Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Lady Barbara Drops In
As always ERB is the consummate multi-culturalist both ethnic and social. Barbara is the daughter of the English Lord Whimsey, Smith is a college professor, Capietro is an Italian Communist renegade, Stabutch is a Russian Communist, the Midianites represent an ancient religious culture derived from the Jewish, Tarzan is Tarzan of Africa and Lord Passmore of England and then we have a cast of animal characters including a tribe of baboons who interact with Tarzan on the cultural level. All are represented as being culturally distinct. ERB is more of a right multi-culturalist than a left.
If a culture is in fact a culture it must be distinct or it couldn’t qualify as a culture. To be of the French culture there must be characteristics that can be identified as specifically French. Else, why call yourself French? The Left multi-culturalists need to define their terms a little better. They come across as rather shabby intellectually.
Then, of the hundreds, probably thousands of cultures, are they all to be considered equal? For instance is it considered desirable to be of the Prison culture? Pedophile culture? No, of course not; not all cultures are equally beneficial. Each culture must be analyzed on its own merits and faults, completely analyzed by objective analysts. No particular culture need be nor can be taken at its own evaluation. Obviously many cultures are to be avoided completely. Others should be isolated or quarantined. Which is which can only be determined by an analysis of its positive contributions. The results of analysis can be unkind; the truth frequently hurts. As the French say: C’est la vie.
In his analysis of group cultures ERB does draw conclusions. There’s no doubt he thinks that the Communist culture is a negative to be avoided. Thus Zveri in Invincible was ignominiously defeated by Tarzan as Stabutch will be in Triumphant.
In almost every case ERB is very hard on religious cultures as he will be in this novel. Is he unjust or is the truth about religion just too hard for devotees to bear? Everyone will have their own opinion while I have made my position abundantly clear: the religious consciousness is outdated, having been surpassed by the vastly superior Scientific Consciousness. I won’t be changing my mind soon.
Lady Barbara Collis is about to parachute into a culture two thousand years in the past. ERB commits a major gaffe here in the opening pages of his novel. Lady Barbara is attempting a non-stop flight of 7500 miles in a 1930 plane, clearly impossible. Rather than taking a direct route up the Nile she is lost several hundreds of miles to the East over Ethiopia and, get this, already running on empty.
I don’t know who calculated her fuel needs but I should imagine he would be looking for a new occupation. But, that doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story any more than the donut atmosphere of Poloda in Beyond The Farthest Star. Who knows what goes on beyond the farthest star. They probably even suspend the laws of gravity.
There Lady Barbara is, way up there without the means of propulsion. she does the manly thing: she jumps out. This is real Twilight Zone stuff; little does she know she will leave the twentieth century and land in 80 AD or so. The Land Of Midian has been frozen in time for the last two millennia.
The Midians assembled within the walls of their crater hear the drone of the airplane, which sound they are unable to identify and then to their amazed eyes a little white cloud appears through the mist with a human form dangling below it. To their religiously distorted senses it must be the Angel of the Lord.
Thus we have a nice confrontation between two different cultures. The modern scientific of Lady Barbara and the ancient religious culture of the Midians. The Midians could stand as a metaphor of the religions of Burroughs’ day which, not unlike the Midians, were roooted in a culture two thousand years old and of a different and inferior consciousness. Not only had the Scopes trial recently ended but the sensatinal affair of Aimee Semple Mcpherson was still fairly warm, plus ERB had recently read Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry. That novel did not sit well with ERB nor does it sit well with me. Burt Lancaster’s movie Elmer Gantry, by the way, is totally dissimilar to the Gantry of the book.
According to ERBzine Burroughs took offence at Elmer Gantry, deploring Lewis’ habit of ridiculing
and demeaning people rather than presenting the story as entertainment. Lewis does ridicule and belittle every character in his book in a detestable holier than thou manner which is very annoying. Burroughs turns the story around and disparages practices which I suppose makes it entertainment. For instance both the fictional Gantry and the real life Mcpherson are what are known in military slang as ‘Sky Pilots.’ Thus there is a certain amount of humor in Lady Barbara as an angel of the lord sky piloting into the religious Land of Midian.
When the Midianites drown a young woman while dragooning her, Lady Barbara, after the manner of Mcpherson, brings her back to life by ‘a laying on of hands’, that is artificial respiration. Clever of ERB. It will be remembered tha Mcpherson had a roomful of crutches and wheelchairs from people she had supposedly cured by a laying on of hands. I have no idea how many readers might have gotten the joke when the novel was released but there the joke is if you care to look for it.
So we have the Scopes Trial, Aimee Semple Mcpherson and Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry all rolled up in a series of jokes ‘highly fictionized.’ There is probably more to be found if one could steep
oneself in the ephemeral culture of the time.
As mentioned, Lady Barbara parachutes through two thousand years of time to find herself among a Pauline Christian sect that hadn’t changed one iota since c. 80 A.D. The emphais on Pauline Christianity is important. At about this time ERB was becoming involved with the Vedantist mission in Hollywood so discussions of early Christianity may possibly have made an impression on him. Paul was, of course, a Jew who adapted the Jewish Christian sect for dissemination among the Gentiles. The Catholic Church was founded on Sts. Peter and Paul while the medieval Knights Templar based their Christianity on the Gospel of John thus being Johannites. There was a cultural divide between the Church and the Templars which did necessitate action no less than between the Paulites and the Arians. ERB’s emphasis is intended to indicate the Jewish origins of the Midianites.
It will be remembered that Angustus was a Jewish Christian who arrived in company with a Nordic slave girl. So for two thousand years the Midianites have been inbreeding. ERB is considering the results of inbreeding, as a year later he will write Pirate Blood that deals with the famously inbred Jukes family. Pirate Blood is perhaps his most despairing story as his mind tips toward Lamarckian evolution in an apparent attempt to explain to himself why he can’t resolve his psychological problems.
Thus the genetic and Lamarckian traits of Angustus and the slave girl have been passed down through approximately seventy generations. Angustus’ genes have predominated while those of the slave girl appear occasionally in sports.
Angustus was characterized by a huge nose that was an actual deformity, a chinless face and epilepsy. Thus if one imagines this, Lady Barbara is confronted by a group of people with huge noses covering most of their faces with no chins, the throat sweeping back from just under the lips and writhing on the ground in epileptic fits.
There can be no mistaking that ERB is caricaturing the Jews. Angustus was a Jew and he was a Pauline Christian. As a Christian, ERB disguises his Jewish nationality. The leader of hte Midianites, Abraham the son of Abraham certainly puts the Midianites into a Jewish context, as does the fact that they consider themselves the ‘chosen people.’ Ludicrous enough from their physical description.
ERB’s caricature is one that was prevalent when he was a young man, while one that couldn’t be missed by the gentlemen of the ADL/AJC and MGM. They would neither forgive nor forget. In fact Tarzan would be potrayed in The New Adventures Of Tarzan as chinless and with a huge nose. While Herman Brix/Bruce Bennet had neither a bulbous nose nor was chinless the effect was achieved through photographic lighting and shadowing. Either that or the film has deteriorated through time to achieve that effect. (DVD, The New Adventures Of Tarzan, Alpha Home Entertainment, www.oldies.com )
If you think there isn’t a war going on here, look more closely.
Even though of Jewish descent, the Midianites are Christians, but of the most primitive stripe; they make sects like the Nazarenes look liberal. Their minds are uncompromisingly dark. The girl who was dragooned was sentenced to death for smiling. Joy was considered of the devil in Midian. Here ERB characterized a number of Christian sects correctly.
Among the people who greeted Lady Barbara was a genetic sport who harked back physically and mentally to the original slave girl. She is Jezebel. She and Lady Barbara are immediately attracted to each other by their beauty. The attractive and intelligent Midianites were invariably fair haired and blue eyed while the unattractive ones were dark haired, brown eyed and stupid. Little doubt that the AJC/ADL would consider the book ‘racist.’
