September 20, 2011
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS VS. THE COMIC BOOK HEROES
In the attempt to put together a historical puzzle the missing piece or pieces, the clarifying pieces, appear from time to time. Thus with the release of the movie, Captain America this year a significant piece of the puzzle falls into place that clarifies the role of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his literary creations in the panorama of the twentieth century- the fabulous twentieth century.
It is difficult today to conceive of how the early twentieth century was perceived as a complete break with the Victorian nineteenth. One only has to compare the streamlined Santa Fe Chief in this picture alongside a nineteenth century locomotive to see how the Twentieth Century was perceived as the century of absolute exciting progress. The time certainly justified General Electric’s motto: Progress is our most important product.
Burroughs role in this fabulous century is essentially the story of how Edgar Rice Burroughs created the concept of the super hero on the cusp of the emergent movie and comic book industries. It is in the latter two industries that the super hero found his definition.
Just as in the days of yore mankind projected its needs in the psychological projection of Gods so the twentieth century saw the beginning of the demise of the old gods and the birth of the new. While the creators of the Old Gods have disappeared into the mists of time, and there must have been human creators of the Gods, the creators of the new gods can be easily traced.
The predecessors of the Superheroes can be found in the rise of the mega intellects of the nineteenth century detectives such as Monsieur LeCoq, Sherlock Holmes and arch fiends such as Dr. Moriarty and the French Fantomas. Influenced by such as these Edgar Rice Burroughs created the actual prototypes of the mid-century superheroes in the characters of John Carter of Mars and Tarzan The Ape Man. While John Carter is less well known than Tarzan, who became a household word within a half dozen years of his creation, Carter truly had super human powers having been transported from the higher gravity of Earth to the lower gravitational field of Mars, or Barsoom, as Burroughs renamed the planet.
While not able to leap over tall buildings his saltational powers functioned at a level of efficiency unattained by any other Barsoomian. For a decade or so Burroughs had the superhero field to himself while his lessons sunk in to the minds of those following him.
The two most significant men of extraordinary if not super human powers to follow Tarzan and John Carter were Maxwell Grant’s superb character, The Shadow and Lester Dent’s Doc Savage. Preceding the comic book character Superman by a few years Doc Savage was actually advertised as a superman, undoubtedly in reference to Nietzsche.
Then in the early thirties in addition to movies, in which Tarzan was a stellar attraction, the modern comic book or magazine came into existence. Of course newspaper comic strips had been developing from the turn of the century but the actual comic book was a development of the thirties.
As fate would have it the comic book industry like the movie industry became a province of the Jews.
Thus two streams of influence formed comic book heroes. On the one hand the Jewish writers and cartoonists were influenced by John Carter, Tarzan, The Shadow, and Doc Savage and on the other by a fifteenth century Jewish super creature known as the Golem. This was a creature fashioned from clay, as per Adam of the Old Testament, by a Prague Rabbi named Loewe who breathed life into his creation as God had breathed life into Adam. The Golem was created to wreak vengeance on Jewish victims as a sort of avenger as would be the status and role of the latter day Jewish superheroes of the comic books.
First out of the box in 1938 was the prototype of the rest of the comic book heroes, Superman. Like Burroughs with his creations the two Jewish creators built Superman’s origins from the Biblical story of the Exodus. Tarzan of course was born to noble English parents in Darkest Africa who then died or were killed by the Great Apes while the she ape, Kala, snatched him from the cradle and raised him as an ape.
Superman was born of noble parents on the planet Krypton which was about to be destroyed, and sent on a rocket ship to Earth while his parents died. On Earth he was raised by kindly goy Earth people. Thus we have two different versions of Moses in the bullrushes. Superman, then, combined John Carter and Tarzan.
