer. “many of the Big Shot’s enemies, and several of his friends’ implies that Patrick has many, perhaps dozens, of murders to his credit yet Burroughs is going to have Tarzan befriend this guy.
While O’ Bannion was done in in 1924 by the Capone gang, being succeeded by Moran, ERB seems to telescope the years reversing things so that O’Banion is still alive after the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre– ‘The Day Chicago Died.’ ERB is clearly following and thinking about the situation in Chicago as he says, p. 27:
(Patrick) knew that sooner or later, the Big Shot woud have a grand funeral with truck loads of flowers and, at least, a ten thousand dollar casket.
Underworld funrals were prodigious affairs. There is a certain irony in the fact that Dion O’ Banion ran a flower shop. As a big crime figure it would be expected that the flowers for those expensive funerals would come from his shop. Is it any wonder Patrick was taking so many people for a ride. O’ Banion had a good racket going there.
Not wanting to be taken for a ride himself Patrick had opted for an extended vacation taking his typewriter with him. A Chicago typewriter, of course, was a Thompson machine gun. Tommy gun. The Chicago underworld qauickly adopted the Tommy gun which was new at the time. The Tommy made those Dick Tracy comic strips so thrilling. Although one has come to accept the Chicago hoodlum story as a commonplace if one actually thinks about it the open war between the underworld and legitamate society is so startling that one should be appalled. ERB like the rest of his contemporaries seems to have taken the fact in stride even, in his case, making Patrick a hero.
It is almost as though he made Patrick the dark side of the mild mannered Geology professor, Lafayette Smith. Or, in other words, himself. In this series of books from Invincible to Lion Man ERB explores the split or dual personality as examined in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. Convinced as ERB is that the Animus is represented by two archetypes, whith which I find no difficulty other than it can be three, four or more, in this story as usual he divides the two aspects of the personality between two characters. Although Lord Passmore who is Tarzan in disguise has a decidedly homosexual feel, which would make four personalities.
Lafe Smith is clearly an alter ego of Burroughs. Borrowing from ERB’s own experience he says of Smith, p. 11:
…Lafayette Smith, A.M., Ph.D., Sc.D, professor of geology at the Phil Sheridan Military Academy.
For a school year now, he had been an instructor in an inconspicuous western military academy.
Here we have ERB as he would like to have been with a string of degrees after his name. First in this dream life he is a professor of Geoplogy athe Phil Sheridan Military Academy which sounds pretty impressive but then he is mysteriously down graded from a professor to a mere instructor (which ERB was in fact) for a schoolyear, nine months, at an inconspicuous military academy. Thus fantasy collides with reality.
Another fantasy, now Smithe was on his way to achieve another cherished ambition, that of going to Africa to study the Great Rift Valley perhaps as ERB himself might have liked to have done but which he never did.
So ERB has his ego ideals, his Jekyll and Hyde sides going as pals to Africa. As Tarzan is also an ego ideal we have an actual trinity. Jekyll and Hyde and what? God? David Adams who is a pretty thorough Jungian is mystified by the lack of the benevolent old man in Burroughs’ work who according to Jungian theory should have been there. This is more htan likely a very involved question but I am going to sugest that possibly characters like Tarzan and John Carter seve in that capacity of Old Man/Jekyll figures while the actual Old Man figures who are betrayers serve perhaps as the Hydelike figures representing his father.
In real life Burroughs ‘old man’, his father, was a betrayer who had little good to say about his son even to the extent of defaming him to all and sundry. So, it is possible that ERB split the Jungian benevolent Old Man figure into Jekyll like Tarzan and John Carter and his father into the Hydelike Old Man character. As he was conflicted with a love/hate relationship with his father it would be easier for him not to mention his father by name. I offer this interpretation only as a suggestion and do not insist n it, still it is a possible solution to the problem perhaps leading to a full solution.
