January 12, 2013
Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Revolt Against Civilization
A Review Of
Lothrop Stoddard’s Eponymous Title
Stoddard, Lothrop: The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace Of The Underman, 1922, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, First Edition.
In the name of our To-morrow we will burn Rafael
Destroy museums, crush the flowers of art,
Maidens in the radiant kingdom of the Future
Will be more beautiful than Venus de Milo.
Quoted by Stoddard p. 202
A perennial problem in Burroughs’ studies is what did he believe? Was he a racist? Was he an anti-Semite? Was he an irredeemable bigot? Shall we just say he was not of a contemporary Liberal frame of mind. If you listen to Richard Slotkin author of Gunfighter Nation and a professor at Case Western Reserve at the time he wrote his book a couple decades ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs was an evil man responsible for all the evil in the US from 1912 to the present. Slotkin even sees him responsible for the My Lai massacre of Viet Nam.
Himself a Communist Slotkin can overlook all the crimes of the Soviet Union in which tens of millions were exterminated to find the ultimate evil in the killing of a few dozen people in Viet Nam.
Slotkin, who rampages through his history disparaging any non-Liberal writers as atavistic bigots firmly attaches Burroughs’ name to two scholars, Madison Grant and his Passing Of The Great Race of 1916 and Lothrop Stoddard and his historical studies of the twenties. He considers the two hardly less evil than Burroughs. To someone less excitable, perhaps, or lessLiberal, the two writers have written responsible and astute studies. I certainly think they have.
When I first read Slotkin I rejected the notion that Burroughs had been influenced by either. Ten years on I have to retract that opinion. It is now clear that Burroughs read both while being heavily influenced by Lothrop Stoddard, especially his 1922 volume, The Revolt Against Civilization. While the studies of both Grant and Stoddard would at best supplement Burroughs already developed opinions The Revolt can easily be seen as a template for Burroughs’ writing after he read it. While the study complemented his own developed social and political opinions I am sure that Stoddard’s explication of the history provided Burroughs with many new facts. Based on its opinions that appeared in ERB’s novels I would place the reading somewhere about 1926 or 1927.
Contrary to what some admirers want to make him ERB was what today would be considered a very conservative man, today’s Liberals would be anathema to him. He was decidedly anti-Communist, a Eugenicist, while not bigoted he was not a Negrophile or Semitophile. He was essentially a man with a social and historical outlook that was formed before 1900, a pre-immigration outlook formed while the Indian wars were still in progress. In short he was a man of his times.
Thomas Dixon Jr. to whom he is often compared was one of the most successful writers of the period who carefully examined both the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the growing Socialist/Communist movement. He was not a bigot as he is always construed but a man of his own people. Burroughs was influenced by his work and thought well of him. He did not abhor him. ERB read many of Dixon’s novels and admired the movie based on his books, The Birth Of A Nation. He sympathized with Henry Ford in his struggle for the welfare of America and read the Dearborn Independent, Ford’s newspaper. In short, Burroughs was a stand up guy.
Now, what evidence is there he read The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace Of The Underman? Let’s begin with this quote, p. 34 et seq.
Down to that time the exact nature of the life process remained a mystery. The mystery has now been cleared up. The researches of [August] Weisman and other modern biologists have revealed the fact that all living beings are due to a continuous stream of germ plasm which has existed ever since life first appeared on earth and which will continue to exist as long as any life remains. This germ-plasm consists of minute germ cells which have the power of developing into human living beings. All human beings spring from the union of a male sperm-cell and a female egg-cell. Right here, however, occurs the basic feature of the life process. The new individual consists, from the start, of two sorts of plasm. Almost the whole of him is body plasm – the ever multiplying cells which differentiate into the organs of the body. But he also contains germ- plasm. At his very conception a tiny bit of the life stuff from which he springs is set aside or carefully isolated from the body-plasm, and forms a course of development entirely its own. In fact, the germ-plasm is not really part of the individual; he is merely its bearer, destined to pass it on to other bearers of the life chain.
Now all this was not only unknown but even unsuspected down to a short time ago. Its discovery was in fact dependent upon modern scientific methods. Certainly, it was not likely to suggest itself to even the most philosophic mind. Thus, down to a generation ago, the life stuff was supposed to be a product of the body, not differing essentially in character from other body products. This assumption had two important consequences. In the first place, it tended to obscure the very concept of heredity, and led men to think of environment as virtually all important; in the second place, even where the importance of heredity was dimly perceived the role of the individual was misunderstood, and he was conceived as a creator rather than a mere transmitter. This was the reason for the false theory of “the inheritance of acquired characteristics,” formulated by Lamarck and upheld by most scientists until almost the end of the nineteenth century. Of course, Lamarckianism was merely a modification of the traditional ‘environmentalist’ attitude: it admitted that heredity possessed some importance, but it maintained environment as the basic feature.
Now there you have the argument of God in Tarzan And The Lion Man of 1933 nearly word for word. I hink it unlikely that ERB actually read Weisman who published following 1900 and who ERB may never have heard of, so his source was in all probability Stoddard.
Stoddard’s presentation nicely straddles the change of consciousness from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. It sounds a trifle naïve to our ears but was cutting edge at the time. Weisman’s theories were a big step in the direction of the discovery of DNA a short 26 years after Stoddard’s study.
It is important though to remember that more than fifty percent of the US population today rejects the concept of evolution while being more Lamarckian in outlook than might be supposed. We are as a whole not quite as advanced as we think we are.
As a quick affirmation of the influence of Stoddard on ERB on pages 95-96 he gives an account of the famous Jukes family of degenerates that appeared in ERB’s 1932 novelette, Pirate Blood.
Stoddard was well aware of what was happening historically and presently and one can see that he passed that understanding on to ERB. Almost as though writing today, on page 237 Stoddard writes:
Stressful transition is the key-note of our times. Unless all signs be faulty, we stand at one of those momentous crises in history when mankind moves from one well-marked epoch to another of widely different character.
Extremely prescient observation in 1922 while his study has been borne out in detail. The chapter titles give a clear outline of the contents:
1. The Burden Of Civilization
2. The Iron Law Of Equality
3. The Nemesis Of The Inferior
4. The Lure Of The Primitive
5. The Ground Swell Of Revolt
6. The Rebellion Of The Underman
7. The War Against Chaos
As can be easily seen novelists such as Rider Haggard, ERB, Edgar Wallace as well as many others from 1890 to the 20s were grappling with the problems indicated by the chapter titles.
The natural tendency in humans is to be rather lax in mental activity. Precision calls for an active mentality and concentration. Not everyone is capable of this, yet, beginning in the nineteenth century such mental qualities were increasingly necessary. Such disciplines as Chemistry and Physics didn’t allow for personal vagaries or individual style. One couldn’t bend the disciplines to one’s own desires, precise measurements were necessary requiring mental concentration. A little bit off and who knows what might happen. In a way then the Overman and Underman were created. Either you could or you couldn’t and if you couldn’t you slipped beneath- an Underman. Higher civilization was impossible for you.
Burroughs addressed this problem continually. In his character Tarzan he resolved the problem giving his creation a split personality, in a loin cloth he was one man, in a tuxedo he was another. Two separate gorillas in one and always a beast. In real life society split into two possibilities- the Over and Underman.
Worse still scientific methods were able to measure the ineffable, the unseen. In chemistry sub-tiny atoms were able to be detected and their sub-miniscule weights actually measured. Measurement is the bane of the Underman. A Mole contains 6,022 x 10 to the 23rd power of atoms, an incredible incomprehensible number that still might weigh 12 grams or less. Astonishing. Beyond the comprehension hence belief of the Underman. As the process can’t be seen it can’t be believed.
In human intelligence the Englishman Francis Galton began to devise measuring devices of intelligence in 1865 shortly after Darwin announced Evolution in 1959. Thus uncertainty about mental capacity was eliminated. As Stoddard calls it, The Iron Law Of Inferiority. Biology and measuring excluded something like eighty-five percent of the population from the ranks of the most intelligent. Without that high measurement of intelligence 85% of the population was automatically excluded from the possibility of higher attainment while at the same time being prejudged.
Big strapping fellows, all man, were relegated to manual labor while wimps like perhaps, John D. Rockefeller, became billionaires. Not right, the big strapping fellows said, but not measuring up in intelligence, which they couldn’t see, they were condemned to the shovel for life.
Intelligence measuring tests were improved between 1865 and 1920 although not as accurate as could be desired. Men entering the armed forces in WWI were an excellent testing group. Of 1,700,000 tested intelligence levels were fairly accurately determined. It was then discovered that only four and a half percent were very bright with another seven or eight percent bright, while the huge bulk were C+ to C- descending from there.
One imagines Burroughs read this with extreme thoughtfulness.
So, now as the bulk of the good things were going to those who could do, what were those who couldn’t do about it? The great issue since 1789 has been equality; the Underman demanded equality as a first condition. He could organize. He could sabotage. He could rage. And that is what the Underman has done.
The Communist Party was formed. And what was their chief demand? Equality. Absolute equality. As they couldn’t rise to a natural equality then the only other feasible solution was to bring the Superior intelligences down to their level. Thus they raged against that great equalizer, education. Screw science, screw physics, screw chemistry, screw biology. Who needed what you couldn’t see and that especially included intelligence measuring?
One of ERB’s bete noires was the I.W.W.- The Industrial Workers Of The World, syndicalists. Imagine his reaction when he read this:
Viewed in the abstract, technical sense, Syndicalism does not seem to present any specially startling innovations. It is when we examine the Syndicalists’ animating spirit, their general philosophy of life, and the manner which they propose to obtain their ends, that we realize we are in the presence of an ominous novelty,- the mature philosophy of the Under Man. This philosophy of the Under-Man is today called Bolshevism. Before the Russian Revolution it was known as Syndicalism. But Bolshevism and Syndicalism are basically one and the same thing. Soviet Russia has really invented nothing. It is merely practicing what others had been preaching for years- with such adaptation as normally attend the putting of theory into practice.
Syndicalism, as an organized movement, is primarily the work of two Frenchmen, Fernand Pelloutier and Georges Sorel. Of course, just as there were Socialist before Marx, so there were Syndicalists before Sorel. Syndicalism’s intellectual progenitor was Proudhon, who in his writings had closely sketched out the Syndicalist theory. As for Syndicalism’s savage, violent, uncompromising spirit, it is clearly Anarchist in origin., drawing its inspiration not only from Proudhon but also from Bakunin, [Johann] Most, and all the rest of that furious company of revolt.
“Revolt!” This is the essence of Syndicalism: a revolt, not merely against modern society but against Marxian Socialism as well. And the revolt was well timed. When, at the very end of the nineteenth century, Georges Sorel lifted the red banner of Syndicalism, the hour awaited the man. The proletarian world was full of discordant and disillusionment at the long dormant Marxian philosophy. Half a century had passed since Marx first preached his gospel, and the revolutionary millennium was nowhere in sight. Society had not become a world of billionaires and beggars. The great capitalists had not swallowed all. The middle classes still survived and prospered. Worst of all, from the revolutionary viewpoint, the upper grades of the working classes had prospered, too. The skilled workers were, in fact, becoming an aristocracy of labor. They were acquiring property and thus growing capitalistic; they were raising their living standards and thus growing bourgeois. Society seemed endowed with a strange vitality! It was even reforming many of the abuses which Marx had pronounced incurable. When, then, was the proletariat to inherit the earth?
The Proletariat! That was the key word. The van, and even the main body of society, might be fairly on the march, but behind lagged a rear guard. Here, were, first of all, the lower working class strata- the “manual” laborers in the narrower sense, relatively ill paid and often grievously exploited. Behind these again came a motley crew, the rejects and misfits of society. “Casuals” and “unemployables”, “down-and-outs” and declasses, victims of social evils, victims of bad heredity and their own vices, paupers, defectives, degenerates, and criminals- they were all there. They were there for many reasons, but they were all miserable, and they were all bound together by a certain solidarity- a sullen hatred of the civilization from which they had little to hope. To these people evolutionary, “reformist” socialism was cold comfort. Then came the Syndicalists promising, not evolution but revolution; not in the dim future but the here and now; not a bloodless “taking over” by “the workers” hypothetically stretched to include virtually the whole community, but the bloody “dictatorship” of The Proletariat in its narrow revolutionary sense.
Here, at last, was living hope- hope, and the prospect of revenge! Is it then strange that a few short years should have seen revolutionary Socialists, Anarchists, all the anti-social forces of the whole world grouped under the banner of Georges Sorel? For a time they went under different names syndicalists in France, Bolshevists in Russia, I.W.W.s in America but in reality they formed one army, enlisted in a single war.
Now, what was this war? It was, first of all, a war for the conquest of Socialism as a preliminary to the conquest of society. Everywhere the orthodox Socialist parties were fiercely assailed. And these Socialist assaults were formidable, because the orthodox Socialists possessed no moral line of defense. Their arms were palsied by the virus of their revolutionary tradition. For however evolutionary and non-militant the Socialists might have been in practice, in theory they had remained revolutionary their ethics continuing to be those of the “class war”, the destruction of the “possessing classes” and the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”
The American economist, Carver, will describe the ethics of socialism in the following lines: “Marxian Socialism has nothing in common with idealistic Socialism. It rests not on persuasion, but on force. It does not profess to believe, as did the old idealists, that if socialism be lifted up it will draw all men to it. In fact, it has no ideals; it is materialistic and militant. Being materialistic and atheistic, it makes no use of such terms as right and justice, unless it be to quiet the consciences of those who still harbor such superstitions. It insists that these terms are mere conventionalities; the concepts mere bugaboos invented by the ruling caste to keep the masses under control. Except in a conventional sense, from this crude materialistic view there is neither a right or wrong, justice nor injustice, good or bad. Until people who still believe in such silly notions divest their minds of them they will never understand the first principles of Marxian socialism.
“Who creates our ideas of right and wrong?” asks the Socialist. “The ruling class. Why? To insure their domination over the masses by depriving them of the power to think for themselves. We, the proletarians, when we get into power, will dominate the situation; we shall be the ruling class; we shall determine who is right and wrong. Do you ask us if what we propose is just? What do you mean by justice? Do you ask if it is right? What do you mean by right? It will be good for us. That is all that right and justice ever did or ever can mean!
People ask what Burroughs believed? Was he a racist? Was he an anti-Semite? Well, Burroughs’ beliefs can be extrapolated from the above quote as well as Stoddard’s whole book. If Burroughs could have expressed himself concisely he would have written The Revolt Against Civilization. You don’t have to look any further.
There could be no more ardent anti-Communist, anti-Socialist, anti-IWW than ERB. The book was published five years after the Russian Revolution, a mere three years after the narrow quelling of the Communist disturbances of 1919 while in 1922 the Harding administration was putting the finishing touches on the suppression of that Communist revolution in the US. Make no mistake the crimes of 1919 were part of an American Bolshevik revolution. Things would not return to what Harding called normalcy but it would be a reasonable facsimile that would endure until the engineered great crash of 1929 opening the way for the Communist revolution of FDR in the US.
These were perilous times ERB was living in no less than those of today. One can’t be sure when Burroughs read Revolt but many of the same themes almost in quotation were employed in his 1926 novel The Moon Maiden. And from the Moon Maiden he went to the more sophisticated approaches of his great political novels from Tarzan At The Earth’s Core to Tarzan And The Lion Man.
As Stoddard thinks the Underman breeds at a very fast rate while the Overman limits his family the obvious consequence is that people of intelligence decrease rapidly in relation to the Underman. Of course Stoddard has all kinds of tables and charts to prove his point. As this was published in 1922 the results are heavily skewed to prove the English are the top of the heap; a result not uncongenial to Burroughs’ sensibilities.
One imagines that as of induction time in 1917-18 a great many of the recent immigrants at least had underdeveloped English language skills that affected the results but at this point it no longer matters; the general idea has been proved sound.
As we have a war between the Underman and the Overman and make no mistake, as far as Sorel and the Syndicalist/Bolshevik ideology goes it is a war to the knife, it may be asked what Stoddard’s formula for the Overman’s success might be.
This returns us to the Underman’s great fear that science, that is objective analysis supported by an array of facts will condemn him to the virtual condition of servitude. It might be surmised that this is an intolerable but inescapable conclusion unless education and science are destroyed reducing the more intelligent to the masses.
Stoddard then relying on Darwinian and Weismanian evolution and the notion of Eugenics introduced by Francis Galton resolves the problem by ending the reproduction of the ‘defective’ classes, that is, forced sterilization. Forced sterilization was actually employed. It is interesting that he never brings in the issue of race thus on the surface his book is neither racist for anti-Semitic. However as the book assumes that the superior intelligences are English or Nordic the text qualifies as anti-Semitic in Jewish eyes and hence has been placed on the Jewish Index Of Forbidden Literature.
One may be horrified at the Eugenic solution to the intelligence problem but one must be equally horrified at the Underman solution to their Overman problem. Liquidation is more horrifying than sterilization and Liquidation was employed by the Underman in Russia and will be employed again if they can consolidate their gains in the US and Europe today.
The problem is that while being founded in reality it is impossible in execution. The human mind is too subjective to be trusted with such a great responsibility. Many statues were placed on the books commanding forced sterilization and many such were executed.
Schools classes were organized based on supposed mental aptitudes. How objectively I will demonstrate by my own example. Until Jr. High in my home town schools did not systematically differentiate based on mental capacity, however at the end of the ninth grade just before I.Q. testing in the tenth there were three options, Trade School for those deemed not of academic ability, in other words destined for the labor force, and once in high school a division between business, that is white collar, and college prep. This was still a process of self-selection thus I signed up for high school however someone changed my papers to trade school.
Thus when I showed for classes at high school, I was told I was enrolled at trade school. Now, this was the fight of my life, and for it. I was told I was in trade school and to get out. I said I wasn’t leaving and sat down where I waited for four days for the situation to resolve itself. My argument was that the law required that I be given an education and it wouldn’t be at trade school. Whatever the behind the scenes machinations were I was reluctantly allowed to enter but they then insisted it would be business level while I demanded college prep. With an unexplained prescience I was told that I would never go to college so I should be in business. Nevertheless I won that struggle too.
I am sure that if enforced sterilization had been possible at the time I would have been compelled to undergo it.
Now, here’s the kicker. Came time for I.Q. tests and I placed in the upper four percent. I have no idea what the reaction to that was although my critics had to tone down their act. So human passions invalidated the whole Eugenic idea.
In other words there is no equable solution to this terrible human dilemma.
In that sense the solution offered by Aldus Huxley in his famous comic novel Brave New World is of some interest. In Huxley’s story he enlists science, chemistry, to produce different levels of mental competence. The zygote is nurtured in test tubes while at certain levels of development certain chemicals are introduced limiting the development of the fetus. Thus the labor problem is solved by creating classes only capable of menial tasks. The upper classes are bred like race horses to various degrees of excellence. Huxley was tongue in cheek to be sure but, actually the only solution to this otherwise insoluble problem.
Stoddard didn’t introduce any ideas to which Burroughs wasn’t already familiar and in agreement. At best Stoddard’s superb research and explication clarified ERB’s understanding for him. I don’t know how familiar he was with Georges Sorel. Today Sorel is unknown except to specialists although I am beginning to see his name pop up so with the Communist regime of Barack Obama perhaps the way is being prepared for Sorel’s extreme measures of exterminating the Overman.
At any rate I have come to the opinion that Richard Slotkin is correct in thinking the Burroughs had read and was in accord with both Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. However Slotkin evaluates their work through the distortion of his own Communistic lens which is only valid to those of his point of view.
His view does not make Burroughs a racist or anti-Semite. It makes him an objective and accurate observer and analyst of the situation of his time. As indicated above Burroughs absorbed Stoddard’s information, that point of view and used it to create his wonderful works of the late twenties and first half of the thirties. If one bears Stoddard’s book in mind while reading those novels it will make them make great sense while presenting his view of the political and social situation
Of course the novels are not confined solely to dealing with these issues; Burroughs had a much more far ranging mind, both subjectively and objectively.
Stoddard’s The Revolt Against Civilization is a major study as relevant today as the day it was written. The last ninety years have only borne out his theses. The Revolt Against Civilization is well worth a read, perhaps two. At any rate you will have an accurate idea of Burroughs’ social and political beliefs.
November 14, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#14 TARZAN THE INVINCIBLE
Part XI and last
Love Is A Hurting Game
Having dealt with politics and religion let us now turn to the social backgrounds of Burroughs and Tarzan. Once again I will treat the subject within the framework of Multi-culturalism.
I will treat of the cultures in the manner of the great warts and all school of the debunkers of Burroughs time in the twenties. There will be no sacred cows as in the tradition of the great debunking school. I will consider vices as well as virtues. As with men a culture of the greatest virtues also matches them with the greatest vices. Such is the nature of life; there is no escaping it.
To speak of the culture of both Burroughs’ period and the twentieth century is to speak of Sigmund Freud. For better or worse Freud’s psychological ideas have created the form of subsequent society. Any positive benefits of Freud are restricted to a few individuals while the negative effects of his ‘science’ have been reflected on society as a whole.
He began his career as a biologist but soon felt constricted by the strict limitations of the scientific method. Probably science conflicted with his religion thus he desired a more free form mode of expression. There is talk of his academic career being hampered by anti-Semitism in Vienna at that time but that is sheer nonsense. As in all countries dthe careers of medicine and law were populated by Jews to the extent of a majority or near majority representation. One is hard pressed to find discrimination in those statistics.
Rather as Freudian psychology suggests one is drawn in the direction of one’s true desires or in Freudian terms: inner wishful thinking. Freud felt a deep antipathy toward Europeans and non-Jewish culture in general. Those were the years of the first Kultur Kampf in Germany. That is a war between cultures. In the German case between the German and Jewish cultures. That’s what multi-culturalism is.
Freud correctly saw that the Jewish culture was unable to win on any military battlefield and that the real war would indeed be a war for cultural and sociological dominance. He saw that it would be a war of centuries.
Hence when he learned of the psychological experiments of Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris, though impecunious he packed his bags and legged it for the City Of Lights. His scientific credentials were adequate to gain an entrance to the Salpetriere where Charcot taught. Once there he pushed himself into Charcot’s attention enough to be invited to his home although I think he found himself unpalatable. However, chutzpah done right almost never fails.
Charcot was conducting studies on hysteria. One must remember that as little understood as such psychological states of mind are today they were even less understood then. In his studies Charcot used hypnosis which also was little understood at the time although well developed today. While hypnosis is an ancient art it was only begun to be developed as a scientific discipline in pre-Revolution France in the eighteenth century by Dr. Anton Mesmer. The art fell into disrepute when Mesmer was discredited because he made excessive claims that couldn’t be authenticated. But, it still continued to develop. There were two schools of hypnotism in France, Charcot’s in Paris and Bernstein’s in Nancy. Freud would acquaint himself with both. It seems then, that hypnotism was the major attraction for him.