Jezebel is an interesting character in that she is a little more than light headed. She is governed entirely by surface appearances. As in Lion Man where the hybrids were expelled from Henry’s village, so the more attractive males were exiled to the other side of the crater. Obviously we have an example of eugenics here. They were more warlike than the Midianites occasionally raiding them. Jezebel remarks that they are so good looking she hopes they will capture her. When the Midianites honor ‘the angel’ with her own cave and offering of food, Jezebel is depicted laying back eating grapes like a spoiled young thing with a box of bon-bons. ERB later describes her as a Golden Girl which relates her to Balza of Lion Man and hence to Florence.
Whatever ERB tells himself about Florence in his conscious mind his depiction of her in his unconscious life seems to be quite different.
At first Lady Barbara is treated quite well but familiarity breeds contempt. Abraham Ben Abraham begins to suspect her divinity. Even the miracle of the laying on of hands that restored the girl to life being no less a miracle than the raising of Lazarus cannot dissuade Abe Ben Abe from testing Lady Barbara. Thus she too is dragooned but instead of being dunked three times she is thrown into the lake wrapped in a net with the net weighted. Here is proof positive that ERB read Dumas’ The Count Of Monte Cristo. The scene replicated Dantes being thrown into the sea from the Chateau d’If.
Lady Barbara has her handy jackknife so that she is able to cut her way free. Thus we leave her here crawling gaspingly ashore while we check in on Lafayette Smith and Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick.
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
Over many years I have searched for the point where myth and science join. It was clear to me for a long time that the origins of science had their deep roots in a particular myth, that of invariance. The Greeks as early as the 7th century B.C. spoke of the quest of their first sages as the problem of the One and the Many, sometimes describing the wild fecundity of nature as the way in which the Many could be educed from the One, sometimes seeing the Many as the unsubstantial variations being played on the One. The oracular sayings of Heraclitus the Obscure do nothing but illustrate with shimmering paradoxes the illusory quality of “things” in flux as they were wrung from the central intuition of society.
Before him Anaximander had announced also oracularly, that the cause of things being born and perishing is their injustice to each other in the order of time, “as they meet,” he said, for they are bound to atone forever for their mutual injustices. This was enough to make of Anaximander the acknowledged father of physical science, for the accent is on the “Many.” But it was true science after a fashion.
Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigaing The Origins Of Human
Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth, p. viii,
Giorgio de Santillana, 1969
The five Tarzan novels from Invincible to Lion Man form a unique quintet within the oeuvre. Together they are just shy of twenty-five percent of the twenty-one Tarzan novels published during Burroughs’ lifetime. If one excludes the late and unrelated Foreign Legion they are a fourth of the series. Twenty-five percent within four years. One might well ask what was going on in Burroughs’ life during these momentous four years.
With the possible exception of City Of Gold all the novels deal openly with recognizable current events. Invincible deals with the Soviet Communist menace which is continued as one of the themes of Triumphant. The mainspring of Triumphant is Cecil Rhodes’ old dream of a Cape to Cairo route. In this instance realized, as improbable as it might have seemed to Rhodes, as an air route. The hope of the air route was first explored in 1918 and was about to be realized shortly after Burroughs wrote this book.
ERB also throws in a bit about Chicago hoodlumism with a tip of the hat to Al Capone.
Tarzan And The Leopard Men deals with the African Leopard Cult that was in the news at the time. City of Gold is about ERB’s marital problems while Tarzan And The Lion Man concerns the recent and sensational MGM expedition to Africa to film Trader Horn. Both before and after these novels Burroughs wrote pure, well, almost pure fantasy.
The reason for the change isn’t clear; however, the thirties mark another change in novelistic styles so Burroughs may have been adapting to new circumstances. If so it was the third stylistic change he was successfully meeting although it would be his last. He had melded a turn-of-the-century style of the teens when he began writing, then adapting his style to that of the Jazz Age of the twenties. After a good start in the thirties the ground slipped from beneath his feet with his style becoming somewhat dated. By the forties he was finished although Foreign Legion makes a game shot at a stylistic evolution.
Perhaps more importantly, ERB changed because he wanted to be taken as a serious writer. He was simply tired of being known as an ignorant boob writing from the seat of his pants. For all the seeming frivolity of his fantasy themes they are based on very solid scientific and knowledgeable themes. They are imbued with an intense mythological acumen, while presenting a new mythology for the current age. They do deal with classical themes such as the One and the Many. Burroughs tried to organize experience into a new mthological structure which was desperately needed then and no less today.
Consider Giorgio de Santillana again:
Today’s children, that impassive posterity to whom all reverence is due, know where to look for myths, in animal life in the Jungle Books. In the stories of Lassie and Flipper, where innocence is unassailable, in Western adventures arranged by grown ups for the protection of law and order. Much of the rest sedulously built up by mass media is modern prejudice and delusion, like the glamour of royalty, or the perfection of super detergents and cosmetics; super-stitio, leftovers. So one might be tempted to say. Actually however, no particle of myth is left over, and we have to do only with a deliberate lie about the human condition. Tolkien’s efforts at reviving the genre, whatever talent employed, carry as much conviction as the traditional three dollar bill.
Quite right. Burroughs had the handle on true mythology while being able to create the governing myth of the Aquarian Age. Triumphant is laden with myth. In truth Burroughs is not the light-headed, simple-minded writer that even his most devoted fans and admirers want to think him. He doesn’t want to parade his knowledge or get involved in abstruse discussions; he is writing seeming pure action novels, The Master Of Adventure, as his fans like to say, for a pulp magazine audience that primarily wanted to be thrilled. One may criticize Burroughs for it but he is never short on thrills or spectacular effects. One may guffaw at some of his heroes’ exploits as I surely do but your eyes are still popping. There’s a lot more under the seeming simplicity. Much of it would have been recognized at the time giving the ‘knowing’ reader the satisfaction of being in on what ERB was really talking about but as the topicality faded away the succeeding generations of readers could see only the action.
The first sentence of the preceding novel, Invincible, explains ERB’s approach:
I am no historian or chronicler of facts, and furthermore, I hold a very definite conviction that there are certain subjects which fiction writers should leave alone, foremost of which are politics and religion. However, it seems to me not unethical to pirate an idea occasionally from one or the other, provided that the subject be handled in such a way as to impart a definite impression of fictionizing.
In this series of five novels in a bid to be taken seriously, perhaps rather than conceal his knowledge by a ‘definite impression of fictionizing’ he was making a bid for intellectual recognition by ‘exposing’ his serious interests to some extent.
The background of Triumphant is solidly based historically and in current events. ERB was always seriously interested in aviation. Indeed, his life as an adult would span the first lift off at Kitty Hawk to supersonic jet flight over a period of a mere forty years. That might do something to your mind. the concept of speed changed in his lifetime from Barney ‘A mile a minute’ Oldfield to a fifteen mile a minute jet fighter plane.
Commercial flight as we know it today was non-existent in 1930. The DC3 was still five years distant. A flight from Cairo to Capetown involved several layovers and even train trips if air connections were not established between certain points. Yet, such a route was a major advance while being exciting news. Ya gotta remember making a crystal radio set at home was still a substantial achievement marking one as an electrical wizard. At the same time television was on the horizon, nearly a reality. In such a flight Burroughs had a sure fire topic.
He combines elements of an earlier 1918 attempt and the establishment of an air route at the time of writing. In 1918 shortly after the War ended the British got right on realizing the hope of a Cape to Cairo dream. Great Britain had acquired the German African colonies as part of the Versailles Treaty so that they were then in control of a continguous corridor through East Africa. The acquisition of Tanganyika (Tanzania) filled the gap.
Four separate pilots set out from Cairo for the Cape. The attempt was not entirely successful, but by 1932 it was. Burroughs then selects as his imaginary pilot Lady Barbara Collis, an English aviatrix on a solo flight. she seems to be somewhat off her course flying over Ethiopia but then that might be expected.
