The Sixties And The Negro Revolution

Part II


R.E. Prindle

Terror Over The San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Side Of Bay Bridge

San Francisco Side Of Bay Bridge

It was back in’59 of the old century that I was discharged from the US Navy at Treasure Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Thus my adult life began as the Sixties dawned. Who knew? It was a terrifying period for me.

Treasure Island After The Warships Had Left

Treasure Island After The Warships Had Left

I was to take up residence in Oakland the crown jewel, so to speak, of the East Bay.      In the three years I had been gone, that is in the cocoon of the Navy, the country had not so much changed as advanced very rapidly. I was more than slightly out of touch. The country was on the cusp of a gigantic leap in scale. I wasn’t.

Without myself, or as I think, anyone else realizing it, or using the term, the Negro Revolution was in full swing.

As Charles De Gaulle, the President of France, once noted: The US while being a White country acted as a colored country. Thus the US knowingly and purposely sabotaged European relationships with the colored or, as it was known, The Third World. The vast majority of the US was in favor of this course being of a sanctimonious nature feeling quite superior to the evil Europeans. I was opposed to it, I liked the way the maps were colored. But, I was very nearly in a minority of one.

Thus, however, when the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya erupted the US sympathized with the black Africans. When Ho Chi Minh defeated the French Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu a year later most Americans believed justice had been served on the evil Europeans. None of us knew at the time that those howitzers bombarding the FFL were not provided by the USSR; they were of US manufacture shipped to Hanoi from Okinawa when they were not needed for the conquest of Japan. Unknowingly the French were fighting both the Reds and the US.

Negro revolutionists in the US were turned loose in 1954 when the Supreme Court subverted American freedom by beginning compulsory integration of the races with the Brown vs. The Board Of Education of Topeka decision. The hounds of war were loosed. All hell broke loose in Alabama as the famous and mourned Bull Connor began his legendary career of opposition.

Abetting the Negro revolution in the US, in 1957 the African State of Ghana was granted its independence by the withdrawal of Great Britain and then beginning in 1960 colony after colony was made independent until the former virtual colony of Europe was a congeries of African States filled with warring tribes. I, so far as I know, alone viewed this with great sadness. The great Quest for the Source of the Nile as detailed in Alan Moorehead’s great work The White Nile also published in 1960 had ended in disaster. The nature and extent of the disaster wouldn’t be realized until the Africans began the invasion of Europe shortly thereafter.

But I was just taking the first baby steps leading to the rest of my life. Even if I had been knowledgeable of the contending forces I would have been a drop in the illimitable ocean. Still, as my own entity, I considered myself the center of the universe. I considered the planet the center of the universe, indeed, the only part of the universe that counted. What effect could the light emitted by stars from a billion years in the past, the source of which might even no longer exist, have on me or my home on Earth? None. I and it were where it was at.

So there I was a small lone figure, a stranger in the strange land of California, the Fool of the Tarot deck, taking the first step to begin my journey of a thousand miles.

Although from Michigan I had always considered San Francisco my spiritual home especially the San Francisco Bay Area and now I would become intimate with it in its entirety and even most of Northern California from Bakersfield to Redding.

Mt. Diablo

Mt. Diablo

The Bay is an immense thing stretching from Sacramento and Stockton down to Santa Clara County, San Jose and what has become known as Silicon Valley. It is like a great wound separating the communities that border it North and South and East and West. In the attempt do bind it into a unit great sutures known as bridges crossed the vast waters, the Bay Bridge is eight miles long, to make the various communities into one.

Even a great tunnel beneath the waters called the BART- Bay Area Rapid Transit- would be drilled beneath the bay. A truly astonishing achievement among such astonishing achievements as the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges.

Further to the South the equally amazing but built over shallow water is the San Mateo Bridge and below that the rather commonplace Dumbarton Bridge. To the North above the Bay Bridge is the major construction of the San Rafael Bridge and above that the Carquinez Straights bridge. In the Sixties all these bridges were readily passable without long waits or even waits.

For now the story is of Oakland. Henry J. Kaiser one of America’s great industrialists, ran his shipyards there where the so-called Liberty ships were built. Sixteen million White men were impressed into the wars of the ‘40s. They were all removed from their jobs into their uniforms. From this distance I doubt that sixteen million men were needed at one time, but they were taken leaving behind the women and Negroes. The Negroes were in the South so they were entrained to the factories of the North. This is called the Great Migration.

After the wars were over and the White men returned wanting their jobs back the Negroes kept coming North and West. However the returning Whites were now competing for the jobs with the Negroes who hadn’t been there when they left. Then in ’54 came the criminal Brown decision. The Negroes had been living the high life during the war enjoying wages that could never have imagined while the Whites were getting their asses shot off around the world.

The Negroes kept coming although there were no longer enough jobs for both veterans and themselves. During the fifties and sixties thousands per month arrived in the Bay Area transforming it into a different peoplescape, especially Oakland. There was a strict segregation.

Oakland is divided East and West by the great street of East 13th. That street runs from the Bay all the way through Oakland and the adjoining cities of San Leandro and Hayward all the way through Niles and Warm Springs, then independent towns to the Nimitz Freeway where the five towns were incorporated into a city called Fremont. Fifty miles or so.

In Oakland it was determined that the west of East 13th, West Oakland, would be abandoned to the Negroes. Now, West Oakland had a history dating back to the founding of Oakland. It was a fine neighborhood. It had been home to some families for a hundred years. This was an established area. No matter.

As the Negroes came in their in their thousands and tens of thousands the Whites were just moved out, a block or two a month. The rudely displaced Whites, I mean this was a sight to see, had to have a place to live so huge apartment buildings and great housing developments beyond the San Leandro border into Hayward and over into Contra Costa County popped up like mushrooms in Springtime. Orchards and farmland disappeared beneath concrete.

Contra Costa (Against the Coast) County just East of Alameda County and its Oakland was a barren desert irrigated into immense fruit and nut orchards. Truly a desert had been made to bloom.

These orchards were uprooted and piled along the roads as bulldozers moved in to clear the land for the houses that would populate that huge desert. Thus an undesirable social situation was created as tens of thousands Southern socially crude Negroes displaced tens of thousands of Whites who had to form new communities and associations. Everyone was unhappy and it showed. Tensions were unbearable. A great depression settled over the entire Bay Area from Sacramento to San Jose and all the Peninsula below San Francisco and the East Bay. It was fairly congenial to me as I was suffering from a childhood induced depression myself. It was pretty pathetic though.

Oakland was in turmoil. It had always been a rough town. If you want a nice portrayal of its early days check out Jack London’s Valley Of The Moon, a very nice near memoir. So anyway, you had his tremendous influx of really raw material, the rawest, displacing almost overnight the whole of West Oakland.

I’m not being critical but as people these Negroes were completely out of touch with a modern technological world and when I say out of touch I mean neither myself or any White I knew had any idea of why things were happening or even what was happening that’s how out of touch they were.

What I write is a matter of placing in context what I study compared with what I remember. Some things, like Freudian motifs, I dimly perceived then, the Mafia presence of course was or should have been obvious to everyone except J. Edgar Hoover but I couldn’t tell you the first time I heard he CIA mentioned and I had no idea what the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations were doing. The Foundations one discovers were instrumental in many social situations.

The West Side that the Negroes appropriated was a very nice area in a modest way, very desirable tree lined streets. It was not a slum when the Negroes arrived. Being a flat level naturally air conditioned apron of the Bay the displaced were indeed unhappy being translated to the desert of Contra Costa. Only the Negroes could disparage West Oakland as ‘the Flatlands.’

Huey Graduated High School And Attended OCC Without Knowing How To Read

Huey Graduated High School And Attended OCC Without Knowing How To Read

The Negroes had no social graces or knowledge of what they called ‘the White Man’s law.’ What was to them natural behavior was condemned by the White Man’s law. By the time I began showing up in Oakland in the late fifties they were threatening 98th Street, the boundary between Oakland and San Leandro. The latter city had a Sundown law or custom, at least. Temporarily at least the Negroes couldn’t advance beyond 98th.

In the meantime the behavior that was criminal according to White Man’s law but normal to the Negro mind multiplied to the detriment of the White population exponentially plus. No exact accounting is possible but take the situation at Oakland’s Castlemont High School as an example. Castlemont was out on the cusp of the eighties and nineties. The Negro invasion was in the seventies crossing over into the eighties in ’58 when I spent my liberty time in Oakland. Castlemont was half White at the time and wholly hell for that half.

The Negroes were in beat down and rape mode all the time. The White students got no sympathy from the community, they were on their own while any fights the boys had to get involved in were always charged to them while the guilty Negroes were exonerated. The rapes of the girls were either disregarded or unreported. They just expected it.

It was absolutely essential for them to clear the school directly after the last bell. Negro boys roamed the halls looking for the tardy girl. I knew a girl from Castlemont and witnessed the situation. It was shameful, even criminal, what those parents made their children endure. I have often wondered what happened to some of them.