Writing of Charcot’s school the great esotericist Madame Blavatsky pointed out that in Charcot’s hands the use of hypnotism may have been used benevolently but its potential for evil in evil hands was a very great danger. Those evil hands were at the end of Freud’s arms as he lurked about the Salpetriere and Nancy.
Nancy was a very influential school of hypnotism. The school’s basis was the work of Auguste Liebeault, a goy, who attracted the attention of Hippolyte Bernstein. The latter, like Freud, was of the Jewish culture. Thus the importance of hypnotism while developed by the goyim quickly drew the attention of the Jewish culture, just as it was quick to realize the potential of movies which were also developed by the goyim and meshed with hypnotism as the proverbial hand and glove.
Apparently having soaked up what he could from Charcot, Freud drifted over to Nancy where he spent some time with Bernstein where he learned the importance of suggestion. Freud found Bernstein’s methods too heavy handed but learned what the man had to offer. From thence he returned to Vienna where he linked up with a student of hysteria by the name of Joseph Breuer, another Jew. At that point Freud may have realized that hysteria was created by suggestion and was a manifestation of a hypnotic situation. When the suggestion or fixation was removed by the victim’s recognition of the suggestion the symptoms disappeared. In other words the suggestion was obviated and the fixtation resolved.
Very little of Freud’s work was original but built directly on other men’s work, most of whom, if not all, were goyim. So the source of the knowledge came from the European culture and not the Jewish. Thus the idea of the unconscious was well developed before Freud associated it with dreaming. His one original contribution to the science of psychology was the recognition of the origins and the intent of dreams.
Dreams then are a sort of hypnotic trance. Thus in those days it was thought that to hypnotize a person he had to be put into a sleeplike trance gaining the unconscious mind by passing conscious censorship.
Once Freud realized that free association and a relaxed inattentive attitude were all that was necessary to make a person begin reminiscing in an unconscious manner he had the key to the notion not only of mass hypnotism but the hypnotizing of whole societies in ways that Ignatius Loyola never imagined.
One can’t know when he read Gustav Lebon’s The Crowd: A Study Of The Popular Mind published in 1895 some few years before Freud’s dream book but by 1921’s Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego, which title is self-explanatory, Freud had understood the implications of Le Bon’s study incorporating them into his own program for the hypnosis of Euroamerican society.
Having earlier successfully imposed his static vision of the unconscius on society as the only possible viewpoint he then attempted to concentrate the attention of the peoples on that great social dissolvent, sex. By sex Freud meant simply a concentration of the mind on sexual intercourse. If he understood the nature of the sexual organization of the species it is nowhere apparent in his writings. Thus when the extreme stress of coeducational sex education was brought to fruition in the last few decades, sex education merely stressed frequent fornication while giving equal validation to all forms of sexual intercourse including anal and oral but disparaging masturbation which as a private act could have little social impact.
So, having deemphasized the contribution of the conscious rational mind in favor of the irrational unconscious combined with sex the mind was open to suggestion. A great conditioning propaganda was organized by the Jewish culture using the hypnopaedic media which the majority of the goyim have been unable to resist. That is, that the Jews are morally superior while having an extra gene that makes them incomparably more intelligent than the peoples. At the same time they emphasized the idea that the Euroamericans are inherently stupid and actually evil needing Jewish guidance to keep them on the right track.
What with the hypnopaedic media which they control and the disaster of Hitler that the Jewish culture has been able to use to convince Euroamericans that they all share that particular original sin from which the Jewish culture is exempt while they must constantly examine themselves to root out all vestiges of anti-Semitism. That is to say that they must forego their own culture and support the minority position of Semitism. Not a bad plan if you can pull it off. It seems that they have.
Thus, as of 2012, Euroamerica has been successfully hypnotized along Freudian lines.
In 1900 when Freud was forty-four Edgar Rice Burroughs was twenty-five. I hope I have demonstrated from the novels of Burroughs that from the beginning of A Princess Of Mars he had a fair knowledge of psychological principles. His novels are flush with pyschological references if you look for them and pay attention to them. The question is how did he come by his interest and knowledge as I have been able to find no psychological works in his library as present by ERBzine.
While Freud visited the United States at Clark College in 1909 during the time his influence was widespread being discussed constantly in magazines. There is no record that Burroughs read German so any familiarity with the texts in English had to await translation. A.A. Brill began this in 1909-10. The Interpretation Of Dreams appeared in the US in 1913. Tarzan’s First Nightmare gives clear indications of Burroughs having read The Interpretation Of Dreams by 1916-17.
But the basis of Burroughs’ psychological thinking had been formed well before then. I have to think that the origins of his education in both psychology and hypnotism began with his first stay in Idaho in 1891. At that point he met the recent Yale graduate, Lew Sweetser. Sweetser was in partnership with the Burroughs Boys in ranching. Sweetser and Harry Burroughs were great friends from Yale. Brother George as I read it tagged along. ERB was especially close to brother Harry and Sweetser. Sweetser had nothing but the finest encomiums for ERB.
Sweetser at Yale had apparently been a psychology major or at least taken several courses. He was not only conversant in psychology but familiar with the theory of hypnosis. Now, this was well before Freud had even begun to study hypnosis and hysteria; this was before the great psychological discoveries of the nineties. This was before William James was made a Professor of psychology at Harvard.
Just for perspective. Sweetser was two years out of college in 1889 while 1891 was a full nine years before Freud’s Interpretation Of Dreams so whatever knowledge Sweetser imparted most probably was of an original nature independent of either Jungian or Freudian influences. One wonders what psychology they were teaching at Yale in the 1880s.
It will be remembered that Thuvia, Maid of Mars has a rather amazing sequence concerning mass, if not societal hypnosis, hypnosis that could only have reflected information Burroughs had acquired well before Freud could have been an influence on him or probably any academic.
As Sweetser took up lecturing on suggestion, auto-suggestion, hypnotism and the unconcious in the 1920s I believe that shows the depth of his commitment to his study of psychology.
So, while Burroughs was certainly open to any Freudian, Jungian or other psychological sources he seems to have developed a singularly independent approach to the topic. I have discussed this independence of Freudian and Jungian schools with fellow Bibliophile David Adams who while unwilling to deny its possiblity thinks it rather a stretcher.
Possible, but I am waiting to hear other explanations for Burroughs’ otherwise unaccountable knowledge and interest in both psychology and hypnotism.
Now, how far is it from his knowledge to the realization that, in the manner of Freud, he could possibly suggest Tarzan to be the man-god archetype of the Aquarian Age?
However the Tarzan ethos of self-sufficiency is the antipodal position from Freud’s notion of collective consciousness. For Freud all members of society must be a unit of the whole while for Burroughs each member should stand alone. As you can see there is a basis for the tripe written by Richard Slotkin.
For some reason the quality of Burroughs’ writing has always been impugned. That is from his day to this. Of course when someone wishes to denigrate a writer they disapprove of they always point to some spelling, punctuation or grammatical error. Or they criticize such intanigibles as ‘style.’ The authors style they say is faulty.
Burroughs was subjected to a barrage of criticism denying him any literary skills. In point of fact the greatest stylists often write the most boring books simply because they are concentrating on ‘literary’ style. I didn’t mention the current darling of the ‘salons’, Henry James. Didn’t think it was necessary.
My own feeling is that anyone who can sell a few million copies knows how to write much better than those who can’t. Yes, that’s right, commercial success is an infallible gauge of ability, at least, to judge the public.
That said, Burroughs’ style does break from that of the nineteenth century, not that the literary style of the nineteenth century was that superior. By my own criteria all of the following writers were great writers, classics but far from perfect. The best of the lot and perhaps the greatest novelist ever was Walter Scott. I have recently seen him demoted to the ranks of ‘adventure’ writers while soon after his death his work began to be disparaged for irrelevant reasons and has been so construed since. Nevertheless he is the greatest novelist in the English or any other language or culture in existence in this or any parallel universe.
The current most popular writer of all time, Charles Dickens, has always left me cold. Personally, I couldn’t say he’s any better than Burroughs. He always sacrifices his stories for effect although wonderful effects. But, who really cares? The only question is, did you enjoy the book? Did the book sell?
Anthony Trollope, an actual favorite of mine, writes the most intolerably long soap operas in existence. The same can be said of another excellent author, Jane Austin, although I don’t intend to go near ‘Emma’ again.
Wilkie Collins, another currently popular author is very spotty in plot development. Thackeray is terrific if you don’t mind a little stultifying boredom. He’s supposed to have the most subtle humor but as subtle as I like to think myself, I haven’t gotten it yet. George Eliot survives because she was a woman in drag. Keeps the lesbians happy. I can’t stomach her approach to life.
I could go through the French and Russian writers but it would be more of the same. Dostoyevsky, for instance is very difficult to read and appreciate. The construction of Crime and Punishment is so jagged it obscures his point which isn’t the commission of a conscienceless crime.
The great literature of the nineteenth century was written before the rise of the popular press but finding a serial presence in the magazines of the day. This fact alone pushed literature toward sensationalism and a less complex literary style more in accord with mass tastes.
Thus Burroughs’ great predecessor Arthur Conan Doyle discarded all the arabesques, writing in a simple straightforward manner. He still has a strong nineteenth century flavor, as why not, compared to Burroughs modern twentieth century style. That style was evolving to the simple short sentences of Hemingway.
While the popular press had its influence, perhaps the greatest of all solvents of nineteenth century literary style was the advent of the movies. If not invented by Thomas Alva Edison he at least gave moving pictures their commercial application. Thus with 1903’s Great Train Robbery the first of the great hypnopaedic media took form. Burroughs didn’t begin writing until eight years after The Great Train Robbery so he had plenty of time to absorb cinematic techniques.
When he began writing most others were still writing nineteenth century novels. I contend that Burroughs’ writing is a major departure from that style and that he was heavily influenced by the cinematic story telling method. That he, as well as the whole country, was enamored of the flickers is attested by the fact that he personally rented movies to show at Tarzana. He was supposed to be too broke to afford such extravagances from 1903 to 1913 but something tells me he found ways of keeping up.
One is always astounded by the concrete pictures Burroughs conjures up, the astonishing images he is able to create in the reader’s mind. There is little more vivid to me than the scene in Thuvia, Maid Of Mars when the Green Men attack the Invisible Men’s castle. I might point out that the Invisible Men who were themselves an illusion had mastered the techniques of hypnotism to the point that the Green Men imagined themselves killed by illusory arrows, and hence were. I refer you to Fritz Lang’s Mabuse The Gambler who could also create such effects.
Allowing that Burroughs learned of hypnotism from Lew Sweetser in 1891, had he ever seen an hypnotic demonstration of the type he describes and if so, where?
Thus Burroughs has a perfect cinematic style perhaps improved by his interest in hypnotism in such a way that he can make the reader see what he wants them to see. This is the art of suggestion. When one looks more closely one finds a great more depth in Burroughs than one supposes was there while the distance between him, Jung and Freud narrows. His psychological ideas owe nothing or very little to either Jung or Freud however.
Enthralled by the movies, as his whole generation was, Burroughs worked very hard to break into films as a scenarist. He diverted much of his prodigious energy from novels to working up scenarios to submit to films. So far as I know they were universally rejected.
The rise of Hollywood itself was a remarkable story. When L. Frank Baum moved there in 1910 it was just another small suburb of LA. Then the film makers discovered the place in 1914. Within a very few years Hollywood almost as it is now became a reality. During the teens probably as many movies were made in Chicago as LA but by 1919 when he moved there Hollywood was the established movie capitol. ERB missed putting his best foot forward by quite a lot when he published The Girl From Hollywood criticizing the film community for things they now take great pride in, dope and sex. Then it was the putative porn capitol of the world, now it is the legally established one. Still, ERB was in his element. He made no effort to leave, gradually acclimatizing himself to the mores of the film colony.
Actually the filmmakers took kindly to his Tarzan series, easily recognizing its commercial potential if not its psychological appeal. After a hiatus from 1921 to 1927 when no Tarzan films were made, when the talkies came in, 1932’s Tarzan, The Ape Man by MGM established Tarzan in the psyche of the country if not the world.
This from a man on the edge of failure if not psychological disintegration in 1911. From there he rode the medium of the age to fame and fortune. He may not have realized the extent of his success but he had established both Tarzan and himself as a centerpiece of American and World culture.
The automobile became a reality in the first decade of the twentieth century. Ford was not the first, but he was the most influential depending on how you view William Durant first of Buick and then General Motors.
From 1900 to 1913 the impoverished Edgar Rice Burroughs walked around Chicago with his tongue hanging out watching the machines roll by. Perhaps he even saw the future heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson, tool by in one of the first automobiles seen in the Big Windy. Certainly he must have seen his old rival Frank Martin passing by in any one of a number of cars Martin probably owned. Certain amount of humiliation there. Perhaps Martin was still trying to impress Emma, maybe even parking his machine at the curb intruding his presence into their marriage.
Americans have universally been in love with the automobile but there still seems something almost pathological in Burroughs’ fixation on them. Among the first things he did with his money in his anno mirabilis of 1913 was to buy a second hand car- a Velie, whatever they were. One assumes he got a real good deal. Never an astute financial man ERB paid rail fare to cart this thing to San Diego. As a spendthrift he may have been nearly as broke as he was in Idaho so he sold the vehicle in San Diego rather than pay to haul it back to Chicago. One of the first smart things he ever did other than marrying Emma.
From then on ERB had a succession of cars and none of them were the most economical models available. When he came back from San Diego he bought a Hudson in emulation of his hero Frank Baum. ERB sneered at the poor man’s car, the Ford.
I don’t have a list of the various cars ERB owned between 1913 and his demise but his car buying ways in the thirties were spectacular. We are all familiar with the story of his buying five Packards at one time from the proceeds of the sale of Tarzan to MGM.
For those unfamiliar with the Packard it used to be on a par with the Cadillac and Lincoln. This was well before the Mercedes was introduced into America. Packard never recovered from the War, going out of buisness, I think, in 1956. None but an eccentric few ever favored the Lincoln, so any comparison must be between Packard and Cadillac. As a boy at the time I favored the looks of the Packard. The Cadillac even at the time had the reputation of being a pimpmobile. Anyway, Packard didn’t make it past 1956.
Frank Puncer of ERBzine in his fascinating article reporting his interview with Lee Chase-Burroughs has a revealing passage:
He (Burroughs) was adventurous and, of course, had all the toys. A Cord automobile, a Packard sedan, also a “woodie” for running errands. The one I liked was the Pierce Arrow roadster with a rumble seat.
All those cars were in addition to his airplane. By the time he married Florence he had already taken his financial bath with the airport and Apache engine investments.
Owning all those cars at one time seems an excessive indulgence to me. However I have never been interested in fancy cars enough to buy one. I often thought I wanted a red car but having rented one I find I much prefer basic black. So I may not be the best judge on this matter.
Sill a guy who is willing to spend to take his car along him possibly to China seems to have a fixation. Puncer records a detail from Chase that is most tantalizing.
Lee: I suspected they went to China but I never knew for sure. There are some artefacts, in fact, two of them are in our dining room, that came from China. I had a great picture of Ebby standing in front of the Packard on a pier. Behind him was a ship called the Empress of Japan. They did take a voyage on that ship and they took the Packard with them. Where exactly they went I don’t know. There were some trips that the children were not part of. I think the Empress of Japan cruise went through the Panama Canal. I do know they ended up in New York. The Packard was a new 1937 model and they drove it home.
Thus ERB replicated his trips with Emma if part of the cruise went through the Panama Canal. One imagines the cross-country drive in 1937-38 was considerably easier than the 1916 trip twenty-two years earlier. Here’s a side of ERB that hasn’t been explained by his biographers.
The expense of the trip would have been enormous. The extra cost of unloading and loading the Packard at each port must have been substantial. The vanity of such a thing throws a new light on ERB’s character. Especially as photos of him at this time show him to be a real dandy in fitted suits. One wonders how he could possibly have been so affluent in 1937-38 and so broke two years later that he was reduced to living on $250 a month in Hawaii. I hope the inconsistency is clear.
Of course WWII terminated ERB’s love affair with the automobile. When he returned to the US after the War the wonder of the pre-war years was gone. There were no post-war Cords or Pierce Arrows while by the time cars would have been readily agailable again age and disease had rendered driving impossible for ERB.
One does admire ERB’s taste in automobiles though, doesn’t one?
Finally, for this essay, let us turn to ERB’s sexual and marriage problems. He may very well have been blithe and carefree in his handling of them but they look like problems to me.
It seems quite clear that ERB had a serious emotional problem with women. Bearing in mind this is a quote from a novel and may not necessarily reflect Burroughs’ most deeply held feeling yet the Tarzan series is so autobiographical of what was happening in his life or going through his mind at the moment that I believe it does. On p.51 of Tarzan And The Leopard Man Burroughs in his persona of Old Timer has him ruminate:
What had women ever done for him? “Made a bum of me,” he soliloquized; “ruined my life. This girl would have been lost but for me. She owes me something. All women owe me something for what that one woman did to me. This girl is going to pay that debt.
“God, but she’s beautiful!” And she belongs to me. I found her, and I am going to keep her until I am tired of her. Then I’ll throw her over the way I was thrown over. See how the woman will like it! God, what lips! Tonight they will be all mine, and I’ll make her like it. It’s only fair. I’ve got something coming to me in this world. I’m entitled to a little happiness; and by God, I’m going to have it.”
Now, that’s a fairly psychotic statement. How does it correlate to ERB’s life? So far as we know he had serious relationships with three women: Emma, Florence and Dorothy. In point of fact he threw each over as he had been thrown over. There is no doubt that he meant to hurt them as severely as he could cherishing their pain.
As these are his three women and none of them threw him over then one must ask, who was the woman who threw him over? There is no actual living woman involved. The only possible candidate can be his Anima. So that his attitude toward women, wich is actually fairly extreme, can be traced back only to his disastrous encounter with John the Bully as an eight or nine year old. I know, but it has to be true.
One can’t be certain but I surmise that he was walking to shool with Emma and possibly another person or two which would be normal when John glowered threateningly over him demanding he fight. At that point, as he panicked, he must have associated his Anima with Emma, thus as he ran he left his Anima behind which was then attached to John. Thus in the intensely autobiographical The Outlaw Of Torn De Vac/John murders his Anima figure Maud and then assumes her role dressed in drag.
Thus, as ERB expresses it in Leopard Men, his Anima threw him over.
Now, Burroughs would have been able to portray this situation endlessly without being able to associate his stories with the event. He was able to remember John all his life even apparently idolizing him without realizing how much he hated or feared him. He was unable to counter the psychological suggestion that John was a greater than he, hence he was emasculated.
If one asked ERB who was the woman who threw him over he would probably have been able only to make a few confused utterances and then turn away.
In my experience this sort of reaction occurs even below the level of fixation. It occurs as though transfixed by a lightning bolt separating the mind from reality. I don’t mean to bore you with my own experiences but they are illustrative. My own relationship with women, for instance, was conditioned by my mother when she lied to me and dropped me off at the children’s home or orphanage.
Of course I was consciously shattered even being able to associate the situation with immense electrical discharges or lightning bolts but more importantly in unreachable areas of the mind certain notions were formed. I didn’t reach this understanding by analysis although I did prepare the psychological ground. The attitude only surfaced in a certain situation which might never have occurred in my life but did twice. That situation was when a woman I was associated with left me when I expected her to be with me. My reaction was not conscious, which isn’t to say I wasn’t aware of what I was doing but I wasn’t aware of why I was doing it although I naturally had my reasons.
The first manifestation occurred when I was fifteen with my first girl friend. She said she loved me and demanded I love her with the same intensity. I agreed to reciprocate. Then as Christmas vacation came around and I planned on spending those pleasant two weeks with her she said she had to go visit relatives in a distant city. A feeling of terror gripped my soul as I insisted that she not go. Reason has nothing to do with this. It didn’t matter to me then that perhaps she couldn’t refuse to go and it doesn’t matter to me now. She went. In doing so she replicated the original event with my mother. It broke my heart but on the succeeding Valentines Day I broke a date and without any explanation whatsoever never saw her again. It wasn’t her fault but neither was I responsible for my action although guilty of it.
I recovered the memory in a novel I was writing when I named the cross streets of the orphanage after her two names. When writing it is best not to correct yourself so rather than change the street names which seemed silly to me I left them as they were. Then I asked myself why I would associate this girl, who I really loved, with the children’s home with which she had no connection. The lightning bolt backed out of my mind and I was able to make the association between my mother leaving me and this girl leaving me. So I lost my psychosis.
The situation recurred when I was courting my wife. I came very close to walking away at that time. Why I didn’t I don’t know. Somewhere deep inside I resent the fact that I didn’t.
So, the woman who threw ERB over couldn’t have been real as there is no record of her. She must have been his Anima.
He attempted to get even using Emma by stringing her along indefinitely probably with the intention of ruining her life by turning her into a frustrated spinster. This plan was ruined when Frank Martin made his pitch for Emma forcing ERB to marry her. Thus Burroughs had to devise a new plan to ruin her life. Of course there was conflict between his conscious and unconscious minds.
There must have contending emotions in his mind that kept him with her for thirty-four years. Or perhaps, as a one man woman, she put up with anything from him rather than lose him. That is certainly the implication in Herb Weston’s letters when he says that no other woman would have tolerated his antics. In the end he certainly treated her like a cad and a heel.
I suppose no life is lived without causing injury or destress to other individuals some intentional, some not. In relation to women in ERB’s life the injuries were intentional and perhaps even planned but ultimately ERB was in the meshes of psychological forces he apparently neither understood nor could control. He was ultimately not responsible for his actions but guilty of them. This is one of the great quandaries of life, even though one may commit heinous acts such as in the case of John Wayne Gacy, at bottom one is compelled by psychological forces and are truly not responsible but still, of course, guilty. Thus when Gacy said of himself that John Wayne Gacy would never have committed such crimes I believe he was speaking the truth. John Wayne Gacy I could never have killed those boys. But John Wayne Gacy II could. So Gacy must have had a split personality in the manner of Dr. Jekyll nad Mr. Hyde. Jekyll wouldn’t but Hyde was compelled to. Thus we have Tarzan I, a blow to the head and we have Tarzan II. Did this split also occur in Burroughs’ real life?
Now, ERB in his Tarzan novels on several occasions attributes a split personality to Tarzan usually caused by a blow to the head. It seems probable that Burroughs who did receive such a blow knows whereof he speaks.
So with this trauma caused by his confrontation with John and blow to the head in Toronto one begins to get a picture of a man with a brilliant intellect much as Dr. Jekyll, as evidenced by his writing, in a confused state of mind that resulted in Hyde like actions. It is quite possible that H.G. Wells, perhaps on his own, perhaps in consultation with others, evaluation of Burroughs as insane in his Mr. Blettsworthy On Rampole Island, may have some substance while not being completely justified.
At any rate ERB was extremely emotionally violent to his women. One recalls the image of the dead Alalus woman used for target practice in Ant Men. Whether ERB was true to Emma throughout her life or not. I used to believe so but now have my doubts, he certainly tortured her for seven long years before he brutally threw her over after thirty-four year long ties.
