The Sixties And The Negro Revolution

Part II

by

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs

And

The Accreted Personality

Part V

by

R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Hours In The Library

As the fabulous Twentieth Century dawned virtually a new world different than anything that had gone before came into existence requiring a new consciousness. As usual some could adapt and some couldn’t. In an evolutionary sense those that couldn’t adapt disappeared, those that could survived while those born into the new world accepted it as normal.

Many authors who were very successful in the old world faded from importance not because what they had to say was necessarily irrelevant but because it was no longer relevant to a changed consciousness. Even if their message was universal it had to be expressed in new terms. Some like Rider Haggard and Conan Doyle trundled right along until they died two or three decades later. Some like H.G. Wells whose contemporary novels lost significance and sales potential even though in Wells case his sci-fi output of the nineties has survived strongly until today. His omnibus volume Seven Science Fiction Novels has been a strong seller for nearly a hundred years. A dozen or so handsome editions adorn the shelves of second hand dealers where they turn over at a quick rate.

Still, around 1900 a new generation of writers began to move onto the literary field; the next wave after the crop of the eighteen eighties. The new writers were mainly in the age cohort of 1865 to 1876 as was Ed but he would make a late start in 1912. Memory is the key to psychology. If nothing goes into the memory nothing comes out so it is important to include only the beneficial as much as is possible. It is for that reason that pornography is pernicious. It has little social value; its main function being to stroke one’s fixations. In these crucial years Ed filled his memory banks with the works of the current crop of writers. He unerringly went, as we all do, to those writers and books that talked around his own fixations thus being capable of being incorporated into his own writing.

While he seems to be almost plagiarizing his sources, by the end of the nineteenth century the body of work available had grown to significant proportions. He was not alone in incorporating his reading into his own work. The reading had become part of the social fabric not much different than trolley cars and the soup cans Andy Warhol would later make famous. Burroughs now is part of our mental furniture and while it may not be pertinent to our writing, images and phrases from what we have read may come out of our pen without our realizing it. Almost like saying for dinner I opened a can of Campbell’s tomato soup.

The thousands of movies and records we have seen and know cannot be excluded from our mental processes. So, just as George Du Maurier named his novel Trilby after that of Charles Nodier of the turn of the nineteenth century patterning his story based on that novel that he admired greatly, why shouldn’t Burroughs in his turn do the same. Such referencing was quite common if you read enough and look for it.

It is difficult to know where to begin in listing Ed’s post-1900 reading but as the South formed such a large part of his consciousness it may be well to start with the apostle of the Lost Cause, Thomas Dixon Jr.

Thomas Dixon Jr. (1864-1846)

Thomas Dixon Jr.

Dixon’s social views differed quite wildly from those of his contemporary H.G. Wells. Indeed, Dixon was of the class that Wells said must not be allowed to express their views lest they cloud those of the Revolution in the minds of the proletariat which must be forced to accept the official views of Wells’ Open Conspiracy version of socialism. No dissent was to be allowed. In keeping with this dictum Anthony Slide gave the scare title American Racist to his 2004 biography of Dixon published by the UKentucky Press in an attempt to make sure Dixon was buried and doesn’t rise again.

Abraham Lincoln

Be that as it may Dixon was extremely popular in the years before the Bolshevik Revolution going into eclipse after his 1919 movie Bolshevism On Trial. So he was both a Southerner, although not a Virginian, and an anti-Communist giving him special appeal to Ed.

Born in 1864 he was old enough to have been aware during the last years of Reconstruction, hence an eyewitness. The grand tragedy of the Civil War for him was that Aryans exterminated Aryans over a worthless cause like Negro slavery. During Reconstruction the Puritan bigots of the North oppressed the Southern Aryans mercilessly so that Dixon made it his goal to reconcile Northern and Southern Aryans, thus the title of his and Griffith’s 1915 movie titled The Birth Of A Nation, in other words, The Birth Of The Aryans as a Nation.

While slavery was the proximate cause of the war the issue takes a subordinate place in the minds of romanticists of the South such as Ed. Dixie is the home of courtly manners and magnolia blossoms, decency and self-respect.

Jefferson Davis

That notion of a Utopia is still shared by many of us today.

The men who settled Virginia were the displaced younger sons of English aristocrats who gave their flavor to the Cavalier State. They were the epitome of desired manhood, the quality versus the equality- hence John Carter of Virginia. Carter is not only a man but the apex of what a man should be.