As for the disorder cast into the lives of the Whites who had been forcefully evicted from homes of perhaps two or three generations it was astonishing to see and also hazardous for them as they all fought for a shred of old self-esteem and standing. Many lives were destroyed, but, we all had to survive. As the chef says, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Some chose rough behavior while serial murders began in earnest probably being more common than recognized. Those were taut times in the Bay Area. You had to watch your step and it got progressively worse. About ’63 and into ’64 before I entered college full time I had a job with a mortgage banking firm, Lowell, Smith and Evers. It was there I learned every square inch of Northern California, except Contra Costa County. When I started the territory was divided equally but I eventually did all the work except for Contra Costa because my senior partner, I forget his name, call him Dale, always retained CC for himself. Perhaps the extreme depression suited his mental state. What with all the population transfers CC was a fairly rough place, everyone suspicious of the other. I learned enough about rough places myself so Dale could have CC and welcome to it.

Located in Contra Costa is Mount Diablo- Devil Mountain. Dale trained me in CC. Dale was a graduate of Stanford University over on the Peninsula. I forget his major but it had no commercial value so that upon graduation the only job he could get was selling coffee to grocery stores in Chicago. Thus he, a graduate of Stanford University, had to deal with store managers who at best were high school graduates as equals. It was more than he could bear. He couldn’t handle the differential in expectations. He quit Chicago and came back to the Bay Area.

Our job was not a quality job, it barely kept us in the white collar class. I never could understand why he accepted it. He still worked with high school graduates like myself but even though we were equals he could consider himself the senior member. This still left him very bitter. His was a desperate situation. I still had he college option.

Although declassed or perhaps because of it he lived near the UC Berkeley campus where he dropped a tab of acid every day before he left to work CC. Berkley had an LSD experimental lab so Dale was well supplied. On the first day he offered me a tab but I declined. For lunch break that day as every day of training we got a sandwich and he drove half way up Mt. Diablo to a magnificent lookout spot. Work was just leisure for Dale so these were two, three, four hour lunches where he would let his acid drenched mind rove through he stars. He delivered some magnificent raps that were thoroughly engrossing. I mention this in detail because the Zodiac killer began his depredations four years later in 1968. Zodiac also had some very cosmic thoughts centered on Mont Diablo not too different from Dale’s. I have often wondered if Dale was Zodiac.

By 1964 when Dale and I sat on Mt. Diablo I’d been taking night classes from three different Junior Colleges- Merritt Campus of OCC- Oakland Community College-, Marin Jr. College, and Chabot Jr. College in Hayward. Fall term of ’64 I quit Lowell, Smith and Evers and entered California State College at Hayward- now styled California State University East Bay- full time.

OCC was an old high school on the Oakland-Berkeley border so it had a special character, Oakland with a Berkeley flavor. Of course ’60 to ’62 when I attended was pre-hippie so there was a different psychology but the flux and change of demographics had its own special quality.

As I said, the Bay Area was in turmoil. If you had a taste for it it was quite wonderful. There was a change from the culture of the old San Francisco of the thirties through the fifties in which the DJ Don Sherwood who was on the way out had been representative and the transition into the sixties of Herb Caen and LSD, rock and roll and the Black Panthers. I began OCC at the same time Huey Newton did. Our paths did cross one time. The Neo-Abolitionist Whites had seized Oakland City College.   They were ardent practitioners of Columbia University’s Eric Foner’s Unfinished Revolution. They were there to finish it so we were part of the continuation of Reconstruction. Phase two. The forces of evil were on the march.

In the course of my college career I attended the previously mentioned Jr. Colleges plus Cal State, and grad school at UC Berkeley and UOregon. While all the schools were Liberal none was involved in the Negro Revolution and Reconstruction like OCC.

In addition the Homosexual Revolution was in full bloom in the Bay Area while the faculty at OCC was heavily if not morally infected. This would involve an additional twist of fate for me.   The whole Liberal Coalition was composed of justified sinners who considered themselves above the law, vigilantes in effect.

The Neo-Abolitionists who actually believed they were continuing Reconstruction against the Rebels now styled us as ‘racists’ were intent on exterminating us as they had been the Southerners. The homosexuals as a semi-secret society were at war with we heterosexuals. By 1969 and the Stonewall Riots in NYC they actually won a major battle and took possession of the field. Identifying themselves with law and virtue they felt no compunction at committing crimes they could conceal. As Voltaire advised his followers: strike but conceal your hand.

Faculty pressure was put on students to compel them to adopt Neo-Abolitionist attitudes, rigged so-called debates and really if one were vocal, expulsion. For some reason the NeoAs seemed to believe that no one had experience with homosexuals and Negroes even though Oakland’s high schools were actual rape factories and war zones. Affirmative Action was the order of the day that is, egregious crimes against Whites.

In my own instance I sat in class next to this forty some year old Negro. In passing back test papers we had taken I noticed that this Negro had gotten a B while I had received a C. But then I noticed that he had a score of 64 while I had a 76. Thinking that the homosexual teacher had made an error I pointed out the incongruity of scores and grades. The teacher sneered at me telling me that it was time for Negroes to get a few advantages to redress old grievances.

I can’t believe I was picked out to be the recipient of this ‘social justice’ so I presume the teacher was indulging himself in random acts of criminality. In the event there was no remedy for this crime so I was somewhat dazed and bewildered not able to understand what was happening. Discrimination of this kind was going on constantly.

There appeared to be agents or spies attempting to trap the unwary into making comments that could be interpreted as ‘racist’ or ‘homophobic’ although those terms were not yet in use. Once identified, as I look back, it seems clear that spies or agents tried to discredit any so identified. A homosexual trick was to inject themselves into conversations then correct the pronunciation of the victim trying to make him look ignorant.

This notion was probably patterned on the tricks of John F. Kennedy who was running for president at this time which was 1960. Anyone who noticed that Kennedy was an Irish Catholic was shouted down as a bigot yet the 1960 election was a transfer of power from the Anglo-Saxons to the Celts and from Protestants to Catholics while the Kennedys- Jack, Bobby and Teddy- passionately embraced the Negro side of the race war. Teddy in 1965 would be instrumental in changing the immigration act which would allow Africans and West Indians to immigrate to the US. Most people either discounted the Irish Catholic background of the Kennedys or were shamed into silence but Kennedy’s Celtic and Catholic background would be an element in his assassination three years later.

The Kennedys’ election triumph was a major change of direction for the country. Had Jack not been assassinated it is probable that a Jack, Bobby, Teddy succession amounting to twenty-four years of Irish Catholic rule would have guaranteed a significant if not total shift in mores not unlike the current Clinton-Bush-Obama succession. It was not for nothing that Jack’s presidency was styled Camelot after the Celtic King Arthur of Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

As if to characterize the change as a break Jack began to change the pronunciation of words. Thus mobile always pronounced as mobul became mo-bile to the approval of the press corps. In subsequent years whole dictionaries would change regularly to keep people on edge. Wholesale name changes from Peking to Beijing and Bombay to Mumbai would take place.

In seeming keeping with Jack’s linguistic gymnastics as I was talking to a couple people an aggressive homo came over. I was talking about the movie producer Elia Kazan. As in his movie America America in which he introduced himself as Eel-ya. I used that pronunciation.

The homo contradicted me. You could have seen the loss of credibility on the faces of my listeners. I countered with a request for the correct pronunciation to which the homo offered E-lie-a. I of course offered Elia’s own pronunciation from the movie that, fortunately, the others had seen so turning that charge back. The psychological warfare went on as continually as the racial warfare but unrecognized as such.

Coming from the cocoon of the Navy I wasn’t aware of the changes taking place while I was away. They occurred at work as well as at school. In 1961 I was employed by the trucking firm P.I.E.- Pacific Inter-Mountain Express- since defunct. I had worked my way up to entry office job suffering fair humiliation in the process. One had to actually beg to get one. And entry level was as a mail boy. Once there an opening occurred at the Commission Agency Desk for which I applied and my mailroom supervisor as a favor allowed me to take the job with many admonitions to watch my step.

I had been at the desk for a few months when it was announced that we would be employing a Negro, we were all White to that point. The Negro had been recruited. He had no training or experience. He was to given a grade 4 pay rate. I was a 3 while 4s were rare.

I had been working full time while attending night school. As noted when I applied I had to beg my way into a mailboy job. As a boon I had been granted the grade 3 job at the Commission Agency Desk. Let us say that I had felt the whip on my back.

Now this unprepared Negro was being given for free a grade 4 as Affirmative Action which was a term not yet heard and management knew the guy wasn’t capable of doing the work. They proposed that I take the desk next to his which was also a grade 4 and do that work as well as his for him. Thus I would be doing two grade 4 jobs, and grade 4s were fairly complex, for the pay of one. I would have done it for a grade 5 but they were too cheap. They’d rather pay a Negro for nothing than add a dime an hour to my paycheck. C’est la vie.

The guy came to work but had no interest in learning to do his job. He soon drifted up to a cluster of desks handled by several attractive young girls where he spent his days romancing them. For some unknown reason he was soon gone. Perhaps he quit unable to endure the burden of having to be anyplace let alone at a consistent 8:30 in the morning.

Unable to endure such social injustice I quit. I had no further encounters with Negroes in either jobs or other educational institutions until the early seventies.

