This is a big book in lots of ways. 720 pages. There’s nothing little about A Little Life. I’d picked up hints about this book in my reading. The Great American Novel. It made it a must read. Yanagihara’s second novel won acclaim from all the major players in literary fiction. The Wall Street Journal, for example, ‘Announces [on the flyleaf] Yanagihara as a major American novelist. The New York Times bestseller. A panegyric from Edmund White. A serious book about A Little Life that asks to be taken seriously. And yet.
Four guys go to college in New York together. Jude is sixteen. Polymath. He becomes a successful lawyer. Willem is eighteen. He becomes an internationally acclaimed actor. JB and Malcolm are also eighteen and black, Malcolm less so. JB becomes an internationally acclaimed artist, based on portraits of his group of friends (Jude, Willem, Malcolm and himself). He’s the bad boy, takes drugs and becomes an addict. Malcolm is a good mummy’s boy and becomes an internationally acclaimed architect.
The narrative begins in a run-down apartment in Lispenard Street shared by Jude and Willem, and ends in Lispenard Street, over thirty years later, but with a different narrator and point of view. It doorstops their friendship through their twenties, thirties, forties and into their early ‘honeyed’ fifties and ‘The Happy Years’ (post-ironic title).
Four friends, two groups of two friends.
Willem and Jude are poor orphans and shared a dorm room at school. Malcolm and JD are relatively well off. They also shared a dorm room, but their parents were loaded. Malcolm’s mum and dad, for example, let Jude live in their basement flat when his sister moves out. They love him. Everybody loves Jude. The secret is in his name Jude St Francis.
Willem tries to describe to his therapist what he means by friendship.
‘The word ‘friend’ was so vague, so undescriptive and unsatisfying, but how could he use the same term to describe what Jude was to him…And so they had chosen another, more familiar form of relationship, one that hadn’t worked. But now they were inventing their own type of relationship, one that wasn’t officially recognized by history or immortalized in poetry or song, but which felt truer and less constraining.’
In simpler terms, it’s the kind of relationship not outside history but very much inside history and carved into trees by adolescents—fill in your own childhood names here—Willem loves Jude xxx, Jude loves Willem xxx.
Women love Willem. He has two long-term relationships with women that almost end in marriage and numerous other relationships that begin and end with sex. Yet it’s Jude he loves, but not sexually. Then sexually. Then not sexually. It’s complicated.
JB is straight, as in straightforward. He’s gay. Malcolm less so. He dates a guy and comes out to his parents as being gay, then marries a woman he falls in love with.
They have other friends who are gay or straight, or a bit of both. Jude is the exception. And his exceptionalism is the catalyst, because he has secrets that drive the narrative.
‘[Willem] would study him covertly, wondering how he had gotten from where he had been to where he was, wondering how he had become the person he has been when everything in his life had argued that it shouldn’t be. The awe that he’d felt for him, then, the despair and horror, was something one felt for idols, and not for other humans, at least no other humans he knew.
‘I know how you feel, Willem,’ Andy had said in one of their secret conversations, ‘but he doesn’t want you to admire him, he wants you to see him as he is. He wants you to tell him that his life, as inconceivable as it is, is still a life.’
Andy loves Jude too. But differently. Andy treats Jude when he cuts himself, because he’s a surgeon. A few years older than Jude, but he knew him at college. He’s treated his wounds two or three times a week. They argue and he threatens to have him committed and demands Jude see a therapist, but Jude doesn’t want that. He cuts himself to forget, but which brings it all back.
Good guys like Andy wear white hats. They’re immeasurably good. Too good to be true. Harold and Julia are other examples. We find out about their backstory and about the lost child. Jude worked for Harold and Harold came to love him as a son. They adopted him when he was thirty.
Bad guys wear black hats. The ‘long eel of memory’ extends back to Jude being left on the step of a monastery as a baby. Being brought up by monks who beat him and used him for sex. Brother Luke who groomed him and took away and sold his body to other paedophiles for cash in motel rooms across America when he was around nine.
He’s taking into Care and physically and sexually abused by those ostensibly caring from him. He escapes and sells himself to drivers from Montana to Boston truck stops. He’s fifteen now and gets picked up by Dr Traylor. He treats him for sexually transmitted diseases, but imprisons him in a basement. Jude imagines other boys being imprisoned in the same basement. He’s used for sex and when Dr Traylor grows bored with him, he drives over him with his car. That’s where his inability to walk properly comes from.
Ana, with the clichéd white hat, is a social worker, with a heart of gold. She helps save him and recognises his genius and gets him a place in college. She conveniently dies.
Then there’s Caleb. Black hat. He hooks up with Jude when he’s a successful lawyer. Caleb recognises him from JB’s painting. Caleb is successful too. He fucks Jude up, not just by fucking him, but degrading him and almost murdering him. He gets away with it. He also dies conveniently of natural causes.
An existential drama, which I don’t buy into. Jude suffers from what we recognise as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Shakespeare recognised the pattern in sixteenth-century Hamlet:
‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison. Well, isn’t it one to you, since nothing is really good or bad in itself, but what one thinks about it.’
I’m not a fan of the writing. Everyone explains too much. But I’ve said too much already. I finished it, despite myself. Read on.
Based on a true story (kinda, but not really). An article in The New York Times reported that Earl Stone, aged 90, had been convicted for transporting drugs for a Mexican cartel. If Earl Stone had been aged 30 or 40, or even 50, there’d be no story. The story is in his age. He was just doing what a man gotta do.
You have, for example, Brian Cox leaving the Scottish islands and chasing Patricia Arquette in Rory’s Way. This is meant to be a wry look at getting older and the aging process.
Anne Reid getting up to the naughty with a bearded (James Bond) Daniel Craig in The Mother.
Glenn Close, The Wife, standing behind her man, who is not much of a man and more of a meme dictionary with nice hair.
King of Thieves, The Hatton Garden job pulled off by old codgers Michael Caine, Tom Courtney, Michael Gambon, Charlie Cox, Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse and Ray Winston.
Going in Style, a remake of a heist movie also starring Michael Caine. Morgan Freeman is the lead, as he’s always going to be. The premise of the movie is familiar. Like Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, old age brings with it baggage and no pension pot. Make my day, becomes make my pension please, or we’ll take it anyway. But, of course, they’d never hurt anyone in the taking. They’d be kind and courteous. Christopher Lloyd brings an aged geeky angle and the glamour comes from a youthful looking Ann-Margret (remember her?)
It’s not difficult to get Clint Eastwood to look ninety. He just looks like he always did. But older, when younger. Then, of course, there are the ladies. Just because Earl is ninety…girls a third of his age go for him…two at a time. Wow. Hmmmm. But he’s still loyal to his wife. Still a straight talker. He did the jobs for the best of reasons. He lost his business and home. His pal’s place burned down, but Earl provides. Earl always provides. That’s the moral of these stories. Everything goes to shit, but the old codgers see it out in Clint Eastwood style barking at the judge he’s guilty. Of course, he’s guilty, he’s Clint Eastwood protector of the faith.
I did this in the wrong order (if there is such a thing) I watched the film of the book, before reading the book. For J.R.Moehringer, books are holy things. And I know where he lives because I’ve read the book. F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Egg territory. J.R’s hometown, Manhasset, Long Island. Sigourney Weaver took her stage name from the guest list of Gatsby’s fictional legendary parties, which the whole of New York’s well-heeled attended. Gatsby wanted to win back Daisy Buchanan, who hid behind the money and killed somebody when drunk driving, which wasn’t really her fault.
J.R.’s Daisy is Sidney. Sidney is the one. J.R. finds that most of the men in the bar have a Sidney locked away in their soul. In the film, she’s black. But in the book, she’s more Farah Fawcett. Charlie’s Angels were beautiful as could be, but Farah was that level above. Sidney is that level. But we don’t get to her until 200 pages in. She’s waiting to disillusion him at Harvard and not Yale, where they met.
Maya Angelou, Human Family, gets it right:
I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the word
But not one common man
I know ten thousand women
called Jane or Mary Jane
but I’ve never seen two
who really were the same
…We seek success in Finland
are born and die in Maine,
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.
Uncle Charlie is a playboy in the film with a fine head of hair. He, it seems, owns Dickens, but in the book, Steve owns Dickens, later called The Publican. It makes little difference. The bar had been there since the end of Prohibition, perhaps earlier. For regulars, it was the place to be. For irregulars, it was the place to be seen. Grandpa’s ramshackle dwelling provided a safety net, but Uncle Charlie and Dickens was home. At eighteen he’d a driving license and that was his entry card for a world he breathed in every day.
‘We went there for everything we needed. We went there when we were thirsty, of course, and when hungry and when dead tired. We went there when happy and to celebrate, and when sad, to sulk. We went there after weddings and funerals, for something to settle our nerves, and always for a shot of courage, just before. We went there when we didn’t know what we needed, hoping someone might tell us. We went there when looking for love, or sex, or trouble, or for someone who had gone missing, because sooner or later everyone turned up there. Most of all we went there when we needed to be found.’
Seven-year-old J.R. in 1972 has the gift of wordy-gurdy and is searching for a father-figure. He does make gravity defying leaps for a poor boy, getting into Yale for example, and getting a job, as copyboy, in The New York Times. Steady as she goes, his life pitches and flings him curve balls. I laughed aloud as his Auntie roared at his nephew McGraw about how he had to get an operation and get back into professional baseball. He was on the lip of achievement and a big money deal, but now he was a loser back in Dickens, with J.R. Every bar has its story and story-tellers. J.R. loves the older guys and they, in turn, revere the owner of the pub, Steve, whose smile brings warmth to their lives. Only later does the reader find out about Steve’s plastic teeth.
We bring back the past by not forgetting it, and forgiving yourself your youth. A coming-of-age drama written with warmth, but also understanding. When the party is over, it’s over. Few of us get the life we deserve. But there’s a poignant note, 9/11 2001. His mum phoned from Arizona. Two adults watching planes crash into the World Trade Center. Peter Taylor, who’d tended bar in Dickens, one of the dead. Another forty-nine from home in the debris of Ground Zero. Amen.
A lot of big hitters in this movie. I wasn’t sure about it, but I gave it five minutes and watched to the end. It jumps between 1973 and 1986. Daniel Raneri (with very long eyelashes) plays J.R. Maguire, a kid returning to his grandad’s house in Long Island. Tye Sheridan plays an older J.R.
His mum, Dorothy Maguire (Lily Rabe) has a mattress attached to the roof of their car and all her worldly belongings. She’s going home, but carries with her a sense of failure. Her marriage to ‘The Voice’ (Max Martini) has broken down and he refuses to pay child support. Grandad (Christopher Lloyd) is grumpy and put out, his house is already filled to overflowing with his children and grandchildren. J.R’s mum is upset, but the young J.R. admits to love living in grandad’s house. It’s full of fun, mostly, in the figure of his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck).
Uncle Charlie Maguire gives him the sit-down talk most fathers baulk at. He tells him he should always have a car and a job and a girlfriend—and you never hit a woman—and a stash in your wallet where you put a little something away in case of emergencies. Uncle Charlie knows about these things, he runs a bar, The Dickens. Anyone that has watched Cheers will know that kind of bar, filled with interesting characters that offer monosyllabic advice that you could take or leave and where everybody is your friend.
Uncle Charlie also tells J.R. he’s been watching him, and he’ll never be much good at baseball or sport, in general. Perhaps he should think of being something else when he grows up. He asks if he has any ideas. At that age, my ideal job was being a bin man or playing for Celtic. People were always telling me I was shit at sport, but I never listened. I tried to prove them wrong until my knees got arthritic. J.R. has a singular vision. He wants to be a writer.
J.R. begins straight away. Uncle Charlie has a look at his work and tells him he has got talent. But he needs to read. Uncle Charlie has a cupboard filled with a stash of books for him to dig into. J.R. also needs to get lucky. Not the kind of geek luck that got him into college at Harvard, or even the job at The New York Times. Writers are supernatural being.
There’s a story-book romance with Sidney (Brianna Middleton). She continually dumps him. And there’s a kind of in-joke that fiction sells, but there’s a market for memoirs. And here we all are with J.R.Moehringer becoming an international bestselling author, with a film being made of his words.
For those of us that write (millions of book published, ironically, on Amazon every year) it would be nice to bask in this nostalgic afterglow of God-given success. Hopefully, my next novel, Beast, sells more than ten copies. Enough to buy a can of Coke. I’m a fan of fellow American writer, John Steinbeck (1902–1968) and he tells us two truths that make more sense to any aspiring writer:
‘You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.’
Most importantly of all:
‘The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.’
I watched the film. Now I’m going to do things in the wrong order (it should always be book first) and read the book, The Tender Bar (2005). Read on.
Jon Ronson has the kind of job I’d like. He meets interesting people and writes books that are worth reading. Here over eight episodes and around four hours he investigates the culture wars in American where he lives. They’re happening here in Britain too, with the little Trumpet Boris Johnson lying about Brexit to get elected and pretty much lying about everything else. But this is America, where the lies are bigger and more stupid. What strikes you when listening is the power of the Christian Evangelic movement. And how such nasty fuck-ups have come to represent the life-affirming words of Jesus Christ, taken off the cross and his face rubbed in shite. No vision of a risen man, but attempts to keep others down where they belong with the other wretched strangers, carrying no luggage, the fathers of the nation in exile. About suffering, Christ was never wrong. William Blake, the strangest of men, but in his poem suggested Every Thing That Lives is Holy, but that was written before the father of lies was born, Donald J. Trump and elected President. Politics is one of the oldest tricks in the black books of history. But there is bitter black hope. Tammy Faye Bakker did perform a minor miracle. Jon Robson reported he received his greatest feedback after that Podcast. My notes are below. Don’t bother reading. Listen to the broadcast. But I know from experience those that listen to the broadcast are those that don’t need to listen to the broadcast. I’m tired of that wretchedness and repetition. Things fall apart.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) The Second Coming.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosened and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction; while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi.
[Spiritus Mundi>World Spirit]
Cultural Wars: everything people yell at each other.
Buffalo, New York.
1960-70s. Switzerland. Fundamentalist commune Frank Schaeffer. Francis (father). Shelter. How Christians should engage with modern art. Eric Clapton. Billy Zeoli, Christian channels. Evangelical. Directed niche documentary. How Should We Then Live?
Satre’s relativism: help an old woman across the street or run her down (slippery slope argument)
Human fetus, unborn baby. Roe v Wade 1973, unborn child considered not to be a person. Ear shift. Christian evangelic not-yet-in the field of abortion.
Make last two episodes about abortion. Me and Jeannie were teenagers. We’re having the baby. We love her.
Showed to audiences of 15-20 000 eg Madison Square Garden.
Mass audio-cassette machines. Francis Schaeffer sensation in evangelic word. My da’s book selling 5-1 of contemporary fiction.
Frank take what the evangelics didn’t want to think about. Give me a piece of family business.
Second series, all about abortion. Ghost children. 1000 dolls anti-abortionist doctor standing in the Dead Sea. Slaughter of the innocents.
Dad’s last books sold a million.
Second tour, no one came. Launched a crusade. Out of ego and belief. Trying to get abortion on the agenda. Editorial board of Christian magazine. We’re not pro-life.
New York Post. Strange avante-garde film. Picketed by anti-feminist movement. Turned up and picketed by evangelical women, not because they were pro-choice, but because they other. Local news also turned up.
East Coast snobs. Us v Them.
Muscling in on their issue.
Pickets and protests became enormous. Abortion clinics bombed. Shot. Kopp.
The man who killed my uncle, Barnett (Bart) Slepian, was Kopp.
Part of the job. I know we’re not taking care of children we do have. They stopped doing it. No way is a bunch of idiots bullying me out of my job.
They followed his kids to school. Amanda, October 8th 1998.
All of them began with Scaefer documentaries. Jim Kopp, supposed to be a doctor. Schizophrenic by 17, became religious. Couldn’t become doctor.
Fan, Kopp travelled to Switzerland. Francis Christian manifesto. If you’re a Christian, act like it.
Oct 1998. Travelled to Buffallo New York. Went to Synagogue. There was this ping. I think I’ve been shot. Bullets. Children between ages of 7 and 15.
Frank long gone from the movement. Jerry Falwell. The Moral Majority. I’d just take them out the back and shoot them. (Homosexuals).
So uncool and so ugly.
Cut 20 minutes, show-reel. Agent, off and running. 1982-1986 directed 4 films.
Ripples, Last 30 years trying to undo the damage.
Publishing memoir, Crazy for God.
My father and I have blood in our hands. I have no words…I am ardently pro-choice.
Rev Rusty Thomson. Operation Save America. We go to exposed areas where child sacrifice and
I believe it is more of a man’s issue, to protect, guide and care for children.
All that changed with Donald Trump’s election 2016.
Installed 3 judges to Supreme Court.
Activists joined ‘Stop the Steal,’
Some of our leaders were there. A great opportunity. Set up a powerful sound system.
Abortion. Culture wars. Ambitious kid wanted to make it in Hollywood.
Sept 2021. Texas allowed to cut off abortions after six weeks. Schaffer ripples.
2) Dirty Books.
A writer living in America.
Origin stories. Pebbles causing ripples.
Complicted interesting people stripped of nuance and weaponised
US, Spring 1968.
Martin Luther King protesting racism and Vietnam war. Rejected conformity of 1950s.
Alice Moore moved with 5 children to West Virginia, St Albans, most churched place in US. Pastor husband. School having sex-education programme. Cut-away of woman and man. Complained to Superintendent of Schools. Nothing you can do about it. We’ll see about that. They needed something in the inside. Signed up for school board. Focussed from the start.
June 1974. New school textbooks. None of us had read and reviewed them. Had 325 delivered to my house and started reading them.
Christian Evangelics tended to live separate lives. 2000 came to the meeting. Their children were being taught angels didn’t exist.
Everything about war was negative.
Contextual ethics. That’s there’s no answer. Jim a pastor. She took over. It was all black and white. God said it> I read it.
Suspicions. Why did publishers introduce them in Virginia? Conspiracy theory.
She was invited on local tv.
Poem about making love on a bus. Roger McGough. Moral sentiment, you can’t just give way to your feelings. BBC colleague.
Special thanks to Roger McGough. For her ambiguity, nuance, didn’t matter.
That’s what really woke things up. Alice’s following grew. Boycott of schools. Picketed businesses.
Textbooks removed. They won.
Jim Lewis, Pro-text-book pastor.
Eldridge Cleaver. Black Panther movement, who has been convicted of rape.
But he was featured in one book. His misdeeds didn’t explain why other black author’s books were rejected. Langston Hughes.
Ron English asked to represent black authors.
Her support came mainly from poor white communities. The Hollers. What you heard rather than what you heard.
Twitter prompt, read an article before sharing.
Not being heard. Respected. It could have built common ground.
Why would some
Dick Gregory. Was committed to non-violence. Former comic. Flatfoot. Sit down. Sensation. Appeared on Tonight Show 1960s. Full time activist. Not OK for him to be OK sitting in a hotel room and simply sending a cheque. Struggling with how white his world had become. Sat down and told us the family came second to the movement. You’re taking me off the front line.
1964 wrote memoir. Contentious language. ‘Nigger’. Memoir, 10 years later on her list.
I can’t remember specifics. Where the BPanthers were talking about killing the pigs
1974, KKK, Rev Marvin Horn, on steps with them.
I never saw a Klan member.
Alice getting death threats.
Shot fired. Bill fired a weapon. Who survived.
Oct 18th, 5 shots fired at school bus. No children aboard. Bombed school.
Midway Elementary School. Dynamite before sunrise.
Levity in Alice’s voice. Skip first shot by pro-text book advocate.
Martin Horn jailed for 3 years. School returned textbooks.
I had to remove books and they were all burned up in basement. Unused. You have to get rid of them.
27% take the bible as the word of god.
One book on banned list still causes turmoil. ‘Nigger’, Dick Gregory. These were from my own collection and she was fired.
Textbook wars. Causes more uproar.
Just like Alice wasn’t interest in intention, but impact. To dominate social justice.
3) A Miracle.
Watershed and harmony in brutal cultural war.
20th Century, Evangelics kept away from mainstream society. 1970s Francis Shaffer and Jerry Falwell. Satellite TV Old time gospel hour. Vast audience. Jimmy Swaggart.
They didn’t try to entertain. Until one did. Pzzas. Tammy Faye Bakker. Steve Peters.
Odd and awkward and surprising.
Tammy Faye Bakker. Poor. No movies. Son James. Met Jim at Bible college. Eloped and preached. Children’s puppets. Fans of modern trends. PTL. Jim and Tammy show. Only network.
Jerry Falwell wanted to rule the world.
They were on all the time. Mum 10 broadcasts. Dad 6 broadcasts. TV pledge drives. Heritage USA. Theme Parks. Christian Walt Disney. Passion Play every night.
Evanagelists appalled. Telly Tubbies supported gay agenda because Tinky Winky’s antennae was like a gay pride symbol.
Tammy anxious and upset. Feeling of not being enough. Overdose on medication. Jay was 11 then. He knew what to do. He rebuked her hallucinations. ‘I rebuke you in the name of God’.
Brooklin schoolteacher died of unknown disease. Rare form of ‘cancer’ AIDs. End of 1981 131 died. End of 1982 12000.
Aids and herpes, Jerry Falwell. Reagan silent to please his political action group. The Moral Majority.
Mum did interview with somebody that had aids. Sept 15th 1985. Steve Peters.
What a brave thing. Now you’re going to show you’re an openly gay pastor with AIDs. Given Rev Steve Peters, still alive 2021.
What brought him? Christian pastor’s worst were Jerry Fallwell and Jimmy Swaggart. They’d talk as if homosexuals were paedophiles. They’d come and take your children.
1982. All manner of disease. 1984 full-blown AIDs Near Death Experience. They revived me. 2 weeks before Tammy Faye interview.
Try to reach an audience more of us LGBT couldn’t reach.
‘Tammy is sick and is cancelling the show’. I later learned that was a lie. Camera crews fears. Satellite hook-up. Both ear-pieces keep popping out.
Have you ever had a sexual experience with a woman?
I’ve necked. But my orientation was towards men.
When she started in with haven’t you given women a chance?
When you found out you’ve had AIDs. I’ve experienced remission.
Did you feel lonely? Everybody so deadly frightened. Same air.
Asked not to use toilet. Served on paper plates. Steam-cleaning cups I’ve used.
I remember after the interview was done. I hadn’t done very well. I thought nothing would come of it.
I knew she was doing something radical. (her son)
Steve got home and forgot about the interview. Troy Perry. 1000 people stood up and cheered. Steve heard from Tammy’s people too. Apparently, people phoned up and said she had a son that she thought was going to hell, but now she knew he was going to heaven.
She sent me this song. Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle. Don’t give up. Remember you’re not alone.
I’d sing along and got my miracle. I was blind and now I see.
I dunno, I know a lot more faith than me, that didn’t survive. One in a million chance, why not believe and act accordingly. I set out and did all the right things. Laughter therapy, diet, etc.
I am one in a million.
Two years and the Tammy empire crumbled. Jim jailed for financial theft.
She took Jay, her son, to hospices and to gay parades. Extraordinarily helpful. Same-sex marriage.
Emily Johnson, aural history, it had a huge impact. A more accepting world.
Tammy showed you could be gay and Christian.
Tammy died 2007. I knew she was getting an eviction notice from her body, because I’d been there. How ironic she’s the one to die first.
Steve heard the enemy talk in a calm cultured environment.
4 Believe the Children.
We can lose all reason.
What happened to turn so many Americans so irrational during the 1980 and 1990. There is a cultural war for the soul of America.
Anathemas of Pat Buchanan, Republican Party.
The idea that gay men and women can have the same rights…
Discrimiation against religious schools. We must take back our culture and our country.
Bob Erdogan The left had won. And taken over the media.
Cultural running away from them.
Bob Larson. Arizona. Death Metal bands, blood lust and…
Culture war and liberals they should be left alone.
Is there some diabolical scheme, plotted in hell himself. Radio show from listeners. Killing babies. Eating human flesh. Secret cabals abusing children. Dead cats nailed to pulpits.
I saw myself as a reporter. Bob wanted to spread the warning and novel ‘Dead Air’.
You had intergenerational occult. Passing a woman or child through a dead horse and takes away from…
QAnon, derived from same spring.
Bob Larson. Numbers of people telling me the same story. You can’t go to a ceremony. They’d do things so bizarre. You’d not been
John Trott critic v Bob Larson on Larry King show. If it’s true. Where’s the evidence. 90% US population, Christian.
Ramarez, report on Satanism. Highest ever ratings.
Police: we have kids being killed, cattle mutilated. Child abduction.
Kelly Michaels live in Pennsylvania. 1985.
Just out of college. Artistic bent. Lived 20 minutes from New York.
Where you aware of Satanic panic?
I was aware of some case in California. McMartin case were satanic case where children claimed underground tunnels and…
Daycare centre. Took the job. Stepping stone for life. WeCare DayCare. Accountants. Lawyers> Moderately affluent.
Better paid, and different job in another daycare centre.
3 detective. Investigating child abuse in WeCareDayCare.
Complaint about mother, doctor’s office. That what happened at school. But not with thermometers. Good cop. Bad cop.
We can take care of this if you admit it. They seemed satisfied and drove me home. I thought it was wrong. A reasonable if bizarre event.
One child told them about making poo-poo and pee-pee cakes and then they were all at it.
Six-year old taken from school.
Frequent talk of abduction and satanic rings.
Mothers that used to stay at home and now at work.
They said I’d played the piano naked and making them drink urine off the school floor for 150 days. It took two years. It took that time to convince parents that this could have happened. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Guilt about abandonment to centre and guilt involved. Horrified about lack of awareness. 245 accounts of abuse against over thirty children.
All over America this happened to different carers.
‘We Believe the Children’ movement.
Children very calmly answering questions. Absence of trauma, meant more trauma.
August 1998. First charge. Taking temperature rectum. Thrown out. Then the guilties began. Sentence 47 years in prison. Aged 27.
I was taken to punishment wing. I couldn’t process of crimes that no only I didn’t do, but didn’t happen.
2 years later. Harper’s Journal. Kelly Michael innocent.
Journalists who prided himself
Case overturned. Ambiguously
Parents faded back into life. No apologies to Kelly.
Bob Larson, I didn’t have an axe to grind.
The world’s most foremost expert in the occult. I do exorcism.
I survived this..I was accused of abusing children. It’s so injust, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m this nice little church lady. And they can’t believe it.
Professional people, but under certain conditions, they can succumb to moral panics (more easily). And the media. I was shocked. Surely The New York Times will say something.
Social Media shaming. When something terrible happens. Steamroll reality and facts.
We’re all primitives.
Escalators of cultural wars, Christian right. With the internet it moved online.
5 A Scottish Jewish Joke.
A war who the internet belong to?
1980s before the World Wide Web. Brad Templeton. Epiphany, use computer to talk to other people. Usenet.
Central square. Your computer calls other computers.
Brad Software company. He was in his 20s. Audience, more elite (needed to access through colleges).
Brad, 1982, Full stops in email address. That shows how it begun.
Set up own message board.
Rec.Humour. Funny. 24 K subscribers. Jokes. One a day.
Automated programmes. Approved joke. Pick one at random and send it out. First person to be publicly shame because of something he did online
Kristlnacht. Night of Broken Glass.
Scotsman and Jew having dinner. And the Scotsman pays for it. The next day, headlines, Scottish ventriloquist found strangled?
Jonathan < shared flat with Amir. He clearly was affected by. Something important about the date. But the date was set at random.
LookingGlass Software. But running my own software company.
Next turned to the Usenet Community. But almost nobody took his side.
Amir my parents emigrated from the UK.
If something like that was left unchecked…
We hatched a plan. Hit the University of Waterloo through bad press.
Lousie…I thought this was a very important story. I read these jokes and I heard my stomach turning. In traditional media you can go to someone.
The way I described that joke…University of Waterloo system used to send racial jokes.
1980s, Italian and Jewish and in a struggle to be taken seriously. Made me feel marginalised and denigrated.
Brad: An actual Nazi contacted me.
University suspended Brad Templeton account.
Brian Reid. What a fool, they think they can ban? It was uncensorable. Built into design. Brad’s page, up right away.
Campus in 80s. Progressive. Conservative. Eric Charles. Conservative. I don’t understand why anyone would join the military. And I was in the military.
Are you a conservative that wants your voice heard?
Peter, quiet (cold and calculating). Lamenting political correctness.
Do you believe in freedom of speech of not.
Jean Genus? Scottish Jewish joke. I thought it was funny. Then the whole hoo-ha. John Sack. Director of Stanford Data Centre.
How Stanford respond? Ban the joke or let it stand?
Town and gown. Birth of Silicon Valley. Navigation of shoals of how much to do for people. Engineers of the internet. Steering the ship?
Brad’s page, banned. Rationale. Stanford’s freedom of expression…
John McCarthy. Founder of Artificial Intelligence.
What kind of man was he, I’m not going to answer that. He attacked my mother. Eugenics. Personal. Speech codes online
Gathered 100 000 signatures online.
John Sacks> John McCarthy’s argument (break things and move) we’re reaching the limits of free speech, lets run into it and test it.
2012 Free Speech wing of the Free Speech party (i.e. Twitter).
Brad, because of this kerfuffle. One of the mostly widely read on the internet.
Peter> went off to Wall Street. Thiel. Started PayPal.
Dave Ruben report. Peter Thiel.
Louise De Amato. White lives matter? March? Torn apart on Twitter. What happened to him, happened to me.
John Sack, who tried to get Brad’s jokes banned, thinks he was hemmed in by binary thinking.
6 Many Different Lives.
She asked if I was a woman? And I said, yeh. And she said Michigan is for women born women only. And you have to leave.
Nobody in this story intended for these things to lead to hatred.
Rebecca. Mixed race babies, unfamiliar. Race of familiar black. Race white. Mother black. wrote The Colour Purple (Alice Walker).
Alice and Melvin’s goal to embody ideas. Vagaries of marriage. She moved to San Francisco and two years in Washington. My mum partnered with afroAmerican. Father, Jewish woman.
Wizard of Oz, auditioned and was given the part of the wicked witch of the North. I fancied a white boy. Brian North.
Back in black life. More accepting on the whole. Black relatives call me a ‘cracker’. Demonic, based on their horrendous treatment of black people. Part of whiteness. Moving from world to world like different planets.
Gloria Steinem was her godmother. New wave of feminism. 2nd phase of feminism. Betty Friedman’s book. 1963. Women had been struggling alone. Protesting for change. Equal rights. To have a job. To have respect. Won Roe v Wade 1973.
I had grown up in very feminist community. Propaganda against feminism incredibly strong. Called lesbians. Wouldn’t shave their legs. Whether lesbians should be included etc. Extremist movements. Post-feminism.
UCLA, intersectional feminists.
How can we re-define what the movement is? I am not a post-feminist. I’m third generation feminism. Third wave.
They accused us of matricide. As if we had been replaced (murdered). We’ve been talking about this forever. This is not new.
One is not born a woman. One becomes one. Simone de Beauvoir.
Isn’t tied to societal facts, but women’s movement should open up these categories.
Mitch fest? Michigan fest. 1981 Overwhelming impression was breasts. Women removed their tops and shirts.
Lying on small bamboo mat. And smiling
Campsite for and built be women. Some partying. Some overthrowing patriarchy.
Nance Barcholder? Mitchfest 1991.
I’d been cross-dressing over the years, but I knew I wasn’t gay. I went to see a therapist. I want to be a girl. Gender reassignment 1983.
I wasn’t go to come right out as trans. Went next year. Nancy’s friend, went away. A couple of women came up and they said we need to talk to you. This festival is for women only. Are you a women?
I said yes.
She asked, if I was transsexual. And I said, it was none of her business. I had a driving licence. I had a work record. And here I was being rejected.
Laura comes back and we drive away. We fly back to New Hampshire Bay Window, Boston magazine.
Acknowledged there were other transsexuals. But they didn’t ask gender.
Janice conducted survey. 75% felt they would have been very happy to be there. Following year, where we set up camp, across the road. Went back next year. Camp Trans. Hundreds of people came out.
Most festive goers are open-minded. Atmosphere of love and joy will bring us together.1995 Camp Trans escorted onto the land.
Camp trans and Mitch Fest under own group.
Pre-op, shouldn’t they be allowed into Mitchfest, because they couldn’t afford it? Point of division.
Mitch Blyh? Angry emails about Mitch fest no allowing trans into their festival. They wanted a name. Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist.
How TRANS people should be recognised. Self identify. Not having the medical establishment in Britain for example have you live as a woman for two years before gender reassignment surgery.
Mitchfest shut down. 1992. Became associated with exclusion. Third wave become fourth wave.
Rebecca? All experiments need to be rigorously accessed.
Tone set by both sides, Alienation?
7 A Secret Behind a Fake Wall.
Edges of Hollywood. Isaac Kappy.
Filled with people imagined they’d been abandoned. Takes us
Wendy Kappy, mother born New Mexico.
Best friend ross. Hung out. Get on our bikes, cruise around. Monster Pools. Champagne Bikeride. Picked up.
Breaking Bad. Thor. Paid pet-store clerk.
He wanted to be a star and famous. Saw himself that way. Looked like could happen. 2011, Albuquerque industry died. Left and went to LA. Competing with 100 times number of people.
Issac struggled to find work. New best friends. Paris, Michael Jackson’s daughter. MacAulay Caulkin. He’d been a conspiracy theorist. About 9/11 being an inside job.
2016, during primaries.
He was a Bernie Sander’s supporter. They did all they could to stifle him. Felled by conspiracy. Took steps down rabbit hole.
Pizza Gate, secretly sex headquarters delivered children for sex and to eat.
Alex Jones, Pizza Gate is real.
December 4th 2016, family Pizza joint and opened fire. Admitted there were no dungeons. Intel. Not 100%
Then something happened.
Ross: I don’t know if I got the whole story. It’s a little uncomfortable, to talk about that. The incident. Tallies with March 2017. Confided with them, that certain people in Hollywood part of world-wide conspiracy. They told him he was right. And if he wanted to become a famous man. He had to come and rape the child behind a fake wall.
I got asked to join the Illuminati.
During the weeks that followed. Hollywood friends disturbed him further. He truly believed they had a child in a dungeon.
Came to Albuquerque. Stayed for a month. Breakdown.
After sitting on his secret for 8 months. On Alex Jones. Names his well-known friends. After that experience I tried to black it out. This is not a media stunt. I believe it.
When you go on Alex Jones and even he debunks your information.
Started posting periscopes online. Life links. QAnon. Trump had a masterplan to eliminate the Illuminati and Satanist child abusers. Narcissists.
Diagnosed with being a narcissist. Posted online. Paranoia. In LA asked a group of police officers to arrest him for his own safety.
Naming with no evidence, continuing names of Hollywood stars, with zero evidence. Went online. QAnon started re-posting his videos.
Ross: He got worried and stopped going out.
Answering questions from QAnon fans. Once I found out about PizzaGate…Maybe I’ll be back later.
Set off to visit his parents. He went over a bridge and died. Flagstaff, Arizona. Two men tried to save him. Fell backwards.
Ross talked to him last time. He apologised for things he’d done.
Incident happened around 7.30am. We were informed about 4.30pm.
Lowest things, people obtained pictures of his corpse and posted them online. YouTube refused to remove them.
May 13th 2019.
But this isn’t where his story ends.
Lin Wood said he’d been murdered. John Ziegler writing about him for decades.
Been deformation Covington Kentucky, as if they were taunting native American, wearing Trump hats. Racists. Outrage.
Other videos questioning narrative. Lin Wood got settlement for kids.
They were out there going after those young boys. Cause celebrity among Trump world.
I though he was fantastic. Very logical. But in 2020, after Trump went overboard. Avalanche of insanity.
Bush, Clinton, Obama involved in child sex abuse and murder.
Kappy was about to heroically deliver the tape to Trump before he was murdered.
He’d been working to try and get the election changed.
Trump’s official lawyers told zero chance of getting elected.
Outside lawyers. Came in. Insane solutions. Lin Wood. Online elements. Read the same stuff online. Information silos.
Jonathan’s story inside Trump’s head.
Sidney Powell, information conspiracy. Trump puts her on mute. Then unmutes and asks her what are we going to do? Sometimes we need a little crazy. So what are we going to do?
Insurrectionists, support Stop the Steal.
Lin Wood any attempts to connect them to insurrection are nonsense.
It’s good v evil.
Trump allowed this destabilising farce because sometimes you need a little crazy.
8 A Mock Slave Auction.
How the school text book wars have become so pervasive we can’t escape them. So You’ve Been Publically Shamed, Jon Ronson.
Traverse City, Michigan.
Naeve Walston? aged 16. Last April 2021. Hey, Snapchat? my friends trying this group. Late at night. texted. This is really bad. You were in it. You were sold?
Invite only. SnapChat.
92% Travis City White.
Auctioned for $100 but went for $3.
Some of the stuff being said. Good for cotton. Cherry picking. All blacks should die. Eugh and gross.
1.2million slaves sold 1760 -1860.
I’ve lived a sheltered existence. Kinda tension when slavery was mentioned. Never experienced racism in LA. Wow, this town isn’t a friendly as I thought.
Scheduled school board meeting. Just regular meeting. 7 school board meeting sit in circle. 3 minutes questioned by public.
Not an isolated incident. Paul Sinclair, educator. Mr Sinclair, but as soon as I walk out the door, black man. Stopped 13 times in a month by police.
2 page draft resolution. Immediate opportunities to learn about racism. Anti-hate learning.
School board meetings no longer modestly attended.
Identical scenes across America but fundamental change.
‘God loves you, but I’m not judging you’ (but I am).
Let’s look under the hood…CRT (Critical Race Theory) shorthand for all racist ideas. Tucker Carlson. Robin DiAngelo White Fragility.
John McWhirter. Nobody
Robin DiAngelo white role in systemic racism. Death threats. Single mum. Living in car. Feed of clothes of house us. Mom became sick. Cancer. Don’t tell anyone. She died when I was 11.
Went to college when she was 28. Career centre. Divesity training. Go out into field. Typically, 100% white. Meanness. Any suggesting racism was systemic.
Origin moment. Essay. Then book.
Fragility how little it takes to cause offence.
2018. Black Lives Matter. Books sold in droves. New York Times bestseller. George Floyd’s murder. That’s the narrative. But it had already been in the top 10.
I signed up for one of Robin’s workshops. Bowled over for couple of hours. Seas of white faces. Statistics. 93% white what shows we see. 82% school teachers.
Unsure, living in car. I knew it was better being white. How can you measure that? White priviledge. Eg Opiod addiction
Robin. How are we going to help people with opioids? How are we going to criminalise these (black) crack addicts?
If you are white your opinons are going to be superficial and ill-informed. Devote years to study and practice. Everyone’s opinion aren’t equal.
Dick Gregory ‘Nigger’.
Dean fired/suspended. Student pushing for dismissal. All that mattered was the impact.
Robin: I think intentions irrelevant? What we’ve got to focus on impact.
We emailed her, the gist of what I offered that student.
Dick Gregory, where the willing to engage in academic discourse?
I tell Robin about Traversee sister.
‘Yes, our ancestors made mistakes…’
Let’s move on.
Robin, oops. I made a mistake…
Being silenced. I’m going to go the biggest elephant in the room. People with investment in the status quo.
Anger, in Traverse City, people being told they need to be good in a different way.
Isn’t Robin’s fault. 1300 CRT mentioned on Fox News.
Trump mentions it again and again. Something to rally against.
Naeve. We acknowledge racism and we’re going to do everything we can. No teaching of CRT.
Fudge. Appease divided community. Many echoes of past repetitions pulling more and more things into its orbits.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed?
How we should be more empathetic. Fleeting mentions of bestiality and porn-shoot. As with Roger McGough, an optional book.
Two teachers suspended for putting the book on the reading list.
Biggest ambition, culture wars not becoming culture wars. After Tammy’s episode, so many messages of support.