January 27, 2008
Exhuming Bob 5: Texas Bob Dylan
While much is made of Bob’s Blues interests and his Folk career the truth is that Bob’s big musical influences were Country & Western. He apparently embraced Robert Johnson after 1961 attempting to make him a major influence while giving himself Black roots and credentials that were then needed. But when he talks of the pre-1959 period he invariably invokes the great C&W artists of the late forties and early fifties.
Hence in this photo in what may be his last persona he has returned to his true C&W roots. This is probably the Bob Bob has always wanted to be. As you can see he has abandoned any Jewish identity in favor of a forties and fifties Western recording star. Not so much the Hillbilly or Country aspect as that of the singing Cowboy. Perhaps he is also recalling his early sixties adulation of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
Here he emulates Slim Whitman- the mustache- Elton Britt, Ernest Tubb the Texas Troubadour, Hank Williams or any number of artists before the Nudie Suit Of Lights came into fasion in the fifties.
Note the attention he has taken to remolding his face in the attempt to eliminate Jewish characteristics. The tight thin lips, the steely eyes. A remarkable and successful effort at becoming what he has always, apparently, wanted to be.
January 26, 2008
Exhuming Bob 4:
The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
…the confused, accused, misused, strung out ones and worse…
I got mixed up confusion
Man, it’s killing me.
I walk the street of sorrow
The boulevard of broken dreams…
You laugh tonight and cry tomorrow
When you behold your shattered dreams…
Here is where you’ll always find me
Always walking up and down
But I left my soul behind me…
The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
With each day of waiting
I love to pretend
One more tomorrow
And my waiting will end.
I’m waiting and watching
for ships that never come in,
I wonder where they can be.
after Jack Yellen
I’m Waiting For Ships That Never Come In
Everything’s Broken Down
I received a couple comments on With One Hand Waving Free from R.M. that brought some thoughts I have into focus. RM has a good understanding so I will incorporate some of her thoughts into this essay.
First, let’s deal with ‘multi-culturalism.’ Multi-culturalism is merely twenty-first century racism. If a separate cultural identity is being jealously maintained then this is done in oppostion to all other cultures; it is a form of exclusivity. Yet such cultural exclusivity is considered a sin if not a crime in the West. How to reconcile such an obvious contradiction?
The first law of ‘culture’ is that two or more cultures cannot occupy the same territory at the same time. Race and culture can be made synonymous for this purpose. The less or least tolerant culture will eventually drive the more or most tolerant culture out. This is a law. Thus to be tolerant is a one way ticket to oblivion.
In that sense tolerance will be made to seem to be intolerance. Thus for the last few centuries until very recently England had been praised for its extreme tolerance. Jews, Huguenots and whatever found a refuge there that delivered them from persecution. That was when the immigrants were relatively few and the English culture dominant. In the last few decades England has been all but swamped by Negroes, Moslems, Jews and whatever. The Moslems although coming from different countries and races are culturally united through the intolerant Moslem religion. Now that the immigrants are numerically strong enough to bully the ‘tolerant’ English the English are now described as intolerant monsters. Quite a change in the perception of them even though the English themselves have not changed. They do insist on the Common Law, their cultural norm, rather than adopting Moslem Sharia law as the Moslems insist. The grossly intolerant Moslems then will subject the tolerance of the English and Moslemism will prevail in England. Thus two cultures cannot coexist in the same space, one must eliminate the other.
The Moslem method of subjection is the same today as it was in the year seven hundred when they subjugated a large part of the world. The congeries of nations they thus created forced a temporary ‘tolerance’ on the Moslems. They had to ‘tolerate’ other cultures to maintain order. But they relentlessly forced intolerance in their dominions gradually imposing a culturally sterile Moslem uniformity on society that succeeded in quelling ‘diversity’ by the thirteenth century or so when a certain idiot maintains that ‘something went wrong.’ Nothing went wrong. The Moslem religion finally achieved its goal.
Now multi-culturalism is being forced on the West. There is no multi-culturalism in the East. China and Japan are as homogeneous as you can get and likely to remain so. There is little change in South-East Asia and apart from the continuing Hindu-Moslem conflict in India, none there. Africa is being occupied by the Chinese so that Africans in Africa will be all but eliminated.
So, this is the nature of multi-culturalism; a form of racism by which the tolerant will be exterminated by the intolerant. One may be view the process as a declared but non-shooting war.
The intolerant are being aided by Western ‘Liberals’ who are deliberately and legally disarming the less tolerant Westerners in favor of the intolerant. Liberals have actually passed laws making it a criminal offence for Westerners to defend or propagate their own culture or criticize anyone else’s.
This process has gone much further in Europe and the British dominions including Canada. The US is still protected by its Constitution but that is under attack. Thus in the Multi-Cultural Wonderland dissent is still possible. I do dissent. And I will speak my mind. I will not be tolerant of my own destruction or those of the West.
As an All-American Boy I have grown up sharing in all these cultures as my own while not being a part of any of them. I am as Jewish as a Jew, as Black as an African-American. As Rebel as any Southener and as Puritan as any New Englander. They are all my cultures. I can mix and match any symbols and being a free American boy, America means freedom, I can say and do as I please. I do and will.
In point of fact I was excluded from all cultures by being in an orphanage. I am probably closest to the Puritan heritage but neither it nor any other has any special meaning for me. I am outside them all as an observer. So, I’d appreciate it if you weren’t defensive about your own cultural hangups. That’s the way it is friends: If you don’t like the reflection, don’t look in the mirror. I am a camera.
In her first comment RM gives a general discussion of the record business. As it happens I was in the record business for fifteen years between 1967 and 1982. I know something about records and musicians. Musicians are at the bottom of the entertainment hierachy. They have no, or little, status. During the sixties and seventies they broke the bounds of the records labels and were able to dictate terms to the labels. This was an anomaly and it didn’t last too long before the labels regained control.
Musicians are generally considered offensive by movie and TV people. They aren’t invited to many genteel parties. To a very large extent this opinion is merited. Witness all those stories about rock and rollers busting up hotels and being just generally rude and offensive. Sad but true. Just study those movies of Dylan and his entourage in London’s prestigious Savoy Hotel. Bob should be embarrassed.
Musicians are the ‘abused, confused, misused’ type of person Bob so unerringly identifies in his songs. Bob was one too. Consider his first rock song: Mixed Up Confusion. Relate it to The Chimes Of Freedom a couple years later. I do not exclude myself from this group so don’t get hostile.
The record industry above all others draws the type to it. There is something about the direct mental connection between the sound on the disc, in the grooves, and the mind that allows the listener to incorporate the lyrics into his identity. All the lyrics heading this essay are part and parcel of my mental makeup also. Some of the type have talent and skills but most don’t. Bob obviously was highly talented by no less psychotic for all that.
For myself I owned and operated a medium sized record store chain from 1967 to 1982. Until about 1979 I listened to everything issued. I suppose I heard thousands of LPs at least once. Some dozens of times. I occasionally met various artists. I was familiar with the record scene in LA and San Francisco. I dealt with tens of thousand of customers. I think I know the dreamy record type.
Without exception they have a broken down psychology. Consider songs like Broken down, second hand Rose, Here Comes The Rain, It’s Raining In My Heart, the talented but overlooked Larry Hosford’s Everything’s Broken Down. In my experience with record store employees their attitude was: If it ain’t broke, break it. And they did. I spent fifteen years dealing with broken people and I didn’t like it.
Bob was broken, probably still is. The part of his songs I identified with from 1964-66 was the broken down images of his ‘greatest’ work. All those put down songs were answered in my soul as I walked up and down the street of broken dreams. He spoke my own frustration and rage. I thought at the time the vicious put downs of Positively Fourth Street was Dylan at his best and I still do but I can’t bear to sing along anymore. The instrumentals he devised were pure genius. In fact I would give him higher marks as a composer than I would as a lyricist.
It scarcely needs pointing out but after Blonde On Blonde his pure rage was spent. He had apparently put down everyone he wanted to put down. His direction changed.
So what I am interested in here is the cause of his breaking down and subsequent rage. His biographers give scant clues when they assess his childhood. For the present we are compelled to guess from various clues scattered throughout his lyrics directed at unknown people and his comments.
In my estimation his put down songs are directed at people from Hibbing who he obviously feels put him down. Bob projects that rejection onto his New York scene.
One must rely on reports but it seems that everyone in New York was unusually supportive of this stranger from Minnesota. People seem to have gone out of their way to be supportive. They fed him didn’t they? They offered their couches, they let him play their records, read their books. In fact, they educated him to Bohemian standards. Bob didn’t get there by himself. Bob couldn’t have written those songs without that education that they gave him for free, from the goodness of their hearts.
