The Last Days Of John Lennon
Review by R.E. Prindle
Green, John: Dakota Days: The True Story Of John Lennon’s Final Years, 1983, St. Martin’s
Haden-Guest, Anthony: The Last Party, Studio 54, Disco, And The Culture Of The Night,1997, William Morrow
Seaman, Frederic: The Last Days Of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir. 1991, Birch Lane
You know, someone once said
That the world’s a stage
And each must play a part.
Fate had me playin’ in love,
You as my sweetheart.
Act one was when we met,
I loved you at first glance,
You read your lines so cleverly
And never missed a cue.
Then came act two.
You seemed to change and acted strange,
And why, I’ll never know.
Honey, you lied when you said you loved me,
Now the stage is bare
And I’m standing here
With emptiness all around.
And if you don’t come back to me
Then make them bring the curtain down.
Are You Lonesome Tonight?
As Recited By Elvis Presley
The question here is what was Yoko’s attitude toward her conquest at the beginning of Act Two. Did she really fall in love with a relatively unsophisticated rube like John Lennon or were her motives more calculated. Yoko was a Japanese aristocrat which she never let John forget who could trace her ancestry back to the emperors of Japan. She came from major financial families on both sides. Her father had an illustrious diplomatic career while having artistic pretensions. She considered herself as one of the leading lights of the NYC avant garde. Although I haven’t seen it mentioned she acknowledged the authority of the reigning avant garde doyen, Marcel Du Champ who actually founded the NYC avant garde at the 1913 Armory Show. His greatest artistic feat was the display of an actual pissoir as an original work of art. Yoko followed his example of outre suggestions in her small volume Grapefruit. Andy Warhol to whom she was attracted can be considered a disciple of Du Champ. So, in one sense, she was in with the ultimate artistic in group. She then, had delusions of grandeur while probably looking down on and humouring, John Lennon.
She used this background to baffle the mind of Lennon. At the least Lennon was a very unsophisticated young man from what in America would be considered the boondocks. Bad enough that he grew up in a cultural but vital backwater but barely out of high school he and his band were immersed in the criminal underworld of Hamburg. They were at one point under the protection of the master criminal of Europe. This in some of your most impressionable years.
So, in comparison with Yoko Lennon felt insignificant. As he said Yoko had all these attributes while what did he have- nothing. Lennon had actually achieved the impossible but he had very low self-esteem. Like many musicians he longed for recognition but was terrified of actual success. Unlike some bands who can’t get beyond the rehearsal stage Lennon had the drive and ability to realize his stated goal, to be ‘the toppermost of the poppemost.’ He probably didn’t believe he’d ever make it but when that goal had been reached, in spades, he began to falter not believing his success was deserved. The first step in rejecting his role was the abandonment of touring. He then sank into a fairly severe depression not unlike that between 1975 and 1980. Whether he might then have scotched his role, his intent was aborted by the drive and ambition of partner Paul McCartney who having reached the toppermost of the poppermost intended to stay there, make a career of being no. 1 if possible. Any conflicts are secondary to Lennon’s feeling of unworthiness. That was the rock on which the Beatles broke.
It would have taken Yoko two seconds to analyze Lennon’s psychological state. That she exploited it is clear from Lennon’s abject servility that she cultivated and most likely induced.
In point of fact Lennon was everything while Yoko was nothing. Quite against his will he had made himself more of a spokesman for his generation than his cross-ocean rival, Bob Dylan. His social capital was enormous while his fortune, even being grossly mismanaged, was gigantic. He and the Beatles had created intellectual properties that extended 0ut over fifty years were worth billions. Yoko managed to finesse this enormous legacy of money and prestige.
How did she do it?
Quite simply she hypnotized Lennon. As Lennon complained to the Tarot reader, John Green, Yoko wanted to play the Count To Ten Game. Lennon lay his head in her lap while she stroked his hair and counted slowly back from ten to one. Classic hypnotism. The essence of hypnotism is the suggestion, more especially the post-hypnotic suggestion. This means that, while hypnotized it is suggested to the subject that he will perform certain acts at a later date after he has been awakened. Once the suggestion is in the subject’s mind he will act on the suggestion. Hypnotism would then explain the seemingly irrational acts of Lennon at the very least from 1973 to 1980 and probably before. May Pang describes how Yoko hypnotized her to take up with John while in all probability she hypnotized John to run off with May. Thus John’s reputation was compromised to some extent.
While Lennon was in LA Yoko was on the phone to him many times a day. Anyone who has seen the movie, The Manchurian Candidate, realizes the importance of post-hynotic trigger words. Thus Lennon’s peculiarly destructive and bizarre behavior in LA was probably programmed by Yoko to make him appear weird in comparison to her ‘stability.’
Thus when he and May Pang returned to New York Yoko made a phone call, John put down the phone, walked out of his and May’s apartment and returned to Yoko. According to May John said he was essentially made captive while being put through some horrible hypnotic indoctrination for a couple of days by ‘them.’ We don’t know who ‘they’ were except for Yoko but I’m guessing probably she and John Green or perhaps some other occult accomplices of which she had several.
This brings up another important side of Yoko. She was a devotee of black magic, or, perhaps, magick. She even recorded a song titled: Yes, I’m A Witch. Yoko had an extensive library of magical texts that she apparantly studied plus she was into all the great conspiracy theories as is evidenced on one of the multitude of Ono and Lennon sites on the web today. Imagine Peace for instance is a remarkable site.
At the basis of her magic was a return to the most primitive form of magical shamanism. She combined this magical shamanism with her Feminism to found an organization named One On One which is designed to aid female shamans of the Pacific Islands. Certainly a specialized foundation, one would think.
In 1974 just prior to John’s return Yoko hired John Green as her Tarot reader cum curioso. Green was an accomplished magician affiliated with the Santeria religion of the African Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. He was also familiar with the Caribbean magicians known as curanderas if female and curiosos if male.
When Yoko and John Green traveled to Colombia SA to barter with Satan for her soul it was necessary for Green to offer his curioso credentials to the curandera which he successfully did. Thus, to obtain her heart’s desire in 1977 Yoko sold her soul to the Devil, or believed she did which is the same thing.
The point is that Yoko was thoroughly immersed in hypnotism and magical practices. Put into practice we have the remarkable incident in John’s immigration hearings. To ensure success Yoko contacted a Black witch to provide assisstance. This witch was apparently well versed in the techniques of aromatherapy. She gave John a package folded in a recondite way that he was to unfold in court in a specified way. John concealing the folded paper in his lap did so. He said the courtroom filled with an unpleasant aroma. the judge asked what that smell was and ordered the windows opened. John repeated the act the next day after which, he says, the judge’s attitude softened toward him.
Thus, we have a pattern of Yoko resorting to magical means to gain her ends.
Now, let’s consider Lennon’s attachment to this rather eccentric woman. Contrary to Yoko’s assertion that she was just so darn cute John had to fall head over heels in love with her, the evidence is that he required a great deal of active persuasion. Yoko showed up unannounced at his door completely violating the sanctity of Cynthia’s home. At one point as John and Cynthia were leaving an event Yoko appeared and got into the car with John and Cynthia. At the time it was reported that Yoko sat between them but in her memoir, John, Cynthia says that Yoko entered first sitting on her left side. Yoko sat silently, mysteriously, exiting the car without a word. A hypnotic technique.
Yoko bombarded Lennon with cards and letters through the mails including one with the suggestion: Look at the sky, see a cloud, that cloud is me. In other words- Je suis partout. I surround you.
Thus when Cynthia was gone on vacation Yoko spent the night with John in Cynthia’s house once again violating the sanctity of her private space, displacing her as it were. Drugs were involved which would have made John more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. The fact that the duo recorded ‘Two Virgins’ at this session and John wasn’t revolted at her so-called singing proves he must have been hypnotized to me.
The fact that he was depressed, overwhelmed by his success, and unhappy in his marriage to Cynthia merely means that he was very susceptible. Perhaps the turning point in their relationship came with the death of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein just the Beatles were leaving for a Transcendental Meditation retreat in India.
Up to Epstein’s death the Beatles had had no responsibilities; Epstein had managed all business and monetary matters for them. Now, bereft of their management the Beatles were cast adrift on their own with disastrous or near disastrous consequences. In his personal desperation Lennon undoubtedly clung to Yoko Ono as his security blanket and surrogate mother. Yoko had obtained her goal, she had captured a Beatle and the Beatle’s reputation was nearly that of a secular saint; he was held in religious awe by the Beatles’ fans.
Yoko exploited her opportunity with brilliance. As I think, through hypnosis she had John make the attempt to insinuate her into the group as the Fifth Beatle. Not content with Two Virgins she intended to screech her way through a few Beatles’ side thus attributing their success to herself. Because of her friendship with the experimental composer, John Cage, she considered herself a better musician than the combined Beatles. She failed in her attempt to join the boys breaking up the band instead.
Nothing daunted she decided to exploit John with her astouonding avant garde performance art. Thus she organized the Bed-In events which were actually successes of sorts. From there she persuaded John to form the Plastic Ono Band to gain some musical credentials. Despite sensational packaging the record flopped.
At this point Yoko decided to return to New York City and reestablish her art connections. By this time, in my estimation, the avant garde was dead, killed by Andy Warhol and perhaps by diffusion into the general culture by groups like the Beatles.
At this point, I believe, John became a liability. Still Yoko was nothing without him. She wanted to connect up with Andy Warhol but her intro to Warhol was Lennon. Nevertheless John, Andy and Yoko did become fairly intimate.
Two years after her return she sent John away with May Pang. Act Two was well under way. Then eighteen months later she called him back again. I have to believe that from ’66 to ’75 John was under hypnotic influence. That’s about the only thing that explains his bizarre behavior then and certainly is the only thing that can explain his even more bizarre behavior in the five years leading up to his death.
It seems certain that at least upon Lennon’s return he was being regularly hypnotized by Yoko. As I mention with my ‘Look at the sky’ reference it is clear to me that Yoko was using hypnotic techniques and suggestion from ’66. Even the story of John climbing the ladder at the Indica Gallery to look through a magnifying glass to decipher the word ‘Yes’ can be construed as a technique of hypnosis or suggestion. Climbing the ladder is well know sexual symbolism.
Unless hypnotized it is difficult for me to understand how a man could emasculate himself so far as to turn his identity over to a woman of whom John Green, himself, advised Lennon to be suspicious. And Green who read Yoko’s Tarot hundreds of times over those five years would have been able to figure out what Yoko was thinking. She was unguarded.
Yoko’s first step in emasculating Lennon was to tell the media that he was withdrawing from the world to become a house husband. There were few men in the world who didn’t understand that to mean that Lennon had been deballed. This was also a Feminist revolutionary move to turn the Patriarchy back to the Matriarchy.
Having made Lennon ex-communicado the story of his withdrawal from life during this period into clinical depression was also released. From a careful reading of John Green and Fred Seaman this notion can be disrgarded. He may have been entering a period of what Dynamic Psychologists call a ‘creative illness’ but he wasn’t just brooding. He had to have a period to sort out the crowded years from 1958 to 1974 and deal with what must have been some very painful memories. Keeping the channel button on his remote depressed to let the channels flip thorugh continuously could be construe as an attempt to deal with multitudinous memories flashing through his mind.
While supposedly in this inert state, Warhol records in his diaries that Lennon while eating lunch at another table in a fashionable eatery came over to Warhol’s table surprising him by laying on the floor by his chair on his back with arms and legs simulating a puppy and panting with his tongue lolling out. Now, that is lack of self-esteem.
So his so-called depression was more an attempt to understand the past more than just depressive brooding. In fact he did get his life organized. While he claimed he was incapable of writing during this period as his muse had left him, which is to say he had writer’s block, by 1980 he had resolved his problems and was ready to go back to work. Personally I have to admire the guy for achieving this regeneration. He had a lot of fortune and misfortune to sort through while coming to terms with being a success he had never hoped to be.
Now, what was Yoko doing during these five years?
First, let’s keep track of the various revolutions subsumed under the Warhol umbrella. Andy was shot by Valerie Solonas in 1969 which effectively shut down Factory #1 although #2 was already in existence. The seventies were a dull period for Warhol as he recovered his lustre after actually having been declared dead. The homosexual nightlife was burgeoning however, while reaching a dfinitive point in 1977 when the nightclub Studio 54 was created by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. It was the serendipitous moment for the Homo Revos and Rubell and Schrager hit the groove as sharp as a knife. The criminal/revolutionary elements working out of Andy’s old Factory had found a new home. Andy had found a new home; he apparently haunted the place nearly every night of its existence. A real fixture.