Superman was a good thing in commercial terms being the equivalent of a literary best seller. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so that while Superman imitated Burroughs’ great characters a host of comic book superheroes soon trod in Superman’s footsteps. Next in 1939 there was Batman, probably the most successful of the Jewish superheroes, and then in 1940 the temporarily successful Captain America, really the product of WWII, losing his popularity with the end of the war. The most successful of all the superheroes was the strange goyish creation, Capt. Marvel but he doesn’t concern us here.
The above is very interesting I’m sure but what significance does it have; what is its meaning; what is going on? Well, the back story is very interesting indeed. One must remember that our lives are not lived in a social vacuum of unrelated incidents. All is part of a continuum that does not just happen but is created by the participants. All is a drive to attain a desire. The question is who are the participants? As has already been indicated, the Jews and the Gentiles or goyim. From what do those desires arise? Suggestion. Suggestions having been received, when a body of suggestions have been ingested, our minds begin to digest those suggestions. One then interprets the suggested reality according to one’s temperament which itself has been built on a body of suggestions.
All society is education, indoctrination and conditioning, in other words hypnotic suggestion. Burroughs was born in 1875 as the scientific revolution was in an advanced stage of development; by 1893 when Burroughs was seventeen the whole of human knowledge and scientific advances was put on exhibition at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. The Expo was probably the high water mark in Western Civilization or, at least, its confidence in itself. The Expo was an unparalleled achievement of human endeavor far surpassing all expos of the nineteenth century with the possible exception of the 1851 London Exposition. Interestingly both were burned to the ground by anti-civilization elements. The Columbian Expo of 1893 was the most powerful element of Burroughs’ education.
Shortly before the boy’s birth in 1875 the character of immigration changed. In 1871 Jews from the eastern European Pale of Settlement began to flood the country until in 1914 possibly half of European Jewry had been transferred to the United States. The great immigration myth is that the immigrants were assimilated into the ‘Melting Pot’ of the United States; nothing could be further from the truth. The immigrants merely transferred their national cultures to the United States where because they were compelled to speak English it appeared that they had been assimilated. In reality the immigrants came to the sparsely populated United States where they established an outremer population on the New Island as the Irish had it, a new Sicily, a new Zion etc. They came in such numbers that they actually were colonists. The old cultures were merely adapted to the new realities and developed along side the Native peoples.
These alien or invading cultures then shaped the development of the United States in their image as much as possible. Thus they were able to blame their cultural shortcomings on ‘America’ while emphasizing their virtues as their own. Hence ‘America’ developed into a sort of dirty word, a catchall for the crimes of the immigrant cultures. This state of affairs was masked until the Great War when the social conflicts came into the open and were immediately subsumed into the Communist ideology after 1917.
Young Burroughs observed this immigration phenomenon or suggestion with misgivings associating himself with Nativist views although he remained independent to our knowledge of association with Nativist organizations. Thus while interpretations of these social suggestions are found through out his early writings the conflict didn’t come to a head until after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in what became the USSR as Russia disappeared from the map. With all the national dissidents operating under the rubric of Communism the world was divided into us and them- ostensibly Communism and Capitalism. The dichotomy was created by the Communists. However each national culture could function with representatives in each camp while furthering their parochial objectives.
It was a new world the morning after the Bolshevik Revolution. Burroughs immediately came into collision with the new realities. As this new world was us and them it was possible to hate Communism while retaining virtue in the Capitalist camp. However one couldn’t detest national, religious or racial components even though they may have been Communists. As Communists always denied being Communists one was always dealing with cultural groups that dissembled their Communism.
When Burroughs began his career in literature even as he wrote the movies began to assume a transcendent place in US and world culture. By the end of the second decade it was evident that movies were where the big money was. That’s when Burroughs’ troubles began.
He quickly ran afoul of the Communists who controlled publishing and the Jews who controlled the movies. The Communists wished to suppress all non-Communist writers who refused to put out the Communist message. The Jews wished to discourage all criticism of their activities. Burroughs was marked out as one to be destroyed.
