Tag Archives: Suzanne Collins

R.I.P. Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925-July 31, 2012—the last aristocratic Democrat, a Sexually Liberated William Buckley—with thoughts on the leftist naiveté that led Timothy McVeigh’s most vocal supporter to misunderstand April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City Completely….

I for one will never forget those two April 19ths, in 1993 and 1995.  On April 19 in 1993 I was working in the chambers of United States District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, one of the most upstanding men I have ever known, and everyone in the chambers was speechless as we gathered around the television to watch the events unfolding in my native Texas, just outside of the town of Waco, where I had stopped a thousand times if once on the way from Dallas to Austin/Lago Vista.  As it happened, I was IN Lago Vista on April 19, 1995—at a horribly dull country club luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club (I might even have been a speaker that day, I don’t remember).

What I saw that Gore Vidal failed to see in his treatment of Timothy McVeigh, the most thoughtful treatment of Oklahoma City anywhere in the media, was that the government had apparently actually implemented the program of domestic terrorism which I had heard predicted by my friends in Washington in 1989-1991—around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union….  Washington Bureaucrats needed a new Perpetual but “Cold” War to maintain their power, and they had predicted with uncanny precision an outbreak of domestic terrorism in the 1990s.

As I have written many times before on these pages, 1963-1972 was the decade of major political figure assassinations in the implementation and justification of domestic and international policy, but 1992-2001 was the decade of domestic terrorism in the implementation and justification of domestic and international policy.  The Watergate Scandal, Jimmy Carter’s naiveté and Ronald Reagan’s major program of “Neo-Con” solidification of the New Deal and Great Society dominated the 1970s and 80s….. but George H. W. Bush (41st President) was ready for a new advance in the Police State and the New World Order, globally speaking…and William Jefferson Clinton was more than obliging to implement that program…. Newt Gingrich and his “Contract on America” took the Congress in the 1994 elections, taking office in 1995.  The crowning achievement of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract” and the Republican Congress in the 1995-1997 term that defined this era in U.S. History was the April 19, 1995 domestic terrorist attack by a supposedly white conservative patriot in the heartland, Oklahoma City, where nothing politically important had ever happened before except for the 1948 convention of Strom Thurmond’s Democratic States’ Rights “Dixiecrat” Party, and the resultant Bill-of-Rights killing AEDPA—the infamous “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996”.  AEDPA, Newt Gingrich’s triumphant abrogation of Habeas Corpus and the substantive and procedural “due process” protections of the 4th, 5th, & 6th Amendments to the Constitution, laid the foundation for the much more draconian 2001 Patriot Act, which was already prepared and ready to sign when George W. Bush (43rd President) completed his Dad’s plans for the transformation of America into a Corporate-Socialist Dictatorship of Deception…a sophisticatedly postmodernist Communist state within the Global New World Order where two mulatto Secretaries of State (Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice) paved the way for the first mulatto President of (highly controversial) African birth and/or parentage.

Without AEDPA and the Patriot Act, the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (Senate Bill 1867) could never have passed to finally lay the Bill of Rights in this Country into an unpeaceful grave under that first tragic mulatto President (and what a tragic MULE or mullet he really is…)

I do not understand how anyone as insightful and sophisticated as Gore Vidal could possibly have missed the clear trends and associations in and among the events of 1993-2001, or how he could have suppressed his comments if he saw them, but looking back over his fabled Vanity Fair article and related writings on McVeigh, I simply do not believe that Vidal ever quite could overcome his age, the fact that he was born in north the 1920s and wanted to believe in the grander myth of a good Yankee America…. to accept that just as much as Ruby Ridge and Waco, Oklahoma City and 9-11 were tailor-made designer products to implement and justify the suppression of the American Constitution of 1787.

Perhaps it is easier for those with Southern Heritage to see the modern corruption of our country for what it is, namely the end result of a process of degradation that began in 1861….and is not quite over yet.   Still, I will heartily miss Gore Vidal’s erudite commentary…. I agreed with much of what he said and wrote and the brilliance of his mind was undeniable.

He may have been “conservative” as Hollywood Democrats go, but that just reflects how far left that party (and “the culture of Hollywood”) really have gone….  Gore Vidal was certainly not a Conservative Democrat by comparison with men like the Harry F. Byrds, (Sr. & Jr.), Robert Carlise Byrd, James O. Eastland, Sam Ervin, Olin D. Johnston, John Stennis, Eugene and Herman Eugene Talmadge, Strom Thurmond, or George Corley Wallace.  Nor is his analysis of the post-Constitutional world of America quite as on-point as former Alabama theatrical studies student Suzanne Collins.   But Gore Vidal was a breath of fresh air among the establishment elite—especially compared to other so-called “Eastern Aristocrats” such as the despicable Bushes….who Vidal always staunchly opposed and justly (if insufficiently) criticized.

Here in his memory is Gore Vidal’s Vanity Fair Essay on Timothy McVeigh as a misguided “Sanity Fair” Patriot (rather than, as I would see him, just an extremely well-trained “patsy” who played his governmentally designated role scrupulously and admirably, exactly as Andreas Breivik in Norway and James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado are doing right now, at this very moment):

truth and politics

The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh

Americans were fed the story of Timothy McVeigh’s trial and execution as a simple, unquestionable narrative: he was guilty, he was evil, and he acted largely alone. Gore Vidal’s 1998 Vanity Fair essay on the erosion of the U.S. Bill of Rights caused McVeigh to begin a three-year correspondence with Vidal, prompting an examination of certain evidence that points to darker truths—a conspiracy willfully ignored by F.B.I. investigators, and a possible cover-up by a government waging a secret war on the liberty of its citizens.

Toward the end of the last century but one, Richard Wagner made a visit to the southern Italian town of Ravello, where he was shown the gardens of the thousand-year-old Villa Rufolo. “Maestro,” asked the head gardener, “do not these fantastic gardens ’neath yonder azure sky that blends in such perfect harmony with yonder azure sea closely resemble those fabled gardens of Klingsor where you have set so much of your latest interminable opera, Parsifal? Is not this vision of loveliness your inspiration for Klingsor?” Wagner muttered something in German. “He say,” said a nearby translator, “‘How about that?’”

How about that indeed, I thought, as I made my way toward a corner of those fabled gardens, where ABC-TV’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Early Show had set up their cameras so that I could appear “live” to viewers back home in God’s country.

This was last May. In a week’s time “the Oklahoma City Bomber,” a decorated hero of the Gulf War, one of Nature’s Eagle Scouts, Timothy McVeigh, was due to be executed by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana, for being, as he himself insisted, the sole maker and detonator of a bomb that blew up a federal building in which died 168 men, women, and children. This was the greatest massacre of Americans by an American since two years earlier, when the federal government decided to take out the compound of a Seventh-Day Adventist cult near Waco, Texas. The Branch Davidians, as the cultists called themselves, were a peaceful group of men, women, and children living and praying together in anticipation of the end of the world, which started to come their way on February 28, 1993. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, exercising its mandate to “regulate” firearms, refused all invitations from cult leader David Koresh to inspect his licensed firearms. The A.T.F. instead opted for fun. More than 100 A.T.F. agents, without proper warrants, attacked the church’s compound while, overhead, at least one A.T.F. helicopter fired at the roof of the main building. Six Branch Davidians were killed that day. Four A.T.F. agents were shot dead, by friendly fire, it was thought.