That doesn’t mean the Negro revolution didn’t continue to develop in the Bay Area as well as the curious White attitude toward Reconstruction.

In 1966 the rapist ‘with intent to murder,’ Eldridge Cleaver was released from prison due to the efforts of several Jewish women. He had served only eight years having been incarcerated in 1958. He was very far from reformed, that is, he was still in paramilitary mode.

Cleaver, as a Negro, was a vicious person. He said he developed his raping skills on the West side of East Thirteenth then crossed over to hunt the big game, White women. While rape may be a crime by White Man’s law as the Negro thought of it assaults against White people or their property were acts of war therefor laudable and not reprehensible. Only White thickness prevents their seeing the difference in point of view. Thus all Negroes can be seen as paramilitary troops.

While Cleaver’s crimes are heinous enough the attitude spread to Whites. Since 1954 and the criminal BOE decision there had been a steady deterioration of manners and attitudes toward crime among Whites. White criminals, or revolutionaries in their term, raised the slogan of expropriating the expropriators which led to wholesale theft and crimes of violence on an ideological basis.

The adoption of Negro manners by an increasing White minority led to the corruption of the entire White generation. One learned rudeness in self-defense. I altered my behavior in order to compete beginning in 1961. This was all the result of the Board Of Education decision. A well-meaning but ignorant folly.

The Negro attitudes were aided and abetted by Freudian psychology. The White ideal until the Second Reconstruction began, for that is what it is, was the notion self-control and consciousness, the abatement of violent or what Freud would call ‘instinctive’ behavior. He called the suppression of ‘instinctive’ behavior repression.

Freud thought repression was bad for the person and his health. He called for the indulgence of the unconscious or liberating the repressed. During the fifties and sixties the unconscious was increasingly indulged, the abandonment of repression, or more accurately self-control, was embraced while self-control was abandoned. The result was disastrous resulting among other things in the Me generation.

In 1966 then Cleaver was released while at the same time, perhaps not coincidentally, Huey Newton now six years older than when I met him in 1960, formed the Black Panthers. Rather than a new idea the Panthers was a logical development of previous years. In Chicago a paramilitary outfit called The Blackstone Rangers had been formed. Their crimes they, of course, thought of as military operations. Only White Man’s law called them crimes.

In addition a series of Negro insurgencies, styled riots by Whites, in which cities were severely damaged had taken place in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and of course the famous Watts explosion of LA in 1965. These insurgencies would be a continuing recurrence all through the sixties especially in the major eruptions of ’67 and ’68 which virtually engulfed the country much like he Tet offensive in Viet Nam. So, Huey’s Black Panthers were just the next logical step.

Cleaver on his release was set on creating his own paramilitary group but opted to join Newton and the Panthers. Newton was not so militant although he was convicted of murdering an Oakland policeman so that a rift developed between the two men. Cleaver did lead an insurgency in West Oakland that resulted in several deaths. The failure of the insurgency led to his famous flight to Algeria. It was then my path crossed with the Negroes once again.

At the time I was attending grad school at UOregon in Eugene where I had opened a record store as the ’66 to ’78 golden age of phonograph records, vinyl, was beginning to take off. Nineteen sixty-eight to seventy-four was a period of constant unbearable turmoil that had to negatively affect the national psyche.

The Hippie emerged in 1966. By 1967 I was one too. Although the Negroes were a privileged group the Hippies weren’t. Restrained in their activities with Negroes the cops turned their fury on we Hippies. All regards for rights and laws were thrown out the window. I fully sympathize with the Negro hatred of the police.

The Black Panthers engaged in all sorts of bogus community projects that were merely extortions and shakedowns. At the same time paramilitary operations continued. The biggest was the confrontation with authorities at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. This was a major battle with the authorities involving the Panthers, the Blackstone Rangers and others.

While slightly beyond the sixties paramilitary operations increased leading through drive by shootings in San Francisco to the Zebra assaults of ’72 and ’73. The stated intent of the Zebra operations was to activate the race war but the ever tolerant Whites refused to play the Negro game preferring to call the assaults ‘crimes’ according to White Man’s law and riots rather than battles according to the law of war.

Hell, even the 9/11 paramilitaries who leveled the Twin Towers killing 3000 or so people while devastating NYC were tried as criminals. Three thousand murders and tens of billions in damages were treated as a light crime.   What do you have to do? How thick can the authorities be?

Now, aiding the Negro revolutionaries were the acts of the Jews.

To back up a little bit and blend the Negro Revolution with the Jewish Revolution that was going on at the same time. In the Bay Area at UC Berkeley from 1964 to 1966 the Jews fomented the so-called Free Speech Movement. This was double speak for its opposite, the suppression of free speech, the subordination of the university to the Jews

By 1966 the Jews were in control of the university attempting to compel submission to their program. In some zany way they had convinced the mainly upper income White students that they were a privileged class without the merit of earning it. Essentially they claimed the Whites had stolen their places from equally qualified Negroes on the basis of their White skin. I and 60-70% of Whites had no illusions of benefitting from White Skin Privilege. We had worked damn hard to get where we were although it was still not anywhere from nowhere. Yet these absurd masochist upper income White students claimed to represent all White people. It was demanded of all we rest to sacrifice our wellbeing for the benefit of Negroes.

Huey Newton and his Panthers then stepped in to fill this vacuum of self-abnegation.

Now, Jewish women had done the heavy lifting to get the rapist with the intent to murder, Eldridge Cleaver, out of prison. Another very dedicated paramilitary Negro, George Jackson, was also raising hell in prison. Jewish women set to work to free him also. A hysterical female Jewish lawyer representing Jackson somehow even managed to fuck him through or around the barriers then went home and expected her husband to congratulate her.

Your brain spins when you read this stuff with the author relating his story in the same tone as: I went to the grocery store and bought a loaf of bread.

Jackson was smuggled some guns into San Quentin then in total rage tried to blast his way out of the prison. It should come as no surprise that he was killed in the shootout. Angela Davis, of the East Village, then organized the subsequent shootout in the Marin County court room that was truly an insurrectionary act.

While it was clear that Davis was as guilty as Bomber Billy Ayers of the Weather Underground she as he was able to boast ‘Guilty as hell, free as a bird.’ Quite clear that both had somebody watching over them.   Someone very, very powerful. Like Ayers she was rewarded with a PhD. He to go on to become a ‘distinguished professor’ at UIllinois while she has an honored position at California’s Red campus UC at Santa Cruz. She probably attended Panther human bar-b-ques out there in the woods. Huey was given his PhD at Santa Cruz also. There are some bennies for being Black.

Negroes have continued to receive favored treatment down to the present when Liberal Whites installed their pet Negro Barack Obama in the White House.

Also outside the scope of the Sixties a man of questionable intelligence, the singer Bob Dylan, put his queer shoulder to the wheel in 1976, the US Bi-Centenary, during his Rolling Thunder tour of the home of the American Revolution, New England. Perhaps Dylan thought he was leading the second American Revolution celebrating the takeover of the country by his Jews. As if to mock the Whites he played the tour in White Face, that is white grease paint.

Hurricane Carter was a Negro boxer who had been convicted of murder once and then a second time on his appeal. Dylan wrote a song called Hurricane Carter in an attempt to generate sympathy for the murderer and free him from prison. Perhaps this was a symbolic repetition of Lincoln freeing the slaves. We’ll probably never know but the song was the focal point of the tour. It did result in the freeing of Carter.

Dylan was rewarded for his courageous defense of Carter when the Negro Obama was elected president. One of his first acts was to summon Dylan and his fellow Red Joan Baez to Washington for a command performance for himself and Michele. Bob responded with his anthem Blowin’ In The Wind. A song that every flatulent person loves.

While I wasn’t aware of it at the time or, at least, didn’t view the situation as a race war, it is clear now that the government’s, by this time of Richard Nixon, duty was to suppress the Negro paramilitaries. Bear in mind that a time we had a race war at home and a foreign war in Viet Nam.

Coming to the Viet Namese’s aid in 1968 the Red Chinese had initiated a cultural invasion and war in the US inciting a type of Civil War. Things were getting pretty hot. To defeat the Negro insurgency a program called Cointelpro was formed. While this agency affected Whites not at all, I never heard of it ‘til years maybe decades later. The Jews defamed and belittled this US effort to quash the Negro revolt as ‘un-American.’   What would they know about it?

By 1970 the Negro, Jewish and Homosexual Revolutions had succeeded. The country was in deep turmoil, nearly anarchy, at home and abroad. Check out movies like Putney Swope, Midnight Cowboy,Death Wish, Dirty Harry, Cruising and a host of others.

While I have never admired Nixon, like Warren G. Harding in 1921 in his suppression of the Communist insurrection, Nixon was able to defuse the situation and return the country to a simulacrum of what Harding called ‘normalcy.’ This was no mean feat although Nixon under the guidance of the Jew Kissinger botched the job.

In 1923 Harding died a mysterious death. While there is no hard evidence as yet that he paid that price for defeating the Red takeover can it be coincidence that Nixon was driven from office for the same offence?

Part 3 broadens and returns to New York.








Conversations With Robin

Page 5

Conversations betwen R.E. Prindle and Robin Mark

Concerning certain musical questions.