A complete greenhorn when he arrived, within the very short space of two years he was a star. Nothing at 19, by 21 he was on his way. Life wasn’t that good to me and yet Bob sees no reason to be thankful for his good fortune. To my taste the music that gave him his start is detestable yet Robert Shelton, a very influential music critic for the NYTimes, the most influential newspaper in NYC and America, gave Bob a glittering review that his fellow folk singers wondered about at the time while being no less a source of wonder today.
John Hammond at CBS, one of the three largest labels in the US, a very experienced judge of talent, apparently saw something in the caterwauling Dylan that I’m sure I wouldn’t have seen, signing Bob to a recording contract. Any contract young Bob got would have been a wonderful contract even if he had worked gratis. Once again as with Shelton, Hammond’s associates were set wondering. Hammond’s Folly they called it.
So what exactly did Bob have to complain of about his reception in NYC. Nothing that I can see. From what I gather from his biographers his hero Woody Guthrie even accepted him. Why then all those bitter diatribes against his fellow folksingers in NYC? Quite simply, Bob was projecting. He’s not talking about the present, he’s talking about the past although he puts his lyrics in the present. We have to go back to Hibbing. He’d only been absent from Hibbing a little over a year when he hit the Big Apple so all his antecedents were very fresh in his memory. If RM is correct it was exactly at this time that he wrote his song The Walls Of Red Wing. The shock of his incarceration was searing his mind.
In Hibbing we have two influential formative processes. One, the interaction between Bob and his classmates and the other between Bob and his father. The latter is especially important. I am weak on being able to judge father-son relationships because I never had a father. From I’ve seen of father-son relationships I have absoltutely no cause for regret. I consider it a psychological trap I miraculously escaped.
One thing is clear from the biographers, Bob did not run with the In Crowd of his high school class. He obviously suffered rejection thus he visits rejection on everyone in his songs from ’64-’66. All those songs are meant to show that he’s the one and they ain’t. ‘Sooner Or Later One Of Us Must Know’, ‘There’s something happening here and you don’t know what it is, do you?’ Sour grapes. Even when they know they don’t care. You’re still you and they’re still them and they’re still in control of the social structure. You’re still on the outside and nothing’s changed except, of course, you’re famous.
Those of us who learn, learn the hard way. Unfortunately that is the only way. If you don’t know let me tell you. What’s done is done.
As the Persian poet, Omar Khayam put it:
The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all they Tears wash out a Word of it.
Here’s the hard part- that’s just the way it is and the way it must stay. If you can’t deal with that, too bad. Bang your head against the wall until you die. Who cares? Hard and mean, but true. What did they used to say? You’ve got to be cruel to be kind? It’s all over now, Baby Blue. Don’t forget it; learn from it. But don’t you grieve no more. However it may go on raining in your heart.
One can’t know what happened to Bob but I suspect it happened early, probably before Junior High. When his biographers discuss his childhood he is always in the company of outsiders. So Bob became broken down at an early age.
Probably in an effort to win his classmates approval he chose to become a rock and roll musician. It worked so well when he was four performing Accentuate The Positive for his family why wouldn’t it work at sixteen with his classmates? Well, it didn’t. What he wanted to play they didn’t want to hear and what they might have wanted to hear he wouldn’t play. It was his way or no way. They booed him roundly but he didn’t care. Strangely Bob recreated the exact same scenario on his world tour. He was not only booed in the metropolis of Hibbing but he was booed around the world. Didn’t care, but how many people can say that? Very unusual personality.
Undismayed back in Hibbing he was undismayed around the world. I can understand his continued playing against the boos but that doesn’t mean it didn’t break his heart. The miracle is Bob Zimmerman went on to become Bob Dylan. You can listen to him turn into Bob Dylan on Another Side. Before that he’s Bob Zimmerman trying on the name Bob Dylan.
So, I think we can assign all those put down songs to his rejection back in Hibbing even though he’s singing Positively Fourth Street to his NYC coterie.
Probably Bob thought that whatever form the initial reaction took to his rejection back in Hibbing was that he had been a victim of a form of theft. Something valuable had been stolen from his personality, his self-respect. This is completely understandable. But as something was stolen from him, in vengeance he became the thief. Thus, if Bob wants an answer to his question: Why must I always be the thief: the compulsion can be found in whatever this childhood incident was.
I suspect Bob began small pilfering from that age, whatever year it may have been. As he was definitely sentenced to a Reformatory for a crime commited in the twelfth grade I have to believe he was caught stealing items of sufficient value for him to have been brought before a court where he was convicted and received a sentence.
It seems unlikely that as a first offender he would have been given time in a reformatory therefore it seems likely that he must have been arrested a couple times before and let off with a warning. That’s the way it was back then before they put you in jail for first offence jay-walking.
That Bob was not averse to breaking into other’s property is made clear by Howard Sounes story of Echo Helstrom’s jimmying the lock of the Moose Lodge. That Bob was not particularly careful is evident by the fact that having broken in Bob banged away at the piano and sang. After making an unauthorized entry that would seem foolhardy. Bob wasn’t just a kid either. That occurred sometime in the eleventh grade.
I suspect these earlier crimes were all thefts. As he was not a good thief, seemingly always being caught, he must have wanted his thefts to be discovered much as he himself was aware that something of value had been stolen from him. The last theft for which the judge thought he had no choice but to give Bob time must have been a good one, perhaps a burlary or store break-in. The crime may have been committed weeks or a couple months before graduation so Bob was allowed to finish school before serving his sentence in the Summer of ’59. Worst summer of Bob’s young life. Worse than church camp. This much is certain, he was in a reformatory for a couple months in the Summer of ’59. The question is where, and how does Father Abraham fit in?
Bob seems to have had a difficult relationship with his father. When that began and whether it had anything to do with his Judaism is the question. There most certainly is a conflict in Bob’s mind between his Gentile cultural identity growing up in Hibbing amongst Gentiles and his Jewish cultural identity imposed on him by his family and probably most especially by his father. Thus in later life Bob would first become a born again Christian, then revert to Judaism, and a fundamental Judaism at that, then form a compr0mise between the two that he is evidently following today. His autobiography, Chronicles Vol. I, wasn’t involved with religion that I remember. I’ll have to read it again.
As I read the biographies Bob was relatively ignorant of the tenets of Judaism as of his Bar Mitzvah at 13. In a situation that I would consider extraordinary a Rabbi was flown in especially for him just prior to his Bar Mitzvah to indoctrinate him and then returned to wherever he came from shortly after. I don’t know, seems like Abraham was really concerned that Bob understand his relationship to Judaism. They would have had to pay the Rabbi. It would be interesting to know Bob’s reaction to this event.
For myself I was forced to attend church through Junior and Senior High which I deeply resented, even hated. I can control myself if I am forced to enter a religious edifice today, that mainly because I am a real trooper who does his duty, but there wouldn’t be any need for anyone to push it too hard. I could break out cursing. Oddly I’ve been in everthing from Catholic Churches to Jewish synagogues over the years. What did I ever do to anybody?
Also in subsequent years Bob attended a religious summer camp called Camp Herzl. Whether he was compelled to or not I don’t know but in my case I was compelled to attend those accursed church camps. If there is anything in my religious background I care to take back it is those few weeks spent there. Absolutely hated it. It would be interesting to know how Bob enjoyed the experience.
Now, Bob tells us that his father Abraham at one time told him that it was possible for a son to become so defiled himself that his father and mother would disown him. Bob doesn’t tell us when or under what circumstances his father told him this. Was it a sort of admonition Abe thought every father should tell his son at, say, ten, or possibly at his Bar Mitzvah, or was it something Abe told Bob just before the authorities took Bob away for his sojourn at the reformatory- possibly even, probably Red Wing? Certainly his departure would have been as horrific an occasion for his father as it was for Bob.
So here’s the crux of the father problem. RM in her comment described Abraham a ‘passive-aggressive’ but clearly abusive father. RM says that an old girlfriend said that Bob seemed quite afraid of his father but she didn’t know if he hit him or not. RM seems to think Abe did but I’m not so sure but as we’ll see there is evidence that points to the fact that he may have.
A statement like ‘I’m not so sure the truth will set you free’ may sound innocuous enough but who knows how many lectures lay behind it or how they pertained to it. Enigmatic at best, what religious truth was Abraham trying to convey to young Bob? Not so clear to me. I’ve known some pretty nutty religious types in my time, just because Abraham was Jewish doesn’t mean he wasn’t a nutty religious type, and some of them were quite terrifying. I mean, de Lawd gave them verbal instructions and they heard it. A statement like a boy may become so defiled his parents would reject him is enough to set any boy shaking especially as Bob had already been rejected by his classmates. If a kid isn’t secure in his parents estimation who is he secure with? To me that statement was a terrific threat.
