A Review

Themes And Variations

The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs

#16 TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD MEN

by

R.E. Prindle

Part II

Debunking The Debunkers

Here with a loaf of Bread beneath the bough,

A flask of Wine, A Book of Verse- and thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness

And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

–Omar Khayyam

I started out on Burgundy

But soon hit the harder stuff.

–Bob Dylan

Edgar Rice Burroughs

1.

H.G. Wells, Uncle Joe Stalin, Multi-Culturalism And Edgar Rice Burroughs

     Unraveling Burroughs’ political situation in the thirties, particularly the years from 1930-36 is difficult.  I don’t think anyone has ever conceived that there might be a political situation involved.  Porges passes right over it.  Fenton doesn’t deal with it.  The BB and ERBzine scholars don’t seem concerned with a political environment, yet Burroughs was in the crosshairs of the Left.

     The world in which ERB emerged as a writer had long passed away.  That America had been wiped from the face of the earth.  The thirties was the new post-war America that evolved into whatever we call this mess today.  The America I grew up in has been wiped off the map also.  Time toddles right along changing everyhthing on a daily basis except for our attitudes.  It isn’t easy, it is even impossible to keep up, to run abreast of Time.  Life isn’t as orderly as a baseball diamond, that particular Field of Dreams where everyone knows his place and stays in  it.

     The basis for interpreting the period then is what has become known as Multi-culturalism, the Kultur Kampf or in English, Culture Wars.  The question has been and is, which culture is going to be Top Dog.  That’s an English term to describe the nineteenth century culture wars.  Trader Horn understood it well.  If you read his book you will have an accurate understanding of what Top Dog means.  He had it, his boss didn’t.  Rhodes had it.  In multi-cultural terms the Semites have it.  Today’s Whites don’t.

     Thus during the Jewish Emancipation since the French Revolution Jews have unerringly striven to be Top Dog or Nation.  Their Semitic cousins, the Arabs, have the desire and just to give it a date, since 9/11 they have given notice that they intend to be Top Dog.  The Western World, Europeans and Americans have lost the desire to be Top Dog.  They kind of walk around with their tail between their legs.  As the West has lost the instinct of Top Dog there is no doubt the Arabs will attain their goal too, shoving their Jewish cousins aside.

Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg

   But, our story concerns the years 1900-1936 and is concerned only with the Semites in the United States which is to say the Jewish culture.

     Socially they have attempted and succeeded in making ‘bigotry’ the issue.  But the issue isn’t the issue.  Charges of racism and hatred are thrown about to obsfuscate the true issue which is naturally what is termed ‘race.’  Race is the issue; bigotry is the obfuscation in the drive to be Top Dog.  Semitic goals and attitudes, regardless of the language employed have remained the same since their first encounter with the HSII Sumerians four thousand years ago.  Who knows how far back these things stretch.  It might not be out of line to say seven or possibly eight thousand years ago.  Foundations take a long time to lay; the superstructure goes up relatively quickly; the finishing touces even more quickly.

     Whether speaking in Biblical or scientific terms the result is the same.  Semites believe there is a special relationship between themselves and their god.  In Freudian terms the Semites basing their identity on an unreal foundation are psychotic.  See The Future Of An Illusion by Freud.  Jewish religious notions may have been best expressed by a Rabbi Schneerson of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Judaism centered in New York City transplanted from the Lithuanian community.  First a quote from the Lubaviticher Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg:

     “If every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, is a part of God, then every strand of DNA is part of God.  Therefore something is special about Jewish DNA.”

     Here we have a mind completely distorted by his religious preoccupations.  We have bad science

Rabbi Schneerson

compounded  by worse logic.  The universe including the human body is made of chemical elements of mainly oxygen and hydrogen.  If the Rabbi wants to argue that the chemical elements making up the Jewish body are different from the chemical elements making up the universe then let him.   However his conditional if-then format leaves him an escape route.   Every ‘simple’ cell of a Jewish body doesn’t equal divinity.  Divinity is a metaphysical term that bears no relationship to chemistry.  If the Rabbi is truly going to be scientific he has to assume the position that there is no such thing as divinity.  If he wishes to maintain that there is, then he has to limit his argument about other religious types as being as out of touch with reality as he is but each religion has equal validity with his own.  The Rabbi may be able to argue his case on these terms with his fellow religious types, atavistic as they are,  but being of scientific persuasion I can’t have any truck with such puerility.

     Further, if every strand of DNA, which means both the male and female contribution to the Jewish body is part of God, then that means every Jew is, in fact, God.  If in Rabbi Ginsburg’s mind each Jew is God then let’s see a world full of miracles.  Without the ability to act as God, not gods, but God, Rabbi Ginsburg’s premiss falls to the ground.  He becomes not only stupid but possibly demented as well.  The Rabbi is incapable of sound reasoning.  The challenge of Science to his religion has driven him off the deep end.  This guy is not Top Dog material.