     Who me?

     I was born in Dixie

     In a boomer’s shack

     Just a half mile from the railroad tracks

     My daddy was a Fireman

      And my mama dear

     She was the only daughter of an engineer.

     I’m one of those who had to flee the South to escape the degrading slave economy.  Off to bloody Kansas where we fought the Slavers to make K a free State.  Of course after the war I fled Kansas, as who wouldn’t, for greener pastures.  Did you ever wonder why Baum told Dorothy You’re not in Kansas anymore?  What a drag it would be growing old in Kansas.

     Of course, I always remember the Song Of The South and Uncle Remus with great fondness being a sentimental Alabaman.  The real Alabama exists only as a figment of the imagination while the prewar Alabama is the dream.  The South shall rise again and trample the Puritan bastards.  You can feel it happening.

Nazis?  There never have been any American Nazis except in the imaginations of Communists or Jews.  In the twenties Communist became a dirty word but they had no counter name until the Fascists arose in reaction to the Commie finks.  Then in the late twenties, early thirties the Commies were able to polarize American society by calling former  ‘Red baiters’ Fascists.

     Calling Americans Nazis is a Jewish thing that arose in the late fifties and early sixties when Jews wanted to stigmatize persons they found objectionable.  Nobody in their right mind pays attention to this Jewish-Commie garbage.  Sorry to have so say this to you because I know how sensiteeve you are to Jewish criminations.

     But, if you will be archaic, a religious anachronism, there’s little that can be done about it.  Always best to be scientific and discard the useless past.

     What’s happening with Expecting Rain?  I checked the message boards but couldn’t find anything.  I’m not signed in.  Did you?

     Just remember one takes invective lightly.  I apparently blew them out with the Warhol thing but that’s an expected reaction.  Guilty of it myself when someone hits me with something new that turns out to be true no matter how preposterous sounding.  Give ’em time to digest and come around.  They will, they have to because I gave them some accurate history.

     As far as the UofO I know I’m guilty of heresy but Toynbee is a great master of history, per se, interpretation is something else.  By the way A Study Of History is not ‘a book’.  It’s a massive twelve volume, six thousand page masterwork.  I didn’t just pick up a few facts but in depth studies of what Toynbee considers civilizations, all the way from the Eskimos to the Chinese and all stops between over 10,000 years of history.  It’s an amazing product of one human mind.  Better than 3000 mikes of LSD for expanding the mind.  Hits about that hard too.

     The problem with Cal State was that as ex-high school teachers the ‘profs’ were used to dealing with immature sixteen year old minds.  By the time I got there I’d been in the service for three years, in the work place for four.  So, you know, a certain amount of incompatibility.  In other words, I had the abrasive personality they thought,  not them.  Besides I was pretty tightly wound back then.  Same way today, I see no reason to talk to anyone who sleepwalks.

     Another interesting story is that after Kennedy was shot, being in an ‘intellectual’ atmosphere I was going around saying that Robert was up next basing my opinion on the Gracchi of ancient Rome.  I don’t suppose any of those Bozos had ever heard of the Gracchi.  Anyway they turned me into the FBI and the next thing you know I’m talking to three- one, two, three- Agents.  Wanted to know how I knew about it like maybe I was one of a team of assassins.  I don’t think they’d ever heard of the Gracchi either.  Seemed kind of disappointed after my historical lecture.  Didn’t have to be so insulting though.  They called me I didn’t call them.

Second entry 3/07/10

OK Robin, I’m going to talk about Albert Goldman now and I don’t want you to come unglued.   The guy does seem to have some interesting facts, if they can be relied on.  What do you have on Parker’s setting Elvis up with the draft board?

     And then, Larry Geller.  Elvis’ regular hair dresser Overbite or Orifice or whatever can’t keep his appointment; Geller is sent over from Jay Sebring’s salon.  Sebring is Streisand’s hair dresser.  Are we making any connections yet?  Could Streisand have wanted to sack Elvis but not know how to go about it.  Too much of a condescension for her?  Did she want to corrupt him?  Anyway substituting Geller for Orifice is an obvious power play.  Sebring just told Orifice to take a hike, he was out.

     Why Geller?  He’s an esoteric who captures Presley’s mind with what an ignorant Goldman thinks is rubbish.  So Goldman, Streisand, Geller are Jews.  Sebring probably although I’ve never considered him.  So, whether you like it or not the Jew-Goy thing is operating.

     Now, Goldman constantly denigrates hillbillies, rednecks, Southern people  and the South in general.  Very irritating to an old hillbilly like me, dare I say Goldman is a bigot?  Let us then conclude that Goldman represents the attitude of at least the Hollywood Jews.  So, Geller is there to play with Elvis’ mind.  Take over, take charge.  I’ve been through this myself.

     According to Goldman Geller introduced Elvis to 24 esoteric titles among ‘hundreds’ of others that Elvis is said to have read while reading many of the 24 two or more times and making a 25th title The Impersonal Life his Bible.

     As it is I’ve read many of the 24, in fact, I’ve read nearly everything Goldman implies he had read implying he is one hell of an informed guy.   I’ve read the Golden Bough twice, all twelve volumes or whatever and some of those three times so  it may be said that I can walk in Goldman’s path.  I know what’s being said here.  Generally speaking this is a very good list of esoterica, classic but good.  Unlike the nut Goldman who doesn’t believe the Gnosis is religion, I know it is, but it is religion and you know my views on religion.  The Gnostics were a part of history and thus cannot be dismissed or ignored.  I find it hard to believe a hard partyer like Elvis had the patience to plow through Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine by Madame B.  Each is 1500 large pages long and requires a historical background to put it in perspective.  Elvis couldn’t possibly have had that, nor did Geller.

     The Urantia Book is a massive, large page 2500 page mind scorcher than can double as science fiction. It is a really interesting scientific/religious volume but once again it requires real concentration and then some, but a real mind boggler.  Drugs and partying?  Well, we’re all different but such a reading regimen seems a stretch.

     And then the list contains some wonderful stuff by Manly Hall and his Philosophical Research Society.  You’re down there so you could drop into their book store and library.  Hall is a good writer and is as well versed as any in esoterica.  Short books, no problem for Elvis.

     Max Heindel is not so smooth but his Rosicrucian Society is terrific.  The Cosmo-Conception is worth reading and even think about.  His outfit is still down in Oceanside by San Diego is you want to drop in on them.  It would be worth it.  I’ll have to check out a couple items on the list like The Sacred Science Of Numbers.  Numerology is an important historical study.

     Over all a fine list of esoterica but I can’t believe Elvis actually read it all plus hundreds of others.  About the time Geller came into his life he was down to ten years or less remaining.  I can’t even believe that Geller had command of this stuff.  He couldn’t have been that old while at 50 pages a day some of these books take a couple months to read.   Seems like Geller was being provided titles by an organization like the ADL where scholars have organized all this stuff.  It’s just to unreal to believe Geller had even heard of all these titles, most of which are really obscure.

     I have to believe that something is wrong here.  Goldman is either just showing off his knowledge or he’s flat out lieing.

     Since this stuff is anathema to his Jewish sensibilities, the reason he objects is that the  books give no precedence, no pride of place to Judaism, in fact, tacitly dismiss Judaism, Goldman is probably putting Elvis down although inadvertantly paying him one hell of a compliment.  If Elvis could get through the Urantia Book he is one hell of a guy which is an inadvertant compliment to myself because I have.

     Anyway The Swami  chapter was very interesting.  Applying your Elvis erudition what do you think?



If Pigs Had Wings

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Three Trips West


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

     During the years 1911 to 1919 ERB visited Southern California three times, once in 1913, again in 1916 and his final visit in 1919 when he established himself there.  The question is why, what motivation did he have for those visits.

     After 1911 life began to move very fast for ERB in dizzying leaps of change while all the time his mind disgorged a lifetime’s worth of stories based on his reading and experience from 1875 to 1911.

     One of the most important influences of this early period was the OZ books of L. Frank Baum.  The whole Mars series of Burroughs can be seen as the transportation of OZ to Mars as filtered through Burroughs’ mind.  John Carter can easily be seen as the Wizard while Dejah Thoris is perhaps Ozma rather than Dorothy.

     Baum while not a native Chicagoan lived in that city at least through the nineties.  In 1900 he began to turn out his OZ stories that so impressed ERB.  Then he moved to San Diego, California which city he left for Hollywood in 1910.  At that time Hollywood was just a town on the outskirts of LA.  The movies didn’t arrive until 1914 so the films had no bearing on Baum’s choice to live there or ERB’s visit.  I believe that one purpose of ERB’s visit was to present himself to Baum with his own stories as an entree.  There is hard evidence that at this time ERB made a trip to LA to see Baum and I believe it certain that he did.

     Now, it is debated whether Burroughs ever had any interest in Theosophy.  David Adams, so far as I know was the first to suggest he did.  Once again we’re on thin ice in saying that he learned something of it most likely during this visit but the ice isn’t all that thin.