There’s a very interesting book that was issued in 1997 by Anthony Haden-Guest titled: The Last Party, Studio 54, Disco And the Culture Of The Night. The book sank but left traces. A remainder copy, first edition, can be picked up new for a couple dollars on the internet. If you’re interested in this topic you should do it.
As an example of how vile these revolutionaries were conducting, say the sexual revolution, Haden-Guest tells an alarming story. Now, Studio 54 was in existence only eighteen months before the Feds loaded them into the vans. I’m sure Rubell and Schrader were not involved directly in this escapade but while Warhol at the Factory was using the Undermen as his foils in ’77 and ’78 some unnamed revolutionaries, perhaps Warhol among them, set out to corrupt the WASP students at prep schools. This must have been on the drawing boards for some time waiting for the opportunity because there wasn’t much time to act. The students were fourteen, fifteen and sixteen year olds. Lists of students were compiled and approached. Haden-Guest says likely subjects were pointed out by ‘moles’ in the schools. We all know what moles are from spy novels so already having moles in the schools shows some advanced planning. What they were doing while waiting for opportunity is a question worth pursuing.
Now, these decidedly underage kids were enticed to the come to Studio 54, bussed to it, where they were given free admittance as bait to entice other underage children. At Studio 54 they were systematically debauched with free drinks and free drugs. The perves then were delivered young boys and girls drunk or on drugs to seduce which was done.
Many if not most of these kids beca,e drunks and debased drug addicts, heroin and what all. Haden-Guest draws an astonishing picture. While Haden-Guest doesn’t say Warhol was one behind this plan to debauch the most priviliged of Young America he leaves room for conjecture. So, things were getting rough in this toughest of American cities.
Yoko had set her cap for Warhol. She cultivated his acquaintance with Lennon as celebrity bait. She befriended his associate Sam Green who was an art dealer and procurer of desirable legal or illegal items for those with the money. In 1977, for instance, he was able to procure tickets to the Carter inauguration for himself, John and Yoko. Sam Green’s associate Bart Gorin also delivered Yoko’s heroin to her. This is interesting.
Anthony Haden-Guest in his The Last Party says in his coded way that a major heroin dealer lived in a gothic apartment house on Central Park West, that would be the Dakota. He calls the dealer The Elfin Queen, that’s a small eccentric woman. I don’t know how many small eccentric women lived at the Dakota but the specifics do describe Yoko Ono. The Elfin Queen was also a denizen of Nightworld which would seem to narrow things further.
Yoko in the late seventies was a heroin addict which is an additional point. She had her paper delivered daily by Sam Green’s assistant Bart Gorin. That means that Sam Green was holding. It is also clear that Yoko only held her daily dose so she was smart enough to have no evidence around. If this is true there had to be contact with an underworld wholesaler. Whether that was Sam Green or another buffer to distance themselves or not isn’t known. It is beyond dispute however that Sam Green was the supplier for Yoko.
I find little evidence that Yoko was a financial genius who went from John’s current income to 25 million in three years with the usual figure of 150 million being mentioned. There might have been some sub-rosa dealing.
It is also true that Sam Green was active as an agent obtaining items for Yoko’s various art collection. He was undoubtedly her gigilo, there being hope for him to replace Lennon after he was shot in 1980.
Sam Green and John Green were both known to each other while there is some speculation that the Greens collaborated to overcharge Yoko for items. It may be true but whatever she overpaid was insignficant as in the seventies the prices of all collectibles just sky rocketed. The 70s was the decade of the collector.
In ’77 Yoko met Sam Havadtoy while on one of her shopping expeditions who became a fast friend while actually replacing Lennon on the day of his death.
Now, during John’s absence in ’74 Yoko had tested the waters for her solo screeching and found the temperature tepid. She still needed John for his reputation as well as his money. John had her on the short leash of 300 K during his absence which Yoko found irksome. She now set out to gain control of John’s entire fortune and income. She secured a Power of Attorney and the legal assumption of his entire identity so that she acted not only in his name but as himself. I can’t believe Lennon would agree to this, which isn’t to say he didn’t, but I find it more likely he was following a post-hypnotic suggestion. Now in control of his money and having assumed his identity as well as her own Yoko had little use for him. As Seaman records during ’79 and ’80 she sent him out to Long Island for long stretches of time and then on a dangerous sea voyage to the Bahamas that almost claimed his life which would have been very fortuitous for Yoko. John stayed in the Bahamas several months.
It was there his writer’s block unblocked or, as he might express it, his muse returned and he was able to begin writing again. Thus, perhaps to Yoko’s surprise, he returned to NYC with a packet of new songs ready to go back into the studio. Here the plot thickens.
Yoko had John out of the Dakota for much of 1980. During that time her relations with both Sam Green and Sam Havadtoy intensified, so there was a reason John was sent away. That he was so complaisant to her wishes is truly amazing unless he was controlled through post-hypnotic suggestion. When John came back from the Bahamas he went into the studio. At this point Yoko and he were inseparable. She insisted on alternating songs on the LP- one of his, one of hers. There was a giveaway there. One of John’s songs was I’m Losing You followed by Yoko’s I’m Moving On.
A reading of Seaman’s memoir shows a Yoko who was inconsiderately entertaining both Sams in a closed room at the studio not only in front of John but the whole band. It seems clear that that the two song titles were more than relevant.
Now, by this time Yoko had all the money in her control and possibly in her name and this was legally irrevocable although John could revoke future use of his identity and cancel the POA and possibly regain control of his royalties unless Yoko had also assigned those to herself. So the day she ‘moved on’ John would be effectively penniless. If you thought Colonel Parker was the manager from hell Yoko was the topper. She literally was from hell as she had sold her soul to Satan.
There remained the matter of popularity. It seems clear that Yoko thought she had created a mega chart buster, not John. She sincerely thought that the success of the record would depend on her contributions, but the record sold well on the basis of Lennon’s reputation alone. This was a setback for Yoko necessitating a change in procedures.
In any event Lennon was assassinated by a ‘lone nut’ on December 8, 1980. John lost Yoko and she moved on.
The case against Mark Chapman, the man who shot Lennon, would seem to have been open and shut. Several witnesses saw him shoot Lennon while he quietly laid the gun down and quietly assumed responsibility, never denying it. Attorney’s wanted to plead insanity but Chapman refused. As often happens in ‘lone nut’ assassinations many found the fact inconclusive. And, indeed, there are reasons to believe that Mark Chapman was just a tool, a pawn in someone’s game. The question has been, who? Many people believe Chapman was a Manchurian Candidate hypnotized to commit the murder. The Manchurian Candidate is a book and movie in which a former American soldier ws given a post-hypnotic code word that activated certain instructions. The question once again was, who? Some suggested the government. There is no clear solution so one can’t rule a Fed hit out but the Ono-Lennon’s quarrel was with the Nixon White House. The Carter administration was then in office while John and Yoko had wrangled tickets to Carter’s inauguration. I don’t think the Carter administration probable.
There is also a sizeable group who believe Yoko herself was involved. The idea involves more of a how than the government accusation. What seems clear to doubters is that Chapman seemed to act programmed rather then autonomous. Before I tackle a probable how let’s review Yoko’s situation before and after the assassination. There seems to be an incongruous continuity.
Lennon had been away from the Dakota for much of 1980 returning from the Bahamas mid-year to go into the recording studio. We know that a close associate of Yoko, Sam Green, was at the very least a conduit for Yoko’s heroin. Heroin may account for his presence in the Studio and Yoko’s need for a private room.
She also became close to Sam Havadtoy, another art dealer, who has the appearance of an enforcer. Indeed, he moved into the Dakota the day John died where he remained for twenty years. Shortly after John’s death Havadtoy sent for two Hungarian ‘cooks’ from then Soviet ruled Hungary. Why Yoko would need two cooks isn’t clear so let us assume that the two were bodyguards or assistant enforcers.
The peaceable Yoko turned violent after John’s death. As Fred Seaman records she had a couple of thugs beat him in the attempt to force him to give up John’s diaries. I would think that peaceable attempts to recover the diaries would have worked just as well on Seaman.
Yoko had wanted to connect up with Andy Warhol since about 1965. On her return to NYC in 1971 she cultivated Warhol assiduously but John was in the way and for various reasons she couldn’t just divorce him. I am convinced her only iinterest in him had been for monetary and publicity reasons.
Three months after John’s death she offered herself to Andy Warhol. Warhol’s diary entry for Friday, March 20, 1981, three months after the murder reads:
We had to do our Rex Smith interview, Bob (Colacello) and I, so I decided it was easier to stay uptown because it was going to be at Quo Vadis. We fell in love with him. He had the curly Vitas Gerulaitis look but better looking.
And then we heard a voice say, “Andy!” It was Yoko Ono. We were so stunned. She looked so elegant, like the Duchess of Windsor with her hair back and dark wraparound glasses, and beautiful makeup and Fendi furs and jewelry- an emerald ring with a big ruby in it and Elso Peritte diamond earrings. So I said that I wanted to call her for lunch and so she gave me her phone number. It was really strange, a whole new Yoko.
And all Andy had to do to unify the whole avant garde was to climb that ladder, take the magnifying glass and read out loud one little word- YES. Some little time later when he thought he might need a woman who could accompany him to parties he did think of Yoko but then nixed the idea. He’d already been shot once.
So, not only was there no period of mourning for Yoko but three months after she in effect proposed to the man who she thought of as her dream husband.
So that is Yoko’s situation in the period on both sides of John’s death. His was a convenient murder releasing Yoko to attempt to gratify her secret ambitions.
Let us assume that Yoko programmed or had Chapman programmed. Yoko was connected to a number of magical networks that could have located Chapman as a perpetrator. John Green was a Santeria priest and curioso. Santeria was functioning all up and down the East Coast and especially in Atlanta where Chapman was from and which he visited before the shooting. Plus the religion is dispersed around.
‘Magic’ had been employed to help John’s immigration problem, apparently provided by a Black witch from Chicago. Chapman stopped over in Chicago on one of his trips to NYC to dispose of a painting. Yoko was Japanese, her numerologist was Japanese and Gloria Abe, Chapman’s new wife was Japanese. Yoko’s One On One Foundation was involved with female Shamanistic magicians from the Pacific Islands that might have included Hawaii so, shall we say, he was mentally unstable which is an aid in hypnotism?
Thus there are ways Chapman could have been recruited and having been recruited and brought under mind control so that a telephone call from anywhere in the world could have been used to utter the trigger word. And then there is the question of where the money came from for Chapman’s frequent air flights especially his flight around the world with several layovers. He had in excess of two thousand dollars on him at the time of his arrest.
None of this is conclusive, of course, there is always the chance that Chapman was a ‘lone nut.’ These things do happen. On the other hand someone who had provided for herself so well and was so prepared to weather the shock must be equally rare. Those things happen too.
As Seaman notes, he was more grief stricken than Yoko. And at the same time Yoko had sold her soul to Satan to obtain desires that were never revealed. The astonishing coincidence is the Satanic stuff took place not only in the Dakota of Rosemary’s Baby but on the same floor and in some of the same rooms. An early candidate for the mother of Satan’s baby threw herself from the seventh floor window landing on nearly the spot where Lennon was shot. Very eerie, almost Rosemary’s Baby II.
The Last Days Of John Lennon
Review by R.E. Prindle
How The Fifties Became The Sixties
The sixties seem to have erupted by some process of autogenesis. They seem to be a decade unrelated to the fifties but nothing could be further from the truth. The sixties were very carefully structured in the fifties, that supposedly somnolent decade. The fifties themselves evolved from the fantasy notion of The United States Of America- the American Dream. In truth there had never been a united America and an American Dream only in the mind of certain immigrants who believed they had reached the Promised Land of their dreams. The country has always been one of conflict with conflicting peoples. There was no mythological age as in distant times so no mythopoeic era preceded the scientific one. America was born in science.