     Rabbi Scheerson writing in his Gatherings of Conversations of 1965 trundles a little further out to the end of the pier:

     “The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression:  “Let us differentiate.”  Thus, we do not have a profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level.  Rather, we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species.  This is what needs to be said about the body;  the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the the body of (members of) all the nations of the world…”

      So, in Rabbi Schneerson’s mind the world is composed of two different Homo Sapiens species: the Jews and everyone else.  Sitting around the basements of Brooklyn meditation this stuff the fumes from the sewer go right to your head.  In so far as the Semites, not Jews specifically,  being a different species, on that score Rabbi Schneerson and I are in agreement.  I have so stated in earlier essays so there is no argument there.  Writing in 1965 Rabbi Schneerson was even prescient as the study of genetics had advanced insufficiently for the statement to be made authoritatively.  Nineteen sixty-five was the year  also that homoseuxals discovered the homosexual gene.  So shall we say that at the time the  Rabbi was in good company.

     That he could make the leap from a feeling of genetic superiority to the notion that Jewish ‘bodies’ are differently composed than other bodies shows the degree of raligious fanaticism that distorts his reason.  Remember that these people are now influential with the government of the United States.

     Rabbi Schneerson carries his folly even further going on to state:

     An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul.  Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness…

     One trembles at the thought of Einstein and Schneerson having ever gotten together.  Whew!

     It can be plainly seen that the Rabbi Schneerson is the last of the line of great Jewish ‘scientists’  which includes Marx, Einstein and Freud.

H.G. Wells

    If there is anyone who can believe such twaddle then let them but for my purposes I quote this only to show the basic attitude of the members of the Jewish culture who reached these shores froms 1870 to 1920 plus the later colonists and stragglers.  In the struggle to be Top Dog it is this attitude that has shaped American culture into what it has become beginning in 1900.

     Burroughs when he began writing in 1911 was only trying to redeem his life.  He would have been unaware that Anglo-America was being challenged for the role of Top Dog within the United States.  Nor, could he have had any idea what a threat he was in the contest with the Semites.  He would have had no idea that he failed the test when he answered the AJC questionnarie in 1919.  A little over a decade later he had been drawn unknowingly into the thick of the battle, indeed, a significant target.

     Now, the twenties began the great age of the debunkers.  Volume after volume appeared discrediting every Anglo-American hero from Patrick Henry to Henry Ford.  I don’t see any reason to challenge the fact that George Washington ever told a lie or whether he threw a silver dollar across the Delaware, the Mississippi, or the wide Missouri before that river was channeled.  But some others did.

      This was a good approach for the Underdog to dispose of the Top Dog.  First one emasculates him by making him ashamed of his ancestors then one destroys his own confidence in himself, in his own decency.

     In a society in which the Negro was an intrusive and unresolvable problem this was not at all difficult.  The Jewish culture sided with the Black culture against the White culture.  Even a careless reading of Rabbi Schneerson will show the  Culture was not interested in eight Blacks or Social Justice.  Schneerson clearly states his culture is of a different and superior species from everyone else which means Whites and Blacks are destined to be hewers of wood and carriers of water for the Jewish Culture.

     Jewish support of Black culture, then, could only intend to be divisive.  They wished to exacerbate an already difficult and untenable situation in their drive to be Top Dog.

     As the Jews were part of the Liberal Coalition the Coalition swung in behind them.

     Now, at the same time they were debunking White heroes they were elevating Jewish heroes replacing those of the Whites.  Thus Maimonides and Spinoza, Moses Mendelsohn and others were lauded as the greatest of philosophers while Socrates, Hegel and Kant and others were belittled.  I have no brief for philosphers, I belittle them all.  But it should be noted that such as Maimanides and Spinoza are cut from the same cloth as Rabbi Schneerson.  Indeed, they all climb up out of the Talmud.

     In their conquest of Top Dog it was necessary to create an ‘us and them’ polarity.  Judaeo-Communists as ‘us’ were the good guys.  Afer 1933 anyone who disagreed was labelled a Fascist or Nazi, a little Hitler.  At that point ‘us and them’ good and bad was clear.  Prior to the success of Fascism in Germany their opponents could only be denounced as  prejudiced which was termed a major sin.  The term ‘bigot’ in its current racial meaning was not yet in common use but we will use it here.

     In the Judaeo-Communist lexicon Burroughs was a bigot.  The AJC typed him as an anti-Semite in 1919.  But that typing was too tenuous to use. However there was no doubt that Burroughs considered Whites superior to Blacks.  The attitude was not lost on Blacks who to this very day are accused of being anti-Semites because they resent being condescended to.