Dixon wrote several Civil War and Reconstruction novels, all rather good literature. His most famous trilogy of the conflict was composed of The Leopard’s Spots (1902), The Clansman (1905), and The Traitor (1907). As The Traitor is found in Burroughs’ surviving library it is not unreasonable to believe he read all three and that before he began writing. Dixon wrote two further volumes, The Southerner: A Romance Of The Real Lincoln and The Victim: A Romance Of The Real Jefferson Davis of 1913 and 14 respectively. I’m sure Ed read them both but they were too late to be formative for his writing. I recommend them both highly for a near contemporary history of the events from the perspective of both sides. While it doesn’t seem to be Dixon’s purpose his presentation leaves no doubt in my mind that the assassination of Lincoln was plotted by a cabal of Northern bigots who really wanted to exterminate Southern Aryans replacing them with what they believed to be a pure Negro Republic.

As the Negroes were not welcome in the North these Northern loonies may have believed with Lincoln that Negroes and Aryans could not live together. They probably believed that by ceding the South to the Negroes they had solved the problem. I’m sure it goes much deeper than current research cares to deal with.

Fortunately that didn’t happen. Reconstruction was overturned and the Jim Crow period took form resulting in the current Negro revolution with the threat of a San Domingo Moment.

In addition Dixon wrote an anti-socialist trilogy composed of One Woman (1903), Comrades (1909) and The Root Of Evil (1911). Other than reflecting the attitude of Ed’s thoughts they don’t seem reflected in his own work before 1919 although they may appear in his 1926 novel The Moon Maid.

After the rejection of Ed’s own 1919 anti-Communist tract Under The Red Flag by publishers another work of Dixon’s, The Fall Of A Nation (1916, both book and movie) seem to have been read and seen by Ed. The work would greatly influence Ed’s 1926 novel, The Moon Maid.

So, Thomas Dixon has to be considered a major influence of Ed‘s.

L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)

L. Frank Baum- The Wizard Of Oz

A second major influence, not inferior to Dixon, was the great creator of the Wizard Of Oz series, Lyman Frank Baum. Although chronologically belonging to an earlier age cohort of writers he only began writing at the turn of the century, turning out his fabulously successful The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz in 1900. It is said that Oz was based on the White City of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and most likely was. In those days before movies successful books were turned into equally successful plays as was the case with The Wizard; thus at forty-four Baum was launched on a successful literary career. As with so many writers he squandered his millions ending up virtually broke. He didn’t live long enough for the movies to come to the rescue.

The original Wonderful Wizard Of Oz was written as a political satire which content went missing in 1939’s movie, indeed, it was no longer relevant. Baum should have lived so long.

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1900) was followed by The Marvelous Land Of Oz (1904), Ozma Of Oz (1907), Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz (1908), The Road To Oz (1909) and the Emerald City Of Oz (1910). These were published before Ed began to write so they highly influenced his Martian Chronicles while subsequently issued titles influenced his later work.

Baum grew tired of the series trying to kill it off in 1910’s Emerald City Of Oz but the clamor urging him to write more resulted in the series being resumed in 1913. These titles in order where The Patchwork Girl Of Oz 1913), Tik Tok Of Oz, 1914, The Scarecrow Of Oz (1915), Rinkitink In Oz, (1916), The Lost Princess Of Oz, (1917), The Tin Woodman Of Oz (1918), The Magic Of Oz, (1919) and Glinda Of Oz (1920). There are an additional dozen or so Oz titles but they were commissioned (pastiches) after Baum’s death to Ruth Plumly Thompson and another writer after her. Nice enough but don’t have the spark.

On might say the Wizard far exceeds John Carter in the American consciousness while matching or even, possibly, exceeding that of Tarzan. Without the Tarzan movies the reputation of the Wizard would be as great while that of Tarzan would be significantly diminished.

Baum also wrote a comic strip of stories in 1905 and The Woggle Bug Book in 1905 that Ed may have seen but I haven’t.

One imagines Ed greatly anticipating each Oz book as it was released, stunned by both the stories and the W.W. Denslow and John R. Neill artwork. Always remember that Ed was a failed artist or cartoonist, so the illustration always remained important to him.

Baum like Ed, after having created, an original framework, unmercifully plundered past literature to give substance to his stories. As Ed would follow in his own Symmes’ Hollow Earth stories Baum wrote an entire Oz novel around a version of the Symmes’s theory.

Ed so completely ingested the Baumian parallel universe that it is impossible to conceive of either Helium or Opar without reference to the Emerald City and hence back to Chicago’s White City. John Carter may be conceived of as a male Dorothy off to see the Wizard except that Helium was on Mars. Carter’s accession to the Warlord of Mars may even be seen as a replacement of the Wizard. One suspects that for Ed Baum was the transcendent imagination.

Another important point, as David Adams points out, is that Baum was a theosophist versed in esoteric lore. Baum was among the writers of his day that Ed went out of the way to meet, to introduce himself. It may even be said that he had a relationship with Baum. Ed first introduced himself to Baum in 1913, driving up to Ozcot in Hollywood. The two men were reunited in 1916 during Ed’s stay in LA and again in 1919 for the few remaining months of Baum’s life. He died in May of that year.

