WEIRDLAND: June 2020

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Murder Orthodoxies: A Non-Conspiracist’s View of Marilyn Monroe’s Death by Donald McGovern

Among the thousand or more books about Marilyn Monroe, there are certain strands – from coffee-table monographs to cultural criticism. One theme is so persistent, however, that it has become a sub-genre in its own right. Armed with dubious confessions and conspiracy theories, their authors argue that Marilyn’s untimely death was the result of foul play in high places, and these allegations have been seized upon by readers, as well as journalists and documentarians. A handful of writers have directly challenged these assumptions. In 2005, David Marshall collected the findings of some dogged fans in The DD Group: An Online Investigation Into the Death of Marilyn Monroe. More recently, the internet radio show Goodnight Marilyn has featured input from psychotherapist and Monroe biographer, Gary Vitacco-Robles, and forensic pathologist Dr Cyril Wecht. First-time author Donald McGovern follows in their footsteps with Murder Orthodoxies: A Non-Conspiracist’s View of Marilyn Monroe’s Death (2019), a rigorous excavation of the myths and legends, meticulously structured and packed with intricate detail over 566 pages. During the final months of her life, Marilyn was embroiled in a bitter legal battle with her studio; she was having daily sessions with Greenson, and relying on large doses of sleeping pills from her physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg. She had suffered from depression for most of her life, and had a history of overdoses and suicide attempts. She may have met John and Robert Kennedy on just four occasions; their daily itineraries are in the public domain, and her routine is also well-documented. Only one sexual encounter with the president can be reasonably ascertained. Her own sporadic journal entries (collected in the 2010 book, Fragments) contain no references to either Kennedy. McGovern looks finally to her autopsy report, compiled by renowned pathologist Dr. Thomas Noguchi, for the true cause of her death. As a long-time drug user, Marilyn had a high tolerance which enabled her to ingest multiple pills in succession. Conspiracists have pointed to a cover-up, but as Noguchi pointed out, the toxicologist’s analysis of her liver and blood samples made further tests unnecessary. With dry wit and exhaustive scrutiny, McGovern exposes the insupportable and absurd aspects of what has nonetheless become an urban myth. McGovern’s book will not, of course, be the last word on the subject; but it offers a timely redress to decades of shallow sensationalism. And in an era when ‘fake news’ is poisoning the fabric of public life, McGovern’s systematic unravelling of the calculated distortions that have so clouded Marilyn Monroe’s legacy provides us with a very modern cautionary tale. Source:

At this point, the distortions of Marilyn Monroe's story and its connection with the Kennedys have become a grotesque black comedy. Heymann and Wolfe are probably two of the worst. But there is a whole bullpen full of them and they have created this cottage industry that the MSM just buys into. Its amazing that they still try and say RFK was in Brentwood the day Marilyn died. Because back in 2011, Susan Bernard published a book based on her father's photos of Monroe. In that book there is a two page spread of pictures of the Kennedy family at John Bates's ranch in Gilroy on that day.  There are about 11 pictures of RFK from morning to dinner time going horseback riding, swimming at the pool, and playing touch football. John Bates' son sent the photos to her on a DVD. And he pointed himself out in the pictures. That is what is called forensic evidence. Yet according to Heymann, Wolfe etc, while Bobby was playing football in Gilroy, he was also in Brentwood?  The pictures at the Gilroy Ranch of RFK.  When I saw those photos, it was like getting slapped in the face. These have clearly been suppressed in order for the MSM to prolong a piece of cultural dementia. McGovern's research in his book Murder Orthodoxies: A Non-Conspiracist’s View of Marilyn Monroe’s Death is amazing. Two general takeaways: The MSM have been successful in making us think the worst of JFK, RFK and Marilyn Monroe. Second, this Monroe case, which is not a conspiracy, gets media time, while the JFK and RFK cases, which were conspiracies, get less and less time. It's sad the business opportunists in the Monroe field have borrowed from the JFK case, and inserted pieces of heisted data to cheaply aggrandize their own business enterprise. Pretty disgusting if you ask me. The McGovern book is a real breath of sanity and fresh air in a field that has been dominated by con artists and clowns for too long. Monroe's performance in New York took place in May of 1962 at the Madison Square Garden. It was a fundraiser convention for the Democratic Party. Fifteen thousand people were in attendance. Monroe was one of about 14 stars who performed. When she left the stage, Monroe was escorted by her former father in law, then she went to the Arthur Krim's after party and after she met some fans back at her hotel. And that was it.

In addition to the Madison Square Garden birthday party baloney, it was also said that Marilyn had a roll in the hay with JFK in LA during the 1960 convention. Little problem there. Marilyn was not in LA at that time. She was filming a picture on the east coast. What McGovern did is he compared the calendars of JFK and RFK, and then contrasted that with two day by day books that were recently published about Monroe. When comparing it with an established record, anecdotal evidence has to be exceptional in quality and should have corroboration in a tangible way, or it should be discarded. The problem with the witnesses that these so-called writers use is they are a collection that would be laughed out of any legal proceeding. They would never make it to trial since they would be blown up at the deposition stage. Most of them would make Howard Brennan look OK. Peter Lawford was of sound mind when he said about Marilyn's phone call, 'I should have gone over to her place since she was not sounding good'. That means alone since as I prove, RFK was not in Brentwood, he was in Gilroy. It turns out that Marilyn did have a sort of diary, a planner agenda in loose leaf paper. It was recovered in one of her storage boxes after a dispute was resolved over her estate. It was nothing like Slatzer or Heyman said it was. The bulk of her estate was given over to the Strasberg family, since Lee Strasberg had been Monroe's acting coach. Those notebooks were compiled in a book called Fragments in 2010. There is no mention of Giancana, Roselli, Hoover, or Tony Accardo. Frank Sinatra is not in there and neither is Fidel Castro. Nothing is written about any romance with the Kennedy brothers either. (McGovern, pp. 264-271). But to show the reader just how off the cliff our culture is on this matter, Grandison’s book was published in 2012. Two years after Fragments. We have now entered the world of high camp. What McGovern does to the guy who really started all this rubbish, the late Robert Slatzer, should be taught in journalism classes. He actually found an archive of primary materials that exposes him completely as a fraud. And the worst part of it is that the book publishing company was a part of the fraud. McGovern exposes the Giancana book  as a farce in every major tenet. From what I read that was a book editor's scheme, the Giancana's first draft was not spicy enough. So they jazzed it up with all this phony stuff about Judith Exner, Joe Kennedy's bootlegging--absolute bunk-,  and how the mob help win Chicago, when in fact the actual mob controlled  districts had slightly less turnout than 1956.

The Mob in Hollywood (2012) by John William Tuohy presented Marilyn as a drug addled starlet helped by the Mafia. As McGovern explains, (p. 397) this is not the case. The two people who were most responsible for her success were Joe Schenck and her agent Johnny Hyde. The way this gets screwy is through the Brown-Bioff affair which is greatly misrepresented by the fiction writers. But it was really Johnny Hyde of William Morris Agency who got Marilyn Monroe into The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. Those were two highly acclaimed films. Off of those he got her a long term contract with Fox. I knew Marilyn Monroe's publicist, Rupert Allan, whom I found to be an honest and sophisticated man (Rupert was also Princess Grace's publicist). Rupert told me he thought Marilyn died of an accidental overdose because she was taking pills and guzzling small bottles of Champagne she routinely had around her bedroom and lost track of what she was ingesting. As per Eunice Murray, this gaggle of Monroe conspiracists ignores what Murray originally said and they got her to change her story--that is a no no. The pictures of RFK do not lie. The newspaper report does not lie. The reports by the FBI before Marilyn was reported dead do not lie. And eleven people who had no interest in politics would not lie. Marilyn did not have any connection to Roselli and Giancana. Her career was not mob influenced. Marilyn did not sign her first film contract until late August of 1946 with Fox. She was represented by Harry Lipton of the NCAC agency. Johnny Hyde of William Morris bought her contract from Lipton. And then she was signed by Columbia. Johnny Hyde paid for Monroe to have plastic surgery on her jaw and a rhinoplasty, and arranged a bit part in the Marx Brothers film Love Happy (1950).

