The High Brow And The Low Brow
The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep
Living On Tulsa Time
R.E. Prindle, Dugald Warbaby and Dr. Anton Polarion
Livin’ on Tulsa Time.
Livin’ on Tulsa Time.
Gonna set my watch back to it,
‘Cause you know that I’ve been through it,
Livin’ on Tulsa Time.
- Danny Flowers
During the ’60s a lot of energy was put into the notion that one live in the HERE and NOW or someone else’s impression of the NOW. There used to be a big San Francisco poster with nothing but a black background with the giant word IS in white. NOW IS NOW.
They didn’t know how much they were asking. It is impossible to actually live in the NOW; No one can do it. Rather the past is a drag on NOW preventing a full involvement with the present. The period of time it takes to digest the previous NOW and update to an approximate notion of the current NOW is excruciatingly slow. The sharper the break between the past and present the more traumatic the reaction.
In the song Living On Tulsa Time the singer, no matter what time zone he is in sets his watch to Central Tulsa time.
I know where that one is at. One of my shattering breaks with the past was when I went active in the Navy in ’56. Sent from Eastern Standard to Pacific Standard I kept my watch set to Eastern Standard time nearly the whole three years of my enlistment. I only switched to PST in 1959 when I accepted the fact that I would never return East; that California was my new home.
Brought into contact with a new NOW I was still not ready for the present. I continued to dress as we did in ’56 well into the sixties. Got hard to find some new duds. I only ceased dressing that way when I became a Hippie in ’66 and adopted fantastic Hippie garb. I was an urban spaceman:
I’m the Urban Spaceman
I’ve got speed,
I’ve got everything I need.
I don’t feel pleasure,
I don’t feel pain,
If you were to knock me down
I’d just get up again.
I wake up every morning with a smile upon my face.
My natural exuberance spills out all over the place.
I was really NOW there for just a little while but I wasn’t alone. As Bob Dylan said, everytime I looked back the past was just behind. When the Hippie era ended I reverted to a modified 1956 style. The past came back again. All those screaming about living in the NOW in ’67-’69 are still back there claiming they’re still living in the NOW but time has passed them by. I didn’t wait around, baby, I slid out into limbo and I’m doing fine now, thank-you.
Thus when ERB began writing in 1911 he was not so much concerned with his NOW as he was in vindicating his past from 1896 to 1905. His reality in those early novels from 1911 to 1915 continue to reflect his earlier travails. Thus in the group of novels embraced by The Girl From Faris’s he is trying to vindicate his past to his present and hopefully to his future.
After nineteen-fifteen he was released from his past to a large extent and began to concentrate on adjusting to the NOW of his altered circumstances. Change is NOW and ERB was going though a lot of ch-ch-changes. His nerves were jangling as he was jerked from time frame to time frame but he didn’t enter the Promised Land of NOW. Oh Lord, he might have prayed, if he could have seen the future- Deliver me from NOW.
Ten years after and a world of different NOWs the Mucker far in a distant past that had disappeared behind a cloud where he couldn’t see he tackled almost the identical theme in a different world, a fast moving world, a world where NOW was so strange it was unrecognizable from day to day. The political situation he had grown up with was no longer recognizable; it had been replaced by a new reality. He was almost living by two different clocks in some strange Einsteinian time zone where the guide posts had been removed and renamed and everything was relative to another reality that couldn’t be recognized by any clock ticking.
Living on Tulsa time in another time zone. There I was in ERB’s sunny Southland with my watch running three hours ahead of everyone else’s. It didn’t matter. I was on the water where time stands still for everyone. The crisis came in ’58 when I stepped back on land to journey through the time zones back to Eastern Standard Time. I was all alone out there, you know, cut off from a past I was soon to learn couldn’t be retrieved. Wolfe was right, you can never go home again. The only secure place, as dangerous and that was, was my ship. My terminal place was also a realtively secure harbor but I was stuck in the middle for six days between the time zones in which I had no place and no identity except the tenuous one of my leave papers. A queer cop threw them into the wind and let those blow away in Illinois. After that I was naked to the universe. I’ve hated cops ever since.
I wouldn’t recommend hitchhiking to anyone. My life was on the line for twenty-five hundred miles and six days. Twenty-five hundred miles and six days on the road without food or sleep. I’d add without drink but in a gas station in Gary I downed six seven ounce bottles of Coca-Cola in a row. Created a minor sensation.
After surviving a lunatic who picked me up on the western edge of the Mojave who wanted to kill me because he was convinced I had two hundred dollars on me, which by a strange coincidence I had, I was picked up Mountain Standard in the Panhandle of Texas by a couple homosexuals who wanted a different treasure I possessed and dropped off Central Time in Tulsa. My watch was only one ahour ahead by then. I was getting close to some kind of NOW or was I? No. Time is much more relative than that. I was soon to be living a strange combination of NOW and THEN.
Tulsa was a tough town. I don’t need to see Tulsa again. I wasn’t about to start living on Tulsa Time. I was an hour ahead which couldn’t have been better. I had to walk through Tulsa, hungry and thirsty. I spied a place across this great expanse of grass between it and the freeway. As I approached the place began to glitter. Fancy, but I could see a coffee shop at the top of a long flight of stairs to the left. I didn’t want to spend money so I thought I’d just get a glass of water.
Oh Dan, can you see
That great green tree
Where the water’s running free
Just waiting there for you and me.
But between me and the water was this big cowboy in high heeled boots, a tuxedo and ten gallon hat. Fancy goings on as I noticed ladies entering to the right in ball gowns escorted by tuxedos. I came prepared or thought I did. I was in my dress blues and my Uncle Sam told me I should never be ashamed of my uniform, it could pass for a tuxedo anywhere. Anywhere but Tulsa. That cowboy had never discussed the issue with my Uncle Sam.
I was bold but the problem was he had the advantage being on the landing at the top of the stairs and I had to climb the stairs to get past him. He had his fist doubled and these high heeled boots with those silver plates on the toes. That was a mean looking business proposition. I had a lot further to fall than he did. Get my uniform messed up and things. Then where would I be out of time and place? Whew! Why does one have to face tough choices?
I’m getting a drink of water, I said, trying to combine thoughness with masculine geniality a al the cowboy ethic.
Not here you ain’t. He said, making a move to kick me down the stairs.
Hey buddy, this is a tuxedo I’m wearing. I faltered.
His reply was not one of which my Uncle Sam would approve.
I left Tulsa still thirsty not liking cowboys any better than I liked cops. NOW has its perils.
A day or so later I was still in Central Time. Tulsa was a tough place and the rest of Oklahoma was no California. I was heading North now which kept me in the same time zone. Then I made the mistake of crossing the Mississippi into East St. Louis. After just a couple minutes I really liked Tulsa. Wished I was back there.