     It would be very worthwhile to know what pressures were being placed on Burroughs.  Indeed, as a defensive move Leopard Men may very likely have been written to show that while Whites might be construed in a negative light for the treatment of Blacks that Blacks themselves could be just as oppressive and violent when they were Top Dog.  On p. 129 he says:

     It was with a feeling of relief that Kali Bwana saw Bobolo and Kapopa depart.  During the interview with Rebega no one had once addressed her, just as no one would have addressed a cow he was arranging to stable.  She recalled the plaints of American Negroes that they were not treated with equality by the whites.  Evidently it all depended on which was the more powerful and had nothing whatever to do with innate gentleness or spirit or charity.

     This has the sound of being an answer to someone.   One asks what might be the occasion?  A possible source may have been the row kicked up by the Scottboro Boys.  This case was the centerpiece of Communist propaganda against America and Americans.

     For those not familir with the situation, on March 25, 1931 an incident had occurred between Black and White hoboes on a train traveling from Chattanooga through Alabama on the Southern Railroad.  The only evidence is the testimony of the participants so really the only question is which side are you on?  Us or them?

     According to ascertainable facts two groups were hoboing.  One Black, one White.  The Whites were in a gondola car while the Blacks were in the trailing boxcar.  It seems clear that the Blacks decided to invade the gondola of the Whites, else there could have been no trouble.  For what purpose isn’t clear but a battle then broke out during which the Blacks threw the Whites off the train with the exception of two White girls and one White boy.

     The Whites thrown off the train asked the station master at a town called Stevenson, Alabama to call ahead to have the Blacks arrested for assault.  Irate citizens in Paint Rock, Alabama stopped the train taking the Blacks off.  The two girls said they were gang raped by the Blacks.  The Blacks were arrested and given a speedy trial and conviction well before Burroughs began to write.  Were they guilty?  That depends solely on whether you believe them or the Whites.   That there was a fight and the Whites lost is without question.  No one contests that.

Uncle Joe

   It was a perfect issue for the Reds.  The Blacks were held up by the Communists as sterling ‘youths’ while the White girls were labeled tramps and whores.  Well, you can see where is this going nowhere.  The only question is who are you going to believe?  I have no doubt that a group of Blacks who had just triumphed over Whites in the deep South with their blood up, exultant, would do the obvious and physically assault the girls, they had just assaulted the boys, or men,  and thrown them off the train, why not?  Seems logical to me.  There is no answer.

     The Communists over the next several years made political hay out of the case arousing Northern White prejudices against the South and Southern ‘bigots’ while posing as being really interested in the fate of the Scottsboro Boys.

     Burroughs would have read the news through clenched teeth.  Here was all the evidence he needed that Blacks would assault White women given the opportunity.  When conditions were reversed Blacks were not the Stepan Fetchit stumblebums Liberals like to represent them as.  If Blacks were ‘shuffling along’ it was because they were held down, they were not naturally as Liberals believed them to be.  That is what Burroughs is saying.

Scottsboro Boys

     It may be coincidence but Leopard Men opens with the attempted rape of a White woman by a Black.  Kali Bwana’s head man Golato enters her tent as the storm breaks with intent to rape her.  Kali Bwana fires a shot at him wounding and driving him off.  Golato then organizes a mutiny.  Kali Bwana’s safari deserts her leaving her alone in the heart of the Ituri Rain Forest.

     Storm and forest are sexually laden symbols.

     So, a second impetus for the hurried writing of Leopard Men may have been the arrest, trial and conviction of the Scottsboro Boys.  Boys, not men, to make them seem less offensive although it would be construed as a racial insult by Blacks.

     Now, the pressures on Burroughs  were coming from the Left.  The pressure was not obvious and overt but clandestine and secretive.  Could he be provoked to make the first obvious move placing the onus on him?  The question then arises as to whether Leopard Men represented the Communists and their Fellow Travelers who functioned as a secret society in America.  As the post-WWII investigators into the Communist influence in Hollywood would prove, none of these Communists, many of them Soviet agensts, would even admit that they had ever been more than ‘liberal.’  When asked where they now or had they ever been Communists none of them would give a simple yes or no answer.  They took the Fifth.  To answer would incriminate them.  Right.

     Many of these Hollywood people, Dalton Tumbo, John Howard Lawson and others were already established in Hollywood by 1934.  Communist sites on the internet now list them as having been Communists at the time.  Soviet documentation obtained after the fall also confirms this.  A leading Jewish Congressman from New York, Samuel Dickstein, was on the Soviet payroll.  It was he who originated the House Un-American Activities Committee of which the purpose was meant to be to run anti-Communists to earth.  To Dickstein and his Soviet handlers it seemed like a good idea at the time.

     The key fact is that, through Dickstein, Stalin and the Soviets were able to exercise extreme influence on the American political system even directing American policy.  Had the chairmanship of HUAC fallen into Dickstein’s hands there is no doubt that he would have forwarded Judaeo-Communist goals while putting what he was pleased to call un-American citizens in jail.  In 1944 the ADL/AJC did just that causing pre-war dissidents to be arrested and tried for treason.