In Gary VItacco Robles' volume 2 bio, Icon, considered by many the best Monroe biography out there, or at least one of the top three, he has her attending with Joe DiMaggio, at the invitation of Dean Martin. Marilyn wanted to go as a way of thanking Martin for supporting her during the studio crisis on Something's Got to Give. Martin also wanted her to remarry DiMaggio. Which she agreed to while she was there. (p. 417). But further, Martin and Monroe were also discussing a future film project they might work on. There was no Red Diary of Secrets, and there was no press conference scheduled for Monday the 6th. These are myths piled onto a small hillock of them designed to create a paradigm, instead they have created toxic sludge. But then what about assistant DA John Miner and his “tapes”? Miner's story was heavily promoted by the LA Times. In 1962, Miner was part of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s medical-legal division. He observed Monroe’s autopsy and allegedly interviewed Dr. Greenson, who had made two streams of consciousness type tapes in the weeks before her death. Greenson made Miner promise never to reveal their contents. Miner so complied and the lawyer said he made extensive notes on them (McGovern, pp. 458-59). There were two things that were odd about his story. First, in the summer of 1962, Greenson was talking to Monroe every day, sometimes twice a day. So why would she need to make stream of consciousness tapes for him?In 2005, Miner released the notes to the LA Times. They treated it as a major feature story—posing no serious questions to the attorney. It was done so credulously that even someone as smart and experienced as Debra Conway of JFK Lancer bought it. All Miner had were notes. And the point here is that Miner told three stories about when he composed them. And here is the second problem inherent with Greenson:  if the doctor made Miner promise not to reveal their contents, why would he let him take contemporaneous notes? That would indicate Miner intended to make them public, which would be a violation of doctor/patient privilege. So Miner switched to, well, he did not make them in Greenson’s presence, but later; he made them many years after. But then, how could one recall them that closely? (McGovern, p. 461).

It turned out—as it almost always does—there was a cash motive behind Miner’s late arrival on the Monroe scene. In 1995, Miner had attempted to sell his notes to Vanity Fair. But in that version, he had only a few pages on a legal pad, which implies he made no contemporaneous notes and it is unlikely that he did them the same day (Lois Banner, Marilyn, p. 419; McGovern, pp. 463-64). Even at that, Miner tried to incite a bidding war by saying he had been offered six figures by a competitor. This was obviously not true. But it’s even worse than that. Miner had fallen on hard times. He had been terminated from the DA’s office, had his license suspended—for more than one reason—and declared bankruptcy (McGovern, p. 465; Banner, p. 419). This is why he needed payment for the notes. Further, although he told others he had interviewed Greenson, he likely had not (Banner, p. 419). After further discussion, and further revelations about his history of sexual harassment and obsession with enemas, Lois Banner concluded Miner had created the notes himself. Are we to believe that the LA Times did not know any of this in 2005? Miner was also involved in the inquiry—rather the cover up—of the Robert Kennedy assassination. As anyone who reads Lisa Pease’s book on that case, A Lie Too Big to Fail (2018), the alleged assassin of Robert Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, could not have killed the senator. Further, Sirhan showed signs of being hypno-programmed that night. The man who all but admitted to hypnotizing Sirhan was William Joseph Bryan. It turned out that when Bryan died, the attorney for his estate turned out to be none other than John Miner. The night of Bryan’s death, Miner sealed Bryan’s home (Pease, pp. 67-69, 446). One of the most telling parts of Murder Orthodoxies is when McGovern uses the calendars of President Kennedy and Attorney General Kennedy and matches them with the two Monroe day-by-day books previously mentioned (pp. 176-86). Monroe met Robert Kennedy four times, each time was in public with other people around. President Kennedy met with Monroe on three occasions. At one of those occasions, in March of 1962 at Bing Crosby’s desert estate, there is plausible evidence they had some kind of dalliance. And that is it. Biographers Randy Taraborrelli and Gary Vitacco-Robles agree with this record.

McGovern addresses the questions that people like Margolis and Wolfe have posed about the autopsy. It was not uncommon to have ingested the pills Monroe did and not have them show up as residue in the stomach. Simply because Monroe’s stomach was empty and the organ keeps on working until the subject has passed on (McGovern, p. 483). Also, the manufacturer of Nembutal used a color dye that did not bleed from the gelatin capsules once swallowed, which explains why no dyes were found in her stomach (ibid, p. 482). Not only did Wecht agree with Thomas Noguchi’s autopsy, so did Dr. Boyd Stevens for the DA’s office review of the case in 1982. McGovern also proves through the barbiturate levels in Monroe’s liver and blood that she was not injected or given a “hot shot”. Today, Monroe’s doctors would have been placed on trial for their irresponsible overprescribing of pills and also for the dangerous combination the prescriptions created: Nembutal, Chloral Hydrate, Librium, Phenergan, and Triavil. The two drugs that killed her are the first two. Donald McGovern has written a quite commendable book. One that swims against some sick cultural tides. As he shows, no one was “protecting the Kennedys.” Those who used that rubric were engaging in the most outrageous practices of evidence manipulation and character assassination; not just of the Kennedys, but of Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was not a Mafia moll, nor was she a high level intelligence agent. McGovern has shown these to be part of a ludicrous and unfounded sideshow. There is a standard in writing nonfiction: sensational charges necessitate sensational evidence. That rule was completely discarded in this field a long time ago, specifically by money-grubbing Norman Mailer. This opened the door to the likes of Slatzer, Grandison, Heyman, Margolis, Wolfe, Smathers... supporting and aggrandizing each other. Don McGovern’s book applies the torch to their circus tent. Source:

Friday, June 26, 2020

"Blonde", Marilyn Monroe, The Search for JFK

Finally we are being shown the most expected images of Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Months after we knew that the cuban actress was going to play the ambition blonde, the filming began. Ana de Armas is in charge of interpreting the ill-fated actress in the adaptation of Netflix’s acclaimed novel Blonde, written by Joyce Carol Oates and directed by Andrew Dominik. Filming of the film began in August, with Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson among the newly added cast members.

Ana de Armas, who has been photographed on the set of the shoot, she has a remarkable resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, a character that was already played in the film by Michelle Williams in My week with Marilyn, which earned him the Golden Globe for best actress, or by other actresses such as Kelli Garner or Theresa Russell in Insignificance (1985) directed by Nicholas Roeg. For this role, Ana de Armas had to channel Norma Jeane Mortenson and if the newly released images are anything to go by, she is going to truly embody the icon. Netflix has yet to announce a release date for “Blonde.” Source:

When best-selling author David Heymann's last book, Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love, came out, Kirkus Reviews said it was "a well-researched story". The popular Canadian magazine Maclean's praised Heymann's research, finding "his sources credible." The publisher, a subsidiary of media behemoth CBS, says Joe and Marilyn tells "the riveting true story" of the lusty, tempestuous and brief marriage between the Yankees slugger and the iconic actress. In May 2012, Heymann fell dead in the lobby of his New York City apartment building, but that presented no problem for his publisher, according to Emily Bestler, who edited his last four books. Bestler's mood changed when I told her I wanted to discuss numerous fabrications Newsweek had uncovered in Joe and Marilyn. She cut me off in mid-sentence, shouting that such questions were improper. She then declared that "this is getting ugly" and hung up. It's too bad CBS didn't want to hear more, because all the celebrity bios Heymann wrote for them—dealing with JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe—are riddled with errors and fabrications. An exhaustive cataloging of those mistakes would fill a new book. Heymann described a woman called Susan Sklover who worked as a White House masseuse while JFK was president. Heymann also describes President Kennedy's evaluation of Sklover as an "ordinary lover"—without any indication of how Heymann could have known this. Heymann wrote that Sklover's name was kept out of Secret Service logbooks, a variation of an assertion in his other books to explain his reliance on people for whom no records exist. Brown University, in an email, said it has no record of any student named Susan Sklover. An exhaustive search of public records turned up two women named Susan Sklover, who are aware of each other, but know no one else with that name. Both said they never spoke to Heymann or any researcher. Neither attended Brown, knew JFK Jr. or worked at the White House. The women were born in 1954 and 1960, which meant they were both children during the Kennedy administration. When a red flag is raised, publishers have an obligation to their readers to investigate. And when a sea of red flags floods their lobby, they need to start pulping the fiction. Source:

About the evolution of these "JFK scandal stories" over a number of years, people whose presence should have caused alarm bells to go off with intelligent observers are: Frank Capell, Robert Loomis, Ovid Demaris, Liz Smith, James Angleton, Timothy Leary, etc. These people who had agendas in mind when they got into this racket. Others, like Robert Slatzer or Ted Jordan, were just money grubbing hustlers. But the net effect is that by reinforcing each other, they became a business racket, a network creating its own echo chamber. A series of anti-Kennedy biographies began. That Marilyn Monroe's death was caused by her "involvement" with the Kennedys became a rather peculiar cottage industry. Egged on by advocates of Judith Exner (e.g. Liz Smith and Anthony Summers), this political and cultural time bomb landed in Seymour Hersh's and ABC's lap. When it blew up, all parties went into a damage control mode, pointing their fingers at each other. As we examine the sorry history of these industries, we shall see that there is plenty of blame (and shame) to be shared. The first anti-Kennedy book in this brood, although not quite a perfect fit into the genre, is The Search for JFK, by Joan and Clay Blair Jr. 

The book appeared in 1976, right after Watergate and the Church Committee hearings. First of all, the authors apparently accept the Washington Post version of Watergate–i.e. that Nixon, and only Nixon, was responsible for that whole range of malfeasance and that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein got to the bottom of it. The Blairs spend much of their time delving into two areas of Kennedy's personal life: his health problems and his relationships with the opposite sex. Concerning the first, they chronicle many, if not all, of the myriad of unfortunate medical problems afflicting JFK. Previous to this book, the public did not know that Kennedy's back problem was congenital. Second, the book certifies that Kennedy was a victim of Addison's disease, which attacks the adrenal glands and makes them faulty in hormone secretion. The condition can be critical in fights against certain infections and times of physical stress. I exaggerate only slightly when I write that the Blairs treat this episode as if Kennedy was the first discovered victim of AIDS. They attempt to excuse the melodrama by saying that Kennedy and his circle disguised the condition by passing it off as an "adrenal insufficiency." Clearly, Kennedy wanted to hide a rare and misunderstood disease that he knew his political opponents would distort and exaggerate in order to destroy him, which is just what LBJ and John Connally attempted to do in 1960.

The second major area of focus is Kennedy's sex life. The authors reference to Judith Exner, Mary Meyer, and perhaps Marilyn Monroe. Kennedy seems to have been attractive to females. He was appreciative of their overtures. There seems to me to be nothing extraordinary about this. Here we have the handsome, tall, witty, charming son of a millionaire who is going places. If he did not react positively to all the attention heaped on him, I am sure his critics would begin to suggest a "certain latent homosexual syndrome." But what makes this (lengthy) aspect of the book interesting is that when the Blairs ask some of Kennedy's girlfriends what his "style" was (clearly looking for juicy sex details), the answer often is surprising. For instance, in an interview with Charlotte McDonnell, she talks about Kennedy in warm and friendly terms adding that there was "No sex or anything" in their year long relationship. Another Kennedy girlfriend, the very attractive Angela Greene had this to say: Q: Was he romantically pushy? A: I don't think so. I never found him physically aggressive, if that's what you mean. He was adorable and sweet. In another instance, years later, Kennedy was dating the beautiful Barbara Beckwith. She invited Kennedy up to her apartment after he had wined and dined her. There was champagne and low music on the radio. But then a news broadcast came on and JFK leaped up, ran to the radio, and turned up the volume to listen to it. Offended, Beckwith threw him out. The Blairs' book established some paradigms that would be followed in the anti-Kennedy genre. First, and probably foremost, is the influence of Kennedy's father in his career. In fact, Joe Kennedy's hovering presence over all his children is a prime motif of the book. The second theme that will be followed is the aforementioned female associations. The third repeating pattern the Blairs' established is the use of Kennedy's health problems as some kind of character barometer.

John H. Davis writes the following: Kennedy met on April 20, 1962, with a Cuban involved in the unsuccessful underworld Castro assassination plot, a meeting that was not discovered until the Senate Committee on Intelligence found out about it in 1975. That Kennedy could have met with this individual, without knowing what his mission had been, seems inconceivable. Imagine the images conjured up by this passage to a reader who has not read the report. I had read the report and I thought I had missed something. How did I forget about Kennedy's private meeting with Tony Varona in the Oval office? JFK asks Varona why he couldn't get at Castro and says 'try it again.' When I turned to page 124 in the report, I saw why I didn't remember it. The meeting, as described by Davis, did not occur. At the real meeting are John Kennedy, Robert McNamara, General Lyman "and other Administration officials." Also in the room "were several members of Cuban groups involved in the Bay of Pigs." The report makes clear that this was the beginning of the general review of the Bay of Pigs operation that would, within three weeks, result in the Taylor Review Board which would then recommend reforms in CIA control of covert operations. But there is no Tony Varona and there is no hint that anything about the assassination of Castro was discussed.

I must point out Davis' discussion of JFK's Vietnam policy. In his hands, Kennedy turns into a hawk on Vietnam. Davis writes that on July 17, 1963, Kennedy made "his last public utterance" on Vietnam, saying that the U.S. was going to stay there and win (p.374). But on September 2, 1963, in his interview with Walter Cronkite, Kennedy states that the war is the responsibility of "the people of Vietnam, against the Communists." In other words, they have to win the war, not Americans. Davis makes no mention of this. Davis similarly ignores NSAM 111 in which Kennedy refused to admit combat troops into the war, integral to any escalation plan, and NSAM 263, which ordered a withdrawal to be completed in 1965. This last was published in the New York Times (11/16/63), so Davis could have easily found it had he been looking. In light of this selective presentation of the record on Vietnam, plus the acrobatic contortions performed on the Church Committee report, one has to wonder about Davis' intent in doing the book. I question his assertion that when he began the book he "did not have a clear idea where it would lead." So I was not surprised that in addition to expanding Exner's story, he uncritically accepted the allegations about Mary Meyer and Marilyn Monroe. It is interesting in this regard to note that Davis devotes many pages to JFK's assassination. He writes that Kennedy died at the "hands of Lee Harvey Oswald and possible co-conspirators". Going even further, he can state that: It would be a misstatement to assert that Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach and the members of the Warren Commission consciously sought to cover up evidence pertaining to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As the declassified record now shows (Vol. 4 #6 "Gerald Ford: Accessory after the Fact") this is just plain wrong. Davis then tries to insinuate any cover-up was brought on by either a backfiring of the Castro plots (Davis p. 454) or JFK's dalliance with Exner (p. 498). As wrongheaded and against the declassified record as this seems, this argument still has adherents, e. g. Martin Waldron and Tom Hartman. They refine it into meaning that the Kennedys had some kind of secret plan to invade Cuba in the offing at the time of the assassination. This ignores the Church Committee report, which shows that by 1963, Kennedy had lost faith in aggression and was working toward accommodation with Castro.

In their approach to JFK, Collier and Horowitz take up where the Blairs left off. In fact, they play up the playboy angle even more strongly than the Blairs. Both authors have advanced degrees from Berkeley. Both say they had done some solid academic work in their Ramparts days. Yet neither has any qualms about questioning the Judith Exner or Mary Meyer stories. After contemplating these stories, I thought to myself that JFK was never this open to his girlfriends. Perhaps maybe with Inga Arvad, who he wanted to marry, but very few others. So I flipped back to see who the source was. The footnote read "Authors' interview with Priscilla McMillan." I then remembered that, by this time, Priscilla had been classified by the CIA as a "witting collaborator." I also recalled that years later, Priscilla changed her "Platonic" relationship with JFK for the National Enquirer. She was now saying that young Jack Kennedy had actually made a pass at her.