     Baum himself had been a card carrying Theosophist since about 1883, his mother-in-law much longer.  there are those who argue that the OZ stories are virtual treatises on Theosophy.  They make a good case.  It follows then that Burroughs must have imbibed a good deal of Theosophical talk from Baum, including discussion on Madame Blavatsky if not beginning in 1913 then at least in 1916 when we do have a record of his visiting  Baum.

     In San Diego in 1913 ERB first stayed in Coronado across the Bay from San Diego.  Across the narrows from North Island just above Coronado is Point Loma.  The Point Loma Theosophical Society under the guidance of Katherine Tingley had a spectacular campus reminiscent of the Columbian Exposition of ’93 in miniature.  Tingley built the first Greek Theater in America there.  I should think it impossible that ERB and Emma didn’t visit the campus at least once.  With ERB’s curiosity in religion I think it probable that he spent some time there familiarizing himself with their texts in emulation of his own hero, Baum.

     Also by 1913 Max Heindel’s Rosicrucian Society had been in operation for several years in Oceanside just a skip from Point Loma.  I can make no claims that ERB also took Rosicrucianism in but a man of his interests may easily have done so.

     Baum was one reason for Burroughs to visit San Diego in 1913 which was also his earliest opportunity.

     ERB’s mental turmoil in dealing with success was exacerbated in the first quarter of the year by the death of his father.  I’m sure this event had a terrific impact on ERB.  His was a difficult relationship with his father.  While ERB regretted his father’s death I suspect he rejoiced in it too.

     According to Herb Weston, George T., the father, humiliated his son by publicly declaring that he was worthless.  Thus on the one hand ERB created an ideal father figure in John Carter, but way off on Mars.  He also created an evil fatgher figure in the deaf and dumb looney who tortured the Lad of Lad And The Lion.  that book was written over March and April of 1914 almost exactly a year after his father’s death.

     Perhaps his father’s death caused a reaction where he had to get far away from the memory of that hateful father.  After writing The Lad And The Lion on the anniversary of his father’s death, as it were, he was able to return to Chicago.

     Another reason for his leaving for San Diego may have been the need to rectify and reverse the disastrous trip with Emma to Idaho in 1903.  In that instance they packed their furniture and all their belongings to go West.  The trip to Idaho may have been in emulation of  Owen Wister’s Virginian in which the Virginian and his wife lead an idyllic existence away out there.  The experiement ended in disaster a year later when after serving as a railroad dick in Salt Lake City while trying to run a boarding house  the couple was forced to sell their belongings at auction although returning to Chicago first class.

     The failure nearly disrupted the marriage while apparently causing ERB no end of personal grief.  As he did in his stories ERB believed that by reversing the results by a subsequent action he erased the actual occurrence of the first.  Thus in 1913 once again the family now of five packed all their belongings including their second hand car and traveled first class to Los Angeles as the only rail service into San Diego was from LA.  It should be noted here that the IWW or Wobblies invaded San Diego in 1913 so ERB was probably present at that debacle which is worth reading about.

     After some months in San Diego the couple once again sold all their belongings including the second hand car before returning to Chicago.  This time ERB could return in comfort knowing that he was solvent in Chicago. On his return he bought the same car, a Hudson, that his hero Baum drove.

     Still, a very strange interlude.

     Once back in Chicago ERB remained there in what sounds like one the finer houses of  the city for two years until 1916 when he returned a second time to San Diego.

     Tremendous events occurred between his arrival back in Chicago and his second departure for San Diego.  Of course, the Great War broke out shortly after his return.  I don’t mean to say that the war didn’t overshadow everything else but I don’t think it over shadowed everything else in ERB’s mind.

     There were at least two other events of signal importance for Burroughs not including the Jack Johnson Affair.  These were busy times.  The first was the creation of the Panama Canal that was completed in 1913, opened in 1914.  The canal overwhelmed ERB’s mind.  A few years later he and Emma would voyage through the canal, the only trip outside the US with Emma of which we have knowledge.

     The second was the announcement of the construction of the Lincoln Highway from NYC to San Francisco.  The highway was dedicated in 1913 but would not become a reality until long after ERB decided to make the trip in 1916.


     In 1912 there were almost no good roads to speak of in the United States.  Tje relatively few miles of improved roads were around towns and cities.  A road was “improved” if it was graded; one was lucky to have gravel or brick.  Asphalt and concrete were yet to come.  Most of the 2.5 million miles of road were just dirt, bumpy and dusty in dry weather, impassible in wet weather.  Worse yet, the roads didn’t really lead anywhere.  They spread out aimlessly from the center of the settlement.  To get from one settlement to another, it was much easier to take the train.

     According to the Association’s 1916 Official Road Guide a trip from the Atlantic to the pacific on the Lincoln Highway was “something of a sporting proposition” and might take 20 to 30 days.  To make it in 30 days the motorist would need to average 18 miles an hour for 6 hours per day, and driving was only done in daylight hours.  the trip was thought to cost no more than $5 a day per person, including food, gas, oil, and even “five or six meals in htoels.” Car repairs would of course, increase the costs.

     Since gasoline stations were still rare in manyparts of the country, motorists were urged to top off their gasoline at every opportunity, even if they had done so recently.  Motorists should wade through water before driving through to verify the depth.

     So ERB;s little caravan seems to have been a wise precaution.  J.C. Furnas in his book Great Times says that 60 days for the trip was a more likely figure so ERB wasn’t  too out of line in what seems like an overlong journey.  Furnas born in 1906 probably remembers something of the hoopla first hand.  He remembers the route terminating in San Diego which was where ERB ended up at any rate.

     The trip was obviously a first rate adventure for which ERB was prepared but which he didn’t care  to repeat.  Of course his children who were free of cares enjoyed things immensely.

     An object influencing ERB’s decision to make the trip was the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in San Diego in 1916.  The opening of the Panama Canal benefited California directly.  The route whether from the East Coast or Europe was shortened immensely.  Thus both San Francisco and San Diego had exhibitions.  the one in San Francisco ended in 1915 so many of those exhibits shifted to San Diego.  One can’t expect the San Diego Expo to rival that of the great Columbian Expo of 1893 but I suppose it was still something.   There was one exhibit that probably had a profound effect on ERB’s future.  Furnas, Great Times, p. 186:

The also highly California purpose of the whole doings was candidly to promote settlement and land sales in this relatively undeveloped corner, as the most original feature was what the advertising called “moving, throbbing, real life” demonstrations.  That instead of just showing the latest farm machinery in an Agricultural Hall, here was an impressively extensive model farm with the machines actuallyout there plowing, cultivating, ditching.  For the other kind of farmer, here was a model five acres to show what irrigations could do to intensive cultivation-orchards of walnuts and four different fruits with all kinds of garden truck flourishing between the rows of trees and a model farm family inhabiting a model California bungalow with such fancy modern gadgets as an automatic electric pump and a vacuum cleaner.

     Sounds like it might have given ERB ideas that came to fruition three years later.

     We know for sure that ERB made the trip in 1916 to Hollywood to visit L. Frank Baum.  Baum called his residence Ozcot after his famous wonderland.  I’m sure ERB was very impressed so that it comes as little surprise that he named the estate he bought in 1919 Tarzana.

     A question I would dearly like answered is did ERB make a trip to San Francisco in either 1913 or 1916?  San Francisco appears in a few novels from The Mucker to Marcia Of The Doorstep always with negative connotations.  It would be nice to know what if anything happened to sour ERB on Baghdad By The Bay.  It will be remembered that Billy Byrne was shanghaied from San Francisco in 1913’s The Mucker when ERB was already in California.

     At any rate the family returned to Chicago to spend a year or two before they made the final move to California in 1919.  In 1917 the US entered the war.  ERB had earlier tried to enter the fray as a war correspondent but was refused.  Now he found a place in the Illinois National Guard as a Major.  He stands so proudly in his uniform, an officer finally after all those years.

     The war brought out an aspect of his character that may have caused him harm hastening his departure from Chicago.

     ERB was acutely aware of having a split personality or, as he put it being two different people a la Jekyll and Hyde.  While one finds a reflection of a deep thinking man in his novels many of his actions reveal a very gauche side to his character.  I have read very few of his public pronouncements that show him in a truly positive light.

     The writing of his anti-German story The Little Door which was presented with little approval from his publishers being rejected by all.  The amazingly prescient Beyond Thirty was also coldly received.  Even his published writing found tough sledding from time to time.  It seems that both Metcalf and Bob Davis of Munsey’s had mixed feelings about him.  The manner in which Davis writes to him I find fairly insulting.  Of course, as time went on publishers wanted only Tarzan stories from him accepting anything else only grudgingly or even, in two notable cases rejecting the stories outright.  Nor was ERB ever accepted by the Chicago literary establishment.  Chicago in the teens had a vibrant literary scene to which ERB rightfully belonged yet the only literary club he was able to join was the White Paper Club that any scribbler or wannabe could join.  There was something in the character of ERB that obviouslyput people off.