Behind the Communist outrage and obscured by it was the Jewish attempt to realize the Messianic age which assault was begun in Europe and the United States in 1913 and was to continue to 1928 according to Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. While the assault was violent in Europe emanating from the transformation of Russia to the USSR, in the United States it was more peaceable after the violent year of 1919 while being conducted on a propagandistic and social level buttressed by the doctrines of Sigmund Freud as executed by his nephew and disciple Edward L. Bernays and others. You should become acquainted with Edward Bernays if you aren’t already.
Among the first of these propagandistic efforts was the promulgation of a ‘Jewish Bill Of Rights.’ This document along with a questionnaire was sent to the prominent men and women of America to discover their ‘anti-Semitic’ propensities. Burroughs failed this test so that he was black balled in Hollywood after 1922. The blacklist was broken by Joseph Kennedy and his FBO Studios in 1928. MGM then stepped in with a different approach from blacklisting. They bought the movie rights to Tarzan from Burroughs for much less than a song. Burroughs then was essentially neutralized in 1931 while MGM acquired the supreme super hero Tarzan to shape or mishape as they pleased. Within a few years there were not many who remembered that there was a literary Tarzan. My amazement when I learned there were Tarzan books when I was twelve in 1950 was a revelation of the first order.
The movies were able, of course, to shape all the goy literary heroes from Frankenstein to Sherlock Holmes into their own intellectual mold from then into the present while comic books added Jewish superheroes to displace them.
The planned Jewish revolution hadn’t succeeded by 1928 but the groundwork had been laid leaving the future promising and open. While in the US the Jews were able to sweep all opposition aside even to the extent of putting their creature, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, into the White House for an unprecedented four terms, in Europe unexpected opposition occurred when Wolf Hitler was elected chancellor of German in 1933. While having their creatures Joseph Stalin as Premier of the USSR and FDR in the USA with Popular Front governments if office throughout Europe with the exception of Germany, Italy and Spain, the Jews seemed to be in a position to realize their millennium.
Indoctrination and conditioning was still important in the US thus when sound movies were introduced at the very end of the twenties and the comic book in the early thirties the Jews had two of the most powerful propaganda tools available under their ownership and control.
Their need in the thirties was to isolate and marginalize the Nativist opposition. This would be achieved in the forties wartime conditions when FDR had the prominent Nativists arrested and charged with sedition. At that point the Jews had succeeded in capturing the government and mind of the country although a long mopping up process would be necessary into the fifties and sixties. Thus while Wolf Hitler rounded up Jews in Europe, Jews were rounding up Nativists Americans in the US while advising any dissidents to keep their heads low.
The movies and comic books would play a big role in indoctrinating Americans to believe that the Nativists were Fascists and/or Nazis and not true Americans. It was at this time that Edward L. Bernays succeeded in changing the definition of Democracy from that of individual opportunity to recognition of groups having rights to a share of government based on group identity rather than individual identity. This would be a key concept as the century developed.
After the Bolshevik Revolution the American reaction to Communism was strongly against it. The Communist Party was even outlawed for a time until the Fellow Travelers and Parlor Pinks had the ban lifted. The silent movies of the twenties then were not heavily influenced by the Reds although as indicated the Tarzan movies of Edgar Rice Burroughs were blacklisted. By the thirties the Reds were better organized while with the arrival of sound playwrights capable of producing dialog were needed. The Red exodus to Hollywood began.
The US Communist Party as with all national Communist Parties, was a majority or plurality Jewish affair to the point where an attack on one was an attack on the other. Thus as the thirties advanced the drum roll for US involvement in a war against the Nazis began. This would involve the formation in the US of an opposition led by the America First Committee which was opposed to any involvement in foreign wars as a reaction. As this was opposed to Jewish wishes the America First Committee was designated as Fascist while its putative leader, Charles Lindbergh was designated Hitler’s stooge.