So Baum was a central figure in Ed’s career.

George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1926)

Anthony Hope (1863-1933)

George Barr McCutcheon

The third major figure of the decade succeeding 1900 was one George Barr McCutcheon and his Graustark series. Not so well known today he was a major figure in the early years of the century. Reminiscing in the forties in the midst of the disappointment of a second world war in his lifetime Ed remarked that the people then lacked a Graustark so that Ed added that imaginary land to the Oz in his literary memories.

Born in the same year as H.G. Wells, McCutcheon’s first published title Graustark: The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne appeared in 1901 as the century began. Graustark was some Ruritanian paradise located in some imaginary middle European land of wine and waltzes. While a fine imaginary setting I find the novels unappealing. As usual one has the enterprising American lad among torpid European lumpkins.

Of the six Graustark novels three were published before 1912- Graustark (1901), Beverly Of Graustark (1904) and Truxton King: A Story Of Graustark (1909), and three after- The Prince of Graustark (1914), East Of The Setting Sun (1924) and the Inn Of The Hawk And The Raven (1927). Thus only the first three were part of the formation of Ed’s memories when he began writing.

These three were however buttressed by two novels of Anthony Hope the man who invented Ruritanian romances and on whom McCutcheon undoubtedly based Graustark. Hope began his three dozed novel career with the The Prisoner Of Zenda in 1894 followed by the sequel Rupert Of Hentzau in 1898. It would be truly astonishing if you’ve heard of any of the rest of his oeuvre. I certainly never had.

The content of these novelists was directly incorporated into Ed’s two Ruritanian novels The Mad King and HRH The Rider.

The Mad King was a re-courting of Emma that apparently failed.

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946)

Booth Tarkington

A man who Ed thought was the greatest American writer when interviewed in the teens was the enchanting Booth Tarkington, one of the favorites of my childhood. I was enthralled by Tarkington’s Tom Sawyer figure Penrod (1914) Scholfield and Penrod and Sam of 1916. The other titles I read back when were Seventeen (1916), The Magnificent Ambersons (1918), and Alice Adams of 1922.

Tarkington was a prolific writer turning out four dozen or so novels during his lifetime, some in collaboration with Harry Leon Wilson of Merton Of The Movies and Ruggles Of Red Gap fame along with several other significant titles of the day. Burroughs had Ruggles and couple others in his library.

Born between Wells and Ed, Tarkington’s first novel, The Gentleman From Indiana appeared in 1899 followed by his Monsieur Beaucaire in 1900. A whole series of novels followed up to 1912 including The Two Vanrevels so Ed probably had imbibed a lot of Tarkington before and much after 1912. Tarkington was a major influence on Ed’s novels such as The Oakdale Affair and the Efficiency Expert of the teens while The Ambersons and Alice Adams influences show up in Ed’s 1924 novel Marcia Of The Doorstep.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Robert Service (1874-1958)

H.H. Knibbs (1874-1945)

Jack London

Certainly not to be neglected as an influence is the still well known and often read Jack London. The making of London as a writer was the great Klondike Gold Rush beginning in 1896. In 1897 London packed his gear and went North. His experiences in the land of ice and snow provided the material that made his name. A stream of short stories and adventure novels erupted through his pen beginning in 1898 while the novels began in 1902. The Call Of The Wild of 1903 spoke to the wanderlust in Ed’s soul. London did everything that Ed wanted to do, he ranged freely over the entire world in his yacht The Snark, interestingly named after the great poem of Lewis Carroll…beware lest your Snark be a boo…. He was an eyewitness reporter of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, like Ed he was a boxing aficionado, he was ringside as a reporter when Jack Johnson put down the great Jim Jeffries to become the first Negro heavyweight champion.

Ed’s fascination with hoboing had never abated since he mingled with them on Madison, Chicago’s Main Stem, on

Herbert Henry Knibbs

which his father’s factory was located. London’s 1907 memoir of his cross country trip with Kelley’s Army, a part of Coxey’s Army in 1894 must have excited Ed enormously. But, Ed was tied to Emma and unable to roam.

In many ways London’s and Ed’s views were in synch as part of the same age cohort. A Negro’s winning of the boxing championship was really too much for either man to bear. London himself was an amateur boxer. The failure of a White man to appear to wrest the championship from the Negro Johnson drove him to distraction as it did Ed. Although living on either side of the country both expressed their anguish at the same time.

London wrote a preliminary study titled The Abysmal Brute following it with a full scale concerning the championship, The Valley Of The Moon in 1913. Ed set down and wrote The Mucker about his own hobo boxer, Billy Byrne also in 1913. One can only wonder how many other stories were written about an imaginary White boxer recapturing the crown.