     Porges, in discussing ERB’s wartime activities is openly ambivalent about this.  Porges describes some of his actions as ‘interperate.’  Something I wish he hadn’t done at the this period that I think was inconsiderate was, as Porges says, p. 288:

     In this and other articles Ed revealed how he had been influenced by the wave of public suspicion directed at German-Americans.  He admitted that his methods for selling Liberty Bonds may not have been ethical:  “We went out in selected groups decked out in all the panoply of war and armed with a bunch of yellow cards each of which bore the name of some suspected German sympathizer… He endorsed this as a way to “spear a Hun right here at home.”  (Italics mine)

     Only suspected.  That’s something I wish a hero of mine hadn’t done.  while no one probably said anything to him in wartime I suspect there were repercussions after the Armistice.  Many people who hadn’t before probably looked at him askance.  His wartime actions were too at variance with his more thoughtful writings.  Of course, so far I’m about the only critic who perceives the deep reflection in his stories.  Most people then probably thought his novels were pure balderdash.  Still he was a best selling author whose main creation had become a household word within six years or less and has since become one of the best known literary characters in the world.

     Nevertheless not too long after the Armistice ERB upped stakes making his third and final trip West.  His send off by his Chicago clubmates at the White Paper Club was less than sterling to my mind.  The cover of the menu showed a pig with wings flying West.

     This was ostensibly in reference to his statement that he was going West to be a hog farmer.  Still the phrase ‘when pigs have wings’ is usually a negative reference.  I can’t escape the notion that there was an element of ‘good riddance’ in his farewell party.

     Regardless of how ambiguous his position in Chicago had been he left the Chicago phase of his career behind in January of 1919.  It was a new world in the morning when he arrived in LA.  But strangely it soon took a Chicago turn.  Tarzana awaited him


Exhuming Bob 15:

Dylan’s Jesus Years Reexamined


R.E. Prindle

     Stephen Hazan Arnoff has broached an interesting possiblity in his Jewish Forward article cited above.  He implies that Dylan is a ‘messianic’ Jew in conspiracy with Mitch Glaser and Al Kasha of Jews For Jesus to promote Jesusism as a sect within the Jewish faith.  I think there is some evidence to support this contention.

     First let us review the nature of Jesus and relationship to the Judaic faith at the transition from the Arien to the Piscean Age.  So far as I know there are no authentic third party references to the Jesus hubbub in Israel.  Whatever happened in Israel regarding Jesus was beneath the notice of the outside world.  Thus the only accounts we have of the historical Jesus are the accounts of the various gospels.  These while hagiographic appear to be eyewitness accounts.

     Jesus opposed himself to the Pharasaic establishment.  Because of this the Sanhedrin had the Romans arrest and execute him.  Yes, I know the Jewish version imposed on the world denies this fact as reported by the eyewitnesses but as the story becomes meaningless outside the context I’m going to stick to the ‘official’ story.

     With Jesus removed from the scene the Jesus sect within Judaism flourished nevertheless.  The Pharasaic establishment persecuted the Jesusites onto death.  Often referred to as Jewish Christians this is a misnomer.  The Jesusites didn’t become Christians until after Paul combined Jesusism with the Greek Kyrios Christos cult and the ‘savior’ became Jesus the Christ combining Greek and Jewish influences.  That is, he was the Messiah, the Mahdi, the Awaited One.

     Jesus the Christ then expanded out of Judaism and the very last in Judaism became the first in the world.  The Jews because of the Jewish heretic, Jesus, then made Christians their enemies both within and without the faith.  One might compare Jesus to Judaism as Luther to Catholicism.

     The Jesus sect has always existed within Judaism.  Then sometime in the seventies of the last century Mitch Glaser and Al Kasha formed the sect Jews For Jesus and began to proselytize.  Initially Glaser was in San Francisco and Kasha was in LA where Dylan ran into him.


     Now, the question of Dylan’s interest in Jesus arises.  Dylan, I believe, has the emotional problem where he must be in rebellion against whatever.  Whatya got? As Marlon Brando intoned. Also the movie Rebel Without A Cause was Dylan’s favorite.  Thus, while he was indoctrinated by Rebbe Reuben Meier, a Lubavitcher, which is to say Ultra-Orthodox and reared by a father and mother of the same persuasion he was in rebellion against those authorities.  There can be no question that Dylan was reared as a Jew of the Jews and accepted the role.  When Jews For Jesus came into existence Dylan may have found the vehicle for his rebellion against his Orthodox upbringing.  Nothing could be more rebellious to the Orthodox Lubavitchers than turning to the arch Jewish heritic, Jesus of Nazareth.  Forget this Christian stuff; Dylan was never a sincere Christian.  As a Jew of the Jews there was no way he could have been.

     Now, it appears that he took up with Al Kasha in LA before he turned up at the Vineyard Fellowship.  Dylan was very close to Kasha not only living in his house, old habits are hard to break, but he was given a key to it.  He composed many of his religious songs on Kasha’s piano.  There is no flirtation with Christianity here.

     There must therefore be an ulterior motive in his exploitation of the Vineyard Fellowship.

     Let’s follow the sequence of events.


     Having written and recorded Slow Train Coming Dylan the decided to introduce his new persona and songs in the city of San Francisco.  Why SF?  Los Angeles has the largest concentration of Jews in any one city in the world.  Why not there?  Perhaps because SF also with a very large Jewish population was the Rock mecca of the world.

     Now, an interesting thing happens.  Dylan already has a close association with Jews For Jesus.  Having been a house guest of Kasha while udoubtedly becoming a convert to Jews For Jesus it seems improbable that Mitch Glaser hadn’t also spent some time with Dylan at Kasha’s place in LA.  What could be more natural?

     Well, gosh, now we go through a charade where Jews For jesus ask if they could proselytize outside the Warwick burlesque house where Dylan was playing.  No answer.  Then someone ostensibly from Dylan’s organization calls and says Dylan’s amenable.  Well, Glaser’s no fool, he and the other Js for J  get their heads together and determine to ask for passes as proof.  If those are at the window they’ll know Dylan is sincere.

     What’s going on here?  Obviously this had been planned for months.  Dylan is a Jew For Jesus, he knew Glaser pretty well.  So why the mysterioso act?  Possibly because Dylan wanted to dupe the real Christians, however many of these might have attended his shows, while allowing the Js for J intruders access to any obvious Jews attending for proselytization purposes.  Dylan had a very large following amongst the Jews so a very large proportion of the audience would be Jews.  Sort of making it easy for them to crack that hard nut.

     As Arnoff says of the Js for J:

     (The Jews For Jesus were) almost universally regarded by non-messianic Jews as being beyond the margins of organized Jewish life.

     Hence they are outside the Law of the Talmud.  Thus we have the meaning of Arnoff’s title: Jesus, Bob: To Live Outside The Law You Must Be Honest.  Dylan was now both outside the Law and dishonest in Arnoff’s mind at least.  A marked man.

     However, confusion here, not long after:

     Dylan submitted fully to the Law that provides a singular answer to plow through the doubt, paradox, hurt and unbelief…

     What more do you need?  By that Arnoff means that Dylan submitted to a course in re-indoctrination from Orthodix Lubavitcher Rebbes.  If you believe that there’s a bridge that isn’t too far called Brooklyn with your name on it:  Fool.  Arnoff should think this through twice.  It’s not alright.

     The Beatles were bigger than Jesus and Bob Dylan undoubtedly thinks he’s bigger than Judaism.  At least as a Messiah in the Jesus mold.


     So, Joel Gilbert went to a lot of trouble and expense to produce his four hour movie:  Rolling Thunder And The Gospel Years.  Note: Gospel Years rather than Christian years.  In the hopes of spreading his message and failing that, getting his money back Gilbert has separated The Gospel Years from Rolling Thunder and renamed it Inside Bob Dylan’s Jesus years: Busy Being Born…Again!  Still no mention of Christianity.

     Arnoff is nearly beside himself that anyone would promote such a film.  Of course as Dylan said in his song Motorcycle Nightmare:  If it hadn’t been for freedom of speech I would have wound up in the swamp.  Thank G-d for small favors hey?  I don’t know why it isn’t proper to spell God out since he doesn’t exist but that’s the way these people do it, so me too.  But hang on tight.  Arnoff:

     Gilbert’s mere desire may have been to find an audience for his work, but placement of the event by Glaser’s group, as well as messianic Congregation (Jews For jesus) Sha’ar Adonai at The Society For Ethical Culture- founded as a nonsectarian movement by the humanist Jew Felix Adler- added an element of irony to the insult of a messianic soft sell throughout.

     Imagine a nonsectarian humanist Jews of you will.  A contradiction in terms if I’ve ever seen one.  Mr. Arnoff somehow sees himself as nonsectarian while being aghast at the idea of outlaw messianic Jews being allowed to use this ‘nonsectarian’ facility.  As he says the insult of a messianic soft sell.  Freedom of speech.  Right.

     So, what about it?  Was Dylan brought back within the Law as Mr. Arnoff says or is he still a messianic Jewish outlaw?

Well…he may look like Robert Ford

But he feels just like Jesse James.

Addendum:  As a sort of addendum Dylan’s words at the election night bash at U. Minnesota should be looked at more closely.

Now, I was born in 1941.  That was the year they bombed Pearl Harbor.  I’ve been living in a world of darkness ever since.  But it looks like things are going to change now.

     What can that mean?  The first two sentences set the scene for the last two.