     Hollywood Reds insisted that they were ‘liberals’ seeking ‘social justice’ and were completely uninfluenced by Soviet agents or handlers.  Using Dickstein as your model you can see that the probability of this being true is nil.  While Studio heads like Mayer, the Warners, and Harry Cohn maintained a cover of being All-American Boys while not recognizing that their Studios which were managed closely from the top were not controlled by Reds must be pure bushwa.  They had to be involved if not ringlearders.  But none of the Hollywood people wished to be known as Communists.  They were all taken advantage of by Left wing groups.  What a bunch of overly naive innocents.

     So, Leopard Men can be read as a portrayal of this very dangerous situation in which ERB found himself.  The Leopard Men with their secrecy and infiltration of all the tribes can easily be equated with the Communists.  The witch doctor, Sobito, of the Utengas who pretends to be a loyal Utengan while he is actually a Leopard Man betraying his own people into their hands is a prime example as on a more proletarian level is Lupingu who actually betrays the army of Orando.

     So, one might say that Uncle Joe Stalin, to use FDR’s term, with his love of movies had an actual hand in Hollywood, one of the two capitols of the Communist world, the other being Moscow.  It is not improbable that story lines were formulated in Moscow being sent to traitors like Dalton Trumbo to be worked up into serviceable scripts for American consumption.

     Stalin’s agent H.G. Wells who was making derogatory attacks on several honest writers was writing furiously at this moment.  As much as I personally like Wells, the man must be debunked.  Wells met with Charlie Chaplin, another notorious Red, in Hollywood in 1935.  Already a courier between Uncle Joe and Roosevelt, what messages did he carry to Chaplin and the Hollywood Reds?  Remember Wells wrote the propaganda novel The Shape Of Things To Come in 1933, followed by the movie Things To Come in 1935.  If you haven’t seen the movie of which Wells had nearly complete control it is worth seeing.  More than once.

     Leopard Men as a possible commentary on the Utopian Wells presents what must be the most vile dystopia ever conceived.  Worse than Orwell.  As in Invincible of the year or so before in which Tarzan singlehandedly foils Stalin and the Soviet plot, in this one he destroys the Leopard Men.  At least within the vicinity of Utengans which might be to say, Hollywood.  It is only after the Leopard Men are destroyed that Tarzan pays any attention to Kali Bwana and Old Timer thus there are two stories.  In the battle between the Utengans and Leopard Men , Tarzan once again gets his head bashed but when he comes to he has regained his memory.  No longer Orando’s Muzimo he goes back to his old ways as Lord Of The Jungle.

     Interestingly the first thing he does when he comes to is call for Nkima.  The two are inseparable in this novel.  The relationship between the two and their characters deserves an in depth study.

     By the time the novel was written in July-September the proceedings for the making of Tarzan, The Ape Man must have been well advanced.  I’m not ware of the date that Weissmuller was selected for the role but probably by or during this time.  He would have needed time to memorize the lines or at least perfect the Tarzan yell.  Nor do I know the exact date ERB obtained  his copy of W.S. Van Dyke’s Horning Into Africa.  I would imagine that he had at least met Van Dyke by the time of writing.  Possibly ERB’s rather gruesome concentration on cannibalism may have been meant as a refutation of Van Dyke’s statement that there was absolutely no proof any African had ever been a cannibal.  There’s fair evidence in Horning Into Africa that Van Dyke knew which side his bread was buttered on expressing himself accordingly.

     While ERB took his main frame from the Horn book and movie he gussied the story up with plenty of his own motives and themes.  Just as Invincible was anti-Communist so Leopard Men probably is too.  Since we’ve covered the politics we might as well go on to religion in Part III.

 

Exhuming Bob X:

Lubavitcher Bob

by

R.E. Prindle

There’s something happening here

But you don’t know what it is,

Do you, Mr. Jones?

-Bob Dylan

Bob En Regalia

Bob En Regalia

 

     In 1979 Bob publicly embraced Jesus as his personal savior.  This was widely seen as a conversion to Christianity because Bob went to the Vineyard Fellowship of Tarzana for indoctrination into the Christian mysteries.  He could hardly have learned Christianity from Jewish circles although the Jewish group of Jews For Jesus was already active.  Pharasaic Jews have always despised Jews For Jesus so that may not have been a viable option for Bob.

     While non-Jews may be scandalized by the concept of Jews embracing Jesus there is no reason for them to be astounded.  After all Jesus was a Jew, preaching to Jews in the Jewish tradition.  The early Christian movement was entirely Jewish.  They were Jews of the Jews who had accepted Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.  Christianity became a universal religion only after Paul reconstructed it shedding the practices most repellent to gentiles while the Hellennic  or Greek religion and philosophy was grafted onto the religion which gave it substance and intellectual vigor displacing Semitic stultification.