The way Burroughs’ mind worked he usually has real models for these roles if you can figure them out. In this case I think Lady Barbara incorporates three different women. The only significan aviatrix I can locate is Amelia Earhart. She became in 1928 the first woman to fly the Atlantic. She was part of a three-man crew but gained notoriety. In 1930-31 she was preparing for a solo Atlantic flight a la Charles Lindbergh from Labrador to Paris. She did cross the Atlantic but was forced down in an Irish cow pasture not reaching Paris. That was after the book was written so ERB would be relying on her 1928 flight and preparations for the solo flight.
A second personality conflated with Lady Barbara may have been the famous evangelist and founder of the Four Square Church, Aimee Semple McPherson. I have a framed picture of McPherson in my collection. Evangelism may also have been on Burroughs’ mind from his recent reading of Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis. According to ERBzine Burroughs objected to Lewis’ forcing his atheism on the reader. Here one of his purposes may have been to show Lewis how it’s done.
Aimee Semple McPherson hit LA at about the same time as Burroughs.
By 1923 she was so popular she opened her 5000 seat Angelus Temple while beginning to broadcast over KSFG-K Four Square Gospel. And then a the height of her fame on May 18, 1926 she vanished after swimming in the Pacific. This and the following events during which several people died created a sensation no one in the country, and certainly LA, could miss. Not an ERB who was passionately interested in religion anyway. One wonders if he visited the Angelus Temple for Sunday services.
Aimee turned up in Mexico where she said she had been held captive after being abducted. But, apparently the pressures of success had been too much for her and she attempted escape into sex and a love tryst, which is a normal psychological reaction to unbearable stress as ERB himself was discovering. The disappearance and subseqauent events had continued into 1927 and 1928 so that ERB’s capacious mind was filled with the wonder of it all. Thus Lady Barbara disappears during the flight onto the mystery escarpment to reappear months later on the arm of Lafayette Smith. Same story. I think it likely ERB was thinking of both women while a third influence is almost certainly Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer and creator of Lord Peter Whimsey. Burroughs hits at it by mentioning that the story does not concern Lord Wimsey but does concern his daughter, Barbara Collis. This probably refers to Dorothy Sayers and her creation, Peter Wimsey. When ERB admired a writer he wrote them into the story somehow. He was generous that way.
And then there is Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick of the Chicago Underworld. His name indicates he is Irish so he may be supposed to be associated with Dion O’ Bannion’s gang rather than Capone and the incipient Outfit. ERB privides an intriguing if overly sympathetic portrait of the gangster. One wonders if he had met models at this time.
In connection with Patrick, which begins an interest in organized crime that extends through Swords Of Mars and the its Guild of Assassins, Murder Inc. was established at this time so that by the date of 1933 it would seem that ERB brought Murder Inc. into the corpus.
Then there is LaFayette Smith himself. Named after General Lafayette of Revolutionary War fame and recently brought to mind by General Patton who said, as he stepped foot on French soil, ‘Lafayette, we are here.’ The young geology professor may be be taken as an alter ego of Burroughs himself as he taught geology at the MMA. Sort of the man Burroughs might have been had he the self-discipline to have gone to college. ERB apparently sincerely regretted he had not gotten a degree as a number of his alter egos are college graduates, such as the Old Timer of Leopard Men who graduated from his brothers’ alma mater, Yale.
As noted Burroughs had taught geology as an instructor at the Michigan Military Academy. He was still following the subject closely as he grouses that geologists had as many opinions each about as accurate as the weather forecasters. Still, knowledge was developing at a break neck pace that would lead to our substantailly complete knowledge of today. It’s too bad that ERB couldn’t have held on to 1965 or so. A man of his intellect would have seen things.
Burroughs not only combines all these threads and strands but in his prologue he reaches for his most daring concept yet. It’s only a page so let’s look at it closely. The opening sentences:
Time is a warp of the tapestry which is life. It is eternal, constant, unchanging. But the woof is gathered from the four corners of the earth and the twenty-eight seas and out of the air and the minds of men by that master artist, Fate, as she weaves the design that is never finished.
A thread here, a thread from there, another from out of the past that has waited years for the companion thread without which the picture must be incomplete.
But Fate is patient. She waits a hundred or a thousand years to bring together two strands of thread whose union is essential to the fabrication of her tapestry, to the composition of the design that was without beginning and is without end.
That attitude informs all of Burroughs’ work; a study of the One and Many, and is the reason I am such an admirer. Given Burroughs Classical background that apparently made such a profound impression on him one is reminded of Penelope at her web as well as the three Greek mythological Fates themselves- the three daughters of Night– Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.
Clotho the spinner, Lachesis the apportioner, Atropos who cuts the string that ends the web and life.
And then Burroughs begins to indicate how events occurring thousands of years previously would provide the strands of time to bring his story together into a recognizable pattern, the warp of the web, while th woof is the improbable bringing together of such disparate persons as Tarzan, Gunner Patrick, Lafe Smith, Lady Barbara and Jezebel, ERB’s prophetically named first Golden Girl. Florence is into the picture.
The ancient protagonist is a disciple of Paul of Tarsus, Angustus of Israel. At the death of Paul in Rome the paranoid Angustus decides to flee into the Heart of Darkness, Africa. Along the way he picks up a Nordic slave girl who will bring in ERB’s evolutionary theme. Then up the Nile into the Heart of Darkness.
In this story, all roads lead to Midian in the crater of an extinct Ethiopian volcano. In his way ERB who speaks frequently of coincidence denies the concept in favor of Fate the Inexorable. As Freud would say, there is no coincidence– one thing leads to another. Once set in motion the ball may be deflected but it cannot be stopped except by the cessation of Time– the non-existent but all controlling element.
Part two follows.
July 23, 2011
Edie Sedgwick: Maid Of Constant Sorrow
We are now at the beginning of June 1966. Life was careening very fast for Edie, Andy and Bob. Oddly enough all three were headed for life threatening experiences. The first to take a hit was Dylan. He had his famous spill from his motorcycle in July of that summer. His back wheel locked up sending him flying over the handlebars. It has never been made clear how badly he was hurt or if he was even hurt at all but he was observed in a neck brace so a report that he had a cracked vertebra in his neck may be accurate. He may have come within an ace then of being paralyzed from the neck down or killed.
It seems to me unlikely that the rear wheel accidentally locked up. As Dylan was one whose conduct from, say, ‘63 to ‘66 should have made him a lot of enemies it seems likely that someone was seeking revenge. There are strong indications if not evidence that Andy Warhol was the most likely candidate.
Andy was not one to wear his heart on his sleeve but my thinking after reading extensively and thinking deeply is that in his own way Andy was deeply in love with Edie. Given his homosexuality there was apparently no way for him to express his feelings to her. Edie on her part remarked to Dylan that she had really tried to get close to Andy. While Andy strove to appear indifferent he expressed his resentment at David Weisman and his movie Ciao Manhattan that exploited Edie’s fame while destroying whatever was left of her reputation.
At the same time too he resented Dylan for purloining Edie and then discarding her. Andy was controlled by the notion that there was no stopping a person from following their bent or as he put it: How do you stop someone from doing what they want to do. Indeed, all one can do is step out of the way and let them do it. Thus, while the attitude is callous he was heard to remark that if Edie was going to commit suicide he hoped that she let him film it. The logic is not unreasonable but the attitude comes across cold.
As Edie seemed intent on going with Dylan Andy felt that there was no way to stop her. It never occurred to him that he himself was exploiting her by using her in his movies. As he saw it he was creating avenues to success for his people and it was up to them to create their own opportunities from that fame. Not too much different than he was doing for himself. It apparently never occurred to him that none of his people had the talent to do anything on their own although some did try.