In order to discredit the opposition, no sooner was FDR sworn in than Samuel Dickstein, a Jewish representative from New York, began to agitate for a House Un-American Activities Committee to stamp out Nativist opposition. As Dickstein was a Soviet agent this meant that the Nativist opposition was un-American while the Jewish Roosevelt government were the true Americans. So, the Jews were well on the way to usurping the American identity which the comic book superheroes represented. Dickstein was successful in establishing his HUAC committee in 1938 but the chair eluded him and went to a real American, Martin Dies of Texas, who then used the committee to harass Communists as well as ‘Fascists’ much to the dismay of Dickstein and FDR.
Hollywood in support of Dickstein began turning out anti-German movies and by implication anti-Nativist well in advance of American involvement in 1942. Involvement in the European conflict was of course brought about by forcing Japan to declare war on the US in late ‘41.
The comic book industry forming about 1932 was becoming real by 1938 when the two Jews from Cleveland devised their Golem character Superman followed by Batman and Captain America. The comic book heroes fell in with the anti-German propaganda. If the Jews, British and FDR were not yet openly promoting the war against Germany the tendency was well formed in that direction.
All those comics were openly anti- German with Capt. America socking Hitler on the cover of the first issue. Capt. America was a creation of two Jews from Brooklyn, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. To quote the Rabbi Simcha Weinstein from his book Up, Up, And Oy Vey!: How Jewish Culture And Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero:
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 gave 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 at 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 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 Jewish ‘Americans’ in the country I might suggest that the response from that culture 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 America, in fact, none did. 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.
All the Jewish comics were openly anti-German, thus the FDR administration, the movies and comic books were fighting for the Jewish ‘good war.’ When Charles Lindbergh pointed this out he was immediately portrayed as an agent of the Nazis whereas he was merely telling the truth while being an ideal American. Philip Roth in his 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, recounts the Jewish atmosphere of the time while he postulates that Lindbergh was elected president in 1940 as a satrap of Hitler. Thus the Jews became the real Americans and the real Americans were totalitarians out to destroy the Democracy the Jews had created.
In his essay in the New York Times of 9/19/04 titled: The Story Behind The Plot Against America Roth says that he is recreating America as it really was in 1940 but that is not so. As Roth lived in a New Jersey Jewish colony he and his family was out of touch with the real America as his fictional brother who had gone to Kentucky tries to tell him.
In fact in the America of the time in which Samuel Dickstein was an evil presence the American Jewish Committee and The Anti Defamation League were paramilitary organizations conducting spying operations against the non-Jewish public. Numerous agents unaffiliated with any government agency crisscrossed society looking for any activity that might be considered against Jewish interests. These forays were gathered together in 1943 under the assumed name of John Roy Carlson and published as an indictment against Jewish ‘enemies.’ Many of them were arrested and tried as ‘un-Americans in 1944. So, Roth’s paranoia is at best unbalanced.
Roth says the idea of Lindbergh’s having been elected occured to him while reading Arthur Schlesinger’s autobiography:
I came upon a sentence in which Schlesinger notes that there were some Republican isolationists who wanted to run Lindbergh for president in 1940. That’s all there was, that one sentence with its reference to Lindbergh and to a fact about him I’d not known. It made me think, “What if they had?” and I wrote the question in the margin.
While this may be how Roth came upon the notion his was not the first such idea. As Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner in their Radical Hollywood of 2002 point out, Donald Ogden Stewart in his script for 1943’s Keeper Of The Flame, Charles Lindbergh is posited as a plotter of a coup to replace FDR in alliance with Hitler. This would have been propaganda to indict Lindbergh for the upcoming trial of the Nativists. I don’t know whether Roth saw the movie as a boy but if he did perhaps the idea festered in his brain for several decades until he was reminded by Schlesinger’s book while his mind was half prepared.
So the actual plot of the Jews to take over the American government was displaced to Lindbergh and the Nativists. The Jewish coup was represented in the comic book character of Captain America. This situation is made clear in the current (2011) movie Capt. America: The First Avenger. Thus Philip Roth and Stan Lee of the comics recapitulate and clarify Jewish activities in the 1933-43 era. Captain America is actually Jewish assuming an ultimate American identity.