A Question of Character, But Not Kennedy's: Which brings us to Thomas Reeves. By the nineties, the negative literature on the Kennedys had multiplied so much that it was possible just to put it all together and make a compendium of it. In 1991, Reeves did just that with his book A Question of Character. It obediently follows the path paved by its noted predecessors. In fact, many of his footnotes are from Davis, Collier and Horowitz. Although Reeves is another Ph. D., he never questions the faulty methodology the previous authors used. On the contrary, by ignoring the primary sources, he can actually state that JFK authorized the Castro plots, and that John H Davis is authoritative on the issue. Predictably, he completely buys into Exner's story and, like Liz Smith, tries to portray her as a victim of the Kennedy protecting "liberal media" (p. 424). He even endorses the Kitty Kelley 1988 People update of Exner's story, finding no inconsistencies between that and the 1977 installment. Any scholar who compromises this much, must have an axe to grind. So how ideological is Reeves? He tries to imply that Lasky's book on JFK, published in 1963, was banned shortly after Kennedy's death by the "liberal media". What he doesn't say is that it was reprinted in 1966. Reeves' method here is to basically combine the Davis book with the Collier-Horowitz book. From the former Reeves repeats the notion that Kennedy was a Cold Warrior not very different from Eisenhower or Nixon. Like Davis, Reeves performs gymnastics with the Cuba and Vietnam record in order to proffer this notion. In fact, Reeves is so intent on pommeling JFK that, at times, he reverses field and actually uses Bruce Miroff's Pragmatic Illusions, a leftist critique of the New Frontier, as a source. As Jim Garrison once noted, the more one scratches at these Minutemen types, the more their intelligence connections appear. James Spada quotes TV director Paul Wurtzel asking Peter Lawford "Did Oswald kill Kennedy or was it higher up?," Lawford (who was usually pretty cautious about the Kennedys) said, "It was higher up." Frank Capell had worked for the government in World War II, but was convicted on charges of eliciting bribes from contractors. After the war, in the Red Scare era, Capell began publishing a Red baiting newsletter, The Herald of Freedom. 

It was this experience that put him in a good position to pen his murderous smear of Bobby Kennedy. For as Donald Spoto reveals in his brilliant book of Marilyn Monroe, one of the people who relentlessly pushed Capell's fabricated smear was fellow FBI asset, Hoover crony, and Hollywood Red baiter Walter Winchell. William Sullivan (FBI Assistant in COINTELPRO) called Bobby a near-Puritan and then added: The stories about Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were just stories. The original story was invented by a so-called journalist, a right-wing zealot who had a history of spinning wild yarns. It spread like wildfire, of course, and J. Edgar Hoover was right there, gleefully fanning the flames. (The Bureau: My thirty years in Hoover's FBI, William C. Sullivan, 1979). The Capell/Winchell/Hoover triangle sowed the seeds of this slander. But the exposure of this triangle does even more. In the Vanity Fair article in which Judith Exner dumped out the latest installment of her strange saga, Liz Smith revealed that she was an apprentice under Walter Winchell in New York (January 1997 p. 32). This may explain why she took up her mentor's cudgel. Capell's work is, as Spoto notes in his Afterword, a frightful piece of reactionary paranoia. But there are two details in his pat anti-Kennedy tract that merit mention. First, Capell is probably the first to propagate the idea that RFK was indirectly responsible for his brother's murder. He does this by saying (p. 52), that commie sympathizer Bobby called off the investigation of the shooting of General Edwin Walker in April of 1963, thus allowing that crazed Communist Oswald to kill JFK. What makes it so fascinating is that, through the FBI's own files, we now have evidence that Capell was deliberately creating a fiction: he had actual information that Oswald was not a communist, but a CIA agent.

Spoto notes that on August 3, 1962, Dorothy Kilgallen printed an item in her column saying that Marilyn was "vastly alluring to a handsome gentleman who is a bigger name than Joe DiMaggio". Spoto notes the source for Kilgallen's story as Howard Rothberg, the man named in the memo. This is interesting for more than one reason. First, Spoto writes that Rothberg was "a New York interior designer with no connection at all to Marilyn or her circle." This means that he was likely getting his "information" through a third, unnamed source. This is extraordinary. Anyone who has jousted with the FBI or CIA knows how difficult it is to get "sources and methods" revealed. In fact this is one of the big battles the ARRB had to fight with the FBI. Yet in this document, both the method and the source are open. But interestingly, right after Kilgallen printed her vague allusion, Winchell began his steady drumbeat of rumors until, as Spoto notes, he essentially printed Capell's whole tale. Rothberg was either a witting or unwitting conduit to the media for either Hoover or Angleton (or both). The quick Winchell follow-up would argue for Hoover. The Director would want someone else to lead the story before his man Winchell pushed it to the limit. Capell was drawn up on charges in 1965. The charges were rather fatal to the tales told in his RFK pamphlet. One would have thought this discreditation would enough to impale the slanderous tales. And it probably would have been had it not been for Norman Mailer. 

In 1973, Mailer published a book, Marilyn, (really a photo essay) with the assistance of longtime FBI asset on the Kennedy assassination Larry Schiller. He recirculated these tales again, inserting a new twist. He added the possibility that the FBI and/or the CIA might have been involved in the murder in order to blackmail Bobby Kennedy. In 1973, pre-Rupert Murdoch, the media had some decent standards. In fact, Mailer was excoriated for his baseless ruminations. In private, he admitted he wrote it to help pay off a tax debt. Mailer also made a confession in public. When Mike Wallace asked him on 60 Minutes why he had to trash Bobby Kennedy, Mailer replied "I needed money very badly." In 1993, Donald Spoto wrote his revealing bio of Monroe. After reading the likes of Haspiel, Slatzer and Summers, picking up Spoto is like going back into one's home after it has been fumigated. Spoto is a very experienced biographer who is not shy about controversy. His biographies of Alfred Hitchcock and Laurence Olivier reveal sides of their personalities that they tried to conceal. Spoto is also quite thorough in obtaining and then pouring over primary sources. Finally, he respects himself and his subject, which allows him to question sources before arriving at a judgment on someone's credibility. This last quality allowed him to arrive at what is the most satisfactory conclusion about the death of Monroe: accidental overdose (Spoto pp. 566-593). And the Kennedys had nothing to do with it. I do appreciate Spoto's good research, fine writing, and a clear dedication to truth. If any reader is interested in the real facts of Marilyn Monroe's life and death, this is the book to read.

Mega-Trasher, or Just Mega-Trash? Hersh's book promises to be the mega "trash Kennedy" book. And, like any hatchet man, Hersh tries to disguise his mission. In the Vanity Fair article, his fellow workers on the ABC documentary say, "there have been moments when, while recounting private acts of kindness by JFK, Hersh has broken down and wept." This from a man who intimidated witnesses with his phony papers and waved them aloft while damning the Kennedys with them. Robert Anson's article begs the next question: Who is Hersh? As is common knowledge, the story that made Hersh's career was his series of articles on the massacre of civilians at the village of My Lai in Vietnam. Hersh then wrote two books on this atrocity: My Lai 4 and Cover Up. There have always been questions about both the orders given on that mission and the unsatisfactory investigation after the fact. These questions began to boil in the aftermath of the exposure of the Bill Colby/Ted Shackley directed Phoenix Program: the deliberate assassination of any Vietnamese suspected of being a Viet Cong. These questions were even more intriguing in light of the fact that the man chosen to run the military review of the massacre, General Peers, had a long term relationship with the CIA. In fact, former Special Forces Captain John McCarthy told me that–in terms of closeness to the Agency–Peers was another Ed Lansdale. Domestic ops were banned by the CIA's original charter, although they had been done ever since that Agency's inception. But at Christmas, 1974, Hersh's stories were splashed all over the Times. Hersh won a Pulitzer for them. One would think this would be a strong indication of Hersh's independence from, even antagonism for the CIA. One would be wrong. As everyone familiar with the Agency's history knows, in 1974 there was a huge turf war going on between Angleton and Colby (formerly of the Vietnam Phoenix program). 

