THE BATTLE OF THE SAND BELT
The Church, the nobles, and the gentry then turned one grand, all-disapproving frown upon them and shriveled them into sheep!
On the morning of December 9, 1967, half a dozen cops, at least, barged through the Gatehouse door when I opened it. I was arrested and hustled out to a waiting van where I was handcuffed to Bill Haines, who was already seated inside.
We both laughed. We hadn’t spoken to each other in some time. Pretending to be in charge of the whole works, and in my capacity as “protector” of the Big House, I had written a satirical “Orders of the Day,” in which I had mentioned that the young women of the Ashram would be permitted to eat one or two cookies with every meal since they were “wasting away to mere shadows.” Bill had taken umbrage at this, and sent word that I was not to darken his doorstep again.
This had been at the beginning of the Lumbering Behemoth phase of Bill’s unending battle with the opposite sex, which had caused a serious aesthetic degradation of our surroundings, as far as I was concerned, and showed a callous indifference on Bill’s part to my refined sensibilities in this regard. If he had decided to run a fat farm, how come only young women were invited?
“Well, Kleps,” Haines rumbled, “it’s nice to see you again although I must say I would have preferred different circumstances.”
“Likewise, I’m sure,” I replied.
I blew my nose and tossed the Kleenex out the back of the van.
A young deputy, standing there in the winter sunlight, pointed to the Kleenex and shouted to one of his superiors who was out of my view.
“Hey, the boo hoo just blew his nose in this. What should I do with it?”
“Put it in a vial,” the reply came back.
Sure enough. He took a plastic vial from his pocket and stuffed the Kleenex in it. Then he wrote something on the label. Haines was in stitches.
At the same time, I later learned from Wendy, other deputies were cleaning out everything in her kitchen that didn’t look familiar to them: wild rice, tamari, tahini, miso, bulgur, kelp; camomile, ginseng and sassafras bark tea; anise, fennel and other herbs and spices which might be something sinister, particularly since all of these items were in glass bottles instead of the standard commercial containers. Everything in our medicine cabinet was confiscated. Every inhabited building on the place except the farm buildings and the phantasmagorical residence of the owners was raided.
Wendy’s account of these events is in the Boo Hoo Bible, as is a reprint of Tim’s article called “The Great Millbrook Snot Bust,” which he wrote for the East Village Other after he returned from California to give himself up on the grand jury charges. Also included are some clippings from the Poughkeepsie Journal, one of which is a picture of Billy being fingerprinted while the great moose-like face of the sheriff hovers behind him, glowering righteously at this fake evidence of the law’s impartiality in action. The heading reads, “‘Outrage’ Says Socialite.”
Fake, I say, because Sieg would quash the warrants charging Billy with conspiracy to violate the narcotics and public health laws, criminal facilitation and maintaining a public nuisance. When the indictments came down in March, his name was not on the list of indicted persons. The Hitchcock Cattle Corporation had been substituted as a “pinch punching bag,” I guess one might call it. There was no picture of this event in the newspapers. Sieg did not remove my name and substitute that of the Neo-American Church, Inc., nor was this courtesy extended to the guru of the Sri Ram Ashrama.
Not having bail, Haines, Jackie, Gregg and I were locked up in the Dutchess County jail, a sinkhole in which accused persons who can’t buy their way out await trial, sometimes for months, in barred cells with only a narrow corridor to pace up and down in during the day.
In keeping with the great American principle of Trial by Incarceration in Stinking Holes, the un-rich are expected to plead guilty to something sooner or later, even if guilty of nothing, to attain the relative comfort of prison, and in almost all cases we do.
“Well, Kleps,” Haines said that night from the cell right next to me, “if I have to be arrested at all I can’t think of anyone I would rather have standing next to me than William Mellon Hitchcock. We’ll be out of here tomorrow, or Billy will be in the cell right next to us.”
He was right. Billy’s lawyer arranged bail for everyone. In the morning, we were put in a van and driven back to Millbrook, where we signed statements agreeing to appear in court when ordered. Then we were freed.
When Tim returned, Rosemary, of all people, was with him. A few days after Tim had terminated her services she had fled to Ralph Metzner’s hideout in California. Ralph had welcomed her with open arms. Billy had bought a house in Sausalito for Priscilla and himself. One night, while Billy was away, Tim had appeared in Priscilla’s bedroom in a distraught condition.
“Priscilla,” he had asked, “what am I going to do about Rosemary?”
“Go get her,” Priscilla had answered, with typical straightforwardness. He had done so, and they had been remarried in a mountaintop ceremony in Arizona, which, according to Billy, had been a serious flop since a cold and heavy fog had moved in at the crucial moment, Tambimutto had gotten falling-down drunk and several people, totally spaced, had become lost and had freaked out among the crags. Screams, moans, and cries for help, as well as unearthly echoes of these sounds, could be heard during the ceremony, which culminated in Tambi’s throwing up all over his vestments immediately after pronouncing Tim and Rosemary man and wife. To clean up after this, as it were, and also to engender positive publicity following the raid, Tim wanted to hold another ceremony, with both Haines and me officiating.
Well, why not? Tim said he had an OK to use the Bungalow, and it was too chilly to do it outdoors anyway, so we all got dressed up and went over to the landlord’s house. A television crew who had come up from New York had already set up their equipment. Tommy and Suzanne had moved back to their New York apartment, and Billy was still in California.
Once again, I was amazed at the facility with which Tim produced exactly the right kind of scene for public consumption on short notice. Surrounded by masses of flowers, Tim and Rosemary sat on a couch at the sunny end of the library, attired in their most “ecstatic” costumes, with the rest of us looking like members of their court, or something of the kind. In the adjoining living room, the TV crew looked around in disbelief at all the evidence of couth and wealth. An enormous mandala, painted by Aurora’s brother Roberto, hung above the mantelpiece and flashed away by the light of a hidden strobe. To top it all off, Jack was expertly and cheerfully dispensing the best that money can buy from behind the bar. (How had Tim managed that?)
The public was getting an impression of Millbrook as a place where beautiful people did interesting things in a luxurious setting. And we all were all congregated in the only place on the property which hadn’t been raided and the occupants arrested—the landlord’s house. And Tim and Rosemary were the stars of the show. Haines and I were bit players.
Was Tim consciously building a case against Billy and Tommy?
I don’t know. It never entered my head at the time.
Bill performed the main part of the ceremony in his pleasantly unctuous public voice. All I did was give a blessing: “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you, forever and ever, amen.” I figured it couldn’t do any harm and I even gave the old Paulinian Boy Scout salute. They were both hopeless cases, so why not tell them what they wanted to hear in the inmost recesses of their souls, as it were? (I became harder to get along with later.)
Bill and I signed the marriage document, a long scroll of unmistakably Learian smarm beautifully lettered by Michael Green, which Tim and Rosemary thereafter displayed in their bedroom. When it was time for the interview, the television reporter was extremely polite and even deferential. What Tim said was that the laws being used against us constituted religious persecution, and that we would fight to uphold our First Amendment rights to the end. That was what we all said, but only Tim could arrange to say it on television just about any time he felt like it.
The information on which the search warrants had been based, it turned out, had come from one Fintan O’Hare, who had been encouraged by his brother, a Sado-Judeo-Voodoo-Catholic priest in the Place of Overflowing Shitholes, to visit the property and insinuate himself into our community in order to collect evidence against us. I didn’t remember ever having seen Fintan, who was a pudgy creep with a Vandyke beard according to the newspaper photos, but Haines remembered him and so did a few Leaguers. He had hung around for a day or two, claiming to be a freak on the inside even if he was a creep on the outside. Someone may have passed him a joint; nobody knew for sure. Tim seemed genuinely outraged over the sectarian-warfare aspect of the thing and sent a telegram to the RC archbishop of New York complaining about it. There was no response.
We could have burned down a cathedral or two in revenge, I suppose, but not having been brought up in the Emerald Isles, we just didn’t think of it.
Outside in the driveway, after the TV crew left, I turned to Haines and made some remark about how smoothly everything had gone, and how fortunate we were that the reporter had not insisted on visiting the Big House, where the camera would have provided the public with a much grimmer and grimier picture of things.
“Yeah,” Haines said. “I just hope this theatrical production doesn’t get me in trouble with my probation officer.”
Haines was greatly amused at my startled reaction to this revelation. What probation officer?
Well, it was a family problem. His father claimed Bill had stolen some money from him and he had to make payments every month or go to jail. I remembered that Haines had replied with, “I’m not,” to my ritualistic, “I’m sorry,” when he had told me he was going to New York for his father’s funeral a few months earlier. The next question was: Where had the money for his monthly payments come from? I knew better than to ask.
Tim and Rosemary went back to California.
Billy returned, gave himself up, was fingerprinted and photographed, spread some soothing syrup around, invited me and Wendy to visit him in Sausalito, and departed. When the first-class tickets arrived from a travel agency Aurora owned in New York, we boarded a jet at Kennedy and six hours later were comfortably ensconced in a magnificent house overlooking the bay, wondering what all this was about. It wasn’t about anything, it turned out. Just another demonstration of the magical power of money.