     ‘I’ve been living in darkness ever since (I was born in 1941.)  Does that mean that Dylan thinks Pearl Harbor made the world dark for everyone or does it just mean that Dylan has been denied the light personally ever since the day he was born?

     Such a state of things would seem impossible.  Born on 5/24/41, Pearl Harbor was bombed on 12/7/41.  So Dylan wouldn’t have been aware of that until say 1946 or 1947-48.  So, the bombing of Pearl Harbor is related to the bombing or darkening of Dylan’s psyche. He believes himself mentally affected since birth.

     ‘But it looks like things are going to change now.’  Alright.  The change or lifting of his personal darkness is related to Barry Obama.  Dylan’s too realistic to believe any politician is going to change anything, so what does he have to look forward to to brighten his outlook?

     In his vanity he considers himself a ‘great’ poet.  Indeed Christopher Ricks compares him to Shakespeare and Milton.  Dylan introduces himself at his concerts as ‘The Poet-Laureate of Rock And Roll.  (Snicker, snicker.)

     In Chronicles Vol. I in his discussion of the Poet Laureate of the United States he seems to show some interest in succeeding Archibald McLeish in that role.

     The idea had already occurred to me that it might happen but I read on the web recently a suggestion that Barry make Dylan the Poet Laureate of the United States.  It would cheapen the title but perhaps the deal was a Poet Laureateship for an Endorsement.  Cheap enough for Barry while the appointment would apparently lift Dylan’s inspissated gloom.

     Ain’t life too strange for words?



A Review

The Low Brow And The High Brow

And In Depth Study Of The Edgar Rice Burroughs Novels

The Mucker And Marcia Of The Doorstep


R.E. Prindle


Part One


     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



Picturing Greil Marcus

July 20, 2008


Picturing Greil Marcus


R.E. Prindle

What polluted wretches would the next glance show…

Greil Marcus

…using the novel technique of occupying one building, and then, when the police arrived, filing out, only to seize another building, and then another, and another- Berkeley radicals called on their fellows to “Do a Columbia”; not for any reason, not in the face of any injustice or insult, but for the lack of anything better to do.

Greil Marcus

Greil looks down his nose at us.

Greil looks down his nose at us.


     Greil Marcus is among us like some IT that came from outer space or conversely like some Creature From The Black Lagoon arising all dripping and encrusted with slime, like some Blob.  And what does he want from us?

     The fellow can’t genuinely be that unhappy.  He was raised by a multi-millionaire San Francisco attorney by the name of Gerald Marcus.  There are some conflicts in Gerald Marcus’ history.  He made big money form ‘good’ causes thereby attaining a certain smugness as a defender of the downtrodden.  Mr. Marcus made his millions representing various farm unions thereby combining greed with ‘benevolence.’

     Using his magnificent income he provided young Greil with what now must be a multi-million dollar home next to Atherton on the Peninsula, one of the most prestigious locations in California if not top of the list.  Upon graduation from high school Greil had a ready made admittance to UC- Berkeley thanks to his father’s prominence in the Boalt Law School of that insitution.

     Thus at the age of twenty-one or twenty-two young Greil stepped out into the world armed cap-a-pie to begin the battle of life.  No deprivation there; who could ask for more?  Indeed, many of us would have settled for less and thought we were doing well.

     Indeed, Amerikka, as Greil has spelled it, showed the fairest of faces to our young hero.  He didn’t even have to get a paying job; he could continue to play supported, one assumes, by his step-daddy’s millions.  Greil went across the big Bay Bridge to San Francisco and took a play job at Rolling Stone Magazine that started up about the time he graduated.  It wasn’t a job that paid a living wage but then Greil had time.  He bummed around Rock journalism for several years building a reputation that the over the years blossomed into what it is now.

The Old Warrior As The Shadows Deepen

The Old Warrior As The Shadows Deepen

     The feast of Amerikka had been spread before him; young Greil had grabbed a plate, knife and fork, and dug in.  Young Greil sat down with a plate heaped with good things before him and began a bitch with every bite.  What he found wasn’t good.  To young Greil the feast was a product of corruption.  He, like his step-father, could accommodate himself to it though as the pay was good.  Greil got himself a fine house in a prime location in Berkeley above the university that many would kill for.  I’m not saying that Greil didn’t.  He didn’t stop bitching though.  Indeed, ‘what polluted wretches would his next glance show…’

     Everywhere he looked his glance fell on pollution, on wretches in the horror of the ‘air conditioned nightmare’ as Henry Miller expressed it.  The air conditioned nightmare!  Let that concept roll around your mind for a while.  Ninety-five degrees in the shade, 100% humidity outside and you’re living in an air conditioned nightmare.  Interesting.  Where I grew up when the heat and humidity hit one ran for the movie theatres with ‘refrigerated air.’  It was refrigerated too.  Go in like melted butter and come out a solid brick.  I didn’t hear anyone complaining about a ‘nightmare’ though.  But then what is is how you perceive it.  And how did Greil perceive it?

     He sought out all the more horrid representations of the most horrid and perverse literature and movies he could find and called it ‘normal.’  He concentrates on this Twin Peaks of David Lynch and its spin off movie Fire Walk With Me.  He even dwells on a novel based on the movie by Lynch’s daughter as though it were serious literature; as though the perversion of the movie and book was the accepted norm.  As though the depression of Lynch was rational vision.

     Indeed, a very deep psychological depression seems to characaterize Greil’s writing.  As Dylan put it, he tries to get you into the hole he’s in.  There is certainly no climbing out of the hole Greil is in.  The more he writes the deeper the hole gets.  Worse still he seems to have no reason for his depression.  He ‘Does the Columbia’ on us not because of any injustice we’ve done him or any insult we’ve offered him but ‘for a lack of anything better to do.’  The man is not to be taken seriously.

     Oh, he does have a deep psychological grievance but it doesn’t have anything to do with us.  It seems that his mother only knew his father a couple days or weeks before his father shipped out during the war and died in that great holocaust.  Greil never knew his father thus causing him to wonder what might have been and throwing him into a deep funk.The Fully Clothed Maja

Over the decades this sense of anomie preyed on his mind.  Gradually he developed a hatred of the Amerikka that had ‘murdered’ his father so senselessly.  He conceived the notion that that the Captain of his father’s ship was an incompetent who had purposely been placed over his father to cause his death.  He developed the notion of the heroism of his father based on nothing but his wishes.  And then one day he learned that a television production about his father’s squadron had been made depicting the manner in which his father’s ship sank.  Terrible storm, huge typhoon.  Under wartime conditions when the ship was improperly ballasted for such a monster the top heavy ship rolled.  The whole fleet suffered terribly.  In those days they didn’t have satellite weather reports that gave advance warning of what was coming.  Weather was weather in those days.  Look out.  Keep your head down.

     So misconstruing the whole situation against the Beast Greil bore a grudge against Amerikka.  I don’t know if that’s the whole reason for his grudge but that form its basis.

     I suppose it’s terrible to lose your biologic father at sea.  I lost mine when three when he and my mother divorced.  I haven’t ever really regretted it though.  People are different but it didn’t bother me.  It would have bothered me even less if someone like Gerald Marcus came along and married my mom.  I might even have considered that a blessing.  I got a real clinker for a step-father.  I’ve got a reason for depression.  Could easily have done without him.  Should have stayed an orphan.

     But rather than try to dig his way out of his hole, Greil dug in deeper.  He wrote weird stuff like Weird Old America, left out the double K so as not to limit the size of his readership.  I can’t tell you what Greil was thinking.  He freehandedly insulted a whole group of people who had little reason to regret their pasts.  I mean, Grandpappy lived in those Kentucky hills where Dock Boggs lived.  That’s my ancestry Greil’s talking about.  And Greil says we were all…well, I don’t know exactly what we all were in his mind but it isn’t good.  I mean, compared to what?  What is Greil comparing us to in which the comparison is so unfavorable?  Himself?  I look around me and I don’t see any people or thing much better.  I’ve been around too.  This Lynch guy and his portrait of ‘smalltown’ Amerikka isn’t all that familiar to me.  I grew up in that environment.  Sure there were nasty things going on but that’s just the way people are.  Small and nasty most of the time.  But they had and have their ideals too.  Those people created a town that was a lot nice than the Twin Peaks Lynch portrays.

Let me see.

Let me see.

     Of course, I haven’t seen what Lynch portrayed because I never saw the show that apparently wasn’t all that popular because it didn’t get that far.  Greil himself says that movie was so horrible that everyone ignored it but him.  He makes it sound so terrible that I have no reason to check it out.

     But Greil revels in that corruption.  Rolls around in it, enjoys it.  He almost shouts for joy that a major slut is elected home coming queen.  He loves it that her father is doing her and then kills her.  That’s how I read it anyway.  So, maybe Greil should do something about his depression.

     I mean, Freud lived and died a hundred years ago; his legacy lives on practiced by a legion of psycho-analysts.  Why not check one out.  Why not step back and look a the life he’s leading.  Running around making people feel bad with his book of murder ballads.