     There should be little wonder then that Jewish Christianity should resurface  two thousand years later with Bob as its Messiah.

     Bob was uniquely trained for the role.  He grew up in a Christian community dominated by the Hillbilly music on the radio with a large and active Jewish congregation.  His father thought of himself as a Jewish scholar while heading the local chapter of B’nai B’rith and ADL.  His father was covertly ultra-orthodox.

     In 1990 Bob wrote a letter to the editor of a publication called Sister2Sister. (Bob’s Unshakeable Monotheism, Part IV, Scott Marshall http://www.jewsweek.com/ ) in which he said:

…until the entire world believes and obeys the same God, there can be no truth or justice or peace for anyone.

     What that means in the age old Jewish notion that as God’s chosen people they are destined to bring their vision of God to all the peoples of the Earth at which time they will become a nation of priests, the rulers and overseers of all others.  The Supreme People placed between God and humanity as demi-gods.

     The notion did not necessarily occur to Bob in 1990 but was placed in his mind at a much earlier date.  It would always have been present in the synagogue.  Anyone who has ever attended Jewish services will be be struck by the insistence that Jews are to rule the world and all the peoples.  It is the duty of every Jew to further that work.

     Whether Bob had the Messianic impulse before his Bar Mitzvah is the question.  It may have been there in embryo.  In 1954 as Bob was about to turn thirteen his father, Abraham, who obviously believed the proper religious education was lacking in Hibbing sent for a Lubavitcher Rebbe from Brooklyn to come to Hibbing specifically to indoctrinate Bob in the more recondite lore of the ultra-orthodox.  The intensity of the instruction would be virtual hypnosis.  It was at this point, I believe, that the Messianic impulse was fixed in Bob’s mind.

     The indoctrination had devastating results for the young boy’s character and personality.  He went off the rails becoming wild and dissolute.  In searching for a means to spread the message he had received he hit on music and from there it led into folk music.  Folk music had a special appeal because it was a pure expression of the dominant culture.  If one subverted folk music one subverted the culture.

     Thus after being  initiated into folk at Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota Bob left for the Big Apple, New York City.  The Folk scene of Greenwhich Village in New York was a virtual Jewish enclave or colony.  A great many Jews were already doing what Bob set out to do.  Disoriented by his conflicts between his Jewish and Christian education Bob nevertheless set about changing Folk music, discarding the content for Jewish themes while retaining the outer forms.  The Jewish world organization realizing they had something in Bob gave him maximum publicity actually turning him into a messianic figure through television and magazines.

     The stresses of intense fame to his personality and character were terrific almost destroying him.  Bob retreated at the height of his fame in 1966 after having established himself with three terrifically influential record albums.  His mind was now focused and somewhat cleared.  Placing a large Bible in the middle of his living room for easy reference Bob and his band worked and experimented with the Folk and old timey oeuvre of the White Christian hill people.  Once again retaining the forms while stripping the material of the content, he infused Jewish Biblical content which was familiar to the Christian culture into the material.  The immediate result was John Wesley Harding which is a Jewish religious album in tradtional White Christian dress. 

     The result is quite remarkable and on that basis is an astounding work of Jewish genius.  Unaware of what was being done to them White Americans could offer no defense except rejection.  There were quite a few of us who walked away from Bob at that point.  I can’t say that I understood what Bob had done but I felt the insult to my sensibilities.

     Thus, in retrospect, Bob’s so-called Christian period became inevitable as his strategy slowly unfolded in his mind.  There is no conflict with Bob’s intense Jewishness in his combined religious entities, or reclaiming the Jewish Jesus for Judaism.  Nothing could be more natural.

     The preemption of the goi culture for Judaism is the astonishing achievement of little Bobby Zimmerman.  Long after the fact there are still few who get it.

 

Note: The old Jewsweek format has been discontinuted.  The text is no longer available on that site.

 

A Review

Slum Goddess From The Lower East Side

Some Thoughts On The Autobiography Of Suze Rotolo:

A Freewheelin’ Time

by

R.E. Prindle

 

1.

Sandoz The Great

Hoffman Holding LSD Model
Hofman Holding LSD Model

     In 1938 Albert Hofman, a Swiss chemist working for Sandoz isolated LSD-25.  In 1938 young Tim Leary was 18 years old.  It was in 1943 that Albert Hofman discovered the effects of LSD.  Seventeen years after that LSD burt onto the world through the agency of the now, Dr., Timothy Leary, a psychologist with Harvard University.

     LSD was adopted by the Bohemian society and all its offshoots as the appearance of the new chemical Messiah:  Better living through chemistry as the slogan was.  Its use quickly spread through the folk music community of Greenwich Village in New York City.