You can take the boy out of Chicago but you can’t take Chicago out of the boy. ERB was always fascinated by slang. Gunner Patrick gives him the opportunity for extensive and amusing word play. The criminal culture from which patrick comes has what amounts to a patois. At one point ERB calls it by the French term of argot. Even though he is pronouncing English words that the English speaking characters can recognize the meanings of the meaning he attaches to the words are beyond the comprehension of his auditors. Thus one has the intersting effect of the cultural clash between two examples of what should be the same culture but is not.
Of course ERB is in full command of not only both these cultures but seemingly all cultures. In his zany multi-cultural world he is the Master of Cultures. I pretend to the succession of ERB.
Thus disembarking from a ship the bright and dark sides of ERB tramp across Africa in the direction of the Great Rift Valley. Perhaps like Kitchener they came down the Nile to Khartoum and cut up the Blue Nile to Ethiopia like Samual Baker. Now Burroughs has to integrate his master alter ego, Tarzan, into the Jekyll and Hyde pair.
A psychological interpretation is that Tarzan must accept the Hyde of Burroughs’ personality as well as the Jekyll. Indeed, Tarzan seems to respect the Hyde side much more than he does the clown like but educated Jekyll side.
As the story is told Tarzan hears the sound of a machine gun and goes to investigate. Patrick had fired into the bush hoping to hit a lion nosing about the safari camp. He succeeds in temporarily scaring it away, giving Tarzan time to locate the camp.
The lion returns. Imagine this scene. Patrick with this Tommy gun is standing under the convenient tree, while Smith stands behind him with his nickel paltged .32 that he doesn’t even know how to aim. Here ERB’s dark side is in command while his incompetent but intelligent bright side is subordinate to the dark. What does this mean in real life?
As Patrick fires on the lion the Tommy gun jams leaving both sides of Burroughs’ alter-ego defenseless. At this time the Master alter ego falls on the lion from the tree killing him and saving the lives of the subordinate alter egos, Patrick and Smith. Patrick is Irish and the more aggressive while one presumes Smith is English and more passive. Thus a major theme of Irish and English which runs throughout the corus is here erepresented. While ERB claimed to be ‘pur’ English he was actually only English on his father’s side while Bennsylvania Dutch, in other words, Rhineland German, and Irish on his Mother’s side. the Irish surfaces not only here but in the following year when he assumed his Irish ancestral name of John McCulloch to write Pirate Blood. Also as David Adams points out the killing of the lion puts the seal on the relationship between Tarzan, Smth and Patrick.
In the same period of time he wrote Pirates Of Venus and Pirate Blood. Although pirates had figured in his early writing as the Black Pirates of Barsoom and the pirates of Pellucidar unless I’m mistaken this sudden efflorescence of interest in pirates has to do with the ‘pirating’ of Tarzan by MGM.
While not introducing himself Tarzan peremptorily gives the pair some instruction on how to comport themselves in the jungle then disappers up his tree.
The next time Tarzan and Patrick meet is a bonding session in which Tarzan accepts Burroughs’ dark side, Patrick.
Tarzan is squatting on the edge of the cliff observing Capietro and Stabutch in their camp below. the ground gives way precipitating Tarzan over the edge. He attempts to save himself by grabbing the chance tree growing out of the cliff face- the chance tree- even here Burroughs equates trees with safety- but the tree gives way. Tarzan falls through the grass roof of a hut landing safely. He is imediately engulfed by the goons of Capietro.
Now, having lunch under another tree not too far away, yards actually, is Gunner Patrick. HIs attention called to the Ape-man who he had previously not noticed he gets up to investigae. Aiding Tarzan he lets loose with a blast from the Thompson. He succeeds in dispersing the crowd as well as Capietro and Stabutch. this is almost commical: Tarzan shouts to Patraick to not go away, he’ll be right up. Good as his word he appears above.