Defiled? Defiled? Bob might ask himself, I must be defiled but am I that defiled yet? I mean, why tell me Dad? I mean, do you want me to leave now? Crap like that going on for seventeen years or so would make you afraid of any parent. I could learn to hate a guy like that.
Judging from appearances Bob’s subsequent life seems to have been to determine how defiled he could be before everyone would turn away from him. What kind of test would it be? Getting drunk at midday and collapsing in your own vomit in the middle of the Minnesota campus? Was that enough? No. Bonnie Beecher didn’t deny him; she showed her love. The question there is how it is Bob collapsed where Bonnie would likely be? Coincidence? Nah. It wouldn’t taken too much to know her class assignments and be in the the appropriate place. Maybe planned, maybe not. We won’t know unless Bob tells us.
Bob’s whole career from that point on seems to consist of tests to see how much others will endure before they disown him. I mean, think about it. What kind of character does it take to offend his fans with noise you know beyond doubt they don’t want to hear, to go on doing it when you know they are going to go on booing you unmercifully? Bob did this around the world and was booed round the world. Amazingly his fans didn’t desert him but continued to show up if for no other reason than to boo him. Bob wasn’t too defiled for his fans, was he? They continued to accept anything he did.
Of course he lost a few of these contests. Suze Rotolo for instance. Bob was just too much for her mother and sister if not Suze herself. Otherwise the boy forced the world to take him on his own terms. Defilement was the issue between him and his dad. Bob seems to have won that particular defilement issue too.
Did he do time at Red Wing or not? RM and I both think he did. I agree with RM that the lyrics to Walls Of Redwing sound like authentic although very generalized experience. The Minnesota DOC (Department Of Corrections) says on one of their websites that Bob Dylan was never incarcerated at Red Wing. Maybe not. But if Bob Dylan wasn’t how about Robert Zimmerman? There is not doubt however that he was incarcerated somewhere. Wherever that was records must exist.
I believe that if one has the key all Bob’s lyrics ’64-66 will be found to be autobiographical. Why should Bob be different than any other writer? All writers are autobiographical. What else can they be? Thus in relation to Red Wing if RM doesn’t have the right slant the song has to relate to Bob’s life in some way, and some way that goes back to before he left Hibbing. The title Highway 61 Revisited has to have that exact meaning. Bob is revisiting Highway 61 whatever meaning the phrase has for him. RM’s understanding of the following lyrics seems brilliant to me whether it turns out Bob did his time at Red Wing or not. Remember it is certain that he did time somewhere, that is not the question. If the song does not physically describe Red Wing then the ‘country club’ in Philadelphia must.
Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man you must be puttin’ me on.”
God say. “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin’ you better run.”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61.”
RM goes on: Red Wing is DIRECTLY on Highway 61 separated only by a barbed wire fence. Thus, Bob may have experienced his incarceration as a form of psychological death for which he held his father, Abe, responsible. Highway 61 as I see it has no signficance otherwise. The Civil Rights stuff going on in the South couldn’t possibly have figured largely in Bob’s imagination besides it had nothing to do with killing a son.
Consider also these lines from Chimes of Freedom:
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking track
For the lonesome hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An’ for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
As we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.
Starry eyed and laughing, as I recall, when we were caught…
I think those lines can be related back to Highway 61 and the crime for which the ‘unharmful gentle soul’ Bob paid. The last line would imply that he and Echo? were caught together. That sounds like a burglary or break-in.
Another word on possible influences for Highway 61.
While both Folk and Pop music were important to the era, equally as important, possibly more so, were the Comedy records. The late fifties and early sixties were the golden age of comedy LPs. The three most important were Bob Newhart, The Smothers Brothers and Shelley Berman. These three were huge. Trailing behind them were Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Lord Buckley, Allan Sherman, Jose Jimenez and a couple others.
Newhart and the Smothers would have have had the most direct influence on Bob at this time. Both artists did monologues or dialogues of an historical nature. The Smothers Brothers were, of course, a comedy Folk act. Overwhelming in their appeal. We were all blown out of the saddle by these comedy records that seemed so nouveau and groundbreaking that they could easily be seen as the Chimes of Freedom flashing. Thus the first verse of Highway 61 can be seen as a comedic takeoff on God, Abraham, and Isaac a la Newhart or the Smothers.
After the first and obviously key verse that deals with the Son and father, Abe, Bob cobbles some historical verses together. Mack the Finger (Knife) and Louie (XIV) the king. Verse two deals with Jesse James:
He asked poor Howard where can I go
Howard said there’s only one place I know
Sam said tell me quick man I got to run
Ol’ Howard just pointed with his gun
And said that way down Highway 61.
As we all know Bob Ford was the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard, the name Jesse James was living under at the time. I think we can chalk Highway 61 up as an attempt to emulate the Smothers and Newhart along with Bob’s other needs. Think about Desolation Row as a comedy routine.
If one does want to really understand the early sixties it is essential to be familiar with Newhart, the Smothers and Shelley Berman. Still good stuff too.
Bob would have been released from the reformatory just in time to leave for U. Minnesota. One can only imagine his state of mind as he left for Minnesota as the defiled son. He began by testing everyone. As a nobody there were few who would put up with his antics. We can’t be sure how far he would go with his antics or exactly what he would have done. If the scene with Bonnie Beecher is any indication he had pretty wide parameters to work within. He claimed that in New York he hustled, that is sold his behind as a male prostitute. Did he? I don’t know but having consciously established himself as a liar or teller of tall tales he could tell any preposterous truth and not be taken seriously. Thus he would be able to get such things off his chest while being disbelieved. Hustling would probably be a form of defilement that would offend his father. He told the journalist Al Aronowitz that he had done time in Red Wing. Why would anyone tell stories that were reputation destroyers?
Testing people is one thing, of course, but would a guy who puked all over himself and lay down in the middle of campus balk at hustling in NYC? You tell me.
Through ’66 Bob exhibited all the characteristics of the man walking up and down the boulevard of broken dreams. Everything in his life was broken down. He was apparently filthy and unkempt. Many people refer to his complete lack of hygiene. They use such emphatic terms as Bob must have been avoiding soap and water. Hygiene, he didn’t have any.
Except for the brief honeymoon period with Sara after his acident he always affected a bum or hobo like character. He even called his recording studio, Rundown Studios. The pain lived on in his heart as a steady downpour. He made his environment reflect the shambles in his mind. He had mixed up confusion and man it was killing him. He built a multi-million dollar house and then made it look like a junkyard.
He made one attempt to escape the Boulevard. There is some question as to the seriousness of the motorcycle accident. There seems to be evidence that he wasn’t seriously hurt if hurt at all. I think that after Blonde On Blonde his initial torment was spent. At best Grossman was working him so hard, setting up the next grueling tour that as Bob said if he had gone on it would have been the death of him so he opted out, took some much needed time off to recover.
During the brief period of recuperation he seems to have calmed down somewhat. If the photos of Elliot Landy are accurate evidence,
http://www.landyvision.com he seems to have cleaned up his act trying to be the good country squire for Sara. The photos look as though he were bathing and wearing clean clothes. It couldn’t last. His inner devastated compulsion urged him on. At some point he must have decided how much defilement Sara would take before he could drive her away.
Lord, how he tried that woman’s soul. Bob was shameless beyond belief. She finally threw in the towel when she came to breakfast to find Bob eating with another woman.
In the divorce proceedings she claimed she was in fear of her physical well being, that Bob had offered her physical violence. It is quite possible that after years of drug and alcohol abuse Bob’s decency was so lowered that he did offer her violence. Perhaps he was then visiting the violence on her that RM thinks his father dealt him. Perhaps he was only trying to see exactly how much defilement she would take before checking out. Perhaps Bob merely wanted Sara to be as defiled as himself so that they would be equals.
Bob cruelly shattered the poor woman’s life. After standing by him through terrific emotional abuse Bob had the audacity to remonstrate ‘But people in my family just don’t get divorced. Chutzpah on a stick. Didn’t he even care what the effect on his children would be? Hard to feel sorry for ya, Bob.
Bob punished himself to the tune of many millions of dollars. It must have hurt so good. Balm for a wounded soul. Not satisfied Bob had another brief marriage bestowing additional millions on that wife. These sexual adventures compelled him to work non-stop to support his various establishments. It isn’t cheap being Bob Dylan. A life style was forced on him that required vast sums, perhaps millions a year to maintain.
Thus Bob laughed tonight and cried tomorrow when he beheld his shattered dreams, but no matter how defiled Bob was he was holding his own in the war. Everything was still broken down, rundown, second hand Rose but then for the psychological type, Only A Hobo, there’s a certain pleasure in that.