Tim attended most of the parties which ensued. During the first of these, I asked him if he had read Ficciones.
“Yes,” Tim answered. “Incredible.” Then he changed the subject from my latest literary enthusiasm to his latest literary enthusiasm: none other than that old fraud, Aleister Crowley. This is insane, I thought to myself.
There was a toothsome South American girl present, to whom I had been expressing my views on the prominent literary lights of the era, Borges included, to her evident pleasure. (I had a higher opinion of Borges then than I do now.) Tim, in effect, informed us that we should stop discussing the talented but trivial works of Nabokov and Borges and move on to higher, finer things, namely, the occultist fantasies of Aleister Crowley. I have never been able to discover in the writings of this jerk anything memorable or admirable, although, unlike most occultists, he was, like Tim, literate. (Jerking off, he said in a deathbed confession, was the secret of his success.)
I retreated to the porch with a fresh drink and a fresh joint to look over Moonlight Bay, listen to the Moody Blues, and groove on the limpidity of the shining night, and all that jazz.
“How the fuck any self-respecting intellectual acid head can get all excited about a fucking idiot like Aleister Crowley, for Christ’s sake, and ignore Nabokov is beyond my fucking comprehension, God fucking damn it to hell,” I said to Wendy, who had joined me.
“He doesn’t want other people to see how smart you are,” Wendy said.
“You mean it’s still the same old story, a fight for love and glory?” I asked. Wendy giggled and I relaxed.
I relaxed too much, which might well have been what Tim intended. How do I neutralize Art Kleps? That’s easy, throw lots of horseshit in his path and drive him to drink.
A week later we returned, no richer and no wiser. Haines was disgusted with me. Why hadn’t I asked Billy this, why hadn’t I asked him that? Why hadn’t I gotten some money? How would we defend ourselves?
“He says not to worry,” I replied. “What was I supposed to say to that?”
As I described our hectic and mostly alcoholic adventures in further detail, Haines calmed down considerably. It was all clear to him. Tim had manipulated the situation from A to Z to drive me to drink and prevent me from talking privately to Billy about anything that mattered.
When I got to the part about the professional jewel thief, a graduate of Tim’s “Acid for Inmates” project at Harvard, who was also the worst driver I had ever met in my life, and had almost taken Billy and me into San Francisco Bay with a particularly mindless swerve in the wrong direction, Haines cracked up and waved the subject away. As any fool could see, I was no match for Tim, especially on his home ground. Any negotiating with Billy, as long as Tim was anywhere in the vicinity, would have to be done by Bill. I moodily agreed that he probably had something there, and hung my head in shame.
Haines and I assumed that the illegality of the attack would be matched by the illegality of the defense. Someone in Albany would get paid off. Perhaps the charges would be dropped because of “technical” faults. At the worst, some fines would be paid, but nobody would go to jail. Nobody did, as it turned out, but the cases dragged on much longer than we had expected. They were not swept under the rug.
On March 12, 1968, the grand jury indicted the Hitchcock Cattle Corp., Bill Haines, Tim Leary and me for permitting the premises to be a public nuisance, maintaining a place where persons gathered for unlawful purposes, criminal facilitation and, of great legal importance, “conspiracy” to permit the property to be used for the purpose of unlawfully using, dispensing and distributing narcotic and hallucinogenic drugs. Tim was charged with distributing LSD. Tim, Bill, Jackie, Greg, Len Howard and I were accused of possessing marijuana, and Haines and I were accused of possessing amphetamine. The latter, in my case, I presume, was a small amount of prescription Ritalin from Joe Gross, clearly marked, or a trace of speed in one of Maynard’s old syringes from Dr. Jake/Max. If I had known of any marijuana in the house I would have smoked it, but it’s virtually impossible to defend oneself against the charge of “possessing” small amounts of anything illegal in any dwelling, since people tend to hide small, illegal things in strange, hard to reach places, and often forget they have done so. And, if every roach that has accidentally fallen into a crack somewhere were exposed tomorrow, and charges brought, millions of people, cops, prosecutors and judges included, would be subject to the majestic force of these lunatic laws, all of which presume guilt and have been upheld by the Supreme Court many times.
Although, according to Billy, I was supposed to be “coordinating” the defense, I had no lawyer. Noel Tepper represented Haines. Billy hired a local insider, which irritated Noel and made Haines extremely suspicious. Tim had Mike Standard, a prominent civil rights lawyer from New York. The fact that Sieg had taken Billy’s name off the conspiracy indictment and substituted the Hitchcock Cattle Corporation made Haines seriously apprehensive. A large cash bribe in a paper bag had undoubtedly been handed to Sieg or one of his confederates. Since you can’t put a corporation in jail, all real pressure was off Billy, according to Haines’ analysis.
“Not really,” I said, during one of the interminable discussions of the subject at the Ashram. “He still can’t afford to have us rat on him like giant squealing stool pigeons, and with no money to defend ourselves, how else can we get out of this? It’s a balance of terror. If we don’t hang together, we will all hang separately.”
Comments of this kind coming from me eased Haines’ chronic fear of my making a “separate deal” with Billy and Tommy considerably, but a fertile field for endless, and largely pointless, speculations remained. When Tim’s possible “separate deal” and all the conflicting lies which might be told to the grand jury by all the minor players being summoned to testify were added to the mix, the whole situation became a murky stew of darkest hue.
Wendy was among those who had been summoned to the grand jury hearings, but she had been excused because of her advanced pregnancy. Haines did not take even this at face value, and he may have been right. It’s possible that Wendy’s father may have threatened to send an unpredictable and uncontrollable “street-wise” lawyer from New York City up to Dutchess County who, although he would not have been permitted to be with her during her inquisition before the grand jury, might have possibly arranged a deal to have all of us plead guilty to lesser charges in return for testimony against William Mellon Hitchcock and Thomas Mellon Hitchcock, depicting them as ruthless and insatiable voluptuaries who had enticed us into their den of iniquity to satisfy their twisted needs. But would Heilman have gone for that? It seemed unlikely.
Maybe this, maybe that. There wasn’t any end to it.
Only lawyers are allowed to have lawyers (themselves) do their talking for them if they are called before a grand jury. All others are forced to testify under oath in whatever state of ignorance of the law they may be in at the time.
Anyone, even a lawyer, subpoenaed to appear as a witness before a grand jury can be jailed for refusing to testify against his mother if the prosecutor decides to “grant” him immunity from prosecution, whether he wants it or not, for any admissions of his own violations of the law that he might be forced to make while sending her to the electric chair, and the “immunity” thus granted is often much less of a protection than it is made to appear.
This legalistic evasion of the Fifth Amendment in grand jury proceedings was originally intended, so it is said, to allow the public to expose corrupt officialdom, but in almost all cases it is used by corrupt officialdom to degrade, enslave and defraud the public.
Both the grand jury rules and the conspiracy laws destroy the annoying Bill of Rights provisions of the Constitution, such as freedom of religion, press, speech and assembly. When the grand jury method and the conspiracy laws are combined, your goose is cooked and the Supreme Court doesn’t give a fuck, and has said so repeatedly in a series of We Don’t Give a Fuck rulings which anyone can read in Title 18, U.S.C.
Anything we had written or said to each other, indeed, the mere fact that we associated with each other at all, was evidence of criminal conspiracy. The list of members in the Catechism and the identification therein of Tim, Bill, Billy and me as members of the Board of Toads of the Church was cited as evidence of conspiracy in the indictments. It all followed logically if our religious practices were defined as crimes, which they were.
Most of those called before the grand jury lied their heads off, or so they said, thereby risking perjury charges, which was morally correct and highly admirable, but Jean McCready, often referred to among us as “Clean Jean,” refused to testify at all on the grounds that doing so would violate her religious beliefs. Judge Jiudice, scorning her citation of the First Amendment as irrelevant since no Roman Catholic priests or nuns were involved, gave her thirty days in the slammer to think it over, so Jean and Rosemary now shared this honor.
Jean pulled ahead in merit points however, because when the thirty days were up she refused again and Jiudice sentenced her to another thirty days. This barbaric practice can go on forever. American citizens have no more right to refuse to answer questions in grand jury proceedings than suspected heretics had during the Spanish Inquisition.
It’s just one of many rights most Americans think they have, but don’t.
Jean’s boys moved into the Ashram. Prior to her second appearance, the assistant D.A. in charge of the case allowed me to take Jean out for lunch with the kids. I slipped her a ball of hashish which she promptly swallowed with a spoonful of ice cream.
Unfortunately, the jurors and their choir director couldn’t see the halo which formed over her head in court but Jean knew it was there, which was the important thing, I suppose. Tim was feeding the slots in Vegas during most of this, but when he returned one of the first things he did was go to the jail and let Jean off the hook. He told us he told her to tell the truth. I suppose he probably did and she probably did. It would be interesting to read the transcripts, if only to find out what questions she wasn’t asked.