     We all know that stuff goes on.  There are unbalanced men and women out there who do terrible things.  But there are a lot more who are better balanced and don’t do those things.  There are lots of people who work hard to make the world a better place, to make their immediate vicinity a better environment.  There are people who create beautiful gardens and wonderful parks.  There is pleasure and joy in this life.  It’s a struggle to get it but it’s worth struggling for.  Greil should open his eyes and keep some kind of perspective on pollution and cleanliness.

     I can’t imagine someone getting up and delivering the  commencement address that Greil delivered at UC in 2006.  He opens with a positive reference to a perverted Mafia figure who goes to some kind of pervert heaven in New Hampshire, wakes up in the moring to find that the whole world has gone pervert.  Greil calls this the American Dream.   They talk perversion over breakfast.  As Greil wants us to believe, they are free and this is the freedom that Amerikka is supposed to represent before the Weird Old Americans got in the way. 

      I don’t know, Greil, get a life and then get some help. Life doesn’t have to be as weird as all that.

The Profile

The Profile

Greil Marcus In The Threepenny Review

Part II

Greil Marcus At Sea


     When in doubt consult the internet.  It would seem that the USS Hull along with the Monaghan and Spence is a celebrated episode in Naval history.

     A history of the movements of the Hull during the war is to be found on Wikipedia.  There have been several Hulls.  The one is question is DD 350.  Fox News appears to replicate whatever Mr. Marcus saw on TV.  That site may be found at HTTP://

     These sites provide us with dates to deal with.  The Hull went down on December 18, 1944.  Therefore Mr. Marcus was born on June 19, 1945 or possibly July 19.

     The Hull was active during the entire war having a very distinguished record.  On August 25, 1944 it entered Puget Sound for repairs.  Although the biography says Seattle, I suppose that means the Bremeton Naval Yards on the West side of the Sound opposite Seattle.

     Depending on whether Greil Gerstley had been with the Hull several years or only recently he obtained a much needed leave heading for the flesh pots of San Francisco.  The leave was probably a thirty day leave so he had to back in Seattle sometime in October.  He probably left the ship at the beginning of September or shortly after so he may have been in San Francisco about September 10th.  If he met and married Mr. Marcus’ mother in September that was indeed a whirlwind romance.  I don’t mean to be snide but after several years at sea Gerstley was ready for anything.  And then he may have thought it’s now or never, unlike MacArthur I may not return.

     The Hull put out to sea again on October 23, 1944 so that the newly weds had probably less than a month together so truly Mr. Marcus’ mother had little to tell him other than that his dad was a nice guy.

     And then on December 18th the Hull caught a wave and wiped out.

     Now, was any one person responsible as Mr. Marcus thinks?  I think not.  Unless Mr. Marcus has a verifiable alternate version the official version is that the whole fleet under the command of Admiral Halsey was taken by surprise by the typhoon.  Halsey didn’t maliciously order the three DDs into the typhoon to see what they were made of.  I feel certain there was no talk of a mutiny involving Gerstley or anyone else.  The storm hit, the ship sank within a day.  No possiblity for mutiny talk.  No reason for it.  Mr. Marcus’ imagination is overheated by the Caine Mutiny nonsense aboard, get this, a Minesweeper.

     In Seattle he (the former Captain) was replaced by a martinet from Annapolis, a man so vain and incompetent, so impatient with advice from experienced sailors and sure of his own right way, that…twenty men went AWOL…  in Seattle.

     The above is from Mr. Marcus’ article.  It appears that he believes that Capt. Marks (for that was his name) came directly from Annapolis to assume command.   If so, that is an impossibility.  DDs (Destroyers) had a Commander as Captain.  I served on a DE (Destroyer Escort) which required only a Lieutenant Commander as Captain.  To become a Commander one must have first passed through the grades of Ensign, Lieutenant JG, Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander so that apart from possibly over rapid wartime promotion Captain Marks was an experienced sailor.  What his commanding syle was I can’t say but I wouldn’t take Capt. Queeg of the fictional novel The Caine Mutiny as a model for Naval officers.  If anything both of the Captains I had were over lenient.  Twenty men going AWOL, apparently wisely, to avoid entering a war zone doesn’t strike me as unusual.

     Now, when the storm struck it caught Halsey and his fleet unawares.  More damage was caused than most minor naval engagements.  Not only were the three DDs lost but another 26 ships were seriously damaged while the carriers had 145 aircraft destroyed.

     So while it is tragic for Mr. Marcus that his father was lost at sea that was only one very small part of a natural disaster no different than a hurricane leveling a midwest town.  Mr. Marcus should get over this feeling of official dereliction on Halsey’s part.  There was a war going on, the ships were involved in an invasion of Mindanao.  Good god, somebody is going to die.

     As it was the Hull came off better than the other two ships.  Only six survived the Monaghan, twenty-four the Spence, while sixty-two survived the Hull.  Whether Capt. Marks was a martinet or not he managed to save the largest proportion of his crew.  He himself says he stepped into the water from the bridge as the ship rolled over.  Sounds OK to me.

     Now, sailing Tin Cans through typhoons.  DDs and DEs were called Tin Cans hence I or any who served on them are called Tin Can Sailors.  The Hull was relatively small for a DD at 341 feet and a beam of 34 feet.  The DE I served on was only 306 feet with a comparable beam to the Hull.  The DDs I saw were all of the order of 400+ feet.

     Except for the Hull the ships were top heavy having deballasted preparatory to refueling at sea.  Refueling became impossible as the seas rose.  It is quite possible that with a normal center of gravity the ships would not have rolled.  The Hull is stated as having 70% of its fuel so it was riding lower.

     Next, Mr. Marcus blames Capt. Marks for being an inept sailor making a wrong decision in a ‘trough.’

     A this point let me say that myself and my shipmates are of the few sailors to have experienced an actual typhoon.  At the end of 1958 we were ordered to sail thorugh a typhoon two days sail above Mindanao off the coast of Japan.  As the rest of the squadron sailed around the typhoon one may conclude our orders were of the malicious sort.  If you want the whole story see Part V of my novel Our Lady Of The Blues especially Clip       on my R.E. Prindle blog here on WordPress.

     What is a trough?  A trough is the depression between waves.  A ship will have a crest fore and aft and a crest on both the port and starboard.  In our case the trough was actually a good sized valley perhaps a half mile in circumference.  As I describe in Our lady at one time we entered a trough crossing over a crest and descending head first toward the bottom.  This is a heartstopper because when the ship levels at the bottom the whole ship from stem to stern except for the superstructure is under water.  I know that’s an impossibility but it is also a fact.  Good god almighty, one doesn’t say prayers, one says:  Hello Davy Jones, good bye world.  I can get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.  Like now.  The water is always moving under the ship so troughs are not stationary.  They may lift you relative to your stem and stern or they may lift the ship broadside up the whole height of a seventy foot wave then rolling you over the crest and into the next trough.  That one give a whole noter idea on the value you place on your life.  But I and the crew sailed into Tokyo Harbor on the ship.

     The question is then was our Captain a good sailor?  Yes, I believe he was, but no matter how good he was survival was always a matter of luck.  There were times when we had no control of the ship, one factor or another could have been the end.  Perhaps a gust of wind at an inappropriate moment.

     The next question then is was Capt. Marks at least a good sailor.  The large number of survivors of the the Hull relative to the other two ships would indicate to me that he was a conscientious Captain and heads up sailor.

     Anybody who would cut their engines at any point in a typhoon should have his head examined.  You cannot maintain control without power.  Also you cannot ‘break out’ of a trough.  If the commentators suggest the trough was ‘stationary’ I suggest that the commentators have never been to sea let alone been in a typhoon.

     I think I can state that the Hull didn’t go down because of a trough.  It rolled, hence it was ascending or descending a wave.  Case closed.  You can’t ride out a typhoon without ascending or descending waves.

     It is tragic that the Hull rolled over and Gerstley was killed.  Still, the man was simply doing his duty and like a million or so others had his head up at the wrong time.  Mr. Marcus should be proud of his father.  He wasn’t one of the cowards who went AWOL.

     As far as this convention in 2006, sixty years after the event, I wouldn’t take seriously anything these eighty some year old guys said.  I couldn’t even remember my last Captain’s name the day after I left the ship.  I have recently learned from a website that his name was Dodge.  I can’t ever remember my mouth forming the name Dodge and Captain Dodge doesn’t even look like the Captain I remember.

     Crews shift and change so often one can remember only the handful of men you were in constant contact with, if those.  First Division, of which I was part, must have had six First Louies while I was aboard and I can remember the name of only the first one, Mossbarger.  I wouldn’t be able to recognize him today.

     So, I would suggest that these old duffs were just trying to make Mr. Marcus’ cute young daughter feel good.  Telling her what they thought she wanted to hear.  Perhaps what her father told her to ask.

     I’m sure Mr. Marcus’ father was as conscientious and heroic as he could be.  He was a fine man who went down with his ship.  Mr. Marcus should be content with this proud fact.  Indeed, he has no choice.  Make a virtue of necessity.

     Personally, if I knew my ship was going to be involved in a typhoon I would go AWOL too.  Surviving one once is all luck.  I might not be so lucky the second time.

      What the hell.  Greil Gerstley helped us win the war.  It was the peace we lost.