Bormann’s Ghost and Mr. Marcus: The Tavistock Grin
Michael Billington never published the FOIA document that he referred to in his book. He only stated that his leader had been subject to “removal from the national scene.” Yet, for most of 1973, LaRouche was in seclusion. Why would the FBI want to remove somebody who was not on the national scene at that time?
The declassified internal memo has taken on a hallowed status within the LaRouche organization. They refer to it often as stone cold proof that the US federal government, teeming with Communist agents, wanted to do away with LaRouche, not in any metaphoric sense, but in a literal one. In a February 15, 2000 Executive Intelligencer Review article, Lyndon wrote:
Typical of the evidence on the public record, is an official Nov. 23, 1973 document, an official record of both the New York City office of the FBI and also the higher authorities in the FBI's Washington, D.C. headquarters, stating, that the FBI was orchestrating its assets in the leadership of the Communist Party U.S.A., to bring about my personal 'elimination.' That FBI document, first released in full in January 1992, coincides with evidence of an ongoing operation which my associates and I had published in March 1973, and of an "elimination" operation, targetting me personally, which we exposed publicly during January 1974. Although those government-related secret operations of 1973 against me are officially dated by that evidence to November 1973, the admissions contained within the document referencing my prospective elimination,' show the true flavor of the operations conducted by the FBI and others, internationally, during the earlier months that same year, and for several more years thereafter.
But here’s the actual memo that both Billington and LaRouche cite.
Figure 1. FBI Memo dated 11/23/1973; re: Lyndon LaRouche and the CPUSA
As one can easily tell, there is no such indication of a joint CPUSA/FBI effort to murder him, or do him any harm. Instead, the memo clearly indicates that the FBI and CPUSA are operating on different, if not conflicting, agendas. The wording makes it seem as though the FBI’s concern is for the safety of LarRouche, and not a plot for his demise. And since this is in the FBI’s words, not the CPUSA’s, we have to take a look at what the word “elimination” means. In context, it indicates that the CPUSA simply wanted to shut LaRouche out of any influence within the party, and protect the party from a takeover by his faction. That the FBI wanted to secretly aid the Communists, in order to provoke them, should come as no surprise. After all, who doesn't like a good catfight every now and then?
LaRouche’s decision to whimper away for a year could have presented ample opportunity for brainwashing, as would his two-year hiatus from the SWP between 1965 and 1967. Perhaps it was LaRouche who fell under some undue influence. After all, there was adequate opportunity to apply any number of MK-ULTRA techniques. His conversion to fascistic ideals came about during a time-frame of a year. His blanket accusations about the dire influence of the Tavistock Institute on others start to read like psychological projections.
During the early-1970s, the LaRouchites were somewhat extreme in their views. Nevertheless, they still agreed with the left on many key issues. The NCLC's major objective consisted of educating their ranks about economics in general and how it applied to social problems and solutions. Consequently, the organization engaged in a good deal of discussion, and that brought with it numerous disagreements, both large and small. LaRouche, at first, preferred to keep an open mind about many of his own theories, accepting criticism and tolerating dissension, despite possessing (according to many contemporary observers) a gargantuan ego.
In Reflections of An American Political Prisoner, Michael Billington, a longtime LaRouche associate, mentioned a FOIA-requested 1973 FBI document calling for the removal of LaRouche from the national scene. The timing of this document is quite curious, however, for LaRouche had already removed himself from the national scene a year earlier.
Did he retire? Had he lost interest in politics?
The answer to both is no. Upon catching his second wife having an affair with Christopher White, one of his closest lieutenants, LaRouche simply went into seclusion for about eleven months. After emerging from his funk, he appeared to be a changed man in more ways than one. He gathered a few of his remaining followers, and set out to meet with White, who, after a couple of days of suffering LaRouche’s relentless, blustering attacks, now claimed that he committed adultery under mind control courtesy of a joint effort undertaken by Prince Phillip of England, MI5, the KGB and the CIA.
Okay, maybe there is a minuscule possibility that White wasn’t lying about being under the spell of some kind of brainwashing. It’s considerably more likely, however, that the love affair was just one of those things. LaRouche’s first wife, Janice, left him ten years earlier because of his devotion to political matters, which left little time for her and their son, Daniel. One could therefore guess that Carol Schnitzer, his second (common-law) wife might likewise have felt neglected emotionally.