He enjoyed; he relished her pain. When she died he even danced on her grave.
The period from 1930 to 1934 was crucial to ERB’s psychological sexual stress. Leopard Men of mid ’31 must have been written in a period of deep and disturbed emotional distress. Once again Tarzan’s personality splits. Before it splits Old Timer/Burroughs has his confrontatin with Kali Bwana/Florence in which they appear to hate each other. When Tarzan regains his memory Old Timer/Burroughs and Kali Bwana/Florence have reconciled and become a pair.
Thus it appears that this was the crucial moment when ERB made up his mind to leave Emma and unite with Florence.
Did he have honorable intentions toward Florence? I don’t think so. Let us review the quote of Old Timer from Leopard Men:
God, she’s beautiful. And she belongs to me. I found her and I am going to keep her until I am tired of her. Then I will throw her over…I’ve got something coming to me in this world. I’m entitled to a little happiness; and by God I’m going to have it,
It would appear that his relationship with Florence was expedient. He from the first intended to ruin her life by dumping her, see how she liked it. Thus the denouement of the marriage in Hawaii was understood by ERB from the beginning.
At one time I believed that Florence calculatedly used ERB to get a trophy husband for status in Hollywood. As the story evolves I am now realizing that ERB was no innocent party. He had been long enough in Hollywood to be seduced by its standards. He was on the edge of sixty and if he was to salvage a little happiness, by God, than this was the time to do it before it was too late. While I haven’t seen any photographs that would make me think Florence was beautiful she apparently was better looking than her photographs while being young and an actual movie star of some fame one presumes. I am not up on silent pictures but the attraction to an aging Burroughs is obvious.
According to Puncer’s Lee Chase interview in ERBzine 1632 ERB became a party animal compared to his life with Emma. While Chase doesn’t have any definite proof it is possible that ERB began to travel to foreign climes with perhaps a tour of the Orient. When that life palled and he began to tire of Florence in other words, she had served her purpose, as Old Timer said he would, ERB threw her over to she how the woman liked it.
As with a psychosis, not yet sexually satisfied he took up with the third woman in his life, Dorothy. When ERB married Emma he actually took her from Frank Martin who would have been a good catch for Emma. In the over thirty-four years he proceeded to ruin her life in which he absolutely succeeded when he walked out on her. When he married Florence he took her from Dearholt. Florence proved more resilient when he threw her over quickly remarrying. Dorothy, who seems to have been a rather ordinary woman, was also married. In this case when ERB had destroyed her marriage he just left her standing. In that manner he threw her over and let the woman see how she liked it.
At that time age and disease caight up with him so that he was unable to make a fourth attempt which he very likely would have done. He was sort of a serial psychological destroyer of women. Once again, he was guilty but not responsible.
His sexual problems then were caused by a damaged or even murdered Anima. Sexual information of this sort is not taught in those ridiculous coeducational sex courses in high school or college where the ideas are only concerned with the varieties of sexual intercourse. As the song says: Put it where you want it. These sex courses are a bigger crime than any actual sex crime- they are a sex crime. I can’t believe the big brains don’t know what they’re doing so I have to conclude that they are knowingly betraying mankind.
This concludes my review of Tarzan The Invincible, the first of the mature novels of ERB. I think now I will examine what many consider the worst of the series, Tarzan And The Leopard Men. I’ve always considered it a difficult story but I think I have enough of a handle on it to at least open the exploration.
Thuvia, Maid Of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Review by R.E. Prindle
Civilization And Its Malcontents
Let us say that for the fifty years or so before the 1920s there was a growing sense of societal malaise. This malaise was reflected most notably in the creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ psychological projection, Tarzan Of The Apes. One has to account for the immediate acceptation by society of such an absurdity. Tarzan, in fact, completely rejected civilization for the life of the romantic ‘unrestrained freedom’ of the jungle. The noble savage in fact.
Thus in a metaphor Burroughs reflected the malaise of his time so brilliantly that his creation was accepted as virtually a real person. Writers like Grant and Stoddard put the same theme into more scholarly terms. As noted, contrary to Richard Slotkin’s idea, Grant had little or no influence on Burroughs while the slightly later Lothrop Stoddard whose three relevant works appeared only from 1920 to 1922 could have had no influence on Burroughs’ formative years. It seems probable that Burroughs did read Stoddard and was influenced by his work but only after his ideas were fully formed. Even then The Revolt Against Civilization appeared after Burroughs had examined some of the same problems in his rejected manuscript, Under The Red Flag of 1919.
The problem of the malcontents and their war on civilization was examined by a number of writers during the twenties and thirties so why Slotkin singled out Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard isn’t as clear as it might be. Postwar German cinema was intensely concerned with the matter as why should it not? Germany was under asault by what Stoddard called the Underman. Nor need Slotkin think Stoddard was alone. I’m sure there were dozens of forgotten books prophesying the end of the world by one means or another including the Undermen of Communism.
The Underman, or the Communist, was not even a term unique to Stoddard. Gustave Le Bon, the French scholar on whose work Sigmund Freud based his study Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego wrote prolifically on the psychological foundations of the Underman. Freud based his book on Le Bon’s 1895 study The Psychology Of Crowds. Unless I’m mistaken he based his 1930 study Civilization And Its Discontents on Le Bon’s 1921 book The World In Revolt: A Psychological Study Of Our Times.
On the cinematic side the problem was examined in the great silent films The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari and Fritz Lang’s 1922 film Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler. Lang would follow that ten years later with the sound film The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse.
Even though Buroughs’ Under The Red Flag was rejected in 1919 he persisted, rewriting and extending the text into the 1926 story, The Moon Maid. This story reflects a possible reading of The Revolt Against Civilization but such a reading was much more evident in 1934’s Tarzan And The Lion Man.
The development of the problem was evident to all these writers which it seems to have escaped Slotkin who attributes the recognition of societal evolution to mere ‘racism’ in the writers. One thinks that perhaps Slotkin is too involved in his own agenda.
Rider Haggard enunciated the problem quite clearly in his 1888 novel Allan Quatermain in which Quatermain grouses about the ‘strict limits’ of civilization compared to the ‘natural’ life of the African Zulus. It might almost seem that the idea of Tarzan arose in Burroughs’ mind from that observation. In fact science was undermining all the comforting beliefs that mankind had been settled in for a hundred thousand years. During that long period characterized by the mental mode of what is called mythopoeic thinking man’s mind devoid of true knowledge projected a vision of reality that resulted in the notion of God. Thus reasoning from insufficient knowledge man’s mind came up with an erroneous result. You can’t get out of a mind what isn’t in it; all education is suggestion.
As Freud was to say, man’s settled view of reality received its three great shocks when Galileo disproved the geocentric notion of the universe, Darwin disproved the uniqueness of man’s position in the animal kingdom and he, Freud, displaced the conscious mind with his vision of the unconscious mind. Once again Le Bon was there ahead of him.
Thus as the nineteenth century opened and progressed the bases of mankind’s notions of reality were shattered leaving him emotionally and intellectually bereft of foundations of belief. Adrift without an anchor.
As if that were not bad enough the great cataclysm that ushered in the modern era, The French Revolution, was based on the the absolute notion that not only were all men created equal but remained equal in all aspects of their existence. The advance of civilization would toss this certainty into the trash can of history also.
As civilization placed greater and greater demands on the intelligence and self-discipline of men and women the incontestable gap between those less intelligent and those more intelligent became more and more obvious. Thus as the century progressed the notion of the Overman and the Underman began to become clear.
At the same time the first tentative efforts at measuring the intellectual potential of the individual began to become possible. Of course the basic inequality of men and women in its physical aspect had always been apparent. Some men were naturally stronger and better muscled than others. But, even that was changing. The science of physical culture was making it possible for the 98 lb. weakling to develop himself into a man mountain. Thus artifically developed srongmen like the Great Sandow ushered in the golden age of the strong man topped off by Charles Atlas who guaranteed he could turn you into a man mountain if you followed his program.
There was the promise that you could dethrone that bully and kick sand back in his face. On the other side Francis Galton was originating the first primitive tests to measure intelligence potential. Burroughs would have seen both proponents during his miraculous summer of 1893 at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. I mean to say that both facts entered his mind where they could be digested and emerge later. Nothing can come out of your mind that didn’t go in it.
And then after the turn of the century Binet devised he first actual IQ test. Thus, just as Sandow and Atlas could measure the size of muscles, the psychologists became able to measure the intelligence potential. Those with high IQs were set up; those with low IQs were cooked. The upshot was that all men were not created equal nor could they ever attain intellectual equality.
To a very large extent what became the Communist Party recognized the inequality while demanding equality against reason. Recognizing subconsciously, perhaps, that men could never be intellectual equals rather than try the futile task of raising the less fortunate they sought to destroy education which brings out the inequality but doesn’t create it. No matter what happens there are always going to be the more intelligent just as there will always be the physically stronger. As Le Bon points out, if you needed to hear it, nature don’t know from equality.
Thus the Communist Party devised the well sounding slogan- From each according to his ability; to each according to his need. Good plan for the needy, slavery for the able. The needy were organized beginning their struggle to achieve superiority by collective action. This was accomplished in Russia in 1917. The battle was joined.
Just as individuals are created with different capabilities so are peoples and races. Some can achieve and some can’t. Slotkin who must be a Communist thus takes offence at what he perceives to be, and is, an attitude of White Supremacy in Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard. While I am aware there are those who will disagree with White superiority it is nevertheless not an attitude but an evolutionary fact. That is the reason Communists have Darwin under attack. While Darwin doesn’t say it, it is the inevitable result of his studies. Just as it was necessary for the Undermen to destroy education in the hopes of creating intellectual equality so it became necessary to destroy White achievement of the last five hundred years. The whites must be demonized and made to feel evil and inferior morally. That is the import of Slotkin’s Gunfighter Nation.
At that level all three writers are guilty. As has been stated in Canadian courts- Truth is not a defense. So there’s nothing to discuss. Might is right and whoever has the might will prevail.
It is a fact that all three writers were anti-Communists so it may be assumed that whatever Communists believe, they didn’t. And why should they? Might may be right but it can still be nonsense. Communism is a flawed ideology based on a false premiss. It always fails wherever it is introduced. Failure is not evidence of a bad plan in Communist eyes. One just continues to shovel sand against the tide and pray. So succeed or fail they always think they can succeed by the same flawed ideology. The fault for failure lies elsewhere.
In that sense Burroughs was wasting his time assailing this religion of failure with his Under The Red Flag and its successor The Moon Maid. The only people who would applaud his effort would be we non-Communists but he could never convince anyone with Communist leanings. Of course that wasn’t well understood at the time.
If Burroughs were accused of not believing in equality that would be true. Not only are John Carter and Tarzan superior to any contemporaries on two worlds but Burroughs has a whole hierarchy of value. John Carter is the Warlord of Mars ruling from the top city of Mars, Helium. The races of Mars pretty much reflect those of Earth and their relative stations. The main exception is the ruling Red race. As Whites do and have existed on Mars in Burroughs stories while at one time being the dominant race perhaps the Red race is some sort of amalgam of the various Eropean immigrants of the United States. I believe the Green Men represent the American Indian. Both roam the great plains while being essentially savages.
Tarzan though always spoken of as being White is described as a bronze giant. Bronze is a fairly dark metal so that Tarzan and the Red men of Mars may be more or less identical in color.
Tarzan is the man-god so there are none superior or even equal to him. Below him come the English who are the cream of mankind. Perhaps slightly below the English are the French and then the rest of the Whites. Tarzan himself is psychologically an animal having been raised by the Apes. Not your ordinary gorilla or Chimp but a species intermediate between Gorilla and the Negro. Slotkin hasn’t read enough Burroughs to make an intelligent comment but the undeniable attitude of Burroughs is enough for Slotkin to condemn him as an unregenerate bigot. The reader may believe as he likes. I have stated my opinion eslewhere and that is enough. Whether any of these opinions of Burroughs influenced American soldiers at My Lai is open to question. The burden of proof is on Slotkin and he hasn’t provided it.
Along with the Undermen however, speaking through Tarzan, Burroughs is heartily discontented with civilization.
The spectacle of Chicago of the 1890s as a dirty unpleasant place haunts Burroughs. In contrast to the great White City of the Columbian Expo was what was afterwards known as the Black City of everyday Chicago. The contrast was so strong and so offensive to the Undermen that within a year of the Expo’s closing the entire White City was burned to the ground with the exception of one building. Hence perhaps the decayed crimson and gold ruins of Opar and the crimson and gold twin cities of Helium. One wonders what effect the sight of the ruin of the White City had on Burroughs when he revisited the site sometime after his miraculous summer of ’93. The mind creates nothing from nothing so there must have been models of the great cities of ERB’s imagination.
There are points at which Burroughs and Communism have quite similar views. It will be remembered that Burroughs only reluctantly married and throughout his life expressed discontent with the institution. To some extent or other ERB must have been an advocate of free love. Communists would have heartily approved of ERB’s women who went nude except for certain ‘adornments.’ Communists of course want women to be accesible to any man who wants them at any time while they have always advocated bare breasts.
In many ways when the Communists appropriated Tarzan for the MGM movies it took but slight changes to make Tarzan conform to their ideals. The MGM Tarzan and Jane were not married. While Burroughs’ Tarzan was a highly educated on-again off-again sophisticate the MGM Tarzan was a stupid illiterate oaf and one who rejected the attributes of civilization high up there in the Cloud Cuckoo Land of the Mutia Plateau.
On the essentials though Burroughs rejected the demands of the Underman as The Moon Maid clearly shows. There was very little in Stoddard’s The Revolt Against Civilization that Burroughs would have disagreed with. At the same time there was probably very little he didn’t already believe although he had never codified his information as Stoddard had. Slotkin’s contention that Burroughs was influenced by either Grant or Stoddard is surely wrong. ERB had already taken hs positions before either men had begun to write.
Each writer was, in his own way, an advocate of White Supremacy. It now become clear that White Supremacy has nothing to do with a fringe element in Liberal ideology. All Whites are White Supremacists in that ideology unless they reject ‘White skin privilege’ whatever that is. Ayers and Dorhn explain in their recent Race Course In White Supremacy. Interestingly constructed title. Nor as Slotkin would have it is the attitude based on mere racial pride and bigotry but on a solid record of achievement unattained by any other people. The quesiton is not was it right for some people to rule or be supreme because in the nature of things some people will rule and be supreme but which of the peoples are most qualified to be supreme.
All people have had equal opportunity so that one can only conclude that the race has gone to the most qualified participant. In the contest the Whites unified the other peoples against them as must inevitably be the consequence of being the top people. As they say, getting there is the easy part; staying there is the hard part.
Slotkin merely represents the envious losers, the Undermen. who clutch at any firebrand to burn the White House down. Who is most to be admired and emulated? Builders or destroyers?
Finis of Thuvia, Maid Of Mars Review
Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars
Thuvia, Maid Of Mars
ERB was born in 1875 before education had been affected by the ideologies of either the Communists or Dewey. He was given a Classical versus scientific education in his critical Jr. High years. Thus he must have known Latin reasonably well.
The current High School system of the US came to fruition only during the twentieth century. Universal literacy only became realizable a very short time ago. Child labor didn’t disappear until after the Second World War. Thus ERB really had a favored childhood. ERB must have been familiar with memorization and drill; methods of education now highly discouraged. Therefore his education was directed toward a full consciousness than sink into the inherently criminal unconscious which Communist method prevails today. As there was no audio-visual culture at that time his was a print mentality through say 1910 when the movies began to have significance. By 1920, at least, he was fully involved in a print-movie culture hence a more unconscious mode of thinking. Still, his early training led him to a conscious approach to experiencing and analyzing.
One can’t know for sure which year he became aware but it is safe to assume 1888-90. Thus his immediate past extended back to about 1850 just as for me the twenties and thirties form my immediate past. Yours can be computed as about twenty years before you were born. As we grow up these years form the topic of discussion we overhear from our elders.
ERB’s near past then can be calculated as about 1800 so that dying in 1950 as he did his life straddled, as it were, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The nineteenth century was quite stunning in its diversity. As a boy and young man ERB was alive at the time of ‘the winning of the West.’ His early life was lived in the high tide of ‘Western world supremacy.’ His heroes such as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wister epitomized the high tide. The ‘Scramble For Africa’ of the last quarter of the nineteenth century formed the centerpiece of his literary corpus, that of Tarzan Of The Apes. Also a key to his world outlook was the American Civil War that ended only ten years before he was born. While I have found no direct evidence of the San Domingo Moment that occurred at the very beginning of the nineteenth century it is possible that he conflated San Domingo with the Civil War in the Martian series when the First Born, or Negroes, defeated the White Holy Therns nearly exterminating them. Thus while ERB’s works are ‘pure entertainment’ if you look closely you’ll find some serious historical and social commentary. If it weren’t there you wouldn’t have the Liberal Coalition condemning him as a bigot. They do.
For the purposes of this essay I will use a professor from Case-Western Reserve by the name of Richard Slotkin as a representative of the Liberal Coalition or Communist school. In his essay Gunfighter Nation he lays the blame for everything he dislikes at the feet of Burroughs and two other writers- Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. We will get there soon enough but first lets consider the ‘humanitarian’ record of the Coalition. In one form or another the Coalition and its constituents date back to the French Revolution and hence San Domingo. Thus the Coalition was born in blood and murder. Murder on a grand scale, genocide in fact. The ideology of the Coalition is that of the Communists. The men Slotkin so roundly condemns are all anti-Communists so the ideological differences are clear.
Over the two centuries plus since the Revolution over a hundred million people have been murdered by units of the Coalition with hundreds of millions more projected for the near future. Yet Mr. Slotkin proposes to represent our trio as indescribably evil because he attributes the My Lai Massacre in Viet Nam not to them personally but as a direct result of their writings.
So there we have the basic issues. The hypocrisy of Mr. Slotkin should be self-evident.
What was the opinions of Messers Burroughts, Grant and Stoddard that so inflame Mr. Slotkin?
Quite simply they are conscious, objective scholars as opposed to the unconscious method of Liberal writers. Liberal views are products of the unconscious and cannot stand up to critical analysis. The unconscious is selfish and criminal hence wishful. The attitude is not what is but what I want.
The high tide of Western world supremacy was ending as it was cresting. This was noticeable to more acute intellects as early as 1900 and perhaps a decade earlier. Burroughs hints at this when he describes the Lotharians as an ancient auburn haired White race who ruled a thalassocracy or a maritime empire. Thus in his hierarchy of Martian races there was an earlier White race than the Therns.
The Lotharians sailed forth to win Mars for the city at home much as European mariners won the world for Europe beginning with the Portuguese voyages of the fifteenth century, Columbus and all the sea captains of the glorious age of discovery. The seamen were only defeated by the stay-at-homes who sabotaged their efforts.
Burroughs gives a valid interpretation of the age of European exploration and conquest from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. Thus the story of the Lotharians, now shadows of their former selves, is a very poetic rendering of that history.
The period ended with the 1899-1900 enunciation of the Open Door Policy in China by the American SecretaryOf State, John Hay. China was in the process of being acquired by the European States at the time which the Open Door prevented thus guaranteeing China’s integrity. This was a sea change in world politics. the conquered peoples now began their counter offensive against the West.
This change was noted by Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard.
Madison Grant was of the earlier generation of TR while Burroughs and Stoddard were near contemporaries. Burroughs born in 1875, Stoddard in 1883. They both died in the same year, 1950.
None of the three applauded the sea change but lamented it, running counter to Liberal ideology which applauded the change and latterly aroused the ire of Prof. Slotkin. Thus he and his Coalition fellows demonize the three.
They were only writers.. Until recently Grant and Stoddard had been all but forgotten. Grant’s two best known works are The Passing Of The Great Race of 1915 and Conquest Of A Continent of 1933. His main offence in the eyes of the coalition is that the Great Race is the Nordic race, which implies superiority, and his use of the term Nordic. There was a tremendous effort at the time to ridicule and deny Nordics and Anglo-Saxons. This is most notable in the vitriolic work of the bigot H.L. Mencken. Nordic is a curse word within the Coalition.
The Great Race is an interesting period piece but seems obsolete in its science. Conquest is still usable as a guide for the Nordic migrations within the US. I think it questionable that Burroughs was influenced by Grant who wrote after ERB had already committed himself although as Great Race made a splash it isn’t improbable that he read it.
Lothrop Stoddard is a different story. Here is a scholar done a great injury by the likes of Slotkin and the Coalition. Stoddard wrote several books that might even be considered prophetic. As noted he was eight years younger than ERB while graduating from Harvard. Unlike Grant I think Slotkin is right that he was an influence on Burroughs but only after 1920 when Burroughs was fully formed. It is possible that ERB accessed his research for his own purposes.
Stoddard’s first book in 1914 was a terrific examination of the San Domingo Moment titled The French Revolution in San Domingo. while the book was issued too late to affect ERB’s knowledge for use in Thuvia in 1914 events were transpiring that would have put Haiti, San Domingo’s later name, in his mind’s eye. Beginning in January of 1914 several US warships landed troops in a very disorderly Haiti. The bankers had precipitated yet another financial crisis by imprudent lending practices. As was to become customary they called on the US government to bail them out. In order to insure their loans the taxpayers were called upon to foot the bill. The occupation of Haiti by the Marines began the next year and that lasted until well into the thirties before the troops were withdrawn. Having gotten Haiti into trouble the bankers than looted the country for a couple decades.
Another interesting sidelight in Haiti and the Caribbean was that 1914 was the year that McClurg’s released Tarzan Of The Apes. Now, Ogden McClurg the ostensible owner of McClurg’s was only a figurehead. The company had become employee owned after the last fire about 1900. Ogden McClurg was living ERB’s fantasy life. He was an officer in the Navy having spent the decade or so previous to 1914 as an operative in the Caribbean during a period when the US was famous for gunboat diplomacy among the Banana Republics. It’s possible that he often worked undercover as a secret agent.
ERB’s contact was Joe Bray who actually ran the day to day operations of the firm. I’ve been told that McClurg had little to or no contact with the authors and indeed, it seems unlikely he could have being out of the country so much, yet ERB seems to have formed a jealous relationship with McClurg speaking of him as though he did know him. That could only have been between 1914 and 1917. Ogden was in Europe for three years or so during the war and after while ERB left for LA in 1919. Deserves investigation.
Back to Stoddard. In 1920, 21 and 22 he issued his three most important books, the ones that so infuriate the volatile Liberal Coalition. The titles were The Rising Tide Of Color Against White World Supremacy of 1920, The New World Of Islam of 1921 and 1922’s The Revolt Against Civilization- The Menace Of The Underman.
All three were prophetic and indeed, as of today, the prophecies have come to pass. The first volume, The Rising Tide Of Color needs no explanation for the violent reaction of the Coalition. By this time their agencies of the ADL, AJC and NAACP operating under the umbrella of the Communist Party were well able to defame anyone they chose with immunity from prosecution.