The classic summary of the situation given by lawyers is that the typical grand jury would “indict a ham sandwich” if asked to do so by the prosecutor.
This fact helps to explain why anti-establishment communities which grow and prosper are always brutally destroyed by the established power in the United States, no matter how inconvenient explaining such murderous atrocities may to the public may be. If allowed to develop normally, they might convene grand juries and bag the wrong kind of sandwich.
How far the loathsome creatures of the Place of Overflowing Shitholes were prepared to go was demonstrated by two follow-up raids which occurred a few weeks after the big one. The Gatehouse was left alone, but the Big House and the Ashram were entered without warrants. When the thugs knocked on the Ashram door and were refused entry because they had no warrants, they smashed the door down and arrested two Ashramites who had refused to open it for “failure to cooperate with a police officer.” Jean’s ten-year-old son, Cliff, was ordered to appear before the grand jury, although he was considered “too young” to visit his mother at the jail. He refused on religious grounds, and nothing was done about it.
Were Jack and Mary and Jimmy called up before the grand jury to testify about their employers, William and Thomas Mellon Hitchcock?
Questioning servants would constitute discrimination against the rich, since the rich are the only class which can afford servants, and would discourage rich people from investing their money in bribes for legislators and judges in order to get richer, thus striking at the foundations of Freedom and Democracy.
Sieg also knew that Sado-Judeo-Paulinian values forbad any interference in the ancient, inviolate and sacred relationship between masters and servants, which is a reflection of the relationship between God and His toys. If he had forced a ten-year-old boy to testify against his mother, rich people might have wondered if the hallowed confidentiality which existed between their servants and themselves might be crushed beneath the iron heel as well.
Sieg did not wish to cause any uneasiness among the rich. In Boston, it is a commonplace daily activity of the police to smash down the front doors of the homes of the poor with sledge hammers, steal anything worth stealing, and carry off the screaming urchins of any residents suspected of selling small quantities of hemp to one another, to respectable Sado-Judeo-Paulinian “foster homes,” where they will be taught to bathe in the Blood of the Lamb, while their parents toil in a slave labor facility. But nothing of the sort has ever happened in any of the thousands of wealthy homes in New England where servants are employed, and a “phase” of “experimental” dealing in “recreational” substances among the kids is excused as a healthy indication of a budding entrepreneurial spirit.
What kind of “campaign donations” would Sieg and his masters have raised among the rich of Dutchess County if Sieg had sent out squads of semi-moronic goons with sledge hammers to batter down their mansion doors, seize their property, and carry off their male children to serve as catamites for Roman Catholic priests, while forcing their servants to recite before hand-picked “juries,” composed of mindlessly conformist robots, everything they knew about the personal habits and finances of their employers?
On the other hand, by assaulting the women and children of a religious minority with the full majesty of the law, he could reasonably expect to make points with the Pope and the Fish family, to get to wear a black robe like everyone else, and maybe to be anointed by the Sanhedrin of international bankers in New York as President Sieg Heilman some day.
He really had no choice. Sieg Heilmans never do.
Late in the summer of 1970, Bill Haines and I had to return from Arizona to Dutchess County for the final scenes of this disgusting farce, as prescribed by law. Billy invited us to stay with him in Clum’s old house for the few days that it would take to go through the motions. I accepted, but Haines preferred to hole up in New York.
My case was last. Everyone else had pled guilty to this or that misdemeanor. The Hitchcock Cattle Company was fined a few grand, and Tim and Bill were put on probation for a year or two. The night before the day I was to be sentenced, Billy and I were sitting in the living room, smoking pot and listening to the Doors, when I had a grim thought. Maybe it was something in Billy’s eyes, maybe it was the desolate spectacle of the almost barren house, maybe it was the Doors. Maybe it was moonlight madness.
During Priscilla’s reign earlier in the year, I had occupied Jimmy’s former residence up the road, but spent most of my waking hours with Billy and Priscilla in and around Clum’s house, which had been nicely furnished with stuff she had bought in Sausalito with $20,000 worth of Orange Sunshine profits that Billy had forked over for that purpose.
She had taken everything with her when she left. Even the floor was bare. Yes, very grim compared to that interlude which had been a fairly fun time, everything considered, including lots of nitrous oxide.
“A grim apprehension is bothering me, Billy,” I said.
“Jiudice may not give me probation. I presume Tim’s and Bill’s lawyers made deals?”
(Jiudice was the actual name of the judge. Even stranger, Marco, Twain’s chapter heading that popped up at the right place, was the actual person’s name.) Billy nodded. I had been represented by the Public Defender’s office, which means, in effect, I had not been represented at all.
Billy wasn’t looking at me in his usual frank, open and jovial manner. Sullen would be more like it. There was a long pause.
“I’m not doing any time over this shit, Billy,” I flatly stated.
“Well, if Jiudice gives you time, what can you do about it?” Billy responded.
“I can’t do anything but you can. You paid to get taken off the indictments and you paid to make deals for Tim and Bill. I want the same.”
This didn’t go over very well. Why should Billy do what I was asking …
I interrupted. “I’m not asking,” I said.
“Well, if you’re not asking, what are you doing?”
“This is a hold-up,” I said.
Billy was profoundly shocked. Although commonplace in the lives of the super-rich, extractions of this kind are normally accomplished by indirection and/or through intermediaries, usually lawyers.
“Let’s go someplace and have a couple drinks,” Billy finally said, breaking the tension.
We went outside and I think we both felt better immediately. It had been a muggy day, and the cool of the night was descending. Billy’s million-dollar BMW awaited. It was all he had to show for an attempted hostile takeover of Armour by General Host in the Sausalito days. A German baron, who had gotten in and then gotten out, much to Billy’s, Seymour Lazar’s and Charlie’s disgust, had ordered the cute convertible for Billy as a kind of tip for the tip, as it were.
It was late, and only the most prol bar in town was open. There were usually a few Bennett girls in the place, but on that evening it was occupied solely by young gentlemen of an African-American disposition. Within twenty minutes or so, Billy and I were about as smashed as everyone else present and, Billy being Billy, we were swiftly engaged in general conversation about Vietnam, about the economy, and about this, that and the other thing. The other guys were mostly clustered around a couple of small tables, while Billy and I occupied the commanding heights of the thrones of human felicity at the bar in front of them.
When America’s chronic race problems came up, I had reached the luminous, lucid and reckless stage of intoxication which had gotten me into and also out of the sugar-cube jam in Florida in ’66, and I was ready to tell everyone about all kinds of stuff they had never heard before whether they wanted to hear it or not.
I drew two imaginary normal curves, with one overlapping the other, on an imaginary blackboard, to show why the difference in Negro and white representation in special classes and graduate schools was not evidence of discrimination but almost exactly what any knowledgeable tests-and-measurements psychologist, such as myself, would expect based on the test score statistics. The means of the two races’ distributions of IQ scores were about one standard deviation apart, with the mean IQ of whites at about 101 and the Negro mean at about 86. That meant that at the extreme low end and extreme high end of the distributions, there would inevitably be differences of about ten-to-one in favor of whites, which was exactly what happened in practice.
Environmental factors cannot account for the difference. All the research studies I’m talking about match for parental socio-economic status, and many are based on non-verbal, person-to-person test scores, not paper-pencil tests, which are less reliable. All of the many studies of identical twins reared apart have shown that 85 to 90 percent of the variance in intelligence must be attributed to heredity. The most likely IQ for any person picked at random is exactly midway between the mean of his parents’ IQs and the mean of the racial group of which he is a member. These are the same kinds of probabilistic facts relied on by Resorts International to consistently make money at its crap tables, but the government insists on betting against the house.
Why? Well, who benefits?
There wasn’t a murmur of protest. Intelligent questions were asked in a respectful manner. Two handsome gentlemen of color who had been playing pool in the back room put down their cues and came over to listen.
At closing time, as we rounded the corner out of earshot of the bar, Billy said, “My God, I didn’t think we would get out of that place alive.”
Pish posh. I have delivered the same lecture to mixed-race audiences in jails and prisons with the same absence of baleful consequences.
Although radical differences in intelligence are routinely observed between inbreeding populations within other species, like dogs, the mass media insists that all human races are about the same in average intelligence. This fantastic idea, contradicted by historical and everyday experience and mountains of scientific evidence, is none the less promoted by the oligarchy because it makes people with African ancestors think they are suffering from an incurable moral defect. “You can be anything you want to be, if you only try hard enough,” is the text, but the subtext is “you lazy niggers.” At the same time, the white working class is infuriated by “affirmative action,” busing, and other forms of forced integration and propaganda on the tube that pictures miscegenation as a great idea.
This is a profoundly sinister and Machiavellian policy which deliberately stimulates racial antagonisms among working class people while pretending to deplore them.