The warfare against the aboriginal peoples to clear the land for the European invaders created the first layer of conflict. The second layer of conflict was the importation of Africans as slave labor. This created a second irreconcilable conflict that erupted in 1954 when the Black revolution began in earnest and began to accelerate in the sixties. This was what Eric Foner described as America’s unfinished revolution in his writings.
Each succeeding group of immigrants created its own friction but assimilation did go on with most peoples. In the fifties the sort of ethnic identities in song and humor that makes the talkies of the thirties now seem quaint was coun
teracted. While visibly subdued ethnicism simmered below the surface until the sixties when it burst out again in a new form and triumphed.
I am unable to tell the education received in schools of the twenties and thirties but by the time I was in high school from 1953-56 the whole concept of revolutiuon was romanticized and this continued through my college years in the sixties. It was iterated over and over again that revolution was an absolute virtue. To be revolutionary was to be a person in full. Kids in the walls ran around saying are you revolutionary, I’m revolutionary. Thus they embraced any idea that was the opposite of the status quo. This notion of revolution was combined with the notion of the absolute virtue of being an American. This would result in Kennedy’s idiotic Peace Corps begun in the sixties. Raw American youths were supposed to be able to tell the less favored peoples how to run their lives. The war in Europe was treated as a crusade against Germans, a war of absolute black and white, no shades of grey. I truly believed that no American in either the European or Pacific war ever committed an act of wanton brutality no matter what the provocation. I would have dismissed out of hand that as a matter of policy millions of Germans were exposed to Winter weather in the years following the war unprotected while being denied any kind of nourishment and, yet, it was so. In subsequent years this would have been described as ‘American’ brutality while in fact it was instigated by revolutionary American Jews seeking vengeance. Americanism was not involved.
At the same time the new medium of television exposed us to unprecedented doses of propaganda disguised as the truth, doses far in excess of anything the hated Nazis devised. Chief among those TV shows was a cartoon called Crusader Rabbit. Now, Crusader Rabbit in reality is a vigilante dispensing vigilante justice. He acted on his own ‘righting’ what he perceived as wrongs. Of course those of us who read comic books in the late forties had already been exposed to vigilantism in the form of comic book heroes like the Blackhawks. Or, for that matter Batman and Robin and Superman among many others, Plastic Man. I sort of thought of myself as Plastic Man.
So this whole age cadre was stoked up on revolution and vigilantism with no venues to express it. The sixties then was a god send as the existing revolutions- the Undermen, the Jews, the Blacks, the Homosexuals, the Feminists, the Communists had merely to whisper the word REVOLUTION to get a positive response for their ideologies. The generation was primed for revolution of any sort- a revolution in bubble gum for instance.
Thus at Berkeley in ’64’s so-called Free Speech Movement you had the spectacle of the most advantaged members of the generation participating in what was a part of the Jewish Revolution in the guise of voluntary Undermen.
Thus as the sixties dawned the way was cleared of any resistance to revolutionary schemes as hordes of self-righteous vigilantes confident that their perception and judgment was received from god himself began to act on their assumptions taken from their misguided elders.
The center of this maelstrom in the sixties was New York City. The Bohemian life style stewing in Lower Manhattan since the Armory Show of 1913 was about to conquer the mind of the country. Perhaps the leader of the sixties Bohos was Andy Warhol. Certainly with a kind of genius he made himself the center of the storm.
This most influential Bohemian attitude toward life was both stratified and diverse. The first out of the box were the uptown Beats. These men seized the attention of the country in the mid-fifties when Allen Ginsberg, a leader of the Jewish, Homosexual and Underman revolutions, gained prominence with his so-called poem, Howl. He then dragged Jack Kerouac through with his On The Road and William S. Burroughs with his Naked Lunch. All three works have been incredibly influential in creating a new Underclass of Undermen, in thought if not in fact.
The Beats hung out in upper Manhattan around Kerouac’s alma mater, Columbia, although Ginsberg gravitated downtown in an effort to pair up with the Beat musical epigone, Bob Dylan. As Ginsberg represented four revolutions it could be said of him- Il est partout, a very important if disgusting figure. Burroughs also gravitated to lower Manhattan before departing for the corn fields of Kansas.
The well-to-do or rich Bohos, to which John and Yoko would belong, sometimes known as Cafe Society, were the upper crust of Bohemia. And then there was the middle Bohemia and it Lower Depths.
Running through all was the old avant garde which excluded the Beats who were not avant garde.
Warhol, John Cage, La Monte Young and a host of artists and writers including Yoko Ono were part of the old garde. Yoko dragged Lennon in but he was not constitutionally avant garde and probably not even a real Boho. Fred Seaman seems to have had no affinity for Bohemia or revolution.
As the sixties dawned Lennon coming from then obscure Liverpool was of the lower middle class but of the English art school background. He spent a couple years in the German underworld before skyrocketing to super world fame with the Beatles so that while he and the Beatles were instrumental in forming the sixties and subsuming the avant garde they were not actually of it. Thus when Lennon came to earth around 1970 he was virtually a Rip Van Winkle who had slept through the decade. The new reolutionary world he and Yoko entered in New York could have been barely understood by them. It wasn’t even really understood by those in the thick of it. Dylan’s ‘Something’s happening here but you don’t know what it is do you Mr. Jones’ could have applied to himself and everyone else.
Yoko Ono was a committed Feminist and key member of that revolution. In a world of eccentric and unusual characters she was a standout. Her career as an avant gardist began as a ‘performance artist’. Essentially a stunt man. Back in the twenties and thirties would be celebrities used their bodies to gain fame performing stunts. One going by the name of The Mighty Atom attached ropes to his hair holding back an airplane. This is essentially what Yoko was doing as a ‘performance artist.’ Her ‘Cut Piece’ urged viewers to come up on stage and cut away a piece of her clothing. She and Tony Cox crawling into a black bag? Whew!
But she was thereby connected to the avant garde. She knew John Cage, Andy Warhol, Sam Green and the lot as early as 1960. The friendships remained enduring as she maintained them throughout the seventies and eighties.
As a performing artist Yoko was a sort of chameleon forming her art to suit the circumstances. Having once captured John Lennon she first became a peacenik as peace was the prevailing notion- love and peace- returning to New York amid the wreckage of the peace, love and happiness bit she got up from her bed of peace and strapped a fully loaded bandolier of bullets around her hips and became a sullen revolutionary a la Bernardine Dorhn. It all art and art is holy, isn’t it?
The Ono-Lennon’s very serious looking revolutionary activities quite naturally brought the Heat down on them. It should be clear that these were not lightweight posturings but she and John were financing the disruption of the Republican National Convention forcing a move of the site from San Diego to Miami. There is small wonder the elected Nixon administration sought to deport them. Neither John nor Yoko were American citizens but essentially part of an international conspiracy, she being a Japanese and he an English national. Thus in addition to being a leader in the Feminist and Sexual revolutions she lent herself to the Judaeo-Communist revolution. Nearly all her revolutionary associates were of the Jewish revolution. Plus John essentially represented the Undermen. Thus Fred Seaman was employed by not only a celebrity household but a notorious one. Nor was Fred an American but a German national. No Americans involved.
Warhol And Bob Dylan
Down below the subway’s screamin’
As I lay here halfway dreamin’
And face the long evenin’
Layin’ close beside my radio
Imaginin’ the kisses of the girl who sings the song
Lookin’ at the ceiling
Wonderin’ where the dream went wrong.
Last Morning- Shel Silverstein
As sung by Ray Sawyer and Dr. Hook.
New York City was indeed a tough cold city. It was enough to make you crazy as you ‘fought the crowds, avoided the traffic and watched the world turn grey.’ Coming from Pittsburgh Andy Warhol had no trouble with the skies turning grey, he was used to much worse. For Dylan coming from Hibbing, Minnesota way, way out on the edge of civilization the change must have been traumatic. Both men, however, were uniquely equipped to succeed in such a tough environment although it turned both crazy, cruel and mean. Both became paragons of the revolutions.
Warhol, the older of the two, forged the revolution of the Undermen and the Homosexuals while acquiring great wealth. Dylan, too, made his appeal to the undermen (the confused, abused, strung out ones and worse) basing his career on the misfits and malcontents. At the same time he was a key player in fundamental Jewish revolution. Both men affected innocent harmless personas so as to deflect attention from what they were really up to. As both had complementary strategies it is quite possible that each saw through the other. Warhol certainly saw through Dylan but I’m not sure if the reverse was true. Both were heavily into drugs which altered their perceptions.
Warhol preceded Dylan on the scene by a decade arriving in NYC in 1950. His homosexual agenda was clear to him from the start even if its implementation wasn’t. He was immediately successful upon his arrival easily gaining entry into the commerical art field. Dylan too would have no trouble gaining both entry and prominence within a year, phenomenal success in two and preeminence in three.
Warhol commanded a large perhaps even great income within a matter of four or five years. He spent madly but invested wisely.
He was always interested in mass production techniques where the original was merely a prototype like a car model. His original drawings were mass replicated by the newspaper ads. Amazingly, new in New York, he sent a letter to CBS asking if he could design record covers and received assignments by return mail. While his record covers are not among his best known works he did design at least fifty while perhaps more remain to be discovered. While his designs were for very low selling jazz and classical records they are obviously the work of a homosexual or, as they are described- fey.
Thus they advance the Homosexual revolution. True, they are tiny drops but by the time he designed the Sticky Fingers cover for the Rolling Stones his design, it can be confidently asserted, was seen by every single member of two generations while selling in the millions. The title and cover are an ode to masturbation, one of the favorite thems of both the Homosexual and Sexual revolutions. The illustration was of a male crotch clothed in blue jeans with a workable zipper. It was a retailing nightmare but effective in sexually conditioning the minds of his audience. The zipper was irresistible to record fans who broke the plastic on every single cover making them nearly unsaleable. Success actually unimaginable to Warhol in 1950.
In addition Warhol designed ‘fey’ book covers, frequently for homosexually oriented titles thus adding a few additional drops, pushing toward 9cc. Andy had his sticky fingers in everywhere- stationery, wrapping paper…all with his fey designs.
While he gained great success as a commercial artist he had his eye on the fine arts; about 1960 he made his move into ‘serious’ art- painting. He called his style Pop Art. Pop Art had its antecedents in the fifties of which Warhol would have been aware. Here are a couple examples by Ray Johnson from the mid-fifties. Johnson is described as proto-Pop.
Having made his splash in Pop Art, becoming a major celebrity, Warhol was ready to move into his next phase in the subversion of art and society. In 1964 he established his famous atelier known as the Factory. There he continued his paintings while beginning an influential if unremunerative secondary career as a film auteur.
There seem to be revolutionary motives in the founding of the Factory. Warhol gathered about him a collection of the Undermen. These were all Homosexuals, druggies, hustlers and prostitutes.
There is an interesting passage in the Weathermen founder’s autobiography Fugitive Days where the author, Bill Ayers, says:
…the most interesting alliance to me was struck in the first months underground, and it was with a kind of eccentric shadowy group that would become fast and reliable friends for decades to come.
The group was without a name, contained hundreds of members in half a dozen cities, and was organized by a charismatic leader and psychologist who called himself Kaz. They were all former heroin addicts, former beatniks, former hustlers, and prostitutes, five, ten, twenty years older than us, now living in luxury and working downtown but thinking of themselves primarily as deep, deep underground, a kind of fifth column waiting patiently for the revolution.
What Ayers appears to be describing is the Haut Boheme Cafe Society of New York. Now, Warhol with the Factory created a place where all Bohemia, high and low, could gather under the reasonable pretext of partying which is what happened. Many attendees would be innocents of course providing even better cover for the revos. To get some idea of what the scene was like review the lyrics to Shel Silverstein’s Freakin’ At The Freakers Ball appended. Silverstein seems to be describing the Factory exactly.
The police had the Factory under surveillance as well as one supposes, the FBI. The deep underground wasn’t deep enough to conceal these characters. The Factory would be forced out by ’68 giving it a four year run. Bereft of a gathering place Bohemia would have to wait until 1977 for another when Rubell and Schrager put together Studio 54. 54 was better than the Factory because attendance could be monitored allowing only the Haut Boheme and other chosen in; the undesirables could be left out. 54 was run in contempt of all existing laws and moral codes. Suspicious from the beginning it took the Feds only eighteen months to shut it down. Like The Factory however Studio 54 had its revolutionary effect especially along sexual lines- unisex toilets for instance.