The mere mention of White Supremacy was enough to make them foam at the mouth. The reasons are clear and they were already formulated by the Revolution of 1792, Now, we do have the problem of slavery which casts a pall over all discussions. There is no justification for slavery although the institution still survives having now spread to America and Europe and it will flower everywhere once again before the century is half over. So, really, the slavery issue is irrelevant. ERB himself accepted the practice as a universal fact of life; the practice exists in all his stories.
Stoddard: This analysis applies to the US of today as aptly as that of San Domingo in 1792. “These men’ are the proto-Communist Jacobins of the French Revolution:
“If you (the San Domingan Whites) are sufficiently united to follow my counsel, I guarantee the salvation of San Domingo. But, in any case, let no one cherish the hope of mercy from these men, let no one be deluded by their sly tricks of policy; the negroes alone find room in their affections, and all the whites without distinction, all the mulattoes as well, are doomed; all whites are dangerous to their projects, all alike will be sacrificed as soon as these men shall have disposed of the officers, gotten rid of the troops of the line, and become at last the undisputed masters.”
As San Domingo in 1792, so Euroamerica in 2010. We were promised change but none has or will ocuur. Two hundred years later same words, same tune. So, Slotkin would have us believe that decent self-respecing scholars and writers such as Burroughs, Grant and Stoddard were responsible for My Lai rather than Robespierre,Danton and Murat. Well, you can fool some of the people all the time….
Just as his first of this trio of books prophesied the coming race wars, so Stoddard’s World Of Islam prophesied the current invasion of Euroamerica and the religious wars, for that is what ‘terrorism’ is. The third book The Revolt Against Civilization has also come to pass as the asault on Western culture, which is to say, civilization continues on an accelerated pace.
It was this book that had the greatest influence on ERB that would surface in 1934s Tarzan And The Lion Man. Stoddard is much influenced by the evolutionary theory of Auguste Weis. Especially the notion of body and germ cells that ERB embraced so enthusiastically in 1934. ERB’s interpretation was certainly pure entertainment but based on current scientific knowledge nonetheless.
As for ERB’s notions he was expressing developed opinions on the social scene under cover of entertainment long before he could have been influenced by either Grant or Stoddard so Richard Slotkin is quite wrong in his prejudicial interpretation of ERB as in ignorant spouter of bigotry based on the other two.
In fact Slotkin ignores the content of all three men to denounce them as ignorant, uninformed bigots who were nevertheless taken so seriously by gunslinging Americans that by Slotkins own words they caused the My Lai Massacre. But enough of Slotkin who sabotages his own thesis by confessing to inadequate research. A much more interesting topic is The Revolt Against Civilization of which it can truly be said that revoltagainst civilization applies to ERB as well as his arch enemies- the Liberal Coalition.
Part III-C will involve civilization and its malcontents.
The High Brow And The Low Brow
The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep
Living On Tulsa Time
R.E. Prindle, Dugald Warbaby and Dr. Anton Polarion
Livin’ on Tulsa Time.
Livin’ on Tulsa Time.
Gonna set my watch back to it,
‘Cause you know that I’ve been through it,
Livin’ on Tulsa Time.
– Danny Flowers
During the ’60s a lot of energy was put into the notion that one live in the HERE and NOW or someone else’s impression of the NOW. There used to be a big San Francisco poster with nothing but a black background with the giant word IS in white. NOW IS NOW.
They didn’t know how much they were asking. It is impossible to actually live in the NOW; No one can do it. Rather the past is a drag on NOW preventing a full involvement with the present. The period of time it takes to digest the previous NOW and update to an approximate notion of the current NOW is excruciatingly slow. The sharper the break between the past and present the more traumatic the reaction.
In the song Living On Tulsa Time the singer, no matter what time zone he is in sets his watch to Central Tulsa time.
I know where that one is at. One of my shattering breaks with the past was when I went active in the Navy in ’56. Sent from Eastern Standard to Pacific Standard I kept my watch set to Eastern Standard time nearly the whole three years of my enlistment. I only switched to PST in 1959 when I accepted the fact that I would never return East; that California was my new home.
Brought into contact with a new NOW I was still not ready for the present. I continued to dress as we did in ’56 well into the sixties. Got hard to find some new duds. I only ceased dressing that way when I became a Hippie in ’66 and adopted fantastic Hippie garb. I was an urban spaceman:
I’m the Urban Spaceman
I’ve got speed,
I’ve got everything I need.
I don’t feel pleasure,
I don’t feel pain,
If you were to knock me down
I’d just get up again.
I wake up every morning with a smile upon my face.
My natural exuberance spills out all over the place.
I was really NOW there for just a little while but I wasn’t alone. As Bob Dylan said, everytime I looked back the past was just behind. When the Hippie era ended I reverted to a modified 1956 style. The past came back again. All those screaming about living in the NOW in ’67-’69 are still back there claiming they’re still living in the NOW but time has passed them by. I didn’t wait around, baby, I slid out into limbo and I’m doing fine now, thank-you.
Thus when ERB began writing in 1911 he was not so much concerned with his NOW as he was in vindicating his past from 1896 to 1905. His reality in those early novels from 1911 to 1915 continue to reflect his earlier travails. Thus in the group of novels embraced by The Girl From Faris’s he is trying to vindicate his past to his present and hopefully to his future.
After nineteen-fifteen he was released from his past to a large extent and began to concentrate on adjusting to the NOW of his altered circumstances. Change is NOW and ERB was going though a lot of ch-ch-changes. His nerves were jangling as he was jerked from time frame to time frame but he didn’t enter the Promised Land of NOW. Oh Lord, he might have prayed, if he could have seen the future- Deliver me from NOW.
Ten years after and a world of different NOWs the Mucker far in a distant past that had disappeared behind a cloud where he couldn’t see he tackled almost the identical theme in a different world, a fast moving world, a world where NOW was so strange it was unrecognizable from day to day. The political situation he had grown up with was no longer recognizable; it had been replaced by a new reality. He was almost living by two different clocks in some strange Einsteinian time zone where the guide posts had been removed and renamed and everything was relative to another reality that couldn’t be recognized by any clock ticking.
Living on Tulsa time in another time zone. There I was in ERB’s sunny Southland with my watch running three hours ahead of everyone else’s. It didn’t matter. I was on the water where time stands still for everyone. The crisis came in ’58 when I stepped back on land to journey through the time zones back to Eastern Standard Time. I was all alone out there, you know, cut off from a past I was soon to learn couldn’t be retrieved. Wolfe was right, you can never go home again. The only secure place, as dangerous and that was, was my ship. My terminal place was also a realtively secure harbor but I was stuck in the middle for six days between the time zones in which I had no place and no identity except the tenuous one of my leave papers. A queer cop threw them into the wind and let those blow away in Illinois. After that I was naked to the universe. I’ve hated cops ever since.
I wouldn’t recommend hitchhiking to anyone. My life was on the line for twenty-five hundred miles and six days. Twenty-five hundred miles and six days on the road without food or sleep. I’d add without drink but in a gas station in Gary I downed six seven ounce bottles of Coca-Cola in a row. Created a minor sensation.
After surviving a lunatic who picked me up on the western edge of the Mojave who wanted to kill me because he was convinced I had two hundred dollars on me, which by a strange coincidence I had, I was picked up Mountain Standard in the Panhandle of Texas by a couple homosexuals who wanted a different treasure I possessed and dropped off Central Time in Tulsa. My watch was only one ahour ahead by then. I was getting close to some kind of NOW or was I? No. Time is much more relative than that. I was soon to be living a strange combination of NOW and THEN.
Tulsa was a tough town. I don’t need to see Tulsa again. I wasn’t about to start living on Tulsa Time. I was an hour ahead which couldn’t have been better. I had to walk through Tulsa, hungry and thirsty. I spied a place across this great expanse of grass between it and the freeway. As I approached the place began to glitter. Fancy, but I could see a coffee shop at the top of a long flight of stairs to the left. I didn’t want to spend money so I thought I’d just get a glass of water.
Oh Dan, can you see
That great green tree
Where the water’s running free
Just waiting there for you and me.
But between me and the water was this big cowboy in high heeled boots, a tuxedo and ten gallon hat. Fancy goings on as I noticed ladies entering to the right in ball gowns escorted by tuxedos. I came prepared or thought I did. I was in my dress blues and my Uncle Sam told me I should never be ashamed of my uniform, it could pass for a tuxedo anywhere. Anywhere but Tulsa. That cowboy had never discussed the issue with my Uncle Sam.
I was bold but the problem was he had the advantage being on the landing at the top of the stairs and I had to climb the stairs to get past him. He had his fist doubled and these high heeled boots with those silver plates on the toes. That was a mean looking business proposition. I had a lot further to fall than he did. Get my uniform messed up and things. Then where would I be out of time and place? Whew! Why does one have to face tough choices?
I’m getting a drink of water, I said, trying to combine thoughness with masculine geniality a al the cowboy ethic.
Not here you ain’t. He said, making a move to kick me down the stairs.
Hey buddy, this is a tuxedo I’m wearing. I faltered.
His reply was not one of which my Uncle Sam would approve.
I left Tulsa still thirsty not liking cowboys any better than I liked cops. NOW has its perils.
A day or so later I was still in Central Time. Tulsa was a tough place and the rest of Oklahoma was no California. I was heading North now which kept me in the same time zone. Then I made the mistake of crossing the Mississippi into East St. Louis. After just a couple minutes I really liked Tulsa. Wished I was back there.
I don’t know what evil forces made me want to hitchhike across country, damn Jack Kerouac, but I was within a hair’s breadth of being sliced and diced on the streets of East St. Louis. Whould have tossed me in the river as so much driftwood. Three Black guys with switchblades in their hands kept inching toward me while I kept inching closer to the middle of the highway.
That morning some guy got in his car for a pleasant drive to Louisville. He decided ot go through East St. Louis for some mysterious but critical reason. He arrived in East St. Louis just as these three knives were deciding to make their move. This guy sized up the situation from a couple blocks away, slammed on his brakes throwing open the passenger door at the same time shouting ‘Get In’ for God’s sake get in, NOW.’ Novel experience for a hitchiker. I wasn’t sure I wanted to rush because if I made a break for it those three knives might move faster than i could. I hopped in casually casting a smiling glance over my shoulder. The driver peeled out of there nearly separating a hand from the wrist on the door handle. I was saved from that particular NOW and END but I was on the road to Louisville which was still a far cry from Eastern Standard which was the time zone I so ardently desired.
It took me another day or so as I had a lot of North to make up but I did get into Eastern Standard. Now my watch matched the time zone but there was a mismatch between the present and the past. Rather there were two different presents and pasts going on at the same time. Mine and theirs. I don’t think Einstein is right but well, maybe, time wasn’t that relative but the uses they and I were making of past and present sure were.
That’s where memory comes in which makes time and space so relative. I had been absent for two years and what I had been experiencing was much different than what they had been experiencing. They had actually been living on Eastern Standard Time while I was just pretending. I knew I was out of time. For me time had been rapidly changing but for them time had more or less stood still or, rather traveled in a straight line. To me they were still living in the past. Oh, they had aged a couple years but their trajectory was different and slower. Relatively they had stood still while I had rocketed away.
It was as though I had been a gamma cloud burped from some collapsed star in some galaxy a billion light years away. As is known once set in motion an object will travel in a straight line at the same speed unless some other agent interferes with it. It was as though I had been careening through space ripping apart the fabric of time and space or disregarding it completely as though it wasn’t there; at any rate completely unaffected by this fabric which apparently has no tensile strength, there was no gravity of any force that deflected my course in a curve while if space is curved I was traveling so fast I careened right off the curved track.
Who knows how many black holes i passed over without being drawn into the vortex; who knows how many puny suns I swept across without having one atom deflected by the puny gravitational pull of the strongest sun; who knows how many planets I depopulated. One billion light years and running, my speed and trajectory were the same as when I was emitted from that distant star.
Now, as though by some miracle here I was back where I began but in two different time zones at one time. Theirs and mine. Obvious I must have passed through a worm hole or fallen into a memory hole. We stared at each other blankly each unable to comprehend the other. They thought I have become weird,or perhaps weirder, because they had stood still while I had been careening through time and space in timezones they would never know.
I smiled and got on a bus, enough of the adventures of hitchhiking. One the way back to Standard Pacific Time I abandoned Eastern Standard adjusting my watch as I passed through Central Standard and Mountain Standard. I was not exactly living in the NOW but I was in the correct time zone.
Minor but vital adjustment.
So, when ERB caught up with himself in 1914-15 he was no longer living on Tulsa time. He was trying to adjust his watch to his current time zone.
But as he was careening through space and time, space and time was moving at an even more frantic pace so it was difficult for him to get his bearings.
Science was changing his world at a rate faster than the mind could follow. Events in the far off Detroit that he had known and loved as a young fellow were going to affect his life just a few years hence. In 1914 Henry Ford had shocked the industrial, moral and social world by ‘unilaterally’ doubling the wage for unskilled labor.
This was a violation of ‘natural law’ which is to say religious sensibilities. At the time a natural law of labor was believed and incorporated into religion. The law was that if only one man can do a job he can command his price. Skilled labor can demand more than unskilled labor but when anyone can do the job as in unskilled labor they will have to take what is offered. Thus Ford pitted science against serious religious beliefs.
At about this time a Judge in a labor dispute asked the strikers if they didn’t know they were going against God’s will on earth.
This was at the time when the Liberal Coalition was forming and there were strangers in the land, to use John Higham’s expression, who believed they truly represented God’s Will. There is no greater enemy to God’s Will on earth than Science and the Scientific Consciousness. If you recall the so-called Christian Scientists reject scientific medical cures preferring to depend on the Will of God. Apparently it has never occurred to them that a case of a ruptured appendix means God’s Will is death while a simple operation means life.
Nevertheless Ford upset the natural or religious order of things and had to be stopped. Ford himself believed he had discovered a universal law in mass production so that he was actually a prophet of his own new religion. Believing himself in the possession of the truth he acted accordingly seeking to apply his method to each and every problem. Thus when the Great War began it was deemed possible to negotiate with the participants on a personal level to get them to cease hostilities. Ford believed he could do it. The Strangers In The Land who were living on Babylon Time saw their opportunity to pit their religion against Ford’s science and they took it. The Man of Science was in their pocket. They convinced Ford to take a horde of well meaning but naive people to Germany for a confab with the Kaiser. Ford fell for it. This was the famous Peace Ship episode that shredded Ford’s reputation two short years after he had made it.
Ford always maintained that after the ship was at sea the Strangers revealed themselves telling him that only they could change the course of the war. They began it and only they could end it. When he returned home he found the Strangers in charge of the War Industries Board and they and the Wilson Administration were telling him how to run his business. Babylon Time had met the Twentieth Century and found it could make the clock run.
Ford with his universal panacea was not the kind of man to take this sort of thing lying down. Ford Motor Co. had as much cash laying around as Bill Gates and Microsoft does today. Ford put his money to use. These are complex times so I am going to edit out all information that doesn’t pertain to my moral.
Ford believed in his method. By applying it properly he saw no reason he couldn’t solve the age old problem of the Jews here and now. He thought reason would work, poor man, so he bought himself a library of Jewish studies, put his man Bill Cameron on the job to study the library and publish the results in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, that he bought to disseminate his reasonable solution to the problem. He made the Dearborn Independent a national newspaper, perhaps the first of its kind. He even had a distribution system handy. He made all his Ford dealers distribute the papers, even out in Hollywood, California.
The Independent made such a noise that the papers couldn’t be given the silent treatment.
The independent appealed to a very large number of people although Liberal historians have given the impression that the paper went unread. The paper didn’t go unread. Out in Hollywood a man named Edgar Rice Burroughs apparently read the paper assiduously. As, why not, even if you don’t agree with the premise of a movie like The Passion Of The Christ that doesn’t mean you don’t go to see it. I used to read The Christian Science Monitor and I’ve never been a Christian Scientist. I used to read the Daily Worker and I’ve never been a Communist. A lot of people did go see the Passion making it one of the most lucrative films in history and lots of people read the Dearborn Independent, even devoured it.
Each week the paper issued a new article exposing the true nature of the ‘Jewish Problem.’ The articles were well researched, reasonable and accurate, but as they criticized a religion, no religion will stand any criticism if they can help it, they were necessarily labeled heretical, infidelic, bigoted, anti-Semitist. In this case you can check anti-Semitist. From this particular religion’s point of view they were anti-Semitic but from a reasonable scientific viewpoint they weren’t and aren’t.
The Jewish reaction was strong and violent. As a member of the Liberal Coalition they called in their allies who branded Ford an anti-Semite and ostracized him. Then Ford was out there all alone. A major campaign of vilification and defamation was conducted against him. All the hypnopaedic media were called into play against Ford. William Fox, the Fox part of the later Twentieth Century-Fox, used his Movietone News shorts to portray every Ford that was in an accident as at fault and unsafe. Now that’s defamation with a capital D. By 1925 it was clear that Ford could use some allies.
Enter Edgar Rice Burroughs and Marcia Of The Doorstep.
As we know Marcia was never published so ERB’s aid was hypothetical. A reasonable question is what evidence do I have for ERB’s intent. I offer Marcia Of The Doorstep as my evidence and certain articles from the Dearborn Independent. As I’ve said before ERB in Marcia exhibits a seemingly involved knowledge of the theatre. I have been puzzled as to where he got it.
I think I may have his source. The original Ford articles were issued weekly beginning in 1920-21 later being collected into a series of four volumes entitled ‘The International Jew’. What I am dealing with here is literature and history. I have no concern in the nature of the Ford articles. My only interest is what Ford and Burroughs understood and how they expressed it. Leave it at that. (It wasn’t left at that. As of 10/27/08 this essay has been censored by being left out my catalog of essays and not mentioned under any of the tags; Old habits are hard to break, I guess.)
Like Burroughs believed, or as Burroughs understood Ford there are two types of Jews. The ordinary Jew who goes about his business and the international Jews who is causing all the mischief. Thus the title International Jew excludes the mass of ordinary Jews and refers only the the International trouble makers. For Burroughs there was the ‘type’ of Max Heimer corresponding the the International Jews and the type of Judge Berlanger representing the ordinary of ‘Good Jew.’
In Volume II of the Interntional Jew there is a series of four atrticles on the American Theatre.
The books themselves have long since been stolen from the libraries and destroyed in an informal kind of censorship but due to the wonders of modern technology they’re available on the internet. The relevant theatre chapters can be fund at the URLs below:
The first is entitled Jewish Control of the American Theatre of 1/121; the second: The Rise of the First Theatrical jewish Trust of 1/8/21; the third: Jewish Aspect of the Movie Problem; and the fourth Jewish Supremacy In The Motion Picture World of 2/19/21. I believe all the necessary theatrical information is contained in these four atircles. All were written in 1921 giving ERB plenty of time to involve himself by 1924.
As you may remember ERB was sent a copy of the Jewish Bill Of Rights in 1919 and it was demanded that he endorse them. Thus there are an additional three articles from Vol. II that may be applicable. They are found at:
While the last three do not reflect on Marcia to a great degree they will provide a better backgrund to ERB’s thinking on the issues as he must have studied them carefully.
It is very probable that ERB coded information into the novel to let Ford know this one was for him. For instance Clara Sackett was probably named after Clara Ford. Could be coincidental but the engineer of the Lady X was named Sorenson while Ford’s Chief Engineer was Charles Sorenson. Given ERB’s obvious connection to the Dearborn independent which Ford would easily have recognized, if he would ever have read the book, I think the references are conclusive.
While on this topic I would also like to point out that when the ban on Tarzan movies was broken in 1926 it was done by the arch ‘anti-Semite’ Joseph Kennedy who owned FBO Studios at the time. FBO was a little later bought by David Sarnoff of RCA who formed RKO. Radio-Keith-Orpheum thus editing Kennedy and FBO out of the picture. Punishment?
Also if you want a lively account of these proceedings check out Upton Sinclair’s self-published Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox. Sinclair’s is a nice first person I Was There type thing plus when William Fox was driven out of the movies, this is really exciting stuff, he went to Sinclair with his story. so Sinclair not only lives through this from a distance but is told part of the story first hand. I just love this stuff.
I am not particularly concerned here with whether the Dearborn Independent articles are true and accurate, although I am sure they are, but my concern is that Burroughs read them, believed them and acted on them. Bearing in mind his contact with the AJC he had no reason to disbelieve the articles.
In the first article ‘Jewish Control Of The American Theatre’, after an introduction that relates Jewish activities in Russia to Jewish activities in the United States a general statement on the theatre is made:
The Theatre has long been a part of the Jewish program for guidance of the public taste (hypnopaedic media) and influencing the public mind…it is the instant ally night by night, week by week of any idea which the ‘power behind the scenes’ wishes to put forth. It is not by accident that in Russia, where they now have scarcely anything else, they still have the Theater, especially revived, stimulated and supported by Jewish-Bolshevists because they believe in the Theater just as they believe in the Press; it is one of the two great means of molding popular opinion.
Cameron should have mentioned movies and song publishing and he would have had the major elements of hypnopaedic conditioning so brilliantly illustrated by Aldous Huxley in his Brave New World.
As we all know Burroughs was opposed to the Bolsheviks; he undoubtedly believed as did any knowledgeable observer that the Bolsheviks were predominantly Jewish. We may believe that he endorses the premises of these article.
Further down (a shortcoming of the internet is that there are no page numbers) the article says:
Down to 1885 the American Theater was in the hands of Gentiles. From 1885 dates the first invasion of Jewish influences. It meant the parting of the ways, and the future historian of the American stage will describe that year with the word “Ichabod.”
Second paragraph below:
About the time that Jewish control appeared, Sheridan, Sothern, McCollough, Madame Junuschek, Mary Anderson, Frank Mayo, John T. Raymond began to pass off the stage.
All that remained after the Hebrew hand fell across the stage were a few artists who had recieved their training under the Gentile school- Julia Marlowe, Tyrone Power, R.D. McLean and a little later Richard Mansfield, Robert Martell. Two of this group remain, and along with Maude Adams they constitute the last flashingsof an era that has gone- an era that apparently leaves no great exemplars to perpetuate it.
There you have the premise of ERB in Marcia and enough history to flesh out the fiction. The old school was gone. ERB then names several players as here. The last surviving exemplar of this tradition is Mark Sackett. But even for Mark there are no plays worthy to perform in. As a member of Abe Finkel’s troupe he condescends to perform in problem plays and the new sex comedy.
The article continues:
“Shakespeare spells ruin”: was the utterance of the Jewish manager. “High brow stuff” is also a Jewish expression. These two sayings, one appealing to the managerial end, the other to the public end of the Theater have formed the epitaph of the classic era.
So there you have the complete story of Mark Sackett.
He was the last of the breed, a fine old Gentile actor of the old school of pre-1885. Corrupted by the Jewish influence on the theatre he accepts demeaning roles.
When he comes in to money he tells Max Heimer that he is going to perform Shakespeare. Max takes the position that ‘Shakespeare spells ruin’ arguing for a Ziegfeld Follies type show, a problem play or a sex comedy which he feels is a surer hope of success than the ‘high brow’ stuff. Straight from the Dearborn Independent.