January 17, 2008
Exhuming Bob 3
Weird Old Greil Marcus
We have a very interesting phenomenon here. Greil Marcus is technically a non-fiction writer. I don’t know if I can fully agree with that. I think I would classify him as a fiction writer using a non-fiction base. I always have the feeling of reading a novel. That’s not bad but it’s not non-fiction. This is nowhere more evident than in his amusing The Old Weird America.
The interesting thing is that he has managed to convince his readers that his personal vision of Al Capp’s Dog Patch is in reality true, or factual. Yes, I’m afraid Greil’s vision of America falls into the Anglo-Saxon baiting genre I noted in my essay Exhuming Bob 2-2: Detourning The Folks. In this effort Greil continues to make a specific minority of people look goofy damning the whole people in the process.
In this respect he is reminiscent of the movies of Adam Sandler and Steven Seagal. Both of these Jewish actors, Greil is Jewish of course, constantly put down non-Jews in their movie roles. In Fire Down Below Seagal goes into the hills of old Kaintuck to show the Anglo-Saxon Hillbillies how to stand up for theyselves.
Part of Greil’s success is that the majority of his readers seemingly are as unfamiliar with country music as he is. As I pointed out in Exhuming Bob 2-2 the majority of White Americans despise, to use the old and correct term, Hillbilly music.
That is what the performers on Harry Smith’s Anthology Of American Folk Music are. In a country of, shall we say, unusual ethnic musics it is difficult to understand why Hillbilly music should be considered quintessentially weird. Actually I’ve already explained it in Bob 2-2 but we’ll ignore that. Certainly the Country Blues of the Blacks, which is not so distant from Hillbilly, the Blacks had to learn somewhere and where closer than their Southern roots, is virtually unlistenable music. It take a lot of good will toward Negroes to sit through that stuff and that goes for the majority of Black Gospel.
The Klezmer music of Greil’s own Jews is some of the least listenable stuff available. If you want weird try Klezmer music of Weird Old Judaism. I could go on but I won’t.
The problem with greil’s reverence for Harry Smith is that he lacks background while having no real appreciation for the music. It’s too weird. Some of my ancestors came down from the hills of old Kaintuck so I was raised on Hillbilly music. I know most of the tunes of Harry’s Anthology without ever having heard the records. I mean, this stuff used to be played on the radio. Back in 1950 there wasn’t really all that much else to play. Heck, even guys like Hank Snow and Webb Pierce were just getting started. The great Hillbilly recordings of the fifties were still in the future. The world of the LP hadn’t even been thought of yet. 45 RPM records were introduced only in 1949 although they caught on fast. I remember the first spindle I ever saw with amazement yet. You just bought a spindle to connect to your radio. Amazing innovation. Unlike 78s, 45s didn’t break when you looked at them.
So, really, as far as Hillbilly went back then there wasn’t much else to listen to other than the stuff Harry collected. Patsy Montana’s I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart could easily have made Harry’s collection if it had fit his particular psychosis. I mean, really, the guy was straining it, booze, drugs and all; living on the same street Greil Marcus would live on. That could unsettle an intellect…or two.
By the time Greil got hold of Harry’s compendium he was four or five times removed from the music, maybe more. He never talks about remembering Lonnie Donnegan so I don’t know if he knows him but Lonnie sang a lot of stuff as ‘weird’ as anything Harry Smith ever collected. I’ll even go on record as saying that old Lon was the greatest recording singer who ever lived. Yes, Sir, I would say that. He was that good.
Greil has Bob down in the basement mixin’ up the medicine at Big Pink which he surely was. Now, Bob goes back musically almost as far as I do.
He grew up in the same kind of semi-rural backwater. I mean, Little Jimmy Dickens held down the quarter hour Hillbilly show at noon right after the farm report on our local station. Little Jimmy was definitely Harry material if he had fit Harry’s psychosis. Little Jimmy sang such humorous, but ain’t they true, though sad songs, rueful actually, such as Take An Old Cold Tater And Wait and Sleepin’ At The Foot Of The Bed. I’ve been there done both those things so I didn’t think they was so weird. I knowed how it felt.
Having access to the same kind of midwest mega blaster radio stations that I had I’m sure Bob didn’t need Harry’s memorable compendium to give him any roots although he sure goes on like he did. Still, I think anyone who could sing Accentuate The Positive at four didn’t need Harry to give himself much help. There’s musical stuff going on in Bob Dylan’s mind that he cain’t even remember. I mean, that there boy’s got roots, roots down below the roots where they don’t even show and there ain’t nobody can never convince me other wise. Weird Old Bob they usta call him. Weird Old America. Weird Old Greil Marcus. Weird Old…well, just plain weird and old. I’ve been to both places and I’ll take weird over old. There, I said it and I ain’t sorry for it either and I ain’t goin’ ta ‘pologize to nobody neither. Don’t ask.
So, in point of fact bob’s got some weird old stuff running ’round his mind mixed in with the cocaine or whatever. Bob had seen a lot of movies. Weird Old Cinema, read some Weird Old Books. Weird old American stuff. Weird Old Jewish stuff; Bob was just into weird I guess. Sounds like it some times if you listen real close.
Greil locked onto this weird thing and began to run with it. Tom Wolfe did it lots better though. What was it the Tangerine Flake something or other. I can see the influence of Wolfe on Greil even if it’s not there. Remember that piece about the stock car driver? Compare that with Greil’s handling of Dock Boggs. There’s some real similarities there or I ain’t as weird as I usta be. Still just a Hillbilly boy though. You knowed that though didn’t yuh. I always like it in those hillbilly sharecropper movies when you can tell you’re dealing with real rural types when they say ‘knowed’ even though they look like they have a luxury apartment on Wilshire Blvd. I knowed that when I fust seen him. Yes, Sir, I did.
Greil creates this novelistic atmosphere out of his material but he doesn’t have the feel of the material. What did Bob say? Everything is phony. Actually Bob portrays himself as a better hick in Chronicles Vol. I. Some his book is OK.
So, really, I think Greil should have written after a couple of hours of reading Tom Wolfe. While the glow lasted he might have turned out some hot stuff; wouldn’t sounded any more authentic but the heat would have covered up the lack of authenticity.
Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Baby was pretty flashy but its a lot harder to do than it looks, even Tom Wolfe couldn’t keep it up but when he was hot he was hot like with that Hillbilly stock car driver. Loved it.
Even though Greil has made a terrific impact with Weird Old America very successfully detourning the image of Anglo-Saxon America in the direction he wanted it to go I’m afraid I’m going to have to give him his second C. If he had wanted to be more convincing he should have gone back to them hills of old Kaintuck and immersed himself in the culture for a weekend and made it his own. They got some snappy new modern motels now although yu can still find the old cabins if yu really want to do it up authentic.
January 11, 2008
Something Of Value
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Evolution And Religion
Your world is out of step in the planetary procession.
– Book Of Urantia
The melting of the ice caps threw the evolutionary world out of equilibrium. As the peoples fled, who can now be called Libyans, they bumped into populations settled in what were formerly the highlands. In Egypt this caused a confrontation with the Upper Egyptians that may have lasted a couple millennia or more until the Libyans of Lower Egypt were conquered by the Upper Egyptians uniting the Two Lands.
No one knows what took place on Crete which may already have been part of the Basin civilization while it is possible that the Cretans spread the Basin civilization to Pelasgia on the mainland.
Probably North Africa including Egypt and Crete received the bulk of the emigrants. Smaller numbers unable to hold their own obviously settled in the Levant and adjacent areas. The wonderful temples of Catul Huyuk dated to 6500 B.C. must have been built by the fleeing Libyans. These settlements may have later been overwhelmed by their savage neighbors. A group may have reached present day Hungary since this area seems to have been a hotbed of intelligence. Laurence Gardner in his interesting series of books believes writing originated there from whence migrants carried the knowledge to Sumer about- -4000. Might be true, timeframe is possible.
We tend to see such occurrences as History outside Darwinian evolution. Viewed from a perspective of Darwinian evolution what we have here is a clash of sub-species. Darwin poses this problem in his ‘Origin of Species.’
As the species of the same genus usually have, but by no means invariably, much similarity in habits and constitution, and always in structure, the struggle will generally be more severe between them, if they come into competition with each other, than between species of distant genera. We see this in the recent extension over parts of the United States of one species of swallow having caused the decrease of another species. The recent increase of the missal-thrush in parts of Scotland has caused the decrease of the song-thrush. How frequently we hear of one species of rat taking the place of another species under the most different climates. In Russia the small Asiatic cockroach has everywhere driven before it its great congener. In Australia the imported hive bee is rapidly exterminating the small, stingless native bee. One species of charlock has been known to supplant another species; and so in other cases. We can dimly see why the competition should be most severe between allied forms, which fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature; but probably in no one case could we precisely say why one species has been victorious over another in the great battle of life.