Timothy Leary Is Dead

Timothy Leary Is Dead

Goodbye Tuli. Died 7/12/10

     In 1923 a fellow by the name of Tuli Kupferberg was born and his partner Ed Sanders came along in 1939 a year after I did.  Kupferberg and Sanders were poets who became influenced by the folk scene forming a band sometime in 1964 originally called the Village Fugs, later the Village was dropped and they became simply the Fugs.  In 1965 they released their first LP on Folkways.  Now, cut one, side one was little number entitled Slum Goddess From The Lower East Side.  Sort of OK as a song, funny, as were a lot of Fugs songs.  Like Dylan they searched for social significance rather than write trite love songs.  Unlike Dylan you could easily understand the meaning of the lyrics.  Slum Goddess was one and then there was a song that many of us thought significant in the social sense back in those days entitled:  Boobs A Lot.  ‘Do you like boobs a lot?  Gotta like boobs a lot.’  As I said deep and intense meaning.  This was followed by a song eulogizing jock straps.  ‘Do you wear your jock strap?  Gotta wear your jock strap.’  So the Fugs were with it.

     At some point after 1965 the Village Voice decided to run a feature depicting some East Village lovely as the Slum Goddess From The Lower East Side.  Suze Rotolo had the dubious honor of being selected as the very first Slum Goddess.

     To what did she owe this honor?  Well, she was famous on the Lower East Side for being featured on the album cover of Bob Dylan’s second LP, The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan.  She was at that time, 1962, I believe, Bob’s girl friend or, at least, one of them, perhaps the principle one but one can’t be sure as Bob had others as ‘part time’ girl friends.

     Thus one has to go back to the summer of 1961 to discover how Suze Rotolo began her odyssey to become the very first Slum Goddess.  Suze tells her story in her autobiography issued in May of 2008 called A Freewheelin’ Time.  It is a bitter sweet story not lacking in charm.  Bob was born in 1941 while Suze was born three years later.  All the disparate elements in our story born at separate times were slowly moving to a central focal point in New York City from 1961 to 1965 or so.

     Suze and Bob were of that age when freewheelin’ seemed possible while the psychological social moment was about to congeal and then vanish before it could be realized as psychological moments do.  Some catch the golden ring as it come around, some don’t.  Bob did, Suze didn’t.

     Suze was born in Queens, over there on Long Island, as a red diaper baby.  In other words in the romanticized Communist parlance her parents were Communists when she was born.  She was brought up in the faith.

     Bob described her as a libertine dream or some such epithet.  I’m not sure Suze saw herself in the same way.  I think she expected a little more of Bob than to be his sex toy.  As a Communist she should have had a more freewheelin’ attitude.

     Suze seems to have been brought up completely within the Red religion much as a Christian might be a Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran or as Jew in whatever stripe of Judaism it might be.

     She edged into race agitation at a young age.  She met Bob when she was seventeen while she had been working for CORE  (Congress Of Racial Equality) for  a couple years before that.  She would have been fifteen or sixteen.  Whether she had sexual experiences with the Africans she doesn’t tell us.  In her search for a raison d’ etre for her life she found herself in Greenwich Village in the Summer of ’61 where she met the twenty year old Bob Dylan just in from the Iron Range of Minnesota.  They were mutually attracted, quickly forming a sexual relationship.

     Bob as everyone knows was and is Jewish.  He came not only from a Jewish background but from an orthodox background.  Hibbing, Minnesota, his hometown, had a Jewish population of about three hundred families with their own Jewish establishment and synagogue.

     According to Beattie Zimmerman, Bob’s mother, Bob was a good boy who attended services regularly while investigating the nature of the various Christian churches.  As a mother Beattie’s version of things must be interpreted through the eyes of mother love.

     Father Abe was not only a practising Jew but the President of the Hibbing chapter of B’nai B’rith and its terrorist arm the Anti-Defamation League.  In addition Beattie, Bob’s mother, was the President of the Women’s auxiliary, Hadassah.  So Bob isn’t just Jewish but comes from a very committed Jewish background.

     As the President of the Hibbing chapter, Father Abe would have attended statewide gatherings in Minneapolis, regional meetings wherever they were held and possibly if not probably national meetings in NYC and elsewhere.  Now, within the international Jewish organizations heavy hitters attend various levels of meetings where they meet and learn something of the various local and regional people.  Thus, it may be assumed that Abe Zimmerman as a name at least was known on the national Jewish level.  Kind of the Jewish Who’s Who, you know.  Bob says that he had contacts to help him when he got to New York.  Those contacts would have come through Father Abe while being part of B’nai B’rith and ADL.  Bob wasn’t entirely alone out there.

     Bob’s Jewish name is Sabtai after the last acknowledged Jewish Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi.  There have been many that filled a Messianic role since Zevi not least of which was Sigmund Freud and possibly Albert Einstein.  Bob may have been encouraged to take the role for himself.