‘…the rage is for extravaganze and burlesque.’
In this manner was laid the foundation of the latter day Theatrical Trust. The booking firm was that of Klaw and Erlanger, the former a young Jew from Kentucky who had studied law, but drifted into theatrical life as an agent; the latter a young Jew from Cleveland with little education but with experience as an advance agent.
Thus Abe Finkel is probablly the Klaw of Klaw and Erlanger. It may be coincidence but Judge B-erlanger is Erlanger prefaced with a B. thus those two would reprsent Klaw and Erlanger. Another version would be Finkel and Heimer in Hollywood also patterned after the Potash and Perlmutter movies of Samuel Goldwyn.
The trust was resisted just as Mark Sackett resisted.
(From The Rise Of The Theatrical Trust)
The opposition offered by the artists was prolonged and dignified, Francis Wilson, Nat C. Goodman, James A. Herne, James O’Neill, (Eugene O’ Neill’s father) Richard Mansfield, Mrs. Fiske and James K. Hackett stood out for a time…
Mark Sackett held out then in defiance of theatrical wisdom forming a Shakespearean company. This might be seen as a form of the Little Theatre movement which Cameron says developed in reaction to the first Theatrical Trust.
So the basis for the New York and theatrical end of Sackett’s career may be said to have been inspired by the two theatrical articles of Cameron in the Dearborn Independent. ERB probably read them in newspaper form shortly after publication in 1921. Because of the AJC approach to him as well as heightened anxiety over the immigrant question caused by loyalty concerns in the wake of the War Burroughs was especially receptive to Ford’s concerns.
If the germ of the story was conceived in 1921 the concern over Ford’s struggle was becoming difficult by 1924 may have inspired Burroughs to come to his literary aid. Thus we have this story of Marcia which when examined more closely is very involved in post-war Revolutionary and Jewish problems.
While the novel was universally rejected for publication this was undoubtedly because of ADL censors closely watching the publishing industry.
One can’t be certain but it is possible that Burroughs would have been finished in Hollywood but for Kennedy’s FBO Studios breaking the blacklist on Burroughs in 1926. Jewish movies of Tarzan began again in 1927. After 1932s MGM film which in itself may have been a parody to discredit the Big Bwana, the property became so lucrative especially in a Depression Era climate, that movies continued to be made saving Burroughs from complete ruin.
The war on Ford continued. Henry Ford is an interesting figure who, like Burroughs, would continue to be a Judaeo-Communist target into the thirties and forties, to the end of his life and beyond.
Ford zipped into the NOW in the years around 1914 when his Model T transformed America. But then he slipped back into Tulsa Time. The Model T was so successful for him that he failed to keep up with developments in the industry. The Model T remained essentially the same until 1925 when a better Chevrolet overtook the Ford as the best seller.
Ford then did an extraordinary thing that baffled conventional minds. He shut down production for over a year as he designed the new Model A. For this model he revolutionized the industry by designing the V8. The Model A was an instant success reviving Ford’s fortunes but the present and the future were now so commingled, things were changing so fast that the NOW was gone before you sat down to dinner. Constant model changes were now necessary. The world that Ford had created had gotten away from him.
He realized that he had lost his battle with the Jewish establishment. He capitulated in 1927 when Louis Marshall of the Jewish government demanded an ‘apology’ to call off hostilities. Ford told him to write one out and he would sign it. Marshall wrote an abject apology which Ford signed without edits or reading. Marshall then had the ‘apology’ published, bound and sent to every library free of charge. The apology is easier to find than the Dearborn independent articles.
The fracas came to a humiliating end for Ford and the Scientific Consciousness. ERB’s reaction isn’t known, however on December 10, 1929 (ERB Bio Timeline 1920-29) in a letter to his son Hulbert he made these observation on Religion and Science:
A man can be highly religious, he can believe in God and in an omnipotent creator and still square his belief with advanced scientific discoveries, but he cannot have absolute faith in the teachings and belief of any church, of which I have knowledge, and also believe in the accepted scientific theories of the origin of the earth, of animal and vegetable life upon it, or the age of the human race…(Religious) enthusiasms and sincerity never ring true to me and I think there has been no great change in this all down the ages, insofar as fundamentals are concerned. There is just as much intolerance and hyprocrisy as there ever was, and if any church were able to obtain political power today I believe you would see all the tyranny and inustice and oppression which has marked the political ascendency of the church at all times.
You can’t be any more clear sighted than that. Here ERB has clearly and succinctly stated the religious problem of the twentieth century and beyond. His is an objective analysis of facts; religion is a subjective projection of desires and wishes. As he notes science and religion cannot be reconciled. As he goes on to note in the conflict between the objective and subjective, the conscious and unconscious, the tyranny of the unconscious is an unavoidable fact. The question of which religion he fears would impose all the tyranny, injustice and oppression was clearly the Liberal Coalition and more especially the Jewish element of its multi-cultural diversity.
We now come back to Richard Slotkin and his charges against Burroughs as the ‘mastermind’ of My Lai. that an objection was lodged against Burroughs because he was interested in Eugenics can be discarded. People of all political persuasions were interested in Eugenics. If any abuses of Eugenics were made, Burroughs didn’t make them. Besides, it’s a matter of how you interpret Eugenics. The half man, half beast of Stalin is obviously an objectionable use.
On the score of whether Burroughs was an anti-Semitist, which is what Slotkin really means, from a subjective religious point of view that may be so but it is not a question for the religious to decide; they are not competent to do so. Sigmund Freud himself said that religion is a neurosis. (That means a departure from mental health.) If he is to be respected as a scientific genius why shouldn’t we respect his opinion? If religion is a neurosis then it should be treated as a mental disease.
On a Scienfitic basis then is it possible to call Burroughs an anti-Semitist? Clearly not. The man was a clear minded rational human being of great achievement and should be honored as such.
Should his scientific opinions differ from those of a religious bent it is they who must take a back seat not Burroughs.
Slotkin is clearly wrong in his interpretation of Burroughs. Slotkin represents the unconscious rather than the conscious.
For the foregoing reasons then I think that Marcia Of The Doorstep and 1924 was the pivot of ERB’s career. After 1924 it was no longer possible for him to live on Tulsa Time. He came under attack from the Liberal Coalition which was as formidable for him as it was for Henry Ford.
His novels after Marcia reflect this attack. Those novels are perhaps his greatest. Certainly one of the high points where he meets his enemies head on is Tarzan The Invincible that he was forced to publish under his own imprint. The title says it all.
I may be sentimental but I like Marcia Of The Doorstep. I only wish he had had the patience to flesh out the ending.
ERB wrote well in any time zone there was from Babylon Time to Tulsa Time to the NOW.
You know that I’ve been through it
But I just can’t go back to it.
There is no living on Tulsa Time.
NOW is the time.
End of Review
September 11, 2008
The Low Brow And The High Brow
An In Depth Study Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’
The Mucker And Marcia Of The Door Step
Background Of the Second Decade Social And Political
I have been criticized for discussing material that seems to bear no relationship to the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The social milieu in which a man lives and works directly affect what and how he writes. He will react within that milieu whether he can understand and articulate it or not.
ERB understood much. He understood the main conflict of his times- that between the Religious and Scientific Consciousnesses. How he understood it is one thing, its exact nature is another. The battle was not necessarily put into the terms of science versus religion. On the objective level science had more prestige while on the subjective level religion had the upper hand creating a dualistic conflict. As Voltaire said: No one ever willed himself an athiest. The same can said of Science. The usual terms employed in the conflict was that of spirtiualism versus materialism. So those two words were supercharged masking the real conflict.
While religion retained great strength in this period science was so strong that religions had to adapt to science, thus one had the ecumenical Congress Of Religions in Chicago in 1893 during which a common plan of resistance was discussed.
One reaction to Science was American Liberalism. Liberalism is in fact a religion founded on beliefs rather than facts. American Liberalism developed out of the Puritan faith of New England. The Puritans believed themselves to be the successor of the Hebrews of the Old Testament as the Chosen People of God.
Two very interesting studies have appeared in the last couple decades which illuminate the English background of the United States. One is David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed; the other is Kevin Phillips’ The Cousins Wars. Both illustrate the continuity of behavior of the colonists between England and the Colonies. That continuity began with the Norman invasion of England in 1066 and continues through the strange Liberal mentality of today. Burroughs who was of the ‘Conservative’ mentality had to struggle with the forces of Liberalism in his day.
When the Normans invaded England they enslaved the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants. Anyone who has read Ivanhoe by Walter Scott has the image of Gurth with his iron colar inscribed on his memory. This piece of arrogance was to have serious consequences in both England and America.
The Normans occupied the Southern counties of England which Thomas Hardy caled Wessex, while the brunt of slavery fell on the East Anglian counties. The insult of slavery was burned into East Anglian memories along with a desire for revenge made more savage by the the religious certitude that they were the Chosen People of God.
The East Anglians, of course, revolted against the Norman Church Of England, emigrating to North America where they settled in the States of New England. New England = New Anglia. In England they fought the English Civil War against the Normans. Puritan Roundheads against Norman Cavaliers. It then became the turn of the defeated Cavaliers to emigrate to North America. They chose to go to Virginia where they gave the colony its Norman Cavalier character and nickname. The ancient enemies were now divided North and South.
As Fischer points out, slavery by the Norman descendents in England had disappeared only about a hundred years before the English Civil War. The Cavaliers now revived slavery in their Southern colonies. First they brought indentured servants from England who were slaves subject to the whims of their masters for a stated period of years that could easily be extended. Then African slavery was introduced. For a period of time both White and Black slaves worked side by side in the fields with the Blacks gradually displacing the Whites.
The New Englanders looked with fear and loathing on the Norman Virginians, who as they saw it, now resumed their old habits. It was here that the American Civil War was conceived. The Puritan New Englanders after having first rejected the king in the American Revolution which their East Anglian forebearers had failed to do in England then turned to agitating a war against the Norman Cavaliers of the South, whose ancestors had enslaved them, on the basis of an anti-slavery abolitionist program.
Just as they had succeeded against the Crown where their forebearers had failed they succeeded in absolutely crushing the descendents of the Normans. This punishment of the Cavaliers was the most severe of any since 1066. Thus subsequent US history with its notion of unconditional surrender was formed. This was a vicious attitude formed from the same feeling of defeat.
To return to the East Anglians in England to explain the American Liberal mindset. Shortly after printed books became readily available the East Anglians bought Bibles adopting the Old Testament notion of the Chosen People by substituting themselves for the Hebrew Children. A British Israelite group formed calling the English people the new Chosen People. Indeed, the British throne is believed to be in lineal descent from that of King David of Old Israel.
Thus there were at least three Chosen Peoples in existence from the fifteenth century on- Jews, the English and the Puritan New Englanders. New England became Greater New England as the Puritans multiplied spreading across the Northern tier of States.
A psychological characteristic of Chosen Peoples is that they upload their needs and wishes to an imaginary god in the sky then download the same needs and wishes back to themselves as the Will Of God. Thus they say not my will but they will be done, O Lord. The faithful thus become justified sinners. Any criminal act can be justified as the Will of God which it is the duty of the faithful to perform This also creates a double standard because what is right for themselves in the eyes of the Lord is forbidden to others. The children of Israel can exterminate other peoples with impunity, but it is wrong for other peoples to even defend themselves against the children of the Lord. Serious stuff.
These ends and desires are accepted then as a messianic or utopian goal. It is the duty of the Chosen People to impose God’s Will on the rest of the world. To resist that Will is evil making the non-believer a dastard, a heretic, an infidel, an anti-Semite or whatever.
In the United States the Will of the god of the Puritans was transformed into Manifest Destiny, which in turn metamorphosed into the triumph of Democracy as defined by the Chosen People of America, who in turn metamorphosed from Puritans into Liberals.
As a chosen people and as a result of the Civil War the Liberals identified with the victims who needed their help. Thus the Civil War was fought in their minds by a virtuous people acting out the Will of God to rescue unfortunate victims from a malevolent White minority. In the case of the Civil War it was the Negro slaves. As the century and Liberalism developed the umbrella of help was extended to all the ‘enslaved’ or colonial peoples of Europe which is to say all the colored peoples of the world. It was not enough that injustice as perceived by the Liberals should be corrected, but that the perpetrators should be condignly and brutally punished unconditionally in the name of and by the Will of their God, which is to say the projected desires and wishes of a self-appointed Chosen People.
Utopian literature which flourished after the Civil War is the direct result of this Messianic fervor. Utopian literature abounds in England, Greater New England and with the jews.
Having then succeeded in crushing the Cavaliers of the South the Liberals attempted to demean, belittle and abuse the White South in the most draconian manner. The period of Reconstruction is the blackest hour in American history. The Whites were stripped of civil rights having the Negroes placed over them as masters. The Whites, so far as possible, were expropriated of all property through taxation when not stolen outright. The Whites, of course, reacted by forming the first Ku Klux Klan to protect their lives and interests. Reconstruction lasted until 1877 well nigh into the twentieth century. The South was impoverished and set back for at least a century and may still be recovering today if such is possible under the present Liberal regime.
All factual references to Reconstruction have been obscured by references to the KKK but in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries memories of Liberal crimes in the South were fresh and bleeding wounds. As is well known Jim Crow was the inevitable result of the attempt to crush and bury the White South.
As the nineteenth century progressed and utopian literature flourished the Puritans, now Liberals, identified with all the ‘oppressed’ which is to say colored peoples of the world against the European conquerors. Everywhere America sided with the natives against Europeans. In a feeling of total frustration Charles De Gaulle would remark: America is a White country, but it acts like a colored country.
At about mid-nineteenth century Jewish utopian messianists under the direction of Karl Marx formed the Communist Party. Thus Jewish utopian messianism spread from England- Marx was based in London- throughout Europe to the world. As Communism also opposed Western colonialism, although not Communist colonialism, these two powerful agencies worked to upset the Western hegemony of the world. As someone will always have hegemony of the world what appears on the surface as ‘justice’ is merely the transfer of power to another agency and hence new ‘injustice.’ As of this writing it appears that the beneficiary of American and Communist efforts will be the Chinese. This shift has already happened but has not yet been officially acknowledged. Thus the result of the Liberal and Communist quest for ‘social justice’ will be merely to place Europe and America’s neck under a Chinese yoke rather than the other way around. Obviously the Chinese god is not the same as the Utopian God.
During the period of Reconstruction as the Liberals were punishing the Southern Whites and rewarding the Negroes immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe began in earnest. While the Irish and Germans had created their own set of problems yet culturally they were close enough to the original Anglo-Saxon colonists to be, after a fashion, readily assimilated.
But with the congeries of nationalities from East and Southern Europe came many and diverse customs and languages. Assimilating them into Anglo-Celtic-Teutonic America was not so easy. Thus groups of Americans resisting immigration arose. The Know Nothings fought the Irish but this was different.
The Liberals could then pathologize the anti-immigration people as ‘nativists’, later White Supremacists and other derogatory terms. They could afirm their own virtue against these people as they had against the Southern Whites. When the power base of restrictionists took form in the South as the second Ku Klux Klan this only served to show the perfidy of Southern Whites in a new shade.
The Liberals then allied themselves not only with the interests of Negroes but with the immigrants to form the Liberal Coalition which was to dominate American society from the Second Decade to the present.
Already British and Puritan utopianists, they were now joined by the Jews who from 1870 to 1914 represented the largest nationality of immigrants. Both the Liberals and the Jews were Bible based. Liberals considered Jews as the successors to the Biblical Hebrews if not Hebrews themselves. While Roman Catholics distanced themselves from Hebrewism the Protestant sects derived directly from the Old Testament considered themselves neo-Hebrews so they were quite willing to defer to what they considered paleo-Hebrews. Thus the two versions of utopianism were joined. Both forms of Hebrewism accepted anti-Semitism as the greatest vice. The foregoing discussion has been a good account of what Semitism is: that is a belief in one’s own divinely appointed role as the arbiter of the world’s fate.
So far as I know neithr Semitism or anti-Semitism have ever been adequately defined so for the purposes of this paper anti-Semitism will be defined quite simply as the denial of the Semitist’s self-appointed role as the agent of God on earth.
As one of a Scientific Consciousness such a denial seems hardly necessary but as most people are of a Religious Consciousness there it stands.
Needless to say Burroughs was of the Scientific Consciousness therefore per force an anti-Semitist although he would never have understood his position in those terms.
As can be seen Judeo/Liberal/Utopianism is a religious matter that will defy reason. It is a matter dependent upon a subjective, spiritual belief system. It is beyond the reach of logic. Never argue with them. The adherents cannot be argued with, they must humored. Reigions are revealed not thought out.
The nineteenth century also saw the rise of Science which is an objective materialistic sysem, conscious not subconscious, based on facts and reality. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that the religious systems and the scientific systems are incompatible; one must subordinate or destroy the other. Now, seriously folks, this is war to the knife.
Knowledge is hard won and built up slowly while revealed religion is complete and entire at conception. While the former is subject to trial and error the latter is seemingly pat- it is God’s own Word.
As Freud pointed out the religious consciousness received three main blows. The first was that the Universe was heliocentric rather than terracentric; the third was the malleable construction of the human mind as defined by psychoanalysis. These two could be religiously managed; nothing had been revealed that couldn’t be manipulated to religion’s use. The middle blow could not. That was the concept of Evolution as enunciated by Charles Darwin. Thus it was clear except to the most entrenched religionist that the world was not created by God in 4004 BC as Bishop Ussher stated but evolved beginning somewhat over four billion years ago. There’s an incompatibility there that cannot be swept under the carpet or even ignored.
Make no mistake: science and religion are at odds in the struggle for the human mind. Writing in 1829 the incomparable Edgar Allen Poe expressed the problem in his brilliant poem:
Sonnet – To Science
Science! true daughteer of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Who preyest thus on this poet’s heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Has thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
In addition to driving the Hamadryad from the wood, science also pulled God down from the heavens and exposed the fraud. Freud showed God to be merely a projection of human desires. How could religion counter the claims of Science?
I do not single out any specific religion whether Christian, Jewish, Moslem or whatever. All religions evolved in human consciousness and represent a phase of development in that evolution. A phase of evolution but not its end. Dig it!
It then became necessary for religionists to absolutely deny Evolution. In their favor was the fact that Darwin not merely but only enunciated the concept, but had no infallible proofs of the process. Thus relgionists could say silly things like: Do you really believe human being, you, actually descended from an ape? and be fairly convincing. Most people were ashamed of such an ancestry. Nobody asked the monkeys how they felt about the comparison.
Inherent in Evolution is the idea of speciation. Thus every time a species evolved there was a chance that it was an improvement on previous manifestations. Between the Chimp and Homo Sapiens I are innumberable steps which have since disappeared. If that were true then religious concepts which insisted that God created Man whole and entire without evolving were false. If Creation was false than Religion was false. There were many who empowered by the concept of Evolution and reasoning from appearances made the claim that was called ‘race’ rather than species. The genetic differences between the ‘races’ were not yet clear.
Until fairly recent times and the rise of genetics there was no infallible evidence to indicate speciation. Today there is. From 1859 when Darwin enunciated Evolution through the period under examination here, the second decade of the twentieth century, anyone asserting speciation could be ridiculed and destroyed as a bigot by the religionist. Evolution itself was attacked and undermined in the thirties by the Boasian school of Anthropology which is still vital today. (See Kevin MacDonald, The Culture Of Critique, 1998, 2002).
In this period the Evolutionist was in a minority position. Thus when Burroughs came down so strongly on the side of Evolution in his Tarzan series it is very surprising he created no uproar and there is no evidence the series was noticed on that account.
It appears that Burroughs took the broad approach to these social problems. He could see both sides of the issue deciding on the merits of the case rather than the ideology of the situation. As has been noted he was quite capable of changing his mind on vital issues when presented with convincing evidence, i.e. life on Mars. He was a true scientist.
Perhaps around 1910 it began to dawn on a significant number or people for the first time that unlimited and unrestricted immigration was causing unexpected and irreversible changes in the social fabric. The war on Anglo-Saxon ideals, institutions and customs was well underway. Such reactions had been a recurring feature of American society but now there was no West to escape to. In addition industry had reshaped the cities. Farm machinery was reshaping farming practices reducing the need for farmhands so that country boys migrated to the cities. By mid-decade for the first time more people lived in the cities than on the land.
These changes were unwelcome and uncomfortable to a lot of people creating a malaise. Those who viewed Reconstruction for the horror it was as well as those who considered themselves Old Stock were pathologized by the Liberals but their views found expression in books and articles but usually on the defensive side as with Jack London’s Valley Of The Moon and not on the aggressive side which would be visited by condign punishment as heresy.
If one mentioned immigrants at all it was possible to discuss only positive attributes. The Liberal turned a blind eye to the aggression of home countries preferring to see these home places too as victims who needed their protection. As Chosen People the Liberal sees himself as naturally superior to the ‘victims’ but does not perceive his supposed superiority as ‘racism.’
An honest and well meaning writer like Homer Lea who had actually been in the Orient and learned of Japanese plans first hand was pathologized and dismissed as a crank although his prognostications were based in fact as Pearl Harbor was to show.
Some feelings are vague and can’t be articulated. Even as a child I was disquieted by the notion that everyone came to america to escape oppression or to seek religious freedom. I saw but couldn’t articulate the two facedness of this notion. Only in the last decade or so have I found the means to acquire the necessary knowledge and developed modes to express it.
Quite frankly the US was used as a haven for many, many revolutionary groups. Perhaps the American Revolution caused most Americans to look upon all revolutions as beneficent. I couldn’t and can’t see it tht way.
American ‘malcontents’ were told to shut up while a malcontent could come from anywhere else in the world and be honored for resisting repression. I mean, criminals, murderers, mere disturbers of the peace in their own countries. Cranks. East Indian malcontents gathered in San Francisco to plot against the British Raj. Sun Yat Sen lived in LA where he raised funds and was lionized. Homer Lea was recruited by Sun Yat Sen to serve as a general in the Chinese Army. Lea’s story may have been the influence that charmed Burroughs into seeking a place in the Chinese Army.
The United States not only knew of the malcontents’ activities but even tolerated them perhaps abetting them. The US role in European history has been that of a spoiler. Looking upon all colored peoples as victims needing their help Liberals could do no other than work for their interests against the Europeans.
One of the more disastrous actions was John Hay’s Open Door policy in China. At the time in the 1890s the European States were about to partition China into spheres of influence. What the result would have been is anybody’s guess however the world would probably be much different today. Hay’s Open Door policy scotched the partition with the result that China remained a unified State. Of all the turning points one can find in history this is undoubtedly a turn in the tide of fortunes for the West. Subsequent to the Hay policy Chinese revolutionaries were hosted in California. Mexican gun runners operated from the US during the Mexican Revolution as Zane Grey records in novels like The Light Of Western Stars and Desert Gold.