I don’t know what evil forces made me want to hitchhike across country, damn Jack Kerouac, but I was within a hair’s breadth of being sliced and diced on the streets of East St. Louis. Whould have tossed me in the river as so much driftwood. Three Black guys with switchblades in their hands kept inching toward me while I kept inching closer to the middle of the highway.
That morning some guy got in his car for a pleasant drive to Louisville. He decided ot go through East St. Louis for some mysterious but critical reason. He arrived in East St. Louis just as these three knives were deciding to make their move. This guy sized up the situation from a couple blocks away, slammed on his brakes throwing open the passenger door at the same time shouting ‘Get In’ for God’s sake get in, NOW.’ Novel experience for a hitchiker. I wasn’t sure I wanted to rush because if I made a break for it those three knives might move faster than i could. I hopped in casually casting a smiling glance over my shoulder. The driver peeled out of there nearly separating a hand from the wrist on the door handle. I was saved from that particular NOW and END but I was on the road to Louisville which was still a far cry from Eastern Standard which was the time zone I so ardently desired.
It took me another day or so as I had a lot of North to make up but I did get into Eastern Standard. Now my watch matched the time zone but there was a mismatch between the present and the past. Rather there were two different presents and pasts going on at the same time. Mine and theirs. I don’t think Einstein is right but well, maybe, time wasn’t that relative but the uses they and I were making of past and present sure were.
That’s where memory comes in which makes time and space so relative. I had been absent for two years and what I had been experiencing was much different than what they had been experiencing. They had actually been living on Eastern Standard Time while I was just pretending. I knew I was out of time. For me time had been rapidly changing but for them time had more or less stood still or, rather traveled in a straight line. To me they were still living in the past. Oh, they had aged a couple years but their trajectory was different and slower. Relatively they had stood still while I had rocketed away.
It was as though I had been a gamma cloud burped from some collapsed star in some galaxy a billion light years away. As is known once set in motion an object will travel in a straight line at the same speed unless some other agent interferes with it. It was as though I had been careening through space ripping apart the fabric of time and space or disregarding it completely as though it wasn’t there; at any rate completely unaffected by this fabric which apparently has no tensile strength, there was no gravity of any force that deflected my course in a curve while if space is curved I was traveling so fast I careened right off the curved track.
Who knows how many black holes i passed over without being drawn into the vortex; who knows how many puny suns I swept across without having one atom deflected by the puny gravitational pull of the strongest sun; who knows how many planets I depopulated. One billion light years and running, my speed and trajectory were the same as when I was emitted from that distant star.
Now, as though by some miracle here I was back where I began but in two different time zones at one time. Theirs and mine. Obvious I must have passed through a worm hole or fallen into a memory hole. We stared at each other blankly each unable to comprehend the other. They thought I have become weird,or perhaps weirder, because they had stood still while I had been careening through time and space in timezones they would never know.
I smiled and got on a bus, enough of the adventures of hitchhiking. One the way back to Standard Pacific Time I abandoned Eastern Standard adjusting my watch as I passed through Central Standard and Mountain Standard. I was not exactly living in the NOW but I was in the correct time zone.
Minor but vital adjustment.
So, when ERB caught up with himself in 1914-15 he was no longer living on Tulsa time. He was trying to adjust his watch to his current time zone.
But as he was careening through space and time, space and time was moving at an even more frantic pace so it was difficult for him to get his bearings.
Science was changing his world at a rate faster than the mind could follow. Events in the far off Detroit that he had known and loved as a young fellow were going to affect his life just a few years hence. In 1914 Henry Ford had shocked the industrial, moral and social world by ‘unilaterally’ doubling the wage for unskilled labor.
This was a violation of ‘natural law’ which is to say religious sensibilities. At the time a natural law of labor was believed and incorporated into religion. The law was that if only one man can do a job he can command his price. Skilled labor can demand more than unskilled labor but when anyone can do the job as in unskilled labor they will have to take what is offered. Thus Ford pitted science against serious religious beliefs.
At about this time a Judge in a labor dispute asked the strikers if they didn’t know they were going against God’s will on earth.
This was at the time when the Liberal Coalition was forming and there were strangers in the land, to use John Higham’s expression, who believed they truly represented God’s Will. There is no greater enemy to God’s Will on earth than Science and the Scientific Consciousness. If you recall the so-called Christian Scientists reject scientific medical cures preferring to depend on the Will of God. Apparently it has never occurred to them that a case of a ruptured appendix means God’s Will is death while a simple operation means life.
Nevertheless Ford upset the natural or religious order of things and had to be stopped. Ford himself believed he had discovered a universal law in mass production so that he was actually a prophet of his own new religion. Believing himself in the possession of the truth he acted accordingly seeking to apply his method to each and every problem. Thus when the Great War began it was deemed possible to negotiate with the participants on a personal level to get them to cease hostilities. Ford believed he could do it. The Strangers In The Land who were living on Babylon Time saw their opportunity to pit their religion against Ford’s science and they took it. The Man of Science was in their pocket. They convinced Ford to take a horde of well meaning but naive people to Germany for a confab with the Kaiser. Ford fell for it. This was the famous Peace Ship episode that shredded Ford’s reputation two short years after he had made it.
Ford always maintained that after the ship was at sea the Strangers revealed themselves telling him that only they could change the course of the war. They began it and only they could end it. When he returned home he found the Strangers in charge of the War Industries Board and they and the Wilson Administration were telling him how to run his business. Babylon Time had met the Twentieth Century and found it could make the clock run.
Ford with his universal panacea was not the kind of man to take this sort of thing lying down. Ford Motor Co. had as much cash laying around as Bill Gates and Microsoft does today. Ford put his money to use. These are complex times so I am going to edit out all information that doesn’t pertain to my moral.
Ford believed in his method. By applying it properly he saw no reason he couldn’t solve the age old problem of the Jews here and now. He thought reason would work, poor man, so he bought himself a library of Jewish studies, put his man Bill Cameron on the job to study the library and publish the results in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, that he bought to disseminate his reasonable solution to the problem. He made the Dearborn Independent a national newspaper, perhaps the first of its kind. He even had a distribution system handy. He made all his Ford dealers distribute the papers, even out in Hollywood, California.
The Independent made such a noise that the papers couldn’t be given the silent treatment.
The independent appealed to a very large number of people although Liberal historians have given the impression that the paper went unread. The paper didn’t go unread. Out in Hollywood a man named Edgar Rice Burroughs apparently read the paper assiduously. As, why not, even if you don’t agree with the premise of a movie like The Passion Of The Christ that doesn’t mean you don’t go to see it. I used to read The Christian Science Monitor and I’ve never been a Christian Scientist. I used to read the Daily Worker and I’ve never been a Communist. A lot of people did go see the Passion making it one of the most lucrative films in history and lots of people read the Dearborn Independent, even devoured it.