There was a standoff. Followed by a 51-day siege in which loud music was played 24 hours a day outside the compound. Then electricity was turned off. Food was denied the children. Meanwhile, the Media were briefed regularly on the evils of David Koresh. Apparently, he was making and selling crystal meth; he was also—what else in these sick times?—not a Man of God but a Pedophile. The new attorney general, Janet Reno, then got tough. On April 19 she ordered the F.B.I. to finish up what the A.T.F. had begun. In defiance of the Posse Comitatus Act (a basic bulwark of our fragile liberties that forbids the use of the military against civilians), tanks of the Texas National Guard and the army’s Joint Task Force Six attacked the compound with a gas deadly to children and not too healthy for adults while ramming holes in the building. Some Davidians escaped. Others were shot by F.B.I. snipers. In an investigation six years later, the F.B.I. denied ever shooting off anything much more than a pyrotechnic tear-gas cannister. Finally, during a six-hour assault, the building was set fire to and then bulldozed by Bradley armored vehicles. God saw to it that no F.B.I. man was hurt while more than 80 cult members were killed, of whom 27 were children. It was a great victory for Uncle Sam, as intended by the F.B.I., whose code name for the assault was Show Time.

It wasn’t until May 14, 1995, that Janet Reno, on 60 Minutes, confessed to second thoughts. “I saw what happened, and knowing what happened, I would not do it again.” Plainly, a learning experience for the Florida daughter of a champion lady alligator rassler.

The April 19, 1993, show at Waco proved to be the largest massacre of Americans by their own government since 1890, when a number of Native Americans were slaughtered at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Thus the ante keeps upping.

Although McVeigh was soon to indicate that he had acted in retaliation for what had happened at Waco (he had even picked the second anniversary of the slaughter, April 19, for his act of retribution), our government’s secret police, together with its allies in the Media, put, as it were, a heavy fist upon the scales. There was to be only one story: one man of incredible innate evil wanted to destroy innocent lives for no reason other than a spontaneous joy in evildoing. From the beginning, it was ordained that McVeigh was to have no coherent motive for what he had done other than a Shakespearean motiveless malignity. Iago is now back in town, with a bomb, not a handkerchief. More to the point, he and the prosecution agreed that he had no serious accomplices.

I sat on an uncomfortable chair, facing a camera. Generators hummed amid the delphiniums. Good Morning America was first. I had been told that Diane Sawyer would be questioning me from New York, but ABC has a McVeigh “expert,” one Charles Gibson, and he would do the honors. Our interview would be something like four minutes. Yes, I was to be interviewed In Depth. This means that only every other question starts with “Now, tell us, briefly … ” Dutifully, I told, briefly, how it was that McVeigh, whom I had never met, happened to invite me to be one of the five chosen witnesses to his execution.

Briefly, it all began in the November 1998 issue of Vanity Fair. I had written a piece about “the shredding of our Bill of Rights.” I cited examples of I.R.S. seizures of property without due process of law, warrantless raids and murders committed against innocent people by various drug-enforcement groups, government collusion with agribusiness’s successful attempts to drive small farmers out of business, and so on. (For those who would like further evidence of a government running amok, turn to page 397 of my The Last Empire.) Then, as a coda, I discussed the illegal but unpunished murders at Ruby Ridge, Idaho (a mother and child and dog had been killed in cold blood by the F.B.I.); then, the next year, Waco. The Media expressed little outrage in either case. Apparently, the trigger words had not been spoken. Trigger words? Remember The Manchurian Candidate? George Axelrod’s splendid 1962 film, where the brainwashed (by North Koreans) protagonist can only be set in murderous motion when the gracious garden-club lady, played by Angela Lansbury, says, “Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?”

Since we had been told for weeks that the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh, was not only a drug dealer but the sexual abuser of the 27 children in his compound, the maternal Ms. Reno in essence decreed: Better that they all be dead than defiled. Hence, the attack. Later, 11 members of the Branch Davidian Church were put on trial for the “conspiracy to commit murder” of the federal agents who had attacked them. The jury found all 11 innocent on that charge. But after stating that the defendants were guilty of attempted murder—the very charge of which they had just been acquitted—the judge sentenced eight innocent church members up to 40 years on lesser charges. One disgusted juror said, “The wrong people were on trial.” Show Time!

Personally, I was sufficiently outraged to describe in detail what had actually happened. Meanwhile, the card players of 1998 were busy shuffling and dealing. Since McVeigh had been revealed as evil itself, no one was interested in why he had done what he had done. But then “why” is a question the Media are trained to shy away from. Too dangerous. One might actually learn why something had happened and become thoughtful. I wrote in these pages:

For Timothy McVeigh, [Waco and Ruby Ridge] became the symbol of [federal] oppression and murder. Since he was now suffering from an exaggerated sense of justice, not a common American trait, he went to war pretty much on his own and ended up slaughtering more innocents than the Feds had at Waco. Did he know what he was doing when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City because it contained the hated [Feds]? McVeigh remained silent throughout his trial. Finally, as he was about to be sentenced, the court asked him if he would like to speak. He did. He rose and said, “I wish to use the words of Justice Brandeis dissenting in Olmstead to speak for me. He wrote, ‘Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.’” Then McVeigh was sentenced to death by the government.

July 18 in History—-Great Fire of Rome under Nero, A.D. 64, End of Papal Authority in England under King Henry VIII in 1536, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf published in 1925 Edward Kennedy Drive’s off Chappaquiddick Bridge in 1969 while Apollo 11 Heading Towards the Moon—thoughts Tom Lehrer’s “The Year that Was” = 1965, also the first year without silver coinage in U.S. History, the year of (truly deadly) Immigration and Nationality Act if 1965, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the time-setting for Wes Anderson’s movie “Moonrise Kingdom”—with memories of an America that is truly Gone with the Wind….and July 18-23 there was massive flooding in Missouri….