The myth of intellectual equality among human inbreeding populations justifies the denial of genuine help to the poor: people with the mental ages of ten-year-olds, of all races, are told to go forth and become computer programmers and such like. It’s either that, or live in a cardboard box under a bridge.
There is good reason to believe that the mean IQ of African blacks is closer to 70 than 86, which is exactly what hereditarians would expect.
IQ is race linked, but the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that this is not so. All racial differences which appear in the occupational, educational and other statistics must therefore be ascribed to discrimination, or perhaps to the baleful cultural consequences of past mistreatment of the inferior population’s ancestors.
Well-intentioned liberals and leftists in the United States are duped, as usual, and the working class divided, as usual, and the Right, which is usually wrong, can blame it all on the Left, which is usually right.
How wonderful can things get?
Read Jensen, Arthur, Ed.D., U. Cal. Berkeley, for the facts:
Educability and Group Differences
The Measurement of Intelligence
Bias in Mental Testing
All three books are models of superb empirical reasoning and analytical logic. They are clearly written and provide a wonderful introduction to statistics and the scientific method in general. You can then go on to The g Factor, also by Jensen, if you think you have the g to read it.
In the academic world, Jensen stands astride his subject like that mysterious colossus of old which, according to arcane history, once towered over the Aegean. Its balls were of brass, and clanged together and played “Stormy Weather,” while lightning shot out of its ass. His critics, such as Steven Gould, are mere midges circulating at the feet of this imposing figure and of no interest to anyone except creatures even more diminutive and ephemeral than themselves, who dance to the music of the spheres without knowing it.
Like Tim and Bill, I got probation with no restrictions. According to Noel, it had been the most expensive misdemeanor case in the history of the State of New York. While preparing to leave the day after the formalities were concluded, I asked Billy how much my insurance policy had cost him. He squirmed a little. What difference did it make, and so forth and so on. For the first and last time in our bizarre relationship, I promised to never tell. Billy told me. He may have lied. Even so, the figure kept resounding in my memory for months thereafter. “What?” I would ask myself. “What???”
The last time I saw or talked to Billy was in Taos, in the fall of 1971. Joannie and I were living in Aldous Huxley’s much renovated former quarters in San Cristobal while I worked on the first draft of this book in an almost identical bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom suite next door. There were five of these units altogether, and at the end of the row, our landlady Elmira’s general store, post office and residence. The setting was ideal for writing. The event of the week would be a flock of sheep being driven past by shepherds whose costumes hadn’t changed in two hundred years; or a request by Elmira that we babysit in the evening so that she and her married daughter could call on friends; or a visit from our patrons, Mike and Gai Duncan, who owned an entire mesa a few miles south. They needed to visit us if only to take showers, because in the approved primitivist fashion of the day, they lived in a hogan without electricity or running water, but with all the peyote one could eat in a month of Sundays.
One day the phone rang. It was Billy. He was on his way to Arizona with Aurora, from whom he was now divorced but still on good terms, and with her extremely comely seventeen-year-old daughter from her first marriage, who had always been carefully insulated from the scene at Millbrook. “I know Arthur,” Aurora said, patting my hand on the dinner table after she reintroduced us, “just your type.” She sure was. They were on their way to Arizona in the Mixmaster, and had to be in Tucson the next day, but had decided to stop over for the night in Taos in the hope of seeing me.
We drove to town in the diesel-powered, aluminum step van which Mike had donated to the Church. He had become bored with it, and had been using it as a chicken coop.
Our evening with the Hitchcocks at the hotel in Taos was just like old times. Despite a wide variety of grievances to choose from, not a cross word was said, although Aurora was a bit pissed off at a Latino hotel employee who had insisted on responding to her Spanish in English.
“Oh, it’s just so stoooopid,” she said, “but let’s forget about it. I want to hear about your books, Arthur.”
So did Billy. He offered to fly back from Arizona and help me sell the Boo Hoo Bible, an offer which I enthusiastically accepted. I had a list of people who appear in this book whose exact names I had forgotten, every one of which was on the tip of Billy’s tongue. Neither Billy nor Aurora said a word about possible libel problems, the substitution of fake names for their own in my writings, or any other such stuff. Mike and Gai never brought up these matters either. In my experience, it’s usually “the good men of the village” (roughly, “respectable” people) who want their names changed and their telephones unlisted, and generally skulk around under a cloak of anonymity. The “good men” of any and all “villages” are, as Confucius said, “the thieves of virtue.”
Billy and Aurora, when they were in fine fettle, which was most of the time, were not ashamed of anything. While never for a moment denying their share of human failings and error, they were justly satisfied with the unique roles they had invented and played in the drama of their times, and now have more reason to feel that way, as this lunatic asylum of a country becomes crazier and more repressive and fascistic every year, showing how extraordinary it all had been.
Billy wanted to know what I thought he should “do next.”
“Well, you two look like a good match to me, Billy,” I said. “Why don’t you buy a yacht and cruise around in the Caribbean for a while?” No, Billy thought he needed more action than that kind of life provided. It seemed to me all the action anyone might care for and possibly a lot more might be provided within this basic scenario but, since we were in a semi-public place, I didn’t think I ought to go into details.
Did I make a pitch for a donation to the cause or for a retreat for the Neo-American Church? Nope. I didn’t even ask Billy for the 5 or 10 grand, depending on how you figured it, which he owed me for collecting a bad debt for him in 1970. I was content with my lot at the time, and I had also come to feel pretty much about Billy as one would feel about a close friend who was phobic about shaking hands. Would I pursue the poor bastard with my hand out all the time? No, in both cases.
There was only one moment of tension. Billy asked me how I explained “doing all this writing and staying sober” now, when I hadn’t been able to do it before. Aurora actually gasped and put a hand over her eyes. There was a pregnant pause.
“I’ve found someone who’s willing to pay for it, Billy,” I contented myself with saying, instead of leaping to my feet, screaming abusive epithets and recriminations and stamping out, vowing vengeance, which might have been great shock therapy for both Billy and me, come to think of it.
Billy never showed up to help sell and Mike and I did almost everything wrong that could be done wrong in advertising and distributing the book.
These were correctable errors, but there was nothing we could do about the cultural degradation of the spirit of the ’60s that took place on all fronts in the ’70s. Mass-market publishers flooded the “psychedelic” market in the early and mid ’70s with brazenly fraudulent occultist, egalitarian-primitivist and “drug alternative” horseshit of all kinds, and the Boo Hoo Bible got lost in the blizzard of fakery, political infantilism, blithering idiocy and sinister lunacy that resulted. This, the media moguls declared, was the “New Age.” Spoon benders and dolphins would lead us forward.
I think the following remarks about the “Christian” Greeks of Byzantium, taken from a famous subtitle called “The Decay of Taste,” in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, sums up the situation very well:
They held in their lifeless hands the riches of their fathers, without inheriting the spirit which had created and improved that sacred patrimony: they read, they praised, they compiled, but their languid souls seemed alike incapable of thought and action …. In every page, our taste and reason are wounded by the choice of gigantic and obsolete words, a stiff and intricate phraseology, the discord of images, the childish play of false and or unseasonable ornament, and the painful attempt to involve a trivial meaning in the smoke of obscurity and exaggeration …. The minds of the Greeks were bound in the fetters of a base and imperious superstition, which extends her domain round the circle of profane science. Their understandings were bewildered in metaphysical controversy; in the belief of visions and miracles they had lost all principles of moral evidence, and their taste was vitiated by the homilies of the monks, an absurd medley of declamation and scripture …
If anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, I suggest a visit to the reference room of a good library to scan the periodicals of those years. It was the old story of our being defined by our enemies, but in the ’70s this trick was played in earnest. Every day and in every way, it seemed, Psychedelianism (or a genre vaguely associated with it, called “New Age”) was represented in the media by a lower variety of infantile gibberish. Those assholes among us, or trailing behind us, as it were, who could be trusted to reliably deliver drivel and nothing but drivel to the public were given every opportunity to do so, and richly rewarded for the service they rendered to the cause of those who despised them.
Here’s a quote from Mind Games (Viking, 1972) by Jean Houston and Robert Masters, complete with mock King James locutions, which is pretty typical of this kind of ideation:
… and understand now we can and must materialize the Group Spirit, endowing that entity with a sufficiently material being that it can appear to all of us … and there is also believed to be a very great mystery surrounding the Egyptian pyramids … the Mind Games are a means of advancing toward what must be the main goal of every person in our time; putting the first man on earth …. In the near future such Mind Games will be routine in education at all levels.
(This last prediction, I’m sorry to say, has come true in a lot of places, as what one might call the “idiot wing” of the Flower Power generation moved into teaching jobs in public education, much to the delight of the enemies thereof.)
In Fazzm terms, a stake was driven, not through the heart, but through the brains of the Psychedelian ’60s in a kind of mass-media lobotomy intended to render the intellectual content of the previous period null and void.
Having taken an excursion down river, let us now return to the last days of ’67 when yellow leaves, or none, or few, hung upon Millbrook’s boughs; bare, ruined choirs, where once the sweet birds sang.