Of course the Irish who called Ireland the Ould Sod and America the New Island acted as one people divided by an ocean. Funds and guns were raised in America and used in Ireland against the British. In the unrestricted immigration of the time Irish revolutionists moved back and forth across the Atlantic. If arrested in Ireland they claimed American citizenship and were released to return to the US.
In 1919 a most egregious example occurred which received no reprimand from the US, while England didn’t even bother to file an objection. Eamon De Valera, the future premier of Ireland escaped the British to be smuggled to the US where he functioned openly. William K. Klingaman tells the story in his popular history ‘1919’ of 1987:
Eamon De Valera, meanwhile, had been smuggled out of Ireland and into the United States, where he was touring the major cities along the East Coast, drumming up financial support for Sinn Fein and the Irish Republic. His reception was nothing short of spectacular. De Valera was given the presidential suite at the Waldorf; the Massachusetts state legislature received him in a special joint session; forty thousand wildly cheering supporters turned out to hear one of his speeches in Boston; and the press seemed to love him wherever he went. After all, he was excellent copy, and news of English injustices in Ireland always sold plenty of papers. As the Nation noted with bemusement, “He gets a front-page spread whenever he wants it, with unexampled editorial kindliness thrown in.” The tall, very thin, dark Irishman brought no message of peace and goodwill to the United States, however. Now that the Peace Conference was over and freedom-loving Irishmen still remained enslaved under the British yoke, De Valera told an enthusiastic audience in Providence, “the war front is now transferred to Ireland.”
So, while the Irish were embattled on the Ould Sod, the Irish of the New Island had enough influence and power to baffle any objections either in the US or England. They were truly functioning as a state within a state in the US and as revolutionists on the Ould Sod. Thus the US influence in international politics was unique indeed.
The Italians also functioned as emigrant workers of Italian citizenship before the War and were an irredentist population within the United States with many colonial beach heads. After the war, assuming the continuance of unrestricted immigration Mussolini attempted to shift the cost of medical treatment for wounded Italian soldiers by sending them to the US for free medical treatment. This is astonishing stuff that gets no notice in history books.
Of course, the most famous instance of dual citizenship of a divided homeland is that of the Jews.
A ship landed in the seventeenth century in New York City, New Amsterdam as it was known then, bearing a hundred plus Sephardic Jews from Brazil. The next immigrant cadre were the German Jews mainly from 1830 to 1850. These two immigrations were small compared to the influx of millions of Jews from the Pale of Settlement usually known as Polish or Russian Jews. From 1870 to 1914 they came in increasing numbers. As I have detailed elsewhere the intent to transfer the whole population of Jews from the Pale to the United States was aborted by the outbreak of the Great War.
Jews had always been forbidden Great Russia. However during an expansionist phase Russian annexed the Ukraine, Byelorussia and the North. The annexed areas became the Pale Of The Settlement along with the Polish Jews acquired by the first partition of Poland. Thus Jewish nationalism came into conflict with Russian assimilationism. The Russians, of course, were sovereigns of the land while the Jews were a stateless nationality. The Russians along with the rest of their acquired peoples attempted to Russify the Jews. These along with Poles, Letts, Estonians, Lithuanians and whatever resisted Russification. In point of fact, the Czars had bitten off more than they could chew.
Had the Russians been facing mere dissident peoples they may have been able to manage them. But, along about mid-nineteenth century the political ideology of Communism provided a framework within which all peoples could combine thus submerging their national identities for their political goals. It is true that fifty to sixty percent of all Comunist parties were Jewish but the remainder which was substantial, wasn’t. As part of its ideology Communism discouraged nationality so it was possible for numbers of all nationalities to work together.
The Russians became the adversaries of the Jews, the Czar their bete noir. Thus a remendous undeclared war existed between the Communist Revolution, usually called just The Revolution and the Russian government and people.
By the time the Jewish emigration to America began in earnest in the 1870s the Jewish mind was conditioned by this warfare. Now, all Israel is one. Therefore the German Jews who had preceded the Jews from the Pale prepared the way for those from the Pale. Whole industries were immediately controlled by Jews. The male and female garment industries being the prime example. The work force of these industries was almost entirely Jewish. Thus the infamous sweat shop may be said to be of Jewish origin although it is usually used to defame the United States.
The whole garment industry of the country then was controlled from New York City. We’re talking big money with a lot of it flowing into Jewish agencies sometimes euphemistically called charities. This money in turn fueled worldwide Jewish warfare on Russia.
The Equitable Insurance fraud for instance was caused by the international banker Jacob Schiff who as administrator looted the Equitable of a couple hundred million dollars to finance the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese war of 1903-05. The Japanese could not have fought the war without that money. Thus Schiff and his people paved the way to Pearl Harbor.
While the Russians had their hands full in the East Schiff and his fellow Jews engineered and financed the First Russion Revolution. The signing of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty was done at Portsmouth, New Hampshire ostensibly by then US President Theodore Roosevelt but under the watchful eyes of Schiff and his fellows.
As I have said simply because a people emigrated doesn’t mean they renounced their original identity. Witness the Irish. As is clear from their intent to evacuate the Pale in favor of America the Jews retained their Eastern European interests. This would be even more manfest after the restriction of immigration at the end of the War.
Like the Irish who used American citizenship to negate the laws of England the Jews used their American citizenship to thwart the interests of Russians, or the Czar as they put it.
The Russians forbade Jewish traffic over their borders in an attempt to contain Jewish subversion. If you were in, you were in, if you were out you were out. In line with European concepts of nationality this was workable. But Jews resident in America using their US citizenship, in this instance, demanded to be treated strictly as US citizens but of the Jewish ‘religion.’ Thus, they said Russia could not refuse them entrance on the basis of their ‘religion.’
The US with its polyglot population all with US citizenship whether Irish, Jewish, Italian or whatever had to insist on the rights of all US citizens. Thus Jews were able to travel freely across Russian borders to coordinate Jewish actions to subvert the Russian State. As I have pointed out, after the Revolution the name Russia was dropped from the State name as it became the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics governed almost exclusively by non-Russians.
The B’nai B’rith had been around since 1843. Then the American Jewish Committee was created in 1906. Within seven years Jewish influence had increased so signficantly that they were able to direct US policy to the extent that diplomatic relations were broken off between Russia and the US in 1913 the year the Liberal Coalition elected Woodrow Wilson as its first president. From 1913 to 1933 the US had no diplomatic relations with Russia/USSR. It is interesting that relations with a legitimate government were discontinued by Woodrow Wilson and resumed with an illegitimate government by his disciple Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On of his first acts as President.
In 1913 the B’nai B’rith created its terrorist arm the Anti-Defamation League. So there was actually a dual drive to acquire control of the USSR and the USA which one might add came very close to succeeding. And this be a very small but dedicated number of people.
As I point out in Part IV in 1919 the AJC contacted Burroughs undoubtedly amongst a host of others to endorse a Jewish Bill Of Rights. The program was in place by 1920 when this segment of my study ends.
As can be seen the unofficial role of the United States in world affairs was an unsettling and disturbing one of the inactive aiding and abetting of revolutionary movements from China to India, across the border into Mexico while actively aiding if not abetting the Irish against England and aiding and abetting if not supporting the Jewish war on Russia.
To the American Liberal all these revolutionary efforts were being conducted by victims. Hence Liberal efforts at directing American policy were in the interests of any revolutionary group which includes the Socialist and Communist parties. This Liberal attitude continues worldwide to the present time.
Within the United States these ‘victims’ were gathered together under the aegis of the Liberal Coalition. All dissenters whether anti-immigrationists, nativists or whatever were pathologized as mentally unstable people. Insanity then becomes a religious attitude complementary to terms such as heretic, infidel or anti-Semite; terms not to be taken seriously.
Liberalism is a religion thus assuming control over institutions of hgher learning. The University system of the United States was turned from one of educational insitutions into religious seminaries. The American university system of today is a religious system of Liberal seminaries. Only the correct religious view is permitted, any other is penalized.
Now, the Liberals who derived from the Puritans were an Old Testament biblical group who considered themselves the successosrs of the Hebrews as a Chosen People. Beginning in 1870 the original Chosen People began their invasion. It was like two Napoleons meeting in an insane asylum. Each considered the other an imposter. But the Jews had the whip hand over the Liberals as they quickly controlled the communiations media gradually eliminating anything seditious to its belief system. As I explained earlier any writing that casts doubt on the claims of Judaism is anti-Semitist. Americans were conditioned to view anti-Semitism as the worst possible crime deserving imprisonment or expulsion from the body social. What we really have is the reimposition of the medieval Catholic Church in the form of Judaism. Having seized control of the political system of the United States by 1920 the other important object was the discrediting of Science.
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from the flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
And Poe might have added: God from his heaven/ pleasant summer dreams of chosenness from our minds. Yes, Science was the great enemy, the great anti-Semite. It is not particularly well known but Jews are more anti-evolution than even the Christian fundamentalists of Tennessee in the twenties or the Kansans of today. Evolution absolutely denies the fact that the world was created by god 4004 years before Bishop Ussher or the year 5778 or whatever of the Jewish calendar. Make no mistake the notion of the world having been created by god recently is fundamental to Semitic religions. Once it is disallowed the basis of the Semitic religions ends. You can see why they fight so hard against Science.
Science still being the problem religion was cloaked in its guise. The scienfific Socialism of Marx is little more than Talmudic Judaism. Freud’s exaltation of the subconscious is little more than an assault on the conscious rational thinking that makes Science possible. Einstein’s preposterous notion of the ‘fabric’ of Time and Space among others is a disguised attempt at imposing faith.
All of these movements came to fruition in the Second Decade. Einstein’s theories were supposedly proven during an eclipse of the sun in 1919 during which it was ‘confirmed’ that the light of distant stars streamed around immovable bodies. I mean, the Greeks said it: What happens when an easily resistible force meets an immovable object? It flows around it just like water around a rock suspended in a stream. Boy, you have to be a genius to figure that one out- wrap it up in the facric of Time and Space and send it as present to God.
So, the problem still remained what to do with the ‘pathological’ types who gave the lie to the Judeo-Liberal doctrine? Science and Religion cannot co-exist. This is a sea change in human consciousness comparable to the transition from the Matriarchal to the Patriarchal. Good will is not the problem and cannot solve the problem. In 1943 Gustavus Myers devised the current method of interpreting American history in his book The History Of Bigotry In The United States. He thus provided the means to pathologize the non-Judeo-Liberal people. They became irrational, insane, evil bigots. So then one has the people of the book the Judeo-Liberals on one side and ‘bigots’ on the other. So, Moslem-Infidels, Semites-anti-Semites, and Liberals-Bigots. It isn’t rational, it’s religious. Virtue goes with the one; criminality with the other. Once you are accused there is no argument. Confess your heresy and take your punishment. The role model is the Inquisition of the Catholic Church.
Myers began from the beginning hitting his stride with the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s. He essentially made all immigrants victims in the Liberal sense by depicting them as virtuous innocents insanely treated by American ‘bigots.’ Hence the title of his book. His school took root and flourishes today. Oscar Handlin, John Higham, Richard Slotkin.
Handlin’s stuff is irrational. John Higham’s Strangers In The Land is valuable but skewed. The skewing can be easily unscrambled. But Richard Slotkin’s Gunslinger Nation is of importance to Burroughs and our theme here. The first 225 pages of Slotkin’s book lead up to a denunciation of Burroughs as the premier bigot of American literature actually making him responsible for the My Lai massacre in Viet Nam. The first 225 pages are worth reading although you can throw the rest of the book away.
I’ll get back to the scientific aspects of the issue in a minute but, first, as Slotkin concentrates on the Western movie in American culture let’s take a look at one of the premier efforts in the genre, John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. The movie was scripted by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck or, since this is Hollywood, men who would answer to those names. They are probably jewish. The film perfectly inllustrates the Liberal dogma.
John Wayne plays the Liberal lead as Tom Doniphon, strange name, along with his noble Negro sidekick, Pompey. Lee Marvin plays a deranged psychopathic Anglo named Liberty Valence. Jimmy Stewart plays the long suffering representative of the Law, Ransom- Rance- Stoddard. Rance is an adjunct to Tom Doniphon. Liberals = The Law, Bigots (Liberty Valence) = the outlaws.
Tom can be seen as the abolitionist, justice seeking Liberal aiding the victims. He is on the side of the victims of Liberty Valence (read, say, the KKK) which is the whole town except himself. Tom has his negro valet while he helps all the cute immigrants in town still being aloof from the Southwest town’s sizable but segregated Mexican population.
The scripters assigned the odd name of Liberty Valence to Lee Marvin. Liberty is a positive virtue while Valence means strong- strong for freedom. There is little positive about Valence. He is in fact a psychopathic killer who terrorized the town of law seeking innocent sodbusters. He actually becomes insane when he extends his whip handle just beating the tar out of his victims. Valence is employed by the evil cattlemen (read, say, The South) above the Picket Wire (a river). Why the cattlemen have sent Valence to the town isn’t clear.
As the representative of the Old South and also any stray anti-Semitic clans who may happen to be about, Valence is especially offended by the peaceable but effeminate Rance Stoddard, who at one point actually wears an apron, the man who is bringing THE LAW West of the Pecos or at least below the Picket Wire. Apparently the ranchers don’t need no law above the Picket Wire. Valence harasses and bullies Stoddard who is usually protected by the omnipotent Tom Doniphon but comes a time when Stoddard realizes he has to fight. After all a man’s a man for all that. Don’t know what for though, either his honor or life or maybe to move the plot along. Liberty is goading Rance into a gunfight that will be plain murder, as quite frankly, Rance don’t know how to handle a gun and Liberty does, oh boy.
As the gunfight is filmed from behind Rance it appears that he actually guns Liberty down freeing all the victims of his menace. (The Law vs. The Outlaw; The Liberal vs. The Bigot, The Semite vs. the anti-Semite.) Thus Rance brings the law to Shinbone, that’s the ridiculous name of the town. You can see why Liberty terrorized it.
Later we will see the same gun battle rotated ninety degrees to the right. Ol’ Tom isn’t going to let Liberty gun down Rance, and also he doesn’t want Rance to be guilty of bloodshedding so he takes the guilt on hisself as he knowed he would. He and his faithful Negro sidekick cum African gunbearer Pompey (This may be the reason Cassius Clay changed from his ‘slave’ name to Mohammed Ali, another slave name) are standing in an alley opposite Liberty’s left side. Tom is in the middle of the side street, Pompey bearing the gun, stands against the side of the building. With breathtaing precision just before Liberty shoots, Tom, in that awe inspiring quitet uncontradictable authority of his says like the Great White Hunter of Africa: Gun, Pompey. The ever faithful Negro flips the rifle across to Tom who snatches it from mid-air with is right hand, puts it to his shoulder and snaps off a head shot through the temple that killed Liberty Valence. (Evil disappears from the town.)
In order to kill Valence Tom had to shoot him in the left side of his head yet none of the dumbheads of the town wonders how Stoddard accomplished this miraculous feat.
At any rate Rance is known as the man who shot Liberty Valence. The old peace loving legalist is carrying his burden of blood guilt pretty well until he is nominated to be the new Congressman from the Picket Wire/Shinbone district (There’s a joke in there somewhere isn’t there?) and from whence he can put those damnable evil, bigoted ranchers in their place. But damn it, he’s got blood on his hands; how can he serve the people in Washington since he is impure? This mght have ruined a very promising and lucrative career and perhaps a good movie but Tom takes this moment to tell Rance the True story of the man who shot Liberty Valence. Rance had to be told this.
‘Hot diggity-dog!’ Exclaims Rance trampling over Tom in his hurry to be the next and first representative for Picket Wire. There may have been gold in them thar hills but it was as nothing compared to the gold to be found in Washington D.C.
Like a good myth the movie can viewed on several different levels. At face value the story is the story. It doesn’t take much to view the film as a satire while on another level as a black comedy, or a wry commentary on the difference between the way things appear and the way they really are.
But on the allegorical level in which I am viewing the story it allegorized the Judeo-Liberal vision of America. Tom/ Rance represents their vision of themselves while Liberty is ther vision of bigots/anti-Semites. I don’t know about the writers but John Ford was certainly able to see it that way.
As a religious metaphor the movie expresses the Judeo-Liberal vision of itself. That vision can only be realized if science can be disposed of because science, the truth, is the greatest anti-Semite of all. As Poe realized Science disposes of the idea of God. Without god there is no Judaism or Liberalism. One or the other has to go.
As I have said technological applications of science weren’t actually a threat but Evolutionists like Gall, Darwin and Dalton were. Gall was the man who first enunciated a theory that the different areas of the brain controlled different actions or responses. In Steven Pinker’s terms he discovered the brain was more than a meatloaf.
Darwin proposed the idea of evolution while Francis Galton proposed the idea of Eugenics. As I said before, revealed Religion arrives complete and entire being a product of the imagination no different than Tarzan Of The Apes. Science has to be built up step by step. Gall, Darwin and Galton took the first developmental steps and while true in their limited way were easy to attack.
Gall’s exploiters developed the theory of Phrenology which is of course unsupportable so If anyone has heard of Gall he is immediately discredited for Phrenology, something he didn’t do.
Going into the Second Decade Darwin and Galton had great credibility, if being in minority positions, although Eugenics was very well received by every shade of the political spectrum from far left to far right. Richard Slotkin bases his attempts to discredit Edgar Rice Burroughs and all non-Coalition writers over Evolution and Eugenics.
Edgar Rice Burroughs is usually considered a fantasy writer. One could hardly consider the writer of the Mars, Venus, Pellucidar and Tarzan series anything else. Fantay writers are not usually taken very seriously being relegated to the non-literary end of of the fiction spectrum. So then, one asks, why does a Myerian Judeo-Liberal like Richard Slotkin devote so much effort to prove that Edgar Rice Burrughs was ultimately responsible for the My Lai Massacre?
The simple answer is that Burroughs is one of the most influential mind forming writers of fiction, worldwide, of the Twentieth Century…and counting. There have been serious efforts to designate Burroughs as a bigot and an anti-Semitist. The editions of the copies you read have actually been bowlderized. Slotkin’s Gunslinger Nation is a serious attempt to pathologize Burroughs.
Gunslinger Nation Is the third volume of a trilogy on violence in America, a never ending tiresome concern of the Coalition. Slotkin is more at home in the nineteenth century of the two first volumes than he is in the twentieth century of this volume. He should have suspended his pen after the second volume.
He not only has a shallow appreciation of his theme but he admits it. The remaining 400+ pages succeeding those on Burroughs are based, I suspect, on one time viewings of several hundred Western movies. At least he says he’s seen them. His analysis of categories within the genre and individual films leaves much to be desired.
He admits that he read no, or very few, Western novels from 1900-1975 because the field is so vast no one could be expected to do it.
His nineteenth century material, if skewed in interpretation, is admirably presented. By rotating the images 180 degrees one can obtain a fairly accurate picture of his subjects. His presentation on Buffalo Bill and his Wild West was really quite good. His views on Fenimore Cooper and the Dime Novelists were attractive if prejudiced.
By the time he gets to Burroughs of whom he has cursorily read a dozen novels or so he is both uncomprehending and imcomprehensible. He has made no effort to understand the man yet he comes to preposterous conclusions. As Burroughs was of the Scientific Consciousness which gives the lie to the Religious Consciousness Slotkin attacks on the scientific level.
He attacks through Gall, Darwin and Galton. The Liberal Coalition using its religious mentality is able to condemn in others what it applauds in itself.
The mentality is quite capable of including Burroughs, Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler in one breath as though all three men were on the same level. What they call crimes in others they call virtues in themselves.
Thus, during the French Revolution a factory was organized in Paris to make footwear from the skins of murdered aristocrats. The fact has been suppressed while the story of the lampshades made from the skins of enemies of the Fascist State is held as inhuman.
The great hero of the Revolution, Victor Hugo, writing in his novel 1793 during the 1860s about the massacres in the Vendee quite bluntly states that those people were in the way of the realization of the Utopian Communist State and had to be removed. What was fact in 1793 was true in the 1860 mind of Victor Hugo, exercised by the Communists after 1917 and by extension is still applicable today. Yet all other exterminations are evil in the Coalition mind. Their own religion justifies their actions as justified sinners.
During the second and third decades Galton’s ideas on Eugenics had become the vogue. The use of Eugenics by Hitler and the Nazis is used to discredit the concept and yet Reds of all hues including H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were enthusiastic Eugenicists.
Joseph Stalin, the greatest Red who ever lived, rather amusingly embraced Eugenics. (see: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/print.cfm?id=2434192005 )
In the 1920s before Hitler, Stalin ordered his scientists to breed a new super warrior. “I want a new invincible human being, insensible to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.”
You can see where this leading I’m sure. Apparently Stalin had been reading Burrughs’ Beasts Of Tarzan because he ordered the scientists to cross a human and an ape to create his New Order warrior. Imagine a couple divisions of these shaggy haired ape men trudging through the snow behind a line of tanks with a AK 47 in one hand and a frozen banana in the other.
At any rate Slotkin wishes to link Burroughs up with these ideas that Liberals themselves promoted. As the second decade wore on a number of writers dealt with these emerging problems of the age. The two most prominent American bete noirs of the Judeo-Liberals are Madison Grant and his Passing Of The Great Race of 1916 and Lothrop Stoddard and his The Rising Tide Of Color of 1920. As these men are scientists they were labeled ‘bigots’ which is to say heretics or anti-Semites by the Liberal Coalition.
It is not impossible that Burroughs may have read these books but there is no indication he did so so that there is no confirmed connection between he and Grant and Stoddard. As I read Slotkin he believes that Burroughs is complicit with both Madison Grant and Stoddard. Further there is no doubt Slotkin believes all three men are bad with evil intent. As the Scienfific findings of these men contradict the religious tenets of the Myersian Liberal Coalition I suppose Slotkin can do no other. How he manges to lump Burroughs in as an evil malicious bigot seems a stretcher.
In the first place although the findings of Grant and Stoddard are offensive to Slotkin and the Liberal Coalition they nevertheless show the honest unbiased scientific results of the research of honest scholars who are no less decent and honorable than any of the Liberal Coalition. Grant’s work is an essay into proto-genetics for which subsequent learning shows no fault. Stoddard’s work is an excellent faultless political analysis which has been borne out by subequent developments.
While the Liberal Coalition has chosen to pathologize and demonize all three of these writers their opinion should just be waved aside, disregarded as irrelevant. Their opinions should be marginalized. Grant and Stoddard are good and honorable men.
When I first read Slotkin’s analysis of Burroughs I was outraged and then baffled. I rejected the criticism but as Slotkin obvously believes this stuff although he poorly documents it his notions were filed in the bck of my brain while I began to search for his reasons.
From a scientific point of view Slotkin has no basis for his claims but when one lays the Judeo-Red-Liberal matrix over the science all becomes clear. This is a conflict betwen Arien Age religion and twentieth century science.
If one looks closely at Burroughs one will find he has embraced science and rejected religion thus immediately becoming classified as a bigot/anti-Semite in their eyes.