He does not seem to have been aware that what was fame for him was mere notoriety for them. He had merely created a clubhouse for drugged out buffoons. Thus when things began to fall apart in mid-’66 when the mise en scene began to be broken up by Andy’s trip to Hollywood his entourage was merely dispersed with no direction home.
The case with Ondine was as pathetic as that with Edie. With the accession of Paul Morrissey and Fred Hughes who encouraged Andy to drop the whole A-head and Silver Factory crowd which they correctly saw as a liability the Silver Factory’s days were numbered. This was made easier by the end of ‘67 when Warhol was advised that his lease would not be renewed. Everyone was told there would be no place for them at the new quarters. The Factory building was subsequently torn down in 1969 to make room for the Dag Hammerskjold project.
For Ondine who was completely burned out by the amphetamines this was disastrous. He ended up at the post office for a while then tried to capitalize on his notoriety by stealing a film in which he starred from Andy trying to make money by exhibiting it while lecturing on his Factory days. He was apparently pathetic while Andy turned his back on him without a thought.
The same was true of Gerard Malanga who was dumped in 1967. Andy’s treatment of this most competent and valuable assistant is a real blot on his record. Malanga was a man of some talent and ability. I don’t think much of poetry but Malanga has a position in the NYC poetry scene. He introduced Andy into a milieu beneficial to him that he would not have known otherwise.
At a time when Andy was turning his art in the direction of multiple copies, essentially posters, Malanga who was knowledgeable in silk screening taught Andy the process. I am of the opinion that Gerard was essentially a collaborator in Warhol’s art. He assisted in the screening contributing skill and know how while undoubtedly making good suggestions. Of course he followed Andy’s lead. All this time he was paid only the minimum wage so, in a sense, he sacrificed a half dozen of his most valuable years for little recompense and as it turned out nothing in the way of thanks. In 1967 he went to Italy in an attempt to further his fortunes. While there he ran out of money having no way to pay his fare home. Andy refused his pleas for help, so Gerard who was completely familiar with Andy’s process of selecting photographs, such as the Presleys, selected a photo of Che Guevara and screened a few copies representing them as genuine Warhols. From my point of view they were authentic Warhols produced without the Master’s hand but still, perhaps, genuine.
When art authorities checked with Warhol, Andy dropped the ball. He should have confirmed them as no one could tell the difference and rescued Gerard. Instead he made Gerard guilty of art fraud which gave Gerard some very trying moments with the Italian authorities. Gerard made it back to New York but now having served as Warhol’s apprentice during his twenties, at thirty he had no marketable skills while being essentially a convicted criminal. Having no other recourse and some rights in my estimation, he expropriated, as the Leftist criminals used to say, some of Andy’s multiples and sold them. In a way in Andy’s mind this acknowledged his primacy and he didn’t press charges but he did disavow authentic prints as genuine.
We now move to ‘68, Andy under the influence of Morrissey and Hughes while forced to change quarters as his former space was condemned, disavowed the whole former Factory crowd telling them to get lost, that they were no longer welcome at the new Factory.
You can’t do this without making a large number of enemies. Andy just before his shooting was not so popular a fellow. And we are not quite there yet.
Edie going into the last half of ‘66 and into ‘67 was in dire straits. She was now completely unable to function without amphetamines. Cut off from all sources of income she was forced into thievery to support her habit. She was caught and did time. She was to spend more time at public mental hospitals that were quite unlike the posh Silver Hill of Connecticut. One can only guess the effect this disastrous series of events, a series with no seeming end, had on her psychology. Or perhaps we can get a glimmer from the biker group she hung out when she returned to Santa Barbara after the stunning humiliation of Ciao Manhattan. There she became a biker chick offering herself to all comers for a dose of drugs. Certainly her self-respect had been obliterated. Certainly she no longer thought she had any value as a human being. The mind can only be battered so much before it gives way. The men in her life had treated her shamefully, her father, Fuzzy, Warhol and Dylan as well as her evil mentor, Chuck Wein.
If, as claimed in the movie Factory Girl, her father had sexual relations with her as a young girl then his obligations extended much further than a paltry allowance that he cut off . Then he is morally liable for her degradation. If as Warhol thought there was no way to stop someone from doing what they want to do, then he was under no obligation to provide the ways and means. In all probability in the environment of NYC of the early and mid-sixties Edie would have drifted into amphetamines anyway. Indeed, as Andy said, Edie was a regular patron of the feel good doctor, Roberts.
Roberts was a licensed physician as was that other chief Dr. Feelgood, Max Jacobson. Doesn’t society have to obligation to protect its citizens from charlatans and quacks? Didn’t they throw some poor innocent Jim Bakker in jail because they disliked his religion? Didn’t society pursue hapless marijuana smokers and criminalize them by the thousands? Can the doctors actually claim they didn’t know the deleterious effects of amphetamines when they had the example of the most notorious amphetamine user ever, Adolf Hitler, before them?
Even if they tried they were still were medical malpractitioners and criminally liable. Read this quote from Edie by Jean Stein for an account of these doctors’ methods and practices. This is absolutely terrifying. There is a problem with Stein and Plimpton however. Apparently there was no Dr. Charles Roberts; Roberts is a name substituted by Stein to ‘protect’ the real doctor, who in any event would likely have been discredited c. 1968 when the Dr. Feelgoods were finally discountenanced. Also there may be confusion with the Dr. Robert, without an ‘s’ of the Beatles’ song. He was apparently Dr. Robert Feynman, a sixty year old man who was discredited in 1968. In any event since Stein and Plimpton didn’t announce the name change their whole history of Edie is compromised more than somewhat. Who knows what edits the two authors made. To quote the account, p.261, Edie:
Joel Schmacher reporting:
I’ll give a description of what it was like to go to Dr. Roberts. The time is two-thirty in the afternoon. I’m going back for my second shot of the day. I open the door. There are twenty-five people in the waiting room; businessmen, beautiful teenagers on the floor with long hair playing guitars, pregnant women with babies in their arms, designers, actors, models, record people, freaks, non-freaks…waiting. Everyone is waiting for a shot, so the tension in the office is beyond belief.
Lucky you, being a special Dr. Roberts person who can whip right in without waiting. Naturally there’s a terrible resentful, tense moment as you rush by because you’re going to get your shot.
You attack one of the nurses. By that I mean you grab her and say, “Listen, Susan! Give me a shot!” You’re in the corridor with your pants half off, ready to get the shot in your rear. Meanwhile Dr. Roberts comes floating by. Dr. Roberts has had a few shots already, right? So in the middle of this corridor he decides to tell you his complete plan to rejuvenate the entire earth. It’s a thirteen part plan, but he has lots of time to tell it to you, and as the shots start to work-Susan having given it to you- you have lots of time to listen.
In Dr. Roberts’s room would be Edie…so thin that she cannot be given her shots standing up; she has to lie down on her stomach. It was a big shot- all those vitamins, niacin, methedrine. God knows what else- for a little girl she has to take it lying down.
Meanwhile everyone who’s back in the corridor for the second or third time that day complains that the shots they received that morning haven’t worked. Out in the waiting room you can hear the people complaining that they haven’t even received their first shot yet.
And Dr. Roberts is still going on. In the middle of his thirteen-part plan he decides to tell you about a movie he saw on television…in detail. You however, are telling him your ideas for whatever you are going to do. But then Dr. Roberts begins to describe his idea for a plastic Kabuki house. Someone else is showing his sketches for redesigning the Boeing 707 with a psychedelic interior. Big doings at Dr. Roberts all the time.
Now you decide to go back out through the waiting room, right? Now you have all the time in the world. Life is a breeze. You’ve used the sun lamp, I mean, you were in a great rush when you came in; now, finally, you decide you’ll leave.
