Beloved cartoonist Charles Schulz received this unsigned letter dated November 12, 1969 concerning the new addition of “Franklin,” the first black character appearing in “Peanuts.” How strange this seems now, but just imagine the uproar on FOX News if a gay kid was added to the gang today.
As I’ve admitted on this blog before, I was a teenage Ayn Rand fanatic. I owned all of her books, cassette tapes of her lectures and every single issue of The Objectivist, The Objectivist Newsletter and The Ayn Rand Letter. I’m not exactly proud of this fact, but what can I do? Thankfully it didn’t take me that long to outgrow this nonsense, but for good or ill, I still to this day have a pretty good working knowledge of her philosophy and life’s work.
This morning it popped into my head, appropos of nothing, how much Ayn Rand railed against Ronald Reagan before she died and I recalled one particular essay from one of the final issues of The Ayn Rand Letter where she asked her readers not to support Reagan and instead to vote for Gerald Ford, who Reagan was challenging for the GOP nomination at the time (and who appointed her loyal apostle and acolyte, Alan Greenspan, to his position as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board).
I’m guessing that a lot of Republican Ayn Rand fans—maybe this will be news to Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Rand Paul—probably don’t realize that their hero had such a dim view of The Gipper…
From The Ayn Rand Letter, Volume IV, Number 2, November-December 1975:
Now I want to give you a brief indication of the kinds of issues that are coming up, on which you might want to know my views.
1. The Presidential election of 1976. I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word—i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose—see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion.
From Rand’s final public speech, “Sanction of the Victims,” delivered November 21, 1981:
In conclusion, let me touch briefly on another question often asked me: What do I think of President Reagan? The best answer to give would be: But I don’t think of him—and the more I see, the less I think. I did not vote for him (or for anyone else) and events seem to justify me. The appalling disgrace of his administration is his connection with the so-called “Moral Majority” and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling—apparently with his approval—to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.
The threat to the future of capitalism is the fact that Reagan might fail so badly that he will become another ghost, like Herbert Hoover, to be invoked as an example of capitalism’s failure for another fifty years.
Observe Reagan’s futile attempts to arouse the country by some sort of inspirational appeal. He is right in thinking that the country needs an inspirational element. But he will not find it in the God-Family-Tradition swamp.
If you know any conservative Republican Ayn Rand fans, you should forward this post to them, just to annoy ‘em.
Daniel Kornrumpf‘s embroidered portraits on linen are truly unbelievable. His work is reminiscent of the great Chuck Close, but employing such unorthodox materials. I’m blown away by the detail in his stitches and the way he’s able to mimic brush strokes.
I wonder how long it takes him to make one of these?
More of Daniel Kornrumpf’s portraits after the jump…
Timothy Leary with Boing Boing founders Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair at Golden Apple Comics. Photo: Richard Metzger
At some point in 1995, I was visiting Dr. Timothy Leary in his home in Benedict Canyon. I showed up at the appointed time and waited outside on the patio.
And I waited. And waited. And waited and waited and waited. After about an hour and 45 minutes—the guy was one of my greatest heroes, how long are you supposed to wait in a situation like that?—I made to leave when Tim finally arrived. It had been some time, maybe five years, since I had seen him last and he looked terrible. Until recently Leary could have passed for a man 20 years younger, but now he looked just awful. It was the week before he told the media that he had terminal cancer.
That day, a delivery of several boxes of items which had been confiscated during one of his many drug busts of the sixties, had arrived at the house. There were several people in the housre cataloging the contents (one of them was Bill Daily, the antiquarian book dealer here in Los Angeles and I think former SNL comedy writer Tom Davis might have been there, too).
One item had the group on stitches when it was discovered: A tin flour container (my grandmother owned the exact same one) full of flour. It was surmised by the group that whoever grabbed it must have suspected the flour jar was where the cocaine was hidden. I recall Leary quipping “I wonder where they thought we kept our flour?”
When the Harvard psychologist and psychedelic explorer Timothy Leary first met the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1960, he welcomed Ginsberg’s participation in the drug experiments he was conducting at the university.
“The first time I took psilocybin — 10 pills — was in the fireside social setting in Cambridge,” Ginsberg wrote in a blow-by-blow description of his experience taking synthesized hallucinogenic mushrooms at Leary’s stately home. At one point Ginsberg, naked and nauseated, began to feel scared, but then “Professor Leary came into my room, looked in my eyes and said I was a great man.”
Ginsberg’s “session record,” composed for Leary’s research, was in one of the 335 boxes of papers, videotapes, photographs and more that the New York Public Library is planning to announce that it has purchased from the Leary estate. The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade’s self-absorbed interest in self-help.
The archive will not be available to the public or scholars for 18 to 24 months, as the library organizes the papers. A preview of the collection, however, reveals a rich record not only of Leary’s tumultuous life but also of the lives of many significant cultural figures in the ’60, ’70s and ’80s.
Robert Greenfield, who combed through the archive when it was kept in California, for his 2007 biography of Leary, said: “It is a unique firsthand archive of the 1960s. Leary was at the epicenter of what was going on back then, and some of the stuff in there is extraordinary.”