While Burroughs was from the North he is not in full sympathy with abolitionist and Liberal ideals. he appears to reject the harshness of their attitude toward Southern Whites. As in Marcia, John Hancock Chase from Baltimore living in New York City seems to be an attempt to reunify the country according to the ideas of Thomas Dixon, Jr. and his Reconstruction novels and D.W. Griffith’s movie The Birth Of A Nation. To merely be sympathetic to Southern Whites is to deny the victimhood of the Negroes which arouses the animosity of Liberals. Burroughs has thus identified himself as a ‘bigot, heretic, anti-Semite’. He is plainly the enemy of the Liberal Coalition.
And, then, while Burroughs didn’t join organizations like the A.P.A.- American Protective Association- still, like his fellow writers Jack London and Zane Grey he regretted the passingof Anglo-Saxon dominated America. He hated to see the Old Stock in decline. Thus in the Myersian sense he becomes pathologized as a ‘bigot.’ From the Liberal point of view Burroughs is clearly guilty and should be banned from literature. Put on the Liberal Index. However one has to accept the Liberal point of view to think so.
He rejects all religion but as to whether he specifically singles out Catholics, Jews or any other sect I don’t believe that there is a shred of evidence.
One can’t read with his contemporaries eyes so perhaps what isn’t so clear now leaped out of the page then. Burroughs ruminations on Eugenics, especially in the pages of Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar, may then have been more obvious to them than to us. But at the same time his opinions wouldn’t have been offensive to them. As the Liberals accepted Eugenics then as readily as anyone else it would seem that the present emphasis on Burroughs’ fascination with the subject arises primarily from the Liberal rejection of their own past although it is still possible that what contemporary Liberals accepted in themselves they rejected in others as they do today.
While I originally rejected the notion that there was any reason to suspect Burroughs of being an ‘anti-Semite’ I think that if one is looking for indications from the Coalition point of view one can find them. As I point out in Part IV the American Jewish Committee contacted him in 1919 while there are passages in Marcia Of The Doorstep that the Coalition could construe as anti-Semitism and for which Burroughs was possibly punished.
Finally Burroughs as a follower of Teddy Roosevelt rather than Woodrow Wilson might have been suspect. The period after the Great War when it became evident that a very large percentage of the immigrants did not really consider themselves American’s caused TR to remark that America had become merely an international boarding house. Quite true but who would have thought anything else was possible? Today the term ‘international boarding house’ might be interpreted as Diversity or multi-culturalism. TR was head of his times.
The period ending in 1919 also represented the changing of the guard. Buffalo Bill died in 1917 taking hs mythic Wild West with him to the grave. He also represented the end of the first America. The Anglo-Saxons who had won the West. Of course the winners of the West were not nearly so Ango-Saxon as represented but in general it was true. There are almost no non-Anglo-Saxon names in the novels of Zane Grey other than Mexican.
Also in 1919 TR himself passed away just as he was scheduled to be the Republican Presidential candidate for 1910. His loss was keenly felt by Burroughs and his friend Herb Weston. I doubt TR could have adapted to the new problems America was facing even as well as Warren G. Harding did. How TR might have interpreted the challenge to American Democracy of the Liberal Coalition isn’t too obvious.
In 1066 and succeeding centuries the Norman Conquerors enslaved the Anglo-Saxons of East Anglia which was an affront deeply resented. Take a lesson.
In the sixteenth century when the printed Old Testament became universally available the East Anglians identified with the enslaved Hebrews of Exodus. They elected themselves a Chosen People and developed the compensatory Utopian attitude of inherent virtue as the Chosen People Of God.
In the seventeenth century New England was settled by emigrants from East Anglia. Not just English but East Anglians. Virginia was settle by descendents of the Norman conquerors of 1066. The Virginians once again chose slavery as the method of labor. First indentured White people then Africans.
While Utopian ideals developed in New England the abolitionist movement began which resulted in the Civil War-War Between The States. War between regions or actually a war between ideologies. There was no chance the South was going to discontinue slavery anythime soon no matter what anyone says.
In revenge for 1066 the Cavaliers (Whites) of the South were absolutely crushed giving up all rights by surrendering unconditionally.
The nascent Liberal Party of Puritans elevated the Africans over the Cavaliers thus establishing their protectorship over the ‘victims’ which is characteristic of the faith while establishing their power over dissident Whites. Thus the Liberals ultimately aligned themselves with all colored revolutionary movements in the world against White European conquerors.
Within the United States they viewed immigrants as ‘victims’ of the Old Stock pathologizing the Old Stock as ‘bigots’ no better than the Cavaliers of the Old South or the Europeans. All opponents of of their Liberal religious ideology which included the intellectual mindset of Science thus became wrong headed vile ‘bigots’ who had no right to live. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 the utopian Communist ideology became their politics; call it Socialism it comes out the same.
As Edgar Rice Burrough was not a Liberal, not a Communist and not Religious but Scientific he unwittingly placed himself in opposition to the Liberal Coalition. On that basis a serious attempt was made to abort his career while subsequently an attempt to erase his name and work from history is being conducted.
Thus the twenties ushered in a new changed era fraught with new adjustments which were misunderstood or not understood at all.
Burroughs career after 1920 has to be seen in the light of this concealed antagonism that he had to counter without being clear as to its causes.
Thus the contrast between The Mucker and Marcia Of The Doorstep can be seen as a response to two different challenges united by Burroughs personal psychological development.
Go To Part IV:of The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep
September 6, 2008
The Low Brow And The High Brow
And In Depth Study Of The Edgar Rice Burroughs Novels
The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep
By the time Burroughs took up his pen to write at the age of 36 he had a lifetime of frustration and humiliation behind him. Born into an affluent family, their means had petered out by the time young Burroughs reached manhood. Thus he who had been born a prince had become a pauper. ERB felt this keenly. His problem became how to regain his position, his exalted destiny.
The most direct and possible approach was to become an officer in the Army. Burroughs closed that avenue early in life by botching his relationship with Colonel Rogers and Charles King of the Michigan Military Academ.
He began a promising career at Sears, Roebuck but he found success there would be of a very anonymous sort as the member of the team. Fearing to disappear into mercantile obscurity he aborted that career abruptly quitting his job with no prospects.
In what may have been one of the most important decisions of his career he joined up with a patent medicine manufacturer named Dr. Stace. This phase of his career has not been properly investigated. Reasoning from inferences in the Corpus it seems reasonable that he and Stace ran afoul of the law.
A Pure Food And Drug Act had been passed in 1906 which temporarily at any rate made the sale of patent medicines illegal. A few years later the Supreme Court would once again legitimize their sale provided the contents were properly labeled. For the time being there was a problem with the law. Erwin Porges’ Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Invented Tarzan briefly discusses the relationship in this manner. p. 105:
Stace, whom Ed found very likable, had grown ashamed of the patent medicine business and was casting about for a more reputable type of livelihood. His qualms may have been reinforced by the dubious attitude of the United States Government: “Alcola cured alcoholism all right, but the Federal Pure Food And Drug people tooke the position that there were worse things than alcoholism and forbade the sale of Alcola.”
The portion in quotes is presumabley from Burroughs although Porges fails to properly identify it if so.
Since the Pure Food And Drug people acted against Dr. Stace it is only fair to assume the police were involved and depending on how far Dr. Stace fought it, probably a Grand Jury. It is probable then that Burroughs’ seeming intimate knowledge of police methods and Grand Juries was learned at this time.
As Stace’s office manager it is possible that ERB bought into the company and was therefore more intimately involved. Certainly he did not sever his relationship with Dr. Stace as a result of these legal actions, but instead formed a corporation or partnership with him immediately after to sell courses in salesmanship. Hardly more respectable than patent medicines.
As one usually found advertisements for such courses in the back of pulp magazines one can conjecture the status of the enterprise and also its chances of success. The company bearing the name Burroughs-Stace did fail quickly. Notice that Burroughs name came before that of Stace.
Now, Alcola being an illegal product it could not have done ERB’s reputation much good to be associated with it. Continuing his relationship with Dr. Stace in another questionable business would only confirm ERB’s rputation for operating on the legal borderline. In later years Burroughs, while not denying that he had been associated with Stace, claimed to have never seen those people since the time thus attempting to dissociate himself from them.
Thus ERB’s prospects loomed shakily. As these events occurred in 1909-10 he was facing a lifetime of marginal jobs leading ever downward or taking the million to one chance of becoming a successful author. Not too long after terminating his relationship with Dr. Stace he took up his pen. Fate began to blow a strong wind into his sails, so to speak.
However, if I am correct, he was now looked at askance by ‘polite’ society.
His first writing efforts were a success. So successful that he could get anything he wrote into print. this began to bear fruit in 1913, two years after he began writing, when he could throw over his day job and become a self-supporting writer.
Thus he was able to realize his ambition to regain his status of a prince after an interim of nearly thirty years.
He still had to explain himself to himself and Emma as well as to Chicago in general. Much of his output of 1913 would attempt to do just that; especially the first of the two works under consideration here: The Mucker.
The psychological baggage Burroughs brings to his writing to exorcise is considerable. When H.G. Wells portrayed ERB as insane in Mr Blettsworthy Of Rampole Island there was an element of truth while the case was overstated. ERB was apparently able to disappear into himself whiie he was writing thus living an alternate reality which is what Wells was talking about.
The ability to do so is probably why Burroughs’ writing has such immediacy, why his improbabiities are so believable. One wonders what would have become of his mind if he hadn’t become a successful writer. Perhaps the pseudonym he adopted for his first book, Normal Bean, was more to convince himself than others. Bean as slang for head or mind. Certainly his reaction to his success appears to border on the irrational.
His psychological compression was so great that he nearly went off the rails in 1913 in his first blush of success. It is impossible that he wasn’t being observed by others. It is impossible that others didn’t consider him a phenom. The Mars Trilogy and Tarzan were such strange creations for the times that he had to be viewed with wonder. While one can never be sure when he is being referred to in the fiction of other writers it seems to me that there are resonances of Burroughs in such writers as John Dos Passos and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
If he had designed his actions to get talked about he couldn’t have come up with anything more spectacular than his trip to California mid-1913 after a successful half year. For the full year he would earn over ten thousand dollars. This sum in 1913 was reaching the lower limits of super affluence. You couldn’t add much to your comfort with more than ten a year, the rest was conspicuous consumption. It all depends on which multiplier you use but the one I use brings the income out in today’s dollars as between three and five hundred thousand dollars.
Sudden affluence after years of scrabbling for a living can do strange things to your mind. ERB’s was rocked to its foundations. He went crazy in his rush to spend his money. A clothes horse like his wife Emma came into her own. In his rush to spend ERB spent his income before it was earned. He was literally broke between checks from his publishers.
Then in mid-1913 an event occurred which might have triggered his flight from Chicago to California. The Black boxer, Jack Johnson was conceded his title in 1910 when he defeated the White favorite, Jim Jeffries. He had actually won the title in 1908 when he defeated then champion Tommy Burns. Whites were reluctant to acknowledge his claim to the title until he had fought Jeffries who the Whites thought was the ‘real’ champion because he had retired undefeated.
Having disappointed White hopes by defeating Jeffries, Johnson was then set up on a morals charge and convicted in what amounted to a kangaroo court. About to lose his appeal Johnson skipped the country in July of ’13 rather than go to jail as an innocent man.
The Affair Jack Johnson had had a tremendous effect on Burroughs who was an ardent boxing fan. Thus his novel The Mucker deals extensively with the Johnson Affair. I believe that since his assocition with Dr. Stace Burroughs was considered quasi-legit at best and hence in the same boat with a Johnson.
When Johnson split it seemed to cause an equal reaction in Burroughs. Johnson went East to Europe while ERB went West to California. In july of ’13 ERB began work on his realistic Chicago novel The Girl From Farris’s. This work was undoubtedly intended to explain his actions between 1899 and 1911. Once he got started he immediately ran into writer’s block being unable to continue the novel. Before he could continue he had to work out several issues. Thus he did what was for him a very unusual thing. He began the book in July of ’13 only finishing it in March of ’14. In between he wrote five other novels in his usual rapid fashion. the were, in order The Mucker, The Mad King Pt. 1, The Eternal Lover Ptl 1, Beasts Of Tarzan and The Lad And The Lion. The entire set of six stories then are all closely related and should properly be understood only as aspects of the same novel- The Girl From Faris’s.
We are going to consider only the first of the inner five, The Mucker, here. Thus the trip to California begins to work out the redemption or Salvation of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The whole set might be titled: Edgar Rice Burrougs In Search Of Himself.
One must not underestimate the influence of the two or possibly three central events in Burroughs’ life; his confrontatin with John The Bully in 1884-85, the 1899 trip to New york with the Martins and his dramatic relationship with Dr. Stace. One cannot devalue his relationship with his father or Charles King, nor the very influential visit to Idaho where he came under the influence of Lew Sweetser, but his first three seem to dominate his life and work.
A major consequence of his confrontation with John The Bully is that it declassed him. ERB’s Animus became part prince, part pauper; part outlaw, part orthodox as demonstrated in The Outlaw Of Torn. The trip in the private rail car showed him how far down the economic scale he was and how far he had to climb. Although he won the hand of Emma from Martin I think it very likely that when he and Emma returned from Idaho Martin renewed his attentions to Emma. He undoubtedly drove one of the big new automobiles with which the impoverished ERB could not compete. About all he could do if he thought Emma’s affection were wobbling was to get her pregnant. In 1908 and 1909 the couple had two children in rapid succession although they could afford them no more than in their first eight years of marriage.
Thus ten years after had taken Emma to Idaho, for reasons that are unclear to us, he took her to California. Always the wastrel he made the trip in the most expensive way possible. The family went first class.
As Porges quotes him ERB says: “I had decided I was too rich to spend my winters in Chicago so I packed my family, all my furniture, my second hand automobile and bought transportation to Los Angeles.
This was not the most rational move for a man who had written an “Ode To Poverty” not too long before. He had no assurance of being able to write or sell stories, without the sale of which he would be stranded, broke twenty-five hundred miles from his home. Of course he still had all his furniture. There was no one who could help him financially. It is interesting to speculate on what sort of job he would have applied for.
Why would a man do this? ERB had apparently bought his used car, a Velie, at the beginning of 1913 when for all practical acounts he was still broke. Why the urgent need to hop a train? I think the reason can be traced back to Frank Martin. The humiliation of the trip East in a private railcar in 1899 and the subsequent stay in the Bowery while the Martins lived on Riverside Drive had to be compensated. While ERB couldn’t afford a new car he rushed out to buy a used one which was apparently as much as he thought he could afford at the time. On the other hand as his characters always say of themselves: For me. to think is to act. if the Martins among other ‘plutocrats’ wintered in Florida then as ERB could still not compete with them financially he went West.
Arriving in LA he and family drove the second hand Velie down to San Diego with the furniture apparently entrained for the same destination.
During this period ERB’s behavior is absolutely zany. Unable to stay put in LA he moved to Coronado which is a sand spit on the west side of San Diego Bay. North Island Naval Air would be built on the North end of it. The Carriers used to be docked on the ocean side as their draft was too great for the Bay. Disliking Coronado he moved back across the bay to the first low ridge of hills that separates the city proper from the Bay. He apparently was near the crest as he said he could look over it to the East. When I was in the Navy in San Diego I thought this small ridge only a couple miles in length had the most deligthful climate on Earth. I still think it does. So, in 1913-14 before 101 became a major noisy highway at the base of the hill ERB was living in as close to paradise as anyone in this world can ever get.
It was here he explored his psychological problems.
Burroughs because of his encounter with John The Bully, had been rendered susceptible to ‘low brow’ influences. His subsequent life with its constant moving from school to school, from Illinois to Idaho, to Connecticut, to Michigan, to Arizona and back to Illinois had not put into contact with too many ‘high brow’ influences.
In constrast, his wife Emma Hulbert, had been trained to high brow avocations from childhood. I’m sure that one of the objections of her parents to ERB was that he was so detestably low brow. Emma, afer all, had been trained to the opera which is the epitome of high brow. Emma often referred to ERB as a low brow during their marriage which can be somewhat trying. If one contrasts The Mucker with Marcia Of The Doorstep it will become immediately apparent that the former is low brow and the latter is intended to be high brow. So the dominating theme of The Mucker is between the low brow Billy Byrne and the high brow Barbara Harding. The problem as it surfaces when the two come into contact is how Barbara is to turn the low brow mucker into a high brow or at least into a low brow with good speech and mannerisms. This may have been a daily conflict between ERB and Emma in real life.
The first question is how far ERB identifies with Billy Byrne. It is my contention that Billy is an alter ego conditioned by ERB’s confrontation with John The Bully.
I have explained elsewhere that terror may be used to introduce a hypnotic suggestion. Terror opens the mind to suggestion. In ERB’s case when he was in terror of John he accepted the suggestion that because John was terrorizing him he was an admirable person to be emulated. Of course this went against the teaching of his family so that ERB now divided his Animus nearly equally between his father/family and John. Even though his family training commanded his first allegiance, John declassed him so that he mentally assumed the traits of this hoodlum Irish boy. In a sense ERB split his personality.
As would be expected the assumption of John’s characteristics caused a personality conflict which it was necessary to resolve. One must assume that by 1913’s Mucker ERB was aware of his peronality conflict and began the attempt to write it out.
For those new to the term a mucker was one who wallowed in the muck of society, a low class person with very little or no redeeming social value. Thus Burroughs is dealing very harshly with both himself and Byrne/John.
It may be assumed beyond doubt that John was first generation immigrant. As he was twelve when he confronted ERB in 1884-85 he must have been born in 1872. He may actually have been born in Ireland or was at least the son of immigrants hence his Irish prejudices against the English would be very strong while the Irish at the time were considered on a social and racial par with the Negro or perhaps even below. Combining these social disadvantages he was raised in Chicago’s great West Side which ERB with undisguised horror describes.
He also very carefully indicates that Byrne was not an inherently bad person but was strictly a product of his environment. He could have been anything raised in a different social setting. Nurture over nature. An interesting liberal opinion in an age when heredity was accredited to a criminal type. By explaining Byrne as a product of his environment Burroughs was also justifying himself. Indeed, how could he have learned the social graces to which he was entitled by birth having been brought up viewing the underbelly of society. Probably ERB did not become acquainted with the social graces or high brow point of view until he married Emma.
If his social education began with his marriage to Emma then Byrne’s begins when he and Barbara Harding are brought into close contact on ‘Manhattan Island’ in the river of their Pacific island locale where they ‘play house.’ Thus there is more than sufficient evidence to indicate that Byrne and Burroughs are similar. Both names even begin with a B.
As he is part of Burroughs’ psyche ERB has to exonerate Byrne as well as rehabilitate him into someone at least that Burroughs can respect. This is the burden of the book.
After a youthful life in which Byrne makes the best of a bad situation, during which he became competent to survive and dominate in a difficult environment, Byrne takes a step up by becoming involved in boxing. Thus he goes from a no brow to a low brow. Already a fearsome street brawler Byrne becomes a formidable scientific boxer as well. He is good enough to be a sparring partner with the Big Smoke himself. This must have been before July 1913 but no earlier than say 1911.
Sometime in 1912 or early 1913 Byrne is falsely accused of murder by one Sheehan who Byrne had defeated in a fight when they were twelve. Billy had earlier saved a policeman’s life who was being savagely beaten by a rival gang on Byrne’s turf. The policeman now returns the favor by advising Byrne to get out of town which advice Billy take seriously not unlike Jack Johnson. Thus Johnson goes East, Byrne goes West at exactly the same time. Coincidence?
Billy bobs up in San Francisco about the same time that ERB shows up in the sunny Southland. They both reach California at the same time. Another coincidence?
Unfortunately for Billy he gets shanghaied by the guy he intends to roll. He is taken aboard the Half Moon. The ship on which Henry Hudson explored New York’s Hudson River was named the Half Moon so there is a little joke here as Barbara and Byrne reside on a Manhattan Island in their Pacific location.
Being shanghaied wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to Byrne for while he is aboard he is forced to learn discipline- putting a little organization into his chaotic mind. The Half Moon might also stand for the MMA in ERB’s memory. He was more or less shanghaied into attendance when his father made him return after he had run away from the school. Then, under the tutelage of Charles King who he respected he learned the rudiments of self-discipline.
Even though Byrne is a sort of wildman Burroughs shows the greatest respect for him.
Byrne’s next civilizing lesson comes when the Half Moon pretending distress captures the Harding yacht aboard which Byrne is transferred.
The yacht named the Lotus, perhaps after Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lotus Eaters.’ The Lotus Eaters sat around all day in idle forgetfulness which was a pretty good description of the Harding party and another joke. Burroughs had a copy of Tennyson’s poems in his library so the association is probable, besides which as Burroughs had a strong grounding in Greek mythology he would have been familiar with the Lotus Eaters from his Homer.
Burroughs, who had never been to sea, knew nothing of the ocean. His source for sea matters most probably was Jack London. ERB was a great admirer of London but as he had nothing in his library one can only guess at what he had read. There’s pretty good evidence for The Call Of The Wild and The Sea Wolf. He may have picked up his South Seas lore from London’s Son Of The Son (The Adventures of Captain David Grief in my edition). The last book was published in 1911 but Burroughs probably had read it. As he would project the making of Melville’s Typee into a movie in the ’30s it is possible that he was already familiar with that book and Melville’s other South Sea romance, Omoo at least as early as 1913.
Both myself and other researchers are pretty liberal about ERB’s reading list but as I have cautioned before the bulk of his reading for these early stories had to be done between 1900 and 1911 when he was a very busy man with troubles in mind not to mention excruciating headaches. Along with newspapers and magazines he surely couldn’t have read more than two or three hundred books if that many. He may have read a number of sea stories in various magazines at any rate, but his sea lore is second hand, unreliable and unknowledeable.
He has the Lotus tending Southwest toward the Philippines having begun in Hawaii. The Philippines is a large archipelago blending into the massive archipelago just South of it, the Lotus should have been in Equatorial waters where the trade winds blow. Most of your monster storms are further North or South. I was in the Navy making one tour from California in the East to China in the West, South to Australia and North to Japan. I had the terrifying experience of passing through a typhoon off Japan which if it wasn’t the storm of the millenium I can’t imagine a greater. Quite seriously, we all thought we were going to die. My only thought was that the water was going to be awfully cold when I hit it.
I do not jest when I say the waves were seventy-five feet high, you’re right, why not make them a hundred, maybe they were a hundred, two would be stretching it. I was standing on the bridge twenty-five feet above the water line looking straight up at the crest of the waves when we were in the trough. OK. A hundred twenty-five then. We were so far down in the trough there was no wind, nor did the waves break over us, they just slid under the ship raising us to the crests and then we slid down the other side. I kid you not.
Then, as we came down from the crest, way up there, at the bottom of the trough the ship slammed into a current bringing it to a complete halt left and right and fore and aft. These troughs were not rows of waves and troughs, no no, but huge bowls perhaps a mile or more long. Our ship was three hundred six feet long so there we were a speck, an atom, a proton sitting quietly in the midst of this huge bowl waiting for the swatter of fate to fall.