With Homo Sapiens we will be able to see precisely why. The discussion I make will not be based on morality but on the exigencies of the battle of life. The sub-species of Homo Sapiens are part of the natural order engaged in the struggle for survival and not outside it. Altruistic ideas about the brotherhood of man are all very well but such ideas can be interpreted in different ways. For instance one might argue that we will all be brothers when all are Moslems; or, we will all be brothers when under Chinese hegemony. But it is doubtful that very many but the totally naive believe we are all brothers as things stand.
Many peoples who have existed no longer have an existence and it is certain that in the not too distant future many others are going to become as extinct as the legendary Dodo bird. That’s why people talk about being dumb as a Dodo, you Dodo, etc. So no sentimentality here.
The initial clash came between the Semites and the Sumerians. While the origin of the Sumerians is in doubt, as they had a proto-scientific civilization they were not Semites. However as they built up their civilization creating something from, as it were, nothing, envy will draw attention. The Semites of the desert attracted by this glittering something which far exceeded their own thinking began to infiltrate Sumeria.
As Darwin put it: How frequently we hear of one species of rat taking the place of another… The Sumerians chose to be tolerant with a people who are by nature intolerant. By the year -2000 or the beginning of the Age Of Aries the Semites had overrun and displaced the Sumerians. Sumerian institutions which had great allure for the Semites were not abandoned or destroyed but the Semites gutted the forms of their scientific content replacing it with their own brand of stasis.
At the Dawning of Aries according to Genesis a conflict arose between the Terachites and the Mesopotamians over the nature of God. It will be remembered that the transition of the Ages between Taurus and Aries in Greece saw the replacement of Cronus by Zeus. In Greek mythology this was represented as the battle between Zeus and the Titans. In Sumerian mythology it was represented by the killing of the Bull of Heaven by Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Having succeeded in their heroic task the haunch of Taurus was made a constellation over the North Pole. In other words a remnant of the previous Age.
The Lugal Banda assumed the reins from the fourth king after the Flood. Now, we are led to believe that the Terachites under their Astrological genius Abram objected to the notion of Ages. Abram insisted that there was one god who was eternal. As the Old Order would not give on this point we are told that the overriding genius Abram and the Terachites were caused to flee for their lives. They wisely did, however they kept this idea alive for two thousand years becoming an ever greater cause of disturbance during the transit from Aries to Pisces.
Thus, one may say the battle was joined between the Astrological Religion and Semitic religious ideas. This battle is central to understanding world history. We will see a refinement of the Jewish position when Mohammed formulated his own even sillier religion.
Let us take a moment to examine the Semitic position. The question is not one of Jews and Arabs as the two are parts of the same stock, but that of Semites. The religions of Judaism and the Moslemism that Mohammed formulated are quite close. They both give their people preeminence amongst the peoples of the world and they both take an adamant position against change. The Jews wish to make their god sole and eternal while the Moslems hope to stop time and change by declaring Mohammed the last prophet and his word the last word. Vain hopes!
Now, in the seventh century the Moslems burst from the desert overrunning large areas of North Africa and Asia forcing their religion on the subject peoples. Some people, Bernard Lewis for one, fancy that this rule was liberal but that something went wrong a couple centuries later. Nothing went wrong from the Semitic point of view, everything went right. It merely took them that long to suppress the scientific and intellectual vitality of the subject peoples. The story was the same as in Sumer. Once in control they suppressed science and knowledge in favor of their projection of Allah or his early formulation as the god of stasis.
Edgar Rice Burroughs recognized this in a passage of Tarzan Of The Apes that has not gotten the attention it deserves. Archimedes Q. Porter and Mr. Philander are walking down the beach apparently discussing the Alhambra and the Moors in Spain. Philander’s was a stock argument still current in my childhood and apparently still current with scholars of the stripe of Bernard Lewis.
Samuel T. Philander is speaking:
‘But, my dear professor,’ he was saying, ‘I still maintain that but for the victories of Ferdinand and Isabella over the fifteenth century Moors in Spain the world would be to-day a thousand years in advance of where we now find ourselves.’
‘The Moors were essentially a tolerant, broad minded, liberal race of agriculturists, artisans and merchants- the very type of people that has made possible such civilization as we find in America and Europe- while the Spaniards-‘
‘Tut, tut, Mr. Philander,’ interrupted Professor Porter, ‘their religion positively precluded the possibilities you suggest. Moslemism was, is, and always will be a blight on that scientific progress which has marked…
Before 9/11 a reader might have skimmed over that passage without a remark but the Twin Towers have given it a new significance. Burroughs presciently put his finger on the Moslem problem that is its antipathy to science; to that knowledge that contradicts the word of Allah as imparted to Mohammed sitting on a rock baking in the hot desert sun.
Mr. Philander voices the received wisdom of society as it existed down to my childhood while if Mr. Bernard Lewis and his ‘something went wrong’ is representative of the present is still current today.
Burroughs through the mouth of Professor Porter boldly contradicts the almost universal opinion. Furthermore he is right as events have amply proven. ‘Moslemism was, is and always will be a blight on…scientific progress.’
Moslemism per se is a tool of the Semites in their bid for universal dominion as per Darwin. The Semite ever was and always will be opposed to any science that denies him that role. The Science of Bruce Lahn and genetics have driven that last nail in the Semitic coffin.
The Semite then as now seeks to arrest the development of knowledge and intelligence keeping things perpetually in stasis.
When Sigmund Freud gave us Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego the coupling of the two states means that there is a group ego and that it can be analyzed. A group, any group, has its objectives and goals for which it creates an agenda it follows. The Semites as a whole, both Jews, Arabs and others form a psychological group with objectives and goals. Therefore their group psychology can be analyzed.
Their methods and ways and means can be analyzed. As Freud indicates, such an analysis does not constitute bigotry or ‘hate.’ It is just scholarship. I didn’t mean to interrupt my narrative but I felt it was time to clear the air on that issue especially in light of what is happening to Mr. Le Pen in France.
Now, the Semite has a fear of being overwhelmed by numbers and being relegated to the dust bin of history. They wish preeminence. They realize wishful thinking won’t obtain it for them. It takes action. The year -2000 is when that action began in earnest.
First the Semites overran Sumer subordinating the people and its culture to Semitic ideals of Stasis.
I personally do not believe the Jewish account in Genesis. I believe that the Hebrews, as their Northwest Semitic dialect indicates, were located far to the West and North before they descended on Palestine. The whole of the first eleven books of Genesis must have been concocted from Mesopotamian records studied during the captivity after -586.
So I will not consider a Jewish influence before the final invasion of Palestine c. -1200.
After the investing of Sumer and the acquisition of Mesopotamia conflicts between the sub-species became more frequent. In the Darwinian sense the sub-special contest for dominance had begun. As Darwin stated: ‘We can see…why competition should be most severe between allied forms, which fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature…’
First Pharaoh toured the East disturbing the peoples, then the Hittites and Greeks entered civilization. The Asians countered by invading the Delta which was a long occupation before they were driven out.
The contest between the Semites and Egyptians was between HSII and the Semites. That of the Hittites was between the Semites and HS III. That of the Greeks between HSII and HS III and then as the Greeks and Semites clashed moving in the opposite direction between HS III and Semites.
As Greek legend tells it, the Semitic king, Agenor, had three sons (read surplus population) which he sent to populate new areas. One went to Cilicia in Asia Minor, another went to Crete while the third, Cadmus settled at Thebes in mainland Greece. This provoked a major war to eject them. Just before the assault on Troy the Argives waged a two generation war to eject the Semites, or sub-species competitors, that was commemorated in the legend of the Seven Against Thebes. Sarpedon, the son of Agenor, was also expelled from Crete returning to the mainland.
Subsequent to Troy the Greeks invaded and occupied the Anatolian littoral also occupying Crete and Cypress. The Aegean became an HSIII lake.
The Semites meanwhile threw out colonies from Phoenicia from whence came Agenor. The most famous was the Semitic power of Carthage which was to come into conflict with both Greeks and HSII Romans. The Semitic Assyrians who had become the paramount power in Asia found the strength to smash Egypt which terminated that ancient HSII nation as a power. The Assyrians and Babylonians were in their turn brought low by the HSIII Persians who seemed to have been or were assimilated by the Semitic culture.
Then the Macedonians organized a terrific military campaign under Alexander and his HSIII Greeks and Macedonians overran the entire Eastern Mediterranean. Alexander died at the end of the conquest which broke theEast into three Hellenic kingdoms. A Macedonian, a Greek kingdom, the kingdom of the Seleucids in Asia and the kingdom of Ptolemy in Egypt. For the moment than the HSIII were dominant.