     At any rate when Bob approached thirteen and Bar Mitzvah time Abe brought in a special Rabbi from Brooklyn to instruct Bob.  Now this is really signficant.  He was probably a Lubavitcher or ultra-orthodox Jew.  When Bob publicly expressed his Judaism after his Christian stint he chose to do so as a Lubavitcher.  Very likely that was no coincidence.  Having received his crash course in orthodoz Judaism Father Abe next sent his son to a Zionist summer camp for ‘several ‘ weeks for each of four successive summers ending at the age of seventeen.  This would have the effect of introducing him to young Jews not only of the region but from around the world while at the same time estranging him from his fellow Hibbingites giving him his strange cast of character.

     Camp Herzl was named after the originator of Zionism, Theodore Herzl.  the camp with a spacious hundred and twenty acres is located on a lake near Webster, Wisconsin.  Herzl is not your basic summer church camp but a national and international gathering place where young Jews from around the US and the world can meet and get known to each other somewhat.

     The camp is conducted exclusively for Jews along Jewish lines eliminating as many goyish influences as is possible.  At least when he was seventeen Bob was playing the Wild One showing up in a mini biker cavalcade.  One may assume that many national and international Jewish figures made appearances over the four years to both instruct, encourage and look over the upcoming generation.

     The post-war years were very traumatic for the Jewish people.  The death camps of the Nazis dominated their minds.  They were psychologically devastated and unbalanced looking for Nazis under their beds before they went to sleep at night.  One may safely assume that Bob and his fellow campers had to watch extermination movies over and over lest they forget.

     The State of Israel was founded in 1948 while the first of Israel’s successful wars occurred in 1956.  The ’56 war was a seminal event bolstering the spirits of the Jews turning them aggressive as they now believed they could fight.  After ’56 they began to come out of themselves.

     For whatever reasons as Bob entered high school his personality began to disintegrate.  Perhaps he had to cease being Bobby Zimmerman to become what his people expected of him which was a probable religious leader who then became Bob Dylan.  As always Bob would combine two cultures, Jewish and Goyish.

     After an extremely rocky year in Minneapolis where Bob shed the remnants of his goody goody image of Hibbing he became the dirty unkempt Bob Dylan of his rush to fame of the Folk years.

     Thus as Bob and Suze met in the Summer of ’61 they were both searching for something to be.

Part 2.

Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

Just We Two

Just We Two

     The question now that Suze and Bob have gotten together is to sort out the various accounts of what happened.  Bob says everyone has gotten it wrong.  However his own account in Chronicles I is no more factual than the accounts of his biographers and commentators.  Suze doesn’t provide us with much more clarity.  While Bob tells it like he wanted it to have been Suze on the the one hand protects her memory of what she wants to keep as a beautiful memory while glossing over her own actions at the time to keep it so.

     Bob goes through the romantic notion of constructing their bed with saw, hammer and nails.  This is a charming story and I’m embarrassed to say I took him at his word.  You simply can’t.  Chronicles came out four years ago so Suze has had plenty of time to read it and mull over Bob’s ruminations.  Thus she must be aware of Bob’s story of the bed.  She says it was an old bed the landlord left from another tenant.  Another beautiful tale of Bob’s down the tubes.

     Suze rather unflatteringly depicts Bob as a rouster and fairly heavy drinker.  She was offended that Bob, who was posing as Bob Dylan, not yet having officially changed his name, didn’t level with her and confide that Dylan was a pseudonym that looked better on a marquee while his real name was Zimmerman and that he came from Minnesota rather than being an orphan from New Mexico.  Coming home one night, as Suze tells it, Bob, stumblingly drunk, dropped his ID and she discovered the truth as she picked it up.  Even then she had to drag the truth out of Bob.

     These problems mounted up.  There was immediate hostility between Bob, Suze’s mother and her sister Carla.  The mother seems to have instinctively seen through Bob, while I’m sure Carla soon learned that Bob was doing her sister wrong.

      As we know from Chronicles Bob had other ‘part-time’ girl friends, pick ups and whatever.  As the folk crowd was a fairly tight knit group even if Suze didn’t want to hear the obvious Carla who was employed by the Folklorist, Alan Lomax, could hardly have been unaware that Bob had a laissez faire attitude toward romancing the girls.

     Indeed, Bob’s understanding of Suze was that she was his Libertine belle.  As a libertine therefore he could hardly have believed fidelity was a necessary condition.  I don’t know if Suze considered herself a Libertine but as a Communist both fidelity and jealousy were forbidden by the dogma so speaking consistently with the belief system neither mother, Suze nor Carla had grounds for complaint.   Nevertheless both mother and Carla wished to separate Bob and Suze.

     Bob records his side of the conflict in his song Ballad in Plain D.  In his usual high flown language Bob says in his song:

“The tragic figure!” her sister did shout,

“Leave her alone, goddamn you, get out.”

All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight.

I gagged twice, doubled, tears blinding my sight.

My mind it was mangled, I ran into the night

Leaving all of love’s ashes behind me.