The origins of Captain America then emanated from the Jewish dream subconscious of Jack Kirby which was quite different form real Americans. He therefore, as all writers must, made Capt. America in his comic book existence from his own 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 have 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. weakling into an all powerful goy Charles Atlas without the hard work of body building. I’m sure Kirby saw those ads 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 [this is what used to make we boys puke] 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 protectors of genuine American Democracy while Anglo-Americans or Native Americans or America Firsters were out to destroy the great American Dream the Jews had created. This is the theme of Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America backdated to this period. The current movie Captain America could easily be subtitled The Plot Against America Foiled.
Rabbi Weinstein 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 characters, 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.
I hope this makes clear that Superman, Batman and Captain America are Jewish in identity and what their purpose is in American society.
Having created a competing line of Jewish superheroes the problem then became how to discredit and supplant the goy super heroes. As should be clear by now what we have going on is a religious war but fought by propagandistic means. In other words the battle field was literature, comic books and the movies. As in all religious conflicts the goal is to displace the religious icons of the other; thus, in early Christian times churches were built on the sites of pagan temples while sacred groves were cut down. Nothing has changed; nothing can change. The Jewish goal was the elimination of ‘Christian’ or goy symbols.
Capt. Marvel was gotten rid of in 1953 when the Jews sued him out of his cape. As I’ve pointed out in my review of Tarzan And The Lion Man, parts 8,9.10, a key text in this colossal battle, MGM attempted to destroy the character as well as Burroughs when they bought movie rights to Tarzan in 1931. They got his birthright for a mess of pottage. It may be coincidental but in 1942 after the success of the Jewish comic book super heroes MGM discarded their lucrative rights to Tarzan to movie maker Sol Lesser presumably as worthless or, at least, of no more interest to them. Of course Lesser continued the franchise with phenomenal success. This necessitated a continued campaign to debase the character continuing today. At the same time that Tarzan is debased the Jewish characters, Capt. America is now one of a group of four ‘Avengers’, hence the double entendre of ‘The First Avenger’, who are increasingly Judaisized, while presented in a positive way in the attempt to marginalize Tarzan.
Now, some seventy years after the demise of the man, the continued demonization of Wolf Hitler is becoming less relevant, even annoying if you’re not Jewish, so in Capt. America Wolf Hitler is demoted to an incompetent dead threat while the scepter is passed to the mega Nazi/anti-Semite recreated in the mental projection of Red Skull or the Hydra. The mythical symbol of the Hydra is well chosen to represent anti-Semitism as no matter how many heads you cut off another one, two or three grow back. The threat never ends and the paranoia is justified.
Thus in the Freudian sense Jews have a dual personality: on the one hand you have the ineffective completely innocent assumed goy persona of Steve Rogers, who is the equivalent of Abel, the Chosen one and the crazed madman Hydra who is a projection of the negative aspects of the Jewish character imposed on the other as the anti-Semite. Thus the Jewish character is always at war with itself in the Freudian sense and hence never successful in its aims.
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
July 18, 2011
Edgar Rice Burroughs As A Feral Child
Cronus married his sister Rhea, to whom the oak is sacred, But it was prophesized by Mother Earth and by his dying father Uranus, that one of his own sons would dethrone him. Every year, therefore, he swallowed the children whom Rhea bore him, first Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, then Hades, then Poseidon~ Robert Graves, The Greek Myths
I. The Father As A Cannibal Figure
Following Poseidon came Zeus. In place of Zeus Cronus was given a stone which he swallowed instead. When Zeus grew up he then castrated Cronus, replacing him.
While on the one hand an astrological myth denoting the precession of the equinoxes from one Astrological Age to another, on a psychological level the myth relates the fear of the Father that as the strength of his sons waxes his own wanes resulting in an eclipse.