The second novel of the Mucker Trilogy all but named London as its inspiration. The Return is a very good novel that celebrated the golden age of hoboing.

Robert W. Service

The novel tied in a number of Ed’s literary hobo sources. In addition to London the poet H.H. Knibbs provided a sort of framing device as Ed wove verses of his great poem Out There Somewhere through the story, essentially basing the novel on the poem. He also included snatches of verse from the Kiplingesque Robert W. Service of The Cremation Of Sam McGee fame.

The Return then might be said to be a celebration of the road based on London’s The Road and poems by Knibbs and Service. Byrne was also probably an attempt to create another series based on The Road to supplement Tarzan but it didn’t take.

Zane Grey (1972-1939)

Grey might be one of the weaker influences before 1910 but Ed was destined to be thought a rival by his publishers. Grey had the magic touch in being able to pitch his is stories toward women thus garnering the big money of the slick magazines. Grey thus earned enough to buy himself a yacht making him the envy of Ed.

Grey began in 1903 with his story of Betty Zane. This was followed three years later by The Spirit Of The Border, then in 1908’s Last Of The Plainsmen. Nineteen nine brought The Last Trail and The Shortstop. The earlier titles were on small imprints while The Shortstop was publishing by McClurg’s, the future publisher of Burroughs. From McClurg’s Grey went to Harper And Bros. who remained his publisher from then on. One wonders if McClurg’s sold his contract to Harper’s or whether they signed him to a one book deal. They certainly tied Ed up contractually so he couldn’t get away.

Grey’s first book for Harper’s in 1910 is the only story to indicate Ed’s readership, The Heritage Of The Desert concerning the Mormons. That influence showed up in 1913’sThe Cave Girl.

I could never get into Grey as a kid although I was given a copy of The Shortstop that I didn’t read then and never have. Still have it though. Grey broke through in 1912 with Riders Of The Purple Sage. The Rainbow Trail and The Mysterious Rider are found in Ed’s library.

I’ve only read Ed’s two Western novels once so I would have to read them again to see how influenced they were by Grey.

Grey’s stuff is alright I guess but the guy’s a real dud writer as far as I’m concerned.

In addition to these major influences Ed also stuffed his memory with reams of poems and magazine articles. The newspapers which were much different then also provided much grist for his mill.

In the background, of course, was Ed’s interest in mythology. He did read Howard Pyle’s four volume version of the Vulgate-Lancelot that appeared after the turn of the century. The two and a half years he spent at Harvard Latin School undoubtedly gave him a good background while in those formative years conditioning his mind to deal with difficult thought processes. After all the mind has to be trained to manage the mass of memories that make the person.

The question during this period is whether or not he read ancient Greek mythology or learned any Greek. I think not. He may have some familiarity with Homer especially the Odyssey on which many of his stories may be based. He was probably familiar with The Labors Of Hercules but I don’t see any evidence of understanding of The Iliad.

The Iliad is important for psychology as Homer introduces the notion of the infinitely powerful mind of Zeus. Zeus could remember everything while having such a powerful mind that he could order the whole of it in sequence while finding his way through any number of conundrums. The only thing he couldn’t do was set aside what was fated.

What goes into one’s memory or mind is of cardinal importance. Trash goes in, trash comes out. Ed filled his memory banks with useful information and wonderful speculative literature. The question, then, is what does one do with those memories now transformed into knowledge. Remembering is the sine qua non but organization is equally important. The mind must be trained. Remembered and organized, then what? Then comes intelligence and application. A flexible intelligence is probably known as imagination. One can combine, rearrange, and recombine one’s memories into new uses. Make meaningful what was formerly incoherent.

Ed well-satisfied with himself remarked that only one in a hundred thousand had a good imagination in which number he obviously included himself among the elite. I don’t know where he got his stat but I’m sure a mind such as his was rare enough. There really aren’t many who can use their mind as he did. One only has to read the Martian writers who preceded him to see the astonishing distance between their work and his. Wells’ War Of The Worlds for instance is a fairly pedestrian work. A missile shot from a cannon on Mars arrives on Earth and some spindly creatures get out who then mount some tripods that begin walking through London spewing some black gas. Fresh at the time but not wildly imaginative. Ed would challenge Wells when he wrote the first third of The Moon Maid. That book was so imaginative, superior to Wells’ First Men In The Moon, as to be the work of a master taunting an obstreperous pupil.

So, when Ed Began 1912 his memory banks were full of experience and stuffed with literature and scientific knowledge that he was able to use so imaginatively that most people were completely unaware of the amount of learning incorporated into his stories.

Part VI chronicles Ed’s life from the beginning of his success to 1920.

 

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

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Part One

1.

     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. 

2.

     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.

3.

     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.

4.

      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