I went to see Moonrise Kingdom for the Third Time last night and was reflecting on the significance of the choice of 1965 as the historical setting for a nostalgic movie about an all-white American small town community such as hardly exists anymore.  1965 was the subject of Tom Lehrer’s wonderful album of political and social satire called “The year that was”—“this year being the hundredth anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the 20th anniversary of the end of World War II, it’s been a good year for the War Buffs.”  He also noted that Malcolm X was assassinated that year on February 21, the first day of National Brotherhood Week, Winston Churchill died at the age of 90, and the nation trembled at the threat of Southern Resistance to Federal Power from Sheriff Clark in Georgia and (in a song about Nuclear Proliferation: “we’ll try to stay serene and calm, when ALABAMA gets the BOMB… who’s next? who’s next? who’s next?  WHO’S NEXT?”   The Heroic George Corley Wallace was then in his first term as Governor of that same terrifying Alabama… his first term was completed in 1966 and his wife Lurleen took over—as I’ve noted before, Lurleen in her short political career founded the school of theatre and dramatic arts which Suzanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games) attended.  If Lehrer could have foreseen the future in 1965, he probably also would have mentioned that this was Jim Garrison’s greatest year as District Attorney of Orleans Parish in New Orleans, when he began the investigations which ultimately led to his indictment of Clay Shaw for the Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the greatest of all of Oliver Stone’s movies, JFK.
1965 was indeed a critical year for the death of a much simpler, and a much better, America I knew only in its death agony years of 1966-1980 (I think it’s fair to say that, with the election of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the “Old America” was officially dead—it was Reagan’s job and role in history, in fact, to bury that old America even while he praised it….and appointed on fake conservative after another to stomp on the Old Constitutional Federal Republic’s grave….).
On a personal level, I did not know America at all in 1965 (except through TV and letters from my grandmother—people still wrote actual physical letters back then)—it was the last full year I was resident with my parents as toddler/small child in England.  My direct memories of the year are pretty much nil, the shock of relocating from Sloane Square in London, England to Highland Park in Dallas, Texas, was probably a much more powerful memory eraser than those flashes they use in “Men in Black”, especially at the age of 6….  But in 1965, there was the disastrous Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which set out to destroy whatever remained of the hopes that Adolf Hitler must have had in 1925 that America would be the future home and center of the “Greater German” race…. That was the year when Pakistanis and Indians were first invited to take over America’s gas stations, late night convenience stores, and motels.
And in fact, oddly enough, one of my earliest memories of an American businessman not related to me was of a certain “Mr. Lewis”—an elegant Southern White man who owned ran the Texaco station within walking distance (albeit “on the other side of the tracks”) from the Highland Park “Katy” Railway station.
Yes, there really was such a place, and yes, I really did learn how to walk or bike from my grandparents’ house to which I relocated in the summer of 1966 to Mr. Lewis’ filling station to buy “a penny’s worth of peanuts”—which was actually an extremely large cloth bag, probably about 2 lbs if memory serves.  Yes, that was a very different world.  Mr. Lewis was white (he lived just a few doors down from his Texaco Station, which he had operated probably for 30 years by the time I met him and continued to operate until he died around 1980 or so) and all of his employees were white, and nobody ever thought anything of it then, and probably nobody else now remembers him or his employees except me, but I’m writing it all down as a historical fact because it was.
The first important historical fact I ever learned about 1965, I learned by the time I was nine because I had by then become an avid coin collector: 1965 was that the year that the U.S. stopped minting silver coins.  That in itself (the abolition of silver coinage) was a great tragedy, but I didn’t learn until much later that the U.S. actually went off the Silver Standard, and thus (apparently) forever abandoned Constitutional Currency.  Coppernickel dimes, quarters, and fifty cent pieces just never looked quite right side-by-side with their silver predecessors.
By about 1974-75, finishing High School at 14, taking a year off to go with my grandfather while he supervised cleaning and lubrication processes in cold climates during the construction of the first Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline from Anchorage to Point Barrow, and then starting my undergraduate college years at Tulane University (in August 1975, when I was 15, with a fake ID so I could drink), I had learned that August of 1965 was the year of the great “Voting Rights Act” which Texas to this very day (July 2012) is contesting in Federal Court, even though it was passed under the signature of the first Texas President, who was (in retrospect) the most disloyal to his state that any President could possibly be.
  • July 18, Anno Domini 64 Great fire of Rome: A fire begins to burn in the merchant area of Rome and soon burns completely out of control while Emperor Nero reportedly plays his lyre and sings while watching the blaze from a safe distance. 
  • July 18, Anno Domini 390 “BC – Roman-Gaulish Wars: Battle of the Allia – A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.” 
  • July 18, 1100 Jerusalem’s Godfrey of Bouillon dies at age 39 after successful forays against the Seljuk Turks that have taken him as far as Damascus
  • July 18, 1195 “Battle of Alarcos, great victory of Almohad ruler Abu Yusuf Ya’qub al-Mansur over the Castilian King Alfonso VIII.” 
  • July 18, 1536 Henry VIII declares himself the Head of the Church of England, having been “Fidei Defensor” for about 15 years already. 
  • July 18, 1536 The authority of the Pope is declared void in England. 
  • July 18, 1656 Polish-Lithuanian forces clashes with Sweden and its Brandenburg allies in the start of what is to be known as The Battle of Warsaw which ends in a decisive Swedish victory.  
  • July 18, 1753 “Lemuel Haynes, escapes from slaveholder in Framingham Mass” 
  • July 18, 1779 Commodore Abraham Whipple’s squadron captures 11 prizes in largest prize value of Revolutionary War. 
  • July 18, 1792 “John Paul Jones dies in Paris, France” 
  • July 18, 1813 “U.S. Frigate President captures British Daphne, Eliza Swan, Alert and Lion” during the War of 1812. 
  • July 18, 1814 British capture Prairie du Chien (Wisc) during the War of 1812….the British Couldn’t Figure out what to do with a town called “Prairie of the Dog” and this made them more willing to negotiate peace by November—which they did, only to lose the first land Battle of the War which they actually lost, namely the Battle of New Orleans, on January 8, 1815. 
  • July 18, 1830 Uruguay adopts its first constitution.  No one anywhere else really noticed or cared, but there were very few Nazi German escapees in South America at this point, so it wasn’t all that critical anyhow… 
  • July 18, 1853 “The first train to cross the US-Canada boundary, Portland, Maine – Montréal, Quebec”  
  • July 18, 1857 “Louis Faidherbe, French governor of Senegal, arrives to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall’s war on the French.”   These were indeed the early days of the French Foreign Legion.  The French Foreign Legion still exists and the French are still fighting the Muslims who came in from North Africa and decided France was a better place to live…. Vive Marine Le Pen…. 
  • July 18, 1861 American Civil War: Skirmish at Blackburn’s Ford prior to First Battle of Bull Run (1st Battle of Manassas).  Robert E. Lee should have marched on Washington at this point, but he made his first critical mistake by failing to do so—he was too much of a gentleman, as it turned out, ever to really win a war…. 
  • July 18, 1872 Britain introduces secret ballot voting. 
  • July 18, 1872 The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland introduces voting by secret ballot. 
  • July 18, 1873 Oscar II of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway in Trondheim. 
  • July 18, 1914 “The U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, this gives definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.” 
  • July 18, 1914 “US army air service first comes into being, in the Signal Corps” 
  • July 18, 1918 US & French forces launch Aisne-Marne offensive in WW I 
  • July 18, 1920 Naval aircraft sink ex-German cruiser Frankfurt in target practice. 
  • July 18, 1925 Adolf Hitler publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf. 
  • July 18, 1925 First edition of Mein Kampf is published.  
  • July 18, 1931 The first air-conditioned ship (Mariposa) launched 
  • July 18, 1932 US & Canada signed a treaty to develop St Lawrence Seaway 
  • July 18, 1936 “Spanish Civil War: Francisco Franco’s rebellion reaches peninsular Spain and the Fallangists (Fascists) conquer Galicia, west Castile, west Andalucia and Aragon.”  Essentially, Franco’s victory by this time was assured. 
  • July 18, 1938 “Douglas “”Wrong Way”” Corrigan arrives in Ireland-left New York for California” —you’d think he would have noticed that the Midwest had an awful lot of water in it—before he landed in Ireland, anyhow…. 
  • July 18, 1940 “Democratic National Convention, Chicago: President Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated for an unprecedented third term in office.”  This event, of course, was a necessary precursor to the abolition of the Silver Standard and Silver Coinage in 1965, and was not UNrelated to the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965, in that World War II was a necessary pre-requisite to the abolition of an identity-conscious/identity proud America.
  •  
    July 18, 1940 “The first successful helicopter flight, Stratford, Ct”
  • July 18, 1942 “Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe, first jet fighter, takes first flight”  
  • July 18, 1942 The first legal NJ horse race in 50 years; Garden State Park track opens 
  • July 18, 1943 “German submarine shoots down K-47, the first and only U.S. airship lost during WW II.” 
  • July 18, 1944 World War II: Hideki Tojo resigns as Prime Minister of Japan due to numerous setbacks in the war effort. 
  • July 18, 1947 US receives UN trusteeship over Pacific Islands 
  • July 18, 1951 Jersey Joe Walcott KOs Ezzard Charles in 5 for heavyweight belt 
  • July 18, 1951 Uruguay accepts its constitution 
  • July 18, 1953 Rock star Elvis Presley made his first recording in Sun Studios.
  • July 18, 1955 The first electric power generated from atomic energy sold commercially  
  • July 18, 1959 The first black to win a major golf tournament (William Wright) 
  • July 18, 1963 Number one hit on UK music charts – Frank Ifield – Confessin’ 
  • July 18, 1964 Race riot in Harlem (NYC); riots spread to Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bkln) 
  • July 18, 1965 “Zond 3 launched to fly by Moon, enters solar orbit” 
  • July 18, 1966 “Bobby Fuller rocker (I Fought the Law), found dead” 
  • July 18, 1966 “Launch of Gemini 10 with LCDR John W. Young, USN as Command Pilot. Mission involved 43 orbits at an altitude of 412.2 nautical miles and lasted 2 days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes. Recovery was by HS-3 helicopter from USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).” 
  • July 18, 1967 Silver hits record $1.87 an ounce in NY 
  • July 18, 1968 Intel incorporates 
  • July 18, 1968 “Vietnam War: The two-day Honolulu Conference begins in Honolulu, Hawaii between US President Lyndon B. Johnson and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu.” 
  • July 18, 1969 “After a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dies.”  
  • July 18, 1969 “Barbara Pepper actress (Doris Ziffel-Green Acres), dies at 57” 
  • July 18, 1969 “Joe Namath agrees to sell interest in Bachelors 3, to stay in NFL” 
  • July 18, 1969 Mary Jo Kopechne & Sen Kennedy plunge off Chappaquiddick bridge  
  • July 18, 1970 Arthur Brown arrested for stripping on stage in Palemo Sicily 
  • July 18, 1970 Ron Hunt gets hit by a pitch for a record 119th time 
  • July 18, 1970 “Willie Mays hits # 3,000” 
  • July 18, 1972 “200,000 attend Mt Pocono rock festival in Penns” 
  • July 18, 1973 “British actor Jack Hawkins actor, dies at 62” 
  • July 18, 1974 “World’s tallest structure, 646-m Polish radio mast, completed” 
  • July 18, 1976 “Gymnast Nadia Comaneci, age 14, scores first ever perfect 10 at the Olympics.” 
  • July 18, 1976 “Thiokol conducts 2-min firing of space shuttle’s SRB at Brigham, Ut” 
  • July 18, 1977 Vietnam joins the United Nations. 
  • July 18, 1978 Egyptian & Israeli officials begin 2 days of talks 
  • July 18, 1979 Gold hits record $303.85 an ounce in London 
  • July 18, 1980 Billy Joel’s Glass Houses album tops charts 
  • July 18, 1980 “Rohini 1, first Indian satellite, launches into orbit” 
  • July 18, 1982 “268 campesinos (“”peasants”” or “”country people””) are slain in the Plan de Snchez massacre in Ros Montt’s Guatemala.” 
  • July 18, 1984 James Huberty kills 21 McDonalds patrons in San Ysidro Calif 
  • July 18, 1984 James Oliver Huberty shot by police after killing 21 in McDonalds 
  • July 18, 1984 “McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California: In a fast-food restaurant, James Oliver Huberty opens fire, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others before being shot dead by police.” 
  • July 18, 1984 Walter F Mondale wins Democratic presidential nomination in SF 
  • July 18, 1986 A tornado is broadcast live on KARE television in Minnesota when the station’s helicopter pilot makes a chance encounter.