Each week the paper issued a new article exposing the true nature of the ‘Jewish Problem.’ The articles were well researched, reasonable and accurate, but as they criticized a religion, no religion will stand any criticism if they can help it, they were necessarily labeled heretical, infidelic, bigoted, anti-Semitist. In this case you can check anti-Semitist. From this particular religion’s point of view they were anti-Semitic but from a reasonable scientific viewpoint they weren’t and aren’t.
The Jewish reaction was strong and violent. As a member of the Liberal Coalition they called in their allies who branded Ford an anti-Semite and ostracized him. Then Ford was out there all alone. A major campaign of vilification and defamation was conducted against him. All the hypnopaedic media were called into play against Ford. William Fox, the Fox part of the later Twentieth Century-Fox, used his Movietone News shorts to portray every Ford that was in an accident as at fault and unsafe. Now that’s defamation with a capital D. By 1925 it was clear that Ford could use some allies.
Enter Edgar Rice Burroughs and Marcia Of The Doorstep.
As we know Marcia was never published so ERB’s aid was hypothetical. A reasonable question is what evidence do I have for ERB’s intent. I offer Marcia Of The Doorstep as my evidence and certain articles from the Dearborn Independent. As I’ve said before ERB in Marcia exhibits a seemingly involved knowledge of the theatre. I have been puzzled as to where he got it.
I think I may have his source. The original Ford articles were issued weekly beginning in 1920-21 later being collected into a series of four volumes entitled ‘The International Jew’. What I am dealing with here is literature and history. I have no concern in the nature of the Ford articles. My only interest is what Ford and Burroughs understood and how they expressed it. Leave it at that. (It wasn’t left at that. As of 10/27/08 this essay has been censored by being left out my catalog of essays and not mentioned under any of the tags; Old habits are hard to break, I guess.)
Like Burroughs believed, or as Burroughs understood Ford there are two types of Jews. The ordinary Jew who goes about his business and the international Jews who is causing all the mischief. Thus the title International Jew excludes the mass of ordinary Jews and refers only the the International trouble makers. For Burroughs there was the ‘type’ of Max Heimer corresponding the the International Jews and the type of Judge Berlanger representing the ordinary of ‘Good Jew.’
In Volume II of the Interntional Jew there is a series of four atrticles on the American Theatre.
The books themselves have long since been stolen from the libraries and destroyed in an informal kind of censorship but due to the wonders of modern technology they’re available on the internet. The relevant theatre chapters can be fund at the URLs below:
The first is entitled Jewish Control of the American Theatre of 1/121; the second: The Rise of the First Theatrical jewish Trust of 1/8/21; the third: Jewish Aspect of the Movie Problem; and the fourth Jewish Supremacy In The Motion Picture World of 2/19/21. I believe all the necessary theatrical information is contained in these four atircles. All were written in 1921 giving ERB plenty of time to involve himself by 1924.
As you may remember ERB was sent a copy of the Jewish Bill Of Rights in 1919 and it was demanded that he endorse them. Thus there are an additional three articles from Vol. II that may be applicable. They are found at:
While the last three do not reflect on Marcia to a great degree they will provide a better backgrund to ERB’s thinking on the issues as he must have studied them carefully.
It is very probable that ERB coded information into the novel to let Ford know this one was for him. For instance Clara Sackett was probably named after Clara Ford. Could be coincidental but the engineer of the Lady X was named Sorenson while Ford’s Chief Engineer was Charles Sorenson. Given ERB’s obvious connection to the Dearborn independent which Ford would easily have recognized, if he would ever have read the book, I think the references are conclusive.
While on this topic I would also like to point out that when the ban on Tarzan movies was broken in 1926 it was done by the arch ‘anti-Semite’ Joseph Kennedy who owned FBO Studios at the time. FBO was a little later bought by David Sarnoff of RCA who formed RKO. Radio-Keith-Orpheum thus editing Kennedy and FBO out of the picture. Punishment?
Also if you want a lively account of these proceedings check out Upton Sinclair’s self-published Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox. Sinclair’s is a nice first person I Was There type thing plus when William Fox was driven out of the movies, this is really exciting stuff, he went to Sinclair with his story. so Sinclair not only lives through this from a distance but is told part of the story first hand. I just love this stuff.
I am not particularly concerned here with whether the Dearborn Independent articles are true and accurate, although I am sure they are, but my concern is that Burroughs read them, believed them and acted on them. Bearing in mind his contact with the AJC he had no reason to disbelieve the articles.
In the first article ‘Jewish Control Of The American Theatre’, after an introduction that relates Jewish activities in Russia to Jewish activities in the United States a general statement on the theatre is made:
The Theatre has long been a part of the Jewish program for guidance of the public taste (hypnopaedic media) and influencing the public mind…it is the instant ally night by night, week by week of any idea which the ‘power behind the scenes’ wishes to put forth. It is not by accident that in Russia, where they now have scarcely anything else, they still have the Theater, especially revived, stimulated and supported by Jewish-Bolshevists because they believe in the Theater just as they believe in the Press; it is one of the two great means of molding popular opinion.
Cameron should have mentioned movies and song publishing and he would have had the major elements of hypnopaedic conditioning so brilliantly illustrated by Aldous Huxley in his Brave New World.
As we all know Burroughs was opposed to the Bolsheviks; he undoubtedly believed as did any knowledgeable observer that the Bolsheviks were predominantly Jewish. We may believe that he endorses the premises of these article.
Further down (a shortcoming of the internet is that there are no page numbers) the article says:
Down to 1885 the American Theater was in the hands of Gentiles. From 1885 dates the first invasion of Jewish influences. It meant the parting of the ways, and the future historian of the American stage will describe that year with the word “Ichabod.”
Second paragraph below:
About the time that Jewish control appeared, Sheridan, Sothern, McCollough, Madame Junuschek, Mary Anderson, Frank Mayo, John T. Raymond began to pass off the stage.
All that remained after the Hebrew hand fell across the stage were a few artists who had recieved their training under the Gentile school- Julia Marlowe, Tyrone Power, R.D. McLean and a little later Richard Mansfield, Robert Martell. Two of this group remain, and along with Maude Adams they constitute the last flashingsof an era that has gone- an era that apparently leaves no great exemplars to perpetuate it.
There you have the premise of ERB in Marcia and enough history to flesh out the fiction. The old school was gone. ERB then names several players as here. The last surviving exemplar of this tradition is Mark Sackett. But even for Mark there are no plays worthy to perform in. As a member of Abe Finkel’s troupe he condescends to perform in problem plays and the new sex comedy.