The multi-talented Warhol, a perfect Prince of Bohemia added authorship to his achievements with his novel ‘a’ while moving into publishing in the seventies when he established the successful magazine Interview.
He added several notable record covers, while forming in ’66 the immensely influential Exploding Plastic Inevitable centered around ‘his’ rock band The Velvet Underground.
So, in promoting several different revolutions- the Undermen, the drug culture, the so-called sexual revolution and undoubtedly many others Warhol was one of the most successful and important revolutionary figures of the decade.
Along the way he formed a close relationship with the Feminist revolutionary, the Japanese citizen, Yoko Ono. As a bona fide member of the avant garde she tried to enter Warhol’s entourage before she left for England in ’66. However at the time she was outspokenly antipathetic to homosexuality which probably necessitated her retreating to London to think things over before returning in 1971.
She returned in grand style leading the founder of the Beatles, John Lennon, as though by a rope around the neck. She and Lennon immediately threw themselves into the revolutionary movement associating themselves with various members of the Jewish revolution. they apparently gave large sums of money while lending their personas and prestige to raise much larger sums. It was the fear of their popularity being used to rouse young Americans in this first election in which eighteen year olds could participate that put him under surveillance, quite justifiably so, by the FBI and the Nixon White House. Thus for the next several years they were harassed by deportation threats as undesirable aliens.
Having achieved her goal of reentry into New York avant garde society even becoming an intimate of Andy Warhol Yoko lost interest in Lennon. The two split up for eighteen months or so from 1973 to 1975 then reuniting. Yoko had employed her Tarot reader John Green in 1974 while Fred Seaman was added to the entourage as Lennon’s personal assistant in 1979.
While the memoirs of Green and Seaman have been disparaged by the faithful I see little reason to do so on an objective basis although Yoko Ono may find them offensive for personal reasons.
Part III follows
Freakin’ At The Freaker’s Ball
As Performed By Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Well, there’s gonna be a freaker’s ball
Tonight at the Freaker’s Hall
And you know you’re invited one and all.
Come on Babys grease your lips
And don’t forget to bring your whips
We’re goin’ to the Freaker’s Ball.
Blow your whistle and bang your gong
Roll up something to take along
It feels so good it must be wrong
We’re freakin’ at the freaker’s ball.
Well, all the fags and dykes they’re boogie’n together
The leather freaks dressed in all kinds of leather
The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too
Screamin’ please hit me and I’ll hit you
The FBI dancin’ with the junkies
All the straights swingin’ with the funkies
Across the floor and up the wall
We’re freakin’ at the freaker’s ball y’all
We’re freakin’ at the freaker’s ball.
Everybody’s kissing each other
Brother with sister, son with mother
Smear my body up with butter
And take me to the freaker’s ball.
Pass that roach please and pour the wine
I’ll kiss yours if you kiss mine
I’m gonna boogie ’til I’m cold blind
Freakin’ at the freaker’s ball.
White ones, black ones, yellow ones, red ones
Necrophiliacs lookin’ for dead ones
The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too
Screamin’ please hit me and I’ll hit you.
Everybody ballin’ in batches
Pyromaniacs strikin’ matches
Freakin’ at the freaker’s ball, y’all
We’re freakin’ at the freaker’s ball.
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#14 Tarzan The Invincible
Part VI of X
Inside The Gates Of Opar
Life is just too short for some folks,
For other folks it just drags on.
Some folks like the taste of smokey whiskey
Others think that tea’s too strong.
Me, I’m the kind of guy who likes to ride the middle
I don’t like this bouncing back and forth.
Me, I want to live with my feet in Dixie
And my head in the cool blue North.
–Jesse Winchester: Nothing But A Breeze
And now we come to the heart of Edgar Rice Burroughs. One reason he is literarily disdained is that the story is not the story. Porges, p.524:
As the story progresses the perceived theme of a worldwide conspiracy is abruptly abandoned. Burroughs in his contempt for the communists refuses to allow them to be sincere even in their Marxist goals.
This is not true. Porges has misconceived the story. To quote the sixties Jewish revolutionary Mark Rudd: The issue is not the issue. By that Rudd meant that the Jews had created a diversion to mask the true issue which was the establishment of the Jewish culture as top culture or dictator in this multi-cultural world.
Burroughs intent is exactly the same as regards Tarzan. True, Burroughs has contempt for Communism but that is merely a frame story and a side issue. The true issue is that Tarzan’s authority as guardian of Africa is being challenged on the spot. The duel is between himself and Sveri mano a mano. He discredits the collectivity through the individuals. Thus at novel’s end Tarzan sits in state as Guardian or Emperor disposing the fates, godlike, of the remaining conspiritors. Magnanimously he allow Paul Ivitch (Paulevitch) to be escorted out of Africa rather than be thrown on his own resources that would have resulted in his certain death.
The issue within the issue, as always, is Burroughs attempt to resolve his psychological difficulties. Thus one has the Colt-Drinov combination, possibly reprsenting ERB and Emma, an episode within Opar of Nao who may represent Florence releasing him from the prison of his marriage to Emma, and Colt-La, the Anima and Animus problem. Tarzan and Colt change partners so that La nurses Colt and Tarzan nurses Zora. But to that in the next section.
While one expects a pure shoot out with the Communists, Tarzan is not going to defeat them by direct action but by a terrorist campaign of which Tarzan is the jungle master.
To compound the problem Burroughs confuses realism with dreamwork. This is not a realistic novel but a dream fantasy. It was said that Burroughs wrote out his dreams which has a basis in fact. The scenarios may have originated in his sleeping dreams but then he modifies them in day dream style while consciously molding the story for political and commercial purposes. A writer does need readers.
To give a basis for comparison for the dreamwork I’m going to play Freud here and offer up a dream of my own; it is similar to Burroughs’ in many way. Since integrating my personality I don’t have wonderful dreams like this anymore. As Jung correctly surmised when one integrates the conscious and sub-conscious minds memory destroys the symbolic basis of your dreams. I can analyze the common place dreams I have now even as I dream them. Something is lost, something is gained, but it might be of lesser value. I think I like the mysterious flavor of the smokey whiskey even though the water I have to drink now is better for me.
In my dream I began on the edge of a vast desert dotted with a few oases while far off in the distance twenty years away, rather than miles, away in the the distance a great white shining mountain arose. The distances were so vast they were measured not in miles but years. Indeed, the years of my life. I had to traverse the vast desert reaches between the oases. Each oasis merely refreshed me for the next perilous journey. Having traversed the years I came to the great white shining mountain. One might compare it to the tor containing the treasure vaults of Opar out on its desert. These are symbols common to multitudes.
I then came to the white shining mountain which might compare to the city of Opar. Censorship prevented me from climbing the mountain at that time. In other words in the control of my subconscious, consciousness was denied me. I approached the mountain from the back where I noticed a trickle of water leading into and down the mountain. I tried to drink the water but as it ran through a pure salt bed it was too salty. Unlike Burroughs who was in the pits of darkness I was always bathed in a clear light which came from nowhere.
I followed the little stream down the subterranean path into the mountain. Thus I had all land and no water, a barren psychological situation. Following the cave down I came to a series of gates made entirely of steel. I hesitated to go forward but there was no going back. I was impelled into one of the gates which turned into a chute that spilled me out onto a steel floor where unseen hands seized me pushing me into a steel room as the steel door slammed shut. Like Tarzan beneath Opar I was a prisoner with no seeming way out.
As I looked around I realized that this was a laundry room. All steel, of course. While I had no food I now had sinks full of water. My situation had been reversed from all land to all water, from the pure masculine to almost pure feminine. Where before I was barren now I was spilling over with wisdom. I knew I had to get out of there reasonably soon or I would starve to death. There was impenetrable steel all around. But I had plenty of water. Too much water. Looking around I spotted ventilation ducts along the ceiling. I conceived the notion that I could drink lots of water then urinate in the ducts which would create a foul odor that would be distributed throughout the rooms above. They would search for the source of the odor thus opening the door of my prison.
The ducts were difficult to reach but I was able to urinate in them. As I expected voices came down the duct asking ‘What is that smell?’. The door to my prison opened inward so I stood to the side that opened waiting. Sure enough a couple maintenance men flung the door open bursting into the room. I slipped out the door behind them unnoticed.
I now descended still further until I came to a bank of elevators. One door was open for which I made a rush. The elevator was packed with boys I knew from high school. With doubled fists they pushed me back refusing to allow me in the elevator with them. Mocking me as the doors closed I was left alone way down there.
There was a flight of stairs but censorship prevented my using them. I waited in vain for another elevator. As with dreams I next found myself at the back of the mountain but the path into the mountain had disappeared so I now had to climb The Great White Shining Mountain.
If, like Burroughs, I were writing a story I would provide a plausible story line for my escape but I’m not. I’m merely transcribing a dream.
The reason the mountain shone was because it was covered by snow several hundreds of feet, possibly thousands, thick. As previously the water in the stream was too salty to drink now it was frozen. The sun shone brightly, not only brightly, but brilliantly, as I began my climb. I had left the subconscious for the conscious as I strove for the light. The climb was long from the back of the brain to the forebrain but not tiring. Apart from the barrenness of the snow I was enjoying myself. Would it be too offensive a pun if I said I enjoyed being high? After a long climb I came to a precipice past which I could go no further. Nor could I go back.
As I studied my position I looked down this sheer precipice to the desert thousands of feet below. There was snow all the way to the desert floor. Down there, way down there, I could see the tiny ant-like people in the barren sands doing obeisance to the moutain which they apparently treated as a god.
Looking down the sheer face of snow I could dimly perceive the outlines of a great face carved in the snow. This god, then, retained all the water behind his visage that could make the desert bloom. Just as I had used water to escape the prison of my subconscious I conceived the notion that I could release the water and make the desert bloom freeing the people from their bondage.
Now, this was hard snow. I had no trouble walking the surface without breaking through while if the snow didn’t give way as I jumped on it to destroy the snow god I would plummet several feet into the desert. Neverthless I leaped up landing on my bottom. The snow gave way as I rode the avalanche several thousand feet down the mountain side to land on the desert floor while I destroyed the god who had been impounding the water.
Many streams now flowed out from the mountain. The desert bloomed turning green and bursting with flowers. Now that we have a comparison let us examine Burroughs’ great dream of Opar.
Opar first found expression way back at the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913. Appearing at the end of The Return Of Tarzan the story was included in Burroughs’ fourth published story and fifth written story, the Outlaw Of Torn had been written but not published yet.
As with Invincible the story of The Return was not the story. The story was what Burroughs hung the details of what appeared to be the story on. Hence Return was rejected by Metcalf Burroughs’ first editor at Munsey’s who undoubtedly couldn’t understand it. This is the novel in which Tarzan makes his first raid on the fabulous treasure vaults of Opar. Burroughs will continue his wonder stories of Opar through three more books. Each return occurs at a crucial point in his life.
That Opar is a dream location is proven by the topography of the location. It is not too dissimilar to any dream. The jungle grows right up to the base of towering mountains behind which Opar is hidden. On the other side of these it is a dry dusty desert exemplifying Burroughs’ life as the twenty year desert in my dream did mine. Entry into the valley in this story is through a narrow defile apparently several thousands of feet high above which the peaks of the surrounding mountain range tower several thousand feet more. This entry also closely resembles that of Haggard in King Solomon’s Mines. Haggard is never far from Burroughs’ mind as he writes his stuff.
Working your way down into the dreamscape is considerably more easy than climbing it. And then off in the distance rose the shining red and gold domes and turrets of Opar. A dream city if there ever was one. One is reminded of the two great literary and psychological influences on Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard and L. Frank Baum. Of Haggard’s work beyond King Solomon’s Mines I have Heart Of The World and People Of The Mist most readily called to mind. It might be appropriate to mention that Freud also read some Haggard. He specifically mentions Heart Of The World and She but I suspect he probably read others as well. Opar might be a ruined version of Baum’s Emerald City of Oz. Opar is red and gold while from a distance its ruination is not obvious. Mine was a shining white mountain. Burroughs probably tinkered with his to make a good story better.