The Hellenic culture was so attractive that the majority had no problem adapting to it. The Semites seemed pleased to act HSIII. Then, as Bernard Lewis might say, ‘Something went wrong.’ As might be expected there were Semitic dissenters.
Chief among these were the Jews. The Jews since their alleged expulsion from Ur had been active. Colonies of Jews had been established in all the major cities which transferred the struggle from the military to the religious sphere. Unlike today, at that time the Jews were active proselytizers.
They set themselves up as a quasi-empire in Jerusalem not unlike the later Roman Catholic Church based in Rome, in fact as the Roman Catholic Church is quasi-Semitic, Jerusalem probably served as the model. Tithes flowed from every part of the Mediterranean into the coffers at Jerusalem just as they later would to Medieval Rome.
The Jews fought the Seleucids to a standstill but then the really Big Boys entered the picture. The Romans had already disposed of the Semitic Carthaginians but now the Semitic Jews established colonies everywhere in the Empire including Rome itself. The chief authority for this period is the Jewish traitor Josephus. Burroughs had a copy of the works in his library.
So as the Age of Aries drew to a close the Mediterranean was under the military domination of the HSII Romans while the cultural and religious sphere was dominated by HSIII Greeks and Semitic Jews.
Just as the transition from the Taurean Age to the Arien Age was fraught with wars so now the transition from Aries to Pisces was blighted by a major conflict between HSII, HSIII and the Semites. As you may note the transition between Pisces and Aquarius is being fraught with a major war between the Semites and the rest of the world.
Much of the nonsense of the Jewish War can be explained by the notion that the Astrological Age change was the literal end of the world. When Jesus spoke of the end times he wasn’t being vague, he meant right then. The Jews on Masada could never have killed themselves if they hadn’t believed that they were going to rise up within the next few days and come into their inheritance. Poor deluded people, their successors probably won’t make that mistake again.
The terrific war with unbelievable bloodshed continued from 66 BC to 135 AD when with the defeat of Bar Kochba the Jews threw in the towel. Peace is just war conducted by other means as the famous General said.
The Semitic Jews were defeated decisively in 135 AD. However the Kingdom of Heaven remained unconquered. The Jews had been proselytizing the Mediterranean world for centuries and not without success but it was slow work while having its limits. For too many people circumcision and the absurd dietary laws were an insuperable obstacle. Enter Saul/Paul to the rescue. There is no reason to take any of the legend of Paul too seriously. Stories like his are mere hagiography.
Suffice it to say that he discovered a way to turn the discredited Jewish messiah to account. Rather than making him the savior of the Jews he made him the savior of the world discarding the objectionable circumcision and the laughable dietary laws. Paul may have been a bigot but he wasn’t stupid.
What the Jews couldn’t accomplish on their own the hybrid Gentile-Jewish religion of Christianity did. The Semitic mentality was grafted unto the Gentile. Christianity was therefore repressive and bigoted. It is no accident that Freud made repression a centerpiece of his dogma.
Within only a couple centuries ‘something went wrong’ as Bernard Lewis would put it. Absolute Catholic orthodoxy was imposed which allowed for no further discussion or speculation. Anyone who questioned the central authority was run to earth and murdered, ‘exposed’ as a heretic and discountenanced in every way. It is interesting that Hitler is condemned for bookburning when these Semito-Catholics destroyed the greatest repository of ancient learning in a magnificent bonfire at the library in Alexandria. I doubt if any greater crime has ever been committed and that includes the so-called holocaust.
Thus just as in Sumer, when learning was crushed, everything was going right for the Semites. If Bernard Lewis weren’t a Semite he might see things somewhat differently.
The Semito-Catholics were still wrestling with stubborn dissidents when the ‘last of the prophets’ sat down on his rock amidst the burning sands to dictate his little notes and thoughts. Mohammed could neither read nor write. He still thought he could talk to God. God most have thought it was an amusing conversation. He’s probably still laughing.
The ‘brotherhood of man’ sure as heck isn’t.
I’m sure that Mohammed surveyed the scene, listened to the talk in the cafes, Semites complaining of how the nasty Gentiles prevented them from realizing the sovereignty of the world and how they had almost captured the whole ball of wax when by some dirty tricks they were defeated by the Romans. With a level playing field, you know, they would have won.
Undoubtedly they laughed because the stupid goyim were actually practicing Semitic religion and didn’t know it.
Judging from the results Mohammed thought that what the Jews lacked to realize the Semitic dream was a sufficient military arm to convert the goyim by force. The man did create an ideological force that when joined to the Arab military force was able to overrun North Africa, Persia and the Asian interior as well as parts of Asian Byzantium. By the end of the +eighth century the Moorish auxiliaries of the Arabs occupied Spain. So as this period ended the Semite sub-species in the Darwinian sense had imposed themselves on much of HSII, part of HSIII and large goegraphic areas controlled by the Mongolids. They were doing as well as those swallows would in the United States.
…presumptuous attempts to conquer the outer world of appearances by the inner world of wishful thinking.
-S. Freud. Letter to Arnold Zweig 5/8/32 as quoted by Max Schur: Freud: Living and Dying.
Time now for a little recapitulation, reflection and analysis. Regardless of that endlessly repeated dogma that no system of thought is better than another, everything is relative; noting is good or bad but thinking makes it so, etc. there are some signal differences between the Astrological Religion and the Semitic Religion; the latter stultifies while the former liberates into a glorious freedom. Which would you rather be, a stupid slave or an intelligent free man? Judging from all the chat about freedom we hear I’m going to assume your answer rather than wait for it. Free and intelligent, right?
Freud hit the nail on the head in the above quote. The Astrological Religion accepts the world of appearances and attempts to adjust to them, hence it has a scientific outlook. Astrology is based on a mistaken apprehension of reality which is why on the intellectual level it is no longer taken seriously. However the Astrolgical theory is based on a great many correct astronomical facts. Astro in both words refers to the stars. I’m sure the ancients would have expressed their hard won knowledge differently if they had had more accurate facts. It is all very well to sneer at Astrology as stupid but Astrology is not stupid. It is merely mistaken. Determining the Great Year is a tremendous discovery made by people who couldn’t read while having mastered the barest rudiments of language. Do not sneer at your ancestors; they can still tell you a thing or two.
Furthermore by dividing the Great Year into Ages they left room for the evolution of intelligence. If you study the transits carefully you will see that at each transit a revolution was necessary for the new age to come into existence. Thus our genius ancestors made certain that mankind would never stultify itself by being unable to grow.
Now compare this freedom loving program with that of the Semites with whom we are now contending for supremacy or, in Darwinian terms, survival as a species.
Beginning with the failed Semito-Jewish revolt at the beginning of the Age of Aries the Semitic doctrine has been opposed to any change. Their god is ‘eternal’ and unchanging. The Jews created a psychological projection based on their ‘inner world of wishful thinking’ as defined by their compatriot Sigmund Freud. Thus the Semitic religion is closed to innovation. There is no consideration of the world of appearances. The Jewish god, Yahvey must be offensive to any thinking person. Nor can the Jews dismiss criticism as ‘oh, that’s anti-Semitism.’ That’s one interpretation, another is why should anyone be stultified by a religion that promises nothing to anyone who is not by blood a Semite?
Think that over now, fellas.
The same is true of the Arab god, Allah. Allah is not even a projection of the Arab people being only the psychological projection of the inner world of wishful thinking of a demented Mohammed.
My god, man.
As with the Jews and their Eternal Yahvey Mohammed creates his own eternal god to supplant that of the Jews and then declares himself the final prophet beyond whom no further speculation is permitted. Mohammed wants to stop history in its tracks. Mohammed had probably never heard of science. As Edgar Rice Burroughs pointed out science never shows up in Mohammed’s doctrine.
Mohammed was able to stultify his own people and a very large percentage of mankind. Bernard Lewis is mystified about ‘what went wrong?’ I’m mystified by Bernard Lewis.
Religious speculation did go on in the West while Moslem children bobbed and weaved ‘studying’ the worthless psychological projecton of Mohammed’s called the Koran. Here’s a guy who learned to fool all the people all the time.
The West produced a wonderful succession of speculators working against the ever vigilant Semito-Catholic Church. Paracelsus, Meister Eckehardt, Jacob Boehm, Emmanuel Swedenborg, the nineteenth century Spiritualists including the incredible Madame Helena Blavatsky. Arising from all these is an astounding organization dating from 1955 in Chicago called Urantia.