The article continues:
“Shakespeare spells ruin”: was the utterance of the Jewish manager. “High brow stuff” is also a Jewish expression. These two sayings, one appealing to the managerial end, the other to the public end of the Theater have formed the epitaph of the classic era.
So there you have the complete story of Mark Sackett.
He was the last of the breed, a fine old Gentile actor of the old school of pre-1885. Corrupted by the Jewish influence on the theatre he accepts demeaning roles.
When he comes in to money he tells Max Heimer that he is going to perform Shakespeare. Max takes the position that ‘Shakespeare spells ruin’ arguing for a Ziegfeld Follies type show, a problem play or a sex comedy which he feels is a surer hope of success than the ‘high brow’ stuff. Straight from the Dearborn Independent.
‘…the rage is for extravaganze and burlesque.’
In this manner was laid the foundation of the latter day Theatrical Trust. The booking firm was that of Klaw and Erlanger, the former a young Jew from Kentucky who had studied law, but drifted into theatrical life as an agent; the latter a young Jew from Cleveland with little education but with experience as an advance agent.
Thus Abe Finkel is probablly the Klaw of Klaw and Erlanger. It may be coincidence but Judge B-erlanger is Erlanger prefaced with a B. thus those two would reprsent Klaw and Erlanger. Another version would be Finkel and Heimer in Hollywood also patterned after the Potash and Perlmutter movies of Samuel Goldwyn.
The trust was resisted just as Mark Sackett resisted.
(From The Rise Of The Theatrical Trust)
The opposition offered by the artists was prolonged and dignified, Francis Wilson, Nat C. Goodman, James A. Herne, James O’Neill, (Eugene O’ Neill’s father) Richard Mansfield, Mrs. Fiske and James K. Hackett stood out for a time…
Mark Sackett held out then in defiance of theatrical wisdom forming a Shakespearean company. This might be seen as a form of the Little Theatre movement which Cameron says developed in reaction to the first Theatrical Trust.
So the basis for the New York and theatrical end of Sackett’s career may be said to have been inspired by the two theatrical articles of Cameron in the Dearborn Independent. ERB probably read them in newspaper form shortly after publication in 1921. Because of the AJC approach to him as well as heightened anxiety over the immigrant question caused by loyalty concerns in the wake of the War Burroughs was especially receptive to Ford’s concerns.
If the germ of the story was conceived in 1921 the concern over Ford’s struggle was becoming difficult by 1924 may have inspired Burroughs to come to his literary aid. Thus we have this story of Marcia which when examined more closely is very involved in post-war Revolutionary and Jewish problems.
While the novel was universally rejected for publication this was undoubtedly because of ADL censors closely watching the publishing industry.
One can’t be certain but it is possible that Burroughs would have been finished in Hollywood but for Kennedy’s FBO Studios breaking the blacklist on Burroughs in 1926. Jewish movies of Tarzan began again in 1927. After 1932s MGM film which in itself may have been a parody to discredit the Big Bwana, the property became so lucrative especially in a Depression Era climate, that movies continued to be made saving Burroughs from complete ruin.
The war on Ford continued. Henry Ford is an interesting figure who, like Burroughs, would continue to be a Judaeo-Communist target into the thirties and forties, to the end of his life and beyond.
Ford zipped into the NOW in the years around 1914 when his Model T transformed America. But then he slipped back into Tulsa Time. The Model T was so successful for him that he failed to keep up with developments in the industry. The Model T remained essentially the same until 1925 when a better Chevrolet overtook the Ford as the best seller.
Ford then did an extraordinary thing that baffled conventional minds. He shut down production for over a year as he designed the new Model A. For this model he revolutionized the industry by designing the V8. The Model A was an instant success reviving Ford’s fortunes but the present and the future were now so commingled, things were changing so fast that the NOW was gone before you sat down to dinner. Constant model changes were now necessary. The world that Ford had created had gotten away from him.
He realized that he had lost his battle with the Jewish establishment. He capitulated in 1927 when Louis Marshall of the Jewish government demanded an ‘apology’ to call off hostilities. Ford told him to write one out and he would sign it. Marshall wrote an abject apology which Ford signed without edits or reading. Marshall then had the ‘apology’ published, bound and sent to every library free of charge. The apology is easier to find than the Dearborn independent articles.
The fracas came to a humiliating end for Ford and the Scientific Consciousness. ERB’s reaction isn’t known, however on December 10, 1929 (ERB Bio Timeline 1920-29) in a letter to his son Hulbert he made these observation on Religion and Science:
A man can be highly religious, he can believe in God and in an omnipotent creator and still square his belief with advanced scientific discoveries, but he cannot have absolute faith in the teachings and belief of any church, of which I have knowledge, and also believe in the accepted scientific theories of the origin of the earth, of animal and vegetable life upon it, or the age of the human race…(Religious) enthusiasms and sincerity never ring true to me and I think there has been no great change in this all down the ages, insofar as fundamentals are concerned. There is just as much intolerance and hyprocrisy as there ever was, and if any church were able to obtain political power today I believe you would see all the tyranny and inustice and oppression which has marked the political ascendency of the church at all times.
You can’t be any more clear sighted than that. Here ERB has clearly and succinctly stated the religious problem of the twentieth century and beyond. His is an objective analysis of facts; religion is a subjective projection of desires and wishes. As he notes science and religion cannot be reconciled. As he goes on to note in the conflict between the objective and subjective, the conscious and unconscious, the tyranny of the unconscious is an unavoidable fact. The question of which religion he fears would impose all the tyranny, injustice and oppression was clearly the Liberal Coalition and more especially the Jewish element of its multi-cultural diversity.
We now come back to Richard Slotkin and his charges against Burroughs as the ‘mastermind’ of My Lai. that an objection was lodged against Burroughs because he was interested in Eugenics can be discarded. People of all political persuasions were interested in Eugenics. If any abuses of Eugenics were made, Burroughs didn’t make them. Besides, it’s a matter of how you interpret Eugenics. The half man, half beast of Stalin is obviously an objectionable use.
On the score of whether Burroughs was an anti-Semitist, which is what Slotkin really means, from a subjective religious point of view that may be so but it is not a question for the religious to decide; they are not competent to do so. Sigmund Freud himself said that religion is a neurosis. (That means a departure from mental health.) If he is to be respected as a scientific genius why shouldn’t we respect his opinion? If religion is a neurosis then it should be treated as a mental disease.
On a Scienfitic basis then is it possible to call Burroughs an anti-Semitist? Clearly not. The man was a clear minded rational human being of great achievement and should be honored as such.
Should his scientific opinions differ from those of a religious bent it is they who must take a back seat not Burroughs.