I had been thrown across the deck from port to starboard when we slammed into the current. I scrambled to my feet, noticed that the starboard watch, Engelhardt, was on the way over the side for a tete a tete with Davy Jones. I knew that Jones didn’t have the time for an ordinary Seaman like Engelhardt or me so I grabbed his belt and pulled him back aboard, then ran over to port to wait to die.
Now that was a storm. I don’t know how we rode it out, I thought the end had come, was past. So, why did I tell that? Because ERB’s storms are ludicrous and in the wrong place. A cloud appears, the next thing you know a few indeterminate big waves show up and the ship sinks but the lifeboats survive. All this in equatorial waters. Well, if you’ve never been in it, it might sound alright.
It doesn’t matter because those sudden squalls in ERB’s stories represent his confrontation with John The Bully. Within the twinkling of an eye ERB’s whole direction of life changed.
His had been for the worse but Byrne’s was for the better. This then reflected the change in Burroughs’ own fortunes.
Byrne and the crew are thrown up on an unidentified island somewhere in the South seas but a fairly large one. In those years one could believe that there were islands yet to be discovered. This one has a river big enough to allow for a largish island in the middle. It is here that Byrne will get his introduction to the finer side of life. However not before some very exciting and exotic adventures showing Burroughs at his best.
Apart from Jules Verne, who might also be an influence on this book through his The Mysterious Island that had a tremendous influence on Burroughs though the book was not in his library. ERB seems to be familiar with a number of French authors. He had The Mysteries Of Paris by the incredible Eugene Sue in his Library, while it is fairly obvious he had been suitably impressed by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. The sewer scene in his next book, The Mad King, is indicative of that while Theriere in this book may be a variation on Thenardier. He was also familiar with Dumas’ The Three Musketeers as there are several references to that one including the sequel to The Mucker, Out There Somewhere, when he indicates an intent to create his own three Musketeers in Byrne, Bridge and Burke.
As indicated in my Only A Hobo, ERB was probably immersed in US-Japanese relations that were fairly hot at this time as well as remembering the Japanese exhibit at the Columbian Expo of 1893. He gets his facts right too.
In this case the island is populated by an indigenous population that has been blended with a group of Samurai warriors from Japan. Burroughs correctly indicates that the Samurai had come to the island just before Japan was closed to the world in the early seventeenth century. From about 1620 to about 1860- Perry opened Japan in 1853- no one had been allowed to enter or leave Japan so ERB has been doing his homework. Over the three hundred years a degenerate society of militant Samurai had combined with the indigenes to create a culture of savages. An interesting anthropological notion not too unlike The Lord Of The Flies that has been a literary staple for the last sixty years.
Byrne and Theriere engage in a terrific conflict to rescue Barbara Harding from the Samurai during which Theriere is killed and Byrne seriously wounded. Barbara Harding nurses him back to health in an idyllic glen by a babbling brook.
At this point Byrne is reunited with his Anima ideal. Barbara is going to rehabilitate this guy. He has made some few steps toward his own redemption but the following is the quality Barabara had to work with as described by ERB p. 17:
…Billy was mucker, a hoodlum, a gangster, a thug, a tough. When he fought he would have brought a flush of shame to the face of His Satanic Majesty. He had hit oftener from behind than before. He had always taken every advantage of his size and weight and numbers that he could call to his assistance. He was an insulter of girls and women. He was a bar-room brawler, and a saloon corner loafer. He was all that was dirty, and mean, and contemptible and cowardly in the eyes of a brave man, and yet, notwithstanding all this Billy Byrne was no coward. He was what he was because of training (conditioning) and environment. He knew no other methods, no other code.
As Burroughs says, up to this time Byrne had been an insulter of women, abusive to the whole female sex, probably including his mother. It is only now that his eyes begin to open to what Jack London would call the wonder of woman. How far Byrne reflects ERB’s general attitude toward women isn’t clear although by the end of his life his misogyny was becoming pronounced. He was certainly no ladies man prior to is marriage to Emma. I am not certain he would have married if it hadn’t been for the competition with Martin. The suddenness of his marriage after the Toronto incident indicates a Martin influence or else he was bonkers after the blow. When he later said Tarzan should never have married he was undoubtedly talking about himself. He certainly never placed Emma first, being always ready to accept an army commission, fight in Central America, seek a commission in the Chinese army or become a war correspondent all of which would have left Emma and the kids at home.
At the same time Barbara who had detested Byrne becomes softened to him preparing her to love him once they moved downstream to Manhattan Island. This may be some romanticized version of ERB’s relationship with Emma after Toronto although she seems to have been fixed on Burroughs from childhood. At any rate the relationship comes to fruition downstream where the high brow Barbara attempts so raise the brow level of Byrne.
If one takes high brow, low brow seriously being thought of as a low brow, that is inferior, can be annoying. Since Burroughs has chosen in his first novel within the cocoon of Girl From Faris‘s to write around the theme of a low brow hero I think it fair to believe it irritated him to be thought of as a low brow; especially so as in most instances he was much better educated than those who so named him. Chief among these was his wife Emma. Whereas she had been trained ot operatic arias ERB played the hillbilly tune Are You From Dixie? over and over again on his phonograph. Hillbilly music really irritates the operatic type. There must have been constant conflict in the household.
Emma especially looked down on boxing as low brow. ERB was an ardent boxing fan, while here he chooses a low brow boxer as hero. ERB could have some startling opinions on what was high brow. He thought auto races were high brow. I don’t know what the crowds were like back then but I’ve been to the stock car races where I found high brows conspicuous only by their absence.
But, to the Mucker. Moving downsteam after his recovery on this rather large river coming closer to the estuary they hit an island. Being bounded as it were by a Hudson on one side and East River on the other they named the island Manhattan. There’s a nice Expo twist and joke here as in Chicago on the Wooded Island one came upon a Japanese settlement in the middle of the city; here on a Samurai Island in the Pacific one comes upon a Manhattan Island of Americans. Kind of cute reversal, don’t you think?
As Billy has to know some details about Manhattan to keep the story moving, Burroughs rather lamely invents a couple trips Billy had made to New York with the Goose Island Kid. As the boxing scene Burroughs describes, with the exception of the Big Smoke is entirely Irish one might note the origin of the name of The Goose Island Kid. Goose Island was an area in the Chicago River inhabited by the poorest of the Irish, so the Kid comes from the bottom of the social scale even below Byrne’s origins. One should contrast this with Burroughs prized English ancestry.
Burroughs is writing from experience either psychological or real. Thus one asks when was ERB in New York to acquire his knowledge of the city. Well, let’s see: He had an extended stay in 1899. That was the trip when he got bashed in Toronto. Then he had a short stay at the the invitation of Munsey. Most of what he knew must have come from the 1899 trip.
On their desert Manhattan Island Barbara, who up to this time had been repelled by Byrne makes an attempt at deconditioning Byrne from a Mucker and reconditioning him as an upper class New Yorker. the conditioning consists of ridding him of the horrific characteristics attributed to him by ERB while teaching him to speak in an educated manner. As there was no tableware she couldn’t teach him which fork to use.
Possibly this scene may reflect on the first couple years of Burroughs’ married life. Remember that ERB hadn’t been much around polite society from the years of twelve to twenty-five during which he was conditioned to his low brow attitudes. Emma had been brought up in a high brow environment so that she may have felt the need to isntruct her new husband in some of the finer points of good manners.
When Frank Martin (see my Four Crucial Years) asked ERB to go to New York with him in 1899 he did so with a heart full of malice. He was competeing with Burroughs for Emma Hulbert’s favors and, as is commonly believed, he felt all’s fair in love and war.
The evidence points to the fact that he intended to have ERB murdered in Toronto to clear his path to the woman. Along the way he must have done his best to humiliate his rival- the mucker Ed Burroughs.
ERB was moving in much faster company than he was used to. While coming from a once affluent family his people had fallen on hard times. ERB’s income was little more than sixty dollars a month while Frank Martin the son of a millionaire could blow that much on dinner every night of the week.
Riding in Martin’s father’s private railcar one imagines that ERB’s suit compared to the fabulous duds of Martin was laughable. The contrasts between their two stations must have been even more laughable and very satisfying to Martin. Martin would have considered himself a high brow to Burroughs’ low brow.
Once in New York Martin’s hospitality didn’t extend to living quarters. ERB gives no indication of how much money he took along or where he got it. I should be surprised if he had so much as two hundred dollars, certainly no more. However much he had there was no way he could have kept up with the Martins.
His address while in New York was down on the Bowery while the Martin’s was in a better part of town, perhaps Riverside Drive. Danton Burroughs has a picture of the three of them- Burroughs, Martin and Martin’s other companion, R.H. Patchin, on Coney Island. One hopes Danton will release the photo to ERBzine along with any other information he may have. Coney Island would be good low brow entertainment to offer Burroughs, something he could afford.
A possible account of how Burroughs felt during his dependency on Martin can be found in one of the volumes in ERB’s library: The House Of Mirth by Edith Wharton. The reading of it must have brought pangs of recognition to ERB.
In The Mucker Billy Byrne speaks of Riverside Drive and the Bowery in this way:
“Number one, Riverside Drive,” said the Mucker with a grin, when the work was completed: “an’ now I’ll go down on the river front and build the Bowery.”
“Oh, are you from New York?” asked the girl.
“Not on your life,” replied Billy Byrne. “I’m from good old Chi but I been to Noo York twict with the Goose Island Kid, so I knows all about it. De roughnecks belong on de Bowery, so dat’s what we’ll call my dump down by de river. You’re a high brow, so youse gotta live on Riverside Drive, see?’ and the mucker laughed at his little pleasantry.
In 1913 the only real experience Burroughs had with New York was the 1899 trip so that one can guess that when the Martin party detrained Burroughs as a ‘roughneck’ went to the Bowery while Martin and his group went to Riverside Drive or its equivalent. Surely Burroughs realized he had been duped at this point and felt it keenly. Or, perhaps, he didn’t catch on until much later having thought about it for a while. Referring to the Irish Martin as The Goose Island Kid who took him to New York may be a belated disguised slap in the face. If Martin read the book I’m sure he would have understood.
At this point is the novel Barbara begins Byrne’s deconditioning teaching him the Riverside patois thus giving him true English as a second language to his native Muckerese. Thus Byrne is to some extent rehabilitated as a human being; this follows fairly close that of Jean Val Jean of Les Miserables, however as Billy ruefully learned there is more to reconditioning than language.
At this point Byrne has a dual personality. He is the low brow mucker and a high brow mucker in that he has learned certain mannerisms and he can speak both forms of English.
If the scene on Manhattan Island to some extent reflected the relationship between ERB and Emma then the seeds of his discontent which will result in divorce have already been sown. The parting from Barbara at the end of the story may be the first prefiguration of his divorce.
On the other hand Byrne has been temporarily reunited with his Anima figure somewhat in the manner of Eros and Psyche in Greek mytholotgy which makes him a complete being, his X and Y chromosomes being reconciled. They are soon split apart again as he and Barbara find their separate ways to NYC.
Upon Byrne’s return to NYC Burroughs begins to wrestle with the problem of the displacement of a White heavyweight boxing champ with a Black one. In our age when boxing has become a totally Black sport it is difficult to see the real significance of Jack Johnson’s assumption of the championship for both Whites and Blacks. The success of Johnson also came at a time when in competition with immigrants the Anglo ‘old stock’ was being displaced from a feeling of rightful preeminence in a country it had made.
This displacement by immigrant’s also occured at the time when the ranks of the European conquerors of the world had reached their limitations and the conquered began to roll them back. Thus one has such volumes of the period as Madison Grant’s The Passing Of The Great Race and Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide Of Color. The world was mysteriously changing slipping from beneath the White Man’s feet.
Complementary to the works of Grant and Stoddard, but not influenced by them, was the world of such writers as Zane Grey, Jack London and Burroughs. A common thread in the world of all three is the displacement of the ‘old stock’ by immigrants. London has a telling phrase in his excellent and highly recommended Valley Of The Moon when his character Billy Roberts is told that the ‘old stock’ had been sleeping and that now like Rip Van Winkle they were awakening to a new world that had changed while they slept. This theme would reappear in such works as Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Amerberson’s and Burroughs’ own The Girl From Hollywood of the next decade.
The social conflicts are treated almost identically by all three authors.
Richard Slotkin in his Gunslinger Nation attempts an exhaustive treatment of the problem from the Gustavus Myers’ immigrant/unskilled labor point of view which may be contrasted with that of our three masters. I will discuss this a little later.
Great changes were in progress. To try to characterize them from a single point of view as the Myers’ school does is both foolhardy and pernicious. While the immigrants and unskilled labor have their story it is only their story, a small part of the whole. While one can sympathize with anyone, anywhere, one cannot necessarily accept their point of view as definitve on which point they do insist. My heart goes out to everyone but does not rule my head.
The argument then breaks down broadly between the Liberal Coalition and what name is appropriate for the other side? -the rational? the realistic?, the conservative?. Why not settle for the Conservative with all its limitations. Yes, I am unapologetically conservative. No more limitating actually than calling the irresponsibility of the Coalition liberal. I fail to see the liberality.
The argument devolves into the two factions of the ‘old stock’ with the convervative wing being hopelessly outnumbered when the liberal wing aligned themselves along national and racial lines with the immigrants and Blacks and along poltical and religious lines with the Judaeo-Communists or more conveniently- the Reds. Reds is shorter.
That writers of the bent of Burroughs, London and Grey have survived at all, let alone remained popular, in such an environment is remarkable indeed.
From 1910 to 1919 major events that affected our writers occurred and typified the decline of Euroamerica from its pinnacle of self-satisfaction. The Great War which ran from 1914 to 1918 shattered the image of Euroamerica before the rest of the world Successful resistance not only appeared possible to the defeated peoples but probable. Note the advantage Japan took of the debacle.
A second event almost prefiguring the Great War was the sinking of the great ship RMS Titanic in 1912. Billed as unsinkable it represented the peak of Euroamerican scientific and technological skill. When that Grat Ship went down on its maiden voyage it took a great deal of the West’s confidence down with it. While the West watched in dismay and horror the rest of the world cheered the West’s discomfiture. Unsinkable indeed!
But perhaps the single most disastrous blow to the pride of Euroamericans was when the Black Jack Johnson laid the pride of the Whites, Jim Jeffries, down in the fourteenth on July 4, 1910. The might Casey, Jim Jeffries, had struck out. The much despised Negro, Jack Johnson, walked away wearing the world heavyweight championship belt.
The Whites howled, they rioted but they had shot their best shot and there was no backup. No contender. No hope.
Jack London actually reported the fight. He was there. Ringside. Nor was he charitable toward Jack Johnson. He said things that might better have remained unsaid. We have no indication as to what Burroughs thought at the time. By the time he spoke publicly in The Mucker he had had time to mature his thoughts.
The effect on London was traumatic. In 1911 he published his book The Abyssmal Brute, his first thoughts on the fight. The fight not yet out of his system London expressed himself still further in his 1913 novel The Valley Of The Moon. I’ve said it before. I’m no Jack London fan. I’ve only read him more or less at the insistence of ERBzine’s Bill Hillman. If I had gone to the grave without reading The Call Of The Wild or The Sea Wolf I wouldn’t have considered it a loss. Not the same with Valley Of The Moon. This book along with ERB’s Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid is one of the neglected masterpieces of twentieth century American literature. It alone justifies London’s excellent reputation.
The story is that of two Oakland, California young people, Billy Roberts and his sweetheart Saxon Brown. While lamenting the displacement of the ‘old stock’ by the immigrants London also makes this a boxing story along the same lines as The Mucker.
In fact the stories are quite similar in conception. If one didn’t know that the authors were writing at the same time 2500 miles from each other one would think they may have written on the same theme as a bet. London, too, must have been influenced by the midnight flight of Johnson from Chicago. London makes Roberts an outstanding boxer in the Bay Area. Roberts gives up boxing because of the fate of boxers and because of the low brow fans. Later in the book London says that Roberts sparred with both Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson.
After a long period of unemployment in an attempt to win a hundred dollar prize to relieve his and Saxon’s poverty he agrees to go back in the ring, the squared circle, as Burroughs always refers to it. The fight with the Chicago Terror is very reminiscent of the Jeffries-Johnson battle. Like Jeffries Roberts hadn’t fought for a long time. Like Jeffries he was out of condition. After retiring in 1905 Jeffries had taken up farming, blossoming out to three hundred pounds. When the call came to redeem the honor of the White species sometime after 1908 Jeffries had to quickly get into condition losing all the extra tonnage.
He had certainly not regained his top form, timing and mental focus when he climbed into the ring to face Johnson. I make no excuses for him but as Jeffries said he saw his openings but his unconditioned reflexes didn’t allow him to take advantage of them. His failure broke the hearts of his followers.
The battle between Roberts and the Chicago Terror, johnson must have been intended, is probably a replay of the 1910 fight as seen by London. Out of condition and rusty Roberts gets mauled from start to finish. In an attempt to salvage special pride London has Roberts at least stay on his feet till the twentieth unlike the fourteenth round fall of Jeffries.
Toward the end of Valley Of The Moon London has Roberts climb nto the ring again, this time against a Big Swede, sort of polar to the Big Smoke. In the second of two bouts Roberts has difficulty putting the Big Swede away until the fourteenth. Also a replay of the Jeffries-Johnson fight with Roberts/Jeffries winning this one, if only in Jack’s dreams.
Thus the anguish of the loss surfaces three years after. Now, that the two events, the Titanic and fight get confused in this shuddering defeat of Euroamerica is interestingly made evident in the song Jack Johnson and the Titanic. In the song Jack Johnson goes down to the steamship line in England to buy passage for his White wife and himself. He is told that no Black Folks are allowed on the Titanic. As some sort of divine punishment for refusing him the Great Ship sinks.
Obviously Jack Johnson couldn’t have been refused as in 1912 he was still in Chicago fighting to stay out of jail. But the two White disasters became mingled in imagination.
While London was wrestling with the Johnson Affair in Valley Of The Moon, Burroughs was doing the same in his Mucker. One wonders what a further seach of popular literature would reveal.
In The Mucker Burroughs has gotten Byrne back in New York City. Broke and with no means of a livelihood the big man-beast turns to the only thing he can do which is boxing. While London, who had witnessed the fight essentially retold it in Valley Of The Moon, Burroughs who didn’t prepares Byrne to redeem the Whites by fighting and defeating the Big Smoke. Burroughs doesn’t mention Johnson by name. He uses Big Smoke, big dinge.
Burroughs immediately places Byrne in the role of the next hope. At the time these Whtie boxers were known only as hopes, the term Great White Hope in the completely derogatory sense evolved later. Like London Burroughs minces no words about Jim Jeffries being his favoirte. Not only does Byrne imitate Jeffries by fighting from a crouch but ‘Professor’ Cassidy his trainer says:
For a few minutes Billy Byrne played with his man, hitting him when and where he would. He fought, crouching, just as Jeffries used to fight, and in his size and strength, was much that reminded Cassidy of the fallen idol that in his heart of hearts he still worshipped.
Winning the fight Byrne went on to meet the #1 contender who he handily defeated. Having evoked the ghost of Jim Jeffries Burroughs brings in his other hero, Gentleman Jim Corbett.
The following morning the sporting sheets hailed “Sailor Byrne” ( tribute to Jack London whose hobo moniker was Sailor Jack) as the greatest white hope of them all. Flashlights of him filled a quarter of a page. There were interviews with him. Interviews of the man he had defeated. Interviews with Cassidy. Interviews with the referee. interviews with everybody, and all were agreed that he was the most likely heavy since Jeffries. Corbett admitted that, while in his prime, he could doubtless have bested the new wonder, he would have found him a tough customer.
Jeffries, Corbett, Byrne, a combination with so much magic in the names couldn’t help but win back the title to salve the wounded pride of the White species.
Cassidy wired a challenge to the Negro’s manager, and received an answer that was most favorable. The terms were, as usual, rather one sided but Cassidy accepted them, and it seemed before noon that the fight was assured.
Assured in dreams, of course, as this is only a novel.
It would be quite easy to pass over this part of the tale without realizing its significance but it shows the pain and suffering, the loss of pride that occurred when the championship went Black. While Burroughs has no difficulty invoking the names of the fallen idol, Jeffries and Corbett, he cannot bring himself to name Johnson referring to him only as The Big Smoke, the big dinge, or the Negro. The White world was in a deal of pain.
One can only guess how Burroughs intended to resolve his dilemma of having the fictional Byrne fight the living Johnson or perhaps the story was only a magic incantation to arouse the true hope. At any event when Byrne next appears in story in 1916’s Out There Somewhere, Jess Willard had already taken the championship back although under dubious circumstances. By 1916 Byrne’s boxing career is forgotten; there is no mention of it in the sequel.
Having solved the problem of the championship Burroughs returns to his Anima problem in the romance with Barbara Harding. Billy remembers she lives in New York City and decides to call on her. But…
…a single lifetime is far too short for a man to cover the distance from Grand Avenue to Riverside Drive…
While the above words were spoken about Billy, Byrne too came to the same conclusion:
But some strange influence had seemed suddenly to come to work upon him. Even in the brief moment of his entrance into the magnificence of Anthony Harding’s home he had felt a strange little stricture in the throat- a choking, a half-suffocating sensation.
The attitude of the servant, the spendor of the furniture, the stateliness of the great hall and the apartments opening upon it- all had whispered to him that he did not “belong.”
So Byrne feeling his inability to fit in walks away in bitter pride forswearing his love for Barbara Harding. Still, he could remember her saying back on that other Manhattan Island:
I love you Billy for what you are.
Thus the epic of the low brow Billy ends as he walks down the street a study of dejection with Barbara’s words ringing through his mind.
The question here is how much the relationship between Byrne and Barbara is a ‘highly fictionalized’ account of ERB’s own relationship with Emma. We can’t know for sure how hurt Burroughs may have been by Emma’s calling him a low brow. Perhaps he longed to hear her say: I love you, Ed, just the way you are.
Certainly the stories enveloped by The Girl From Faris’s all deal with his relationship with Emma as his Anima ideal. The Mad King which follows this story details the problems of the hero getting on the same wave length with the Princess Emma. He even uses his wife’s real name. The following title – The Eternal Lover – speaks for itself, Beasts Of Tarzan features a wild chase with Tarzan trying to find Jane who is lost in the jungle, while the last of the series, The Lad And The Lion, details the troubles of the Lad finding his desert princess. After the Lad he got past his mental block being able to close The Girl From Faris’s.
So if these stories are read consecutively they record the struggle going on in ERB’s mind to reconcile Emma to his Anima ideal and his Anima to his Animus. This is a task for not any but the most dedicated Burroughs scholar but I would interested in learning the opinion of any who might attempt it.
Read only Book One of Mad King and the first part, Nu Of The Neocene, of Eternal Lover in this context.
Ten years later ERB tackled the problem from the high brow point of view in Marcia Of The Doorstep.
Go To Part Two
Background Of The Second Decade- Personal