Which brings us to the nineties. Everyone knows that the broad release of Oliver Stone's JFK in 1992 put the Kennedy assassination back into play. The pre-release attack against the film was unprecedented in movie history. That's because it was more than just a movie. It was a message, with powerful political overtones that dug deeply into the public psyche: a grand political conspiracy had killed the last progressive president. That Vietnam would have never happened if Kennedy had lived. That JFK was working for accommodation with Castro at the time of his death. That the country has not really been the same since. The preemptive strike was successful in slowing up the film's momentum out of the starting block. But the movie did increase the number of people who believe the case was a conspiracy into the ninety-percent range. The following year, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the murder, Gerald Posner got the jump on the critics with his specious book on the case. The media hailed him as a truth-teller. The critics were shut out. No nonfiction book in recent memory ever received such a huge publicity campaign as Posner's–and deserved it less. This blurring of tabloid and journalistic standards inevitably leads to a blurring of history. Disinformation feeds on disinformation, and whatever the record shows is shunted aside as the tabloid version becomes "accepted history," to use Davis' phrase (p. 290). But beyond this, there is an even larger gestalt. If the Kennedys were just shady types or CIA hawks, then what difference does it make in history if they were assassinated? For the CIA, this is as good as a rerun of the Warren Commission, since the net results are quite similar. The standard defense by these purveyors is that they go on the offense. 

Anyone who objects to their peculiar blend of misinformation, or questions their sources or intent is labeled as "protecting the Kennedys," or a "disappointed Kennedy fan". Tactically, this is a great cover to avoid the questionable credibility of people like Joseph Alsop, Priscilla Johnson McMillan or Robert Slatzer. It also avoids acknowledging their descent into the ranks of Hoover and Angleton. So Where are the Kennedys? In a deeper sense, it is clear now that no one in the major media was or is "protecting the Kennedys." The anti-Kennedy genre has now become self-sustaining. Anthony Summers used the Collier and Horowitz book for Goddess (2007). 

Summers even uses Priscilla McMillan to connect JFK with Monroe! (p. 244) Will Liz Smith call him on this? Will Ben Bradlee? Far from "protecting the Kennedys" the establishment shields these writers from potentially devastating critiques. The reason being that the Kennedys were never part of that establishment. No one protected JFK in Dallas. No one protected RFK in Los Angeles. The ensuing investigations did everything they could to protect the true murderers. People like Slatzer, Davis, and now Hersh have made their living off of it. The Kennedys have sustained many tragedies. Andy Harland called up Steve Jones after reading his article in The Humanist (Probe Vol. 4 #3 p. 8). He was an acquaintance of Peter Lawford's who talked to him a few times about the assassination. Jones' notes from that phone call includes the following: Lawford told him that Jackie knew right away that shots came from the front as did Powers and O'Donnell. He said shortly after the funeral the family got together.... Bobby told the family that it was a high level military/CIA plot and that he felt powerless to do anything about it.... the family always felt that JFK's refusal to commit to Vietnam was one of the reasons for the assassination.... Lawford told him that the kids were all told the truth as they grew up but it was Teddy who insisted that the family put the thing to rest. The Kennedys are silent; they won't sue, so if it's in print it must be true. As a corollary, this shows that the old adage about history being written by the victors stands. In this upside down milieu, all the Kennedys' sworn enemies can talk to any cheapjack writer with a hefty advance and recycle another thrashing. Mobsters, CIA officers and their assets, rabid right-wingers and criminals. Escorted by these opportunist writers, they now do their dances over the graves of the two men they hated most in life and can now revile in death. There is something very Orwellian about this of course.

The image of JFK on national television giving hell to the steel companies; of Kennedy staking out his policy for detente at American Universities; of RFK grilling Sam Giancana and Jimmy Hoffa; of Bobby going through the personnel list at the State Department to be sure there was no Dulles still on the payroll; these images have to be erased. Most of all, the RFK of 1965-68, angry at the perversion of his brother's policies, must be subverted. Who of the elite would want people to remember RFK saying these words: What the Alliance for Progress has come down to then is that the native rulers can close down newspapers, abolish Congress, fight religious opposition, and deport your political enemies, and you'll get lots of help, but if you fool around with a U.S. oil company, we'll cut you off without a penny. Is that right? By 1963, after the Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis and the cries for escalation in Vietnam, JFK was moving toward the Sorenson-Schlesinger side of the White House. By 1968, RFK was further to the left than that, being hooked up with labor leaders like Walter Reuther and Cesar Chavez. As Otis Chandler, a firm member of the establishment, said after Bobby's death: "I guess there's no one to stand up for the weak and the poor now." That memory is now being replaced by those of RFK cavorting with Monroe on the beach; of JFK drinking martinis with Monroe; and the Kennedys trying to take Castro down. In the Anson piece, Hersh talks about changing the way people think about the Kennedys. Talk about reversing the Church Committee. These people could teach Orwell something. What will the future bring? Will Hersh now say that he was duped on the Monroe docs but now he has the real McCoy: it was Jayne Mansfield all along. With Liz Smith as the moderator, satire is impossible in this field.

But down deep, submerged but still present, there is a resistance to all this. The public knows something is wrong. CBS and the New York Times conducted a poll which asked the respondents: If you could pick a President, any President, which one would you choose to run the country today? The winner, in a landslide, was John F. Kennedy who doubled the tally of the second place finisher. In 1988, Rolling Stone surveyed the television generation, i.e. the below forty group, on their diverse opinions and attitudes. Their two most admired public leaders were Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, dead twenty years before, when many of those polled were infants or not even born. This holds not just in America. In Pete Hammill's 1995 book Piece of Work, he relates an episode in his life when his car broke down in the Mexican countryside. He walked to a poor, "Third World" style hut which had no amenities except a phone. Before he left, he thanked the native Mexicans who lived there and took a look around the dilapidated, almost bare interior, featuring a frame photo of John F. Kennedy. It's that international Jungian consciousness, however bottled up, ambiguous, uncertain, that must be dislodged. In a sense, this near-maniacal effort, and all the money and effort involved in it, is a compliment that proves the opposite of the position being advanced. This kind of defamation effort is reserved only for the most dangerous foes of the status quo, as Thomas Jefferson or Huey Long. In a weird sort of way, it almost makes one feel for the other side. It must be tough trying to control any ghosts rising from the ashes. Which, of course, is why Hersh has to hide his real feelings about his subject. That's the kind of threat the Kennedys posed to the elite: JFK was never part from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); Bobby Kennedy hated the Rockefellers (Thy Will be Done pp. 538-542). For those sins, and encouraging others to follow them, they must suffer the fate of the Undead. And Marilyn Monroe must be thrown into that half-world with them. At the hands of Bob Loomis' pal, that "liberal" crusader Seymour Hersh. As Robert Anson (Vanity Fair editor) says, Hersh must just want the money. My feeling is that people who have perverted the historical record have, in an inexcusable way, pardoned the murderers. Source:

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sex in decline in USA, David Lynch's sex symbolism, Jim Morrison & Pam ("a nice couple")

Sex in America: 1 in 3 young men aren’t having it! The study, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, documents a steady decline: In 2002, 19 percent of men reported not having sex within a year. In 2018, that increased to 31 percent of men. While the majority of study participants were sexually active with about one partner, young Americans report having less sex over the past two decades. These changing sex trends aren't trivial — research shows sex is positively associated with longevity, life satisfaction, lower blood pressure, and well being. If people aren't having enough sex, it could influence mental and physical health. "These findings deserve attention because sexually intimate relationships are important for many — though certainly not all — people's well-being and quality of life," co-author Peter Ueda, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute.