Slotkin is clearly wrong in his interpretation of Burroughs. Slotkin represents the unconscious rather than the conscious.
For the foregoing reasons then I think that Marcia Of The Doorstep and 1924 was the pivot of ERB’s career. After 1924 it was no longer possible for him to live on Tulsa Time. He came under attack from the Liberal Coalition which was as formidable for him as it was for Henry Ford.
His novels after Marcia reflect this attack. Those novels are perhaps his greatest. Certainly one of the high points where he meets his enemies head on is Tarzan The Invincible that he was forced to publish under his own imprint. The title says it all.
I may be sentimental but I like Marcia Of The Doorstep. I only wish he had had the patience to flesh out the ending.
ERB wrote well in any time zone there was from Babylon Time to Tulsa Time to the NOW.
You know that I’ve been through it
But I just can’t go back to it.
There is no living on Tulsa Time.
NOW is the time.
End of Review
The Low Brow And The High Brow
An In Depth Study Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’
The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doortstep
Background Of The Second Decade- Personal
Erwin Porges’ ground breaking biography Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Invented Tarzan is the basic source for the course of ERB’s life. John Taliaferro’s Tarzan Forever is heavily indebted to Porges adding little new. Robert Fenton’s excellent The Big Swinger is a brilliant extrapolation of Burroughs’ life taken from the evidence of the Tarzan series.
Porges, the first to pore though the unorganized Tarzana archives, is limited by the inadequacies of his method and his deference for his subject. His is an ideal Burroughs rather than a flesh and blood one. Matt Cohen’s Brother Men: The Correspondene Of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Herbert T. Weston has provided much fresh material concerning ERB’s character.
Bearing in mind always that Weston’s evaluation of Burroughs in his August 1934 letter in reply to Charles Rosenberg, whoever he was, about ERB’s divorce is one man’s opinion nevertheless his statements can be corroborated by ERB’s behavior over this decade as well as throughout his life. My intent is not to diminish ERB in any way. Nothing can take away the fact that Burroughs created Tarezan, but like anyone else he was subjected to glacial pressures that distorted and metamorphosed his character.
During the Second Decade as he experienced a realization of who he was, or who he had always thought he should be, or in other words as he evolved back from a pauper to a prince, he was subjected to excruciatingly difficult changes.
A key to his character in this period is his relationship to his marriage. It seems clear that he probably would never have married, stringing Emma along until she entered spinsterhood while never marrying her. He seemingly married her to keep her away from Frank Martin. As he later said of Tarzan, the ape man should never have married.
Rosenberg in his letter to Weston (p.234, Brother Men) said that ‘…Ed says he has always wanted to get rid of Emma….’ The evidence seems to indicate this. After ERB lost Emma’s confidence in Idaho, gambling away the couple’s only financial resources, his marriage must have become extremely abhorrent to him. I’m sure that after the humiliations of Salt Lake City this marriage had ended for him in his mind. That it was his own fault changes nothing. He may simply have transferred his self-loathing to Emma.
That Emma loved and stood by Burroughs is evident. that he was unable to regain her confidence is clear from his writing. The final Tarzan novels of the decade in one of which, Tarzan The Untamed, Burroughs burns Jane into a charred mess identifiable only by her jewelry show a developing breach. Probably the jewelry was that which ERB hocked as the first decade of the century turned. Now, this is a fairly violent reaction.
ERB states that he walked out on Emma several times over the years. In Fenton’s extrapolation of Burroughs’ life from his Tarzan novels this period was undoubtedly one of those times. There seems to have been a reconciliation attempt between Tarzan and Jane between Tarzan The Untamed and Tarzan The Terrible. Then between Tarzan And The Golden Lion and Tarzan And The Ant Men ERB’s attempt to regain Emma’s confidence seems to have failed as Jane chooses the clown Tarzan- Esteban Miranda-, one of my favorite characters- over the heroic Tarzan -ERB – in Tarzan And The Ant Men.
This undoubtedly began ERB’s search for a Flapper wife which took form in the person of Florence Gilbert beginning in 1927.
Weston says of ERB in his disappointment and rage over ERB’s divorce of Emma that ‘…the fact that Ed always has been unusual, erratic and perhaps queer, has been his great charm and attraction for me…’ (p.223, Brother Men) There’s a remote possibility that ‘queer’ may mean homosexual but I suppose he means ‘odd’ or imcomprehensible in his actions. The evidence for this aspect of ERB’s character is overwhelming while being well evidenced by his strange, spectacular and wonderful antics during the second decade. When Weston says of him that ‘…there is no woman on earth that would have lived with him, and put up with him, except Emma…’ there is plenty of reason to accept Weston’s opinion.
Part of ERB’s glacial overburden came from his father, George T. who died on February 13, 1913. Burroughs always professed great love for his father, celebrating his birthday every year of his life, although one wonders why.
Apparently George T. broadcast to the world that he thought ERB was ‘no good.’ His opinion could have been no secret to Burroughs. Weston who says that he always maintained cordial relations with George T., still thought him a difficult man, always dropping in to visit him on trips through Chicago said that George T. complained to him, ERB’s best friend, that his son was no good. While without disagreeing with George T. up to that point, Weston said that he thought there was plenty of good in ERB but that he just hadn’t shown it yet. Kind of a back handed compliment, reminds me of Clarence Darrow’s defense of Big Bill Haywood: Yeah, he did it, but who wouldn’t?’
Such an opinion held by one’s father is sure to have a scarring effect on one’s character. How exactly the effect of this scarring worked itself out during this decade isn’t clear to me. Perhaps Burroughs’ mid year flight to California shortly after his father’s death was ERB’s attempt to escape his father’s influence. Perhaps his 1916 flight was the same while his move to California in 1919 was the culmination of his distancing himself from his father. That is mere conjecture at this point.
Now, what appears erratic from outside follows an inner logic in the subject’s mind unifying his actions. What’s important to the subject is not what obsevers think should be important.
The scholars of the Burroughs Bulletin, ERBzine and ERBList have also added much with additional niggardly releases of material by Danton Burroughs at the Tarzana archives. One of the more valuable additions to our knowledge has been Bill Hillman’s monumental compilation of the books in ERB’s library.
Let’s take a look at the library. It was important to ERB; a key to his identity. Books do furnish a mind, as has been said, so in that light in examining his library we examine the furnishing of his mind. The shelves formed an important backdrop to his office with his desk squarely in front of the shelves. ERB is seated proudly at the desk with his books behind him.
How much of the library survived and how much was lost isn’t known at this time. Hillman lists over a thousand titles. Not that many, really. The library seems to be a working library. There are no the long rows of matching sets by standard authors. The evidence is that Burroughs actually read each and every one of these books. They found their way into the pages of his books in one fictionalized form or another. Oddly authors who we know influenced him greatly like London, Wells, Haggard and Doyle are not represented.