Check this out: The Book Of Urantia claims his paper was presented by:
…a divine counselor, a member of the group of celestial personalities assigned by the Ancient of Days on Uversa, the headquarters of the seventh superuniverse, to supervise those portions of these forthcoming revelations which have to do with affairs beyond the borders of the local universe of Nebadon. I am commissioned to announce these papers portraying the nature and attributes of God because I represent the highest source of information available for such a purpose on any inhabited world. I have served as a Divine Counselor in all seven of the superuniverses and have long resided at the Paradise center of all things. Many times have I enjoyed the supreme pleasure of a sojourn in the immediate personal presence of the Universal Father. I portray the reality and truth of the Father’s nature and attributes with unchallengable authority; I know whereof I speak.
The writer wisely pefers anonymity to revealing his ‘earthly’ identity. Makes you smile doesn’t it? Yet that writer in his Book of Urantia is intelligent and well read. Much more so than Moses or Mohammed but you refuse to believe his claims and rightly so. But then why do you give credence to the equally laughable Moses and Mohammed. Just because they lived a couple thousand years ago?
How can you accept the psychological projections of Yahveh and Allah as ‘real’ when you would laugh at anyone who believed Bran Stoker’s psychological projection of Dracula was real. Or, if you think Yahveh and Allah are real why should you not think that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ psychological projection of Tarzan the Jungle God is not real?
Tarzan has as much reason to claim to be an extension of Dionysus as Jesus of nazareth. Now that the Age of Aquarius is dawning why shouldn’t this exemplar of Dionysus be the religious archetype of the Age of Aquarius and Edgar Rice Burroughs his prophet?
Tarzan’s world is based on scientific conceptions and their developments thus there is room to grow. Rather than being reserved for the so-called elect of God which excludes those of us who are not Semites any of us can aspire to be as Tarzan- a healthy mind in a healthy body. If you want to be a hulk, with application you can turn yourself into one. We can be men like gods if we elect or we can be stultified cretins if we follow the Semitic path.
The Age of Aquarius will be ruled by the more free masculine side of Dionysus as the Age of Pisces was ruled by the gentle, loving feminine side of Dionysus. Tarzan as a psychological projection for us all is a perfect specimen; he is master of both his conscious and sub-conscious minds as well as master of his environment. Thus he moves freely in the world of appearances while being in control of his inner world of wishful thinking.
Tarzan is God and Edgar Rice Burroughs is his prophet. Move over Mohammed.
Is that any less believable than Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet?
Think about it.
The next section should take us to the marriage of Burroughs and Emma.
January 3, 2008
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#7 Tarzan The Untamed
Edgar Rice Burroughs seems to be searching for his sexual identity in Tarzan The Untamed. The untamed may refer to the notion that he may be married but Emma has not domesticated the roaring Lion Man.
On my first reading of the novel I merely picked up the surface story, that, to tell the truth, I don’t find very interesting perhaps even implausible and ridiculous. On the second and third readings however the story behind the story, ERB’s psychological dilemma begins to emerge coloring the story with interest.
The story even begins to assume a certain beauty, a poetic shimmer, that takes form as you stare into it. I began to relate Untamed to other novels and stories, that seemed to me to be related and partake of the same dilemma. I don’t know that I can successfully relate them to Untamed but I’ll give it a shot.
For the last few years shifting around in the back of my mind have been the tales of E.T.A. Hoffman. Just a moment ago as I write this I finished another tale of the German romantics, a charming story that I recommend highly, Undine, by Friedrich de la Motte-Fouque. And finally although this may be difficult to see Fyodor Dostoievsky’s Crime and Punishment.
Untamed begins with the murder of Jane, Burroughs aspect of female sexuality, and Tarzan’s killing of the panther or his emasculated sexuality that manifests itself as a homosexual latency.
One then is led to believe that by killing sexual desire Tarzan or ERB believes that he has eliminated the troubling sexual ambivalence of his character. Yet, just a few pages on they flicker to life again in the character of the putative German spy Bertha Kircher. Tarzan first sees Kircher as a woman in the German camp so grasping at the obvious he assumes that she is a German spy. He doesn’t realize and we won’t be told until the end of the story that she is a double agent. In reality she is an English spy posing as a German spy. There’s a complexity there that eludes me at the moment.
She is thus introduced to Tarzan as a woman. The next time he sees her is as a man disguised as a British agent in the English camp. He doesn’t recognize her although he know he has seen him somewhere before. Thus the old sexual ambivalence resurfaces. In what seems to be your standard adventure story delicate psychological nuances begin to flicker around the action story like St. Elmo’s Fire. No matter what the surface story is about the secondary story is about something else.
La Motte Fouque in his Undine also addresses the problem of a man faced with a sexual dilemma that lies within. The path is clear for the hero, Huldbrand, it is only his own weakness that creates the problem for him. In Huldbrand’s case his decision is between two women amidst elemental forces of nature that contrast with the elemental human nature. Undine is a story of astonishing beauty that I can only slaughter in interpreting . I highly recommend you read it. For those deeply into fantasy you will find Undine as fantastic as anything you have ever read; for those into myth and fairytale it is a masterpiece of the kind. Anyone who reads around in this area will have heard it mentioned. I have known of the title for many years but recently in my researches into H.G. Wells it was mentioned that Undine was a favorite of his. I thought it necessary background so I added this gorgeous story to my memory stacks. I should have waited so long; it is a superb Anima-Animus story.
In the December 14th ERBzine George McWhorter provided a list of a few post-WWII books that ERB read. As ERB titles the list, a few of the books he has read, and the list is astonishingly long from a few one can only guess that ERB’s full list must have a couple hundred or more. As reading was a lifelong habit for him and if he consumed titles at that voracious pace then it is truly difficult to guess how many books he read from, say, 1888 to 1910 just before he began writing. Of course his potential list to select from before 1910 was much shorter than ours is today. Titles as obscure today as Undine were relatively well known then. I may be wrong but I pick up hints of Crime and Punishment in ERB’s corpus from time to time. Certainly by his WWII list he had crime on his mind.
We do know that the stories that disappeared into his capacious mind from the period before 1910 gestated for decades in the back of his mind finally finding expression thirty or forty years later. I’m thinking of George W.M. Reynold’s Mysteries Of The Court Of London that burst forth in the 1938 version of The Lad And The Lion. So while I can’t say for certain that ERB read these three authors there is a certain wistfulness and fairy tale quality to the story of Tarzan, Bertha Kircher and Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick that reminds one of the three authors that I have mixed up with Untamed.
So, a woman named Bertalda sends the knight Huldbrand into the elemental forest to prove his love for her. Thus Huldbrand goes to a destiny he never imagined. In the sense of C.G. Jung’s collective unconscious which as I interpret as a set of symbols common to the Western mind, Burroughs also sends Tarzan and his two sexual identities into the elemental jungles of Africa.
La Motte-Fouque invents the water spirit Kuhleborn to forward the action. The presence of so much water indicates that the action takes place in the subconscious of Huldbrand.
Water plays a very different role in Burroughs’ story. In his tale Tarzan braves a watered land to traverse eight very deep and steep ravines that become progressively drier until in the last he almost dies of thirst. As Burroughs’ story covers the four years in his life from late 1914 until mid-1919 one may assume that he had eight bouts of progressively severe depression the eighth and last occurring as he writes his story.
On the other side of the last canyon the well watered jungle begins again. Thus the main story of Tarzan, Bertha and Smith-Oldwick takes place on the edges of the forest and a meadow.
In La Motte-Fouque’s story the elements had set up the conflict from the beginning. As we are told Kuhleborn stole the baby Bertalda away from her parents in an apparent drowning. He then restored a child to the bereaved parents with the child Undine who was actually a water sprite. Bertalda was left by the side of the road where a noble couple found and adopted her. She is the lost daughter of the now aged couple of Undine’s adoptive parents to which Kuhleborn now leads Huldbrand.
Undine’s parents live on an isolated peninsula. As soon as the storm drives Huldbrand to the peninsula the elemental Kuhleborn in the form of a raging torrent turns the peninsula into an island from which there is no escaping. Huldbrand and Undine are thus thrown together. Elemental spirits have no souls. This notion would certainly have had great appeal for Burroughs for whom men without souls was a preoccupation. Undine can only acquire a soul, which she greatly longs for, from the love of a man who has one. She therefore in effect seduces Huldbrand. Kuhleborn disapproves but as to a point Undine’s magic is stronger than his he is reluctantly forced to accede on certain conditions.
A wandering priest is tossed up on shore by Kuhleborn who ties the knot for Undine and Huldbrand. They return to civilization and Berthalda where the conflict between a human woman with a soul and a water sprite without one puts Huldbrand to the test.
So Tarzan who is first associated with Bertha Kircher is once again presented with his emasculation conflict when Smith-Oldwick appears in the picture. The name Smith occurs in Burroughs’ work with some frequency while Old-wick may have sexual connotations unless I’m being too Freudian.