Now, the fabled Thebes of Greek mythology had seven gates. Cities Of The Sun had up to a hundred. Opar doesn’t have any. The entrance is a narrow cleft in the wall on which on entering this narrow 20″ gap for which Tarzan had to turn his massively broad shoulders sideways and then immediatley climb a flight of ancient stairs. This appears to be a reverse birth story in which Tarzan is reentering the womb, an impossible feat, but then, Tarzan goes where even devils fear to tread. Try some of the books of the psychologist Stanislav Grof. There’s definitely a sexual image that requires a little thought to understand. Hmm. No gates but a narrow cleft too narrow for the shoulders and a flight of steps leading back into the what, womb? Whose cleft? ERB mother’s, Emma’s, possibly Florence’s by this time, or that of his Anima figure? Well, the last is waiting for him inside the domed inner chamber of this sacred city who is aptly named La, which is French for She. ‘She’ was Ayesha the heroine of Haggard’s novel She. I’m sure Burroughs is not writing consciously here.
At this point Tarzan is accompanied by fifty of his brave and faithful but superstitious Waziri. In fact, in this story as Tarzan goes through his incarnation of a Black savage he is Chief Waziri, eponymous head of the Waziri. P. 42:
As the ape man and his companions stood gazing in varying degrees of wonderment at this ancient city in the midst of savage Africa, several of them became aware of movement within the structure at which they were looking. There was nothing tangible that the eye could grasp- only an uncanny suggestion of life where it seemed that there should be no life, for living things seemed out of place in this weird, dead city of the long dead past.
Dead city of the long dead past. That’s what dreams are all about, one’s own long dead past. Thus the ridge separating the lush live jungle from this dry, dusty plain eight years wide was Burroughs own dead past. I suggest the mountain range, perhaps sixteen thousand feet high, represented ERB’s confrontation with John the Bully when he was eight or nine. On the jungle side was his early life as a Little Prince while on the dry dusty side was his blighted, blasted life after John. Opar represents his ruined mind inhabited by the suggestion of life and the Queen of his dreams the beautiful High Priestess of the Flaming God, the woman of indescribable beauty, La of Opar.
La is obviously a combination of Haggard’s She and L. Frank Baum’s Ozma Of Oz.
Tarzan is seized by the Frightful Men, bound and gagged and left lying in a courtyard at high noon. The rays of the Flaming God bear down on him. Whether this is merely part of an ancient Oparian religious rite or whether Tarzan becomes the chosen Son of theSun a god among men, isn’t clear to the reader. The Oparians have their own ideas.
Burroughs describes this rite in a really masterful way. The maddened murderous Oparian who disturbs the ceremony just before Tarzan is to be sacrificed is nicely handled. Believe me, I feel like I am there. As La looks down on Tarzan’s form on the altar she recognizes the One, the Son of the Sun, the One for which she is destined. Once again, Haggard’s She.
Freed in the melee caused by the crazed Oparian Tarzan is taken down to the Chamber of the Dead by La where she hides him. As she said nobody would look for him in the Chamber of the Dead. This Chamber answers very well to the laundry room of my dream. Tarzan/Burroughs is in a stone dungeon with walls fifteen feet thick, fourteen in Invincible, in total darkness while I was in a steel room with no exit but bright light. These locations answer to the rigid confines of one’s owned damaged psyche. There is no way out but there is, there has to be. While palpating this stony prison at the back of the cell Tarzan discerns a flow of air coming through. This scene is a replication of one in Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines while becoming a B movie staple. The big Bwana discovers some loose stones. He is able to dislodge these creating an exit through the fifteen foot depth of stones of the fortress wall. Somehow Burroughs has worked his psyche to give himself a chance. Once beyond the foundation walls, free of the Chamber of the Dead (I once dreamed I was looking for my soul in the House of the Distraught) but act among the living, Tarzan feels his way down this long dark corridor. One can’t be certain of ERB’s age when he achieved this escape. As it takes place just before Tarzan marries Jane the time might have been 1898-99. Perhaps when he was in the stationery business in Idaho. Perhaps something he read acted as a lever. Apart from Darwin’s Origin Of Species I would venture to say he read Eugene Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris a copy of which is in his library while traces of it are here in his earliest work.
Sue’s rare mentality permeates every page of this first visit while Sue’s extraordinary consciousness is everywhere apparent throughout ERB’s entire corpus. Burroughs himself is absolutely incredible in the manner he associates with numerous other writer’s intellects, seemingly simultaneously within a given passage or even sentence. Myself, Adams, Hillman, Broadhurst, Burger and others have written extensively on these influences. Hillman even goes so far as to virtually twin Burroughs with some of his major literary influences. Burroughs does make all these writers his virtual doubles.
I have stressed Sue’s influence in several earlier essays. I can only urge you to read Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris- a big three-volume work and too short at that- which Burroughs in his own reading found a life changing experience. Possibly he did read it in 1898-99. I found it a life changing experience; I’ve never been able to free myself of its influence, while it appears that Burroughs couldn’t either. A lot of the late nineteenth century writers make reference to Eugene Sue. H.G. Wells based the beginning of an early novel on Sue. The remnant remains only as a short story.
Sue wrote from outside the bounds of sanity. Privately I consider him insane but so brilliantly rational as to transcend the very meaning of insanity. He’s a dangerous writer. His last work was confiscated by the French authorities. It undoubtedly had such a private personal sense of morality that I am sure it would have undone society much as the pornography from Hollywood has undone ours. DeSade and Restif De La Bretonne, who in some ways Sue resembles, were mere unbalanced pornographers who disturb only the disturbed. Sue’s vision of morality is coldly clear, it forms the basis of Tarzan’s but is always on the side of reason and virtue. This fact makes it no less dangerous to a weak mind or that of the obsessive-compulsive Liberal. Still, only the strong survive. I heartily recommend you take your chance.
Tarzan freed from the prison of the psyche, was he insane? was I? or were we merely trapped by a device of other’s making? I can’t say but ERB’s sanity after he escaped was conditioned by that of Eugene Sue. I, of course, rise above all influences.
Progressing down the corridor Tarzan comes to the First Censor. He finds a gap in the floor into which he might have fallen had he not been careful. He would have fallen into the unknown but he would have been alright. He would have fallen into water which in his condition would have been life-giving water rather than dangerous or perhaps he might have drowned in the waters of the subcoscious or Oblivion.
In high school I had a teacher who used to chalk a half dozen slogans on the black board, one each morning. The only one I remember is ‘when you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on.’ I did this for a couple decades then one day I let go. The joke was on me. There was nowhere to fall. I was only a fraction of an inch from a solid surface. However Tarzan culdn’t have known this since he didn’t fall in, this time. He would three years later.
By chance he looked up where he saw some light entering to discover he was at the edge of a well. Yes, you see, the water of life. He dimly descried the other side fifteen feet away which was child’s play for him to leap. Thus he passed the First Censor. Mine was at the elevators which I apparently merely disregarded.
Continuing on for some time in total darkness, so far that he believes himself outside the walls of Opar he enters the treasure vaults. These vaults are filled with what appears to be forty pound barbells of solid gold. Now, this gold is old. So old that no Oparian knows that it is there nor do any old legends even mention it. This is an intriguing part. The gold was mined millennia in the past after the sinking of Atlantis. This raises the question of what did Burroughs know of Atlantis and did he believe in it? I can’t answer the sources of the former but I’m betting on Ignatius Donnelly as one of them. As to the latter I believe he did. He mentions Atlantis in Invincible with a confidence and familiarity that convinces me that over the eighteen years since Return he has read and thought enough to convince himself of the reality of the lost continent. He appears to accept a mid-Atlantic location.
The gold represents the income he’s receiving for his stories. The stories spring from his dead past. That the vaults are outside Opar indicates he freed his mind from its prison or that the money comes from outside the prison, i.e. his publishers. That the gold is Atlantean indicates that his stories are based on his own ancient experience. In other words he is mining his past already completed as ingots or accomplished facts.
What experience then catalyzed his ability to write? I believe that from 1908-10 when he read L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz, Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz and The Emerald City Of Oz he found a means to express himself. These books bypassed his last censor allowing him to write Minidoka. That book was not suitable for publication but it freed his genius so that he immediately followed it with A Princess Of Mars.
Now, outside the gates of the Emerald City/Opar in the midst of the equivalent of Baum’s Great Sandy Desert he found the handle on his own destiny.
Tarzan locates the fifty faithful but superstitious Waziri loading them up with two forty pound ingots each and points them toward the coast.
At the same time Fifty Frightful Men from Opar who are tracking him discover Jane instead. Dreamy enough for you? Given a choice between Tarzan and Jane I’d take Jane and so did the Fifty Frightful Men.
So now Jane’s on the altar under the sacrifical knife of La. Skipping the irrelevant details La discovers Jane is Tarzan’s beloved. Interesting confrontation between Tarzan/Burroughs real life woman and his Anima. La is shattered as Tarzan rejects her for Jane.
This is a key point in the oeuvre. This is what makes the novels so repulsive to the literary mind. The story is not the story; the issue is not the issue. Opar is the story within the story that will be told in four short parts over eighteen years. So we have part one here without any indication the story will be continued. A segment of the story is just plopped down into The Return Of Tarzan, sort of irrelevantly.
Weird style actually. I’m not even sure it works, but it nevertheless must be effective else why would the stuff still be in print a century on. You’re on your own, Jack, I can’t even attempt to solve that one. Not today anyway.
The next novel examining this psychological is the 5th novel of the oeuvre, Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar of 1915.
At this point Tarzan, a profligate if there ever was one, has run through the two tons of gold the fifty faithful Waziri brought out and is broke. Two tons of gold in three years. Think about it. He needs to make another run on Opar.
The character of the series changes with Jewels Of Opar from the character of the Russian Quartet, the first four novels. They not only have an Oz influence but they become Ozlike. Burroughs apparently drew on The Beasts Of Tarzan as the foundation for what is essentially a new series.
After writing five Oz stories, in the sixth, The Emerald City Of Oz, Baum attempted to abandon the series. He closed the series off with the news that there will be no more communication from the fairy kingdom. Because Oz has been invaded three times now, what with the advent of airplanes that will be able to spot Oz from the air Ozma is making the kingdom invisible. Is it coincidence that Opar disappears from the oeuvre after the third invasion?
Baum’s Emerald City Of Oz appeared in 1910. It was the last of the stories to be datelined Coronado in his prefaces. When he was forced to begin writing Oz stories again in 1913 they were datelined Ozcot in Hollywood. In 1910 Hollywood was just a pleasant Los Angeles suburb. The movies didn’t begin to make Hollywood the center of the world porn industry until 1914.
Whether Burroughs knew that Baum left Coronado in 1911 isn’t known but I find it signficant that when he went to California in 1913 his first choice of residence was Coronado where he perhaps thought he would be close to Baum who afer all had a close connection with Chicago. Baum wasn’t in Coronado so Burroughs moved across the bay to San Diego.
The question then is: did Burroughs make a pilgrimage to Ozcot to see Baum in 1913? I have to believe he did. Tarzan was one heck of an entree such that Baum could hardly refuse to see ERB. How long or how often the men met then is conjectural but I think it was long enough for Baum to give Burroughs some tips on fantasy writing. Already an ardent admirer of the Oz books Burroughs would have had no trouble accepting advice from this master.
Thus when Burroughs returned to LA and Ozcot in 1916 it is certain that they met while they were probably already familiar with each other. In 1919, when Burroughs moved to LA permanently, Baum was on his deathbed so there was no chance to renew the acquaintance. I also believe that Baum’s Ozcot influenced Burroughs in naming his own estate Tarzana.
In any event Tarzan returns to Opar in 1915. Except for the first visit when Tarzan following the directions of the old Waziri, chief of the Waziri, visited Opar to take the gold, in the rest of the visits he is battling interlopers who wish to steal the gold from him. It might pay to look at the nature of the intrusions and the intruders.
In 1911-12 Burroughs had for the first time in his life come into more money than he could spend, only for a brief moment of course. Thus Tarzan removes the gold more on a whim not really knowing what to do with it. One might think this a strange attitude for one who had tasted the night life of Paris; but a foolish conisistency is the bugbear of small minds as one of those venerated old timers once said. I don’t wish to be thought of as small minded so we’ll let the observation pass.
By 1915 having lost his two tons of gold in some bad investments Tarzan has better learned the value of money or, at least, the absence of it. And so, perhaps, has Edgar Rice Burroughs. One can see the ghost of old George T. shaking his head muttering: ‘When will that boy ever learn?” Well, George, it would take more time than allotted to him.