Most of the works of these authors were released before 1911 when Burroughs was short of the ready. Unless those books were lost he never filled in his favorites of those years. That strikes me as a little odd.
It is generally assumed that he picked up his Martian information from Lowell, yet in Skelton Men Of Jupiter he says: ‘…I believed with Flammarion that Mars was habitable and inhabited; then a newer and more reputable school of scientists convinced me it was neither….’ The statement shows that Camille Flammarion’s nineteenth century book was the basis for Burroughs’ vision of Mars while Lowell was not. Further having committed himself to Flammarion’s vision he was compelled to stick to it after he had been convinced otherwise. When that understanding was obtained by him we don’t know but at sometime he realized that the early Martian stories were based on a false premiss.
Thus, his Mars became a true fiction when his restless, searching mind was compelled by judicious reasoning of new material to alter his opinion. That he could change his mind so late in life is an important fact. It means that behind his fantasy was a knowledge of solid current fact. The results of his pen came from a superior mind. It was not the maundering of an illiterate but amusing boob.
Organizing the books of his library into a coherent pattern is difficult. I haven’t and I Imagine few if any have read all his list. Based on my preliminary examination certain patterns can be found. He appeared to follow the Chicago novel by whomever, Edna Ferber’s So Big is a case in point. Seemingly unrelated titles can be grouped aorund certain Burroughs’ titles as infuences.
In 1924 when Marcia Of The Doorstep was written ERB had already formed his intention of leaving, or getting rid, of Emma. He began a fascination with Flappers that would result in his liaison with Florence.
After the move to Hollywood in 1919 a number of sex and Flapper potboilers find their way into his library. The tenor of literature changed greatly after the War showing a sexual explicitness that was not there prior to the Big Event. To be sure the graphic descriptions of the sex act current in contemporary literature was not permissible but the yearning to do so was certainly there. Language was retrained but ‘damn’ began to replace ‘d–n’ and a daring goddamn became less a rarity.
Perhaps the vanguard of the change came in 1919 when an event of great literary and cultural import took place. Bernarr Macfadden whose health and fitness regimes had very likely influenced Burroughs during the first couple decades decided to publish a magazine called “True Story.” The magazine was the forerunner of the Romance pulp genre while certainly being in the van of what would become the Romance genre of current literature.
The advance was definitely low brow, not to say vulgar, indicating the direction of subsequent societal development including the lifting of pornographic censorship. Pornography followed from “True Store” as night follows day.
The magazine coincided with the emergence of the Flapper as the feminine ideal of the twenties. In literature this was abetted by the emergence in literary fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald. His Beautiful And Damned is a key volume in Burroughs’ library forming an essential part of Marcia. To my taste Fitzgerald is little more than a high quality pulp writer like Burroughs. I can’t see the fuss about him. He riminds me of Charles Jackson’s The Lost Weekend and vice versa. In fact, I think Jackson mined the Beautiful And Damned. Plagiarize would be too strong a word.
“True Story” caught on like a flash. By 1923 the magazine was selling 300,000 copies an issue; by 1926, 2,000,000. Low brow was on the way in. Vulgarity wouldn’t be too strong a word. Macfadden had added titles such as “True Romances” and “Dream World” to his stable. His magazine sales pushed him far ahead of the previous leader, Hearst Publications, and other publishers. Pulpdom had arrived in a big way.
Where Macfadden rushed in others were sure to follow. The sex thriller, the stories of willful and wayward women, which weren’t possible before, became a staple of the twenties in both books and movies.
ERB’s own The Girl From Hollywood published in magazine form in 1922, book form in 1923, might be considered his attempt at entering the genre. Perhaps if he had thrown in a few Flapper references and changed the appearance and character of his female leads he mgiht have created a seamless transition from the nineteenth century to the twenties. A few Flapper terms might have boomed his ales much as when Carl Perkins subsititued ‘Go, cat, go’ for go, man, go’ in his Blue Suede Shoes and made sonversts of all us fifties types.
Certainly ERB’s library shows a decided interest in the genre from 1920 to 1930. Whether the interest was purely professional, an attempt to keep up with times, or personal in the sense of his unhappiness in his marriage may be open to question. I would have to reread his production of these years with the New Woman in mind to seek a balance.
Still, during the period that led up to his affair with Forence ERB seems to have been an avid reader of Flapper and New Woman novels.
He had a number of novels by Elinor Glyn who was the model of the early sex romance. He had a copy of E.M. Hull’s The Sheik, that shortly became the movie starring Rudolph Valentine with its passionate sex scenes. A ‘Sheik’ became the male synonym for Elinor Glyn’s ‘It’ girl.
Of course, the influence of Warner Fabian’s Flaming youth of 1923, both book and movie, on ERB is quite obvious.
Just prior to this relationship with Florence he read a number of novels by Beatrice Burton with such sexy titles as The Flapper wife-The Story Of A Jazz Bride, Footloose, Her Man, Love Bound and Easy published from 1925 to 1930.
I would like to concentrate on Burton’s novels for a couple reasons; not least because of the number of her novels in ERB’s library but that when Burroughs sought publication for his low brow Tarzan in 1913-14 he was coldly rebuffed even after the success of his newspaper serializations. The disdain of the entire publishing industry was undoubtedly because Burroughs was the pioneer of a new form of literature. In its way the publication of Tarzan was the prototype on which Macfadden could base “True Story.” Not that he might not have done it anyway but the trail was already trampled down for him. In 1914 Burroughs violated all the canons of ‘polite’ or high brow literature.
A.L. Burt accepted Tarzan Of The Apes for mass market publication reluctantly and only after guarantees for indemnification against loss. Now at the time of Beatrice Burton’s low brow Romance genre novels, which were previously serialized in newspapers, Grosset and Dunlap sought out Burton’s stories publishing them in cheap editions without having been first published as full priced books much like Gold Seal in the fifties would publish paperback ‘originals’ which had never been in hard cover. Writers like Burton benefited from the pioneering efforts of Burroughs. G& D wasn’t going to be left behind again. Apparently by the mid-twenties profits were more important than cultural correctness.
As ERB had several Burton volumes in his library it might not hurt to give a thumbnail of who she was. needless to say I had never read or even heard of her before getting interested in Burroughs and his Flapper fixation. One must also believe that Elinor Glyn volumes in ERB’s library dating as early as 1902 were purchased in the twenites as I can’t believe ERB was reading this soft sort of thing as a young man. Turns out that our Man’s acumen was as usual sharp. Not that Burton’s novels are literary masterpieces but she has a following amongst those interested in the Romance genre. The novels have a crude literary vigor which are extremely focused and to the point. This is no frills story telling. The woman could pop them out at the rate or two or three a year too.