The study—To determine how much and how frequently people in the US are having sex, researchers harnessed data from the General Social Survey. This is given every other year — this study documents from 2000 to 2018. Researchers asked questions like: “About how often did you have sex during the last 12 months?” with response options ranging from “not at all” to “more than 3 times a week." They also asked: “How many sex partners have you had in the last 12 months?” Choices ranged from “no partners” to “more than 100 partners.” The team stratified sexual frequency into four categories: sexually inactive (no sex during the past year), once or twice per year, 1 to 3 times per month, and weekly or more. More men than women reported having no sexual partner and 3 or more partners. Meanwhile, fewer men reported weekly or more sexual activity and one sexual partner. Across the entire age range, men reported dwindling sex lives. At the start of the study, 9.5 percent of men across the age range were sexually inactive. By the end, that number grew to 16.5 percent, with most of the increase occurring between 2012 to 2014. The percentage of 18-to 24-year-old men who were sexually inactive in the past year increased from 18.9 percent to 30.9 percent when the study concluded.

In contrast, sexual activity in the total age range remained stable among women throughout the study. However, when broken down by age group, sexual inactivity increased among women aged 25 to 34. All women reported less sex weekly, a trend that was driven largely by younger women. Meanwhile, while women reported less sex, they did report an increase in sexual partners. Among women, there were no strong links observed between sexual inactivity and employment status or income level. Scientists haven’t pinned down what's causing the stark sexual decline, but the study's authors say the trend may stem from a range of factors: changing sexual norms, stress, the rise of social media, smartphones, time spent online, and busyness of modern life crowding out intimate relationships. Interestingly, one might think the rising popularity of online dating would increase people's sexual activity and number of partners. This study doesn't show that to be the case. Beyond the root causes of sexual activity — or inactivity — Ueda hopes to determine to what extent sexual inactivity is associated with dissatisfaction. Some people may choose to abstain from sex, while others' lack of sexual activity is a source of stress and worry. Ueda also stresses that it's time for more open, nuanced public discussion not only about having sex but not having it. "Sexual inactivity and potential dissatisfaction with it seem to be sensitive topics," Ueda says. "While much work has been done to promote a frank and nuanced discussion about sex and sexual activity, it would be in our best interest to also be better at talking about not having sex." Source:

In Blue Velvet (1986), Lynch's main characters should definitely be looked at as archetypes rather than real people. The film has a lot to say about gender roles and gendered gazes, and accomplishes it by having characters representing different places on the spectrum of gender. For example, Jeffrey and Sandy represent neuters; their relationship is so bland and sexless. Frank (Dennis Hopper)  isn't just hypermasculine but also hyperfeminine; he wears lipstick and weeps openly at songs. He's the uber-gender. Even the name Frank Booth is a euphemism for the male and for the female genetalia, respectively. The gas mask that he carries around and inhales from shows a kind of vaginal envy; it wraps around his face like he was performing oral sex on a woman, compare this to a pipe which is the more obvious choice for showing drug consumption and also very phallic. It's like he carries it around as a substitute for having a vagina.

In Inland Empire (2006), Nikki (Laura Dern), who has a jealous husband, immerses herself in a film role and her excessive identification with the character (and possible related infidelity) pull her into the subjective experience of the character as a version of her life and what she knows of her family history (Susan Blue trapped in the cinema theatre and Nikki's personal and epigenetic experiences as the story). From here she begins to glimpse a deep family history version of the underlying "folk tale" which serves as an origin of an embodiment of murderous jealous rage (the Phantom), an access to the male side of the experience, and an understanding that this all comes from a primal place of the collective unconscious (the rabbit room) where an eternal play of timeless torment plays out. Through the process of cinema, she is able to ritually sacrifice herself, take on a male aspect (the gun), find the room, eradicate the evil engram (an engram is a unit of cognitive information inside the brain, theorized to be the means by which memories are stored), the phantom, and unify with the damaged feminine victims bringing love and forgiveness. The universal field is healed of it's grievous flaw, or at least she had some good self therapy. There are so many layers to process in this, my favorite film, but I think the most emphatic "story" is that of humanity haunted by a pattern of jealous violence and a woman who braves a mystical trial to set things right. Source:

-Patricia Butler: What would Jim and Pam make of the frenzy that still surrounds them? What of the theories buzzing around their lives, their relationship, their significance? The people who met them once or twice and now speak casually and familiarly of and for them? The May 1970 issue of Show magazine featured rock stars and their favorite clothing designers. Jim, of course, chose Pamela and her boutique Themis, saying in the article, “Pamela’s clothes are weapons, ornaments, and protection.” I suppose he had no way of knowing at the time that he and Pamela would have more need of protection from the prying eyes, pointing fingers, and lurid imaginations of strangers decades after their deaths than they did at the time. I had the opportunity to interview Tere Tereba, who was part of that Show magazine article. She designed the original clothing for the store, and became good friends with both Jim and Pam. In fact, she visited Jim and Pam in Paris and left them just two days before Jim’s death. "Pam Courson cared deeply for Jim and did want only the best for him," Tere Tereba said: "Jim always did what she said: he adored and trusted her so much! They loved each other and had great plans for the future."

I asked Tere Tereba how she thought history should remember the pair. She thought about it a second and then said, “They were just a really nice couple.” And I think she’s absolutely right. They were just a really nice couple and that’s how people should remember them. But they won’t. Because the thing about the dead is that they become blank screens upon which the living may project all their own personal hopes and dreams and imaginings without fear of contradiction. For all the quiet times Jim and Pam spent in private, it is the act they put on for the world—the dangerous rock star and his fiery girlfriend—that people will remember and judge and build upon for generations to come. And maybe that’s okay. It was Jim and Pam’s conscious decision to play the roles they did to distract public eyes from their relatively quiet private lives. Maybe their only mistake was in trusting the rest of us to understand that it was, after all, just an act. From what people told me, Judy Courson was pretty enough, but Pamela was a knockout. Judy had brown hair and didn't fare well in comparison with Pamela. By the way, Judy was only Pamela's half sister. It seems that Penny had Judy as a result of a liaison with a soldier when she was about 16. Corky adopted Judy after he married Penny and Judy's birth certificate was altered to list Corky as the father. Jim was driven nuts by all the women he fell in love with and actually respected honesty more than any other feature. The bone stuck in the throat of Patricia Kennealy that continually rails about Pamela's good looks, which were indeed very pretty, amounts to outraged insecurity.

-Gary James: What did you think of Jim Morrison? What was your impression of Jim Morrison?

-Ellen Sander: Jim was a very shy person. I kind of felt a certain understanding about him 'cause he was primarily a writer. I think that's how he liked to think of himself. He was just a very shy kind of person, but he was also an actor and a performer. He had a very well developed stage presence. As with many performers, his private life was very different. He was also a downstairs neighbor of one of my good friends, so I saw him on occasion there where he lived. So, I feel like he was shy and since the success of The Doors happened so quickly and so extremely, it was kind of hard for him to adjust. So, he spent a lot of time feeling oddly out of place and he would just put on his persona to deal with it. Source:

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Doors' 13 compilation, Laurel Canyon, Jim Morrison, Arthur Lee, Pam Courson

The Doors' very first compilation 13, originally released in 1970, turns 50 this year! To celebrate this milestone, 13 will be available for the first time in 37 years on August 7th! This 50th Anniversary edition features remastered audio by The Doors' longtime engineer/mixer Bruce Botnick, pressed on "Ink Spot" blue and white swirl vinyl and housed in a meticulously reproduced version of the original artwork including record labels and the printed inner sleeve. 

Laurel Canyon is a very real place, but it comes off almost as a Brigadoon-style dream in the commemoration of the L.A. rock scene of the late ’60s and early ’70s that is director Alison Ellwood’s “Laurel Canyon” (2020) The first half the two-part docuseries on Epix, which premiered May 31, threw a spotlight onto the Byrds, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Mamas and the Papas, Love, Frank Zappa and others who drove the counterculture in the years leading up to Woodstock, and how they were folksy neighbors in L.A.’s least urban enclave. Ellwood does use a fair amount of audio from deceased subjects like Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Cass Ellliot, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean, so putting everyone in voiceover puts everyone back on the same mortal coil for cinematic purposes. 

-Variety: You’d been wanting to do a film about this for 20 years, since you became fascinated with the Doors, so you were immersed in a lot of the lore. Were there any stories that you hadn’t heard before?