After 1912 Burroughs had created something of value. That value could be stolen or at least exploited. In 1914 McClurg’s offered him a publishing contract. Nicely crafted it gve all the advantages to McClurg’s and none to Burroughs. Burroughs undoubtedly did not understand the legal implications of what he signed. I can’t explain this but McClurg’s made no effort to merchandise a sure fire hit. They didn’t even publish the full fifteen thousand copies called for in the contract. They released the book to reprint publisher A.L. Burt after p;rinting only ten thousand copies themselves. Explain it how you will but there was a guaranteed huge absolutely visible market waiting for book publication. Syndication in newspapers had guaranteed the book’s success. So why did McClurg’s willfully refuse to take advantage of such a deal?
Burroughs probably had stars in his eyes at the prospect of 10-15% royalties on hundreds of thousands if not millions of books. Instead he got comparatively nothing. The royalties from Burt were miniscule and to be shared 50/50 with McClurg’s. You can imagine Burroughs’ disappointment as a golden future became brass before his eyes.
Back to Opar. Tarzan entered the vaults before his faithful Waziri who were warriors and would act as bearers for no other man. Alone Tarzan made six trips from the vaults to the top of the tor bringing up forty-eight forty-pound ingots. That’s 320 lbs. per carry for a total of 1920 lbs or nearly a ton. According to Freud, and I believe him, all numbers are significant, although I don’t have enough information to delve completely into the meaning of these numbers. The Waziri then brought up fifty-two ingots. some two of the fifty got stuck with carrying two ingots or two went back for one more. That made slightly over a standard of 2000 lbs.
Tarzan’s forty-eight ingots are roughly half of the total that undoubtedly represents the fifty-fifty split with McClurg’s. At the time Ogden McClurg, the son of the father who built the company, Alexander McClurg, was the nominal head of the company. The firm was actually owned by the employees since about 1902, which Burroughs probably didn’t know. The man he dealt with, Joseph Bray, was probably the real head of the company. Actually Ogden was away from the company for long stretches on adventures in Central America and WWI so that he would have been unfamiliar with the day-to-day workings of the company. Burroughs, however, formed a grudge against Ogden McClurg. I suspect that the Belgian villain Albert Werper is based partly on Ogden McClurg while also being an alter ego of Burroughs. So, a story behind the story is how Ogden McClurg stole ERB’s royalties.
At the same time Tarzan spurns La for a second time so the Anima-Animus story of Tarzan, Jane and La continues. La has Tarzan within her power but in the life and death situation love triumphs over her hurt so she spares the The Big Guy. Not without consequences. The Fifty Frightful Men, or what’s left of them after the maddened Tantor tramples a few, led by Cadj, who now makes his appearance, feel betrayed repudiating La. Thus is begun the conspiracy to replace La which will be the focal point of the next two visits. You know, love or hate, I don’t know which is to be feared the most.
In the next visit in Tarzan And The Golden Lion Tarzan has gone through his second two tons of gold. That is four tons of gold in roughly ten years plus the Jewels of Opar that our spendthrift hero has managed to go through. Four tons of gold! That’s 128,000 ounces of gold. At today’s price of over a thousand dollars an ouce it works out to 128 billion dollars and change. My friends, that is prodigality. Good thing there was more where that came from, hey?
Of course a lot of the loss came from loans to the British Empire to float the Great War. But like certain other borrowings, to which Burroughs may be making an allusion, the Empire had no intention of repaying.
Once again this sort of excess had brought Tarzan to the edge of bankruptcy not unlike ERB in 1922. Just as creditors were besieging ERB for money so some private individuals led by a former employee, Flora Hawkes, attempt to extract the gold from Opar. Tarzan first fails, then recovers not only the gold but the bag of diamonds. The significance of the jewels is explained in the Tarzan and Esteban Miranda story contained in Tarzan And The Ant Men. That story is a duplicate Jewels Of Opar with different details. The history of the Jewels Of Opar also duplicates the history of Tarzan’s locket in Ant Men. If you’ve found something good don’t hesitate to use it more than once.
Fifteen years after the visit in Jewels Of Opar and eight years after the Golden Lion/Ant Men the scene returns to Opar, where once again others are to make a run on Tarzan’s private bank at Opar. Apparently Tarzan has them baffled from the start as, although they know there are treasure vaults at Opar, they have no idea where they are. It appears the Communists have read the earlier books, but not with close attention, nor did they bring their copies along with them to bone up during all those idle moments in camp. Playing cards is alright after reading, but time better spent before. You can see why these dodos failed.
Burroughs had read his Oz stories. One can’t be sure whether he ever reread the stories or whether he was working from twenty year old memories. There are similarities here with the Emerald City Of Oz of 1910. In that book Baum attempts to end the series. He says that it will be the last communication from Oz. It too involves an invasion of Oz by the Nome King and his horrid allies. In Baum’s story Ozma refused to defend her Communist State, predating Russia by seven years, but arranges it so that the invaders who are tunneling beneath the Great Sandy Desert emerge in front of the fountain of the Waters of Oblivion. The fountain has apparently been spiked with LSD as the drinkers get lost in a world of their own returning through the tunnel without a fight. Perhaps the first military use of drugs in history. An excellent fairy tale, hey?
Burroughs’ Communists make two attempts to enter Opar. Circling the city unable to find any gates to Burroughs dreamworld they do find the narrow cleft in the wall. Spooky sounds and happenings disconcert the Blacks and Arabs of this multi-cultural coalition so that any concerted action is frustrated. Although the Russians and the Mexican, Romero, enter, only Romero has the courage to penetrate beyond the courtyard. The Russians are arrant cowards who flee at the sound of the first Oparian shriek.
Returning to base camp they find that Wayne Colt, having tramped the breadth of Africa, has joined the group.
A second attempt is made. The superstitious Arabs refuse to return being also disgusted by Zveri’s lack of leadership and cowardice. Taking the six Communists and the Blacks Zveri returns to Opar for a second attempt. While absent from the base camp the coalition begins to come apart as the Arabs desert the cause, looting and burning the camp while taking the two White women with them. La has joined Zora but more on that in the next section.
The second expedition fares no better than the first for the same reasons. On this attempt both Wayne Colt and Romero enter the sanctuary where they are engaged in a serious battle with the Frightful Men. Colt is felled by a thrown bludgeon that knocks him down but doesn’t crush his skull. Romero retreats, Colt is dropped unconscious before the high priestess, now Oah and Dooth. Cadj was destroyed by Jad-Bal-Ja in Golden Lion so Dooth has taken his place.
If La is the good mother aspect of the male psyche, Oah is the bad or wicked mother. Still beautiful but not quite as much so as La.
She orders Colt taken to a dungeon to await the full moon or some other propitious moment to sacrifice him.
Oah’s plans will be foiled because among those present is a nubile young maiden named Nao who falls head over heels for Wayne at first sight. Burroughs describes Nao as having entered the first bloom of womanhood. To me that represents a fourteen-year old girl. Indeed, Nao is fresh as a flower.
One remembers Uhha who accompanied Esteban Mirands in Ant Men was specifically mentioned as being fourteen. So the ages fourteen, nineteen and twenty have special female connotations in Burroughs’ stories. As Freud rightly says people should only be held responsible for their actions and not their thoughts. Certainly there is no mention of Miranda having relations with Uhha while Nao had to be content with watching Colt disappear into the night after she released him from prison, murdering a man, be it noted, to do it. All that Priestess sacrificial training with knives comes in handy.
It will be remembered that ERB is said to have begun proposing to Emma when she was in the first bloom of womanhood at fourteen. So it is probable that the memory is associated with Uhha and Nao.
Colt as Burroughs alter ego thus allows Burroughs to visit Opar and have his fling with Nao as Colt while Tarzan has his with La. there’s a sort of joining of the two aspects of Burroughs’ Animus much as there was with Esteban Miranda and Tarzan in Golden Lion/Ant Men as well as Werper and Tarzan in Jewels Of Opar.
Tarzan himself returns to Opar before the first expedition of the Communists.
It has been eight years and four novels since Tarzan visited the fabled red and gold city of Burroughs’ dreams. Tarzan has a number of misconceptions of his relationship with the Oparians. The high priest Cadj who had become a problem in Jewels Of Opar was killed by Jad-Bal-Ja in Golden Lion. La had been replaced on her throne with the Bolgani of the Valley of Diamonds as her body guard and the Gomangani, who had no thin veneer of civilization at all, as her slaves, I guess. Tarzan then sees himself as an Oparian benefactor, not unlike the US in today’s Iraq, who will be received as a friend. Our hero shows himself a poor psychologist.
With a light springing step he turns sideways to enter the cleft, bounds up the stairs to enter the inner sanctum where the howling Frightful Men bash him over the head yet again. Tarzan could have been tagged Skull Of Steel to survive all these bashings with very heavy clubs and grazing by full metal jacket bullets. I tell you, man, I’d reather read of adventures like this than live them.
Coming to, Tarzan is surprised to find Oah as High Priestess with Dooth as her High Priest.
‘Where is La?’ Tarzan asks.
‘Dead.’ Replies Oah. ‘Throw him in the dungeon.’
Back to the pits of Opar for the Big Bwana where one imagines his sensitive nostrils will be grossly offended.
Once again Tarzan escapes his prison. Seeking a way out he is spotted by some hairy bandy-legged men. Fleeing down an endless corridor flanked by doors he chooses one and enters. Whew! What an aroma assails his sensitive nostrils. He is face to face with a half starved lion. The Big Guy hears the hairy men rushing down the corridor just as the lion springs. The door opens inward, unlike most prisons but apparently commonly in dreamscapes, so Tarzan opens it and steps behind it. As the lion springs past him he slams the door which was not too swift a move as the bar falls locking him in. He has the comfort of hearing the lion tearing up the Frightful Men but the stench of the lion’s den for once is so powerful it disguises the aroma of a White woman at the back of the cell. Surprise! La isn’t dead she’s been palling around with this lion for a while. Fortunately as in Ant Men there is a door between her inner cell and that of the lion that she can open. They built prisons differently back then.
So, the Animus and Anima are reunited but in prison once again. As in all dream sequnces there is a way out.
There’s a lot of shuffling about; this one is fairly complicated. In order to bring food to La at the back of the cell it is necessary to first feed the lion. There is a corridor across the front of the cell. a barred gate separates it from the lion’s den while La’s cell with its unlocked door is at the back. The corridor leads to a little chamber that is open from above. The lion’s food is thrown down after the gate has been lifted and closed somehow. While the lion is feeding in this corridor the attendant picks his way among the lion piles and puddles to take the food back to La. The chow must be tasteless in this overpowering stench.
Tarzan investigates then raising the gate for La when she advises him that the Oparians are coming back with the lion. This is very fast work by the Oparians so you can see the stuff is dreamwork. Tarzan raises La into the opening following her.
They follow the winding staircase until they enter a chamber that is the highest point in Opar. Thus they have ascended from the subconscious to the conscious. Here La once again confesses her love for the Beast of Beasts. The Big Guy is still not interested.
As they are plotting a way to get down from the tower they hear someone ascending a ladder. As the fellow pops his head above floor level Tarzan seizes the guy by the neck. My first reaction was to think that this was the Old Stowaway from Tarzan And The Golden Lion who would now be sixty-eight. Apparently not although Burroughs makes him sound different from one of the Frightful Men.
The old boy assures Tarzan and La that he is faithful as he as wellas most of the Oparians pine for the return of La. Plans are made for La to return to her throne. The Old Boy was a master of deceit however. Oah, Dooth and the Frightful Men who are still very angry with La and Tarzan are waiting for the pair when they enter from behind the curtain. A little Wizard of Oz touch. Humor, I think.
Tarzan might well have voiced the words of Marty Robbins in El Paso:
Many thoughts ran through my mind
As I stood there.
I had but one chance
And that was to run.
And run the Big Bwana did in a scene that was almost as comical as when he ran from the Alalus women in Tarzan And The Ant Men.
Breaking through the ring of Frightful Men Tarzan tosses the slower La over a shoulder and rapidly puts one of his clean limbs before the other. The bandy little legs of the Frightful Men are no match for the Big Bwana. Shouting epithets like: Good riddance of bad rubbish and Don’t come back again if you know what’s good for you. they snarlingly turned back to the City of Red and Gold.