  • July 18, 1986 Videotapes released showing Titanic’s sunken remains 

  • July 18, 1987 Molly Yard elected new pres of Natl Org for Women 
  • July 18, 1987 Yanks Don Mattingly ties major league record of HRs in 8 cons games 
  • July 18, 1989 “Actress Rebecca Schaeffer is shot by a crazed fan, prompting California to pass America’s first anti-stalking law in 1990.” 
  • July 18, 1992 The ten victims of the La Cantuta massacre disappeared from their university in Lima. 
  • July 18, 1995 “On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the Soufriere Hills volcano erupts. Over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee.”  
  • July 18, 1996 “In an event very similar to the Oklahoma tornado that would occur three years later, an F5 tornado hit the town of Oakfield, Wisconsin.” 
  • July 18, 1996 “Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River, beginning one of Qubec’s costliest natural disasters ever.” 
  • July 18, 1997 8000 low-caste Indians riot in Mumbai (Bombay) following a funeral for 10 children who had been killed by police. 
  • July 18, 1998 “A 23-foot tidal wave kills nearly 3,000 people in Papua New Guinea.”
  • July 18, 2001 “In Baltimore, Maryland, a 60-car train derails in a tunnel, sparking a fire that lasted for days and virtually brought downtown Baltimore to a standstill.” 

A New Saint John the Baptist? Or is she doomed to the fate of Cassandra? Thoughts for June 23-24, Johannisnacht und Johannistag

I am sure that some readers are already weary of my Hunger Games obsession with this latest experiment in Science Fiction as Mythic Reality/Historical and Prophetic Allegory.  Rather like Saul of Tarsus blinded on the road to Damascus, I am a late convert, and have that same “recent convert’s fanaticism” that Paul had, which my grandmother always used to make fun of in people of our time. Having only discovered the series on March 23, 2012, when the movie came out, today, June 23, is my 90 day “anniversary” as a Hunger Games Fanatic—and to think I went to see it at midnight on that day merely out of a long-standing habit of trying to see movies on the early morning premier.  At that time I knew absolutely nothing about the series.  

But since then, I have not only seen the movie countless times and read all three books, but become convinced that Suzanne Collins is a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for—the future of North America.  My question today is whether she is the new Saint John, making straight in the desert a highway for our savior, or doomed to the fate of Cassandra of Troy—granted by Apollo the gift of prophecy but cursed never to be believed (until it’s quite too late).  

A close friend is facing an appeal of a major constitutional case in Florida that has already dragged on for seven years.  She is trying to decide whether to quit or go on forward.  I have told her there’s no purpose in proceeding unless she runs the race as if to win.  So I wrote her:

You have faced an unjust judge for a very long time, maybe even several.  (See Luke 18: 1-8, below).  Are you ready to faint?  If you want peace at last, I don’t want to sell you on anything.  I for my part do not fear fighting nearly so much as I fear the day when I might stop fighting.  The constant striving and the eternal journey, the quest, those are the most important parts of being alive, to me at least.  And I always quote what Victor Laszlo said to Rick in the movie Casablanca“You ask why do we keep on fighting?  You might as well ask why do we keep on breathing.  If we stop breathing, we die.  If we stop fighting, the world will die.”  I personally have lost more than most people in the world ever came near to having; I confess I was born into something like the top of the top 1%, certainly more than about 99% of the people in the world, outside of America and Western Europe, anyhow, could ever even have dreamt of having. While was growing up and, really, for a large part of my adult life, I had everything without working for it.  I don’t anymore, pure and simple.  That was a loss, but none of that deters me.  And none of that makes me feel anything but admiration for those who had had the strength and courage to work hard and achieve great things through dull hard work throughout their lives.
If it scares you to think of losing everything because you fight, then you really need to stop fighting.  Jesus died so that we might have a chance to be saved, that we might have a chance to live free—but He never once told us that freedom or salvation were easy—Look at Matthew 10:34-39, below my signature at the bottom of all of my letters…. do you want to take your cross and follow after him to Calvary (the “hill of the skull”?).  I do, but I don’t want to drag you if you don’t want to go.
From a different historical angle, but way similarly, from my new favorite books, the Hunger Games Trilogy, there is a song called “The Hanging Tree” (you know, the Cross is sometimes called a “Tree” and we know that crucified victims are always “hung” on the cross–albeit by nails in their arms rather than ropes….)
Here is the “Hanging Tree” that Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen learned from her father.  One of the beautiful parts of Suzanne Collins’ art, in my mind, is how she uses words to create and describe a heroine who is not at all skilled in verbal communication but whose emotional power and commitment always lead her to do the right thing. The intuitive truth in music and singing is a recurring motif in the books.  Katniss Everdeen, like C&W’s Loretta Lynn, was born a coal miner’s daughter, in a cabin on a hill in very poor corner Appalachia.  At one point, by a mountain lake cabin, Katniss spontaneously sings this song, which her father had taught her, primarily for the benefit of a mute and voiceless person whose voice box and tongue were cut out by the cruel NDAA-worthy “Capitol” government of Katniss’ highly centralized future North American Home called “Panem” (Panem is, I think a rather elaborate Classical Greek-Latin pun, I think, on the word “Bread” on the one hand and a previously decentralized confederation E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) subjected to a an all powerful “Pantocracy”—oppressive supreme government):
Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where they strung up a man they say murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run so we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.
Aside from being an eerily old-fashioned, even ancient-sounding piece created by Collins in the first decade of the 3rd Millennium, this song is a metaphoric foundation of a rebel dirge—a cross between Irish & Scots that is, in fact, somewhat characteristic of Appalachia.   The “man who murdered three” who was hanged on the tree, the man on the tree singing for his love to join him, was no ordinary criminal but a rebel, a revolutionary against the strong centralized government of Panem.
In the Germanic/Celtic tradition, hanging was the form of human sacrifice preferred. Even to commit suicide by rope was to identify with the God Odin/Wotan, who once, for nine nights hanged himself on a windy tree, “a sacrifice of myself to myself” as the Skaldic texts recited—the tree in question, the Linden Baum, was for a long time associated with hanging, suicide, and sacrifice, even into the 19th century where it figures in Franz Schubert’s song cycle “The Winter’s Journey” (Die Winterreise), never more ably performed than by the just recently departed Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.  The identity of the Hanged Man, even in Tarot card readings, with Christian sacrifice and prophecy seems inescapable.
In Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games (Vol. 3) the Hanged Man’s murders were not homicides committed in passion, then, nor for mere material/commercial gain, but were almost certainly acts of revolutionary defiance: SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS, probably the shooting of Capitol officials, Capitol Peacemakers, Coal Mining Company, or possibly even organizers of the sacrificial Hunger Games themselves.
I think Suzanne Collins is clearly commenting on the present for thousand different reasons, not the least of which is that, in the world of the Hunger Games, private ownership of guns and even bows and arrows is strictly forbidden, punishable by death…..GUN CONTROL by the Experts like Mao Tse Tung, Stalin, and Pol Pot, but being implemented today by the Senate, by the Department of State under Hillary Clinton, and by your favorite President and mine, Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, the child of a Kenyan Communist who grew up in Indonesia to become the first truly African (by his origin more than his race) President of the United States, and the first completely and overly anti-Constitutional, and anti-Capitalist, Dictator of the Proletariat.
In any event, in the song above, the Hanged Man’s public execution was punishment, but, as more importantly, the song itself, above, that Katniss sang to the mute victim of oppression, was banned an effective way to deter anyone thinking of joining the freedom fighter/terrorist’s cause.  Capital punishment, the death penalty, here became employed as Capitol punishment, a means to ingrain and inculcate fear in the districts of Panem, fear of the consequences of resistance and rebellion even stronger than the common people’s hatred of their masters.
In essence, then the song, ‘The Hanging Tree’ calls on the living who love freedom to join the martyred freedom fighter in putting their holy cause above concerns for their individual lives.  Every bit as much as “La Marseillaise,” the Hanging Tree is an invitation to revolution, i.e., to risk death in the hope of a greater life—even recognizing that it will not JUST be impure blood that stains the ploughed furrows of the fields.  I hope that someone will put the Hanging Tree to a tune where it can become a national hit, so that Suzanne Collins’ brilliant insights, first published in 2008, the year of Barak Hussein Obama’s ominous election as the American Mao, will not simply recede into popular culture history, but will actually motivate the creation of….dare I say it, a NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM in this country—and that her warnings against the evils of absolute centralization, totalitarian dictatorship (an all Powerful President limited by neither the power of Congress nor a viable Supreme Court), will be heard by many and will herald the arrival of one who will live (or live and die, as may be necessary) to overthrow this menace and restore the American Republic to the real and authentic American people.
As summer begins, I would wish everyone a Happy Johannisnacht, Johannistag, Saint John’s Day this June 23-24, and to remember the Voice of Him that Cryeth in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the Way of the Lord—Make straight in the Desert a Highway, for our God.  It might not be a bad time to read the opening chapter of the Gospel of Mark…. even though it is always good to remember also what the prince of peace once said in Matthew 10: 34-39
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:
I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father,
and the daughter against her mother,
and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me:
and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
or else what I consider a closely parallel text in John 12: 23-27:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

And above all,  never stop praying for justice—even when the Judges won’t listen, or even when they try to shut you up, as they do, with increasing frequency, in the early stages of the establishment of PANEM in North America….:

Luke 18:1-8

18 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Florida Judiciary—A Copyrighted Survey for use in fighting Mortgage Foreclosure Corruption—What do you know about your Court System? How Hungry are the American People for Justice?

There is no such thing as the silent exercise of your right to speak freely and share your opinion about the world you live in—effective silent protest occurs only in dreams….  We all dream of a better world, but we must speak out loud and SHOUT to make it into a demand, to make it happen…. Dreaming is free, but if we dream of freedom….especially in this, post-New Deal, New Dark Age for America…. that will cost us—what I ask of you today is just a few minutes of your time…  It’s time to make our anger “Catch Fire”…..and that can only happen if we all speak our discontent loudly and often….until there real change happens…. Nothing about modern America is more deplorable than the state of the judiciary and the courts…..

The fabulous hit movie this Spring, the Hunger Games, was a clarion call to the American People to WAKE UP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE—even if it already is  in some easy ways “too late”, because so much damage has already been done.  Suzanne Collins has showed us the bleak future that awaits all of us if we are calm, cool, and quiescent about the terrible corruption that has taken charge of the American Dream, of Democracy, of (the mere word and illusion of) Freedom, of the Financial Establishment, of the Government, of everything that ever was or could be important to us: our family, our homes, and our future.   My primary focus for the past twenty five years has been on the Judiciary, 21 of those past years specifically involved in projects in Florida.  So I invite you to help me, and several million other people, out here: GIVE US YOUR OPINIONS, WITH YOUR NAME, AND STAND UP AND BE COUNTED, AND READY TO TESTIFY IF WE ARE EVEN ALLOWED TO PUT ON THIS TESTIMONY (as we should be):

Florida: 06-06-2012 DECLARATION CONCERNING JUDICIAL HABITS

Rule 406 of the Federal Rules of Evidence allows specific evidence of habit and routine practice to be admitted in Court.

Carrie Luft is seeking to overturn a Final Judicial Decree which was upheld on appeal in Florida.  The only way to reopen the case is the prove judicial corruption.  Wrongful foreclosure and fraudulent claims to standing, after a case is final, can only be proved if the system itself is indictable, if there is demonstrable systematic fraud on the Court—if the system is “broken,” if the judges are either “bought and paid for” or coerced into thinking in conformity with the Banks’ position.  All of these things have to be proved as a conspiracy to defraud and impose uniform outcomes on foreclosure cases.  It is a ONE THEORY, ONE SHOT, deal, although everyone who has been a victim can and could try (and I wish they would).
To prove this systemic corruption, which many people suspect, we need to gather EVERYONE who has been a victim together in one place, and that place is going to be reserved and formed through the complaint we are preparing in Carrie’s case.  If we fail, Carrie has no chance to regain her home, but I have already taken a blood oath that I will never stop until I have figured out a way to restore judicial integrity and moral honor to the judicial system in which I quite literally started my legal career, and of which I once dreamed of being an integral part.  Carrie is the first person I know who has accepted the challenge of doing everything that is necessary to try to take on the system.  Carrie literally has only this one option: prove that the system if “fixed”, broken, and corrupt.  I ask you, everyone who receives this survey:
IF YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THE COURTS OF FLORIDA AT ALL, PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY, SIGN IT, SCAN IT and either E-MAIL IT BACK TO THIS ADDRESS: lincoln_for_california@rocketmail.com OR RETURN IT BY REGULAR MAIL TO
Peyton Yates Freiman, Tierra Limpia Trust/ Deo Vindice Foundation at:
603 Elmwood Place, #6 
Austin, Texas 78705
And if you have further or additional direct or circumstantial evidence of judicial corruption in Florida, how it is done and how does it, please write a letter about that as well.  We are looking to prove habits and routine practices of Judges according to Rule 406 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.  

06-06-2012 DECLARATION CONCERNING JUDICIAL HABITS

If you have any experience at all with the Florida Judicial System, especially if you have any experience with any mortgage or foreclosure related incidents, we need your opinion here…. Copyright to the survey itself, and to all material received will belong to Tierra Limpia Trust/Deo Vindice Foundation, Charles Edward Lincoln, III, Founder & President, Peyton Yates Freiman Trustee.

Please return all hard copies to:

Peyton Yates Freiman 603 Elmwood Place, Suite 6, Austin, Texas 78705.

Confessions of a Lifelong-Heroine Addict….(oh well, since I was 6 or 8 I guess, probably not so much before that…)…from Dorothy Gale to Katniss Everdeen

The California Secretary of State having quite literally locked the doors to my running for Senate this year (at least in Tulare and Fresno Counties)—and the California Courts not seeming to offer a sufficient or accessible remedy—I now have time to indulge other (if related) obsessions my life, such as my sufferings from a lifetime of heroine addiction….  

Like almost every other aspect of my life, I blame my mother Alice and grandmother Helen almost equally….

It was my mother and father who, when I was very small, used to take me down by the Thames in Westminster near the Houses of Parliament and show me the statue of Boadicea (aka “Budica”), the last independent Iceni Queen of East Anglia who rebelled and died trying to evict the Roman Conquerors, in whose memory it was said and sung that “Britons never shall be slaves.”  We also took one trip out to Norwich to visit one of the woods where the Iceni supposedly worshipped their own goddess of Victory….called “Budika” in the Ancient British language of the Druids….(my parents were both heavily into historical and comparative linguistics).  Budika/Boadicea in A.D. 60-61 apparently burned Roman Londinium to the ground along with several other cities before being defeated and poisoning herself by the long Roman Road called “Watling Street” which we also visited…. She was a heroine and supposedly a great archer….  

Of course my parents also tried, as heart as their own agitated and addled lives would permit them, to make me aware of a very different heroine, regarding whom they required me to memorize “the Magnificat” from a very early age….”My soul doth magnify the Lord….Abraham and his seed forever…” And yes, the Virgin Mary was indeed a rebellious heroine… and she has remained a heroine to hundreds of millions of people up to the present time….  Later on, I learned to sing the Magnificat and other pieces of Anglo-Catholic “Maryolatry” as a choirboy in the junior Choir at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, under the tutelage of the late, Great Russell J. Brydon (who died just a few months after this post was originally written, in September 2012 at the age of 88:

http://www.dallasnews.com/obituary-headlines/20120906-russell-j.-brydon-jr.-longtime-dallas-church-and-temple-organist-dies-at-88.ece

But it was my grandmother Helen who was something of a heroine in my young eyes herself, and it was Helen who introduced me to the very first literary  (as distinct from Historical or Biblical) heroines of whose stories I ever learned in detail: namely Dorothy Gale, Scarlett O’Hara, and the Roman Goddess Diana and her Sacred Temple by Lake Nemi  near Ariccia (Diana was also an archer…)

The path of fictional heroines from Dorothy Gale’s grey home in Kansas to Katniss* Everdeen’s equally grey home in District 12 of Panem took 108 years….from the first publication of the Wizard of Oz in 1900 through the appearance of archer Katniss Everdeen  Hunger Games in 2008**….is really the history of the idealistic dreams and ultimate failure of the 20th century (idealist dreams in Baum’s time giving way to a more cynical realism by 1939, passing through the somewhat confused “liberation” of the 1960s, sinking into the dark, pessimistic world of Buffy and Angel and finally coming to rest in the despair of District 12 in Panem in 2008—the year Barack Hussein Obama took over from George W. Bush…two different faces for the heartless, soulless, President Snow….)

But the difference in spirit between those two places traces indeed the tragic story of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization (and of the American Dream) in the 20th Century. Major stopping points along the way (for me at least) include 1939 with the Dorothy Gale’s transformation in the person of Judy Garland and Scarlett O’Hara’s complete redefinition of the concept of “progress” in the late 19th century, Jane Fonda’s comic Cat Ballou and Barbarella in the 1960s, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in movie and television from 1992-2003.  

At each of these intervals, the world is more cynical and darker, and the heroines more complex.  Many critics have observed that the “head injury/dream sequence” aspects of the 1939 Movie Wizard of Oz and the metathesis of real individuals to “dreamtime” residents of the Land of Oz (which was COMPLETELY absent from L. Frank Baum’s book) resulted directly from Freudian psychoanalysis and the early popularity of psychology.  The general effect is to radically weaken the power of Oz as metaphor or lesson—but the movie was a wonderful hit—a lightly comic Wagnerian gesammtkunstwerk of acting, visual art, and music, so nobody really cared.  

A lot of the verbal banter and humor in the movie likewise showed a certain “worldly” sophistication with which I think Frank Baum would only have been somewhat congenial. E.G. the Cowardly Lion’s song “there’s just no use denyin’, I’m just a DANDYlion…” and the Wizard’s closing comment to the Scarecrow:

Back where I come from we have universities, 
seats of great learning 
-- where men go to become great thinkers. 
And when they come out, they think deep thoughts -- 
and with no more brains than you have .... 
But! They have one thing you haven't got! 
A diploma!

As a former denizen of the great academic halls of Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 and Chicago, Illinois 60637 (from various halls of which august institutions I did, for all the good that it’s done me or the world, get diplomas), and a regular visitor to many other such places, I can tell you that the Wizard here is absolutely right: 

And when they come out, they think deep thoughts -- 
and with no more  brains than you have.... 

But such cynicism simply was not part of the original vision of Oz, and although Baum occasionally did occasionally turn such comments to ridicule life back in North America in later books, he did not at all in his first installment in which he remade European folk mythology and archetypes and reshaped them in a very idealized panorama of a world where death was rare if non-existent and even the most evil of men and creatures did not kill for sport or pleasure.

For all of L. Frank Baum’s futuristic visions, I do not think he could have foreseen the transition from the naïve and hardworking life of Kansas to the nightmarish dreamworld of Suzanne Collins’ grim opera—neither a soap opera nor a very lyric, although even in the written version (which I finally got around to reading), music plays an immensely important part in the methathesis of metaphor and character, from Katniss’ Father to Peeta, from Prim to Rue… as between the unnatural National Anthem of the Conquering Capitol and the free world of nature and the poor of the “outlying districts.”

L. Frank Baum’s Oz books in so many was shaped and defined the culture of early-to-mid 20th Century of a predominantly White Christian America, especially after the release of Judy Garland’s movie….***  The spirit of Dorothy Gale’s Kansas was stiflingly dull and harsh—the American dream had already, at that point, apparently kind of run aground and needed new life— The spirit of Dorothy Gale’s Oz was half atavistic throwback to the Middle Ages, half filled with futuristic wonders (such as Glinda the Good’s Magic Picture, which permitted her what we would now call “live video access” to whatever was going on in Oz or elsewhere earth she was interested.

Dorothy Gale was a simple, pre-teenage girl (Judy Garland was at least ten years older than the original character was portrayed as being in the First Oz Book, but Dorothy Gale remained essentially a-sexual throughout the series, never had a boyfriend or a beau…. perhaps recapitulating some archaic notion of “the Virgin Goddess”,  e.g. Diana Nemorensis or the Virgin Mary or the “Virgin Queen”, Mary again or Queen Elizabeth I) whose strength derived from common sense, great courage, love, and determination.  Dorothy Gale was a generalist who never specialized in anything or focused on any particular trade, profession, or way of earning a living (all throughout the long series of Oz books, in fact).  She was just flexible, imaginative, and practical—kind of a “Renaissance girl” in a very low tech way.

Being a non-specialized generalist seems to be the primary role of all feminine heroes.  Of the earliest three I knew (Dorothy Gale, Scarlett O’Hara, and Diana Nemorensis), if Dorothy Gale had the purest and most asexual identity, Scarlett O’Hara surely had the most impure and sexual.  

It was perhaps for that reason that I was never really taken with her until I was a teenager, even though with my grandparents I religiously had watched Gone with the Wind at every possible opportunity and my grandmother compared the mythic South with the real South over and over again.   Scarlett O’Hara was beautiful, flirtations, and OWNED men in a way that is both fairly realistic and quite cynical.  But the book and movie Gone with the Wind were brilliantly timed between the First and Second World Wars to show that the American War Between the States of 1861-1865 was the first really and truly modern war of total destruction.  

Throughout history, up until Abraham Lincoln loosed Sherman on Georgia and Grant on Virginia, the goal of Conquest Warfare had been to preserve as much of a conquered land’s wealth as possible—so that it could be stolen and appropriated for the victors.  There might have been a lot of talk in Ancient Rome about how “Carthage must be destroyed” and about Salting the Earth once it was vanquished, but Carthage was not only not burnt to the ground and left to rot by the Roman Conquest, it became one of the Great Cities of the Roman Empire, as 20-30 years of Harvard Archaeological excavations in Tunisia have so clearly shown.  Gone with the Wind showed something else when Sherman’s “wind blew through Georgia.”  The purpose was indeed, as the opening lines of both the movie and the book suggested, to wipe out an entire civilization, a way of life—to replace what Marxists call one “mode of production” with another.   NONE of Baum’s villains in Oz were as bad as that, although the movie version of the Wicked Witch of the West was pretty murderous in her general attitude….

One major innovation of Jane Fonda’s heroines Cat Ballou and especially Barbarella in the 1960s was the advent of “free love”, which never appeared even once in any of Baum’s pre-1920 writings, which was only very obliquely alluded to in Gone with the Wind, but which by the 1960s was all anyone really cared about.  

Like Dorothy Gale and Scarlett O’Hara before her, Cat Ballou and Barbarella were unspecialized generalists who could adapt to almost any situation.  They were strong, intelligent, sexy, deadly in a good cause, and then Jane Fonda went to Hanoi….  In retrospect she may have been right to do it because the Vietnam War was totally wrong, a seriously failed experiment in 1984-type “perpetual war”….but Jane Fonda’s actions did not seem positive at the time.  

In this defiance of the outward semblance of world order sense, Jane Fonda’s characters of both Cat Ballou and Barbarella somehow came to life as defiant outlaws….crossing boundaries that no one else would cross, and doing so with both impunity and (what seemed most shocking at the time) complete immunity from real official sanction.  Like the righteous killer Catherine Ballou who avenged her father’s death in the Wild West—Jane Fonda first enacted herself as a mythic reality and then, by going to Hanoi, remade herself as a historic metaphor—walking through the image of a treacherous act, unscathed, in essence to show that Vietnam was all a staged event….. a dramatic diversion to keep the masses simultaneously afraid, amused and absorbed….  

Fast forward 24 years from Jane Fonda as Barbarella and you arrive the first incarnation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a completely modern LA County San Fernando Valley girl with no hints of modesty or virginity about her…. followed by the much more intriguing evolution of Buffy Summers in the TV Series from virginal high school freshman to intensely sexual college freshman, in a world which is increasingly dark and where reality is increasingly concealed….. Buffy’s Sunnydale was a mythic place, a lot like Los Angeles, while her first boyfriend and lover Angel eventually goes to the real Los Angeles and sets up shop as first as a private detective and then director of a large law firm—two professions which, in Los Angeles at least, possibly in the movies generally, have almost acquired the status of modern Jungian archetypes….  

The increasingly dark and brooding, sad and depressed Buffy Summers never lost her general adaptability—she could never specialize in any profession or line of work any more than Dorothy Gale or Scarlett O’Hara or Catherine Ballou… but the realization that the dark forces of the world were effectively unbeatable and had pre-existed anything good in the world—these were major transformations of the American Dream from the Early 20th Century.  And it was during the 7 televised seasons of Buffy that the 20th Century, which came in with a little girl magically transported by a tornado from dull grey Kansas to a bright and beautiful alternative universe which knew no death, went out during Buffy’s Freshman year at UCLA with a young adult barely out of her teens who was alone in the world, with her small circle of more specialized friends, fighting vampires and the forces of darkness.

And five years after Buffy ended, Katniss Everdeen picked up the bow from her archetypal ancestors the Goddesses Inanna and Diana and Queen Boadicea, and began to hunt for meagre food in the desperately hunger fringes of District 12 (in what was once called Appalachia in what was once called North America).  

The gruesomeness of the Hunger Games apparently shocks some people—I would have thought that Americans had long since forgotten how to be shocked about or by anything.  Children murdering children for sport isn’t the most pleasant of ideas, to be sure. But in that 17-19 year olds have gone off to fight in every war America has ever seen….along with a few 16 year olds here and there, and since the History Channel periodically shows authentic news clips of 15-16 year old resistance “werewolves” in 1945 Post-World War II Germany being shot by firing squads of American Troops, and countless tens of thousands of teenagers have been silently snuffed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam, it is hard to believe that the idea of children fighting and dying is really such a big deal to our ever hypocritically squeamish population.

The Hunger Games resonate with so much in our history and culture—with the original Victor Hugo version of Les Miserables (hopelessly buried and lost in the Broadway Musical of the same name), and in Suzanne Collins’ own account with the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.  

But above all the Hunger Games resonates with the year 2012 in which America has taken so many steps towards being a brutal, repressive dictatorship like Panem, already—with idiot fake and fraudulent “Conservatives” like Lindsey Graham and Newt Gingrich competing with idiot truly fraudulent “Liberals” like Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama competing with one another to see who can shred the Constitution fastest.  

Interesting to me, given that I based my own doctoral dissertation at Harvard in large part on revisiting Frazer’s the Golden Bough and with it Diana’s Temple by Lake Nemi near Ariccia, are the parallels between the Hunger Games and the myths and rituals of Divine Kingship.  There is nothing in the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, however, about games or about Tributes being well-fed and allowed every luxury leading up to their deaths.  But precisely this treatment is common in the rites of Divine Kingship, where sacrificial victims, like the individual selected for sacrifice during the rites of Toxcatl among the Aztec, are equated with the God Tezcatlipoca (“Smoking Mirror”) during the last year of their lives, given wonderful food and drink, and then sacrificed.  Similar paradigms of sacrifice are found throughout the world—

And the sacrifice of children, likewise, is extremely common: to the rain gods in Mesoamerica, relic traces of this existed even among the modern Yucatec Maya who tie small children to the legs of the altar during the cha-chaac or rain ceremony—although the children have to do nothing more that happily chirp like rainy season frogs (but woe to the boy who croaks like a dry season Toad—he will be beaten, not sacrificed, but beaten).  The Hebrew Bible itself is filled with child sacrifice (all through the Books of Kings and Chronicles, in particular, are Kings who make their children “walk through the fire”—perhaps most famously the daughter of Jeptha…), and by way of archaeological parallel—the excavations at Carthage have revealed hundreds and thousands of child sacrifices…. Among the Natchez of Mississippi, families sacrificed their children in order to rise in social status from commoners (“Stinkards”) to “Honored” Nobility according to the French records by Dupratz and recounted by John R. Swanton….

And in this sense it is perplexing: sacrifice almost always lead either to elevation in status or to outright deification: why the elite of Panem would not have recognized the risk embodied in Golden Bough-Divine Kingship type of analysis: the sacrificial victim—like the Rex Nemorensis at Ariccia who becomes King by killing the old one in combat, will always become the next king.  

At the end of the first book of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, Katniss Everdeen is poised to become (with Peeta), Queen and King of Panem.  This was not only foreseeable, it was in comparative mythological terms inevitable—and yet Suzanne Collins’ trilogy does not allow this drama to evolve that way.  In part, this may be because technology and traditions of oppression have obliterated the natural succession of Divine Kingship….

But Sir James G. Frazer’s point in writing the Golden Bough was to show that Divine Kingship involving the deification of sacrificial victims and their elevation as Kings is a nearly world-wide phenomenon.  I sit here puzzling at the significance of all the trappings of Divine Kingship and the Golden Bough in the Hunger Games.  

Frank Baum had either borrowed or unconsciously recreated so many motifs from ancient mythology—the Four World Quarters with colors Winkie-yellow Quadlin-red Munchkin-blue and Gillikin-purple with Green for the Center of the Emerald City are like nothing so much as the mythological and symbolic organization of (1) Ancient Mesopotamia, “Land of the Four Quarters” centered on Uruk, (2) Celtic Ireland, Ulster, Munster, Connaught, Leinster, and centered on Midhe (Meath) at Tara, and (3) pre-Hispanic Yucatan which, at several Classic sites, is divided into quarters dominated (as recorded on Stelae A & H at Copan) by Tikal, Calakmul, Palenque, and Copan and which even now is divided into four quarters (Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Petén, with Belize claimed by Guatemala and Geographically appearing to be a southern extension of Quintana Roo).

But in Frank Baum’s Oz, kingship is never strong and is always frowned upon, as are all attempts at centralization or standardization of culture, customs, or laws among the four/five regions of Oz.  For that reason, I would assume, there are no hints or traces of divine kingship in Oz—it is a Federal egalitarian Democracy of sorts (even though no one ever votes).  

But by the time of Buffy, as the 20th century closes, the need for a leader has brought forward the Slayer—“one girl in all the world” who fights the Demons.  Now Joss Whedon optimistically ended his series with a devolution of power and prowess from Buffy through the magic of Willow to Millions of “potential” slayers—-but it didn’t quite ring true, in a Television series where even the most outrageous vampiric and magic witchcraft was somehow made to feel “emotionally authentic.”

In the Hunger Games, Dictatorship is the reality and the two victors of the Hunger Games, Katniss & Peeta, are set to become the Divine Kings and possibly the real sovereigns of their land.  Perhaps the need for leadership, the need for someone to save the population, is not yet great enough, but in terms of the political and emotional significance of our story-telling, I think that the journey from Dorothy Gale’s Grey Kansas to Katniss Everdeen’s Grey District 12 tells us the story of the loss of hope and impending doom and despair which was the 20th Century.

*  Katniss is named after a plant called Sagittaria, and my grandmother was born under the sign of Sagittarius—it could be that Katniss reminds me a great deal of my grandmother Helen—similar complexions and faces…. Actress Jennifer Lawrence certainly fits very precisely the image in Suzanne Collins’ book…. and the younger pictures I’ve seen of my grandmother with long hair as a teenager in the time before the U.S. entered WWI….growing up in a place very much like the defeated districts of Panem in the Southern USA.

** In some New Age texts, 108 years is said to be a Venus Cycle, the more ordinary astrological cycle is one of 104 years.  108 is used, but oddly enough, is four years longer than longest calendrical cycle and planetary identity of the Ancient Goddess of Love, namely Inanna/ Ishtar/Aphrodite/Venus.  The calendrical cycles of Venus and the sun are said to “bind” (i.e coincide) every 2920 days, but the ultimate binding of 5 Heliacal Cycles of Venus with 8 Calendar years …. (365 x 8 = 5 x 584 = 2920 x 13 = 37,960 = 2 x 52 years (my current age) = 104 calendar years/105 “tuns” or 360 day periods—the root of the Maya and Aztec Calendars).  Like her Roman Counterpart Diana, Aphrodite and Inanna were both archers—it seems to be the feminine weapon of choice, possibly for purely sexual Freudian reasons, possibly for some mixture of Freudian sexual and Jungian archetypal causation.

*** In the 1970s, Broadway Musical and 1978 movie “the Wiz” the just recently departed Diana Ross and the late Michael Jackson did their best to reframe and appropriate the Baum story for African-America in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement (or Fraudulent Civil Rights Fiasco) of the 1950s-60s…. I have never been comfortable Easing on Down the Road with them in that direction…. although my grandfather was a great supporter of alternative all black productions (now almost extinct) because they upheld and even developed, really and truly, the old segregationist’s doctrine of Separate but Equal (we actually attended the Wiz at the Majestic Theater on Broadway as well as an all black revival of Guys & Dolls in my one major summer with him (ever in my life) in 1976.