 -Alison Ellwood: I didn’t know about the Doors/Love connection, in which the latter band helped the Doors get a record deal with Elektra, only to come to regret it. I had no idea that Alice Cooper met Jim Morrison or how he was tied to the Canyon at all. That came as a total surprise. Source:

Patricia Butler: Rainer Moddemann fled the scene when I tipped off Danny Sugerman what Rainer was posting in his page, and Danny went there and kicked Rainer's sorry ass, letting everyone know in no uncertain terms that Rainer was a liar and a thief and that the Doors planned to sue him up one side and down the other for the things he's done. As for the notion that anything in my book came from Rainer, this was not only never "rumored," but to anyone who knows anything about Rainer and his actions over the years, it's nothing short of ludicrous. Rainer had his shot with the Doors, and actually could have made something of that opportunity if he hadn't decided instead to lie (he was telling everyone that he was "the Doors European representative", which he wasn't, by any stretch of the imagination) and steal (he actually stole gold records out of Robby Krieger's home and stole photos from Danny Sugerman) and stab them in the back. Not surprisingly, Rainer is a big friend of Patricia Kennealy's, and would do anything to stay in her good graces, including making up a lot of nonsense about Pamela Courson. How pathetic is it to made up things to denigrate a dead woman? By the way, while Pamela had many faults, she was neither a heroin addict nor a hooker, no matter how hard Kennealy and her friends work to make people believe otherwise. 

Oh, and just another bit of info -- Rainer Moddemann didn't know Jim Morrison, or Pam either, even though he likes to try to convince people otherwise. My favorite story about Rainer is when he wrote a letter, in fact, to Jerry Hopkins, trying to convince Jerry he shouldn't deal with me. What Rainer didn't know, of course, was that Jerry and I were very close friends. So Rainer sends Jerry this letter full of all kinds of dire sounding lies (the best part was when he told Jerry he'd seen me drunk in Paris when Jerry knows I don't drink).  Jerry sent me a copy of the letter he sent back to Rainer. It was quite entertaining, to say the least!

Patricia Kennealy: Contrary to the picture painted in the Doors mythology, Pamela Courson was no poster girl for the 60's spirited, enlightened independent feminist. Very much the opposite: she was a shallow, manipulative, junkie trollop. But she was so pretty. She really was. By her own life and death, Pamela Susan Courson furnished an incontestable proof: if she had had any guts or brains whatsoever, she would still be here, alive and crying, but alive and thriving. As I am.

Veteran rock journalist Barney Hoskyns indicated in his 2001 book, "Arthur Lee: Alone Again" the brief friendship between Arthur Lee and Jim Morrison. Hoskyns has quite a resume, having written for Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar, Spin, The Independent, and he also was Chief Editor at MOJO Magazine. In "Arthur Lee: Alone Again," Hoskyns states that Jerry Hopkins co-managed Love in 1965, and later Hopkins became a rock writer for Rolling Stone magazine. Jerry Hopkins would co-write with Danny Sugerman "No One Here Gets Out Alive." NOHGOA is one of the worst organized books I've ever read. It doesn't have an usable table of contents and there's no index at all. I found it odd that Hopkins didn't mention in No One Here Gets Out Alive that he'd managed the rock group Love. Hopkins described how Arthur Lee had helped The Doors get a contract with Elektra, but he failed to mention that he managed Lee's band, Love. Why? Maybe an old beef or some kind of resentment? Jim Morrison stated in 1967 that his favorite vocal groups were "the Beach Boys, the Kinks, and Love."

Arthur Lee encouraged Elektra Records’ founder and president, Jac Holzman, to sign the Doors. Barney Hoskyns asserts that Jerry Hopkins and Doug Lyon co-managed Love in 1965. Ronnie Haran, a talent scout/publicist for the Whiskey A-Go-Go began calling record companies, inviting representatives to come see what she called "the American Rolling Stones." A few actually came to check them out. The Beach Boys’ producer Nick Venet didn’t like them at all. Lou Adler was unmoved. The Rolling Stones weren’t impressed either. Nor was Jac Holzman, the thirty-six-year-old  music producer and president of Elektra Records. Holzman was urged to see the Doors once more by Ronnie Haran, but also by Arthur Lee, the leader of Love. “Jim Morrison was an intellectual genius in the sense that he was well read – Voltaire, Camus, and all that stuff,” noted Ronnie Haran. “Arthur never read any of those books, but he was a street-smart genius. He was a natural perceiver of where people are coming from.” So Holzman returned and decided there was something appealing in Jim Morrison. By the fourth visit he found himself making his pitch, offering the Doors a contract. Jac wanted they understood that Elektra was a small business company whose tidy and tight-knitted organization was accessible. Arthur Lee had met Pamela Courson when she was living in his Laurel Canyon neighborhood. She was living in a dark Canyon garage reconverted into a house. She barely scraped by. Until they made it, then it wasn't unusual for garages to be rented out to the local musicians--they were cheap digs. Arthur Lee sort of took Pamela under his wing, and they dated for a short while. They had a love relationship that ended in friendship. Jim Morrison found Pam shortly after she had broken up with Arthur Lee. Source:

Arthur Lee: When I lived in Laurel Canyon, I used to walk from Brier to the Country Store on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. On my way down the hill, I liked seeing all the colorful people at the scene with their beautiful clothes. By then, it was fashionable to rent garages in the area as places to stay. I was coming up Kirkwood Drive one day and I noticed a girl dancing on the other side of the street. She had her garage door pulled up and I could examine her fixed-up garage home. She was a very nice-looking young lady, with shoulder-length red hair, freckles, and a cute figure. I don’t remember who made the first move, but both of us started talking. As I looked around her place, I noticed something was missing. I don’t remember if there was a refrigerator or not but I didn’t see any food around. When I asked if she would like me to buy her some groceries, she smiled and said “yes, thanks, my name is Pam.” And so it became a routine; as I walked or drove up Kirkwood, I would stop by her place and drop off some food and drinks for Pam.

I told her about my group Love, and I asked her if she would like to come up to my place and trip with acid. She said she would, and that was my first date with Pamela Courson. She told me she was from Orange County and she was a go-go dancer in The Strip clubs. Our relationship was good until I saw her flirting with other guys. So it sort of played out after a while, but we remained friendly. She was a good kid, but too flirtatious for my taste. Later, I would see Jim Morrison in Laurel Canyon from time to time, and now Pam was living with him. I found Jim Morrison to be a very interesting guy, although the girls seemed to appreciate him a lot more than I did. After a while, with Ray Manzarek playing the organ in the band, I could see that The Doors were doing something quite different. I told Jac Holzman to go down and check them out at The London Fog. So it was then that The Doors became the second West Coast group signed to Elektra Records.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like Jim Morrison. I just didn’t really know him as a friend. I had enough friends hanging around me at that time. One time, I was at the Tropicana Hotel, on Santa Monica, and out of my window I saw Jim and Bryan MacLean standing, face to face. All of a sudden, Jim socked Bryan in the mouth, pretty hard. Bryan made the mistake of mentioning Pamela or something else. I actually thought that was the best thing I’d ever seen Jim Morrison do. Bryan said that they were arguing and Jim hit him square in the mouth. I said to myself, “Regardless of what I think, Jim Morrison’s got a heart.” Bryan could really get on your nerves and it didn’t come off too good with Jim. After that, I lost sight of him. I think Jim Morrison was a very lonely person. He was always searching for something. Now that I think about it and put it all together, it seemed like he didn’t have a real self. He only lived on what he was told it was happening. He portrayed something that he thought was great but I don’t think he got a chance to be his true, natural self – or perhaps he didn’t like his natural self. He tried to become someone else. And it caught up with him. You finally catch up with yourself, you look in the mirror and you have to face yourself. "Arthur Lee: Alone Again" (2001) by Barney Hoskyns

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Jim Morrison, Johann Sebastian Bach, Borderline Personality and Dissociation Disorders

―Jim Morrison (1968, Detroit): "Can any Hell be more horrible than now, in reality? Me and the devil gonna take you on a long and evil ride. Well we are all in the cosmic movie, you know that means the day you die you got to watch your whole life recurring eternally so you better have some good story happening and a fitting climax."