But there in the room are all these people who are not Dr. Roberts special people and who still haven’t been served. They’re there to spend as much money as you have, but they’re not part of the “in” crowd. So they’re drifting off into craziness because they haven’t gotten their shots. A couple of people are wandering around…their poor systems are so riddled with the methedrine they got half an hour ago they feel is not working that they’ve come back for what Dr. Roberts call “the booster.” The basic Dr. Roberts shot goes for from ten dollars to fifteen dollars. As your resistance to the drug gets to the point of diminishing returns, you move on up. There is a big shot for twenty-five dollars, and if it doesn’t work you go right back and get the “the booster’ for five dollars. That’s what some of these poor people are doing- standing out there waiting for the booster. But you …you are flying high, having just had your twenty-five dollar special, and you walk out ino the outer office and say: “Hi, Oh, hi! What a beautiful sweater! Gee you look wonderful! How are you? Oh, hi! Isn’t it wonderful to see you! What’s happening?”
Before leaving, I’d often go and find Edie in Dr. Roberts’ sauna. If we’d been up all night on drugs, the sauna and steam-bath were wonderful things. We’d go and walk for blocks and blocks…just be together, because we didn’t know what we were saying half the time.
The speed thing was so wonderful because everyone was walking around scared to death…scared because they couldn’t sustain the pace. And so these shots from Dr. Roberts and all those other speed doctors gave you a false sense of being together. You cold face everybody when you went out at night. You could dance all night. It was like “the answer.” Nobody knew much about speed in those days.
Once Edie’s mother came to Dr. Roberts! I remember she was on crutches. She looked like Betty Crocker-gray hair with a little hairnet, a blue print dress, and little glasses. She looked like a librarian from the Mid-west standing next to Edie with her cut-off blond hair with the dark roots, thigh-high boots, and mini-skirt, and a kind of chubby fur jacket that looked like it was made out of old cocker spaniels. There they were- the two of them. Mrs. Sedgwick had come to see if Dr. Roberts was taking good care of her little girl…and I guess the parents paid for her treatment. It cost a lot for those shots.
I’m not sure I trust Joel’s memories but that is sure good speed freak talk. Love it. And then there’s this from Cherry Vanilla, p. 265:
I became like an acid queen. I loved it. My looks got crazier and crazier. I started getting into things like pink wigs, teasing them up to make them real big and like bubbles. I’d wear goggle glasses and real crazy make-up: spidery lashes and white lips, and micro-minis. I saw a micro-mini on Edie and immediately started cutting everything off. Kenneth Jay Lane earrings. Big Robert Indiana LOVE earrings, giant love paintings on my ears. Little bikini undies, a band around the top; and we made these silver dresses that were just silver strings hanging on us. I was surrounded by a lot of gay boys in designing and decorating who would always give me a hand in pulling some look together. I would go out half-naked with see through things. You took a scarf and wrapped it around you and thought you were dressed.
I gave Dr. Roberts a shot once. In the ass, in his office about five o’ clock in the morning. I had been playing records at Aux Puce- I was the disc jockey there- and he had come around to visit and said, “If you come back to my office with me, I’ll give you a shot.” It was a freebie, which was nice because those shots were not cheap.
I really got into having a needle in my ass. Just the feeling of it. You get the shot, then this taste in your mouth, and you get a rush and you knew you were getting high. It was all very sexual in a way, and very “in” and social and stylish to do it. So I went back to his office with him and I gave him one and he gave me one.
I don’t know what he shot me up with, but it was something I had certainly never had before. I was really very numbed. Maybe it was cocaine. Sometimes he would shoot you with LSD. You never knew what he was going to shoot you with. So we got involved in a rather heavy sex encounter.
All of a sudden there was blood everywhere. I was bleeding like crazy. He laughed and said, “Oh, I think you should go and see a doctor.” Very bizarre. I started freaking out. I thought, “Oh, my God, this man has done something to me.. He’s killed me. I’m going to die here in his office, all shot up with drugs, and it’s going to be a disgrace and terrible.” I told him I had to get out. He said, “No, no, you can’t leave. I’ll fix you. I’ll give you a shot.” I said, “No, no, no more shots!” I got dressed. I never thought he was going to let me out. Perhaps he was scared I would go to the police.
When I did get out, I ran around the corner to Aux Puces. Some of the staff used to hang out there very late at night taking LSD. Sure enough, they were there. We called doctors. We couldn’t get anybody. Then the bleeding began to subside suddenly- about seven in the morning. I never actually knew what happened. I had been cut inside- scratched with something, fingernails or jewelry…probably by accident. I think we both just got carried away.
Exciting times. And finally we have this from Edie. This is a transcript from Ciao Manhattan.
It’s hard to choose between the climactic ecstasies of speed and cocaine. They’re similar. Oh, they are so fabulous. That fabulous sexual exhilaration. Which is better, coke or speed?” It’s hard to choose. The purest speed, the purest coke, and sex is a deadlock.
Speeding and booze. That gets funny. You get chattering at about fifty miles an hour over the downdraft, and booze kind of cools it. It can get very funny. Utterly ridiculous. It’s a good combination for a party. Not for an orgy, though.
Speedball! Speed and heroin. That was the first time I had a shot in each arm. Closed my eyes. Opened my arms. Closed my fists, and jab, jab. A shot of cocaine and speed, and a shot of heroin. Stripped off all my clothes, leapt downstairs, and ran out on Park Avenue and two blocks down it before my friends caught me. Naked. Naked as a lima bean. A speedball is from another world. It’s a little bit dangerous. Pure coke, pure speed, and pure sex. Wow! The ultimate in climax. Once I went over to Dr. Roberts for a shot of cocaine. It was very strange because he wouldn’t tell me what it was, and I was playing it cool. It was my first intravenous shot, and I said, “Well, I don’t feel it.” And he gave me another one, and all of a sudden I went blind. I just flipped out of my skull! I ended up wildly balling him and flipping him out of his skull. He was probably shot up…he was always shooting up around the corner anyway.
It would appear that Edie was very familiar with drugs and very welcoming to them. The quote doesn’t tell us whether Edie was first introduced to amphetamines at the Factory and then found Dr. Roberts or vice-versa but we do have an environment at the factory in which Brigit Berlin walked around injecting people with or without their consent. The question then is how innocent is Andy really. What sort of milieu had he created for his amusement.
The Factory was a clubhouse for what were essentially lowlife homosexual drug addicts. This must have been the overriding first impression. As such the women had to be accessories to attract men and outsiders. They were there essentially to be abused. They put the Factory in bad odor. As Andy says the police were through the Factory so often it might as well have been the precinct house. Warhol himself was generally known as ‘that creep’ while the more respectable people thought the place poison.
Andy’s genius however did turn it into an ‘in’ place by 1966 where certain celebrities with cachet found the place exciting and for a short period gave it a certain status.
As I have pointed out Warhol was a leader in both the Homosexual Revolution and the Underman Revolution. By late 1966, early 1967 we are not too far from the Stonewall Riot of ‘69 that ended restriction and harassment of homosexuals in NYC and the rest of the country. It was the end of rock n’ roll. After Stonewall the period began that homosexuals called the Candy Store Era. It was a time when anything went that ended about ten years later when AIDS made its appearance on the scene. Of course if any of us had heard of the Stonewall Riot we would have missed its significance nor did anyone understand the astounding change that was the Candy Store Era or even know they were in it. A sub-text of the Homosexual Revolution is the subversion of heterosexuality which goes without saying. Thus the Factory was a prototype of the nightclub that would realize the ideal of absolutely promiscuous sex- Studio 54. Thus as the homosexually led nightlife of the Candy Store Era developed Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager created the ultimate Factory in Studio 54. That club was everything Andy wanted the Factory to be- a celebrity paradise. The place was filled with celebrities, sexual perversion and drugs. All inhibitions were down. Studio 54 became Andy’s clubhouse where he spent his nights as a voyeur.