Before Smith-Oldwick does appear Tarzan has to cross the continent from East to West. His wish is to return to his father’s cabin, build an addition or two to make it more roomy and comfortable then settle in as a sort of gentleman farmer. Ah, to be so world weary. And yet that is what Burroughs is about to do.
In a rather remarkable episode Tarzan is crossing Africa when he comes upon Bertha Kircher out there somewhere. He takes her captive but for some unknown reason doesn’t relieve her of the pistol at her side. Even stranger he walks along in front of his captive. Bertha not slow to grasp an opportunity reaches up and lays the butt of her pistol alongside the back of the Big Fella’s head. There’s one bash in the head so far.
Bertha takes off for the railroad leaving Tarzan lying face down in the trail. As he lies Sheeta the panther comes upon him. This presents a sexual problem difficult of analysis. Does it mean that Tarzan is unaware of his attraction to Bertha or what? Tarzan is all but dead as Sheeta prepares to spring on him when who should appear but the Lion whose will Tarzan broke earlier in the story. Now totally devoted to his oppressor he kills Sheeta. Tarzan regains consciousness to find himself nose to nose with Numa. Reminds you of that horrid joke Hillman told a while back about the elephant. In this case it was the same lion.
So the Lion and Tarzan are united in spirit. Tarzan is not yet known as the Lion Man but he will be. In any event the Lion is a guardian spirit for him. In the second book after this one, perhaps reflecting this lion Tarzan will raise and tame the Golden Lion who will be his helpmate and guardian angel. I suspect that the lions Tarzan kills would have been tigers if someone hadn’t objected to the fact that there are no tigers in Africa. In some ways panthers are substitutes for the tiger.
Relieved to find that this lion is his lion Tarzan gets up giving the lion a pat and then trots off down the trail in search of Bertha. In a sort of hobo flashback Bertha finds the train line and hops a freight a few steps ahead of the White Ape. Tarzan misses the connection so we find him forsaking the middle terraces for a trudge down the tracks into town.
I don’t know how many people find these two sequences funny but I do.
Tarzan loses track of Bertha so he begins the long walk to Gabon. Here he has to traverse the eight deep canyons. These canyons have vertical walls while being very deep so that even for the Ape Man these thing become too difficult. Each crevasse gets drier and drier so Tarzan gets weaker and weaker being deprived of, as it were, the feminine water of life. By the time he hits the eighth canyon he is spent. I mean, he has had it. This may be as close to death as the Great Tarmangani has ever come.
He lays down in a manner that indicates he will never get up. The chapter is titled Blood Will Out. A little double entendre. A vulture descends to wait for his meal to die. Instead Tarzan grabs the vulture by the neck sinking his strong white teeth into it throat. Here’s the joke: Blood Will Out. Tarzan’s inherited greatness appears while the vulture’s blood saves his life. Tarzan sucks the vulture dry gaining liquid refreshment while eating the flesh. He now has just enough strength to climb out. He discovers he has crossed the desert and is now in a watered land.
One may assume then that Burroughs has fought off several bouts of severe depression from 1914 to 1919.
Back up on the surface he discover Bertha Kircher in the possession of a Black German trooper. At the same time Smith-Oldwick is flying on a reconnaissance mission when he develops engine trouble landing in a meadow. He whips out his monkey wrench, fixes the problem but before he can take off he is captured by the locals.
Thus he Tarzan and Bertha are brought together. So Tarzan having thought he had resolved his sexual hang-ups at the beginning of the book now learns he hasn’t. The old ambivalence returns in the persons of Bertha and Percy Smith-Oldwick.
In a series of interesting adventures the three Whites are brought together. Tarzan’s male figure falls in love with Bertha. The plane is relocated. An adventure with Usanga the Black German soldier intervenes that is not germane here. Tarzan’s intention is still to go off alone to his father’s cabin so he sees Smith-Oldwick and Bertha off as they begin the flight back to Kenya. Thus we have a second resolution to Burroughs’ sexual dilemma. He packs his sexual problems in a plane and flies them off higher above him than he is high above his daily cares in the trees. He is seen standing in a tree safely above it all watching the plane disappear into the distance. The plane is soaring very high over the tree tops when it takes a dive back to earth. Thus that dream of Burroughs’ getting rid of his ambivalence crashes.
Even this attempt to resolve his sexual dilemma is doomed to failure. He can’t abandon the two so he starts back into the desert from which he almost met his death. His sexual ambivalence has landed in the eighth and most desolate canyon. Undaunted Tarzan returns to near certain death to resolve his problem. The three are in an impossible situation from which it appears that there is no escape.
There he learns that a very unintelligent vulture had apparently mistaken the plane for a dead something. Descending on it the vulture became entangled in the propeller. Never one to lose a chance to bash someone/anyone on the head Burroughs has the bird break a piece of the propeller loose that bashes Smith-Oldwick in the forehead. The bashing definitely establishes Smith-Oldwick as Burroughs’ sexual alter-ego as he presumably now has the same scar on his forehead that both Burroughs and Tarzan sport.
The vulture is an ancient symbol of the mother. One can’t be too sure how aware Burroughs may have been of this but in the Jungian sense of the collective unconscious the symbol would have or may have suggested itself from the common fund. As a student of Africa Burroughs would certainly have had plenty of time to consider vultures especially as his idol Rider Haggard includes vultures in most of his African novels.
If Burroughs is using the vulture as a symbol for his mother that opens the interesting problem of what exactly his relationship to his mother was. First Tarzan strangles, drinks the blood and eats the flesh of the vulture, with perhaps a very sly joke of blood will out, and then the vulture attacks his sexual identity destroying any chance Burroughs may have had of successfully resolving the issue. I merely raise the point.
Having been bashed but not knocked unconscious Smith-Oldwick recovers in time to ease that airplane down. Tarzan arrives but there seems to be no hope of the three leaving the canyon alive.
At this point the residents of the lost civilization of Xuja capture them. Once again not germane to my point here after a series of very interesting hair raising adventures the trio is rescued by some British troops searching for Smith-Oldwick.
Burroughs and Tarzan still have to resolve the sexual dilemma.
The rescue officer advises Tarzan that Jane is not after all dead. This fact apparently resolves the problem for Tarzan. Bertha and Smith-Oldwick return to get married while Tarzan now psychically reunited with Jane returns to East Africa to begin the search for Pal-Ul-Don rather than returning to his father’s cabin.
We don’t know where this leaves Burroughs in August of 1919, more or less the anniversary of the beginning of the Great War in 1914, when he finished the book. We don’t know what his relations with Emma were except that possibly they had reached an accord psychologically.
The story began in Tarzan’s mythical Africa during the War. In the novel the story must take place in 1914-15 but in real life the war ended in November of 1918. This probably coincides with Tarzan drifting off from East Africa back West to Gabon. At the same time in real life Burroughs left Chicago in January 1919 moving West to Los Angeles.
So the village of Usanga in the middle of Africa must represent Chicago. The lost city of Xuja that is located in a desert valley watered by canals brought from a distance must represent the move to LA. So that Burroughs is recording his sexual dilemma and also the move from Chicago to LA against the background of the Great War. Pretty nifty footwork.
He and Emma must have been together as it is very difficult to believe he would have absented himself from her and Tarzana so that this long separation of Tarzan from Jane must represent a mental estrangement from Emma. Perhaps the strain of the move was more than she could bear.
In the next novel Tarzan The Terrible Tarzan makes the long trek to the lost land of Pal-Ul-Don in search of Jane. While the succeeding novel Tarzan And The Golden Lion opens with Jane, Jack and Tarzan returning from Pal-Ul-Don reunited again. At that time there is a distinct coolness between Tarzan and Jane. Whatever reconciliation took place between Emma and Burroughs it was less than satisfactory on Burroughs’ side.
In Golden Lion the two discover a lion cub on the trail that Tarzan takes home to raise as the Golden Lion. The Lion is always cool toward Jane while seeming to protect Tarzan from her. As soon as the lion is mature and trained Tarzan takes off to visit La at Opar. In this instance he and La come close to being a couple while the Golden Lion becomes a close male companion.
Thus Bertha and Smith-Oldwick have turned into La and the Golden Lion. Still unable to resolve his real life problem Burroughs ends Golden Lion by having Tarzan return to Jane. Burroughs has now resolved his emasculation problem by having the Golden Lion as Tarzan’s male buddy. As a beast he is not threat to Burroughs’ masculine identity. The Golden Lion remains Tarzan’s male pal throughout the remaining novels.
Now I have to return to Tarzan The Untamed. This is a very complex novel and I don’t know if I can do it justice.