Now come this very interesting bonding session in which Tarzan accepts Patrick. P. 98:
The “Gunner” was waiting for him upon the summit of the cliff directly behind the village, and for the second time these strangely dissimilar men met- dissimilar and yet, in some respects, alike. Each was ordinarily quiet to taciturnity, each was self-reliant, each was a law unto himself in his own environment; but there the similairty ceased for the extremes of environment had produced psychological extremes as remotely separated as the poles.
The ape-man had been reared amidst scenes of eternal beauty and grandeur, his associates the beasts of the jungle, savage perhaps, but devoid of coarse, petty jealousy, treachery, meanness and intentional cruelty; while the “Gunner” had known naught but the squalid aspects of scenery defiled by man, of horizons grotesque with the screaming atrocities of architecture, of an earth hidden by concrete ans asphaltum and littered with tin cans and garbage, his associeates in all walks of life activated by grand and petty meannesses unknown to any but mankind.
Now, Burroughs signed his contract with MGM on April tenth of 1931 while he didn’t finish Triumphant until May twentieth so had forty days in which to realize his mistake. If he did realize his error so quickly it might acount for some of the misanthropic bitterness in the above passage and elsewhere. Filching his character would certainly be considered a grand meanness. On the other hand his misanthropic interpretation was a continuation of his longstanding dislike of mankind and civilization.
It is of interest that both Patrick and Tarzaqn have killed many men. Some of Tarzan’s kills, quite frankly, verge on the psychopathic. I can’t get over how he literally ripped a man’s head off his shoulders in Ant Men. Of course, he may have merely underestimated his strength being a fourth his size but having his full sized strength.
Nevertheless both are laws unto themselves in their own domains so theoretically they do as they please. Still, and I don’t know how to interpret this, ‘the extremes of environment had produced psychological extremes as remotely separated as the poles.’ I’m clear on Patrick’s extreme but I’m not sure which extreme Tarzan represents.
These extremes were caused by the differences in the environments of the two men. Tarzan was raised amongst beauty , while Patrick was raised amongst squaor. As Burroughs roamed over Chicago, and it seems certain he searched out nooks and crannies, he was appalled byh the ‘screaming atrocities of architecture’. Chicagoans have been quite proud of their architects and architectures so Burroughs critique is quite different. The paving over of the environment bothered him as much as it does me. We no longer see the tin cans and bottles but the dumping of garbage wherever by certain people still goes on.
Tarzan was raised among the ’noble’ beasts while Patrick was raised essentially among thieves and cheats.
Still, invironment aside both men had many kills or murders to their credit. Seems like a double standard to absolve Tarzan while condemning Patrik especially since each is obviously a product of their environment while neither therefore is inherently good regardless of their environment.
Perhaps Tarzan kills only for just reasons, of his own reckoning as he is a law unto himself, while patgrick kills for gain is where the difference lies. Perhaps that is the difference between constituted society and the criminal world. There are times when the most mild mannered and best of men and women must kill, whether in the individual or collective sensel. Burroughs brings this out when Lafe Smith attempts to liberate Lady Barbara and Jezebel from the Midianites. As he faces the Midianites with his .32 a cultured English voice comes down from the cross telling him that he is goint to have to kill someone if he and women wish to survive.
Perhaps this scene isn’t just entertainment but Burroughs relating a hard fact of life. No matter how good you may be a situation in life will appear when you will have to do that which goes against evrything you believe if you wish to survive.l Such is the West’s situation in the world today; commit suicide yourself or shoot to kill. Sometimes it comes down to that; left multi-culturalism or no.
This scene may be a very important psychological moment for ERB. There is wry truth in Tarzan’s next utterance to Patrick: “‘ A machine gun has its possibilites,’ the ape-man said with the flicker of a smile.’”
Perhaps ERB is in some midlife evaluation. The scene with his alter-ego Smith’s entry into Midian is laden with symbolism also. Let’s see how Burroughs handles that as he and Fate continue to weave the warp and woof of this remarkable tapestry to bring out the pattern.
Continued in Part 4: Lafe Smith, Born Again.