Rubell and Schrager were not overly discreet so that the Feds, at least, were onto them from the beginning although NYC authorities must have been paid off as they didn’t harass the club. At Studio 54 the Undermen forged a very destructive attack on elite White America. According to Anthony Haden-Guest in his book, Studio 54, a concerted assault was made to corrupt prep school youth- boys and girls by using drugs, liquor and sex. According to Haden-Guest the conspirators were quite successful in debasing both boys and girls in much the same manner Edie had been debauched under Warhol’s tutelage.
This raises the question again of how innocent Andy really was. His competitor Bob Dylan is supposed to have hated Andy for debauching Edie but that may have been the pot calling the kettle black.
Andy’s record of the treatment of women is not good but in keeping with the homosexual ethos. The gays dislike women as competitors, as they believe, for men’s favors. While not considering themselves psychotic they believe that if there were no women all men would be theirs. The irrationality of the belief shall pass without comment. Hence they imitate women to attract men. An inevitable consequence of their attitude is the need to debase and humiliate women.
While being of this mindset Andy as the little Ruthenian immigrant boy who was himself humiliated and rejected by the upper crust of Pittsburgh found delight in debasing and humiliating upper crust women. This runs through his whole career. Edie came from a very old American family that was very prominent in both Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Boston, from whence they arose and New York City. Her father had moved West from New York only shortly before she was born. Although raised as a half wild girl on a vast ranch near Santa Barbara Edie could claim to be a New York society girl. Indeed, her grandmother still maintained her position on the East Side.
While Andy may indeed have loved Edie it was probably more for her background than for herself. The prize of an Anglo-American princess must have been beyond Andy’s juvenile dreams. Indeed, it was through her that Andy first tasted any social success. If they were inseparable during that glorious summer of ‘65 it was because Andy was basking in Edie’s social glamour. And yet one doesn’t find reverence or respect for Edie as a person. Andy allowed her to pick up the check at expensive restaurants not only for himself but his whole entourage of freeloaders. As these were all Underclass people you may be sure they took full advantage of her largesse. I am perhaps a trifle old fashioned but to me this is unforgivable in Andy.
While Andy may have been hard pressed financially to maintain his large and growing establishment there appears to have been no gratitude for Edie relieving the strain. As his entourage grew Andy began to yearn for a restaurant where he could exchange art for food and drink. This was provided in 1966, after Edie was out of favor, when Mickey Ruskin opened Max’s Kansas City in December of ‘65.
The rest of women at the Factory were treated with disrespect although they submitted to it with stoic resignation. One reads with horror the treatment of Viva in Tucson during the filming of Warhol’s cowboy parody and putdown, once again a homosexual extravaganza.
And then there was the ever present sado-masochism that permeated the Factory. An acceptance and celebration of the perversion. The attitude was expressed successfully in the films of Paul Morrissey begun while Warhol was recuperating from Valerie Solanas’ assault. With Andy unable to interfere Morrissey quickly turned out the movie Flesh with Joe Dallesandro which turned out to be a success in Germany. This gave Andy confidence and Morrissey produced several more movies among them Flesh For Frankenstein. I have no intention of reviewing the movie here but certain barbarities of the French arch-sadist Gilles de Rais were celebrated.
Women of some prominence played roles in the nude while performing sexually deviant acts. This rather negative attitude toward women was reflected all through the history of the various Factorys carried on in the most degrading circumstances.
To add insult to injury when Edie was actually falling into her psychological abyss Andy shot The Andy Warhol Story with Rene Ricard and Edie in which both expressed their hatred and revulsion of Andy. ( http://.warholstars.org/warhol/warhol1/warhol1f/warhol.html )
So by this time she had been debased more than any man or woman should ever be debased. Edie herself lay her destruction at the feet of Andy, the great facilitator, the sado-masochistic doyen of New York. I think Andy, then bears a great deal of responsibility for Edie’s shame.
Now, it will be noted. The Andy Warhol Story was filmed at about the same time as his Bob Dylan Story so Edie and Dylan were connected in Andy’s mind.
As I said Warhol and his troupe left for LA in May of ‘66 after a successful month of the EPI. When he returned to resume this lucrative enterprise he found that his hall, the Dom, had been leased from under him by- Albert Grossman and Bob Dylan. They turned it into a venue inanely named The Balloon Farm. Another act of plagiarism by Dylan. I think this was too much for Warhol. First Edie and then the Dom. This was surely provocation asking for trouble, demanding it.
Now, if you’ve watched the post-1968 Warhol movie Bad how far is it from Bad to conjecture that Andy and his crew were responsible for Dylan’s accident? Bad concerns a woman who runs a clearing house for dirty deeds written by Andy’s amanuensis, Pat Hackett. Andy had to have been angry at Dylan and Grossman and indeed he filmed a put down of the two. Quoting Warholstars.org:
Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground:
“Dylan was always around, giving Nico songs. There was one film Andy made with Paul Caruso called The Bob Dylan Story. I don’t think Andy has ever shown it. It was hysterical. They got Marlowe Dupont to play Al Grossman. Paul Caruso not looks like Bob Dylan but as a super caricature he makes even Hendrix look pale by comparison. This was around 1966 when the film was made and his hair was way out to here…On the eve of the filming, Paul had a change of heart and got his hair cut off- close to his head and he must have removed about a foot so everyone was upset about that. Then Dylan had his accident and that is why the film was never shown.”
So, in July smarting from the indignities imposed on him by Dylan and Grossman Andy was making a ‘hilarious’ film about the two. Perhaps Andy thought that was not enough so somewhere during the filming, one conjectures, he conceived this motorcycle rigging. Thus, in late July Dylan went over the handlebars when his rear wheel locked. Anything could have happened to him from paralysis to death. As it was he fractured his neck coming within an ace of serious injury.
Andy hadn’t finished with The Bob Dylan Story. He wanted to work in the accident. Probably aggrieved at Dylan’s survival Andy recommenced the film in October of ‘66 probably with the Andy Warhol Story starring Edie in mind.
Warholstars once again:
Susan Pile speaking:
Andy filmed the Bob Dylan Story starring Paul Caruso…Ingrid Superstar and I were folkrock groupies who rushed in (to Paul Caruso) attacked his body and taped him to the motorcycle…Paul Morrissey suggested all of Paul Caruso’s lines be from songs, but Andy, knowing it was a good idea (this is a direct relay from Paul Morrissey) vetoed it…My one line (what I wasn’t supposed to say; I was to remain mutely sinister) was “You’re just like P.F. Sloan and all the rest- you want to become famous so you can get rid of those pimples.” (accompanied by quick slaps to P. Caruso’s acne remnanted cheeks.)…
So, what do we have here? Bear in the mind the subject matter of Bad which is a very violent movie of revenges made in the most casual manner. Morrison’s account is given before the accident while Pile’s is after.
Pile and Ingrid attack Caruso/Dylan and mockingly tape him to the motorcycle so that he can’t fall off. (ha, ha, ha). Pile then delivers a devastating putdown comparing Dylan unfavorably to P.F. Sloan. Sloan was the guy who wrote the puerile Eve Of Destruction that was very near to being a humorous parody of Dylan’s songs such as Blowin’ In The Wind. If Dylan had seen the film he would likely have been enraged. Pile than calls Dylan’s song ‘pimple music’ another put down as rock n’ roll was derisively called pimple music because teenagers had pimples. And then Caruso/Dylan is physically abused by having his face slapped while being unable to retort because he is taped to the bike.
Psychologically then what Andy is saying is that he felt the filching of Edie as a slap in the face while when he was in LA he was unable to foil the filching of the Dom.
This combination of Dylan and the motorcycle in a film called The Bob Dylan Story points clearly to Andy as the perp.
And so the final chapter will concern the filming of Ciao Manhattan and the demise of Edie. I have some other work to be done so there will be a delay before Chapter 16 appears.