From then on, the issue of mind control became increasingly entrenched in NCLC ideology and operations. Under the suspicion of being brainwashed by the supposedly CIA/British Intel-controlled Tavistock Institute, LaRouche’s inner circle (kinda) voluntarily submitted to deprogramming exercises, some more willingly than others. One young woman literally became a prisoner in their London office, having been confined there until she submitted to the LaRouche counter-brainwashing. She escaped by scribbling a message for help on a sheet of paper which she then folded into an airplane and pitched out the window. A passerby picked it up, read the message, and contacted police.
Not every high-ranking LaRouchite found himself or herself subjected to this horror, but other forms of social pressure had a similar effect. In her 1986 essay “Breaking the Silence,” former member Linda Ray depicted the NCLC as nothing less than a mind-control cult:
The LaRouche organization tried to control nearly all aspects of my life. I was told which apartment to live in, when to buy a car, when to quit my job, what to read, what movies not to see, which music was o.k., how to ask my parents for $2,000 for dental work when I needed money to pay the rent, and when to split up with my boyfriend. Pregnant women were usually told to have an abortion, since having a baby would siphon off too much time and money from the organization. For those who already had children, day care was usually assigned on a haphazard basis.
Ray further explained how she and the others managed such a jarring shift in ideology at LaRouche’s prompting:
It is difficult to pinpoint when LaRouche's organization changed from a left-wing group to its current extreme right-wing orientation. It was like cooking crabs: if you raise the temperature gradually enough, the crabs will never notice they're being boiled alive.
At the same time, LaRouche had installed an elite guard within the NCLC, and members had to endure the threat of emotional pain and humiliation. Thus, most of them began swallowing and regurgitating the leadership’s new conflicting messages without hesitation, especially if the conflicts posed seemed trivial.
Bormann’s Ghost and Mr. Marcus: From the Ashes there Arose….
“Suicide? I smell a rat. A giant anti-Semitic murderous rat”--Benjibopper
When it became clear to everyone and their dog that Germany would lose World War II, the Nazis organized a capital flight program, codenamed Aktion Adlerflug (Operation Eagle Flight) under the direction of Martin Bormann. Adlerflug created a number of foreign dummy corporations – 58 in Portugal, 112 in Spain, 233 in Sweden, 214 in Switzerland, 35 in Turkey and 98 in Argentina – for the express purpose of moving out stolen goods. Aiding them in this endeavor were a number of international interests, among them the J. Henry Schroeder Bank of New York, listed as an investor in some of these companies. New York Times correspondent Charles Higham reported that Schroeder’s business partners in these deals included Rockefeller & Co., Investment Bankers, Baron Bruno von Schroder of London, Allen and John Foster Dulles, and the Gestapo.
Where this money went has become a source of speculation, among many. Naturally, groups like the neo-Nazis, KKK, Italy’s Fascist Party, France’s Gaulist Party, Pim Fortuyn’s Leefbaar Nederland (Livable Holland Party), Belgium’s Vlaam’s Bloc, Denmark’s Union Party, and other organizations that are on the far-far right would constitute reasonable guesses. Yet, radical rightists weren’t the only ones with suspected ties to Nazi money.
According to some sources, among them the Jewish Defense League, Nazi money also went to another group claiming to be part of the radical left of US politics. While they have yet to enjoy the political successes of their neo-conservative counterparts, this organization has kept up their end of the struggle using many of the same methods, among them disruption of public activities, vicious attacks against legitimate leftists, and attempted co-optation of a major political party. Other methods, however, are quite unique.
The founder of this movement, Lyndon LaRouche (alias Lyn Marcus, left), began his adult life as a Trotskyite with a background in political economy. He and his first wife, Janice Neuberger, joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1948. He remained active in the party until the SWP kicked them out in 1965, for unspecified reasons. According to LaRouche, the SWP didn’t expel him. Rather, he left the party because of his disillusionment with Marxism. Yet two years later he once again became involved with the party, he says because the FBI asked him to do so for matters he boasts he cannot give on grounds of “national security.”
In 1967, LaRouche became a middle-aged guru teaching economic theory at New York’s Free School. He attracted a number of graduate students from Columbia University, many of who were heavily involved with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He subsequently wound up wielding heavy influence within Columbia’s SDS, and his followers played key roles in the student actions of 1968. At his prompting, they stood in solidarity with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to oppose what they (correctly) perceived as anti-Semitic attacks on the organization.
LaRouche’s position on political activism differed with the mainstream views of the far-left (a bit of an oxymoron, but accurate). His faction began to clash with other elements of the SDS, most notably the “Action Faction” (later renamed the Weather Underground) for control. Ultimately, his followers left SDS to form their own group, the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC).
Bormann’s Ghost and Mr. Marcus: Bad News Traveling Slowly
It was not yet five o’clock in the morning of March 27, 2003 when Erica Duggan began a frenzied series of telephone calls.She tried the local police first, asking them to please do something to protect her son, Jeremiah.But the cops didn’t really know what to do about a possible ongoing crime in a foreign country.So they shunted her call to another number.The people at that number shunted her call to someone else, and on and on this went.Determined not to get lost in the runaround, she eventually reached an Intelligence Unit within Scotland Yard.
Far from being sympathetic about the plight of a distraught and desperate mother, the career spy seemed more concerned about how she got his secret telephone number.At first he seemed quite curt, causing Erica to break down into humiliating pleas for help.This unnamed officer eventually softened up, told her he’d see what he could do, and would have the local police contact her if there were any news.
Not content to sit and wait, Erica called Maya Villanueva, Jeremiah’s girlfriend in Paris.Maya said that she too had gotten a strange call from Germany in the wee hours of the morning.Someone identifying himself only as Sebastian (last name Drochon) had told her that Jeremiah had run away.Not knowing much about German geography, she tried to get her bearings as to the location of Wiesbaden by asking Drochon if there were any rivers nearby.It’s unclear whether or not Drochon answered the question, but he did give Maya his telephone number, which she gave to Erica.
Duggan promptly called the number supplied and reached Drochon, who immediately hung up at the sound of her voice.Undeterred, she called again.And again.And again.Until Sebastian finally picked up and handed the receiver to a woman identifying herself as Ortrun Cramer.Frau Cramer told Duggan that she ran a “news agency,” and was therefore not legally responsible for the journalist they employed.She then asked Erica if Jeremiah had suffered any psychological problems.Duggan replied with a firm no.For the next nine hours, Duggan made repeated calls to her local police and the British Consulate in Germany, both of whom told her to wait until they had heard something.She also tried calling Sebastian, but he wouldn’t answer the phone.
Her calling ended at 3:45 in the afternoon, when two local constables came to her door to inform her that Jeremiah committed suicide at 6:10am that morning.
Jeremhiah Duggan made a frantic call in the early morning of March 27, 2003 to tell his mother that he was in big trouble, and under tremendous pressure. The anti-war conference turned out to be a ruse. Instead of hashing out protest strategies, or learning about the political implications and causes of the Iraq War, the conference consisted of a harangue against Jews and how they started the conflict. In the midst of venomous racist and anti-Semitic accusations, Jeremiah stood up, identified himself as a Jew, and told the rest of the “delegates” there that they were spewing nothing more, nothing less than pure, unadulterated BS.
And that’s when things turned scary.
Jeremiah stood alone against an angry mob. Because of the viciousness of their harassment, he realized that his outburst put him in real danger. He managed to escape briefly to make that frantic call to his mother, asking she come to Germany to get him. Amid the clamor and panic, Erica Duggan tried her best to say something useful, comforting and coherent. She could only manage the words, “I love you.”
And then the line went dead.
As I said in an earlier post, that was the second worst phone call Erica Duggan would ever receive in her lifetime. The absolute worst came a few minutes later when Jeremiah called to plan his escape back to Paris.
“Where are you?” asked Erica.
“Wiesbaden,” replied Jeremiah.
“How do you spell that?”
Again, the phone went dead. This time, for good.
I have just found out that over the previous weekend, the mother of our dear friend Libby passed away. I, for one, would be grateful if you kept her in your thoughts and prayers.
Bormann’s Ghost and Mr. Marcus: A Boy’s Best Friend….
Erica Duggan immediately recognized the voice of the caller as that of her son, Jeremiah (left). From his first sentence, it became immediately clear that he had encountered some kind of crisis or peril. We might guess that she was at wit’s end as to what to do about it, for at the time she was at their home in London, and her son across the Channel somewhere in Germany.
Jeremiah had been studying in France, taking classes at both the British Institute in Paris and the Sorbonne. While there he bought a newspaper from an older man named Benoit Chalifoux, a representative of a minor political party called Solidarite et Progrès (SP). Chalifoux impressed Jeremiah with what seemed like extensive knowledge of philosophy, art, music, and economics. Chalifoux also told him things he had never known about Jewish history. That struck close to home, for Duggan’s Jewish maternal grandfather had himself escaped Nazi Germany before the Holocaust.
Chalifoux took Jeremiah under his wing, and began to coach him privately on these subjects. But as a member of a political party, Chalifoux’s main goal consisted of recruiting Duggan into his organization. Jeremiah enthusiastically embraced SP’s outward ideology, consisting as it did of a classically rationalistic approach to leftist idealism.
It pleased Erica that her son had taken an interest in politics. She and Hugo, her ex-husband and Jeremiah’s dad, had liberal leanings. Thus, she agreed with his positions, and marveled at the passion with which her son spoke on a number of topics. She was particularly proud of his opposition to the looming war in Iraq. When combat began on March 20, 2003, she was even prouder to hear of his decision to travel to Germany to participate in an international anti-war conference.
Jeremiah Duggan had learned a lot in the previous year, not only from his classes but from Chalifoux. Yet, there seemed to be a certain wisdom about the young Englishman that made him somewhat cautious. Chalifoux had told him repeatedly about the man who created the SP, a man who was the only one with all the answers necessary to save mankind from its own looming destruction. That raised Duggan’s spider sense. After all, who among us is really that omniscient?
Before trekking out to Germany for this conference, he wanted to know if this man, Chalifoux, and the entire SP were legitimate. He would have checked himself to see if the great man really was all that, but because of his tight schedule and limited Internet access, he didn’t have time. So he called his mother, and asked her to do it.
Erica happily obliged. Unfortunately, when she Googled the name of the great man her son wanted her to check out, she misspelled it. Consequently, when the query didn’t raise any red flags, she called back to tell Jeremiah that she could find nothing wrong with him. So, the anti-war conference looked good to go.
She wouldn’t hear his voice again until 4:24am, March 27, 2003.
On March 27, 2003, retired schoolmarm Erica Duggan woke up to the sound of a ringing telephone, and noted the time: 4:24am.
Most of us have gotten a phone call in the middle of the night. It’s almost never pleasant. Sometimes it’s just a drunk who, in a state of intoxication, dialed the wrong number. Or it could be a drunk dialing the right number, wanting to talk to you just because it seemed like a good idea at the time. But usually the person on the other end has bad but urgent news.
Little did Duggan know she had just received the second worst telephone call of her life.
“Mom,” said the desperate male voice on the other end, “I’m in big, big trouble.”
Not so good this time. Still we managed to get a few, along with several Easter eggs. The songlist is as follows:
“Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)—Linus says “Unique” (meaning “AIN’T NOTHING LIKE”) to the lady dressed as a bottle of Coca-Cola (THE REAL THING). Answered by no one.
“Blue Moon” (Marcels)—The BLUE MOON in the top left corner. First answered by SJ. Independently answered by Malcolm and Foam.
Classical Gas (Mason Williams)—The string quartet playing CLASSICAL music in front of the GAS pumps. Answered by no one.
“Cupid”(Sam Cooke)—CUPID aims an arrow at the woman above the door. Answered by Malcolm.
“Dolly Dagger”(Jimi Hendrix Experience)—The Barbie DOLLY stalking Anne Robinson with her DOLLY DAGGER in hand. Answered by no one.
“Fool on the Hill” (Beatles)—The gas pump (FUEL) on a HILL. Answered by no one.
“Glad All over” (Dave Clark Five)—The gray car in the foreground is covered ALL OVER with GLADwrap. Answered by no one.
“Grazing in the Grass” (Hugh Masekela or Friends of Distinction)—The horse GRAZING IN THE GRASS. Answered by no one.
“Green Tambourine” (Lemon Pipers)—Betty Cooper (of the Archies) playing a pea GREEN TAMBOURINE. Answered by Malcolm.
“GTO” (Ronny and the Daytonas)—The red car in the foreground. You should be able to make out the G and the T on the grille. Answered by no one.
“Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees [or The Monkees TV Theme]” (The Monkees)—The three chimpanzees on the right. Yes, I know chimps aren’t technically monkeys, but to the general public they are. Answered by no one.
“The Horse” (Cliff Nobles and Co.)—The HORSE on the right side of the picture. Answered by Malcolm.
“Incense and Peppermints” (Strawberry Alarm Clock)—The incense burner and two candy canes leaning against it near the car’s tire. Answered by no one.
“Jean” (Oliver)—Our friend JEAN sitting on the bonnet of the GTO. Answered by Foam.
“Judy in the Disguise (with Glasses)” (John Fred and his Playboy Band)—Judge JUDY in THE SKIES, wearing her GLASSES. Answered by Malcolm.
“L’Amour est bleu [Love Is Blue]” (Paul Mauriat)—The BLUE heart over the walking couple. Answered by Malcolm.
“The Letter” (Box Tops)—The LETTER ‘W’ made from pine trees next to the horse. Answered by no one.
“Mrs. Robinson” (Simon & Garfunkel)—Photo of game show host Anne ROBINSON. Answered by Malcolm.
“Music to Watch Girls By” (Bob Crewe Generation)—The nanny WATCHing two GIRLS play as a mariachi band performs MUSIC behind her. Answered by no one.
“Paint It Black” (Rolling Stones)—Man about to PAINT a red door BLACK. Answered by Malcolm. Independently answered by Foam.
“Pictures of Lily” (Who)—On the signpost are PICTURES of LILY Tomlin, LILI St. Cyr, and of a LILY flower. Answered by Malcolm.
“Piece of My Heart” (Big Brother and the Holding Company)—Big Brother lead singer Janis Joplin leaning against the GTO. On her shirt is a partial HEART, OF which a noticeable PIECE is missing. Answered by Malcolm.
“The Popcorn” (James Brown)—The box of POPCORN in the foreground. Answered by Malcolm.
“Reach out in the Darkness” (Friend and Lover)—the Michelangelo painting of God REACHing OUT to Adam against a DARK background. Answered by no one.
“Ring of Fire” (Johnny Cash)—The cyclist tries to jump through a RING of FIRE. Answered by Malcolm. Independently answered by Foam.
“Season of the Witch” (Donovan)—Our friend Jean sometimes blogs about her spiritual beliefs as a practicing WITCH. On her lap are some sticks and ground cinnamon, a common SEASONing. Answered by no one.
“Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” (The Royal Guardsmen)—SNOOPY on his doghouse chasing a RED BARON pizza. Answered by Malcolm.
“Two Faces Have I” (Lou Christie)—Woman above the door holding a masque. Answered by no one.
“The Unknown Soldier” (Doors)—Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown just as a SOLDIER he doesn’t KNOW distracts him. Answered by Malcolm.
“Venus” (Shocking Blue)—The photo of Venus Williams behind the red car. Note: while this is thought of as a 1970s tune, it first charted in the fall of 1969--in case any of you purists are outraged. Answered by Malcolm.
“White Rabbit” (Jefferson Airplane)—The WHITE RABBIT in the foreground. Answered by Malcolm.
BUT WAIT!! THERE’S MORE!!!!
Some of the Easter Eggs you’ll find on MacArthur Park:
“Green Grass” (Gary Lewis and the Playboys)—found by Malcolm.
“Foxy Lady” (Jimi Hendrix)—found by SJ.
“Peppermint Twist” (Joey Dee and the Starlighters)—found by Jeaniegrrrl.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)—found by Malcolm.
Following the success of The Long and Winding Road, our collection of hits from the 1970s, our polling and focus group asked, “Why not do this again with ‘60s tunes, or rock tunes?”
Instead of listing the songs on the back, we refer to each with a picture. For example, the title track is represented by the setting of this photochoppy, the fabled MacArthur Park of song. Located in LA, it isn’t melting, as you can see (unless you’re doing the right drugs).
Can you identify the other thirty-one tracks on this three-CD set and their artists? Some are pretty obvious. Others require a bit more thought. A few of these references are pretty bad puns, but judging from last time not bad enough to make SJ hurl.
To examine the entire collage in detail, download it onto your hard drive, and double-click the saved jpeg file to see in your viewer. Mostly every pixel should be fairly clear.
Today marks the second anniversary of the X-Spot. An interesting year it’s been. I’ve come across a number of bloggers, among them Enigma4Ever, Malcolm, Pjazzypar, Crushed by Ingsoc, Benjibopper, Beckeye, Eric 1313, The Red Mantissa, Yin Yang, Princess Banter, and Dr. Alistair.
Compared to the first year, the second year was relatively on the DL. Still we had our moments. The cause-stalking series has led to some interesting contacts, and I’m grateful for the suggestions, comments and perspectives from the TI community. The Paul-Is-Dead series seemed to have struck a chord (so to speak) with a number of speculative Beatlephiles, and some of the reactions from hardcore PID believers and skeptics made for lively debate on other site and forums.
The most contentious series, the Holy Grail, is one I’ll be revisiting in another form, shortly. For some, the whole subject has become conflated with the frauds of Pierre Plantard du St. Claire and his anti-Semitic buddies. What I hoped to show was some of the roots of esoteric belief that have been adopted, developed and espoused by a number of people through the years, especially those in power.
I fancied myself ending Phase I of The X-Spot in November, but real-life pressures took my attention away from blog commitments from time-to-time. But the first plank in the ending of Phase I has been laid with the Tiffany series, and the subsequent posts will begin to circle around the possible conspiratorial aspects of cults, especially cults involved with some very dastardly deeds.
But first, I have a couple of games and other fun stuff on deck.
I appreciate you guys being here. Many of you, through your comments, have opened up new ideas by suggesting a different point of view. Many of you have provided needed bits of information at critical times. I’ve learned to trust your expertise and viewpoints. I’m hoping you regulars consider yourselves important contributors to this, what started out as my own personal project.
An old meatspace friend (16 years and counting) has taken a look at this blog, and has noted that you guys are a great group. I agree.
If you look at my profile, you’ll see that I listed my favorite music as “vintage rock.” Back in the early days, rock and roll did not pose, it did not pander to markets, it didn’t preach, it didn’t tell you how to feel, or what to think, or whom to hate. It held few pretensions, and didn’t mind playing the fool.
That all changed after big money flooded onto the rock scene in the wake of the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. After exploiting youth culture for all it was worth, many of the major labels began to refashion the rock and roll ethos to suit predictability of pre-determined markets. Thus, ironically, as rock became more politically vocal, it became less politically astute, trapped as it was in a corporate-friendly version of marginalized leftist ideals--what conservatives would mock two decades later as “political correctness.” As High-Fidelity critic John Gabree wrote in 1969:
Rock is no little kid anymore, not by any standards that count. Music has become a billion-dollar business, and more than seventy percent of it revolves around rock. And rock is not sneered at musically, at least not so much. It’s come a long, long way....
Unfortunately, on this side of the Atlantic things were taking a different turn. Unlike the Britishers, who had limited their listening to blues and early rock, teenagers here had been into folk music which, because of its relationship to the American Left, was at least nominally concerned with broader topics than either rock or r&b. Bob Dylan, among others, was writing very serious lyrics and his influence sent rock on an ego trip from which it has never recovered.
Lester Bangs defined rock and roll as anything that made you feel good, for whatever reason. So lighten up, and enjoy some of the real stuff with me. Leave your pretensions on another page.
“Jail Bait” by Andre Williams (1960)
Z. Andre Williams (left) of Detroit is one of those unknown people who have had a tremendous influence on pop music, mostly through his songwriting, and his work with such illustrious artists as Stevie Wonder and Parliament. Because of drug addiction and other personal problems he became homeless during the 1980s. But his career is in the midst of a comeback, especially in Europe. In his late works he’s incorporated elements of country and western and punk into his classic r&b sound. To see if he’s coming to a town near you, check out his MySpace page.
“Jail Bait” taps into a common theme of 1950s b-movies, namely the new blatant sexuality and dangerousness of the American teenager.
I’m running, Yes, before it’s too late, Trying to get away From that jail bait.
It’s a rough temptation, But a common invitation, And a good association, But a quick elimination, That will take you out of circulation.
Yes, I’m talking about that younger generation.
So take my advice, fellas, For goodness sake.
Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen That’s jail bait.
Now they swear that they’re in love. That you and her up at stars above. And she’s looking mighty good, Just like a young girl should.
We try to tell, you know, And let that young girl go. But you, you know it all. You have yourself a ball.
And now that it is too late, As you look from cell number eight, I tried to tell you all, mate,
Seventeen-and-a-half Is still jail bait.
So, tomorrow’s the date For the trial of jail bait. And this you watch and see: The young girl will go free, And you’ll get one to three.
So, out the door she walks, To another man she talks. Before you can count From one to eight,
Another man in for Jail bait.
Please, Mr. Judge, If you just let me go this time, I ain’t gonna mess with them young girls no more. I swear I ain’t gonna bother them no more, Mr. Judge.
I ain’t gonna bother nothing fifteen. I ain’t gonna bother nothing sixteen. I ain’t gonna bother nothing seventeen. I ain’t gonna mess with none eighteen. I’m gonna leave them twenty-year-old ones alone too. I’m gonna get me a girl about forty-two.
If you just believe what I say, and let me go, Mr. Judge, Please, Mr. Judge, I ain’t gonna bother them young girls no more. Gimmie a break, Mr. Judge. Please, Mr. Judge.
“Stranded in the Jungle” by the Cadets (1956)
The Cadets--Lloyd McCraw, Willie Davis, Austin Taylor, Aaron Collins, Glendon Kingsby, and Will (Dub) Jones--began as the Jacks, a Santa Monica gospel group in the late-1940s. Like many religious acts, they turned to rock and roll during the 1950s, and scored a hit with “Stranded in the Jungle,” a song written by Ernestine Smith and James Johnson. Taylor left the band before “Stranded” and was temporarily replaced by Prentice Moreland, whose improvised line (see boldface) is one of the funniest in rock history. Collins and Davis are the singers on the refrain, and Jones serves as our narrator.
The song is culturally interesting for two reasons. First of all, it spoofs the abrupt scene changes and other conventions of television, at the time a new technology and semi-experimental medium. Secondly, although the songwriters and performers were African Americans, they spared no mercy in their use of African stereotypes.
Although another group, the Jayhawks, recorded this song first, and the New York Dolls did a punk cover of it years later, this is my favorite version.
The group continues to perform at oldies shows, despite the deaths of Jones (2004), Taylor (1988) and Moreland (1988).
I crashed in the jungle while trying to keep a date With my little girl who was, uh, back in the States. I was stranded in the jungle, afraid, alone, Trying to figure a way to get a message back home.
But how was I to know that the wreckage of my plane, Had been picked up and spotted, and my girl at Lover’s Lane?
(And meanwhile, back in the States….)
Baby, baby, Let’s make romance. You know, your old-time lover Hasn’t got a chance.
He’s stranded in the jungle As mad as he can be So come on, pretty baby, just You and me.
(And meanwhile, back in the jungle…)
The boys in the jungle had me on the run, When something heavy hit me, like an atomic bomb. When I woke up, and my head started to clear, I had a strange feeling I was with cooking gear.
I smelled something cooking, and I looked to see. That’s when I found out they was, uh, cooking me.
Great googa mooga! Lemme outta here!
(And meanwhile, back in the States…)
Baby, baby, Let’s make romance. You know, your old-time lover Hasn’t got a chance.
He’s stranded in the jungle As mad as he can be So come on, pretty baby, Just you and me.
(And meanwhile, back in the jungle…)
I jumped out the pot, and I finally got away, Frantic and worried about what my baby would say. So, I jumped in the ocean, and started to swim, But my chance of survival was getting mighty slim.
So, I thumbed down a whale, who was in my way, And I reached the States in about a half a day. And when I got to Lover’s Lane I was almost dead, But my soul was gone. And here’s what I said:
“Baby, baby, The man is no good. Oh, baby, baby, You should’ve understood.
“You can trust me as Long as you please. So come back, pretty baby, where you Used to be,
“Cause I love you.”
“Please Help” by the Dukays (1961)
The Chicago-based Dukays--Shirley Johnson. James Lowe, Earl Edwards, Ben Broyles, and Gene Chandler--recorded one of the biggest rock and roll hits of all time, “The Duke of Earl.” But because of internal label politics, executives at VeeJay dissed the entire group and credited the recording to lead singer Chandler as a solo work.
“Please Help,” an earlier tune that survived under the group’s original name, typified an early country and rock tradition rarely found anymore except in the collected works of Weird Al Yankovic: the answer song. Oftentimes, when a tune became a monster hit, other artists would either parody the original, or comment upon it in a completely original song. The effect was one of a dialogue between performers who may, or may not have met--something not too unlike from cyber communication here in the 21st Century. The song that “Please Help” addresses is the Token’s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
Gene Chandler continued throughout the 1960s as a solo act, and recorded disco tunes during the 1970s.
Notify the nation I’m in a situation. Help!
The lion ain’t asleep, And he’s looking for some meat. Oh, help!
Hurry, on the double, ‘Cause you see I’m in some trouble. Please help!
The lion’s got a notion I’d make a tasty portion. Help!
The lion ain’t asleep, And he hunting for some meat. Oh, help!
I started on the run, But I really need a gun. Please help!
Help! (You got him on the run.) Who said that lion was asleep tonight?
[begins to sing the Tokens’ song]
Them singers! Them singers! They was the ones that woke him up.
People moving feet ‘Cause the lion wants some meat. I need help!
The lion ain’t asleep, And it’s me he wants to eat. Oh, help!
I’m trying hard to flee, But he’s catching up to me. Please help!
My cyberfriend must have heard the anger in my voice as we walked past Cooper Square, for her entire countenance changed. What had started as a carefree and pleasant lark filled with good conversation had suddenly turned darker. The mere sight of Tiffany, as she hustled by us, brought back all the frustration and contempt I had for the New York Church of Christ.
It’s not that I lost interest in the ICoC, or other cults that I had encountered since. In fact, I had kept up with it over the years, for the more I learned about such organizations, the more I learned about their connections with other organizations, namely the acronyms you expect to see when you come to this site.
I never found any exotic, espionage-laden relationships withthe ICoC. In fact, the ICoC seems to be in the midst of a major reform. In 2002, the church fired Kip McKean as it’s leader, and demoted him to helm the church in Portland, Oregon. It has since split into three major factions: one that wants total elimination of cult methods immediately, another that wants to keep the church exactly as it is, and a third that wants to move more slowly towards a less drastic change. It has now opened a dialogue with the mainline churches of Christ.
Forgive me for not believing any of it. You see, the ICoC has promised to reform itself in the past, but has yet to do so--what former member Keith Stump refers to as “the illusion of change.” What’s worse is that far from being down and out, McKean has since attempted to mount a coup of sorts to re-establish himself at the top.
I never forgot the church. Only, it’s easier for me to study impersonally. So when I researched, I tended to block Tiffany out of my mind. Like everyone else, I hate to be reminded of my past screwups. Yet there she was, passing us by on the sidewalk.
“You know,” said my cyberfriend, “I think I’m going to have to cut this short. I really should be heading back.”
“Okay,” I said. The look on her face told me that I had frightened her. But months later, as we discussed that day on the telephone, my cyberfriend insisted that I didn’t frighten her at all. Rather, she characterized the talk about cults as putting her “out of her comfort zone.” I’ll buy that. After all, she, by her own admission, knew little about cults. And lets face it: it’s an uncomfortable subject to talk about, for it brings to mind a host of difficult questions about our cherished notions of free will, of service, of purpose, and of religion.
And I could have easily stopped talking about cults in general, or this one in particular. It’s not really my favorite subject. But something compelled me to go on a bit further. Shortly before our first face-to-face, my cyberfriend had posted about a contact that she had with a certain group. It’s really too new to be on the radar of most cult-watch organizations, and I don’t think it has registered yet as such. But I had already tracked it for some time, as it waved a ton of red flags that scream cult: lovebombing of new members; isolation of new members from the general population through conventions and social outings, the pseudo-scientific studies proving its merit (the illusion of wisdom), the virulent attack on critics, a charismatic leader, unrealistic promises and expectations, and all for a hefty price. What’s worse is that its tenets have received an endorsement from a major celebrity (I won’t mention any names), and that has made it look all the more legitimate.
My cyberfriend said that the contact was casual. I believed her. Initial contacts always are. Still, I worried about what lay next. My experience with thought-control (to borrow Enemy’s term) cults has never been good, no matter how beneficent or innocuous they seem. These things wreck families. They wreak havoc on finances. They crush self-esteem. And sometimes, they even kill.
She hailed a taxi that would take us back to Midtown where she had parked her car. I reckoned the ride would take about ten minutes.
I had that long to make her as uncomfortable as possible.
I had just turned in my grades for the semester when I came back to my office and found a note scotch-taped to my door. I suspected its writer wanted me to extend an incomplete, or bump a grade up a notch, or something typical at that time of year.
Instead, the note read, “I’m here for graduation. Look for me. Tiff.”
That surprised me. After all, I hadn’t heard from her since the diner incident two years earlier. I tried calling several times in the week following our argument, and intermittently ever since. So, I didn’t know if she wanted to avoid me, or if someone told her to avoid me or what. The last thing I expected was for her to contact me.
I didn’t have to look very long, or very hard. As soon as I stuffed the note into my pocket, I heard a cheery, “There he is!” I then turned to see Tiffany approaching with outstretched arms.
“Are you still mad at me?” she asked, breaking the embrace.
“I was never mad at you. Only at your church,” I explained.
“I wanted to call, but I didn’t know--well, since you didn’t call”
Her jaw went slack as I told her about my efforts to contact her. “My roommates!” she groused, through gritted teeth. “I’m really sorry, I didn’t know--”
“I know,” I said. “It wasn’t your fault.”
Cutting to the chase, I asked, “Still with the church?”
“Yup,” she said, nodding. I thought I detected a bit of a sigh in her answer.
“Oh, yeah,” she replied, without any great enthusiasm.
“How’s it going?”
We stood there awkwardly silent for awhile, neither of us having much to say to the other, it seems. Perhaps we had said it all before. To fill the void we talked a little about her graduation and the new bands breaking out. But an unfamiliar distance separated us as we spoke. We parted after swapping e-mail addresses and phone numbers. But neither of us sought out the other after that. Life had finally pulled us in separate directions, our paths never meeting…