Different human fathers react in different ways. Some nurture, some castrate or cannibalize their young. This is a serious problem for the son. For instance, what Tom Brokaw, a thoroughly castrasted son, is pleased to call The Greatest Generation who were so enamored of their success in WW II, they chose to emasculate a whole generation rather than surrender or even share power.
I correspond with David Adams from time to time while doing my writing from whom I sometimes receive valuable input. I had come to the conclusion that ERB’s father, George T, was a problem for ERB, especially as represented by ‘God’ in Tarzan And The Lion Man. The new year opened with Hillman publishing Dodds’ feral child collection which clicked in my mind. The week before ERBzine published my Part III, Two Peas And A Pod of the Tarzan Triumphant review. David Adams commented favorably on my comments about the Jungian Old Man archetype. He said in an email to me:
I agree with your interpretation that “characters like Tarzan and John Carter serve in the capacity of Old Man/Jekyll figures while the actual Old Man figures who are betrayers serve perhaps as Hydelike figures as represented by the father.” (David quoting me.) Those old man figures, early and late, are also cannibals who are hell-bent on eating him up while then spreading the bones across some desert for the hyenas to chew. Who was that old cannibal with the cancerous face followed by a pair of African wolves? (Jungle Tales of Kipling)
As can be seen I picked up on the Father figure but adding the cannibal detail adds the needed dimension for full comprehension.
George T. had been bothering me for some time. The love-hate relationship ERB had with him is quite obvious, but then it occurred to me that the other sons had the same relationship to their father while George T. appeared to program them all for failure- that is they not surpass him in their lifetime somewhat like Cronus of Greek mythology. He made them all dependent on him. The supplicating tone of the letters from college of sons George and Harry is all too obvious. George T. sending the boys to Yale without the means to support a position would have had the effect of emasculating them relative to their fellow students thus subordinating them.
Then on graduation he took them into his battery business. As a businessman in Chicago it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that George T. had some relatively influential contacts in town who might have been able to place Yale graduates advantageously but he chose to keep the boys with him and subordinate to him.
The battery factory proved dangerous for his son Harry who developed respiratory problems from the battery chemicals plus perhaps in psychological reaction to suppression by his father. He went West to join fellow Yalie, Lew Sweetser, in Idaho. Son George, who had had enough of working for his father, also fled to Idaho to join Harry and Sweetser.
None of the three knew enough about the cattle business to survive so that by 1913 when George T. had his basket pulled up all the sons were back in Chicago in various degrees of failure or, at least, lack of success. As of that date it would appear that like Cronus George T. had swallowed or cannibalized his sons.
There was a Zeus figure in the bunch who didn’t want to be swallowed and that Zeus figure was ERB. Like Zeus ERB was the youngest son. ERB developed independently of his brothers who were approximately ten years older than he. Thus when they were at Yale ERB was attending grade school.
As I pointed out in my Books, Burroughs and Religion George T. was especially rigorous in the attempt to emasculate his youngest son. His effort culminated when he sent ERB to military school. This was a form of dislocation and rejection that ERB could not bear. He tried to escape but his father sternly returned him to the Michigan Military Academy.
The effects of this were that ERB was declassed as he considered the MMA a rich kid’s reform school. Thus to some extent he was criminalized in his own mind. His reaction was also seminal in the formation of his two principal characters John Carter and Tarzan.
His hurt was so strong, his separation from his parents and home so complete that he became psychologically orphaned. His parents died to him the day he was returned to the MMA. He adopted the drunken Commandant, Charles King, as his mentor or surrogate father. While betrayed by his father ERB apparently thought he found a friend in King. In that capacity King became the model for Lt. Paul D’Arnot of the French Navy. D’Arnot was the man who tamed the feral boy that was Tarzan introducing him to civilization much as King taught Burroughs how to survive and prosper at MMA. Or Burroughs remembered it in that manner. There may also be a literary connection to D’Artagnan of Dumas’ Three Musketeers.
This makes the period between the arrival of Jane and her party and the arrival of D’Arnot in Tarzan Of The Apes of special interest. I’m not sure what the period represents in Burroughs’ own life.
As his creation Tarzan is a feral child it follows that ERB considered himself alone and on his own as a feral child himself. A romantic notion but one no less real to him. Thus just as Tarzan’s parent’s died with the baby becoming a member of an ape tribe so Burroughs began a wild and difficult period as his parents died for him.
These events occurred just as Rider Haggard was becoming famous for his great African trilogy of King Solomon’s Mines, She and Allan Quatermain which ERB undoubtedly read at this time. Conan Doyle began his Sherlock Holmes mysteries and H.M. Stanley disappeared into an unknown Congo in pursuit of Emin Pasha. The West to East transit of the Congo impressed ERB greatly as his own heroes later crossed Africa in the same direction.
Being a complex individual ERB no longer wished to even acknowledge that he had ever had parents; thus his first creation- John Carter. As Carter only came into existence when ERB was 36 the writer had plenty of time to knock around learning the odd legend here and there. John Carter then is a version of the Great Historical Bum- the hundred thousand year old man of folklore.
John Carter could not remember his parents. In his memory he had always been the same age he was. In the words of one of my famorite songs, Stewball, he didn’t say he was born at all, just blew down in a storm. Certainly Burroughs had heard of the Comte de St. Germain who flourished at the time of the French Revolution. As esoterical cult figure today, St. Germain’s legend would have been more prominent from 1875 to 1911 than today. Like Carter St. Germain claimed to have been alive forever. In Revolutionary Europe he got away with it. Calgiostro was another Revolutionary charlatan claiming mysterious antecedents who would have intrigued ERB’s imagination. It seems certain the two would have been topics of conversation in the time before radio, TV and movies so it wouldn’t have been necessary for ERB to have read anything.
I doubt if he had read any of the books on Dodds’ list although one never knows but the list goes to show that the feral child would have been a popular topic of conversation. In my opinion then ERB’s literary future was cast when his cannibal father returned him to MMA.
He graduated from the MMA in ’95 but either couldn’t or wouldn’t return home staying on as an instructor. In ’96, just before the summer break which might have necessitated a return home he joined the Army being sent directly to Arizona with passing through Chicago. Was he avoiding returning home? One can’t say as in ’97 having found Army life not to his liking he received an early discharge. He could have kept going, of course, as many of us in his boots did, to LA, San Francisco or wherever but he chose at that time to return to Chicago. Of course, Emma was calling.
From ’97 to ’03 or so he worked for his father which he found as difficult as his brothers had. Fleeing Chicago to Idaho in 1903, when he came back a year and a few months later to do anything (that word anything has some meaning in this context) rather than work with his father. He became one of the poet Robert Service’s ‘men who don’t fit in.’ He had a very difficult few years from 1905 to 1913 bumping along the bottom.
But then in 1911 he began his rise via his intellect. He began to write becoming an immediate literary success of sorts. By 1913 when he was about to become a financial success through his intellectual efforts thus escaping his father’s curse, his father died. The young Zeus thus never got to castrate his father Cronus.
One can’t know what would have happened to his psychology had ERB been able to present his father with evidence of his success. I’m reasonably certain George T. would have belittled or rejected his success as like Cronus his youngest would have replaced him. He wouldn’t have liked that.
II. A Hand From The Grave
Had that happened and ERB been able to prove himself a greater than his father it is interesting to speculate as to what effect that might have had on ERB’s psychological development. As it was, a few months after his father’s death he packed up family and belongings and got out of town as far as he could go to San Diego, California and stayed away nine months. Time enough to be reborn.
There are numerous examples of betrayers who are cannibals in his corpus, in fact there is so much betraying and cannibalism in Burroughs’ work I find it slightly offensive. Rather than work up a list, which for the time being I leave to David, I’d rather concentrate on the most spectacular cannibalistic betrayer of the oeuvre, God of Lion Man.
I know I just wrote about Lion Man but with David’s interpretation of cannibalism I can present a much more cogent image. David’s much more into Jungian synchronicity than I am but the scene with God presents a remarkable occurrence of synchronicity. The scene is very complex.
George T. was born in 1833 so the book was written on his 100th birthday. Chicago was incorporated in 1833 while it was celebrating its Century Of Progress forty years after the Columbian Expo at the same time. Both events occurred just at the time that Burroughs realized he had lost control of his ’meal ticket’ to MGM.
MGM was undoubtedly a component of God, the Father, being combined with the Chicago that fathered him and George T., his actual father, in his mind. From these components ERB then creates the magnificent apparition of God as man and beast. God has the mind of divine power such as had Zeus but is still a Cronus, is, in fact, the ultimate cannibal.
Tarzan and Rhonda represent Burroughs’ Anima and Animus so that God has the whole man in his power in its component parts- the X and y chromosomes. God tells the pair that he is going to use them to rejuvenate himself by cannibalizing them. The Father’s desire and the Son’s fear.
If God represents George T. on one side, MGM on another and organized religion on a third then even though ERB thought he escaped his father in 1913 by his intellectual efforts the father reaches up from the grave on his 100th anniversay to claim his son again.
At this time Burroughs also wrote Pirates Of Venus and Pirate Blood. Both would refer to the idea that MGM pirated his creation from him while the very despondent Pirate Blood is almost terrifying in its manic depression as the balloon rises and sinks being almost submerged in the ocean or the waters of oblivion, the subconscious mind, insanity, that I believe we can see it as the insanity of despair. At the end of that story the hero pairs up with a desperate woman who I believe we can read as Florence. All very transparent really.
So there Tarzan/Rhonda/Burroughs is trapped in a prison. He attempts his earlier escape of rising through his intellectual powers, that is, he ascends through a shaft in the roof. Unlike the first time when he surprised and astonished the world with John Carter and Tarzan, God, the Father, is waiting for him preventing his use of his intellect. In point of fact Tarzan And The Lion Man was a dismal sales failure thought by Burroughs to be caused by MGM.
If his previous four previous Tarzans under the Burroughs imprint had been successes it seems strange that the truly excellent Tarzan And The Lion Man should have failed. Failing proof of sabotage on the part of, say, MGM, one can only say the public taste is fickle or perhaps the innovative dust jacket didn’t look like the usual Tarzan dust jacket and fans just passed it by. It is also true that the book was a put down of MGM.
Tarzan/Burroughs sallies forth from his hiding place against superior forces. He is knocked unconscious. A sure sign that Burroughs is under supreme stress. Meanwhile God’s castle, in other words the literary structure of the last twenty years is going up in flames. The MGM pirates have lifted ERB’s life work.
He has to finish the story so he turns the tables on God taking him captive and making him do his bidding. Tarzan helps God recapture his City then abandons him disappearing down the hole of the subconscious to a lower level from when he emerges to be claimed by the Wild Thing- Balza, the Golden Girl, or Florence.
In a thinly disguised scene Tarzan, unwittingly it seems, wins Balza from her former husband much as Burroughs took Florence from Ashton Dearholt. The important thing here is that a transition has been effected from one world to another. The intellectual City of God has been abandoned in favor of a world of the senses.
It is at this point ERB abandons his own feral boy persona of horses, puttees and other symbols to become a sort of effeminate Dandy. He now affects tightly fitted fashionable suits almost effeminate in appearance. He turn into a party animal and if he had been a moderate drinker during his teens, twenties and early thirthies he now becomes almost a lush.
So, in the end, ERB was probably devoured by the Father in Cronus fashion. In the Myth Zeus forced Cronus to vomit up his brothers and sisters and he castrated him. In real life ERB was castrated and swallowed down.
He put up one heck of a fight that arouses the warmest admiration of him. One wonders, that if when all is said and done anyone can escape the imprint of those formative years. Is one’s whole horoscope cast in the womb and those few short months after birth? Sure hope not.