July 18, 2011
Edgar Rice Burroughs As A Feral Child
Cronus married his sister Rhea, to whom the oak is sacred, But it was prophesized by Mother Earth and by his dying father Uranus, that one of his own sons would dethrone him. Every year, therefore, he swallowed the children whom Rhea bore him, first Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, then Hades, then Poseidon~ Robert Graves, The Greek Myths
I. The Father As A Cannibal Figure
Following Poseidon came Zeus. In place of Zeus Cronus was given a stone which he swallowed instead. When Zeus grew up he then castrated Cronus, replacing him.
While on the one hand an astrological myth denoting the precession of the equinoxes from one Astrological Age to another, on a psychological level the myth relates the fear of the Father that as the strength of his sons waxes his own wanes resulting in an eclipse.
Different human fathers react in different ways. Some nurture, some castrate or cannibalize their young. This is a serious problem for the son. For instance, what Tom Brokaw, a thoroughly castrated son, is pleased to call The Greatest Generation who were so enamored of their success in WW II, that they chose to emasculate a whole generation rather than surrender or even share power.
I correspond with David Adams from time to time while doing my writing from whom I sometimes receive valuable input. I had come to the conclusion that ERB’s father, George T, was a problem for ERB, especially as represented by ‘God’ in Tarzan And The Lion Man. The new year opened with Hillman publishing Dodds’ feral child collection which clicked in my mind. The week before ERBzine published my Part III, Two Peas And A Pod of the Tarzan Triumphant review. David Adams commented favorably on my comments about the Jungian Old Man archetype. He said in an email to me:
I agree with your interpretation that “characters like Tarzan and John Carter serve in the capacity of Old Man/Jekyll figures while the actual Old Man figures who are betrayers serve perhaps as Hydelike figures as represented by the father.” (David quoting me.) Those old man figures, early and late, are also cannibals who are hell-bent on eating him up while then spreading the bones across some desert for the hyenas to chew. Who was that old cannibal with the cancerous face followed by a pair of African wolves? (Jungle Tales of Kipling)
As can be seen I picked up on the Father figure but adding the cannibal detail adds the needed dimension for full comprehension.
George T. had been bothering me for some time. The love-hate relationship ERB had with him is quite obvious, but then it occurred to me that the other sons had the same relationship to their father while George T. appeared to program them all for failure- that is they not surpass him in their lifetime somewhat like Cronus of Greek mythology. He made them all dependent on him. The supplicating tone of the letters from college of sons George and Harry is all too obvious. George T. sending the boys to Yale without the means to support a position would have had the effect of emasculating them relative to their fellow students thus subordinating them.
Then on graduation he took them into his battery business. As a businessman in Chicago it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that George T. had some relatively influential contacts in town who might have been able to place Yale graduates advantageously but he chose to keep the boys with him and subordinate to him.
The battery factory proved dangerous for his son Harry who developed respiratory problems from the battery chemicals plus perhaps in psychological reaction to suppression by his father. He went West to join fellow Yalie, Lew Sweetser, in Idaho. Son George, who had had enough of working for his father, also fled to Idaho to join Harry and Sweetser.
None of the three knew enough about the cattle business to survive so that by 1913 when George T. had his basket pulled up all the sons were back in Chicago in various degrees of failure or, at least, lack of success. As of that date it would appear that like Cronus George T. had swallowed or cannibalized his sons.
There was a Zeus figure in the bunch who didn’t want to be swallowed and that Zeus figure was ERB. Like Zeus ERB was the youngest son. ERB developed independently of his brothers who were approximately ten years older than he. Thus when they were at Yale ERB was attending grade school.
As I pointed out in my Books, Burroughs and Religion George T. was especially rigorous in the attempt to emasculate his youngest son. His effort culminated when he sent ERB to military school. This was a form of dislocation and rejection that ERB could not bear. He tried to escape but his father sternly returned him to the Michigan Military Academy.
The effects of this were that ERB was declassed as he considered the MMA a rich kid’s reform school. Thus to some extent he was criminalized in his own mind. His reaction was also seminal in the formation of his two principal characters John Carter and Tarzan.
His hurt was so strong, his separation from his parents and home so complete that he became psychologically orphaned. His parents died to him the day he was returned to the MMA. He adopted the drunken Commandant, Charles King, as his mentor or surrogate father. While betrayed by his father ERB apparently thought he found a friend in King. In that capacity King became the model for Lt. Paul D’Arnot of the French Navy. D’Arnot was the man who tamed the feral boy that was Tarzan introducing him to civilization much as King taught Burroughs how to survive and prosper at MMA. Or Burroughs remembered it in that manner. There may also be a literary connection to D’Artagnan of Dumas’ Three Musketeers.
This makes the period between the arrival of Jane and her party and the arrival of D’Arnot in Tarzan Of The Apes of special interest. I’m not sure what the period represents in Burroughs’ own life.
As his creation Tarzan is a feral child it follows that ERB considered himself alone and on his own as a feral child himself. A romantic notion but one no less real to him. Thus just as Tarzan’s parent’s died with the baby becoming a member of an ape tribe so Burroughs began a wild and difficult period as his parents died for him.
These events occurred just as Rider Haggard was becoming famous for his great African trilogy of King Solomon’s Mines, She and Allan Quatermain which ERB undoubtedly read at this time. Conan Doyle began his Sherlock Holmes mysteries and H.M. Stanley disappeared into an unknown Congo in pursuit of Emin Pasha. The West to East transit of the Congo impressed ERB greatly as his own heroes later crossed Africa in the same direction.
Being a complex individual ERB no longer wished to even acknowledge that he had ever had parents; thus his first creation- John Carter. As Carter only came into existence when ERB was 36 the writer had plenty of time to knock around learning the odd legend here and there. John Carter then is a version of the Great Historical Bum- the hundred thousand year old man of folklore.
John Carter could not remember his parents. In his memory he had always been the same age he was. In the words of one of my famorite songs, Stewball, he didn’t say he was born at all, just blew down in a storm. Certainly Burroughs had heard of the Comte de St. Germain who flourished at the time of the French Revolution. As esoterical cult figure today, St. Germain’s legend would have been more prominent from 1875 to 1911 than today. Like Carter St. Germain claimed to have been alive forever. In Revolutionary Europe he got away with it. Calgiostro was another Revolutionary charlatan claiming mysterious antecedents who would have intrigued ERB’s imagination. It seems certain the two would have been topics of conversation in the time before radio, TV and movies so it wouldn’t have been necessary for ERB to have read anything.
I doubt if he had read any of the books on Dodds’ list although one never knows but the list goes to show that the feral child would have been a popular topic of conversation. In my opinion then ERB’s literary future was cast when his cannibal father returned him to MMA.
He graduated from the MMA in ’95 but either couldn’t or wouldn’t return home staying on as an instructor. In ’96, just before the summer break which might have necessitated a return home he joined the Army being sent directly to Arizona without passing through Chicago. Was he avoiding returning home? One can’t say as in ’97 having found Army life not to his liking he received an early discharge. He could have kept going, of course, as many of us in his boots did, to LA, San Francisco or wherever but he chose at that time to return to Chicago. Of course, Emma was calling.
From ’97 to ’03 or so he worked for his father which he found as difficult as his brothers had. Fleeing Chicago to Idaho in 1903, when he came back a year and a few months later to do anything (that word anything has some meaning in this context) rather than work with his father. He became one of the poet Robert Service’s ‘men who don’t fit in.’ He had a very difficult few years from 1905 to 1913 bumping along the bottom.
But then in 1911 he began his rise via his intellect. He began to write becoming an immediate literary success of sorts. By 1913 when he was about to become a financial success through his intellectual efforts thus escaping his father’s curse, his father died. The young Zeus thus never got to castrate his father Cronus.
One can’t know what would have happened to his psychology had ERB been able to present his father with evidence of his success. I’m reasonably certain George T. would have belittled or rejected his success as like Cronus his youngest would have replaced him. He wouldn’t have liked that.