Her books are apparently sought after; fine firsts with dust jackets go for a hundred dollars or more. While that isn’t particularly high it is more than the casual reader wants to pay. Might be a good investment though. The copies I bought ran from fifteen to twenty dollars, which is high for what is usually filed in the nostalgia section. Love Bound was forty dollars. I bought the last but it was more than I wanted to pay just for research purposes.
There is little biographical information about Burton available. I have been able to piece together that she was born in 1894. No death date has been recorded as of postings to the internet so she must have been alive at the last posting which woud have made her a hundred at least.
She is also known as Beatrice Burton Morgan. She was an actress who signed a contract with David Belasco in 1909 which would have made her fifteen or sixteen. Her stage name may have been Beatrice Morgan. The New York Public Library has several contracts c. 1919 in her papers.
One conjectures that her stage and film career was going nowhere. In The Flapper Wife she disparages Ziegfeld as Ginfeld the producer of the famous follies.
Casting about for alternatives in the arts she very likely noticed the opening in sex novels created by Macfadden and the Roaring Twenties. The Flapper Wife seems to have been her first novel in 1925. The book may possibly have been in response to Warner Fabian/Samuel Hopkins Adams’ Flaming Youth.
As the motto for his book he had “those who know, don’t tell, those who tell, don’t know.’ The motto refers to the true state of mind of women. Burton seems to have taken up the challenge- knows all and tells all. Flapper Wife was an immediate popular success when taken from the newspapers by G&D. Critics don’t sign checks so while their opinion is noted it is irrelevant.
Burton apparently hit it big as the movies came afer her, Flapper Wife was made into a movie in 1925 entitled His Jazz Bride. Burton now had a place in Hollywood. Burroughs undoubtedly also saw the movie. What success Burton’s later life held awaits further research. As there is no record of her death on the internet it is safe to assume that when her copyrights were renewed in the fifties it was by herself.
There are a number of titles in the library having to do with the Flapper. The library, then gives a sense of direction to ERB’s mental changes. There are, of course, the Indian and Western volumes that prepared his way for novels in those genres. As always his off the top of his head style is backed by sound scholarship.
The uses of the various travel volumes, African and Southeast Asian titles are self-evident. I have already reviewed certain titles as they applied to Burroughs’ work; this essay involves more titles and I hope to relate other titles in the future. So the library can be a guide to Burroughs’ inner changes as he develops and matures over the years.
The amont of material available to interpret ERB’s life has expanded greatly since Porges’ groundbreaking biography. Much more work remains to be done.
The second decade is especially important for ERB’s mental changes as his first couple dozen stories were written beginnng in 1911. Moreso than most writers, and perhaps more obviously Burroughs work was autobiographical in method. As he put it in 1931′s Tarzan, The Invincible, he ‘highly fictionalized’ his details. For instance, the Great War exercised him greatly. From 1914 to the end of the War five published novels incorporate war details into the narrative: Mad King II, Beyond Thirty, Land That Time Forgot, Tarzan The Untamed, and Tarzan The Terrible as well as unpublished works like The Little Door. Yet I don’t think the extent that the War troubled him is recognized. The man was a serious political writer.
Thus between the known facts and his stories a fairly coherent life of Burroughs can be written. My essays here on the ERBzine can be arranged in chronological order to give a rough idea of what my finished biography will be like.
Burroughs was a complex man with a couple fixed ideas. One was his desire to be a successful businessman. This fixed obsession almost ruined him. He was essentially a self-obsessed artist and as such had no business skills although he squandered untold amounts of time and energy which might better have been applied to his art than in attempts to be a business success.
In many ways he was trying to justify his failure to be a business success by the time he was thirty rather than making the change to his new status as an artist.
As a successful artist he was presented with challenges that had nothing to do with his former life. These were all new challenges for which he had no experience to guide him while he was too impetuous to nsit down and thnk them out properly. Not all that many in his situation do. Between magazine sales, book publishing and the movies he really should have had a business manager as an intermdiary. Perhaps Emma might have been able to function in that capacity much as H.G. Well’s wife jane did for him. At any rate book and movie negotiations diverted time and energy from his true purpose of writing.
His attempt to single handedly run a five hundred plus acre farm and ranch while writing after leaving Chicago ended in a dismal failure. Even his later investments in an airplane engine and airport ended in a complete disaster. Thank god he didn’t get caught up in stock speculations of the twenties. As a businessman he was doomed to failure; he never became successful. It if hadn’t been for the movie adaptations of Tarzan he would have died flat broke.
Still his need was such that he apparently thought of his writing as a business even going so far as to rent office space and, at least in 1918, according to a letter to Weston, keeping hours from 9:00 to 5:30. Strikes me as strange. Damned if I would.
At the end of the decade he informed Weston that he intended to move to Los Angeles, abandon writing and, if he was serious, go into the commercial raising of swine. The incredulousness of Weston’s reply as he answered ERB’s questions on hog feed comes through the correspondence.
Think about it. Can one take such flakiness on ERB’s part seriously? Did he really think his income as a novice pig raiser would equal his success as a writer with an intellectual property like Tarzan? Weston certainly took him seriously and I think we must also. There was the element of the airhead about him.
A second major problem was his attitude toward his marriage and his relationship with Emma.
He appears to have been dissatisfied with both at the beginning and decade and ready to leave both at the end. According to the key letter of Weston ERB was an extremely difficult husbnad with whom Emma had to be patient. As Weston put it, no other woman would have put up with his antics. Unfortunately he doesn’t give details of those antics but the indications are that Emma was a long suffering wife.
ERB’s resentment of her apparently became an abiding hatred. Danton Burroughs released information about ERB’s third great romance with a woman named Dorothy Dahlberg during the war years of WWII through Robert Barrett the BB staff writer in issue #64.
After having been estranged from her husband for about a decade Emma died on 11-05-44, probably of a broken heart. ERB returned to Los Angeles from Hawaii to dispose of her effects. Arriving on 11/19/44 after visiting his daughter he met with Ralph Rothmund in Tarzana where he proceeded to get soused, apparently in celebration of Emma’s death.
To quote Barrett, p. 25, Burroughs Bulletin #64.
After Ed met with Ralph Rothmund, he opened a case of Scotch and took out a bottle after which he drove to Emma’s home in Bel-Air- where he and Jack “sampled” the Scotch a couple times.” From Bel-Air Jack drove Ed to the Oldknows, some friends also in Bel-Air, where they continued to sample the Scotch. After this visit Ed and Jack returned to Emma’s home at 10452 Bellagio Road, where Jack brought out a nearly full bottle of bourbon. Jack asked the maids to postpone dinner for 30 minutes, while they waited for Joan and Joan II. This evidently irritated the two maids as they both quit and walked out on them! Ed reported in his diary that after the two maids walked out, ‘we had a lovely dinner and a grand time.”