Far across the dusty plain Tarzan and La climbed the ridge separating Opar from the outside world. First outside the gates of Opar in 1915s Jewels Of Opar chasing after Tarzan, once again in Tarzan And The Golden Lion to rescue Tarzan, La now makes her longest and most hazardous stay in the great wide world.
Part Seven follows.
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#14 Tarzan The Invincible
Part V of X
First Published On The Ezine, ERBzine
Six White Men In Search Of An African Empire
If one believes that Burroughs is merely on a rant against Communism in Tarzan The Invincible and Tarzan Triumphant then there is nothing more to say. Still, it is remarkable that ERB specifically names Stalin as a persecutor of Tarzan in both books. As Burroughs says he doesn’t mind fictionizing political and religious realities the question is , is he fictionizing a real life situation where Stalin, or the Communists are giving him a hard time?
Seems really improbable doesn’t it? People are used to thinking of Burroughs as a barely literate fantasy writer better ignored by the literati. But more insignificant men than ERB have been the victims of hate campaigns.
Who now, for instance, remembers Harvey Springer? Harvey Springer? Never heard of him? I don’t wonder. Oddly enough when I was in San Diego in 1957-58 Harvey Springer, who was some kind of evangelicalist, was going to appear at some church out where no sailor ever went. He was kind of a cowboy evangelical from Denver. His most dramatic stunt was placing one of size fourteens, he was a tall rangy man, on one chair and the other on another to harangue the crowd.
I hadn’t heard of him, you know, nor had anyone I knew, but Harvey Springer was reputed to be an arch anti-Semite. Could have been for all I knew, but I’m not going to take anyone’s word for it. The point is the Jews sent all kinds of people into the streets to tell people not to go see Harvey. I don’t how many times they must have heard- Who’s Harvey Springer?- in reply. Rather than say he’s an anti-Semite, of which I had even less knowledge at the time never having heard the term, all that was necessary was to say the two words, church and evangelical to cool my ardor, if I had any, to find where he was speaking and go see him.
In addition the AJC and ADL published books in which they denounced Harvey Springer as a very dangerous anti-Semite. Now, if certain people would go to such extremes to persuade someone not to do something he had no intention of doing what would they do to defame someone with an international reputation? The only one who didn’t realize the extent of ERB’s fame seems to have been ERB himself. He was no self promoter, he thought it best to keep his head down.
In that sense, judging from the unpublished Under The Red Flag and the published Moon Maid, Invincible and Triumphant Burroughs was actually a leading anti-Communist voice. I mean, people read this stuff. They read it in America , they read it in England, they read it in numerous translations and they read it in the Soviet Union. Here’s the kicker, Stalin read it. Not only that, Stalin was a movie buff. And he requested Tarzan films (reported in a recent UK Telegraph story and the book of Simon Sebag Montefiori: Stalin: The Court Of The Red Tsar.)
History is not a mystery, it’s just schoolyard bullies bigger than life.
We also know that Stalin ordered his scientists in the 1920s to attempt to cross an ape and a human to create a super warrior. It’s clear to me that Stalin had read Beasts Of Tarzan. The Man of Steel may have had a difficult time distinguishing between fact and fiction as many another. Besides, remember eugenics was a hot topic of conversation in Red circles then as it is today. Not knowing what we know now about genetics crossing an ape and human may not have seemed that far fetched. It doesn’t to a lot of people now. Heck, the Old Testament enjoins one to destroy the results of an animal-human union so the ancient Hebrews thought it was not only possible but a regular occurrence.
There is very clear evidence that the Reds were conducting a campaign of vilification against Burroughs. I’ve mentioned it before but the clearst evidence is H.G. Wells’ novel Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island.
May we take a moment to look more closely at Wells? Don’t think I’m antagonistic toward Wells. I dearly love Wells just as I do Burroughs. I have a complete collection of Burroughs while I’m looking for the odd volume of the more obscure Wells. I’m not boasting, I’m just saying this in the way of credentials. I’ve read all of Burroughs more than once and I’ve read all the Wells’ titles I have, many of them more than once. In point of fact I love all the literature from say, Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines to 1930 and perhaps an odd year or so beyond. I love. I mean, I love it. I love Edgar Wallace who, if you can believe it, is claimed to have sold one out of four books sold in England during this period. If you don’t know him he was one of the co-writers of the movie King Kong and then he died. All this stuff of this period is wonderful. Robert Hitchens, P.C. Wren.
So, you know, it’s like this: H.G. Wells was a Soviet literary hatchet man.
The man had a wonderful career. You know his most famous novels, The War Of The Worlds, First Men In The Moon, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, In The Days Of The Comet. If you like Wells, and I do, those are the tip of the iceberg. A few of his short stories and he wrote many are as good as short stories get.
He was always a socialist and perhaps a terrorist conspiritor, but he was a child of the nineteenth century until his mind broke at the end of the Great War. At that time he lost faith, in god, transferring his faith to the Revolution, becoming a Soviet dupe. His literary career may be divided into two halves, pre-God- The Invisible King and post-God. That was one of his books.
He was not taken seriously as a fiction writer after the war. During the twenties and thirties he turned out an unending stream of novels that were ignored. It’s not difficult to see why, but I find them a little more tolerable. I like Wells. His reputation and career were saved by his 1922 effort An Outline Of History. It was a massive volume and it sold massively for twenty years or more while being hugely influential in literature. Put him on easy street for the rest of his long life. As much as any artist who is skilled at spending money can be on Easy Street.
As a novelist however, he was pretty much a has been. While none of his post-1920 novels take off he hits the spot with me.
From 1920 on his soul belonged to the Revolution, which is to say the Socialist homeland, which is to say the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics. That means he was more loyal to Russia than he was to England. In short, a traitor in intent if not in deed. While no Liberal ever deals in realities hence are in constant denial, The Man of Steel, Josef Stalin, was his boss. Wells naturally would have denied this.
The Soviets had a pretty comprehensive system which once again is denied. There were a number of State prostitutes who were assigned to the various important Red writers to service them as mistresses, while reporting back to the Kremlin. This is, of course, denied by the Liberals. I don’t understand living a life that has to be denied, where everything you do has to be represented as something else, but such duplicity is apparently congenial to the Liberal mind. They must seek it.
Wells was assigned a woman named Moura Budberg. She must have known how to turn on the charm as she was able to make a number of men she was assigned to sincerely love her, including the British diplomat Bruce Lockhart, the Russian writer Maxim Gorky and H.G. Wells. She wasn’t that good looking either. All of these people led double, triple or quadruple lives. They must have been really able to compartmentalize their minds. Freud didn’t touch that type.
After Wells’ visit to Lenin in 1921 he was signed on. He began his career as literary hatchet man. In his writing he portrayed recognizable people, sometimes under their real names, in negative or positive lights. As a skilled writer, whether you like his later stuff or not, he was more than competent to do this. It appears that he first targeted Burroughs in his 1923 novel Men Like Gods. Among his science fiction novels this one should rank more highly than it does. Burroughs’ 1926 Moon Maid reads like a reply to Wells. Especially the first part of the trilogy where Burroughs dances imaginative rings around the First Men In The Moon. From there Wells took up the challenge with Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island of 1928 which unmistakably is a parody of Burroughs in which he portrays Burroughs as insane, but not a bad analysis.
Burroughs responded possibly with At The Earth’s Core but definitely with Tarzan The Invincible. At the same time one interprets Stalin’s interest in crossing apes with humans as being derived from Beasts Of Tarzan and other Tarzan novels there may have been more direct Soviet interest in ERB. One notes that Tarzan The Invincible was the first title published under the Burroughs imprint. I think it highly probable that his publishing was being interfered with by the Reds in addition to whatever other grievances against his publishers Burroughs may have had.
One may say that Burroughs was too insignificant for Stalin to bother with, yet according to Simon Sebag Montefiori Stalin put out a contract on John Wayne because he was such an ardent anti-Communist. Khruschev is said to have told Wayne that he concelled the contract after Stalin’s death. Edgar Rice Burroughs was at least as significant in 1930 as Wayne in the 1940s and 50s.
At any rate in 1930 Burroughs has Stalin and the Reds invading his dream world of Opar to steal his gold, i.e. put him out of the publishing business. Invincible and Triumphant, notice the titles, both deal with Stalin and the Soviets then the topic disappears from the oeuvre. Was Burroughs given incentive to counter-attack the Reds? I think there is enough evidence to warrant the opinion while time will tell even more. Research is just beginning.
It is signficant that Burroughs introduces the story in his own voice, not a framing device. He may be simply talking to the reader or he may be addressing Wells and, dare I say say it, The Man Of Steel himself. Perhaps a subtitle could be ‘The Big Bwana Meets The Man Of Steel.’ Now, it should also be remembered that this is the fourteenth novel of the series. the first title had been written eighteen years earlier. At that time the surprise of the character had knocked the socks off the reading public. In 1930 Tarzan was in danger of becoming old hat. Burroughs had to think up new and interesting devices to keep his readers coming back. As with most series of this type the readership was limited. Maximum sales could be predicted so that success meant not falling below a certain level of interest or letting interest diminish below unsupportable levels. As his own publisher Burroughs was now taking all the risks financial as well as literary. He had to turn out a successful book.
I think he did a superb job. Since the series continued to flourish his readers must have thought so too. I do wish ERB, Inc. would release some sales figures though.
For the premiss of his story Burroughs postulates that Stalin and the Soviets wish to instigate a new world war which will allow them to pick up the pieces establishing a complete European dictatorship. Not at all farfetched. Burroughs postulates that Mussolini and his Fascists are aiming at a European hegemony. This is 1930 so Hitler and the Nazis are not on anyone’s radar as a threat to world peace except for a few fringe elements. At the time Hitler and the NSDAP were in hand to hand combat with the Communists for control of Germany. They would not assume power until three years hence.
The Reds then wish to create an incident that would cause the Italians to attack France. The indirect approach is usually more effective than the direct approach so they wish to create an incident in Africa where French colonial troops appear to invade Italian Somaliland.
At that instant expendable confederates in Italy would reveal a bogus French plan to Mussolini. It is assumed that Italy would then declare war on France and the holocaust would begin. As we all know Italy did not declare war on France in 1930 so the plan must have misfired somewhere along the way. Tarzan was the reason. Burroughs gives these little known details that would have been lost to…well… if not history, remembrance. So, uh, really ERB is providing a valuable service here.
There may be two sides to every story, but usually one is on one side or the other. We don’t have to be reminded ERB is not on the side of the Reds. In fact, ERB is exposing their plans and weaknesses. He displays a fairly profound understanding of the goals and workings of the Communists. He is read up on the subject, He has studied. He is not shooting from the hip. He knows whereof he speaks. If not an authority on the subject he is pretty darn close.
ERB has his eyes on how ‘American’ manufacturers are relating to Moscow. He has Zora Drinov analyze the situation this way, p. 12
“But what do the puny resources of this single American (Wayne Colt) mean to us?” demanded Zora. “A mere nothing compared to what America is already pouring into Soviet Russia. What is his treason compared with the treason of those others who are already doing more to hasten the day of world communism than the Third Internationale itself- it is nothing, not a drop in the bucket.’
“What do you mean Zora?” asked Miguel.
“I mean the bankers, and manufacturers, and engineers of America, who are selling their own country and the world to us in the hope of adding more gold to their already bursting coffers. One of their most pious and lauded citizens is building great factories for us in Russia, where we may turn out tractors and tanks; their manufacturers are vying with each other to furnish us with engines for countless thousands of airplanes; their engineers are selling us their brains and their skill to build a grreat modern manufacturing city, in which ammunitions and engines of war may be produced. These are the traitors, these are the men who are hastening the day when Moscow shall dictate the policies of our world.”
“…their government is a capitalistic government that is so opposed to our beliefs that it has never recognized our government; yet in their greed, these swine are selling out their own kind and their own country for a few more rotten dollars.”
Sound anything like the US and China today? That was a mouthful. The first thing FDR did upon taking the reins of government was to recognize Soviet Russia. Tell you anything about FDR? That was a mouthful that should have eraned ERB the hatred of the Liberal Coalition.
You can see why they wanted to stop his mouth. Passages such as this are probably the reason Richard Slotkin and his crowd, John Taliaferro, group ERB with Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. A charge of racism is usually a cover for a multitude of offences that have nothing to do with race. One is merely opposing the Liberal program. If they were to say- the fellow opposes the Liberal program they would get no rise- they might even have to explain the Liberal program- so the charge of racism is used as a red herring. One should always suspect such an accusation and disregard it.
Liberals however, never answer such charges. They merely deny them. In 1953-54 they were even denying themselves as Communists or taking the Fifth, which is the euivalent of saying, yes I am, but I’m not going to admit it.
The Revolution was only twelve years old in 1930. The CPUSA had been briefly outlawed in the early twenties but ‘disinterested parties’ believing in the time honored notion of ‘free speech’ had the ban lifted. Over in Russia their free speech loving comrades were filling cattle cars with dissenters destined for the Gulag or else they were murdered outright. Today, of course, these freedom loving people are throwing dissenters in prison on the basis of trumped up laws. The Program is moving right along isn’t it?
Even William Z. Foster denied he was a Communist as he was running for President on the Communist ticket. Today a tenured Law Professor at Harvard actually denies that AIPAC, which is a registered lobby group, exists. They ought to throw such people into cells next to David Irving. Denial of themselves is what Liberalism is all about. You couldn’t find anyone to admit to being a Communist. They all denied it. The hypocrisy of Liberals throwing men as decent or moreso than themselves into jail for denying the holocaust is mind boggling. Well, it would be, if you didn’t already know what’s going on.
So ERB would have been roundly denounced as a paranoid delusive for the above passage.
Men like Armand Hammer, Bernard Baruch, essentially the whole Jewish government in exile here in the US were working furiously to make the Revolution a global reality. They really had no idea of Hitler’s intentions at the time, yet they attempted assassination while through the German Communist Party they were waging street warfare against the National Socialists. The word National is what they objected to not so much the man Hitler. Burroughs mentions the Third International. The Comintern- short for Communist International as it was known- was essentially a beta model for what is now multi-culturalism. It was the Jewish cultural vision of the world. Thus industrialists like Armand Hammer and Bernard Baruch using their Jewish identity as a shield from criticism, any criticism would be characterized as anti-Semitism, were directing huge sums of money into the development of Soviet Russia.
In addition a well-meaning industrialist, Henry Ford, who would later be denounced as a Nazi, was doing the
same thing. The mention of tractor factories refers to Henry Ford- the Jewish bete noir- who was trying to relieve the Communist induced famine by selling or even giving tractors to the Russians to increase food production. He was also building the factories for them. I mean, you know, gratis; altruism run rampant. The great industrial city probably refers to Stalingrad.
Even Burroughs biographers Porges and Taliaferro disparage Burroughs for his rational stance against Communism. Burroughs doesn’t stop his analysis with the multi-cultural contradiction within American society, p. 35:
“The general plan, of course, is no secret to any of us here,” said Zora, “and I shall betray no confidence in explaining it to you. It is part of a larger plan to embroil the capitalistic powers in wars and revolutions to such an extent that they will be helpless to unite against us.”
“Our emissaries have been laboring a long time toward the culmination of the revolution in India that will distract the attention and armed forces of Great Britain. We are not succeeding so well in Mexico as we had planned, but there is still hope, while our prospects in the Philippines are very bright. The conditions in China you well know. She is absolutely helpless, and we have hope that with our assistance she will eventually constitute a real menace to Japan. Italy is a very dangerous enemy, and it is largely for the purpose of embroiling her in war with France that we are here.”
Once again you will note that there is no reference to a threat from Germany. No one could have seen it but the Communists who were opposed not merely to Hitler but any Volkish attempt to govern. The Volkish movement was inherently anti-Communist. To be anti-Communist was equivalent to being anti-Semitic, so that Hitler was automatically an enemy to be destroyed. When he and the Nazis assumed power in 1933 an automatic boycott of Germany and things German was instituted by the Jews. One might say that WWII began in January of 1933 at the instance of the Jews. The obvious conclusion is that if Hitler’s actions against the Jews were not self-defense, they were acts of war in which the first offensives had been begun by the Jews. Needless to say any such opinion is and will be denied. Any such discussion of such matters will be ridiculed and suppressed. But there you have it. At any rate ERB was not one of those far-sighted individuals who foresaw the rise of Hitler. Italy turned out to be a not so dangerous enemy.
In his story Italy was merely to be a dupe of the Soviets.
In order to present his analysis ERB had to be especially well informed. What he read or where isn’t clear as there is nothing in the existing library that even deals with the Communists per se. ERB does have a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf but that could only have been obtained after 1940 when the war was in progress.
As the story opens then, the Reds are assembling their forces for the march on Italian Somaliland.
Things aren’t to be quite so simple as the leader of the expedition, Peter Sveri, develops delusions of grandeur hoping to establish his own Empire in Africa with himself as Emperor. On the one hand Communism breaks down on the rocks of the interests of the various cultures, while in seeking to establish himself in Africa Zveri is infringing on the domain of its current Emperor, Tarzan.
Tarzan handily frustrates Zveri’s designs, while at the same time beating Stalin and the Reds, hence the title Tarzan The Invincible. One imagines though that there may be something more behind it. Originally titled Tarzan, Guardian Of Africa the change of title indicates something deeper.
In order to finance his operations Zveri intends to loot the fabled treasure vaults of Opar of which, one assumes, he has read about in The Return Of Tarzan, Jewels Of Opar and Tarzan And The Golden Lion. This makes him somewhat a fan of the amanuensis of the Big Bwana.
This is the fourth and last of Burroughs’ Opar stories. In section six let’s review Opar and its significance to this story.
Exhuming Bob XXVI
Bob And Edie
(Sooner Or Later All Of Us Must Know)
On the New York Bohemian scene 1965 and 1966 were the pivotal years. Near the beginning of 1965 Edie Sedgwick came down from Boston to become the catalyst in the struggle for dominance of the Bohemian scene between Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan.
Both men began their rise almost simultaneously in 1960-61. Both camps were drug fueled primarily by amphetamines.
While Edie, who as I perceive it was a psychotic nothing chick, entered Warhol’s world about March of ’65 it seems probable that Dylan was eyeing her from earlier in the year through the offices of his advance man, Bobby Neuwirth. While the early period is poorly documented as the battle for the soul of Edie Sedgwick reached fever heat in the summer of ’65 when Dylan recorded his diatribes Like A Rolling Stone and Positively Fourth Street concerning Edie and Andy the origins must reach further back into the first half of the year. It is interesting that in Dylan’s song Desolation Row he cast Edie in the role of Hamlet’s Ophelia.
Thus the key to understanding Dylan’s albums Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde is primarily Edie Sedgwick. I haven’t analyzed the data thoroughly but the meaning of One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) became transparent while studying Warhol. One of my favorite Dylan’s songs its meaning has always troubled me.
In November of ’65 Dylan married Sara Lownds while still carrying on an affair with Edie, among others. Warhol told Edie that Dylan was married shortly thereafter. Edie was as a pawn in their game torn between leaving with Dylan and staying with Warhol. In their effort to steal Edie away Dylan and his manager Albert Grossman were promising her stardom and money in both recording and movies.
Finally in a December 6th meeting with Edie, Warhol and Dylan Edie was forced to choose between the one or the other. Dylan commemorated this scene in his song One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later). The ‘poem’ of this ‘great poet’ is in three stanzas and reads like a letter to Edie when you have the key. The first four lines are a mocking apology for using Edie as a pawn:
I didn’t mean to treat you so bad
You shouldn’t take it so personal
I didn’t mean to make you so sad
You just happened to be there, that’s all.
So Dylan admits he was using Edie who just happened to be Warhol’s chick, nothing personal, Dylan was after Warhol. But he didn’t mean to hurt her ‘so bad’ or make her ‘so sad’. Hey, it just happened. The second and fourth lines are so insulting, callous and sadistic as to pass the bounds of good judgment to write. They shouldn’t have been written and if written they shouldn’t have been shouted to the world to hear. It must have been obvious to Dylan that both Edie and Warhol would know he was talking about them. The Ballad Of Plain D was just mean but this is almost too hateful to bear. Ah well, the love and peace crowd.
The fifth line:
When I saw you say “goodbye” to your friend and smile…
The scene is The Kettle Of Fish and the friend is Andy Warhol.
I thought it was understood
That you’d be comin’ back in a little while
I didn’t know that you were sayin’ “goodbye” for good.
This is an outright lie else why put goodbye in parentheses. Dylan’s attempt to disavow his and Grossman’s promises making it seem like a trivial boy-girl thing is too coarse. This whole verse is definitely meant to hurt while both Edie and Warhol will understand the full import.
And then the chorus which will be used three times for maximum pain:
But sooner or later, one of us must know
You just did what you were supposed to do
Sooner or later one of us must know
That I really did try to get close to you.
The key line here is that ‘I really did try to get close to you.’ At The Kettle Of Fish Edie murmured to Dylan that no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t get close to him. ‘Who?’ asked Dylan. ‘Andy.’ Edie replied. Dylan apparently took that as a rebuff although he was already married to Sara and would soon spawn a host of children on her.
I quote the second verse in its entirety:
I couldn’t see what you could show me
Your scarf had kept your mouth well hid
I couldn’t see how you could know me
But you said you knew me and I believed you did.
When you whispered in my ear
And asked me if I was leavin’ with you or her
I didn’t realize just what I did hear
I didn’t realize how young you were.
Apparently Edie didn’t realize that she was just a rainy day woman. While it’s a matter of interpretation I assume that Edie confronted Dylan with the fact of his marriage to Sara and naively asked if he were going to dump Sara for herself. Dylan was incredulous, astonished by her request, he thought she was more sophisticated than that, after all, a rainy day woman….
Rainy Day Woman is a very mocking put down of women as the lead off song and theme setter of the album titled Blonde On Blonde. Perhaps the title might be interpreted as Woman On or After Woman with Rainy Day Women establishing the theme. The song limits the range of women to two- numbers 12 and 35. Why 12, why 35? Who are they? One has to be Edie. If one does a little number manipulation a la Freud, in sequence the numbers add up to 11 which in turn adds up to 2. Two women. Seven come eleven? Three and eight, twelve and thirty-five added separately- three for male, eight for female. Twelve subtracted from thirty-five is twenty-three, Edie’s age. Just guessing.
As Sara is the only other identifiable woman in the lyrics the two women must be Edie and Sara. Let me venture the guess that all women are rainy day women for Dylan. Thus once Sara had borne his offspring fullfilling a religious obligation Dylan took seriously he drove her away oblivious to the pain and suffering he was causing or perhaps he was continuing to punish mother surrogates.
Dylan was drugged and crazed while he was writing this so this is a reflection of deep subconscious drives.
The final lyric begins:
I couldn’t see when it started snowin’
Your voice was all I heard
Snowin’ either refers to a snow job by Edie so he was blinded by light hearing only her words or drugs of some sort, either amphetamines or cocaine.
I couldn’t see where you were goin’
But you said you knew an’ I took your word.
Once again Dylan shifts the full responsibility from himself and Grossman to Edie. He implies that she was leading him on rather than vice versa. This when it was clear to everyone that he and Grossman were promising her the moon in the attempt to pry her loose from Warhol.
And then you told me later, as I apologized
That you were just kiddin’ me, you weren’t really from the farm
An’ I told you as you clawed out my eyes
That I never really meant t’ do you any harm
Well, Dylan’s intents were pure, he says, but the results were deplorable; Edie was done harm by Dylan’s actions and the harm was deep and lasting, well beyond any hypocritical apologies. If the lines are to be believed Edie’s reaction was quite violent. As she was a total amphetamine addict her reaction would be quite plausible.
And then Dylan mockingly closes with his ‘whadaya goin’ to do about it line’- I really did try to get close to you.
As this period clears up for me I suspect that the whole of Blonde On Blonde is concerned with this Edie, Andy/Dylan duel. Blonde On Blonde itself then may refer to the silver hair of both Edie and Andy.
It should be clear that Dylan’s motorcycle fall was no accident. In Exhuming Bob 23b: Bob, Andy and Edie I hypothesize that Dylan’s bike was rigged by the Factory crowd. Dylan survived with minimal damage. For his own sins Warhol was shot a couple years later but he survived that one too. Edie died a physical wreck in 1971.
What goes around comes around as they used to say.