II. A Hand From The Grave
Had that happened and ERB been able to prove himself a greater than his father it is interesting to speculate as to what effect that might have had on ERB’s psychological development. As it was, a few months after his father’s death he packed up family and belongings and got out of town as far as he could go to San Diego, California and stayed away nine months. Time enough to be reborn.
There are numerous examples of betrayers who are cannibals in his corpus, in fact there is so much betraying and cannibalism in Burroughs’ work I find it slightly offensive. Rather than work up a list, which for the time being I leave to David, I’d rather concentrate on the most spectacular cannibalistic betrayer of the oeuvre, God of Lion Man.
I know I just wrote about Lion Man but with David’s interpretation of cannibalism I can present a much more cogent image. David’s much more into Jungian synchronicity than I am but the scene with God presents a remarkable occurrence of synchronicity. The scene is very complex.
George T. was born in 1833 so the book was written on his 100th birthday. Chicago was incorporated in 1833 while it was celebrating its Century Of Progress forty years after the Columbian Expo at the same time. Both events occurred just at the time that Burroughs realized he had lost control of his ‘meal ticket’ to MGM.
MGM was undoubtedly a component of God, the Father, being combined with the Chicago that fathered him and George T., his actual father, in his mind. From these components ERB then creates the magnificent apparition of God as man and beast. God has the mind of divine power such as had Zeus but is still a Cronus, is, in fact, the ultimate cannibal.
Tarzan and Rhonda represent Burroughs’ Anima and Animus so that God has the whole man in his power in its component parts- the X and y chromosomes. God tells the pair that he is going to use them to rejuvenate himself by cannibalizing them. The Father’s desire and the Son’s fear.
If God represents George T. on one side, MGM on another and organized religion on a third then even though ERB thought he escaped his father in 1913 by his intellectual efforts the father reaches up from the grave on his 100th anniversay to claim his son again.
At this time Burroughs also wrote Pirates Of Venus and Pirate Blood. Both would refer to the idea that MGM pirated his creation from him while the very despondent Pirate Blood is almost terrifying in its manic depression as the balloon rises and sinks being almost submerged in the ocean or the waters of oblivion, the subconscious mind, insanity, that I believe we can see it as the insanity of despair. At the end of that story the hero pairs up with a desperate woman who I believe we can read as Florence. All very transparent really.
So there Tarzan/Rhonda/Burroughs is trapped in a prison. He attempts his earlier escape of rising through his intellectual powers, that is, he ascends through a shaft in the roof. Unlike the first time when he surprised and astonished the world with John Carter and Tarzan, God, the Father, is waiting for him preventing his use of his intellect. In point of fact Tarzan And The Lion Man was a dismal sales failure thought by Burroughs to be caused by MGM.
If his previous four previous Tarzans under the Burroughs imprint had been successes it seems strange that the truly excellent Tarzan And The Lion Man should have failed. Failing proof of sabotage on the part of, say, MGM, one can only say the public taste is fickle or perhaps the innovative dust jacket didn’t look like the usual Tarzan dust jacket and fans just passed it by. It is also true that the book was a put down of MGM.
Tarzan/Burroughs sallies forth from his hiding place against superior forces. He is knocked unconscious. A sure sign that Burroughs is under supreme stress. Meanwhile God’s castle, in other words the literary structure of the last twenty years is going up in flames. The MGM pirates have lifted ERB’s life work.
He has to finish the story so he turns the tables on God taking him captive and making him do his bidding. Tarzan helps God recapture his City then abandons him disappearing down the hole of the subconscious to a lower level from when he emerges to be claimed by the Wild Thing- Balza, the Golden Girl, or Florence.
In a thinly disguised scene Tarzan, unwittingly it seems, wins Balza from her former husband much as Burroughs took Florence from Ashton Dearholt. The important thing here is that a transition has been effected from one world to another. The intellectual City of God has been abandoned in favor of a world of the senses.
It is at this point ERB abandons his own feral boy persona of horses, puttees and other symbols to become a sort of effeminate Dandy. He now affects tightly fitted fashionable suits almost effeminate in appearance. He turn into a party animal and if he had been a moderate drinker during his teens, twenties and early thirthies he now becomes almost a lush.
So, in the end, ERB was probably devoured by the Father in Cronus fashion. In the Myth Zeus forced Cronus to vomit up his brothers and sisters and he castrated him. In real life ERB was castrated and swallowed down.
He put up one heck of a fight that arouses the warmest admiration of him. One wonders, that if when all is said and done anyone can escape the imprint of those formative years. Is one’s whole horoscope cast in the womb and those few short months after birth? Sure hope not.
July 17, 2011
Andy Warhol’s New York City
Four Walks Uptown To Downtown
Review by R.E. Prindle
Kiedrowsky, Thomas, Andy Warhol’s New York City, Four Walks Uptown To Downtown, Little Bookroom, 2011
A new little informative paperback guide book by Thomas Kiedrowsky has been issued by The Little Bookroom. Kiedrowski, an ardent Andyphile conducts tours to Warhol sites in NYC. He has spent a decade or so researching the artist.
Perhaps because he conducts tours he has failed to include maps for the four tours in order to protect his turf. They would have been helpful. He organized his volume into four areas: Upper East Side to 70th St., Upper East Side 57th to 68th sts., Midtown and Downtown. This admirable little volume successfully embeds Warhol in his milieu clarifying a number of issues.
Mr. Kiedrowski also turns up some facts I haven’t read before thus supplementing Steven Watson’s Factory Made which provides needed info about Andy’s entourage.
Mr. Kiedrowski provides the abolutely entrancing story of Andy as a prospective restauranteur quoted here:
Site 18, 1977, 833 Madison Ave. (74th St.)
The first link in a proposed international chain of Andy Warhol fast food restaurants would have opened at this location in 1977. The concept of the Andy-Mat, a clever take on the Automat, had Warhol and British entrepreneur Godfrey Leeds in talks since 1974. Both men had enjoyed dining at Schrafft’s years earlier and had yearned for that type of comfort food they had as kids. Leeds said that the Andy-Mat would be a “neighborhood restaurant with a varied menu, simple good food, reasonable prices, a place where you don’t have to be embarrassed to take someone- one was never embarrassed to take someone to Schrafft’s.”
During the Silver Factory days, Warhol and his entourage could often be found at Schrafft’s located at 556 Fifth Avenue and 47th Street, and Warhol was asked to do a commercial for Schrafft’s in 1968. The 60 second spot shows an image of a red dot, then slowly zooms out to reveal a maraschino cherry and then a melting chocolate ice cream sundae. At the end a credit line rolls diagonally, “The chocolate sundae was photographed for Schrafft’s by Andy Warhol.
[As described an artistic success but a complete waste of advertising money, reviewer.]
Warhol asked close friend and society hostess Maxine (sic) de la Falaise McKendry (she appeared in Warhol’s Dracula) to prepare a menu for the 115 seat Andy-Mat, which she did with guidance from Tony Berns of the Restaurant 21. She often cooked for Warhol’s Factory regulars and at one time was a food columnist for Vogue. The seventy-five items were to be priced between $1 and $5.75 and included shepherd’s pie, fishcakes, Irish lamb stew, fried onion tart, mashed potatoes, key lime pie, champagne fruit drinks, milk over ice, and a choice among four omelets. (Warhol’s diet regimen at the time.) Said Andy: “I really like to eat alone. I want to start a chain of restaurants for other people who are like me called Andy-Mats- ‘The Restaurant for the Lonely Person.’ You get your food and then you take your tray into a booth and watch television.”
Apparently 40K had already been spent on development with another million in the pipeline when the plan was aborted. It’s not difficult for me to see why but then…who knows, it might have worked.
Mr. Kiedrowski fills his little guide book with such interesting tidbits many of which I had never read before.
I heartily recommend the book for a very entertaining read at a price under 12.00. Some nice pictures I haven’t seen before too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaf6zF-FJBk Watch Andy eat a hamburger.