That sort of strikes me as dancing on the grave of Emma which indicates a deep hatred for her on the part of ERB. We are all familiar with the storyof ERB’s pouring the liquor in the swimming pool humiliating Emma in front of guests which she stood so Weston must have known what he was talking about.
There is a certain hypocrisy in Burroughs now getting blotto in celebration of Emma’s death. Between the two of them in the space of a couple hours ERB and his son, John Coleman, finished a fifth of Scotch and went ripping through a bottle of bourbon. I don’t know how rough and tough you are but that would put me under the pool table.
In this inebriated and hostile state they apparently had words with what I assume to have been Emma’s long time maids. Maids don’t walk out because you ask them to hold dinner for a few minutes. Being a maid is a job; they don’t respond that way to reasonable requests. So in his drunken state ERB must have been offensive about Emma or the maids causing their reaction.
Thus sitting totally soused in the ‘alcoholic’ Emma’s home they ‘had a lovely dinner and a grand time.’ The woman was both good to him and good for him but it isn’t incumbent on any man to see his best interests. There was a crtain dignity lacking in ERB’s behavior at this good woman’s death, not to mention the hypocrisy of getting thoroughly jazzed.
The decade also witnesses the unfolding of ERB’s psyche from the repressed state of 1910 to an expanded and partially liberated state at the end of the decade when he fled Chicago. Pyschologically ERB was always a dependent personality. He let his editors both magazine and book bully him and take advantage of his good will. He also needed a strong role model which is one reason his literary role models are so obvious.
From 1911 to 1916 he seemed to lean on Jack London as his role model. The problem with London is that we can’t be sure which of his books ERB read as he had none of his books in his library. It seems certain that he read London’s early Gold Rush books. ERB’s hobo information is probably based on London’s The Road and then he may possibly have read The Abyssmal Brute which is concerned with the results of the Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries fight and a preliminary to The Valley Of The Moon.
It is difficult to understand how Burroughs could have read much during this decade what with his writing schedule and hectic life style. Yet we know for a fact that between 1913-15 he found time to read Edward Gibbon’s massive The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.
At the same time additions to his library from this decade are rather sparse, the bulk of the library seems to have been purchased from 1920 on. Still, if one assumes that he read all the books of London including 1913′s Valley Of The Moon, then it is possible that his cross=country drive of 1916 may have been partially inspired by Billy and Saxon Roberts’ walking tour of Northern California and Southern Oregon in that book as well as on ERB’s hobo fixation. Certainly London must have been his main influence along with H.H. Knibbs and Robert W. Service. He may have wished to emulate London by owning a large ranch.
I suspect he meant to call on London in Sonoma during his 1916 stay in California but London died in the fall of that year which prevented the possible meeting. With the loss of London Burroughs had to find another role model which he did in Booth Tarkington. He does have a large number of Tarkington’s novels in his library, most of which were purchased in this decade. Tarkington was also closely associated with Harry Leon Wilson who also influenced ERB with a couple two or three novels in his library, not least of which is Wison’s Hollywood novel, Merton Of The Movies. Just as a point of interest Harry Leon Wilson was also a friend of Jack London.
ERB’s writing in the last years of the decade seems to be heavily influenced by Tarkington as in Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid, The Efficiency Expert and The Girl From Hollywood.
Burroughs was an avid reader and exceptionally well informed with a penetrating mind so that his ‘highly fictionalized’ writing which seems so casual and off hand is actually accurate beneath his fantastic use of his material. While he used speculations of Camille Flammarion and possibly Lowell on the nature of Mars he was so mentally agile that when better information appeared which made his previous speculations untenable he had no difficulty in adjusting to the new reality. Not everyone can do that.
I have already mentioned his attention to the ongoing friction between the US and Japan that appeared in the Samurai of Byrne’s Pacific island. In this connection Abner Perry of the Pellucidar series is probably named after Commodore Matthew Perry who opened Japan in 1853. After all Abner Perry does build the fleet that opened the Lural Az. Admiral Peary who reached the North Pole about this time is another possible influence. The identical pronunciation of both names would have serendipitous for Burroughs.
As no man writes in a vacuum, the political and social developments of his time had a profound influence on both himself and his writing.
The effects of unlimited and unrestricted immigration which had been decried by a small but vocal minority for some time came to fruition in the Second Decade as the Great War showed how fragile the assumed Americanization and loyalty of the immigrants was. The restriction of immigration from 1920 to 1924 must have been gratifying to Burroughs.
I have already indicated the profound reaction that Burroughs, London and White America in general had to the success of the Black Jack Johnson in the pursuit of the heavyweight crown. The clouded restoration of the crown through Jess Willard did little to alleviate the gloom. Combined with the sinking of the Ttitanic and the course of the suicidal Great War White confidence was irrevocably shaken.
Burroughs shared with London the apprehension that the old stock was losiing its place of preeminence to the immigrants. This fear woud find its place in Burroughs writing where he could from time to time make a nasty comment. His characterization of the Irish is consistently negative while his dislike of the Germans first conceived when he saw them as a young man marching through the streets of Chicago under the Red flag was intense. Their participation in the Haymarket Riot combined with the horrendous reports of German atrocities during the War reinforced his dislike almost to the point of fanaticism. While the post-war German reaction in his writing was too belated he had been given cause for misinterpretation.
Always politically conservative he was a devoted admirer of Teddy Roosevelt while equally detesting Woodrow Wilson who was President eight of the ten years of the Second Decade. When the Bolsheviks took over Russia in 1917 polarizing public opinion into the Right and Left ERB was definitely on the Right.
By the end of the decade the world he had known from 1875 to 1920 had completely disappeared buried by a world of scientific and technological advances as well and social and political changes that would have been unimaginable in his earlier life. The changes in sexual attitudes caused by among others Krafft-Ebbing, Havelock Ellis and Margaret Sanger would have been astounding.
The horse had been displaced by the auto. Planes were overhead. The movies already ruled over the stage, vaudeville and burlesque. Cities had displaced the country. The Jazz Age which was the antithesis of the manners and customs of 1875-1920 realized the new sexual mores so that the Flapper and Red Hot Mama displaced the demure Gibson Girl as the model of the New Woman.
When ERB moved from Chicago to LA in 1919 he, like Alice, virtually stepped through the looking glass into a world he never made and never imagined. A Stranger In A Strange Land not different in many ways from the Mars of his imagination.
Go to Part III- Background Of The Second Decade Social And Political