     Within a few months he was married to Sara who he kept waiting in the wings.  Subsequently he tried to keep Sara and his growing family in Woodstock and the Slum Goddess Of The Lower East Side out on the side.  Suze, apparently not quite as Libertine as Bob supposed, declined the honor.

     Just as Bob blithely romanticizes his early NY years in some sappy Happy Talk that belies his songs and what nearly everyone has written about him so Suze adopts a near virginal girlish pose.  Her story of how she left for Italy and her true blue yearning for the perfect love of Bob who sent those charming letters purloined from old country songs is also belied by the various biographers.  To hear Suze talk she never looked at a boy in Italy and certainly never dated one let alone kissed or petted.  Yet by her religious Communist ideology that would have been no sin, even would have been a virtue.  In fact she did have an Italian boyfriend who was apparently dropped down the memory hole at autobiography time.

     When she did return the road of romance was much more rocky than she lets on.  Carla who stayed home where she could watch Bob was privy to his doings which were much more libertine than anything he accused Suze of.  He had to have slept with Liam Clancy’s live in somewhere in there.  He’s accused of being a womanizer and you can’t be a womanizer without a lot of women.  So whatever Carla knew it was somewhat more than an earful and I’m sure that between Carla and her mother Suze heard it all.

     Suze out of respect for this young love which, after all, must still occupy a sacred spot in her life never expresses but the mildest resentment of Bob but letting her sister speak for her she says that ‘she (Carla) felt I was better off without the lyin’ cheatin’ manipulative bastard.’  Right on all counts I’m sure except for the last although as Bob claimed to have no parents Carla could justly so surmise.

     At any rate if Suze couldn’t make up her mind her mother and Carla could.

     Ballad In Plain D again:

Beneath a bare light bulb the plaster did pound

Her sister and I in a screaming battleground,

And she in between, the victim of sound,

Soon shattered the child ‘neath her shadows.

—–

The wind knocks my window, the room it is is wet.

The words to say I’m sorry, I haven’t found yet.

I think of her often and hope whoever she’s met

Will be fully aware of how precious she is.

     And then Bob married Sara and ruined her life.

     While Suze and Bob talked marriage there is no reason to take that seriously; he talked marriage with Echo too.  I don’t think Bob had any notion of marrying aouside his faith.  The mother is the culture carrier; Bob is firmly within the Jewish culture so there could have been no chance that he would have taken other than a Jewish wife.  Even then he may have married only to fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.  Once he had fulfilled that duty he broke the marriage apart.

3.

The Slum Goddess

I'm Leaving Town Tommorow

I'm Leaving Town Tommorow

     Suze was now a young woman of twenty or twenty-one alone adrift in New York City.  While she and Bob were having their tempestuous romance the times they were a changin’.

     Tim Leary, up in harvard, had embraced psychedelics.  Once in love with LSD he wanted to share his love with everyone.  He became the High Priest of his psychedelic religion.  I can recommend both his autobiography and his volume of reminiscences: High Priest.  The latter is a spectacularly well written book if tending toward tediousness.

     Leary’s experiments attracted the dark angel of the Hippie years, Allen Ginsberg.  Ginsberg also attached himself to Dylan tying the Beat and Hippie decades together.  Vile man.

     Bob had introduced Suze to Marijuana and what else I don’t know, perhaps LSD.  He himself was into the pharmacopeia also undoubtedly dabbling in heroin although if he did he is still an addict or was successful in kicking the habit after his retreat from fame in ’66.  That whole thing about the motorcycle accident may have been just rehab.  He sure needed it.

     As Bob notes the effect of LSD on the Greenwich Village folk scene was to turn people inward destroying any sense of community.  Suze then was attempting to navigate this terra nova.  Along with turning people inward, LSD, the drug scene, turned the scene sexually rasty in ways even the Communists couldn’t have imagined.  The Pill coming along at this time certainly was as influential as LSD in changing sexual mores.

     Suze, if aware of this, makes no mention of it in her auto.  The Fugs released Slum Goddess in 1965 although they may possibly have been playing it around the Village for a year or two earlier.  The Slum Goddess is not a savory woman.

     That Suze was selected as the first Slum Goddess strikes my sensibilities as a negative compliment.  Her presentation of it implies a souring experience.  Shortly after her selection she chose to withdraw from Village life.  She gives as the reason that her earlier relations with Bob caused upleasant curiosity and that was certainly true.

     The scene turned absolutely rotten after 1968 when between drugs, profound negativity and the progressing degradation of the Hippie movement anyone with any sense of dignity was driven out.

     Suze must have been one of us for she left the scene behind.  There are few today who choose to remember it.  As for me, life is life, there it was and there was I.  I was who I was; je ne regret rien.  I hope Suze doesn’t either.  Bob?  He just stays on the bus and doesn’t get off.  Reality can be such a drag.

Forget About Yesterday

Forget About Yesterday