When Jackie spent the night of the December 9 raid in the can, Quinlan took the opportunity to have Jackie’s hair fashioned in a way that conformed to Quinlan’s personal tastes in boys’ hair styles. This was widely interpreted as meaning Quinlan was queer, but I was told by an intelligent and well-educated African-American prisoner in Quinlan’s jail that the Sheriff required fat Negro women to crap on him in order to get off right, and paid a chosen few to perform this service. If that isn’t heterosexuality, what is? Glad to have had this opportunity to clear his name. Fair is fair.
Tim threatened to sue, but didn’t. The hyenas were growing confident. The emptiness of our various threats of civil rights suits and so on was becoming apparent to one and all. The Hitchcocks were doing absolutely nothing to retaliate. All we had going for us was unlimited bail money and good newspaper coverage.
Wendy and I stayed with Billy and Aurora in New York for a few days during the Christmas holidays. Billy was commuting regularly between coasts at this point.
Billy seemed genuinely outraged over the latest “outrages.” Yes, by God, he was definitely going to bring suit. Those “miserable assholes” had “gone too far.” We would keep them “so busy traveling to federal court in New York that they won’t have time to hand out parking tickets in Dutchess County,” and so forth.
I had heard this kind of talk before but we also had a new hand to play, maybe, if Billy could be persuaded to ante up. Tord Svenson had been busted in his garage laboratory in Boston for possession of grass and peyote, in small quantities, which made it look like a pretty good case for the religious argument.
A lawyer in Boston named Oteri had recently made a name for himself by coming close to getting a Supreme Court hearing in a pot case under the “pursuit of happiness” clause. If we could get a hearing before the Supreme Court with the same arguments in Tord’s case, and add the First Amendment free exercise of religion and the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection arguments on the basis of Tord’s membership in the Church, it wasn’t inconceivable that the Court would rule in our favor. None of us really thought we had any chance of overturning the marijuana laws but even that aspect of Tord’s case might be good because the court could turn thumbs down on the pot and thumbs up on the hairy little buttons and appear “balanced.”
And if we lost, it seemed unlikely that Tord, who had no prior convictions or even arrests, would do any time for anything.
When I told Billy all about it, during a late supper with Sam, Martica, Aurora and Wendy at “21,” he reacted in a positive way, and suggested that I invite Tord to a dinner we were to have at “Mummy’s place” the following evening. Mummy was away, but didn’t mind the kids raiding the icebox, as it were.
Once inside the old homestead, I could see how the surroundings had put egalitarian Tord in a state of shock. I was disconcerted myself when the finger bowls appeared on top of the dessert plates, a new one on me. I don’t think his girlfriend said a word all evening.
Oteri, Tord informed us, wanted $25,000 up front to take it all the way. In those surroundings, a mere 25 grand sounded like the kind of loose change one might spend on tips between Christmas and New Year’s. No flicker of emotion appeared on Billy’s face when this sum was mentioned.
“OK,” Billy said. “What I want you to do, Tord, is call Oteri and tell him to fly down tomorrow. We’ll talk it over.”
Tomorrow happened to be the day before Christmas. On Christmas, Billy was flying back to the West Coast. The next day, while Tord and I were on the way to visit a mutual friend in the Village, I asked him what Oteri had said. Tord hadn’t called him at all.
“Oh, come on Art,” Tord said by way of explanation, “Billy isn’t going to do anything. Why should Oteri fly down here? If Billy’s serious, he can see Oteri after the holidays.”
Which was the end of that one.
Tord and his practically mute girlfriend went back to Boston where he copped a plea for probation.
Shortly thereafter the following paragraphs appeared in Lisa Bieberman’s Psychedelic Information Center Bulletin:
Despite comments in the previous Bulletins, on the futility of joining the Neo-American Church, I still get inquiries about it, and letters from kids who say they have been appointed ‘Boo Hoos,’ as if this entitled them to some special consideration. If there is any doubt left of the fact that the Neo-American Church will not help anyone, legally or spiritually, consider the case of Tord Svenson. Tord joined Art Kleps’ Church in 1965, shortly after it was founded, and was appointed to the “Board of Patriarchs” and given the title ‘Keeper of the Divine Toad’ by Kleps, who apparently considered this a high distinction. Tord helped Kleps with both money and labor, perhaps more than any other single individual, except for millionaire Hitchcock, who decided last year that Art would make a fine addition to his human zoo in Millbrook. When Art was jailed in Florida, Tord was one of the people who helped bail him out; with the money Art never repaid. He spent months with Art at Morning Glory Lodge and later at Millbrook, and was frequently urged to stay permanently. A few months ago, Tord’s home was raided, and he was charged with possession of marijuana and peyote. If there ever was going to be a test of the legitimacy of the Neo-American Church and the right of its members to possess the ‘true host,’ which in Art Kleps’ definition includes both marijuana and peyote, this would have been it. One could not name another member who had been more consistently active in the Church, or more deserving of help from its leader. But Tord did not get a penny from Kleps or from Hitchcock. Hitchcock showed a passing interest in a religious defense but abandoned the idea when he discovered the costs would not be tax deductible. Faced with the gap between reality and pleasant memories spun at lakeside, Tord realized that he could not win a religious defense on his own. How can you tell a judge you’re the ‘Keeper of the Divine Toad?’ Tord pleaded guilty and was fined $200 and put on probation for three years. He will be a long time paying his legal expenses. When I returned with him from the courthouse, we found a piece of mail from Millbrook waiting at his house. It was a plea for contributions for legal defense of Millbrook’s ‘community,’ signed by Leary, Kleps and Bill Haines. I understand this same plea for contributions has appeared in The Village Voice and other papers. Sending money to Millbrook makes about as much sense as sending it to the Mafia. Save your money, or give it to a cause where it will mean something.
I haven’t seen Tord since.
My next TV interview, with Metromedia, was staged in the living room of Billy’s apartment. I appeared on the screen with a Christmas tree to one side and a giant stuffed teddy bear on the other. I was smashed. I described the persecution that we were enduring on the estate and concluded my tirade against those responsible by threatening to fly over New York City and spray the place with a fog of acid and DMSO if we were not left in peace.
This got a rise out of the Wall Street Journal, which printed a “What’s the world coming to?” commentary on the front page of the second section the next day, but the writer didn’t really take me seriously, and neither did I, and neither did anyone else.
If a mist of the Supreme Sacrament had descended on Wall Street that winter most of the younger brokers and bankers would probably have said to themselves, “Well, stoned again,” and swung right along with it. The flashier electronic issues might have enjoyed a mild rise, but I doubt if much else would have happened.
On Christmas Eve, Wendy, Aurora, Billy and I went to a party at Van Wolf’s apartment which demonstrated how unconcerned with legality people had become in “cafe society” and show-biz circles in New York. Little cut glass salt dishes filled with cocaine sat on every table, complete with tiny salt spoons to lift the stuff up to your nose with for inhalation. A huge black man, dressed in full livery, sat behind another table rolling perfectly cylindrical double-length joints out of four standard-sized papers for the guests, a feat of dexterity I had never witnessed before and have never seen since. Some people who didn’t indulge dropped by, but none of them seemed to regard the scene as exceptional.
Since Immanuel, my father’s old church at 88th and Lexington, was only a block away, Wendy and I decided to attend the midnight service, which turned out to be a mistake. In the ’30s and ’40s the pews had been jammed during every Christmas service, the organist and choir had been first-rate, and the sermons sincerely celebratory. But now the choir was weak, the organist amateurish, the sermon flat, and attendance poor. The building itself seemed to have shrunk to half its original size.
“Well, Wendy …” I said, as we left.
“You can’t go home again,” she finished for me.
After Christmas, I proceeded to mop up Jesus Christ’s favorite beverage for two or three days at Billy’s apartment and was swiftly approaching that stage of the drunkard’s progress which Tim had depicted in such picturesque detail in his “review” of the Catechism. I now know that the best remedy is to buy some cheap whiskey and start timing. I require a wall clock for this, a small shot glass, and relative peace and quiet, and I don’t claim it will work for everyone. Two beers for starters, then one shot an hour on the first day of rationing, followed by one shot every two hours on the day after the day after. Then one shot every three hours. Then nothing, if you need to take a driver’s test, or an oath of office, or whatever.
At the time, however, I had no inkling of any such means of extrication. I was keeping up a bold front, more or less, but I knew in my heart that I would soon be up half the night retching my guts out, followed by total abstinence for a week or two, and then yet one more attempt to behave like a normal “social” drinker, which might last for months, weeks, days, hours, or nanoseconds.
Billy suggested that we all go out for dinner at a new restaurant which had recently been recommended to him. It might help “lighten things up around here.” Well, maybe. Wendy, Suzanne and Aurora were perked up by the prospect of an evening out, but we were far from being a happy group of people. None of us were able to kid ourselves about how things were going or how they were likely to go. Not only was this the end of an era, it would be an unpleasant end of an era as well, no matter what we did.
The Hitchcocks were entirely unfamiliar with feeling powerless as adults, and Wendy had little previous experience along those lines either. I did have, but I had sort of lost touch with it.
On our way downtown in the limo, Billy casually informed me that Little Billy had eaten one of Owsley’s latest samples. The tablets were large and colored a bright orange, so they had probably looked like candy to him.
No, it wasn’t STP, thank heavens. Only about 300 micrograms of LSD, that’s all.
Yes, his pupils were dilated. Aurora said that he “seemed happy.” Aurora did not seem happy, but was navigating on the general principle that all children were “naturally stoned” anyway. What difference did it make, really?
There is something in this. Aurora’s mother was in attendance. So were one or two female servants from her side of the family.
The kid’s first trip had commenced about an hour before we left the apartment, as best Billy and Aurora could calculate. Wendy seemed entirely unmoved by it all. Women who have spent most of the day preparing themselves for public appearance are not easily diverted from their charted courses. As for me, I needed a drink, which would presumably be supplied instantly on arrival, and now I needed it more than ever. I went along with the prevailing analysis but an enjoyable evening of tasty treats, witty repartee and hilarious anecdotage did not seem to fit the picture somehow.
I was not thinking at normal speed. I don’t know when, but before we got to the restaurant it struck me that 300 micrograms for Little Billy was the equivalent of about 2,000 for me in terms of body weight, which is what really matters. And what if he did freak out? What would his grandmother do? Call her doctor? Call her priest? Call her astrologer? And what would he do? Call an ambulance? That’s all we needed. A front page story in the Daily News.
We entered the restaurant and took off our coats. As a series of increasingly alarming visions of what might be happening back at the ranch continued to invade my soggy brain, we were suddenly plunged into a farcical miniature of the situation up in Dutchess County, from the constant unproductive contemplation of which we had hoped to find some respite with a pleasant evening out on the town.
It was not to be. To begin with, the restaurant, for all its expensive furnishings, might as well have had a big, neon sign out front reading EATS in looping letters. It was one of those establishments which fanatically insist, in the face of all contrary evidence, that food comes first, food comes second, and food comes third. There was no bar. There were no other customers. The place was brightly lit. (See, we have no need to occlude our food under the cloak of darkness. Why, it’s just as bright out here as it is in the kitchen.)
We were not seated promptly. Instead, Tommy, Suzanne and some thug in an evening jacket who normally would have had the honor to perform this service, were engaged in an intense sotto voce discussion, with many head shakings and gestures, while the rest of us stood in a separate group attempting to look politely elsewhere, which was nowhere as far as I was concerned. Finally, it became clear what was going on.
The lackey who, according to Divine Law, ought to have been transformed with joy at the opportunity to serve beings so sublime as ourselves, had had the effrontery to … WHAT? … yes … to OBJECT to the brevity of Suzanne Hitchcock’s mini-skirt???
It appeared that the American Moronocracy was now dictating to gold-plated members of the ruling class not only what religious activities they could and could not practice in the privacy of their homes and what kinds of guests they could and could not have on their property but what they could and could not wear in public as well.
By the time I had absorbed this fact, almost inconceivable though it was, an even more inconceivable event was happening.
Suzanne was wrapping her ass in a SLEAZY SWEATER, or something, which the thug had extracted from his collection of discarded or forgotten garments???
In science fiction, there are “time warps.” This incident, I suppose, might be called a Tom Wolfe Warp.
We were at last seated at a long table against the back wall of the joint, to hide Suzanne’s shame, I guess. No restaurant should use such tables for anything other than banquets, in which case everyone seated at them should have his back to the wall. Now Billy, Wendy and I were looking straight at the wall, and at Tommy, Suzanne and Aurora, who at least had lots of stark white tablecloths with nothing on them to stare at over our shoulders.
I ordered a double martini from the surly waiter who handed out the menus, but this remedy, which I needed desperately, was never produced.
All written in French, longhand. No doubt the chef was considered a genius and everyone else who worked in the place was related to him by means of venereal congress between meals.
“Order for me, will you Billy?” I asked. “Something flammable … couple bottles of Beaujolais … something like that.”
“I think I’ll probably have the same,” Billy replied. “This place is unbelievable.”
That it was, particularly compared to “21,” where booze came fast and first. Good old Van was frequently present and made sure we were treated right. Suzie, Van’s wife, was one of the owners of the place. I had “baptized” their baby.
I exchanged glances with Aurora.
“You’re worried about Leettle Beelly, aren’t you, Arthur?”
“Yeah, this is no good. We can’t do this.”
Aurora didn’t need any convincing.
I turned to Billy.
“Imprints, Billy. I mean, who’s with him now? What are they saying?”
“Right,” Billy said. Everyone else agreed. Six napkins and one sleazy garment came off laps and onto the table.
We had all been acting like goddamned fools and the sooner we terminated the bummer the better.
The limo arrived promptly but not promptly enough to get me out of the area without further incident. Fortunately, I was seated next to the right rear window, and it hummed down the way a good limo window should at the touch of the button.
SCHLAGORSCH! All over the street below but also on the door panel. Billy’s chauffeur and the doorman managed to organize a bucket and a mop, while I subsided into a shuddering vestige. Wendy applied the Kleenex and Billy handed out hundred-dollar bills.
Leaving a pool of vomit in front of the restaurant was an appropriate gesture, like the threat to spray New York with acid and DMSO, but what good did it do?
Little Billy kept Aurora up all night but he didn’t keep me up. Billy supplied the means to instant oblivion, and I took it. When Wendy and I returned to Millbrook the next day, it looked good, even if it was cold and falling into anarchic ruin. At least it meant something. What, I wasn’t always sure, but something.
The balance of the winter passed like a slow train to nowhere. Before the eviction notices came in February all we did was talk about how we might put the place on a self-supporting basis in the spring, and after the eviction notices came, all we talked about was the case and how much we could hold the Hitchcocks up for and where we would go and what we would do after we left.
I made a couple speaking trips, one to a small college in West Virginia where I debated Sidney Cohen, and another to Cincinnati, where I debated my old adversary, Meat Hook Baird, on TV. On both occasions I was semi-drunk, tired, and ineffectual. The wind had gone out of my sails. There was nothing about the situation in which I found myself that made me feel either heroic or wise or a particularly good example for others.
I wasn’t even getting stoned regularly, since it was too dangerous to keep anything in the house, and it was too cold to go outdoors in the snow for more than a brief stroll. The Meditation House was deserted. Everything we were doing was defensive and selfish and completely contrary to the emotions which had brought me to Millbrook in the first place. Have another drink, Kleps. Let’s go over to the Ashram and watch television.
Evenings at the Ashram that winter, with everyone seated in the gloom of the press room, only moderately warmed by an enormous potbellied stove, watching a black and white TV, were usually grim and uninspiring occasions, Smothers Brothers or no Smothers Brothers. Appropriately, we would occasionally relieve the tedium by playing Monopoly and penny-ante poker.
Haines had perfected several standard routines which he would trot out whenever things threatened to get too morose. I must admit they worked, at least to the extent of preventing double binds among his followers from adding to the objective difficulties in which we were mired.
Self criticism was not permitted. Everything was Tim’s and Billy’s and Tommy’s fault, not to mention the ruling class of Dutchess County in general. By constant repetition of this creed, punctuated with explosive outbursts of seemingly genuine anger at anyone impudent enough to offer a deviant analysis, Haines managed to produce an official doctrine on the subject which was as rigid as the Stalinist line of the ’30s, complete with a mangled history of events which allowed the bad guys only bad moves and bad motives and the good guys only good moves and good motives.
When someone would ask, ritualistically, “How are we going to get out of this?” or some variant of that basic question, Bill would roar “Blackmail!” That’s how we’re going to get out of this. Do you know of any great religion that was founded on anything else?”
Before anyone could think of an exception, Bill would launch into one or more stories from his seemingly inexhaustible collection of anecdotes which vividly illustrated the ruthless perfidiousness of all the founders of all the established denominations.
These tales would cheer everyone up.
One gloomy evening, just as Wendy and I were about to turn in, we heard a car pull up in front of the portcullis below and then a knocking on the outside tower door, which was sealed shut. This was not a particularly unusual event. I uttered a routine “goddamit” and switched on the floodlights which Tord had expertly installed the previous summer. Wendy swiftly waddled to the tower bedroom, where the left front window gave us the best vantage point for reply to inquiries and the notation of license numbers.
Usually these nocturnal visits didn’t amount to much more than a recitation of phone numbers or directions, so I remained at my desk. To look down from the front windows of the main room required climbing up on the portcullis enclosure which was so handy for the collation of Divine Toad Sweats by naked girls and so forth, but even then the roof blocked the view of what was directly below.
“It’s Michael Hollingshead,” Wendy reported, somewhat wide-eyed, on her return. “He’s got a girl with him and he wants to talk to you.”
Wendy, who had a very retentive memory for such things, had instantly recalled every story she had ever heard involving Hollingshead’s brief but notorious attempt to convert the Big House into a sleazy sideshow attraction in ’65, while Tim was in Nepal. I hadn’t heard his name mentioned in years. I looked out of the tower window. Sure enough. A big, old, battered, dirty sedan. Big, old, battered, dirty Hollingshead, standing at its side, squinting up against the lights. A pale and frightened female face peered up through a half-opened window of the car.
“Hi, Michael,” I called. “Down in a minute.” I considered turning off the lights, using the handy switch next to our bed, but thought better of it. Whatever this specter from the past was up to, he could damn well be up to it in full view.
“Prepare for the worst,” I responded to Wendy’s questions, as I put on my big, old, battered, dirty mackintosh and pocketed a flashlight.
“Are you going to let him in?”
“I hope not,” I replied.
It was a dark and thundery night, but as yet no rain had fallen. Classic January thaw weather. I made my way across the flagstones under the arch to the pedestrian gate, where Hollingshead was waiting. He just wanted to get something he had stashed on the other side of the gate in days long gone. He seemed extremely strung out, as usual, but at least quasi-rational.
I made one or two attempts at conversation as we walked across the bridge, but Hollingshead wasn’t having any of it. He was fixated on the subject at hand. Either something was under “that rock” or it wasn’t.
It wasn’t. Speedy, if not frantic, departure. Hollingshead didn’t bother to thank me for my trouble, but then again, I hadn’t asked him and his companion to come upstairs for some warm port and cold mutton or anything like that, either.
“His stash was not under the fucking rock, and maybe it never was under the fucking rock and maybe there never was any fucking stash,” I concluded my report to Wendy.
In 1973, Hollingshead got a slim volume published by Blond and Briggs in London, and Abelard-Schuman in New York. He entitled it, with English diffidence, The Man Who Turned on the World.
It may be that this pretentious title was planted on him the way “With LSD I Saw God” was planted on me by Pageant magazine in ’66, but I doubt it.
Acid Dreams (Lee and Shlain, Grove Press, 1985), which is not out of print, 1995, should also be examined with care by historians. Grove Press claims it is “social history.” In fact, it is anti-history.
According to this farrago of truths, half-truths, blatant lies and rabid libels, many of which are clearly drawn from the mirthless lips of an embittered Hollingshead, our private world came to a close in the following manner:
Roadblocks were set up around the estate, and anyone who wanted to visit had to submit to a lengthy, humiliating strip search. The state of siege grew more intense, until the commune was forced to disband in the spring of 1967. The golden age of anarchy at Millbrook had come to an end.
Wrong, wrong and wrong. There were no strip searches, it was not a commune and it was not disbanded in 1967. But, surely, that noble champion of all that is queer and wonderful, Barney Rosset, would not publish lies and libels as “social history?” George Weidenfeld and Ann Getty bought Grove from Rosset after Acid Dreams was published. Would Lord George “Geronimo” Weidenfeld and his simpering protégé stoop to shoveling shit to the public, despite repeated demands from me to desist?
Of course they would. Shit-shoveling is the name of the game in mass market publishing, as Tim always fully understood.
Millbrook and the Boo Hoo Bible are extensively quoted and misquoted in Acid Dreams, sometimes with attribution and sometimes without. The first quote from my writings takes up almost an entire page, but is attributed to a “resident.” If the authors, who obviously had lots of technical help, had made any effort to contact me they would have found me. The current address of the Church is always listed in the Encyclopedia of Associations. If the listed address had been out of date, TRS or Equifax would have found my address and phone number in about three seconds and given this data to Grove Press for about $15.
The Bungalow is identified as “a four-bedroom, gardener’s cottage with a Japanese bath in the basement.”
This is either a slovenly error or intentional deception. (Both? I don’t know. I suspect that the motivations of people in this line of work flit through their brains like bats.) The source for this particular absurdity must be a footnote in the Boo Hoo Bible (1971) in which I mentioned that Billy had moved into Clum’s old house after selling his interest in the property to his brother. In the edition of Millbrook quoted by Lee and Shlain, the actual Bungalow is not only described at length but located on a map in the front of the book. Why did they relocate it? Who knows? Maybe my description of the farm manager’s lavishly redecorated house sounded more interesting than my description of the Bungalow.
Lee and Shlain report, as if it was a matter of great importance, that Hollingshead “never fully trusted” Billy, which is something like saying that Fagin “never fully trusted” Queen Victoria. Nor should he have, but why bring it up?
In Acid Dreams, the meditations on mastication and digestion that Hollingshead devised in deadly earnest for his “seminars” (see his book, if you can find it) become “tongue-in-cheek affairs for the regular residents.” Hollingshead had probably read the first two editions of Millbrook in the interval between the publication of The Man Who Turned on the World and his being invited by Lee and Shlain to participate in the confabulation of Acid Dreams. Having learned from Millbrook that his sermons were viewed with derision back in the kitchen, he retroactively made himself part of the fun instead of the butt of ridicule that he was in fact.
I am pictured as a “virtual unknown” to the presumably well-known residents of the estate, such as Hollingshead. I am described as being a “graduate student” in 1960, when, after five years of employment as a school and clinical psychologist, I take my first mescaline trip.
Acid Dreams says that, on my “first trip” at Millbrook (the Kundalini trip, I guess) I “wound up brandishing a gun.” This particular libel may be Hollingshead’s revenge for my telling the story about his boyfriend Ernie and his supposed non-suicide with his .45 pistol. I am then “thrown out” of the house by Hollingshead. Hollingshead, like most junkies, came as close to being a human scarecrow as one can get and still live. He could not have thrown Susan Leary six inches in a strong gale and he didn’t throw me anywhere. He hid out, come to think of it.
“Later,” I am “admitted” as “a resident of the Gatehouse.” (I’m in a dormitory, I guess, where I am permitted to occupy a bunk in a corner, where the Hollingsheadian monks in charge can keep an eye on me and my weapon.)
The Church, which for motives unknown is always referred to as “the Neo-American Boohoo Church,” is founded, according to Lee and Shlain, in 1966 instead of 1965. Since the community is falsely reported to have “disbanded” in the spring of 1967 instead of the spring of 1968, the Church is made to co-exist with the Millbrook community for less than a year. In fact, it was Hollingshead who was around for less than a year.
In “diploma-like” announcements, I am reported to “declare five hundred people across America” to be “Boohoos.” This absurdity is taken from Tim’s patently absurd “review” of the Catechism. I suppose Lee and Shlain could plead an inability to recognize raillery when they read it. Maybe they can’t, but I think it’s more probable that they just don’t give a shit. A good line is a good line. Saying that their book is “social history,” for example, is a good line.
Tim’s episode of feeling somewhat melted in the upper story is made to appear chronic, if not everlasting.
Ironic justice is inadvertently (or, who knows, maybe advertently, maybe even vertently) administered when Tim’s misquotations of me (“God’s flesh,” etc.) in his review of the Catechism are attributed to him as they ought to be.
Tim’s “I am a charlatan” remark is reported as something he often said in public. He only said it once as far as I know.
Tim’s Senate testimony and mine are combined, mangled and reversed to produce a fiction in which I am pictured as watching Tim’s performance and, in sharp contrast to my actual reaction as reported in the book the authors presumably read, since they quote it, being “peeved” at the scorn and derision with which it was treated by the senators who heard it, rather than opposed to the thrust of the testimony itself (when I found out, later, what it was). Allen Ginsberg then materializes to “placate” the solons, who are said to be “infuriated” by my testimony in defense of Tim. As far as I know, the only senator who was infuriated was Bobby Kennedy, who wasn’t there, and Bobby wasn’t infuriated by the content of my speech but by the attention it diverted from his troupe of trained seals who were barking it up in a different ring under the big tent.
Hollingshead’s banishment in September of 1965, after one summer of fucking the place up, is not alluded to in any way. The reader is left with the impression that he was a magisterial founder and fixture of the place from start to finish.
I am described as “always being on Hitchcock’s case, trying to pump him for money or wheedle him out of it or steal it.”
Never mind all of that continuous “pumping” and “wheedling,” which is in absolute contrast to my actual conduct (and makes no sense in light of the fact that Billy, presumably without having a gun stuck in his back, hung around with me so much), but was probably something I should have done more of. Zero in on the announcement to the world at large by Grove Press and its hired scriveners that I was a determined, persistent thief, or tried to be, and that my target was my best friend at the time. Imagine that this is being said about you, dear reader.
For starters, who the hell says so? The authors do not attribute their generous contribution to my Interpol file to anyone, although the book is furnished with a large and detailed index, to give the impression that it is a work of scholarship.
“Scholarshit,” is what I call this ancient and extensive genre.
I hereby notify everyone involved in any way in the publication and distribution of Acid Dreams that they are knowingly disseminating libel, which is a crime, and I demand that they desist at once. Will a team of British libel lawyers whose peckers are not in Lord Weidenfeld’s pockets please come forward?
There is no reason to believe anything you read in this “social history” unless you have independent verification. The odds that any given statement is factual, on the one hand, or a slovenly error or an outright, malicious lie on the other hand, seem to be about 50/50. Clearly, if the record conflicted with their preconceived ideas, the author’s standard practice was to change the record. Yet Acid Dreams is sold all over the world, and is believed, and its contents are taught as fact in American institutions of the Higher Learning.
And so we take our leave of Michael Hollingshead, with the fervent wish of the author that he should turn over a wet rock some day and find himself there, where he belongs, curling and uncurling in the slime with his fellow grubs, Lee, Shlain, Rosset, Getty and Geronimo Weidenfeld beside him.
Go get ‘em, Swami! That’s my bird!
Billy called shortly after the eviction notices arrived (Tim, in Berkeley, had gotten one too, Haines determined by phone as soon as he got his) and assured us that none of this was his doing even though his name was on the notices along with Tommy’s. They had twisted his arm or something. He would “help” us relocate. Bill and I had learned through bitter experience not to assume that promises of “help” coming from Billy were anything more than expressions of sympathy, if not condolence. Haines and I solemnly agreed not to be taken in this time. Cash on the barrel head was to be our motto. We wouldn’t budge an inch without it.
Wendy had her baby, a girl, whom we named Kristen. The problems which absorbed Haines and me and the rest of us on the estate ceased to have much emotional weight for her. She and her baby would survive quite well, no matter what happened. They did, I’m happy to say.
Tim didn’t lose much time getting back after the eviction notices came. Our councils of war were usually held at the Gatehouse.
When Tim and Rosemary came over one evening, Tim had a lot of accumulated legal and business chores to take care of so the rest of us watched TV. The movie “Freud” was on, much to Rosemary’s, Wendy’s, and my amusement, but Tim’s irritation with this evidence of his least favorite psychological theorist’s mass-media success was undisguised.
“Tim hates Freud,” Rosemary said.
“That’s right,” Tim sharply confirmed from his corner, and then abruptly returned to rattling my electric prayer wheel.
“What do you think, Arthur?” Wendy asked.
“I’m ambivalent,” I said, feeling like a Peter De Vries character.
Freud had a wedge of the human pie down pat, I would say, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a wishful thinker. Jung, on the other hand, had nothing down pat but he stuck his fingers in a lot of pies and identified a lot of stuff, including synchronicity, which, not being a solipsist, he didn’t understand at all. The TV reception that evening was terrible.
In retrospect, I think Haines agreed to Tim’s proposal to hold out and set a good example of passive resistance for the rest of the movement because Bill expected such a posture might raise the ante. It would convince Billy and Tommy we were acting together and meant business. Again in retrospect, I think Tim probably recognized Haines’ motive and he didn’t like it. It made Tim the ringleader and cast Bill and me in the role of two dummies operating under his hypnotic spell, who might claim afterwards we hadn’t meant a word we had said, and reap the rewards of being Billy’s friends, leaving Tim out in the cold.
Tim had probably expected that Bill and I would be too chicken to accept his plan to resist and that we would insist on selling out. Then Tim could have told his followers and the press that resistance was impossible because of our unprincipled conduct, taken his cut, and split. This would have secured his position with the egalitarian primitivists (he was involved with Hoffman and Rubin at the time, and making plans for a nudist parade at the Democratic Convention in Chicago), not hurt his relationship with Billy much, avoided any further legal problems and filled his pockets also.
At the time I wasn’t even trying to follow the convoluted ramifications of it all. Haines freely admitted he lay awake nights attempting to anticipate every possible alternative and hatching one intricate scheme after another. I was amazed at Bill’s agreement, and I sincerely believed Tim meant business.
As the events reported in the first chapter of this book demonstrate, I was wrong. When Tim saw that things weren’t going his way because, so to speak, they were going his way, he solved the problem in characteristically Learian style. Suddenly, everything he had said or done earlier became “inoperative.” If he didn’t get his furniture back, he would go over to Tommy’s side. If Tim found he was holding a low hand, he could always pull a blank card from his sleeve, with a crayon attached, and draw a new one.
Tim’s and Rosemary’s abrupt departure from Millbrook didn’t seem to surprise Haines, but I was seriously pissed off. The credibility of any threats from Haines and me to offer passive resistance or to put anyone “in the cells right next to us,” had been considerably reduced by Tim’s defection. In order to correct any assumption that a vicious vendetta was no longer a possibility, I started making extremist statements to the press. In a statement to the Millbrook Round Table, I accused Tim of “turning tail” and compared his attitude towards the Hitchcocks with “the Irish peasants’ veneration for the rich Englishman on the hill.”
“That should show the furniture lover,” I thought to myself on delivering this insult, which I knew would irritate Tim beyond measure, since it completely contradicted the image he wanted to produce with the egalitarians. It would also, I hoped, alarm the Hitchcocks, as a sample of the kind of brutal “realism” which I might be expected to express in court as well as to the press, if pushed too far.
Haines was delighted. I could almost sense a desire on his part to pat me on the head. Instead of behaving like some kind of “flower-power person,” I was acting like a good, bullheaded German boy for a change. When, in another interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal, I suggested that a “deal” had been made between the Hitchcocks and the Dutchess County authorities, Haines’ admiration knew no bounds. I was his fair-haired protector once again. He immediately put in a call to the West Coast and convinced Billy to send him a ticket and arrange a tour of Arizona to look at property for the Ashram. That didn’t bother me a bit. I had finally decided that if we were going to play dirty rat games, I would be the filthiest rodent in town.
“When you see Billy,” I told Haines as he prepared to leave, “tell him I have completely flipped my cork and you fear for the safety of one and all unless I am well taken care of.”
When Billy called me from Arizona, he was most agreeable and came right to the point. He and Tommy were giving Haines $25,000 but since that sum had to provide for the entire Ashram, and I only had “Wendy and the baby to worry about,” how about $10,000 for the Neo-American Church? If not, I could come out to Arizona and he and I could look for a little home on the range which would suit my tastes.
Screw Arizona. I wanted to go to Vermont. I took the $10,000 and Wendy and I drove up to North Hero Island on Lake Champlain where I quickly located a modest year-round house on the shore facing east over the small-mouth bass fishing grounds where I had spent many happy summer days as a child.
I decided to buy it, put the title in the name of the Church and start writing by night and fishing by day. It was not to be. The scene looked like heaven to me but the setting, and the prospective daily routine that went with it, looked like hell to Wendy, who proceeded to bitch about it from morning to night.
With her father’s help, we bought a summer house, much closer to Burlington, on South Hero island instead. Ethan Allen, one of my heroes, had his last, fatal drunk on South Hero. Title was in Wendy’s name. I didn’t write anything worth reading all summer.
I must have been out of my mind.
Like almost everyone at Millbrook since the raids started, I had thrown hexagram after hexagram directing me to the southwest which, besides the actual geographic orientation, represents, according to established Chingian doctrine, retreat, while the northeast represents advance. Had I taken up Billy on his offer to find a place in Arizona, I probably could have grown sinsemilla in relative safety, because I would not have had a mortgage to pay off, and thus no pressure to overproduce.
After our furniture had been trucked to Vermont, we drove back to Millbrook on May 23, exactly one day after the eviction notices had taken effect, to take care of some last-minute details. We came in through the east gate, drove past the barns and the Bungalow and stopped at Jimmy’s house, which was next to the abandoned kennels on the road between the Bungalow and the Big House, because we spotted Jean’s boys and Pat’s girls playing behind it.
Jimmy had just moved out and Ed, Marshall, Pat, Jean and the kids were living in the house, having been given a few days’ extension on the eviction order, since they had nowhere to go and no money to get there with, Tim having spent all of his essence friends’ kiss-off money on New England Nuclear stock or promotion for his Chicago nudist parade, or whatever. Since they had all supported Tim in his effort to expel the Ashram, I think they were too embarrassed to ask Haines for sanctuary.
Oddly enough, Carl Perian and Bernie Tannenbaum, whom I hadn’t seen or talked to since the day of my Senate testimony, were seated on the floor in the living room, looking gloomy. We discussed the situation in a desultory way. Carl said that my testimony had probably held up the enactment of the federal possession laws for two years. Bernie told about Meat Hook’s candle and foreskin act with the little black boys entrusted to his loving care in Harlem. I didn’t ask them how they came to be at Millbrook at that time, and they didn’t volunteer any explanations. My curiosity about such matters was as close to zero as it had ever been.
The Ashram buildings were bare. We rumbled down to the Gatehouse over all the old potholes and that spring’s new additions. A stained-glass window that I had installed was broken and swinging open. Inside, all was disorder. Our stereo was gone. Someone had exhausted our two fire extinguishers to spray foam around. Later I learned, on good authority, that these deeds had been done by “some kids from Woodstock” as long-haired and freaky-looking as ourselves.
It was a fitting end.