Johann Sebastian Bach’s unaccompanied violin sonatas bear complex simplicity like an ameba. An ameba is intensely complex though it consists of just one cell. Its one cell’s operations & manifestations are stunningly diverse & near-infinitely metamorphic. Yet always it follows the program of its genes. Just so many of Bach’s “simpler” pieces. In every living cell, a complex chemical/bioenergetic event — the Krebs cycle — occurs in a complex sequence that changes ever as the cell matures & journeys toward death. The Krebs cycle produces energy, almost mysteriously as photosynthesis supplies the power of life of plants. The whole array is an immense, kaleidoscopic, complex, organic counterpoint, like Bach’s complex contrapuntal works. The whole produces, and reflects as, one of the vital energy-forms of the creature the cells compose. Complex music occurs as vertical, horizontal, internal/external/inside/outside/forward/backward, ever-changing yet magnificently ordered complex dialectic of interacting moving shapes. Complex music, like Bach’s, lives as moving multiplicities of molecular shapes — like the Krebs cycle’s music of molecular transformations & the complexly manifesting organic energy produced. Organic multiplicities of moving molecular shapes, kaleidoscopic shapes, dancing with each other, like symbiotic organisms: Sadness is a sound — a moving sonic shape. True music stirs feelings & emotions, apprehending the wonder & complexity — the miracle — of the biochemistry of a living creature or losing oneself in the infinite arrays of moving colored shapes of a kaleidoscope. Very complex music is like magnificent architecture that inspires unbearable awe though it (the architecture, itself) neither portrays feeling nor emotion. Emotions are judgments reacting to external events or internal feelings, as if emotions “represent” or “express” feelings. Emotions occur in the frontal lobe, in quite the place that produces logic. Feeling are biochemical/bioenergetic events, like heartbeats or flows of hormone or instances of the Krebs cycle. Feeling is like a piece of architecture. Emotion is a judgment reacting to that architecture. True music is like an instance of pure feeling or a piece of architecture. It may stir feeling or emotion, but it is neither. True music occurs as kaleidoscopic architecture formed with sound. If the shape moves a listener to tears, it moves the listener to tears because of the listener’s reaction associating the down-curving shape with an unbearable sense of love lost. —Classical Music Corner (Steve Hoffman Forum)

—Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781): "A mind without concepts would have no capacity to think; equally, a mind armed with concepts, but with no sensory data to be applied, would have nothing to think about. Man is responsible for his wellbeing and if he does not behave accordingly, he is betraying his own humanness." 

Those with borderline personality disorder have problems regulating emotional impulses and often experience rocky relationships. But new research suggests that many men find traits associated with borderline personality disorder to be appealing in physically attractive women. The study has been published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (published on 12 March, 2020). The relationship with a Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer is like a roller coaster where the highs are very high and the lows are very low — this is why people probably stay in these types of relationships, because of the uncertainty and drama. In line with previous research, Blanchard and her colleagues found that amenable personality traits and wealth status were the most important factors in predicting dating appeal among female participants. Women in the study tended to prefer partners who were high in wealth and low in psychopathic traits. “Women are more discerning when choosing a partner, likely because an unreliable partner would have adverse outcomes for her and her child. Previous research had been equivocal with regards to whether women are attracted to bad boys, and the findings from this study suggest they are not, at least in comparison to men who are less discerning,” Blanchard said. For men, attractiveness was the most important factor in predicting dating appeal. Men viewed physically attractive women who were high in borderline personality traits to be more appealing than women who were less physically attractive and low in borderline personality traits. Source:

"Unhappy girl/Left all alone/Playin' solitaire/Playin' warden to your soul/You are locked in a prison of your own device/And you can't believe what it does to me/To see you crying." (Jim Morrison,  Unhappy Girl, The Doors' Strange Days, 1967)

Patricia Butler: When Pam met Jim Morrison in the summer of 1965, she obviously saw him through the eyes of a young woman in love, but she certainly wasn't blind to his faults or oddities. Jim met Pam before he was famous and stayed with her until his death. Although I am inclined to think both suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, their personalities differed in temper and attitude. Pam was very shy and secretive. She instinctively distrusted nosy or sycophantic people around Jim. So there was a Jim's side (which was enhanced by his portentous fame) she began to dislike. The posturing, the public mugging, she detested it, I think. Jim would have wanted to show her off more in public, but she was reticent and didn't enjoy being in company of his entourage. He dedicated all his poetry books to her and most of his classic songs: "Indian Summer", "L.A. Woman", "Love Street", "Orange County Suite", "Twentieth Century Fox", "Queen of the Highway", "You Are Lost, Little Girl," "We Could Be So Good Together", "Blue Sunday", "Wild Child", "Unhappy Girl," "I will never be Untrue," etc. He gave her about anything she wanted and, whenever she got mad and left him, he went after her to bring her back. Jim told his closest allies that Pamela was the one person who'd "gotten under his skin," the one he felt he could spend the rest of his life with, and he made plans to do just that, leaving the country to be with her in Paris and writing his last letter to his parents home saying how happy they were. Sadly, he died shortly after writing this letter. 

Even if Pam and Jim sometimes had a twisted relationship, they still went back to each other and shared a bond no other woman could touch. So what if Jim had some sex action with Judy Huddleston, Peggy Green or assorted female followers? Big deal for a sex-charged rock star! And even when he was with his lovers he often bragged about Pam. Patricia Kennealy was one more in a long line of "outside interests". I never understood why Danny Sugerman referred to himself as 'Denny' in the book NOHGOA, which does appear to have an unsympathetic look at Jim. Al Graham (Jim's sister Anne's ex-husband) said in 2010 Jim Morrison had fired Danny Sugerman from his desk job at The Doors office. Sugerman never mentioned this little detail, but it gives credit to Frank Lisciandro's opinion that Morrison couldn't stand Sugerman. “127 Fascination” was the label on a metal box Pamela Courson left in a San Francisco bank after Jim’s death that contained some poems he had been working on in Paris. In 1980, Randy Ralston, an ex-boyfriend of Pam, retrieved the box, authorized by the Coursons. Rumor is that some of its contents were split up and the bulk of it was returned to the Coursons while the rest was sold to private collectors. The “127 Fascination” label has never really been explained. It may have just been a title Jim came up with for his poetry, or a label Pam put on the box. Due to the professional secret with his patient, to learn information about Pam's mental deterioration was like pulling teeth from her psychiatrist Dr. Ackerman, but I gathered Pamela, like Jim Morrison, suffered from borderline disorder. 

Dissociation Identity Disorder occurs when a person experiences a lack of connection between their thoughts, memory, and overall sense of identity, as explained by Mental Health America (MHA). Oftentimes, dissociation is often described as watching oneself in a movie or feeling as though one is outside of one’s body; milder forms of dissociation often occur when a person gets lost in their thoughts (also known as daydreaming) or becomes entrenched in a fantasy. MHA states that over 20% of population have experienced dissociative experiences at some point. Dissociation occurs more often in some mental disorders, however, such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by unstable mood swings, behavior, and self-perception. People with this disorder may experience feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, impulsivity and suicidal tendencies. A 2017 study published in the European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation emphasized a strong link between BPD, childhood trauma, and ongoing dissociation. BPD is often misdiagnosed, because the symptoms can easily appear in other disorders. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are a cry for help to resolve deep, inconsolable pain most often inspired by early childhood occurences of real or perceived abandonment. Primary Structural Dissociation consists of a host personality (the Apparently Normal Personality)  and adjacents Emotional Parts of the Personality (EPs). There are many similarities between Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Dissociation Identity Disorder (DID), and DID and BPD have often been reported to occur comorbidly. Individuals with DIDs and BPD also frequently experience major fluctuations in identity and emotional states, depersonalization and derealization during stress, as well as exhibit high rates of self-harm and suicidality. Although DID patients are associated with tremendous suffering, including the loss of a continuous sense of one’s self and one’s memory, some theorists suggest that dissociation provides protection from the overwhelming danger of tumultuous emotional chaos, and is needed for survival. Source: