WEIRDLAND

Friday, April 09, 2021

The Will to Believe, Dismantling "The Other Man" (JFK Jr. & Carolyn Bessette)

As the American philosopher William James argues in The Will to Believe (1897), there’s a human weakness to letting belief ride on emotional factors such as ‘lively conception’ and ‘instinctive liking.’ As the American philosopher Robert Pippin wrote in 1991: "To be modern is to ‘demand independence, a freedom from historical tradition and the power to rule one’s own beliefs’. In this way, modernity took up the energy of religious belief and produced substitutes such as Marxism-Leninism, social justice and celebrity worship. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior (Volume 116, March 2021) suggests that brief exposure to online misinformation can unknowingly alter a person’s behavior. The experiment found that reading a fake news article slightly altered participants’ unconscious behavior. Study author Zach Bastick says that these filtered environments risk creating a “distorted reality” whereby users are exposed to content that reinforces distorted views at the expense of alternate viewpoints. “These findings raise deep concerns for the future of society and politics,” Bastick warns. “Disinformation risks skewing individuals’ worldviews and deleteriously informing their behavior. Deliberately produced and targeted disinformation aimed at behavior modification amplifies these risks.” Belief is an option, a choice between a set of theories or construals of reality. Source: aeon.co

Carolyn Bessette was known by John Kennedy Jr's circle of friends as fond of cutting off people she didn't approve of. One of those people was Barbara Vaughn. She met John in 1989, and was friends with him until Carolyn banned her from entering her and John's apartment. Before that she got along fine with Carolyn, and even accompanied her and John on a trip to Honduras in November 1995. Barbara wouldn't tell exactly what she did to make Carolyn feel so negatively about her, but from what Steve Gillon knew, basically Barbara and John had a sexual relationship after the Daryl Hannah breakup in 1994, and John never mentioned it to Carolyn. “'John described receiving messages from distant contacts in his father’s administration and members of far-flung aristocratic families proposing introductions, which he gracefully sidestepped,'” John’s friend Barbara Vaughn told Steve Gillon. “John would be monogamous for long periods of time, but once he felt the relationship fizzling out he would search for a replacement before breaking up,” Gillon explained. Somehow, John had managed to juggle Daryl Hannah, Carolyn Bessette, Julie Baker and Barbara Vaughn together for some time. No small feat!

Barbara Vaughn took this photo of John at George's office. Barbara commented about his friendship with John: "Everyone has their own angle, perspective, and agenda in this arena. Mine is just to keep to myself and only share what I’m comfortable with. Steve Gillon said it well: “I protected John’s privacy during his lifetime, and now I want to preserve his legacy”. Carolyn knew me, knew John liked me and respected me, and I was one of John’s “Ivy League” pals. This is difficult for me to say, but I think I was a threat in her eyes. For my two cents, Carolyn was very warm and generous with me until the point where she felt uncomfortable, and I know exactly when, where, and why that happened, and I don’t fault her for her feelings."

According to a friend of a roommate of Julie Baker, she and John were hanging out together in the last days before the plane crash: "When John died my good friend had to go stay with Julie, apparently JFK Jr was still dating her when he died, she was a wreck apparently." Julie revealed to Gillon that she regretted taking part in the ABC 2020 documentary "The Last Days of JFK Jr", because people were poking into her past, and questioning her. Also Gillon explained that Julie got Lyme disease in 2009, and lost her memory and had a hard time remembering her time with John at the Stanhope hotel. However, Julie was able to remember her first date with John in 1989 when she spoke to Town & Country magazine in 2019, but couldn't remember the last time she spent with John in 1999. Every time John got back from his monthly lunch with Julie, Carolyn would tell Rosemarie Terenzio to call her. John was also helping Julie pay her rent, since her modeling contract was over. In the late 90s she was a sales clerk at a Menswear store, Seize Sur Vingt. John used to support her buying from her over the other clerks, and would recommend her to his friends, but the suits she sold John didn't fit right. What most people don't know is that Julie Baker was engaged to volleyball player Patrick Boyle from 1993-1994. 

She broke off her engagement just one week before the wedding, and she was seen soon after kissing John in NYC, on September 4, 1994. Carolyn wasn't fond of John's ex-girlfriend Julie Baker. According to Rosemarie Terenzio: "In November 1997, Carolyn decided to invite Julie Baker over to the apartment for John's birthday. Julie of course accepted that invitation. At one point during the party, Julie went over and sat in John's lap, and 'got cozy'. Carolyn got angry and told her that was inappropriate. I don't know what happened after that, but Julie wasn't invited to John's birthday again." This didn't stop John from making sure that Rosemarie Terenzio scheduled monthly lunches with Julie Baker, who would also hang out at his George office. 

Julie visited John at his hotel room at the Stanhope on the Wednesday before he died. There is some information that hasn't been printed about this visit. The following day on Thursday, July 15, John and Gary Ginsburg went to see a Yankees game at around 7:30 pm, the game didn't finish until 10:30-11:00 pm. Anyway, John and Gary drove to the Stanhope hotel together after the game and when they arrived, Gary helped John grab his stuff up to his room. Gary said that Julie Baker was waiting for John in the hotel lobby. Gillon didn't think this information was important, and when he asked Baker, she said she had no recollection. She did however remember John hanging out at her apartment a week before the crash. It seems something was going on between them. They were still in contact regardless of Carolyn's feelings towards her. Here's an excerpt from Sons of Camelot, "Gary was a good and trusted friend. Yet he saw only veiled hints of the personal difficulties his friend was going through. They started talking about Julie Baker, though John did not let on that he had just seen her twice at the Stanhope hotel. Julie was a temptation to him, as he had admitted a few months before; she was a voluptuous, passionate woman who may still have been in love with him."

Sasha Chermayeff said John would often speak about Julie Baker but he never brought Julie around his mother Jackie Kennedy. Sasha also told: "My own feelings are that it isn’t any of my business about John and Julie. I know his friendship (with “benefits” as they say) with Julie was real, and was on and off for years. She wasn’t a family intimate who was invited to dinner with his mother and such, but her claims to intimacy with John are founded, from my perspective, more so in fact than other women who claim to have been close with him. She was not a great love of his life, but their closeness at times throughout his life I believe was genuine, for what it’s worth." William D. Cohan, author of "Four Friends: Promising Lives Cut Short" (2019) writes: "Sasha Chermayeff said she spoke with John about the fact that his wife wouldn’t sleep with him. He was upset about it. He was in therapy. He may have, eventually, had casual sexual interludes with Julie Baker, a former girlfriend, but he was, Chermayeff said, “very serious, and very seriously committed to the fact that he had fallen madly in love with Carolyn. They had this really passionate beginning, which Herb Ritts photographed incredibly. I mean when they were madly in love. He took these incredibly super sexy pictures of John and Carolyn where they were like on fire. She even said to me, ‘We were like on fire during this session,’ and you can tell.” (The photographs have never been made public.) But she [Carolyn] was fickle, Chermayeff continued."

Also Daryl Hannah didn't like Julie Baker as it was proven in an article about the TV movie "Rear Window" that came out in 1998: "The former star of “Splash” is co-starring opposite Christopher Reeve in the ABC remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” Daryl Hannah has the role originally played by Grace Kelly (the Princess of Monaco), but a source close to the production says according to a source on the set, not all has been smooth. When Daryl Hannah looked out the window and saw actress Julie Baker, once a rival for John F. Kennedy Jr.’s affections, “She really wigged out,” says a source. “She said, ‘What’s she doing here?’ Julie was cast as the 'luscious woman'."

Isabel Jones wrote in InStyle magazine (July 19, 2019): "While John and Carolyn’s relationship no doubt had its complications, Kennedy is thought to have remained faithful to his wife throughout their marriage. Steve Gillon writes that John had told friends, “I wish I could cheat on her,” but couldn’t bear to “humiliate Carolyn the way his father had done his mother.” However, it seems the same could not be said for Carolyn Bessette, who appears to have had an affair with Calvin Klein underwear model Michael Bergin." Sadly, Ms Jones is not the only journalist who has contributed to spread this colossal lie about a false romantic relationship between ex-model Michael Bergin and Carolyn Bessette post-marriage with John Kennedy Jr. (1996). There is a myriad of examples that undermine and ultimately discredit The Other Man (Bergin's atrocious biography first published by Harper in 2004). For example, Bergin talks about a date as part of his clandestine affair that took place in late June/early July 1997. But Michael Bergin was lying about the affair, since JFK Jr didn't go to Iceland in July, he went in mid-August. So absolutely no, Carolyn Bessette didn't have sex with Michael Bergin post-marriage. More proof that specific affair didn't happen in the summer of 1997 is the fact that Carolyn was staying in New York, not in Los Angeles during John's trip to Iceland.

An acquaintance of Bergin confessed: "I know Michael Bergin very well. He wrote the book because he was broke. Carolyn used Michael to get John's attention. Do you really think she would have chosen an underwear model over the most eligible guy on the planet? She was many things, but stupid was not one of them. Carolyn helped Michael get the CK job. They met at a bar randomly. Judith Regan helped Bergin with the book. Michael Bergin's book was full of lies." Another egregious glitch in Bergin's prefabricated timeline: "Michael Bergin claims he once called Carolyn at her job at Calvin Klein after her engagement," notes one friend. "Trouble is, she'd already quit Calvin by then." Among several defamatory accusations, Bergin claimed that Bessette had two abortions and a miscarriage while she was dating both Kennedy and Bergin. But, sorry again, Michael: "Carolyn was using birth control as long as I knew her," argued a longtime friend.

In an interview with Greta Van Susteren for Fox, on March 30, 2004, Michael Bergin stated: "They're making Carolyn look like a coke addict. I'm coming forward to tell the world that she didn't dabble in drugs. She didn't like it. She got mad at me when I did it. But, all of a sudden, like she's a coke addict. You know, Ed Klein interviewed me, and he said all of this nasty stuff. He got me on the phone. He said I'm printing this, I know this and whatever, and it scared me. It scared me to death. So I spoke to him. And he asked me about an affair. I -- in about 20 different ways, I told him it wasn't true, as far as I know she's happily married. I didn't want this stuff to come out." So basically Michael Bergin was pressured by Ed Klein (a long time antagonist of the Kennedy clan) to release a book after Klein first made the false allegations about Carolyn of drug abuse and infidelity in his salacious and defamatory book The Kennedy Curse (2003).

Matt Berman (editor of George magazine): I was eating potato chips in my dismal gray-carpeted office, glad to have a moment to myself. I took a sip of Snapple and turned to see a beautiful woman leaning into my doorway. “Are you Matt?” she asked. I looked up, squinting in the harsh fluorescent light. Great, she had caught me smeared with potato chip grease. She came into the office and offered her hand and a huge smile. “Hi, I’m Carolyn.” [Carolyn Bessette meeting Matt Berman] She was gorgeous in a flowered summer dress and high heels. Wavy dirty-blonde hair framed her face. She crouched close behind me, her face almost resting on my shoulder as we looked at the logos together. She smelled incredibly good. Thrusting her hand into my bag of chips, she said, “I’m starving, can I have some?” Later, she told John, “The logos are young, cool, they look exactly right.” I was in love. And I got the job.

Carolyn was exciting to me because she looked so exotic, with her full lips, white hair, and azure eyes, yet she came from a normal suburban family like I did. I can picture her sitting on a bar stool at Odeon, rumbling with laughter, then stopping me mid-sentence to carefully remove an eyelash from my cheek with her pinky. She was glamorous, and protected and empowered me. Just as my office had become Carolyn’s refuge, my hideout was in the office of the publisher, Elinore Carmody. I found a photocopy of a poster of the blonde actress Carroll Baker in the film Baby Doll—a grown woman lying in a crib, sucking her thumb. John had us fax it to Carolyn at home, a joke making fun of her for not working and being a lady of leisure. John never looked at my scars, he never once asked what happened. The thing that I thought alienated me he didn’t even notice—he concentrated on my essence. 

John saw past flaws and had the ability to see people regardless of how they presented themselves or were seen by others. He taught me that my flaws allowed me to develop gifts that helped me to live in a world that was far from perfect. Of course, John’s face was perfect. Jean-Louis once brought a famous Indian plastic surgeon named Rajan to the George offices to meet him. I stood to the side and watched as this guy marveled at John’s face to the point of making John so uncomfortable that he started scratching his nose to break the man’s trance. John was flawless. But Jean-Louis said John wasn’t perfect: “He has very short teeth.” Being scarred myself made me hypersensitive to physical flaws in others. John had the ability to see inner flaws in people, and always responded with empathy. He’d be polite and make a beeline for the shyest person in the room and talk to them. He’d engage someone he could tell was nervous about meeting him by asking them a question that was easy to answer. —"JFK Jr, George and Me: A Memoir" (2014) by Matt Berman  

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Friday, March 26, 2021

A Common Good: JFK, RFK, JFK Jr.

Scholar Guillaume Budé, the first royal librarian and advisor to King François, wrote a handbook printed posthumously in 1547, which contained the observation that political laws need to be tempered by ‘mixed, ambidextrous men’. Budé was referring to the delicate mixing of different types of law (including civil and ecumenical), in a context of factional divisions and mass conversion to the reformed faith. The idea of a fundamentally mixed person enacting politics–an ‘ambidextrous’ character, balancing ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ centuries before these were political categories–came under intense pressure as religious and social change intensified. Politics was the art of attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable. Then as now, this was considered horrifying as well as hopeful. After thousands of French Protestants were massacred in 1572, poems celebrating the killings dismissed politiques who preferred peaceful coexistence to violent purges. A female member of the UK parliament, Jo Cox–who argued at the Parliament ‘we have far more in common than that which divides us’–was assassinated. Britain had voted to leave the EU. Populations across the world started to elect nationalist ‘strong’ men who exploited anti-politician sentiment. The battle between political monster and ‘holy’ union continues today. “Remember, democracy never lasts long,” John Adams (the 2nd President of USA) wrote in a letter to philosopher John Taylor in 1814: “It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Source: psyche.co

Bobby Kennedy: "There is no greater need than to educate men and women to point their careers toward public service as the finest and most rewarding type of life. Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change."

“The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty, and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.” —H.L. Mencken (Baltimore Evening Sun, February 12, 1923)

Helen O’Donnell, author of A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy and Kenneth P. O’Donnell (1998) also worked with Chris Matthews of MSNBC on his 2012 book Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. The experience served to further pique her interest in the topic of the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, and the Rat Pack. She published more recently The Irish Brotherhood: John F. Kennedy, His Inner Circle, and the Improbable Rise to the Presidency (2015) and Launching Lyndon B. Johnson's Presidency (2018).

After the death of his brother Joe in the war, Bobby Kennedy was again reminded that fortune did not guarantee anyone a future. He would always be hesitant thereafter about plans beyond his control. ”Kathleen’s death, and Joe’s before it, were tastes of tragedy that helped make Bobby particularly understanding of those to whom fortune had been unkind. This characteristic would mark him throughout his life—leading those who knew Bobby to find it difficult to understand the often mentioned charge that he was 'ruthless.' I think that when he came upon people’s deep problems later on,” says Dave Hackett, “it was a natural thing for him to have compassion and some understanding for them. I think what he never had any understanding or compassion for was arrogance, or wealth that was not used properly by the privileged, he had very little compassion for that!” “When Bobby first came into the campaign headquarters, he was very polite, nice, and what I would call very shy,” says William Sutton. “ What struck me was the first thing he said to me: ‘Give me the toughest part of the district. I’ll take it.’ Then I realized that underneath, Bobby wanted East Cambridge because he knew that was Neville’s area and it was going to be a really tough race,” Sutton remembers. Just as he had done with football at Milton and Harvard and with the debates at the Varsity Club, Bobby was naturally drawn to the toughest front in the battle. Rather than being intimidated, he saw it as a natural opportunity to prove himself. His wife Ethel was more forthrightly engaged with people than her husband, balancing his inner shyness. Bobby received from her the kind of love and acceptance he needed, which would revitalize him in times of trouble and difficulty. He trusted her judgment, admired her as a mother, and loved her fiercely. “Bobby was a really terribly shy person, even in 1960,” W. Arthur Garrity, (a federal district court judge in Boston) remembers. “I had known him from the 1952 campaign and my days as a Kennedy assistant in Wellesley, but I was struck by how he was so reserved and a very shy person,” Garrity would recall. Garrity also remembers thinking about Jimmy Hoffa that day, “a very terrible and dangerous man, and yet Bobby who remained so quiet and unassuming had actually whacked him.” 

Jimmy Hoffa had not finished with Bobby and Jack Kennedy yet. Since Bobby had investigated him in 1957 and 1958, he would make things as difficult as he could for both Kennedy brothers. One of Bobby's big victories was in May 1963, when Hoffa was charged with the attempted bribery of a grand juror during his 1962 conspiracy trial in Nashville. Hoffa was convicted on March 4, 1964, and sentenced to eight years in prison. While on bail during his appeal, Hoffa was convicted in a second trial held in Chicago, on July 26, 1964, on one count of conspiracy and three counts for improper use of the Teamsters' pension fund, and sentenced to five years in prison. Despite his shiny charisma, Jack Kennedy also had a certain shyness. As Nixon described in his memoirs, “We both shared one quality which distinguished us from most of our fellow congressmen. Neither of us was comfortable with boisterous displays of superficial camaraderie. John Kennedy was shy, and that sometimes made him appear aloof. But it was a shyness born of an instinct that guarded privacy and concealed emotions. I understood these qualities because I shared them.” 

On the evening of January 21, 1946, Jack Kennedy had climbed the three flights of stairs to the top floor of a three-decker house at 88 Ferrin Street in Charlestown. Completing his speech, Jack struggled through the throng of Gold Star Mothers, all of whom were reminded of their own deceased or lost sons. He responded uncertainly to their grasps and smiles. This was new territory to him, and he was determined to overcome his shyness and reserve. Jack had forged what Dave Powers would later come to call a “magical link” with the people in that room, knowing this young Navy vet was a different kind of politician. Dave Powers would remain associated with Jack Kennedy in a variety of roles until November 22, 1963. I think we have to grow up regards JFK's extra-marital affairs. Besides that one addictive and admittedly wrong marriage vow dishonoring flaw, no President has ever inspired and energized not just America, but the entire free world in the most important areas of democracy based societies like JFK did. 

Bobby knew his brother had a compulsion towards sexual conquest, but he was adamant Jack didn't ever want to hurt Jackie's feelings. John Kennedy was truly moral in his stances on racial injustice and equality, opposing of long time abusive colonial rule, standing up to hard line military leaders who would actually consider nuclear war as an option, economic disparity, unchecked growth and influence of the massive MIC as Eisenhower had warned; and yet he would not back down if North America and our allies were truly threatened by any outside aggressors. How come LBJ's extra marital dalliances (as numerous as JFK's and which produced at least an illegitimate child) are hardly ever mentioned in any mainstream media? Johnson was a crude and sexist Texan bigot with propensity to take corrupt deals. JFK was one of the first true gender-equalitarian statemen, who despite his Catholic upbringing, did not blink an eye when he alluded on-record to the desirable possibility of a female president in the United States. JFK put his life on the line in WWII and always honored his country. Sadly, we cannot say the same of most of his political successors in the White House. —A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy and Kenneth P. O’Donnell (1998) by Helen O'Donnell

JFK talking about his children Caroline and John in July, 1963: "I hope my children live as good people, that they understand that though they have what many don’t, that does not make them better—but that they can do better, they can help make a difference in this land of freedom in which freedom has not been given to all. My hope is that they’re gracious and sensible in their actions. And if politics is their passion, well, I can’t very well argue with that now can I?”

Jason Beghe, a character actor who starred in the 1988 George A. Romero film Monkey Shines, had attended the Collegiate School, a private preparatory school located in New York City. While there, he became good friends with John F. Kennedy, Jr. and future X-Files star David Duchovny. Kennedy Jr. and Beghe often spent time together outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in Central Park, and were often monitored by Kennedy's Secret Service. Beghe would later persuade Duchovny to pursue work in acting. Beghe decided to apply at Pomona College, graduating in Dramatic Arts in 1982. Beghe told a funny anecdote about John Jr. being shy with girls: "He was so aloof with girls. I felt he was different, maybe because his father's exploits had been public domain for a long time, and his mother had such high expectations for his son. I remember this pretty girl who wanted to date John, she constantly called me and asked me to talk with John, and he invariably blushed. She wound up being my first girlfriend. [laughs]"

By the time Jackie died in 1994, John had already been planning to ditch Daryl Hannah for good. He started dating Julie Baker, a fashion model with a slight resemblance to Jackie whom he had dated briefly during one of his separations from Daryl. John had dated Julie from November 1991 until March 1992. Baker also worked in the late 90s as a sales clerk at a Menswear store: Seize Sur Vingt, being John one of the regular customers. But Carolyn Bessette still lingered in his mind. 

And now Carolyn played hard to get. If John did something to upset her—like canceling dinner at the last minute—she would scream at him, “Fuck you! I’m going off with Michael!” Carolyn was considered a difficult woman by some of John's friends. As Laurence Leamer wrote in Sons of Camelot: "John liked difficult women. If they were too nice, he thought they were boring." The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Laurie C. Merrill identified JFK Jr and Carolyn Bessette together on two occasions in New York: July 18, 1993 and November 14, 1993.

After John had broken up with Daryl Hannah, John and Julie Baker were seen together locked in a kiss on September 4, 1994. A month later, in October 1994, Carolyn Bessette was John's official date at Michael Berman's wedding. Unlike with other girlfriends who faded out of his life, John remained close to Julie Baker long after their romantic relationship ended. Their relationship now rested on mutual trust and respect. “John and I had an easy, uncomplicated friendship,” Baker told Gillon in 2019. “We had a very special bond that throughout the years became stronger. I believe we knew we would always be there for each other.” Their close friendship was no secret to Carolyn. “John and Julie remained friends and were in touch about once a month,” recalled RoseMarie Terenzio. “Their friendship was completely transparent, and Carolyn even invited Julie to one of John’s birthday celebrations at their apartment.” 

Billy Way, a friend of John’s from Andover, had introduced Julie Baker (a catalog model) to John in the late 80s. According to Billy Noonan, Billy Way also had introduced John to Carolyn in November 1992 at the Rex nightclub, although it's more likely both introduced to each other since they didn't share mutual friends by then. Billy Way was friends with Bobby Potter, whose sister Linda Potter happened to be Timmy Shriver’s wife. Timmy Shriver was Eunice Kennedy Shriver's son. Julie Baker confided to Billy Way that John paid all her expenses and her rent while they were dating, ala Pretty Woman

Both Way and Noonan thought John wasn't really in love with Julie but there was clearly an intimate connection. John offered Julie keep paying her rent, even after breaking-up as a couple. Carolyn Bessette found it odd at first, but she came to see it as another favor to a female friend. John also helped Julie to establish her jewelry design catalogue among his social and business contacts. Likewise, Billy Noonan was another pal who had benefited of his financial association with John with rather disastrous results (John lost his inversion in Noonan's real estate business). Indeed, Carolyn felt even more aversion to Noonan than Baker. According to Billy Way, Daryl didn't like Julie Baker because she had just a high school diploma, but the Splash star thought of Carolyn Bessette as graceful and charismatic, and conceded that John and Carolyn made a striking couple. For her part, Julie Baker appreciated Carolyn's company but some friends thought she was jealous of her sophistication, and suspected Julie kept on chasing John. Julie Baker showed her ambivalence about Carolyn one night after a drink too many, confessing to Sasha Chermayeff: "For Carolyn, to win over John was just a fantasy in her mind. She's always complaining and John needs a grown-up woman beside him." 

Baker was not the first who believed Carolyn Bessette was stubborn and it was hard for her to face the realities of the press and John's lifestyle. In fact, Carolyn's art teacher Linda Bemis at Juniper Hill Elementary School described her as "rather shy, and prone to daydreaming." On July 15, 1999, John returned to Lenox Hill Hospital, where his surgeon removed the cast that had been molded to his ankle for the previous six weeks and gave him the go-ahead to fly. According to a nurse at Lenox Hill, Carolyn accompanied him, and the two were very affectionate, kissing passionately while seated in a small reception area. This scene revealed again the volatility of their relationship. 

They could be fighting one minute and then unable to keep their hands off each other the next. John emerged from the hospital on crutches and went straight to the George's office on Broadway in midtown Manhattan. He had an important meeting later that afternoon with his new boss at Hachette, Jack Kliger. In May, David Pecker had left Hachette and purchased American Media Company, which owned the National Enquirer and other tabloids—the very ones that bought pictures from the same paparazzi who tortured Carolyn. Hachette replaced him with Kliger, who lacked Pecker’s dramatic flair and had no emotional attachment to George magazine. Kliger was informed that the magazine was losing money and that Hachette did not see a viable way forward for the partnership. Hachette’s priority was figuring out how to make the company operate more efficiently. Kliger met with John over the next few weeks and told him that the current business plan was not working. “My point to John was if we might find a graceful way for us to part,” he shared in 2017. He made clear to John that parting ways did not mean shuttering the magazine. 

If they chose to end their association, Hachette would stick with him for a reasonable amount of time until John could find another partner. John took Kliger’s recommendations to heart and submitted a revised business proposal in June. “I thought it was a viable plan,” Kliger admitted. It called for cutting the number of pages in the magazine, producing fewer copies, and raising the newsstand price. However, Kliger never presented John’s modified business plan to the French executives because he still concluded that the partnership could not be rescued. There was not, he recalled, “much faith at Hachette in George.” Hachette, he pointed out, was a “bottom-line-driven company that didn’t really have as big a franchise in either news or lifestyle.” While John was picking up hints that Hachette was going to pull out of their partnership, he still retained a glimmer of hope.

Carolyn Bessette had not been said yes when John F. Kennedy Jr. first proposed to her. She didn't say no, either, but remarkably the 29-year-old Calvin Klein publicist wasn't yet sure that she was ready for what marrying a Kennedy would entail. That change of life would come with a host of perks but also a daunting amount of self-sacrifice, and the ruthless assault on her privacy. Carolyn had spent enough time at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port to know the tensions behind the legend. And she wasn't bowled over by the Kennedys bond. Rather, the clannishness turned her off. Carolyn loved John, but in what would become a point of contention for the rest of their lives, she didn't particularly enjoy going to spend holidays and weekends with his sprawling family on the Cape, where their comings and goings were rather formally presided over by Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy's widow. John Kennedy Jr. was the godfather of Robert Kennedy Jr's son William Finbar. Michael Bergin (Carolyn's ex-boyfriend) didn't help matters, almost coming to blows with John when he was seen stalking outside their Tribeca apartment. In the fall of 1997, Carolyn confided to Paul Rowland (a gay friend) she had suffered a miscarriage, due to the constant media pressure. Allergic to the exposure and publicity, she became a reluctant fashion icon.

Carolyn was playing it cool, but she had fallen in love for the first time in her life. "I kept having to say, 'Snap out of it, John's just a guy," she confided the future Carole Radziwill (née DiFalco), who was about to marry John's cousin and best friend Anthony Radziwill in August 1994. "Carolyn was also worried her marriage to John would change everything," Terenzio wrote in Fairy Tale Interrupted. Carolyn had already moved into John's spacious loft at 20 North Moore St. in TriBeCa, and "Carolyn understood that the formality meant something to John. He was pretty old-fashioned, and given his place in the world, he couldn't be single forever." The prince of the fallen kingdom of Camelot did want a true partner by his side. He was worth approximately over 30 million when he married Carolyn in 1996. "When you were with them," Richard Bradley (author of the New York Times bestseller American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr.) said, "you felt John had really put forth a new power couple in the family, like Jack and Jackie, Bobby and Ethel, Sarge and Eunice Shriver. John had always had a thing about the Kennedy power couples of the past, and this was how he viewed himself and Carolyn. I guess one could say that Carolyn was becoming the woman behind the man, and John was happy and proud. I think Jackie would have been as well." It seems Jackie had given her seal of approval in 1993 to Carolyn, whom she preferred over Daryl Hannah, who had also dated Robert Kennedy Jr. in the mid-1980s, before dating John Kennedy Jr. in 1989.

And importantly for Carolyn, unlike so many of the men in his family, including his iconic father, John F. Kennedy Jr. aspired to take their marital vows seriously. According to historian Steven M. Gillon, Ann Freeman (Carolyn's mother) had openly questioned during her wedding toast whether John was the right man for her daughter. Anthony Radziwill tempered the awkwardness with his best man toast. "We all know why John would marry Carolyn," he said. "She is smart, beautiful and charming... What does she see in John? Well, some of the things that I guess might have attracted Carolyn to John are his caring, his charm, and his very big heart of gold." "Carolyn, more than anyone who John had been with, would stand up to him, and confront him, and I think that John to an extent needed that," Steven Gillon—a classmate of John's at Brown University who was later a contributing editor at George magazine—told InStyle in 2019. However, the rumor that John had roughed Carolyn in Washington Park on February 25, 1996, spread like wildfire, even ending up the topic of one of David Spade's "Hollywood Minute" segments on Saturday Night Live. 

"Why don't you stop hitting your girlfriend and pretending to run a magazine?" Spade quipped, deadpan. Gillon wrote in his 2019 book America's Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr., "The cause of this infamous fight, and the many that followed, stemmed from Carolyn's ongoing complaint that John let people walk all over him." In the summer of 1996, shock host Howard Stern also used the fight in the park to ignite ratings in his show The Howard Stern Show. John Kennedy Jr. accepted Stern's live call to angrily deny Carolyn Bessette was "his new girl." Stern shut down the conversation after John remarked: "She's not a new girl. She's my girlfriend."

As many a Kennedy has noted over the years, not a single person has been born into the family—especially not the men—without eventually feeling the crushing weight of expectations and history upon them. "People keep telling me I can be a great man. I'd rather be a good one," John said, determined to forge his own path. According to Randy Taraborrelli, Ethel Kennedy told Carolyn, "I think you're more powerful than any of the other women John has dated. You know why? Because you're smart, and because you have heart. So don't let those reporters or photographers or anyone else change who you are in here." Also, before they got married, Carolyn had become increasingly involved with George, much to the consternation of John's partner, Michael Berman, who ended up selling his half of the magazine in 1997. On July 14, 1999, Richard Bradley remembered to Vanity Fair that he overheard John screaming at Carolyn on the phone through his office door. "In startling, staccato bursts of rage, John was yelling," Bradley said. "His yells would be followed by silences, then John's fury would resume. At first I could not make out the words. Then after a particularly long pause, I heard John shout, 'Well, goddamnit, Carolyn. You're the reason I was up at three o'clock last night!' The shouting lasted maybe five minutes, but John's office door stayed shut for some time." Christopher Andersen, author of The Day John Died (2007) refuted reports of discord between John Kennedy Jr and his wife Carolyn Bessette. "All this talk about them headed for a divorce was baloney," he says. "John Jr was an astoundingly moral and ethical person and he wanted this marriage to work." Andersen found no evidence to support rumors that Carolyn Bessette abused cocaine. "I've talked to people who knew that Carolyn was taking antidepressants, but there was no indication of drug abuse." 

Andersen adds: "John Kennedy Jr had a tremendous wit and native intelligence, and above all, he was a really nice guy. He was a gentleman, very considerate with the women of his life. Half of the romances concocted by the press were a bluff." "I'm a warts-and-all writer," Anderson reckons, "and I couldn't really find any warts in John's life. He was loved by everybody." Anderson is also the author of Barbra Streisand: The Way She Is, The Wild Life of Mick Jagger and American Evita: Hillary Clinton's Path to Power. There was dissension within the Kennedy family how best to honor John and his wife in the wake of the latest sick twist of fate to befall their cursed dynasty. Among conspiracy rumors, their ashes were placed in blue boxes and scattered off the coast of the Vineyard on July 22, 1999. Ted Kennedy, whose Chappaquidick scandal almost eclipsed his gigantic accomplishment as "the Lion of the Senate", had to grieve for four of their dead siblings, Mary Jo Kopechne, his family tragedies, and now the loss of his nephew John Jr. While working for The Cape Cod News in July 1969 covering Chappaquidick, journalist Leo Damore said to Ted: "Bobby Kennedy probably would have died trying to save Ms Kopechne." Ted Kennedy understood perfectly what must have felt to John Jr. to be compared with his father. So Ted delivered a beautiful eulogy at a memorial service held on July 23 at the Church of St. Thomas More on New York City's Upper East Side. "John was a devoted son and brother, and he was a husband who adored the wife who became his perfect soul mate," the senator, who died in 2009, said. "John's father taught us all to reach for the moon and the stars. John did that in all he did—and he found his shining star when he married Carolyn Bessette." Source: vanityfair.com

Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) characterizes individuals who engage in vivid, fanciful daydreaming for hours on end, neglecting real-life relationships, resulting in clinical distress and functional impairment. Existing knowledge on MD suggests the involvement of dissociative and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, as well as comparable to processes in addiction disorders. Once mind-wandering is initiated, executive control is needed to ensure the continuity of a self-generated internal “train of thought”. Interestingly, mind-wandering without awareness is associated with a greater degree of  psychopathology. Singer and Rowe demonstrated decades ago that the frequency of daydreaming is associated with anxiety and depression. Constructs related to daydreaming are “absorption and imaginative involvement,” a dissociative tendency and involvement in fantasy. A 20 year-old diagnosed female student from the United States, described her daydreaming behavior: "Some daydreams involve people I know. Others don’t include me at all. These daydreams tend to be stories–for which I feel real emotion, usually happiness or sadness. They’re as important a part of my life; I can spend hours alone with my daydreams. I often feel as if I just cannot turn off my mind, whether because I need to concentrate in class, go to sleep, or just find some peace in the world outside my head. I'm careful to turn off my daydreams in public, so it's not evident that my mind is spinning these stories and I get lost in them. I can sustain normal relationships with friends, coworkers, and family, although I often neglect those relationships in favor of replaying or elaborating on my daydreams. I am torn between the love of my daydreams and the desire to be normal.” As opposed to normal daydreaming, which is usually neither immersive nor fanciful, the quality of daydreaming in MD represents an innate talent for vivid fantasy, defined as “a fictional tale created by a subject for his own pleasure and for no other purpose.”

Symptoms that are pathognomonic to MD and different than the characteristics of existing dissociative disorders, MD does indeed seem to contain several dissociative elements. Specifically: (a) detachment from external reality in favor of internal experience; (b) absorption—a state of total attention; and (c) via their daydreams, individuals may temporarily adopt alternative (non-self) identities (while acting out characters’ behaviors or dialogues in their minds). Additionally, some individuals have described the initiation of excessive daydreaming during childhood to avoid an intimidating or traumatic social environment. Possibly, engaging in daydreaming for several hours compromises the sense of presence in reality and brings about experiences of depersonalization and derealization. Moreover, in MD, not only is attention focused inwards, but it is focused on fantasized (thus, derealized) “characters,” performing activities and engaging in their own dialogues. Possibly, attending to mental imagery which is attributed to a non-self entity (i.e., a “character”), produces impairment in one’s normal sense of embodiment. Indeed, increased bodily sensations may be characteristic of intensified daydreams. In other words, MD may be instigated from an absorptive dissociative tendency to lose oneself in one’s imagination, while depersonalization-derealization may be merely a consequence of MD. It is also possible that MD does not stem from dissociation but is a type of dissociative symptom in itself. Source: www.frontiersin.org

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Vanessa Kirby evokes Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy

 
British actress Vanessa Kirby has just been nominated for a best actress Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards, for her role in the emotionally charged film, Pieces of a Woman. We first fell in love with Kirby for her portrayal of a young Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of The Crown, and she hasn't put a fashion foot wrong since, serving up impeccable beauty looks from classic red lips to feline eyes and laminated eyebrows, accompanied by natural looking skin and hair. It is this careful balance of classic and modern that is strikingly reminiscent of the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Never appearing dated yet needlessly on-trend. 

Red lips, natural skin and effortless hair, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy had all the hallmarks of a timeless beauty icon. At The Critics Choice Awards, Baker gave Kirby brushed up eyebrows for a contemporary feel with black graphic eyeliner and soft peach coloured lips that contrasted effortlessly, and deliberately, with her high neck red lace dress. Put red lipstick with the same dress and the outcome could have looked dated. Last September at the 77th Venice Film Festival, below, Kirby wore berry lipstick from Armani Beauty's Venezia makeup collection teamed with simply styled hair that was brushed back and tucked behind her ears, another Bessette-Kennedy hallmark. All eyes will be on Kirby's red carpet look at the Academy Awards, which will take place in April 25. Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

John Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette (Stuck on You) video.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy, American Values (RFK Jr.)

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” –Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World and The Doors of Perception, who also died on 11/22/63

In December, 1966, when New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison began his confidential investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald and the John F. Kennedy assassination, one of his first interests was a series of reports which placed Lee Oswald in the company of not only intelligence agencies, but also with a group of Cubans in New Orleans. In pursuit of that lead Garrison sent his investigators to Miami. After certain initial police contacts, the investigators were referred to Bernardo De Torres (a strong opponent of Fidel Castro who was Chief of Intelligence for Brigade 2506 during the Bay of Pigs Operation). Garrison's interest did reach De Torres, who then volunteered his services directly to Garrison, becoming a paid investigator for him in January, 1967. It may well have been coincidence that De Torres' awareness of the Garrison inquiry coincided almost perfectly with the timing of Chicago mobster John Roselli's outreach to principals in Washington DC (Earl Warren, the FBI, the Secret Service, columnist Jack Anderson and ultimately President Johnson), in which Roselli affirmed his awareness of a conspiracy to kill JFK. Roselli offered details on the conspiracy, which raised concerns in Washington, including President Johnson. Roselli certainly was also aware of Jack Ruby, telling reporter Jack Anderson that Ruby was one of his boys. 

One of the less known and significant indications that certain officers within the DPD were aware of more information than they ever acknowledged in public is revealed in a lead discovered by an HSCA staff member. During an interview with Starvis Ellis (a close friend of Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz, chief of the Homicide and Robbery Division), he made notes about Ellis' comments in regard to his having observed a bullet (unaccounted for in the official shooting scenario) hitting the street behind the president's limousine. In itself, Ellis's observation of the bullet strike would suggest multiple shooters, but more intriguingly the official interview summary contains an unexplained handwritten note on the official interview summary –"John Martino hired the shooter, ask Captain Fritz." Former Cuban prisoner and anti-Castro activist John Martino accurately predicted that the president Kennedy would be assassinated in Dallas on 11/22/63. Martino was directly connected not just to the anti-Castro movement (Felipe Vidal, Gerry Patrick Hemming, Eddie Bayo, Frank Sturgis, David Morales, Rip Robertson, etc.) but to two of Jack Ruby’s close associates, R.D. Matthews and Louis McWillie. The DPD's knowledge relating to John Martino was not gathered by the HSCA - although it eventually obtained information from two of Martino's close friends that he had indeed been involved in the JFK conspiracy.

Controversy and debate over Oswald's employment at the Texas School Depository, and its implication for the conspiracy have been continual and will remain ongoing. Points that do have to be considered are the fact that Marina Oswald was living with Ruth Paine, next door neighbor to the Frazier family, whose son Buell worked at the TSBD. In addition, reports out of Dallas following the assassination relate an individual either using the name Oswald or having a close physical match for Lee Oswald inquiring about employment at various places along Main Street prior to Oswald's actual employment at the TSBD. Oswald himself had made it clear that he was not pleased with his work at the TSBD and was looking for another job. Marina Oswald and others commented on his interest in finding other work. More specifically, based on documents now available, we know that the FBI itself was aware that Oswald had applied for work at the DeVilbiss Company. While Oswald appears to have been first referred to that company in October (and according to the FBI interviewed then), an independent inquiry at the company by a local news outlet found that Oswald himself had followed up on the initial application in person some two weeks prior to the assassination, while employed at the TSBD. The DeVilbiss Company was not located in downtown Dallas, but rather in the vicinity of the Trade Mart.  

I do believe rogue elements of the CIA were indeed behind the assassination. No, not the CIA as an agency; not Director John McCone and company; not a gaggle of then-current agents and officers. We are talking of former Director Allen Dulles, fired by JFK over the Bay of Pigs debacle and in Dallas in November 1963 about three weeks before the assassination; David Atlee Phillips from Fort Worth; Cord Meyer, who hated JFK; James Angleton; David Sanchez Morales; William Harvey, who was in Dallas in November 1963; E. Howard Hunt, accused of being in Dallas on 11/22/63, leading the CIA to construct an alibi for him (later of Watergate fame); and former Deputy Director Charles Cabell, brother of the Mayor of Dallas, Earle Cabell. Cabell, who also hated JFK and even called him a traitor, was also, like Dulles, fired by Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Cord Meyer may have had an extra incentive: his wife Mary Pinchot Meyer was having a torrid affair with President Kennedy. Also, one cannot underestimate the importance of the connections between the CIA and the Secret Service, as demonstrated in my book The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy, where I depict friendly correspondence between JFK Secret Service Chiefs U.E. Baughman and James Rowley with Allen Dulles and Charles Cabell. Cabell, Deputy Director of CIA under Allen Dulles, was forced by President Kennedy to resign, on January 31, 1962, following the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. At the very least, I believe some of these men, if not actual participants, had foreknowledge of the fatal event. When Cord Meyer was asked who was behind the murder of his ex-wife Mary Pinchot, he responded: “The same sons of bitches who killed John F. Kennedy.” As mentioned earlier, CIA officers David Atlee Phillips and E. Howard Hunt stated before their deaths that a conspiracy took the life of JFK. Phillips stated: “My final take on the assassination is there was a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers.” 

According to American Values: Lessons I Learned from My Family by RFK, Jr., his father Robert Kennedy initially believed that the CIA was responsible for his brother’s murder. JFK Jr. also showed suspicions of the same modus operandi when his cousin JFK Jr. died in a sudden plane crash in Martha's Vineyard. I think we can prove there was a conspiracy and we have a good idea of who did it, but we can’t actually prove who were the masterminders, just as we will never prove who the shooters were. Whatever his role or motives, Lee Harvey Oswald was not a sharp shooter. His rifle might have been a guilty participant but he was probably not the shooter. Without the death of President Kennedy, we would not have LBJ, maybe not even Reagan or the Bushes, Clinton, Obama and Trump. No Vietnam War as an escalated war, no Watergate; the list goes on. We lost a lot when we lost JFK. We must never forget that. I doubt most of us ever will. -Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination (2021) by Vincent Michael Palamara 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Brave New World Revisited, Nomadland

"Brave New World Revisited" (1958): 

-Over-Population: In 1931, when Brave New World was published, I was convinced that there was still plenty of time. The completely organized society, the scientific caste sys­tem, the abolition of free will by methodical condition­ing, the servitude made acceptable by regular doses of chemically induced happiness. Ours was a night­mare of too little order; theirs, in the seventh century A.F., of too much. In the process of passing from one extreme to the other, there would be a long interval, so I imagined, during which the more fortunate third of the human race would make the best of both worlds -- the disorderly world of liberalism and the much too orderly Brave New World. Twenty-seven years later, I feel a good deal less optimistic than I did when I was writing Brave New World. The prophecies made in 1931 are coming true much sooner than I thought they would. The blessed interval between too little order and the nightmare of too much order shows no sign of beginning. In the West, individual men and women still enjoy a large measure of freedom. But even in those coun­tries that have a tradition of democratic government, the desire for this freedom seem to be on the wane. In the imaginary world of my own fable, pun­ishment is infrequent and generally mild. The nearly perfect control exercised by the government is achieved by systematic reinforcement of desirable be­havior, by many kinds of non-violent manipula­tion, both physical and psychological, and by genetic standardization. The answer to these ques­tions must begin where the life of even the most highly civilized society has its beginnings -- on the level of biology. In the Brave New World of my fable, the problem of human numbers in their relation to natural resources had been effectively solved. An optimum figure for world population had been calculated and numbers were maintained at this figure (a little under two bil­lions) generation after genera­tion. In the real contemporary world, the population problem has not been solved. On the contrary it is becoming graver and more formidable with every pass­ing year. It is against this grim biological background that all the political, economic, cultural and psychologi­cal dramas of our time are being played out. This is now the central problem of mankind; and it will remain the central problem certainly for several centuries thereafter. 

How will this development affect the over-populated, but highly industrialized and still democratic coun­tries of Europe? If the newly formed dictatorships were hostile to them, and if the normal flow of raw materials from the underdeveloped countries were de­liberately interrupted, the nations of the West would find themselves in a very bad way indeed. Their in­dustrial system would break down, and the highly de­veloped technology, which up till now has permitted them to sustain a population much greater than that which could be supported by locally available resources, would no longer protect them against the consequences of having too many people in too small a territory. If this should happen, the enormous powers forced by unfavorable conditions upon central govern­ments may come to be used in the spirit of totalitarian dictatorship. Along with a decline of average healthiness there may well go a decline in average intelligence. Indeed, some competent authorities are convinced that such a decline has already taken place and is continuing. "Un­der conditions that are both soft and unregulated," writes Dr. W. H. Sheldon, "our best stock tends to be outbred by stock that is inferior to it in every respect. It is the fashion in some academic circles to assure students that the alarm over differential birth­rates is unfounded; that these problems are merely economic, or merely educational, or merely religious, or merely cultural or something of the sort. This is Pollyanna optimism. Reproductive delinquency is biologi­cal and basic." And he adds that "nobody knows just how far the average IQ in this country [the U.S.A.] has declined since 1916, when Terman attempted to standardize the meaning of IQ 100." To help the unfortunate is obviously good. But the progressive contamina­tion of the genetic pool from which the members of our species will have to draw, is obviously bad. We are on the horns of an ethical dilemma, and to find the middle way will require all our intelligence and all our good will.

-Over-Organization: In a capitalist democracy, such as the United States, it is controlled by what Professor C. Wright Mills has called the Power Elite. This Power Elite directly employs several millions of the country's working force in its factories, offices and stores, controls many millions more by lending them the money to buy its products, and, through its ownership of the media of mass communication, influences the thoughts, the feel­ings and the actions of virtually everybody. We are far in­deed from Jefferson's ideal of a genuinely free society composed of a hierarchy of self-governing units -- "the elementary republics of the wards, the county repub­lics, the State republics and the Republic of the Union, forming a gradation of authorities." We see, then, that modern technology has led to the concentration of economic and political power, and to the development of a society controlled (ruthlessly in the totalitarian states, politely in the democracies) by Big Business and Big Govern­ment. How have individuals been affected by the tech­nological advances of recent years? Dr. Erich Fromm: Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is in­creasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual. Our increasing mental sickness may find expres­sion in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are con­spicuous and extremely distressing. 

The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. "Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been si­lenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does." They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their per­fect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish "the illusion of indi­viduality," but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Human beings are a good deal less rational and innately just than the optimists of the eighteenth century supposed. Democratic institutions are devices for reconciling social order with individual freedom and initiative, and for making the immediate power of a country's rulers subject to the ultimate power of the ruled. The fact that, in Western Europe and America, these de­vices have worked, all things considered, not too badly is proof enough that the eighteenth-century optimists were not entirely wrong. Again, no people in a precarious economic condition has a fair chance of being able to govern itself demo­cratically. Liberalism flourishes in an atmosphere of prosperity and declines as declining prosperity makes it necessary for the government to intervene more frequently and drastically. Over-population and over-organization are two condi­tions which deprive a society of a fair chance of making democratic institu­tions work effectively. We in the West have been supremely fortunate in having been given our fair chance of making the great experiment in self-government. Unfortunately it now looks as though, owing to recent changes in our circumstances, this infinitely precious fair chance were being taken away from us.

The power to respond to reason and truth exists in all of us. But so, unfortunately, does the tendency to respond to unrea­son and falsehood -- particularly in those cases where the falsehood evokes some enjoyable emotion, or where the appeal to unreason strikes some answering chord in the primitive, subhuman depths of our being. With the best will in the world, we cannot always be completely truthful or consistently rational. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by demo­cratic procedures. But the subhuman mindlessness to which the demagogue makes his appeal, the moral imbecility on which he relies when he goads his vic­tims into action, are characteristic not of men and women as individuals, but of men and women in masses. In all the world's higher religions, salvation and enlightenment are for individuals. The kingdom of heaven is within the mind of a person, not within the collective mindlessness of a crowd. The fact that every individual has his breaking point has been known and, in a crude unscientific way, exploited from time immemorial. In some cases man's dreadful inhumanity to man has been inspired by the love of cruelty for its own horrible and fascinating sake. More often, however, pure sadism was tempered by utilitarianism, theology or reasons of state. The effectiveness of political and religious propa­ganda depends upon the methods employed, not upon the doctrines taught. If the indoctrination is given in the right way at the proper stage of nervous exhaustion, it will work. Under favorable conditions, practically every­body can be converted to practically anything. In the Brave New World the soma habit was not a private vice; it was a political institution, it was the very essence of the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The systematic drugging of individuals for the benefit of the State was a main plank in the policy of the World Controllers. The daily soma ration was an insurance against personal malad­justment, social unrest and the spread of subversive ideas. 

"It is hard to understand," Dr. Irvine Page wrote, "why it took so long for scientists to get around to investigating the chemical reactions in their own brains." Today, the enzymes which regulate the workings of the brain are being studied. Within the body, hitherto unknown chemical substances such as adrenochrome and serotonin (of which Dr. Page was a co-discoverer) have been isolated and their far-reaching effects on our mental and physical functions are now being investigated. Meanwhile new drugs are being synthesized -- drugs that reinforce or correct or interfere with the actions of the various chemicals. From our present point of view, the most interesting fact about these new drugs is that they temporarily alter the chemistry of the brain and the associated state of the mind without doing any permanent damage. In this respect they are like soma -- and profoundly unlike the mind-changing drugs of the past. For example, opium is a dangerous drug which, from neolithic times down to the present day, has been making addicts and ruining health. The same is true of the classical euphoric, alco­hol. Another stimulant of more recent vintage is amphetamine, better known as Benzedrine. Amphetamine works very effec­tively -- but works, if abused, at the expense of mental and physical health. 

In LSD-25 (lysergic acid diethylamide) the phar­macologists have recently created another aspect of soma -- a perception-improver and vision-producer that is, physiologically speaking, almost costless. This ex­traordinary drug, which is effective in doses as small as fifty or even twenty-five millionths of a gram, has power (like peyote) to transport people into other worlds. Soma was not only a vision-producer and a tranquil­lizer; it was also a stimu­lant of mind and body, a creator of active euphoria. Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter and with­out intelligence, love is impotent and freedom unattainable. How can we control the vast impersonal forces that now menace our hard-won freedoms? Consider the problem of over-population. Rapidly mounting human numbers are pressing ever more heavily on natural resources. What is to be done? Obviously we must, with all possi­ble speed, reduce the birth rate to the point where it does not exceed the death rate. Professor Skinner of Harvard has set forth a psy­chologist's view of the problem in his Walden Two, a Utopian novel about a self-sustaining and autono­mous community, so scientifically organized that no­body is ever led into anti-social temptation and, with­out resort to coercion or undesirable propaganda, everyone does what he or she ought to do, and every­one is happy and creative. In France, after the Second World War, Marcel Barbu and his fol­lowers set up a number of self-governing, non-hierar­chical communities of production, which were also com­munities for mutual aid. In London, the Peckham Experiment has demonstrated that it is possible, by coordinating health services with the wider interests of the group, to create a true community even in a metropolis. The methods employed by orthodox educators have proved to be extremely inefficient. Under a scientific dictatorship, education will really work -- with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their positions and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown. -"Brave New World Revisited" (1958) by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley described Sex and Culture (1934) as "a work of the highest importance". At present, Western society has all the symptoms of a declining civilization. When sexual freedom becomes totally unrestricted, society becomes unstable and collapses. Joseph Daniel Unwin studied 6 civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe. Sex and Culture was praised by Aldous Huxley: "Unwin's conclusions may be summed up as follows. All human societies are in one or another of four cultural conditions: zoistic, manistic, deistic, rationalistic. Of these societies the zoistic displays the least amount of mental and social energy, the rationalistic the most. Investigation shows that the societies exhibiting the least amount of energy are those where the opportunities for sexual indulgence are the greatest." According to Unwin, after a nation becomes prosperous it becomes increasingly liberal with regard to sexual morality and as a result loses its cohesion, its impetus and its purpose. JD Unwin also infers that legal equality between women and men is necessary to institute before a monogamy union is instituted. One can choose to see Unwin’s work as the foretelling of a doomed American civilization. Whatever the case, the importance of sexual morality in everyday life should not be overlooked due to its strong correlation with civilizational flourishing. Sexual restraint and ethics are not products of an ancient past that progress can suddenly replace; they are arguably the lynchpin of all of the technological and scientific progress of today. Source: ethikapolitika.org

In certain moments, Nomadland makes the nomadic life seem undeniably appealing. We feel the comfort of real community and the intoxicating freedom of life on the road. Fern has stumbled into a genuine American counterculture, liberated from “the yoke of the tyranny of the dollar.” Fern (played by Frances McDormand), is a white Nevadan widow who wanders the back roads of gig economy America in her RV. After the local sheetrock plant where her husband worked shuts down, she chooses to work temporary jobs for the Amazon corporation. Fern seems to be doing penance as she takes us on a tour of American devastation. We see America’s transformation from a capitalist, post-industrial society back to a roughly neo-feudal, socialist one. Laszlo Kovacs’s road movies (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces) photographed post-Sixties America with awe, whereas Nomadland is a visual lecture teaching America to pity itself. Americans' fear of their civilization's decline stems from Christianity's apocalyptic complex. Niall Ferguson, a Scottish-American historian, argued that Western civilization appeared to have lost confidence in itself because "major universities have ceased to offer the classic 'Western Civilization' history course to their undergraduates. In schools, too, the grand narrative of Western ascent has fallen out of fashion." There are more worries about the increase in immigration, which has changed the demographic structure of the US. This in turn has caused a drop in the numbers of people who believe in Western culture and beliefs. Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, used a computer model to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that could lead to the collapse of our civilization. In an article entitled "Why We Must Teach Western Civilization," published on National Review in April 2020, the author Andrew Roberts worried that "Western civilization, so important to earlier generations, is being ridiculed, abused, and marginalized, often without any coherent response." Source: www.nationalreview.com