Leary, who died in 1996, coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and was labeled by Richard M. Nixon as “the most dangerous man in America.” He was present in Zelig-like fashion at some of the era’s epochal events. Thousands of letters and papers from Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson, Arthur Koestler, G. Gordon Liddy and even Cary Grant — an enthusiastic LSD user — are in the boxes.
In May/June of 1981, The Clash were booked to play at the curiously named “Bond’s International Casino” (it was a former low-rent clothing store) in New York City in support of the sprawling 3-record Sandinista! album. They were meant to play just eight gigs in the smallish Times Square space, but the performances were dangerously oversold by greedy promoters. Fire marshals and the NY Building Department closed down both of the May 30th concerts, but the band vowed to honor every last ticket and the number of shows was extended to seventeen, with matinee and evening performances added.
The Clash’s Bond’s Casino shows became a part of the rebel band’s legend and featured opening acts like The Fall, The Dead Kennedys, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Treacherous Three, KRAUT, Funkapolitan (who opened for The Clash when I saw them the following year), The Slits, ESG, Bad Brains, The Bloods, The Sugerhill Gang, their pal from Texas, Joe Ely and others.
One of the shows, on June 9th, was professionally recorded for an FM radio broadcast and widely bootlegged. You can easily find it and other Bond’s shows on audio blogs.
Not a lot of footage exists from the Clash’s legendary Bond’s Casino residency, apparently not even one complete show was shot, but there were some tantalizing clips in Don Letts’ Grammy-winning Westway to the World rock doc (released in 2000), as well as in the abandoned short “The Clash on Broadway” (on Westway as a DVD extra). Sadly the sound quality is not great, so the performances lacked the hinted at oomph they should have had. Letts’ Bonds footage was apparently shot on the same day as the FM recording was made. Luckily an enterprising Clash fan has restriped the stereo audio from that source and synced up some other angles found in various places. The results are probably the best glimpse we have at what went on at these shows. Ain’t the Internet great?
If you were at the Bond’s shows, there is a Facebook group called “I Saw the Clash at Bonds” (which I notice that our Marc Campbell is a part of, along with DM pals Douglas Hovey and Mirgun Akyavas). Dozens of personal accounts of the shows can be found in several places, just Google it.
First up, a blistering “Safe European Home.” I love how “the only band that matters” walk onstage like a street gang to the spaghetti-western sounds of Ennio Morricone’s “6 Seconds To Watch” (from the soundtrack to For A Few Dollars More). What band today could pull off swagger like that and not look like complete dickheads? None of them, that’s who…
An absolutely scorching “This is Radio Clash” (probably—no definitely—my #1 favorite Clash number). Turn it up!
A “super-rare” puppet of Thunderbirds’ Lady Penelope comes up for auction at the end of the month, when it is expected to fetch around $16,000.
Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward was the posh London agent for International Rescue, who held her own with the Tracy boys and their selection of incredible vehicles in the Thunderbird series. Lady P was also, if the Guardian is to be believed:
...the subject of many a schoolboy crush in the late sixties and seventies.
Personally, I preferred Wilma from The Flintstones and Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched, but each to their own.
The puppet or marionette is 20 inches high with a head full of electronics, which made the mouth to move. Lady Penelope’s face was based on a model from a shampoo advert, and her voice was supplied by Sylvia Anderson, co-creator with Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds.
As Stephanie Connell an auctioneer at Bonhams explained:
“This puppet came from the collection of Christine Glanville, who died in 1999.
“She was the puppet maker for the series and this is super-rare and important. It was an important piece of TV history and although it was first shown in 1965 it has been repeated ever since and all generations are aware of it.
“This is an original Lady Penelope and there can be few, if any, left. She is wearing a 60s-style A-line dress and a cardigan. She has pink lipstick on and blue eyes and her hair is in a bob style.
“There are lots of genuine Thunderbirds fans and there will be lots of people who would love to have her.”
Bonhams are also selling Lady Penelope’s miniature writing desk, chair and bookcase from the original set, which is reckoned to fetch around $8,000. The auction takes place on June 29 in London.
Here is “Parker - Well Done!” - a ‘Fab’ disc from 1965, which featured Lady Penelope (Sylvia Anderson), Parker (David Graham) and Jeff Tracy (Peter Dyneley).
Today in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released, ushering in the age of ultra-violence in American cinema and to some extent the independent movie (Paramount were aghast at Psycho‘s script, so Hitchcock financed the film via his own Shamley Productions for $806,947.55)
Based on the novel of the same name by famed author Robert Bloch, Psycho was inspired by real-life murderer Ed Gein. It was filmed in black and white, not just to save money, but because Hitchcock knew that the shower scene would have just been too much in color. Principle filming took place on the set of Revue Studios, the same location where Hitchcock shot his television show. The Bates Motel set is still standing at the Universal Lot (see above).
Janet Leigh was apparently so upset after she saw the infamous shower scene (which had over 50 edits and used chocolate sauce for as the blood stand-in) that she tried to avoid them for the rest of her life. Leigh told documentary producers in 1997 that she would only shower if everything in the house was locked down first and she felt safe. She also always left the bathroom door open.
As, well, psychotic as Psycho is, it would take another twelve years before Hitchcock would film his sickest film of all, Frenzy. You wanna talk about a sick film? Frenzy makes Psycho seem tame by comparison. Today’s “torture porn” ain’t got nuthin’ on Hitch, baby!