|Vol. 2 No. 4||
(Vol. 2 No. 4) August 2003, is published and © 2003 by Earl Kemp. All rights reserved.
Whither Fanzine Collections*
By eI Grand Quote Master Dave Locke
a damn fine essay on fanzine collection and
disposition that ought to be - dare I say it? - published in a fanzine
An excellent job, Dave, of Covering It All.
This is not casually generated and is not meant for casual reading. It's serious shit, a bit light in places and heavy in others, and stuff to think about. It covers a bit of ground. Nothing will change as the result of it. Immediately print off a copy, take it down to the nearest beer garden, and tell the bartender that here's something he can set his drinks on.
Gregory Pickersgill wrote: "I don't need to tell you how much it amuses me to see people twitter on about how they 'want fanzines' to 'build their collections.'"
Yeah, same here. We'll take additions in dribs and drabs, but not in other fans' lifetime accumulations of, say, 50 disintegrating cartons marked "fanzines." And we'll be surprised when usually we hear nothing about the collections of fans who died without, apparently, really giving a crap about what happens to their stash once they're gone. And of course, what usually happened to the stash was it went to the landfill after years of taking up space the kid or the spouse could have used to good effect if it weren't packed tight with cardboard fanzine coffins.
For kickoff purposes the smoking gun is not so much Harry Warner's contested collection, but rather Billy Pettit's understandable angst at the question of available options for other fanzine collectors who wish to make future disposition of their property.
Billy Pettit on disposing of a fanzine collection: "1. Donate to a University. We've beat this to death in the past. There are only two University collections that I'm aware of that are being cared for and treated with respect: Andy Sawyer in England, and Riverside in US."
The whole concept of fanzine collections at universities is, to me, very questionable, but .
What about Temple University Libraries Fanzine Collection?
They also house the Paskow SF Collection, and some others. See the main page at http://www.library.temple.edu./speccoll/
Is Temple no longer considered a viable choice? I'm not up-to-date on this.
*Somewhere* in the past year I ran across an older list of universities with fanzine collections and a brief discussion of each. I *thought* I made note of the reference somewhere, but if I did then I haven't yet executed a thorough enough search to turn it up.
Billy, you've run through the possibilities with precision, and between you and Dwain Kaiser (and what is happening to Harry's collection), it's obvious the key point is to MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR DISPOSITION of the fanzines even if the options appear bleak. The alternative is to just face the fact that when you're dead it's all most likely going to the landfill. Harry got 99.999% of the way toward a good disposition and then screwed it all up by banding the UC-Riverside letters with his will for eight years instead of handing both to his lawyer and having the former incorporated into the latter. Just about anything could happen next, and there's zilch we can do to steer it.
Billy again: "4. Donate selected portions to various fan funds. Again, viable option but requires lots of work to sort out. But still leaves many tons of scrap paper."
I'm wondering if we've really given enough thought to this as an option to be developed. An option to not only keep fanzines in circulation, or at least in fandom, but also to benefit an ongoing fan institution. Probably we have, with the upshot that "this isn't going to happen."
Work? Hell yeah there'd be a lot of work. Tons of it. And the freshly departed would seldom have provided much of it. As Bruce Gillespie wrote: "...meanwhile I have almost all the fanzines I've received since the beginning of 1969, but unless I go through them again, and at least catalog the items I want to keep access to, then those are effectively lost as well."
So if someone dies and wills their fanzine collection to, say, The
Fan Fund Properties Administration, the "properties" will often be boxes and
bags of mostly unsorted Kipple. The inner workings of a mill to process that into
something useful for auction would be nightmarish even if the goal is only to follow the
Pareto Principle and deal with the 20% of items which represent 80% of the
"value". The FFPA could be self-sustaining down the road, but getting to that
point would require money, transportation, people, and sorting and cataloging and
auctioning and coordinating. Volunteer labor wouldn't be enough. It would have to become
an institution in its own right, generating its own expense money and overhead costs while
providing for the continuity of fanzines and the primary source of
Doesn't sound like a fan project, does it? A rhetorical question.
So, what we're left with is this. Anyone interested in collecting fanzines, if we leave universities out of the equation while discussing this, already has their own fanzine collection. From experience we know that some collections are well cared for, but most are in various stages of not well cared for, and few people can take on a (or another) complete in-chaos collection. In fact, the containers they're initially stored in will likely be the containers used to carry them to the landfill. And that back half of the garage or basement or attic or spare room, which could have been used for something useful like a car or an activities room, will have served no better purpose than to be a transition point between the property's life and death. Is it any wonder the spouse and the kids can't get rid of that shit fast enough once you bite the big one?
For most purposes, an in-chaos collection is of no value until someone goes through it and at least pulls out the items of most value. Another collector is unlikely to be willing or able to do that. It would take an organization dedicated to that task, and it's unlikely such an organization could arise within fandom.
What does that leave? Reality, more reality, and a bit of hope.
Reality: If you, and anyone else who gets control of your fanzine collection, can show an inventory list and have a guided tour of the actual inventory ("and here we have the fanzines of Bob Tucker"), you're one of the few and this isn't directed at you, because you're not going to have a problem if you make provisions in your will and someone with knowledge is available to cherry-pick what there is an actual demand for. But without those provisions, your efforts over the years with regard to fanzines will likely be nothing more than wasted anal compulsions.
If this isn't you, then wake up. Your memory of your collection is more solid than any visual or physical access to it. See, there, you just added to the stacks another sealed box of zines which you'll never open up to look at again, either. And no one else will want to. Jophan's collection is orderly, and he doesn't want to sort through shit to hopefully find the few known jewels he's still looking for. Janephan's collection is in as bad a shape as yours, and why should she add to her storage woes? She's storing boxes she'll never open again, too, but why should she add yours? For all she knows, yours are filled with 40 years' worth of junk mail and chewing gum wrappers.
Some more reality: Start fresh. Just save the jewels and pitch out the rest. A sealed box that no one including you looks at for umpteen years, can better go right straight to trash rather than just take up space until finally that's what happens to it anyway. All you're doing is storing a sealed coffin before finally someone else is putting it in the ground. Put it there to begin with. And make a goddamn will (in most places you don't even need a lawyer!) and gift the jewels to someone who's interested. "Here's a box of Hyphens." "I'll take it!" "Here's 50 boxes of we dunno what which have been in the garage for maybe 30 years." "Go away."
A bit of hope: It's not going to be all *that* much longer before the thrill of holding a dead tree fanzine becomes an act of nostalgia rather than a practical reality. It's time to get behind projects (like, f'rinstance, fanac.org) which aim to electronically archive the better fanzines from fandom's past. Rise above details here, and get a grasp on the concept. Fandom's early zines, in paper format, will not be as accessible to fanzine fans because:
- as more time passes, more and more copies will be destroyed as collections are hauled off to a landfill.
- universities which house them are not all that accessible, and do not have all of them organized and cataloged for accessibility.
- those containing items by pros will go to non-fanzine fans who collect even napkin scribbles by pros.
A serious effort at an electronic archive of older fanzines is desirable because:
- older zines in paper format will be scarcer and less accessible to fanzine fans as time goes by.
- one copy can serve anyone with Net access (and/or the cost of a CD or DVD), including those who come newly to the material and those who come to it in that format for ease of reference (like, maybe their copy of it is in one of the boxes up in the attic...).
- print facsimiles can be generated from electronic copies.
- a good-as-possible electronic archived zine would produce a better facsimile copy than a "hey, can you Xerox that for me?" request.
- we have too many collections which are really just accumulation pits, held in a cardboard stasis field and pending the death of the owner before being carted off with the trash. There is no good way to make such accumulations useful beyond the life of the accumulator who finds them of value only in the having and hardly ever in the accessibility or viewing.
- good, organized collections are disappearing because no post-death provision is being made for a proper disposition. The collection is useful, or at least parts of it are, but it doesn't get passed on because people don't like to think beyond their own mortality.
- can we trust universities not to trash collections during budget-crunch moments? Probably not.
- we have no central archive of our paper fanzines, and the various outpost collections are disappearing with the graying of fandom.
- it is extremely unlikely that we will ever have a central archive for our paper fanzines.
- an electronically archived fanzine is not the same as the paper fanzine. It is, however, a lot better than having no paper copy at all, and the issue of access is alone a practical incentive for having it.
More blunt talk. No quarter given.
Dwain Kaiser says "do," don't "want":
If what one wants is to have the zines given out to interested fans all over the nation, then fine, set it up so that can be done. However don't leave that to random fate and local church/charities.
There are enough options, as bleak as they are, that all or most can be explored. The more diversity, the better. As much as I respected Harry Warner, and nothing I say about his handling of his will can detract from all the good things about him, he fucked up in pursuing the same university disposition as Bruce Pelz made. But Bruce was a mover and a shaker and a guy who got things *done*. Harry was a ditherer who let his will and the UC-Riverside correspondence exchange lie together in a desk drawer for eight years while spending hours agonizing in print about UC-R. People often don't get things done because they spend the required time talking about it instead of doing it. (And how do I know that? Um ... er ... uh ... why are you looking at me like that?)
And there are other options, and people who get things done make them work. People who want other fans to have all or part of their collection manage to make it happen. They line up someone to take it. They talk to the people who would physically deal with their Stuff after they're gone and make sure those people know what's to be done. They put it in writing; legal writing, if need be.
And right at the moment there are still enough of the early fanzines around to make various pass-along methods viable. There is no *one* method and not everyone should look for the name of a university to donate their zines to. Maybe Bruce and UC-R weren't a good idea, but it was a potentially good idea and he did a good job in making it happen. And UC-R has a number of other collections besides just Bruce's. That avenue of approach has been explored, and only time will tell how it works out. But it got done!
Most of the rest of us are looking at other options, because most of our collections aren't of epic length and breadth like Bruce's or Harry's, and universities are just so much interested in culling duplicates, and about ->this<- interested in the sorry state of our "collections"... We just want to keep them out of the landfill. So our major options are to gift them or sell them, both of which keeps them around.
The option a fan chooses is very close to being interesting. What's actually interesting is what happens at that point. You said it: "Set it up so that can be done."
It's in the Setting It Up that people - okay, not
people, fans - find that an option is either good to go or needs modification
or it's not viable. "No, I don't want your 110 boxes of unsorted
You again: "Set it up so that can be done. However don't leave that to random fate and local church/charities."
We don't like to face our own mortality, so we ignore it. We don't like rejection, so we don't place ourselves in a position to encounter it by talking to people about what they might like to have or might be willing to do after our death ("John, would you and Fred help with a fan or eBay auction so that Heidi can get a little more cash after I go? Would you accept this part of my collection in payment for those services?"). We don't want to *work* at anything involving that, like Billy Pettit is doing in his two-year project to whip his collection into shape and sell portions of it for retirement money.
So we've got fans who are going to make things happen, and fans who will ignore the issue until they - not the issue - go away.
So ultimately the problem isn't with disposition - to university, to fellow fan collector, to persons with $$ - but in providing for some manner of disposition to be made. Most of us don't, most of us won't, and most of us leaving this discussion will do so with a niggling little feeling of guilt. And we'll have that little niggling feeling of guilt each time we look at our collection - if indeed we can look at it all in one spot, and if indeed we can see something which more resembles a collection of fanzines than a collection of cardboard boxes.
The lucky ones will be those without guile and with honesty as blunt as a baseball bat. The ones who will come right out and say, "This collection is for my benefit and mine alone. I don't give a damn what happens to anything after I die, and the notion of making disposition is for stupid people who believe in the abstract preservation of community. If someone wants this bad enough they'll find a way to get it. Otherwise, there's money enough for those I leave behind to hire workers with dump trucks; whether they do any sorting before the workers get there or not. And the difference between me and that fan over there is that he's incompetent for never getting around to doing anything about disposition, and I just don't give a shit. Fuck you all, and to all a good night."
To put this all into some manner or personal perspective, I'm standing outside this discussion and looking in. Five years ago I let friends cherry-pick the (mostly) organized fanzine collection from my previous apartment. The balance of it was donated to fanac.org, and Joe Siclari and Roger Sims carried out box after box after box after first packing the zines from shelving units and a large credenza. Joe told me that what didn't go into the archives would, like warm puppies, go to good homes. That's all I needed to know.
- - -
By Arthur D. Hlavaty
Excellent rant, Arthur. Reads like it belongs on the op-ed page of
the Washington Post.
Where to begin? Perhaps with the image of a rich Republican - the kind who has heard that there's supposed to be something wrong with the economy, but it hasn't bothered anyone he knows - realizing that his Lexus has been stolen. He sees it the next day, being driven past his mansion by a guy who flips him the bird as he passes. The day after, the perp drives past again, and one of the headlights is gone. He keeps seeing the car, ever more damaged, and the thief, ever more contemptuous. But in this fable the Police Dept. tells him it's a fait accompli: "Get over it. Get on with your life."
I'm one of those guys who haven't gotten over Florida. Okay, so I was kind of happy back in 1960 when Mayor Daley stole the election for Kennedy, and maybe this is my payoff. I imagine Katherine Harris, reveling in all the election fraud she got away with, going to an underground gathering of an organization far more secret and sinister than Skull & Bones, leading a horrific ritual, clad in a mask of eldritch horror (or perhaps just her usual cosmetics), and chanting, "Richard Nixon, thou art avenged!"
When the majority of the Supreme Court went along with the gag, I was tempted to say something unreasonable, perhaps that they had signed on to the so-called Republican agenda. I was not a good sport about it.
So this is a rant. The guy who used to do the good rants is now sucking up to the gang in power. (I imagine that I would be shaken if I was replaced by John Madden, but I like to think I wouldn't suffer brain damage.) It's a dirty job, but...
So I'm not being reasonable. If you want reasonable, read Paul Krugman, Molly Ivins, and Jon Carroll. They're reasonable, and they represent the Extreme Left of that good old liberal media that we're supposed to worry about, while Ann Coulter and Savage Michael are evaluated politically, rather than psychologically. (Coulter, having accused the all-powerful liberals of slander, now is flinging the word treason, a term precisely defined in our nation's law in ways that have apparently not been explained to her in short enough sentences. The next book will no doubt be called Witchcraft, and she will inform us that the only way the liberals could have survived the blinding light of reason in her earlier books is through the machinations of Satan - Yes. I know. Do you expect her to understand the difference between witchcraft and Satanism?)
Anyway, to continue the stolen car image, the thief decided that the machinery could be made to work much better without pumping in all that premium rich people's money. The economy reacted badly to this effort to funnel more and more money to the rich, as it has to every previous effort in that direction, and the administration, taken by surprise, shrewdly decided that the only cure was to cut top-bracket taxes even further, an approach not unlike "I haven't smoked enough crack yet." Despite this encouragement, some of those who best exemplify the economic principles Bush was trying to reward, such as Enron, came to grief. Remarkably enough, our ever-vigilant court system has not yet punished any of these people.
And then came 9/11. In the absence of criminal evidence, I will say only that it was a good career move for Bush in the same sense that Elvis's death was a good career move for him. Bush & Co. reacted as well as might be expected: "This was done by Saudi Arabian religious fanatics, so we must strike out against secular Iraqis. It stands to reason, doesn't it?" Bush offered New York City and its police and fire departments the praise of a grateful nation, more precious than gold (which is a good thing, as he didn't send them any gold) and likewise provided rhetorical, rather than mere financial, support to our armed forces, whom he then sent into Afghanistan, a country that cannot be governed, to make sure that it was not governed by forces inimical to us. Sure enough, one can now find no agents of Al Qaeda or the Taliban anywhere in Afghanistan, an argument convincing to those unfamiliar with the old gag about Lion Powder.
Meanwhile, back in the States, the government offered our constipated economy the Imodium of cuts in the dividend tax. Those in power hoped that war would be the health of the state and cranked up for an invasion of Iraq. "Somebody did us dirt, so somebody better watch out" seemed unpersuasive to some, so our leaders decided to seek the Weapons of Mass Destruction. David Frum, hitherto best known for Dead Right, a book arguing that the main reason the Market wasn't working perfectly was the State's insistence on feeding the losers, explained that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were an "Axis of Evil." (In the ancient days in which I was born, there was an Axis of Evil, which we were fighting a World War against. It did not consist of two countries that hated each other and a third that didn't care about either.)
Those ignorant of George Santayana are condemned to repeat him. As the government planned its invasion, Andrew Beveridge offered this list:
VIETNAM 2 PREFLIGHT CHECK
But our president did not remember Vietnam, perhaps because of his habits at the time, or else because it didn't give him the sort of traumas that keep the past fresh in memory. Those who were sent there remember it. I was better off, but I can still recall all the trouble I had dodging the draft back then; if I'd merely been allowed to join the Air National Guard and quit when I got bored, it might have slipped my mind.
We had France thinking we were too arrogant and Germany thinking we were too militaristic, and some of our leading government and media types acted as if any expression of doubt by country music groups or stars of sports movies could overthrow the whole project, but we persevered, and we got a quick apparent military victory (with a certain amount of collateral damage to museums, hospitals, and the good opinion of the world). We celebrated with that most characteristic element of the contemporary American polity, the Photo Op. Our Prez, finally deciding to do a bit of that aviation activity he had signed up for when the alternative could have been actual military experience, copiloted a landing on an aircraft carrier. (I could not shake the image of Maggie Simpson copiloting Marge's car.) He looked good. Norman Mailer, who has always managed to get a few things spectacularly right, suggests that W missed a career as a male model.
For some reason, this display of power and beauty failed to answer those pesky little memories that the purpose of the whole mess was to find and recover the Weapons of Mass Destruction. Remarkably enough, we haven't found any, though we did discover a sinister-looking operation that turned out be a device for inflating hydrogen balloons (literal hot air). So we needed an Explanation. Ever see a cat leap onto the edge of a surface, scrabble mightily to remain, and fall to the floor, then act as if he had accomplished precisely what he set out to? Our president explained that the WMDs must have been taken by looters. Right. We spent billions of dollars, alienated most of the world, and sacrificed a number of American soldiers, not to mention (as we never do) a significantly larger number of locals, so that we could get the WMDs away from a nation-state we could locate and punish and into the hands of untraceable highest bidders.
But wait, there's more: This was supposed to be quick and "surgical," followed by leaving them to their own devices, but now it seems that we're going to stay in Iraq until we are sure Saddam won't come back, which I guess is sooner than when Hell freezes over or we actually find some WMDs. Does this suggest anything to those who remember the Sixties. Online, I am seeing phrases like qWagmire, qWicksand, and "Vietnam II: This time it's a dry heat."
One thing about rescuing a country that didn't particularly want to be rescued and staying there is that the locals start trying to pick off a few of their liberators. To Bush this was an opportunity to do a verbal equivalent of his Air Force drag. He dared the other side to attack, though not of course to attack him, as he was on the other side of the world. Patrick Nielsen Hayden says we shouldn't call Bush a "cowboy" because that feeds into his fantasies and those of his remaining supporters. He's right. Cowboys are supposed to be strong, silent men who issue challenges only when they themselves are at risk. This is more like the Signifyin' Monkey: "Hey, elephant! Lion say your weapons ain't shit. Bring 'em on."
It wasn't ridiculous enough. So now we are ready to send troops to Liberia, perhaps because Fernando Poo is no longer a nation-state. Just a few troops. ("I'm just gonna do one line".) I am tempted to suggest that when this possibility was mentioned to our president, he said, "Isn't that the place with all the books in it?" (How would he know? He's never been in either.) I just hope it's not a violation of federal law to suggest that W eat more pretzels.
- - -
IMAGINE MY SURPRISE to discover that my 1953 fanzine Destiny had been nominated for a retro Hugo. Retro Hugos will be awarded at the 2004 Worldcon, Noreascon Four, for fanzines published during 1953.
This photograph shows me holding the cover painting for the first 1954 issue of Destiny.
THIS ISSUE OF eI is dedicated to the memory of Milton and Bea Luros, Stanley Fleishman, and Sam Rosenwein. Their respect and encouragement guided me through the battlefields.
In another world, science fiction to pornography, another of the Great Ones departed the building. Jane Gallion, also known as Lady Jayne, found release from a long battle with cancer. Her career as a fan and as a professional writer spanned a number of decades, lovers, and fabulous fan friends. She will be missed for a long time.
As always, everything in this issue of eI beneath my byline is part of my in-progress rough-draft memoirs. As such, I would appreciate any corrections, revisions, extensions, anecdotes, photographs, jpegs, or what have you sent to me at email@example.com and thank you in advance for all your help.
A STRANGE THING happened to me this month, thanks to Robert Lichtman's harangues. I rejoined FAPA after an absence of several decades. And, for FAPA, for the August mailing, I revived my dormant fanzine SaFari. Volume 3 Number 1 should be included with the August FAPA mailing.
That makes two zines, both dated August, that I have produced this month. Damn, if I don't watch myself, I'm going to do a book next time around. Sort of reminds me of the good old days when I had a great deal more time to spend than money.
And, for the benefit of those unfortunates who do not have access to FAPA mailings, Bill Burns has agreed to produce the revived SaFari for eFanzines.com as soon as the FAPA mailing arrives.
Speaking of Bill Burns, he continues to be The Man around here. If it wasn't for him, nothing would get done. He inspires activity. He deserves some really great rewards. It is a privilege and a pleasure to have him working with me to make eI whatever it is. And also, Dave Locke continues as eI Grand Quote Master. You will find his assembled words of wisdom separating the articles throughout this issue of eI and you will also find his Guest Editorial as well as another one written by Arthur D. Hlavaty. And, yet another installment of Victor J. Banis' very popular "Virgin" series.
Other than Bill Burns and Dave Locke, these are the people who made this issue of eI possible: Victor J. Banis, Robert Bonfils, Bruce Brenner, Robert Dawson, Jack Haberstroh, Arthur D. Hlavaty, Robert Speray, Steve Stiles, and Charlie Williams.
And, while I am on the subject of artwork, I should point out that there are two exceptional pieces of original art done for this issue of eI by Steve Stiles. They appear in "Ubangi? Ubetcha!," and "Mickey Mouse and the Buenos Aires Connection," elsewhere in this issue of eI.
And, Charlie Williams' Oval Orifice, in "Epilogue" to "Here Am I, Don Earlito, Man of La Chinga," deserves special viewing also.
ALSO RANS: I need to call your attention to some articles appearing elsewhere recently that are part of my memoirs. They are "Werewolves of London" in Sandra Bond's Quasiquote 5, April 2003, "Send lawyers, guns, and money " in "The Chorus Lines" in Guy Lillian's Challenger 18, Spring-Summer 2003, and "Let's Do the Time Warp Again" in SaFari 3.1 August 2003 that will be posted on eFanzines.com.
Return to sender, address unknown
By Earl Kemp
We get letters. Some parts of some of them are printable.
Just to prove it, this is the new official Letter Column of eI, and following are a few quotes from a few of those letters concerning the last issue of eI. All this in an effort to get you to write letters of comment to eI.
Ted White, Dwain Kaiser, Dave Locke, and others have suggested that I should feather the nest a bit by placing a nest-egg comprised of some of these letters in order to attract more. Ted even suggested I should write them myself if necessary; I had much rather Ted write a letter of comment to eI instead.
Consider yourself nested and feathered. Now, write .
Thursday June 19, 2003
Terrific! I do hope someone, somewhere will provide a permanent
record of your inside information. You do a terrific job of telling the story - stories.
Saturday June 21, 2003
I read every word of your new zine. My education in the SF/porn axis
continues, and I thank you for it. If, as you indicate, porn-workers are idealists while
the audience for porn consists of the likes of bishops, colonels, and creeps - that sure
gives me something to think about. I guess somebody has to rescue the unliberated.
Sunday June 22, 2003
I should have at least noted your fascinating fanzines before, and am sorry not to have done so, but at least e18 prompts me finally to do so, as I was fascinated to see the photo of you and Ib Lauritzen. I've known Ib decently well for at least fifteen years, since he owns one of the largest literary agencies in Scandinavia and I've had the pleasure of buying a fair number of rights from him, as well as of enjoying his weird hospitality - Ib being one of those people who will happily invite you to a full-day meeting, then begin at nine in the morning by serving you Danish schnapps to go with your Danish (which around here, of course, we call "Wienna bread"), drag you out at noon for lunch which is best enjoyed with a bottle of Grappa, and after that start selling you translation rights to very peculiar things. If you're still in contact with him, do send him my best. He's a wonderful guy.
And even apart from that, as a far-off publishing colleague, I enjoy
immensely your memoirs of the industry. It's a weird business, but more fun than any other
I've ever had any contact with.
I counted up the total pages in the PDF issues of eI, and in
just 18 months Earl has put out 386 pages! He *has* to be a shoo-in for Best New Fanzine
Fan at next year's Corflu.
We are all in awe of Earl's massive, throbbing zine production.
Thursday June 26, 2003
Bill Bowers posted a link to your site because someone on PulpMags mentioned that they were working on an index to IMAGINATION and Bill wanted to point out your articles in el.
The complete text of that message follows:
Peter E., Don W. ... and anyone one else interested in Imagination-the-prozine,
might I recommend: "Tales of Imagination and Space Travel" -- eI5,
December 2002 followed by....
Monday July 6, 2003
Many thanks for eI8. Well, Mr. Kemp, welcome to fanzine
fandom! (I remember the cartoon from years ago.) Congrats on your point totals with the
FAAn Awards. I came in a respectable second behind Joseph Nicholas for the Harry Warner
Jr. Award for Best Letterhack, and I'm pleased with my showing.
Thursday July 11, 2003
I finally downloaded your magazine, and then found time to wade through it. Thanks for the compliments, and no thanks for making me wade through all the rest of the free association.
I will send the whole thing to my ex-partner, Irv Gostin, who was my partner when we tried Hamling, and who was also a personal friend of Stanley F.
The revelations about Judge Thompson getting calls from Justice Dept. and president are not surprising to me. We heard these rumors during the trial.
Bill Hamling spent a lot of money contributing to politicians, and that helped reduce the sentences.
Your Levanos comments, that I told you to talk freely with him, do not jibe with my recollections, but regardless of what probation recommended, I believe the judge would have given the same sentence. Probation recommendations usually have little meaning or influence in a high profile case such as yours.
Again thanks for calling my attention to the article on line.
I just keep plugging away (50 years of law practice) with no plans
to retire or slow down. I miss the obscenity cases. They do not prosecute that stuff in
the Bay Area. Now it is federal prosecution of computer Internet child photographs and
meeting young kids on Internet and luring them into a date with a dirty old or not so old
man, who is prosecuted vigorously with, long sentences. (What a waste of time and money.)
Virgins No More*
By Victor J. Banis
The brief and turbulent history of Greenleaf Classics began in 1959 with a meeting between Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison. Silverberg conceived a plan for struggling writers to sell more wordage and convinced Ellison to pitch the outline to his new boss at Rogue, William Hamling. From there, the plan moved straight to New York and the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, and Nightstand Books resulted from their fruitful consummation. [The whole story is told in "Have Typewriter, Will Whore For Food " by Earl Kemp in eI2, April 2002.] The rest, popular knowledge history, ended with L'Affaire du Rapport de la Commision Présidentielle. That sticky business of The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.
A mere ten years then. But what a decade it was, for everyone, of course, but it was an especially dramatic and fulfilling ten years at Greenleaf Classics and for those of us who wrote for Greenleaf.
I have mentioned before the list of name writers penning books for Greenleaf, but it is worth another mention-Evan Hunter, John Jakes, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Even in the hallowed halls of the New York publishing establishment, few houses boasted a more exciting slate, even if these noteworthy writers were only slumming at Greenleaf.
Ten years of great changes, too. I don't suppose anyone in publishing in those same ten years-setting aside Barney Rosset at Grove Press-did more to shake things up than Earl Kemp and his cohorts did.
To be sure, there were others fighting the same fight against the governmental censorship that had so hobbled American publishing for years-centuries even. From the very first days of its publishing existence, however, Greenleaf was leading the charge. If a heretofore forbidden word was going to be tested in print, it nearly always appeared the first time in a Greenleaf book. If we were going to say anything about anybody doing whatsoever to whomever, we said it in the manuscripts we sent to Earl-confident that however groundbreaking it might be, he was not going to tell us we couldn't say that.
I have said elsewhere that every gay writer who has come along since owes a debt of gratitude to Greenleaf, and I continue to say so at every opportunity. It would be impossible to overstate the impact that their books had, not just on gay publishing, but also on gay society as a whole. None of which is meant to imply that heterosexual writers don't owe thanks as well. They do, and interestingly they have often been quicker to express it than their gay counterparts. It is on the heterosexual front that Earl's efforts have been most applauded. His part in gay history has somehow remained an insider's secret, though by now it must be clear that I have made it a goal to change that fact.
But that is an aside. The real issue here is Earl's output as an editor, not as a cummer, in whatever variation. And Greenleaf's output in general.
Even the art of cover art was revolutionized by those wonderful Greenleaf covers, by Robert Bonfils, Harry Bremner, Darrel Millsap, and others. Certainly nobody had seen anything like them before. The C.A.M.P. covers are legend, but who could not love the covers that were done for The Gay Revolution (PR218), by Marcus Miller, The Erection (PR360), by Chad Stuart, or Eric Thomas' Ten-Inch Stud (PR393). Though they have since been much imitated, no one has ever quite equaled them.
You can't make waves, of course, without getting splashed. Sadly, with the possible exception of Milton Luros' various companies, no publishing enterprise ever suffered the endless governmental harassment that Greenleaf suffered. It must have seemed at times to William Hamling and Earl Kemp as if they spent that entire decade in musty courtrooms defending against the notion that, throughout the great U. S of A., virgins and children were being horribly despoiled by the use of naughty words in paperback books.
And when they weren't in courtrooms, they were certainly aware that they were under the microscope, as it were-their every action observed, mail tampered with, phone calls monitored. Not a "good night sweetheart" that hadn't to be shared with the watchers and the listeners. Who, they would have told you, were watching and listening solely to protect a free society. I can only guess at the toll this endless surveillance must have taken on wives and families.
And in the end, the big finale, there was that business of the Illustrated Presidential Report. Up till now, despite years of non-stop legal wrangling, the government hadn't had much luck getting convictions, or getting them to survive appeal.
This time, there were convictions, and this time the convictions stuck. In a twinkling, Greenleaf Classics-the house that had done more than any other ever to eradicate the limitations on free speech in the written word - was out of business. Earl Kemp-the man who had done more than anyone else before or since to change the very nature of gay publishing-was behind bars. It seemed that "motherfucker" and words of that ilk were still crimes in 1974.
I do not intend to tell here the story of the Illustrated Presidential Report, for no better reason than it is simply not my story to tell. I was not a player in nor even a close witness to those events, and so can only write of them in the general context of the time.
It was a time, certainly, of a significant shift in that decade-long struggle between those espousing freedom of the press and the old school advocates of censorship-censorship, it must be said, exercised under the banner of protecting society. Having for years wrestled unsuccessfully and often hilariously with the issue of obscenity, a newly reshaped Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Warren Burger, made the momentous decision to bounce the ball back to the local jurisdictions. "Community standards" now meant local and not national "community."
Suddenly behavior and material that would scarcely have raised an eyebrow in New York City or San Francisco was bringing convictions in Nashville and San Diego. The Greenleaf convictions and the Deep Throat convictions were both handed down in 1974. Sadly, probably neither case would likely even come to trial today, let alone bring convictions. Those who believed in the constitutional guarantees of free speech lost those couple of battles, and ultimately won the war. Had we but won it a little sooner.
Dramatic as those events were, however, the truth is that the handwriting was already on the wall by the time those convictions were handed down. If it is not exactly true that "once you've seen one you've seen them all," it is certainly the case that familiarity breeds a yawn.
The naked and semi-naked go-go dancers who had once cavorted in expensive bars filled with excited crowds now entertained in sleazy dives for a scant few of the curious and the horny.
Deep Throat made a star of Linda Lovelace. In the same fashion, Behind the Green Door made a star of Marilyn Chambers and The Devil in Miss Jones did the same for Georgina Spelvin. Almost a decade later, Spelvin landed a choice recurring comedic role in the Police Academy series. Georgina was the Police Academy's award-winning resident cocksucker. This career, along with many other beautiful and good things, was killed by the blood-drenched, murdering hands of O.J. Simpson.
Sob so much for drah mah.
The flood of customers who had rushed to see Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door had slowed to a trickle. The advent of the VCR had made it more convenient to watch porn in your own bedroom-and if it inspired you to action, you needn't hasten home to follow your urges. It was the sexual equivalent of home-delivered pizza.
The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago in 1960, and by 1969 there were a million members in 23 clubs in the U.S., London, and Jamaica. Less than a decade later, the clubs were gone, victims of changing social tastes.
On the publishing front, mainstream houses were now printing the sort of hot sex that had only recently been the exclusive purview of the pulp publishers. The novels of Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz, Danielle Steele, Philip Roth, and John Updike now dealt with the same themes-often with the same words and descriptions - for which some of us had not long before been indicted. When you could get all the "cocks," "cunts," and "fucks" you wanted in a high-tone literary work-the sort you could leave on the coffee table without fear of embarrassment while Aunt Dilda was visiting-who needed a paperback book store?
Certainly gay readers had gotten over the thrill of having a genre of our very own. Anyway, we too were popping up in "literary" books, in movies, even-timorously-on television. Some paperback publishers tried to up the ante by going for hotter and hotter sex, and more of it. One pulp writer of the times was told by his editor he needed more sex in his manuscript. "But there's a sex scene on every fourth page," he cried. "Not enough. Put one on every second page," was the reply.
The difficulty in that is obvious-there are only so many ways to describe any sexual situation, and only so many sexual situations to describe, even with your Kama Sutra at hand. And after a while, they begin to sound alike. The sales of gay fiction cooled.
On a personal note, I can tell you that where, only a few years before, people at bars and parties were all agog when they heard what I did for a living, they now yawned in my face. Yes, true, men had yawned in my face before, but now it was about my writing.
All of which is to say, the excitement was over. Certainly we could never go back to the pre-revolutionary way of life. As I have said before, once the man has come, there's no putting the jism back where it came from.
But it was clear that the once red-hot sexual revolution was burning itself out. It turns out that the government authorities trying to stamp out porn had it backward. If they had only let everyone publish anything and everything they wanted, the market would soon enough have put on the brakes, without any help from them. Markets have a tendency to do that.
Which brings up the all-important question: did any of it matter, then, did it count for anything? Had we wasted our time, our sweat, not to mention our four-letter words (some of which, I confess, I had to look up in my convenient glossary of sexual terms and conditions)? Having shot our wad, was it after all a wasted load?
Of course not. The publishing revolution of which I was a small part-and Earl Kemp a much larger part-and the social revolution of the same era fed one another and are inseparable, and we are all of us today the beneficiaries of those events.
I recently took part in a book discussion event in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood. I could not help pointing out to the audience that only a few years before we could not have gathered without fear in a gay bookstore in a gay neighborhood to discuss gay books had it not been for writers like Phil Andros, Chris Davidson, Chad Stuart, Robert Desmond, Larry Townsend, Dick Dale, and host of others-writers, editors, publishers-who were willing to risks their freedom and their finances in the cause of free speech.
For some of them, the risk became reality, and while I have many times over the years celebrated my good fortune at having been spared the convictions and prison sentences that for so long dangled over my head, I have had simultaneously to grieve for those who weren't so lucky. I personally believe that getting and sustaining some convictions became for the federal government an essential matter of saving face. Here is a D.C. office scenario to contemplate: much wringing of hands. Hoover (Mitchell? Richard Nixon? Pat Nixon? Tricia?) sobbing "Jeez, fellas, we've got to convict someone. Of something. Can't you at least catching somebody onanisming in that San Diego complex?"
Laugh though you may, it was after those few major convictions that the authorities seemed to surrender the field. Unfortunately, the damage that they did to those few lives was not insignificant. No one wants to lose a year or two out of his life-unless, of course, it involves Maui and people in grass skirts.
In looking back, however, at what I have written up to this point about Greenleaf and my experiences with that operation, I had to see that I had been dishonest-if only by omission.
I have written about living with the threat of indictment, trial, prison sentences-and certainly all of us in the business in those days knew with every day of the year that these possibilities were ever present.
I have written about the seriousness of it all, and we all knew then that what we were doing was nothing less serious than affecting major societal changes. I think I can say without challenge that all of us believed wholeheartedly in what we were doing and why we were doing it.
I was surprised to realize, however, in reading back over what I had written, that I have not until now conveyed any sense of how much fun we were having. It wasn't all nail biting and looking over our shoulders. I don't think I ever got together with Earl, or Milt Luros either, or any of the other publishers, editors, and writers that I knew then, that we didn't find lots to laugh about-sometimes at ourselves, true, but we missed no chance to skewer our tormentors either.
No one laughed better than Lady Agatha. Lady Agatha was in reality Elbert Barrow, a dear, long-time friend. I first introduced Elbert, pretty much as he was in real life, in my 1966 novel, The Why Not (GC209), renaming him Lady Agatha. Elbert and the reading public were so delighted that I brought him back in the C.A.M.P. series, notably The Gay Dogs (EL386) in 1967. Elbert penned The C.A.M.P. Cookbook (PR220) by Lady Agatha as told to Jackie Holmes and The C.A.M.P. Guide to Astrology (LL789) also by Lady Agatha as told to Jackie Holmes.
Amusingly enough, in a bobbed brunette wig and white plumber's overalls, Elbert was a double for Jane Withers who was popular then in television commercials as Josephine the Plumber. This became his standard drag outfit, and as Lady Agatha he became a major figure in the Los Angeles gay circles of the sixties. He wrote columns for various publications, and worked for a time for Milton Luros as a magazine editor.
And I will reveal now something that I've kept to myself all these years. Those fond of my paperback novels-both of you - may have read far more of Agatha's prose than they might have supposed. When one of my novels for Greenleaf called for something in the way of kinky-say, leather, bondage, spanking or the like-I generally handed the manuscripts over to El and let him write those scenes. He was more familiar and more comfortable with them than I was. I told you, if you will remember, that I started out and to a great extent remained that young prig from the Midwest.
Now, I don't mean to imply that I had no familiarity with any of those scenes, though I cannot say with Madame (of Waylon and Madame) that I tried everything twice and enjoyed it both times. Mostly, when it came to the more outré forms of behavior, I was only an observer, and it's hard to make a scene exciting for the reader if it isn't exciting to the writer. Thus, Agatha's ghosted sex scenes, and he did them well, I must say. I never asked him how much was based on his personal experience and how much was imagination. Even between good friends, discretion can be a plus.
I don't want to make myself sound like Little Red Riding Hood. I did in fact have many friends in the leather community, and often visited the leather bars in Los Angeles. I was at The Falcon's Lair one evening, then L.A.'s numero uno leather hangout, when a young man came in sporting the most impressive bulge down one leg that I think I had ever seen. The local chiropractors must have enjoyed a bonanza the following day from all those heads snapping around. Of course, he was the object of many smiles and warm glances as he posed against the wall, or strolled about the room.
In time, the smiles got broader. It seemed that whatever was causing that bulge must have been pinned to something-his step-ins, one supposes. Anyway, clearly the pin had given out. The bulge began to slip down his leg, leaving a gap behind.
It had gotten nearly to his knee and the smiles had become downright chortles when a kind soul finally leaned close and whispered in his ear. The young man turned that shade of scarlet of which fey decorators are so fond, and fled into the night, never to be seen in the bar again.
But that was not what I started out to tell you. I do have that tendency, don't I, of losing my train of thought? What I meant to say was that, when Lady Agatha suggested that I might fit in better in these establishments if I wore leather myself, I took his suggestion. I dashed out the very next day and got a leather coat-white, just shy of floor length and practically blinding with glitter. I thought it very stunning but in an about face rare for him, Lady Agatha decided after all that perhaps I should just continue to wear my usual civilian drag.
My real point is, though, that no one-but no one-enjoyed that whole gay publishing explosion of the sixties more than Lady Agatha. Not a week went by that he didn't return home from our local purveyors with a stack of the latest paperback releases. It was he who introduced me to Chris Davidson, Marcus Miller, and even Richard Amory. And others like Aaron Thomas, Dan Porter, and Curt Colman. He shared his latest finds. We all did, passing them around. Gay paperback novels were the rage of the day in West Hollywood.
I was amused by Earl's recent article in el8, Dear Mr. Porno. My partner Sam Dodson and I got those funny letters also, and many of them did make their ways into the nonfiction works we did for Earl among others. Some of them were obviously pure fantasy, often written by individuals who had skipped spelling class when they were in school. I Got Wrapped On The Beach In My Panties, for instance, and You No My Panteys Are Your's. And then there was McDonald. He sent his picture. Handsome young man, thirty something, in bib overalls. McDonald was married, happily so, with just one problem. His wife did not like sex. At all. Ever, if it could be avoided.
McDonald was too devoted to his wife to want to cheat on her. However-and this is a major however-he did not consider it cheating if he had sex with a man.
Or with an animal. And yes, McDonald did have a farm. E I E I Oh!
In his first letter, McDonald told a story of picking up a young man at the local movie emporium. They retired in his car to a lonely country road, where his new friend proceeded to give him what McDonald described as sensational head. All was well right up until the very moment of impending orgasming-when McDonald put a hand upon his companion's head and explain that he was sorry, but that he had promised this very load to someone else.
And who, Companion asked, curiosity understandably piqued, might that be?
Petunia, McDonald explained (that is not her real name, I have changed it to protect the innocent).
McDonald's favorite pig, was the explanation. It seems that she was due to come into heat this very night (Forgive me for using scientific terminology here but I am trying to convey the seriousness of all this) and he had promised her when he left that he would return before the night was out to minister to her needs.
I am sure that Miss Manners would agree with me that under these circumstances a serious bite would have been entirely appropriate. At the very least, Companion might have insisted upon finishing what had been started. There is a limit, after all, to anyone's self control in these situations. If he has gotten that close, not even the Man of Steel is immune to meltdown.
But no, what Companion did was to suggest that he would like to meet his porcine paramour. So, up came the jeans and home they went, where...but no, this is a family publication and I think the details of what followed needn't be pursued herein.
Afterward, we got dozens, scores of letters from McDonald, describing his amours with the cows, the sheep, the dogs, even a turkey-though sad to say that experience proved fatal to the unfortunate bird. Talk about ruining Thanksgiving. I have never looked at a pumpkin pie the same way since.
My point here, however, is not animal husbandry or even wifery-my point is, in those days, people really did get fun out of reading this stuff. And some occasional inspiration, it seems.
But I am still not telling the whole story. Of course it was fun to shop for these books, even without Lady Agatha's rampant enthusiasm. Sometimes one went home with something more than an armload of books. And certainly they were fun to read; we all knew that. They still are, many of them. If you haven't read Marcus Miller's The Gay Revolution (PR218) in a while, give yourself a treat.
What has been too little mentioned over the years is what a kick they were to write. How could they not be? After years of suppression, Earl Kemp had given us permission to write whatever the hell we wanted.
It would be difficult-probably impossible-for a young writer sitting down at the word processor today to fathom how liberating, how exhilarating, how gosh damned wet-our-pants exciting that was for us as writers. After all those struggles to find safe words and expressions-you can't imagine how sick we all were of "manhood," for instance, and "the center of her womanness"-we could suddenly let it all hang out. Finally, an asshole was an asshole, just as we always knew he was, and a man or a woman in a book could take a good healthy piss without being embarrassed. Just like in real life, which is what writing is supposed to represent and didn't for a long time.
Nothing was taboo any more, not in Earl's hands, nothing off limits, nothing impossible to describe. And not just old fashioned sucking and fucking, either. Leather, water sports, incest, black and white, sacrilegious, we threw it all into the pot and stirred it around. We were having a ball just trying to see how outrageous we could be. A sort of bookish version of the old radio show," Can You Top This?" And more often than not, we could. Holy Guano, Batman, you want to stick that where?!
Of course, if I am going to be really honest, I have to admit that the literary values of our efforts sometimes suffered for the cause. We were now writing with an agenda, and the writing muse does not take warmly to any cause but her own. I can look back at some of my efforts, certainly, and see that they might have been better for just a little more restraint.
The next time you are watching
I offer neither regrets nor apologies. Those little books did the job after all for which we sent them out into the world. The world was changed, astonishingly changed, the publishing world absolutely, and the larger social world as well. And our books had played their small but significant part. The next time you are watching Sex and The City, you might think about the debt that series owes to Earl Kemp and Greenleaf and William Hamling, and to those writers bent over their typewriters and sniggering as their fingers guide their readers through those old familiar caresses.
Well, all right, the party ended. Parties do, and afterward there is always some mess to be cleaned up, and one or two hangovers-that's the nature of parties.
And as to why you should care-well, the changes that were wrought in the sixties and early seventies were, some of them, bought dear. You might ought to know that. And you ought to know too that they are far from etched in stone, however complacent we have gotten about them in the thirty years since. There are people out there who would like to see all of us - gays, hell-raisers, sexy book people, and why not Oprah Winfrey while they are at it - shoved back into our closets and the doors nailed shut. And some of those people are once again in positions of authority. If you think that sounds paranoid, just contemplate for a moment or two how quickly we have seen our rights and freedoms erode in the last year or so.
The next time, you might have to write the books.
Oh, and by the way, for what it's worth, while I was writing this, I was not alone at my keyboard. There were scores of others looking over my shoulder, offering their complaints and suggestions-a few editors, a few publishers, and lots and lots of writers-some of whom never did get thanked for their virginity.
So, just to clean things up: thanks boys and girls. You did a good
job. And it was fun, wasn't it? Let's be honest, virginity isn't for everybody anyway.
The Leer of the Sensualist
By Earl Kemp
There's an odd thing about pornography it's very much like beauty or terrorism existing only within the eyes of the beholder. The cliché would insist that we know that already, and that sauce for the gander is definitely not sauce for the goose.
Because pornography is a frightening thing to many people (as is war and mass murder and dope addiction and casual sex and affection), power groups use it to incite and enflame, to anger and divert anything to keep attention away from the awful goings-on there just beneath the surface and deliberately kept outside the vision of the diverted masses.
Every vile name, accompanied by at least God's own admonitions, is routinely assigned to the pornographers, and that is then picked up and echoed and reemphasized and embellished and propagandized until it almost becomes a cliché in itself.
Immoral, degenerate, crime-ridden, gangster-enforced, mafia-controlled, and many more too unrelated to include in a serious attempt to list them, to categorize them. And the people who run these shameful, fly-by-night, rip-off, money-making businesses are the lowest of the low, the most promiscuous of the capable, the most indiscriminate of the nymphomaniacs, and more often than not found writhing about somewhere within an office clusterfuck.
The people within the sleaze paperback industry during the 1960s and 70s, regardless of who, where, or what they were, were somehow portrayed and characterized as working in dark, hidden locations with back-alley entrances, peepholes, and dirty passwords. Of being elusive and difficult to locate and deliberately mobile to avoid detection. Of corrupting everything they touched or admired. Of leaving helpless, used-up, callously raped victims behind in ever-increasing numbers.
And we were none of the above outside the creations of the federal administration, the holier-than-thou suck-up questionable clerics, the gullible, order-following media, and other fine, fun-loving party people.
Everyone kept referring to us as little us being Greenleaf Classics, Inc. and Reed Enterprises, Inc., the publishing/distributing combine owned and operated by William Hamling in San Diego, California in those idyllic days.
Little, gangster-driven, dirty book purveyors.
How wrong is it possible for one administration to be ?
We were a diverse group of middle-class people struggling to get along in a world gone mad. We were publishers and editors and artists and writers and clerks and typists and bookkeepers and order fillers and box packers and forklift drivers and janitors and garbage men.
We were just ordinary people. Most of us were married with children and mortgages and everything we thought we owned needed repairs and new shoes and everything else, just like everyone else wanted or did.
We weren't promiscuous, any more than statistically appropriate, and we didn't have office orgies or sexhours, though there were many people who seriously insisted that we did instead of doing our routine jobs. I even had close personal friends, more than once, try to get me to tell them the real truth about all the exciting things that really went on around the office you know what I mean hunh pal with a nudge and a wink.
We looked just like everyone else we came into contact with. We drove the same kind of badly in need of repair or replacement cars and lived in the same kind of cheap, 10-year-old frame tract houses also in need of repair or replacement. We dressed casually but comfortable (no jeans or tennies at the office) and weren't at all unfamiliar with wearing suits and ties. We were known to be religious, moral, upright, and would on proper occasion even attend church, go to PTA meetings, Little League games, and band concerts.
Just like ordinary .
Our sleazy little fly-by-night business, at prime time, was housed in the four-story Mission Square office building in the heart of Mission Valley, directly across I-8 from San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. We owned the building. We occupied three of the four floors and all extra space was rented out to ordinary respectable commercial tenants.
In addition we owned a block-square warehouse and shipping facility also located in San Diego. We owned and operated a number of building maintenance related businesses. We were landlords. We had office space and consultants in a number of major cities in the United States and elsewhere. We owned a healthy mail order company in San Diego. We owned a robust mail order company in Copenhagen. We owned a literary agency in La Jolla. We were partners in general-release motion picture ventures. We owned completely unrelated businesses like Perry Penguin, 10-lb bags of ice cubes in freezers in convenience stores. Bookland, an upscale book store front for Hamling in Palm Springs. Numerous upscale residential properties, bought furnished. A yacht. The usual .
We owned and operated a fleet of vehicles from delivery trucks to high-end luxury outfitted "executive" Lincoln Continentals.
At our peak of production we had 100 employees working in the San Diego area alone. We were first class, respectable, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens sort of ordinary in fact something that needs frequent repetition.
We were an almost even split of males and females, and included a number of minorities including especially Hispanics and Afro-Americans. Rudy _____, the warehouse superintendent, was Mexican. Freddy "Val" Valentine, our popular office boy and all-around entertainer, was down-home Southern black.
We were making above average wages for similar jobs within the area. That was deliberate; every effort was made to keep the employees content and busy and we didn't want any outside, agitating interference. We out-paid any union job in the county.
We had free parking spaces and Blue Cross to take care of all our family's medical needs and bonuses to buy frivolous toys with and office dinners now and then to build team spirit, as if we needed any coaching to begin with.
We were upright pillars of the community. We belonged to the Chamber of Commerce and did our civic duty for the local populace. At Christmas time we decorated the entire building like a huge Christmas present, with garlands and wreaths and red-and-green lights by the hundreds. We were very proud of who we were and how good we were, and we wanted to share our pride and goodness with everyone around us.
We were hearty supporters of the local academic community, having working liaisons with numerous departments and professors throughout the county. We regularly appeared at their classes, symposia, and lectures as participants or sponsors. We were close working partners with the more respected local media, the ones who knew what "journalism" was. Harold Keen was top man on the local totem pole, the ranking senior pure journalist still left in San Diego County. My buddy, Hal .
We were a rather tight little group, too, us guys at Reed/Greenleaf. We would socialize together, go on trips and vacations together, have dinners together like regular people do. Some of us were known to drink too much alcohol when socializing, and others of us to smoke quite a bit of unbelievably high quality grass. Some were known coke sniffers and others were into speed. Does it sound like I'm describing any normal church group in California in the 1960s? I sure hope it does; otherwise I'm not getting through here at all.
In 1969 the city of San Diego celebrated its 200th birthday. In honor of the occasion, they issued special silver coins. Greenleaf bought many of them, enclosed in a block of Lucite as paper weights and labeled with our logo and the words Greenleaf Classics, Inc. We gave them away as souvenirs to our principal suppliers, doing our civic duty for our town and its citizens.
Greenleaf Classics, Inc., the publishing division of Hamling's enterprise, included the editing, art, and production departments. Reed Enterprises, Inc., the distribution division, included the manufacturing (almost totally subcontracted), distributing, and collecting departments.
Each of those corporations shared one half of the third floor. In my division, I had the big corner office with the windows on both sides and the view of the stadium across the freeway, the parking lot, and the semi-permanent FBI surveillance tent [atop a telephone pole 100' outside my office window and directly even with my desk]. Ed Hayes, who was boss of the distributing division, had a corresponding office on the opposite corner of the building only from his desk he didn't have to look at the FBI fuckers looking at me so damned long and so really goddamned frequently.
The entire production department was housed on the first floor and was a full-service shop from typeset to printer ready impositioned book pages.
The crown was overhead.
In a grandiose gesture, William Hamling claimed the entire fourth floor of the office building as his domain. He had the office suites there ripped out to the bare walls and a pleasure dome he did decree to rise in their places.
Elron, the single most expensive and gayest interior designer in Palm Springs, was given the job of "creating" just the right office space for Bill. And it was really something when he finished with it [at just under $500,000 1960s USA dollars]. Much less than Hamling paid Elron for his lavish, furnished, gay mansion in Palm Springs.
It turned out to be a fully functional but totally illegal apartment in an area specifically zoned "non-residential." The rooms were enormous, as befits the corporate head, and decorated with only the very best of the very best. Completely outfitted in satin sheets for all the secret, hidden beds. Imported dishes in the full-service kitchen, along with real crystal stemware and honest to God silverplate cutlery.
There was a Turkish steam bath big enough to bake six close friends, and acres of actual office where huge leather couches scattered about seemed to disappear in the vastness.
In the Los Angeles Free Press (June 18, 1971) Brian Kirby describes his view of Hamling's office this way: "Hamling's suite is in the penthouse. To call it lavish would do it an injustice. His desk is as large as my office. A painting that looks like a Miro hangs behind Hamling ."
It was Brian Kirby's boss (Brian edited the Essex House paperbacks for Milton Luros' American Arts Enterprises), my Uncle Miltie, whose office most impressed me. It was lined with actual, real tree bark.
There was a locked, private-elevator access to the penthouse suite that was securely guarded by Joyce Benefel, Hamling's dutiful, efficient, and long-suffering private secretary.
In the editorial department, besides my corner office, the outside walls were all lined with editor offices. The design and art departments were at the rear of the same floor. There was also a large, locked library containing the most precious things of all, Greenleaf's reference library, collected erotic works from all over the world, and the sacred library of our own products. Even though this room was kept under locked, secure conditions at all times, and I had the only key to open that door, the contents, mysteriously, kept disappearing all the time. Our records were never intact, even for ourselves.
There was also a conference room where we would sit around a huge table bullshitting, trying to come up with brilliant projects, and plotting clever strategy to thwart the feds who were listening to our every word as a matter of "national security." We had to resort to some pretty tricky maneuvers in those years to convey real messages that couldn't be intercepted by them.
Patty Lamb, my private secretary, doubled as Greenleaf receptionist. She was a beautiful, bright, ex-PSA airlines stewardess who really knew how to treat the public. She was wonderful the way she would stand up to the FBI as they would approach her again and again, intrusively, at her home in the evenings, threatening her with all manner of personal harm if she continued to refuse to tell them bad things about me. Patty had the front-and-center block-the-way desk and just the right disposition to go with it. She could ignore a cop, standing before her and trying to get her attention, with the greatest of ease.
Behind Patty was the bullpen, the large, open center court of the office itself. Here were the clerical staff, the letter writers and file clerks and note keepers and message takers who made the whole thing work right.
Significant production related work was subcontracted to other professional businesses. All our original photography, for example, was processed for us under contract with CFI, Consolidated Film Industries, in Los Angeles. At that time, CFI was the firm with the best reputation for quality laboratory work in the entire country.
Within my division, Greenleaf Classics, Inc., there were several subdivisions. There was the editorial department, the art department, the production department, and whatever else there was necessary to their operation.
The editorial department was further broken down into pre-edit, editing, proofreading, copywriting and blurbing, etc.
The art department was broken down into design, painting, and composition. They preplanned everything of any significance that we produced. From them it went into
The production department was broken down into typesetting, page-makeup, impositioning, etc. When each product was completed and closed it was ready to be shipped to whichever printer had been given a contract to produce it.
This shipping, mostly, was done on a normal routine basis through United Parcel Service. They were in and out of our offices numbers of times every day. As were Federal Express, the USPS, etc. Normal, ordinary businessmen doing normal, ordinary, world-wide business.
The work schedule was somewhat fast-paced. You really had to hustle to meet all the deadlines and produce all the products that kept the whole world whomping away in ecstatic bliss .
FIFTY paperbacks EVERY month and MORE THAN ONE magazine EVERY DAY !
[Did I hear a sob from Maurice?]
The Electric Ostrich
By Earl Kemp
Around the editorial offices at The Porno Factory, there were many things to amuse us and divert our attention away from the wolves that occasionally lurked around the doorways of our day-to-day routines. I tried to keep numbers of those things in play as best as I could. We had frequent office or pool parties at the residences of different coworkers. We had occasional let-down-and-howl parties in Tijuana where we felt considerably more secure than we did in our plush executive offices.
"The Electric Ostrich" was one such attempt. I wrote it, I assumed the persona of Harvey A. Tampa (named for Have-A-Tampa cigars) and wrote the short story. It was somewhat inspired by a large purse, decorated with multi-colored ostrich feathers, then favored by Ginger Sisson, of the Production Department. With "The Electric Ostrich" I tried to do a first class science fiction fanzine writer's best attempt at fan fiction. I tried to include the names, personalities, or actions of as many of the office staff as I could into the short story. And, at the same time, it was a half-assed attempt at writing a true period piece that would fit directly into the antique short story collection without a bobble.
Then I slipped it into the manuscript for Stories From Dr. Death and Other Terror Tales (CR129) and quietly sat back, waiting for the reaction, if any. Through the entire production process, no person appeared to tumble onto the joke, or at least they never let me know I had been discovered, which was more probably the case.
When the printed books were available, and sent to the office, I passed them around to the staff and told them all to be sure to read the story.
They appeared to be pleased and had a good laugh about the way they had been portrayed. All in a day's work at The Porno Factory.
I am reprinting the entire story here, in jpeg form, using the original typeset, blurb, and skull logos.
we dont need no ed u cay shun *
By Earl Kemp
I received a massive jump-start in Ph.D.ing in the early 1950s, thanks to Edward Elmer "Piled higher and Deeper" Smith. "Doc" Smith, The Skylark of Space, was my science fiction godfather and one of the most beautiful, most giving people I have ever been fortunate enough to know. (See "Skylarks of Cyberspace" in Janine Stinson's Peregrine Nations, April 2002.)
The things he taught me were so valuable I tried to pass them along to worthies I encountered in my journeys along the streets of life.
You never could tell when you would need a good "Doc."
It slowly dawned upon us, back in the early 1960s in Evanston, that The Porno Factory had accidentally bonded with the local academic community. Mind you, this was at a time when cops of all types were trying desperately to find us all they would have had to do would be to pick up a telephone and call the closest journalism professor. Chances are they knew where to find us in a hurry.
There were a number of things contributing to this unique symbiosis, like the proximity of Northwestern University (with its Medill School of Journalism) to the factory within walking distance. Then, way across town on the south side of Chicago there was the University of Chicago Science Fiction Club, where numbers of us claimed a residency. That, and our almost constant need of some form of part-time extra slave help.
That's where the professors came in, we would phone them and ask them to recommend some truly deserving and quite capable student who might like to earn a few bucks on the side. Did they ever know one, or two, or three just name it.
By the mid-60s, we had rather extensive working relationships with numbers of the local academic community. It was almost a shame to have to leave them all behind when the factory moved to San Diego in 1965.
As soon as possible after we settled into our new offices in California, I began establishing working relationships with the local academic community, most especially the departments of Journalism and Law at San Diego State University. The school itself was only a few blocks away from the office in those days, and you couldn't find a parking place there then either.
Our needs, in San Diego, went far beyond anything we sought in Evanston, Illinois. Now we moved on out of Journalism and Law and into several foreign language departments. Over time we needed translators for German, French, Castilliano, Japanese, and I can't remember what all else. We asked them for graphics artists and photographers and just plain old box movers, but the outcome of it all was they loved us.
As we moved a bit more into prominence and time passed, many of those professors became close friends and we would socialize together and meet for no reason at all. I would visit their classes and bullshit with their students. I would hold question-and-answer sessions and now and then give damn right serious lectures always on the subject of "Pornography as Political Protest."
One of those professors, Dr. Jack Haberstroh of the Department of Journalism, became quite a good friend, as did Dr. Tom Gitchoff of the Department of Law. Both of them testified for the defense at my trial. Jack is still with me today as a friend, but somewhere along the way I lost Tom and I miss him.
When I began traveling around Mexico, I noticed the natives had given me a name. They referred to me as El Profesor, the teacher. They probably did it because I always seemed to be giving orders or telling someone else what to do.
When I began traveling around Europe acquiring an erotic reference library for Greenleaf Classics, I again followed the academicians, only I switched to the English department instead of Law or Journalism. I figured that my native language was the only one I was almost able to communicate in. And, in those foreign universities, I asked those English professors to put me in touch with English-speaking librarians as well. Between the two of them, they opened up rare and almost unknown private collections that were simply astonishing. They were in Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rome, and my ancestral home away from home, London.
Librarians, like editors,
are invisible. People looking for any book don't even know there was someone making it
happen in the first place much less someone else who could point them to a copy of it.
All of these professors, the librarians, the department heads, treated me very special. This goes for the boys back home in San Diego as well. Every time I was around them, I felt as if they had accepted me as one of their own. This finally became apparent to me when I discovered that they listened and learned when I taught.
Some of those professors, one each from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Paris, were my houseguests in El Cajon, California, and also visited with me in Mexico. One of them in particular, James Haines of the Department of English, University of Paris, became quite a good friend, and I visited with him whenever I could because he gave me a Paris that had escaped me for years.
I was, ironically (but what else makes life worthwhile?), in Paris with Jim Haines, where I gave a series of three lectures to his different class divisions at the Vincennes campus of the University of Paris [and wouldn't you know, the University is housed on the grounds of what was originally the chateau of the Marquis de Sade], when the fabled brochure advertising The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography was finalized and mailed. The brochure I had no part in conspiring to be obscene or to have mailed as obscene. Jim gave a legal deposition to that fact that was filed with the court only to be ignored.
But then if you're holding an E ticket, you need to keep in mind at all times that you're sort of locked in for the whole terrifying downhill ride.
Following that, of course, there was the Far East. Professors in Tokyo and Hong Kong were especially helpful and the Japanese were unbelievably incredible hosts and entertainers generous to a fault. Perhaps some day I will have to write of my life as Shogun my Japan journeys .
This memory, however far a field it rambles, is about two specific professors of Journalism. One, Dr. Jack Haberstroh, I have already introduced, and the other might not need much of an introduction. He is my old science fiction friend, Dwight V. Swain.
Two Journalism professors, one from San Diego State University and the other from University of Oklahoma Norman and both of them at the same trial testifying in my defense. Gloriosity! Along with at least one Law professor and all of them backed up by a chorus of Ph.D. Pips.
Dwight Swain was probably better known at the time as a pulp hack, knocking out pot boiling science fiction space operas one after the other for various editors and publishers including our other old friend William L. Hamling.
I first met Dwight sometime in the mid- to late 1950s at some science fiction convention. His name was appearing all over the place then, as a writer, not a teacher or a person who would come up with the ultimate writers textbooks.
I met Dwight again, big time, in Houston, Texas, when we spent some time together while he was there testifying in defense of William Hamling and some of his crew. Most of this was covered in my article "Beauty and the Beast Otra Vez" [http://eFanzines.com/EK/eI4/index.htm]. The same article, by the way, features an Imagination cover of a Dwight Swain novelette.
I next saw Dwight Swain in Los Angeles. We met in dead Walt Disney's private apartment in Disneyland where the Science Fiction Writers of America were presenting our dear old mutual friend Mack Reynolds with a kick-ass honor, the First Annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Both of us made that trip to Los Angeles just to be with Mack and to celebrate with him.
And we continued that celebrating every chance we found at Mack and Jeanette's fabulous home in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, the Paris of Mexico.
And full circle back to San Diego where once again, Dwight testified in my defense.
After Dwight Swain died [I try to think of it more as he has just gone ahead and joined Mack Reynolds and Ted Cogswell around that bottomless bottle of celestial tequila waiting for the rest of the group .], there was an estate sale on eBay that included, among other things, the actual copy of The Illustrated Report of the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography that Dwight used for his testimony during the trial. It was quickly purchased for me.
Holding it in my hands, going through the pages and reading the many copious notes Dwight made while studying the book, while making note of its value, while preparing to go to battle to defend me saddens me and thrills me and honors me all over again.
Some of those notes are shown here in the form of jpegs. Dwight's notes continue in this fashion throughout the book.
One professor at San Diego State University, Dr. Jacqueline D. Tunberg, did permanent damage to me; she forced me to look the administration squarely in its eyes. She taught me to hate the things we were doing in Vietnam until the sight of camouflage was actually nauseating to me. She was very influential on me and some of her anti-administration diatribes led to my visiting Vietnam later on during the war.
Closer to home, my local Journalism professor doctor buddy, Jack Haberstroh, was treating me somewhat as I expect Thomas Paine might have been treated, or at least Patrick Henry. He had his classes so worked up that their admiration of me, their need to get close to me and to touch me, was palpable and vibrated through the air like wiggle-waves rising off mirages in the far distance.
Both the Law and Journalism departments at San Diego State University assigned our trial as classroom work. Numbers of their students and the professors attended the trial, en masse, every day. They sat there quietly and admiringly and took notes, now and then glowering How Could You? at the prosecution. They wrote reams of papers about what they saw and felt and learned.
At times during breaks in the trial, those students would surround me and ask me to sign their copies of Illustrated for them. The reporters (and I won't name them because they don't deserve the recognition) from both San Diego dailies would line up with those kids and bailiffs and court clerks and courthouse personnel from all over the building every one of them wanting that certifying autograph the kiss of death no doubt ?
I tried to sign all of them "The truth will make you free" because it was very important to me that they comprehend that truism. [I often signed in green ink; it was my color, I was the only one at Greenleaf allowed to write in green. Green meant pretty damned right now hop!]
[ASIDE: I have a newspaper clipping without identifying credits or date. My best guess is that it came from the New York Times shortly before our conviction. In an article named "Can a Presidential Commission's Report Be Obscene?" by Lawrence Mosher ("from San Diego"), he wrote: "Whether or not the nation is moving toward unrestricted pornography for adults, as Hamling predicts, for now he will have to abide by the decision of 12 jurors here. And even they aren't totally free to look at his book The judge has ruled that jurors must leave their copies under their seats during the trial. Jurors may look at certain pages that are put into evidence, but they won't be permitted a perusal until they are closeted for deliberation." Then, after the trial when it was legal to do so, a committee of members of the jury that convicted us asked us to give each of the jury members personal copies of the book because the Feds refused to. Of course we did, willingly and instantly; what more could one expect from a bunch of public-minded, Chamber of Commerce businessmen? . I do not know if their copies are signed or not.]
Many of those same students, at different times, arranged private interviews with me, trying to dig up something that no one else had yet unearthed. On one occasion I remember one particularly bright young lady asked me this question: "What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?"
And, without thought and instantly, I responded, "I have changed for the better the lives of every person under 30 who will ever live in the United States."
Then I said, "Wow! Where did that come from?" But I knew at the time that I agreed with myself 100%.
On the Rara-Avis Archives website on the Internet I found a particularly appropriate segment about Dwight Swain and his involvement with Hamling, and with testifying. Unfortunately I couldn't determine who wrote the piece. I have excerpted the following fragment about Dwight:
I'm curious (but
pleased) that anyone would be researching Dwight V. Swain. He was a regular in the pulps
during the 1940s writing SF, westerns and mysteries. He had many stories in the Ziff-Davis
pulps based out of Chicago such as Amazing, Fantastic Adventures, Mammoth
Detective, and Mammoth Adventure. That's how he and Howard Browne knew each
Dr. Haberstroh kindly supplied his own words by giving me a copy of the article he wrote following the trial condemning the San Diego media. All the best parts are excerpted as follows:
"Who Silenced the Bell Ringers?"*
"We believe it is our responsibility to ring out the truth loud
Their news coverage of the obscenity trial in the winter of 1971 reveals, in my view, a lack of concern for fairness toward the defendants, a my-mind's-made-up conviction of their guilt, a deplorably patronizing view of the reader, and a violation of traditional journalism ethics. A careful examination of the trial and its coverage by the two San Diego dailies, I submit, will confirm these views.
Furthermore, the news accounts-and particularly the lack of it at a critical juncture in the trial-will demonstrate an explicit disregard for a number of Canons of Journalism authored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors .
The Code of Ethics of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists, was likewise bent and broken .
The coverage of this trial is instructive. One canon after another was violated either willfully and/or accidentally without the feeblest attempt to "make prompt and complete correction" of such violations. The interests of justice demand an examination of such conduct. Accepting the loose dictionary definition of "obscene" as anything "offensive or revolting," one must conclude that local daily newspaper coverage of the trial may have been its most obscene characteristic.
The case, of course, involves The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography and its accompanying promotional mailers. the $12.50 352-page volume is an illustrated version - with scores of nothing-to-the-imagination sexually explicit close-up photographs and drawings - of the original presidential commissioned report. That report recommended the repeal of all laws prohibiting the possession and distribution of sexually explicit material to adults who wish to have it. Its exhaustive research indicated that most men and women in the U.S. had willingly viewed such material and two-thirds felt explicit sex publications and films should be made freely available to consenting adults. The attendance-setting Deep Throat - with its physically exhausting 50 minutes of graphic sexual behavior - would seem to add 1974 reinforcement to those four-year-old findings. The two-year study, for which taxpayers expended $2 million, was completed on September 30, 1970. The ink on the chairman's signature wasn't even dry when President Nixon (and others) took turns denouncing the majority report for suggesting that " public opinion in America does not support the imposition of legal prohibitions upon the rights of adults to read or see explicit sexual materials." Furthermore, it found that pornography does not contribute to sexual deviation or crime.
On March 5, 1971, Attorney General John Mitchell, in an unprecedented press release, announced the indictments for the interstate mailing and distribution of the publication and 55,000 advertising flyers. The historic battle was joined.
The trial began with jury selection on October 13, 1971, in the San Diego courtroom of U.S. Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr., a Nixon appointee to the federal bench.
Stanley Fleishman, an immensely respected legal expert and a self-proclaimed "censorship specialist," was chosen to head the defense. Well-known San Diego attorney, Louis Katz, represented (Earl Kemp). Attorney General Mitchell selected the puckish Larry T. Butcher, a 29-year-old soft-spoken (Washington, DC) Justice Department trial lawyer and so-called "obscenity specialist," to head the prosecution.
The San Diego Union and Evening Tribune unleashed their respective reporters, photographers, and headline writers to record what would eventually become the most massively covered obscenity trial in the history of San Diego. Before it was over nearly three months later the two papers would run a combined total of 658 column inches of "ink" on the event - a whopping four full pages of photographs and editorial matter. No more than four days in a row would pass without a story in one paper or the other-from the trial's beginning to its end two days before Christmas - except for an appalling eighteen-day blackout during expert defense testimony!
One postal inspector after another was called to the stand by the government, each testifying how - using an assumed identity - he had received a copy of the mass-mailed advertisement for the report, or the report itself. The illustrated version of the Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography was prejudiciously branded the "smut report" by Union and Tribune headline creators: "Judge Bans Reading of Smut Report," "3 Experts Testify in Smut Trial," "Expert Calls Smut Report Deceiving," "Art Critic Evaluates Smut Report" were all early Union headlines. Typical of the Tribune were: "1st witness takes stand in smut trial," "Smut case snags over conspiracy facts," "Experts cited in smut report testify," "Variation on smut report 'valueless as a reference work.'"
Both the Union and the Tribune published, ad nauseam, much of the testimony of each of the government's six expert witnesses. Three major stories were run by the Tribune alone on the inane testimony of Dr. Melvin Anchell, a sermonizing Brentwood psychiatrist who admitted he hadn't read the 352-page book until two hours before he took the stand. Those stories carried the following headlines: (10-3-71) "Book called 'prurient' by psychiatrist"; (11-3-71) "Witness labels pornography report 'injurious'"; and (11-4-71) "Smut witness calls deviant practices 'cancer of the mind.'"
The unfortunate testimony of Dr. Roy Madsen, a San Diego State University professor, was carried at great length by both newspapers. When asked about the communicative intent of a particular photograph and caption in the Illustrated Report, he replied under oath that the caption "appears to be italicized to give the impression that there was some formal citation." The fact is every one of the hundreds and hundreds of captions throughout the volume were italicized! Later he called a caption a "formal statement" and an "editorial statement of the Commission Report." As any journalist freshman knows, a caption is simply an editorial convenience and no reasonable person would think captions are part of the official language of that publication.
The final government witness was Frank Getlein who claimed he was the Washington Evening Star's resident expert on obscenity. His bumbling and inconsequential testimony was given a collective twenty-five inches of ink.
The prosecution rested on Thursday, November 11th. Mr. Fleishman began presenting the case for the defense the following Tuesday. His first expert witness was Dr. W. Cody Wilson, a professor of psychology at George Washington University and the executive director of the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. He, of course, warmly praised the illustrated version of the Commission's Report "because it provides concrete examples of what the commission was dealing with." The Tribune carried only one sentence on Dr. Wilson's testimony while the Union managed to carry sixteen inches. That was Thursday, November 18th. Reporters from the two papers had been seated prominently in the front row of the courtroom religiously observing the proceedings day after day for more than a month.
Yet the next day - the second day of expert defense testimony - both were gone. As if on cue, both reporters absented themselves for the next eighteen days, reappearing magically together in the courtroom on the 7th of December! Their simultaneous disappearance-and-reappearance takes on added significance when one recalls that the respective editorial departments of the Union and the Tribune compete with one another for news. One might reasonably assume it was more than happenstance which prompted both reporters to disappear on signal and then reappear together out of the blue eighteen days later, sitting together in the front row once again, listening intently to closing arguments and reporting upon the jury's verdict of guilty During that eighteen-day interim not a single word appeared in either the Union or Tribune on the testimony of one expert defense witness after another!
On Monday evening, November 29th, the director of editorial and news policy for the Evening Tribune and the San Diego Union, Victor H. ("Brute") Krulak, (said) that "newspaper readers have a right to hear all sides of any issue." He said, according to the Evening Tribune story on Tuesday, November 30th, that "reporters should make certain to report the facts and present all sides." Interestingly, I had spent that entire day under direct- and cross-examination on the stand as an expert witness (for the) defense. Incredibly - given Mr. Krulak's proclamations - not a word of my testimony appeared in either paper. And not a word about the two-day testimony of the brilliant Dr. Dwight Swain, a graphics expert from the University of Oklahoma; not a word about the testimony of Dr. G. Thomas Gitchoff, the well-known criminologist from San Diego State University; and not a word about the brief testimony of Miss Jini Carlsen whose painstaking research on San Diego community standards conducted under my supervision would later find a specific reference in the dissenting Supreme Court opinion authored by Justice William Brennan .
Was the news presentation-and the near-total lack of any defense testimony whatsoever - "sincere, truthful, and accurate?" Was there a sense of "fair play" exercised in giving the accused an opportunity to be heard? Was it the "decent" thing to do to eliminate - for eighteen days - coverage of defense testimony, after publishing, day after day, the critical prosecution testimony in such exhaustive detail? Did the newspapers perform with "intelligence, objectivity, accuracy, and fairness?" And did either paper make a "prompt and complete correction of their errors?"
The first story to run after the eighteen day blackout - on December 8th - claimed the trial "resumed yesterday after being in recess since November 30." The fact that Dr. G. Thomas Gitchoff, the popular associate professor of public administration at San Diego State University, spent the entire morning of Wednesday, December 1st, on the stand as an expert witness for the defense. None of his testimony was carried by either the Union or the Tribune.
The San Diego daily newspaper coverage of this significant trial raises serious and disturbing questions with respect to fairness, justice, accuracy, and truthfulness.
But the most distressing question of all-if one uses this trial as a
model-is what kind of reporting are other trials in this city receiving? I know what
testimony was given in this trial. I was there day in and day out, I am acutely aware of
but what of the thousands of other trials being reported by these two
A Stranger, and Afraid .*
By Earl Kemp
There was a dark, ominous cloud looming on the distant horizon, and all was well with my world. Why should there be any feeling of apprehension, much less a real, recognizable one?
I was so hot I couldn't even stand myself, moving along like a juggernaut, pretending I knew what I was doing, where I was going. What is that cloud anyway?
Nobody ever did what I was doing, turning out thousands of titles of books in hundreds of thousands of copy editions that blanketed the whole world. No one had. Just me. I was it, whatever it was.
The rubber stamps in my passport runneth over. I seemed to be jumping all over the globe and had invitations to more stops than I could acknowledge. I was sort of a bush league jetsetter where important events in important cities were concerned.
I owned and occupied two known (that's the catch) residences in two different countries.
I owned automobiles in three countries. Each of those cars was legally registered to me in my own name in the UK, in Mexico, and in the USA.
I had personal bank accounts, in Europe, in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, and Zurich. I had personal bank accounts, in Mexico, in Chapala, Guadalajara, Tecate, and Tijuana. I had personal bank accounts, in the USA, in Arizona, Arkansas, and California.
Some days even I couldn't tell who was on base without a scorecard.
I was any federal agent's absolute worst nightmare.
Near the end of 1970, my apprehensions made me realize that my world was about to change radically. I could feel it, even smell it coming, and I knew for sure it was a world I never made. Many things contributed to this happening, but high on my priority list was my personal growing dissatisfaction with the way many things were being done around The Porno Factory.
At the same time, I was at my personal best, at the very peak of my professional career, and chugging away on all cylinders. In fact, my greatest accomplishment, my Fuck You Nixon coup, was well underway and I had many reasons to celebrate.
As 1971 came along, I knew even more so that something big was in the works for me, big and life altering and irreversible and that I would make almost all of it happen. I had been doing that all along, hadn't I, for more than a decade already .
The people who felt they were Reed/Greenleaf, Ed Hayes, the distribution division boss, Shirley Wright, the corporate secretary and bookkeeping supervisor, and little old me, had a habit of years standing of getting together and working in consort toward mutually advantageous goals for the company. Or, in plain talk, meeting without Bill Hamling's knowledge or consent and plotting ways to try to minimize some of his more extreme actions and keep him a bit moderated without being too obvious about it.
It came as no surprise to any of us that all three of us, for our own separate reasons, were completely burned out already from the continuously ongoing effort to accomplish that goal. One of the most frequently spoken sentences around the factory in those days, and you heard it coming from all directions, was, "Why doesn't he just go away and leave us alone and let us make money for him?"
Finally our talks turned to the prospect of simply walking away from Hamling and leaving him floundering in his own stew. Toward this end, somehow, The Godfather of Sleaze Printing, Saul Simkin, got into the act. He was a prime conspirator and secret partner to almost every sleaze publisher in the business. He encouraged us to do just that, to quit Hamling and to take it further and go into business for ourselves; he promised us unlimited credit a trap there was no way we would fall into.
At last our course was set. We would leave, just walk away and never look back, and we would do it together. I made Ed and Shirley agree to delaying their plans and put everything on hold for one month while I gave myself a leisurely around the world trip saying good-bye to some of my favorite people and places. I knew that I would never see most of them again after that.
And, the day before I was scheduled to leave on that quitting bonus, on March 5th, we were indicted for publishing The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.
A little thing like that wasn't enough to interfere with my planned "vacation," so I gleefully left all my woes behind and took off for the Orient.
In April, after I returned to the USA and to San Diego, Ed, Shirley, and I reaffirmed our decisions to quit.
It was an easy decision for me to make. For far too many years I had felt like the neglected one, relegated to some back closet where I never saw the sunlight or the joy outside. I was absolutely positive that Greenleaf Classics and all it stood for were mine. I made them. They were bound together with my DNA and semen. They contained over a decade of my blood, imagination, inspiration, creation, and every stop between. They hadn't been Hamling's for many years; he had walked away from them himself and I inherited them naturally as the illegitimate bastard stepson who was invisible to him at all times and in all ways.
In order to prove that to myself, and to him, I just walked away so he would have a chance, finally, to figure out who was doing it making it happen the golden goose shitting out those precious eggs. That knowledge was my only salvation, and my only reward.
Ed Hayes, Shirley Wright, and I, with pre-prepared written resignations, walked into Bill Hamling's office in April and resigned simultaneously. Hamling's audacious and capricious handling of the brochure advertising Illustrated had put all of us into jeopardy, and some of our very lives at risk and all to make a bigger splash while simultaneously saving a few pennies on the cost of each mailing piece. However, that was the single most unimportant piece of the whole puzzle.
Then we went to an area two blocks away from the original San Diego home of Greenleaf Classics and opened Surrey House, Inc. [I named the company for my friend Charles Skilton of Charles Skilton Limited UK's fabulous Surrey manor house.] I was surprised to discover that many of my favorite writers and other suppliers insisted upon going along with us, although that was never a part of our plan. Our plan, pure and simple, was escape anything else was just to help pay our way out of Dodge.
Somewhere along here, Bill Hamling and I had our last private powwow, seated atop the Million Valley dam covered in "Taps" in eI8 at http://eFanzines.com/EK/eI8/index.htm.
Our trial began in San Diego Federal District Court in October and ran until just before Christmas when, as an added present from Tricky Dick, we were convicted of conspiring to mail obscene matter a brochure advertising Illustrated.
In February 1972, we were sentenced to prison and various other punishments, mostly mental, but we were allowed to remain free pending appeals.
To help compensate just a little for that abusment of the First Amendment, "that old cocksucker" John Edgar Hoover obligingly died.
In 1973, in April, the lid was blown completely off the Watergate affair revealing none other than Dickless himself in control of the breaking-and-entering-and-burglarizing mob. That they did many other things too disgraceful to mention is axiomatic. They had been doing, at Nixon's orders, almost everything I had been saying they were doing all along backed up with hand-me-down data at that.
In June our judgments were entered, meaning our sentences were official.
In August I gave a brilliant lecture at a seminar for the Law Department of San Diego State University. The best parts of that lecture appear elsewhere in this issue of eI as "Dealing With the Devil."
Several well-known guest lecturers were featured, speaking on various legal topics in an all day and evening affair. One of my conditions for pretending to be one of those for San Diego State University at this seminar, directed toward the law-enforcement community, was that I had to immediately follow Raymond Gauer (Charles Keating's toadie public replacement) because I wanted to use the opportunity to ridicule some of the points he would make in his anti-porno lecture. Gauer was president of Citizens for Decency Through Law, the replacement for Citizens for Decent Literature that had too long plagued the country. Besides that, Gauer's only real personal claim to fame was as originator of the "snuff film" canard in 1970. It is not even important to note that not one single snuff film has materialized anywhere during the passing thirty plus years.
A second condition I asked for was that I had to be billed as "felon." Ultimately, Dr. Tom Gitchoff of the Department of Law refused to grant me that humorous label, even though I had won it fair and square. The university felt it was insulting; I felt it was something closer to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In October, Vice President Agnew was caught with the smoking gun in his hand and resigned in disgrace.
In June 1974, I tried to get away from it all all that doom and gloom hanging over my head, ruining my every thought, fucking up my every day. I went on an extended, leisurely, bopping all around South America trip consuming more than a month of mind-free relaxation. [Several articles resulted from that trip. At least two of them, "Ubangi? Ubetcha!" and "Mickey Mouse and the Buenos Aires Connection," are featured elsewhere in this issue of eI.]
I was somewhat encouraged on this trip by the impeachment proceedings forming against Nixon, even though it was already too late to do me any good.
Then, as the entire nation breathed a heavy sigh of relief, Richard Nixon resigned in September, disgraced, the only USA president ever to do so.
In 1975, to start the year out with a bang, all of Nixon's men, his Nazi-like co-conspirators and CIA dupe Watergate operatives, were all convicted and sent to prison. All except Nixon who had arranged to pardon himself ahead of time so the citizens of this country would never know the real extent of his horrendous crimes against them.
In March, our convictions were sent to the U.S. Appellate Court and they heard the case in Los Angeles in October. And, in a peculiar last-minute deathbed decision, the appellate court upheld our conviction. That bizarre event is recorded elsewhere in this issue of eI as "Curiouser and Curiouser."
I wrote a detailed account of the appeals hearing in Los Angeles for my friend Frank Robinson. Among other things, I said: "Shirley and I were invited for a quiet little dinner (this ahead of time, of course) by our favorite Uncle Miltie who took us to a very nice restaurant and plied us with great booze and food and worked the adrenalin out of our systems and brought us both back down to earth and regaled us with wonderful home-spunny Jewish hearth-side jokes. This was an invitational dinner and it did not include either Hamling or Thomas. Whatever else he might be, Luros is a warm, delightful, private person."
I was so glad to discover that I had actually called him Uncle Miltie in correspondence. I always thought of him that way. Some of it was associational with Milton Berle, of course, but I always felt that Luros treated me like a special relation. Part of this was cast in cement that included a trio of us, Luros, Fleishman, and me. It did not include Hamling. The three of us gravitated together through numerous routes until we were solidly bonded. Fleishman was into me as a person, and I was into him. I didn't pay his bills and that brought about a certain amount of anguish and confusion for Stanley, and for Milton, but we didn't let it get in our way. We weren't out to form a crusade; we had simply formed a close-knit friendship.
In December, our convictions were sent to the U.S. Supreme Court for review. This was a bit problematic because of William Rehnquist, who refused to acknowledge his conflict of interest and insisted upon hearing the appeal himself. This is covered elsewhere in this issue of eI as "With Unclean Hands "
In 1976 the Supreme Court confirmed our convictions and we were ordered to prison. Much of that is covered in "I've Got Some Friends Inside," scheduled to appear in the next issue of eI. My prison letters are dated from January 6 through May 13.
On April 24, at my attorney Lou Katz' instructions, I wrote Judge Thompson a letter pleading with him to release me on his final in-control date. [That letter, "Dear Sir:," is scheduled to appear in the next issue of eI.] In those days, federal badboys who were given the minimum slap up beside their heads, remained the exclusive property of the judge who sentenced them to prison for three months and one day. I was praying for that slap and asked him to help by making sure I got it. Thompson had the personal choice of releasing me from prison then and there or relinquishing my body to the Justice Department for additional detainment. My worst fear, then, was that Thompson would be so indebted to his handlers that he wouldn't dare go against their directives.
On May 13th we were ordered back to Judge Thompson's courtroom in San Diego. During those proceedings, the final ones before Thompson before we fell into the hands of the Justice Department, Thompson asked me if I had anything to say to the court. It was the first time since the trial had begun six years earlier that I had an opportunity to say a single word. During those years, everything about me had changed radically from who and what I had been in 1970, yet no element of that would be taken into consideration as the steamroller rolled.
I stood before the convicted culprit's docket and said, "Yes, Your Honor. I have been convicted of a crime that I did not commit." And sat back down, with my heart pounding and tears of immeasurable pride pooling up in the corners of my eyes.
On May 17th, Bill Hamling and I were both released on probation with a bunch of unreal, illegal conditions thrown in just for the hell of it.
"It seems to be a sign of the times," Judge Thompson remarked from the bench. "I am not convinced by keeping these men in custody any longer, that I would be actually deterring further acts in the obscenity field. If I thought so, I would do so, but I don't think so. I think it is much the same as shoveling sand against the tide."
I didn't even let myself hope that Judge Thompson would display any moxie, much less make a first step toward helping me find a personal and private judgment. Yet he did; finally standing up to the people who would be making generous payoffs to him for the rest of his life regardless of what legal or illegal thing he might ever do. He did the only thing he could do to keep me out of the evil hands of the Department of Justice he set me free. I always wanted to thank him for that, but never had the opportunity until now.
- - -
In A World I Never Made .*
By Earl Kemp
According to my prison letters, "I've Got Some Friends Inside," scheduled to appear in the next issue of eI, my life as a convict began on January 6th, 1976. My and Bill Hamling's trial and convictions for conspiring to mail obscene matter had been over for five years already. Our convictions went dragging through the appeals process endlessly, and we were once again inside Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr.'s courtroom in the US Federal District courthouse in San Diego. There were days when it felt as if I lived inside that courtroom, I had spent so much time there over the years.
All efforts had been expended to keep Bill Hamling and me out of prison, and all to no avail. This was it; the battle was over and definitely, certified lost. Finally, Judge Thompson directed the bailiffs to take us into custody right then and right there in the courtroom, and they did.
Bill Hamling and I were allowed to empty our pockets and give the contents to our wives, waiting forlornly to say good-bye to us for an unknown length of time. Then we were ushered through the back door and down a back hallway and placed into a holding cell. This is the tight, cramped cell I describe in my January 6 prison letter only I didn't even describe that cell at all. Words failed me then and now.
The cell was very small, and had a number of people in it already being held from other courtrooms, and the bailiffs crowded Hamling and me into it as well. Ultimately there were as many as a dozen people clustered tightly together inside that little cell trying our damnedest not to notice any one of the others. The holding cell was lined on three sides by a bench seat; the fourth side was the iron-barred entryway and all the people inside that cell were huddled really uncomfortably close together. We were there for a long time.
Not one of us in that cell could sit down on any one of the benches, nor could we stand anywhere near the walls, or get our shoes on the floor near where the benches were. Definitely not one of us would give a thought to the ceiling hanging so ominously overhead.
The thing is, all of them, the benches, the floor beneath them, the walls behind them, and the ceiling overhead damn near every inch of space were liberally decorated with human excrement. You couldn't get anywhere close to any of it. I absolutely guarantee you that not one of the dozen men standing inside that holding cell could shit there even in an emergency situation. So, where did it all come from, and when? Better yet, why?
Closer examination indicated that the liberal decorations adorning the walls had been carefully placed there some time previously. There was nothing visible to indicate that any attempt had ever been made to remove any of it, even to simply hosing the room down now and then. I wondered if the feds had the Department of Health seal of approval for promoting airborne fecal particles as suitable ambiance for felons. The huge, hanging globs of shit reaching down from the ceiling were almost stage-set in quality. I came to the conclusion that the holding cell had been deliberately decorated that way by the feds as some extra degree of malicious punishment. It was a clear indicator of things to come .
Bill and I were shackled together, finally, and removed from the shithouse in lock-step chain shuffle. We had been singled out, from all of the convicts inside that cell, for the obligatory Perp Walk. The television cameras and news people were waiting for yet another look at the convicted pornographers as they sleek off to prison.
Head high; you're creating an image here, chains dragging and clanking on the sidewalk, cameras pointed, red lights glowing; brief acknowledgment to the anchor that you know her. Smile like you mean it. Flash the teeth. Keep thinking. Chant the mantra, "The Truth Will Make You Free!" Make sure they can see the honor shining through the whites of your eyes, and the pride .
We were taken from there and housed inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high-rise, fitted-module, medium security holding facility. We were there for almost two weeks before being transferred to our final destination, the Terminal Island federal prison in Long Beach, California. It had originally been a US Navy prison built to house around 500 prisoners; and we were crowding the seams three times that at well over 1,300.
We were transferred to Long Beach from San Diego under the care of Gordon Thompson, Jr.'s son. Either he had some prior knowledge of who we were or some extra instructions, because he was one rude, out-of-control punk. He spent the entire trip to Long Beach flipping off California Highway Patrol officers and calling them faggots while pushing the federal 55 mph speed limit well over 90.
It was apparently intake day at Terminal Island, with many convicts scheduled in at the same time. Initially, all of us were housed in one large building while numerous tests, mental and physical, were conducted on us. At this point, Hamling and I were separated and deliberately kept apart. This and the tests to psyche us out, categorize us, and assign us to pigeonholes. These tests took a bit over a week to complete, after which all of us were given cell and work assignments according to some random lottery wheel that ignores capabilities of any sort. The odd part about all of those tests is, convicts conducted them. Convicts did everything that got done, only you wouldn't think it was working that way at all.
Some of the convicts were in hell. Some of them were in paradise. It was all a matter of perception. Timothy Leary tried to open "doors to perception." George Orwell advised, "If you don't like the place you're in, change the way you perceive it." I suppose some people do that automatically and never even knew what had been there in the first place.
A large number of convicts, those who lived in paradise, never wanted to leave. They never had it so good in all their life before.
For the first time some of those convicts: slept in a bed, had a mattress, a pillow, and bedding, had clothes to wear, had their first ever encounter with running water like a shower, had their first ever towel and bar of soap. Ate their first ever regular meal using their first ever plate, knife, fork, spoon. They sat on their first ever toilet and used their first ever sampling of toilet paper. They stood before their first ever urinal.
They also had all the sex and drugs and rock and roll they could handle.
We were finally moved into real cells. You've seen them many times before, in movies. Terminal Island is a prime rental site for such things being only a short nightmare freeway trip from Hollywood very visual in the physical arrangements, especially inside the cellblocks stacked tier upon tier with a huge open atrium for fantastic camera shots. My first cellmate was a black dude from Fresno. I found him intelligent and amusing, and we passed a few hours and boring days together.
My initial work assignment was as a cook. Yes, a cook and I couldn't even boil water at the time. There was only one good thing about the job. A guard had to make a special trip each morning at 4 am to wake me up to go to work. I had the luxury of the shower room all to myself, and you can't imagine what a thrill that was.
The lead cook, or kitchen boss, was an extremely dynamic, radical Black Panther matriarch straight out of a Robert Crum Snatch script from a decade earlier. She ran the kitchen with an iron fist, only first, every morning, she insisted on cooking a "real breakfast" for the kitchen crew suitably arrived at from the Warden's personal food storeroom. We had an on-going lottery every day in the kitchen to see which lucky crewmember got to fuck with the warden's dishes. And, oddly enough, there were stacks and stacks of rotting olive drab World War II C rations in the storerooms and we were required to prepare and serve a certain amount of them every day to the inmates. Wait until they discover Soylent Green.
There were many fellow prisoners that I found intriguing, personally, for different reasons. One of them was Sandra Goode, one of Charlie Manson's groupies, a spoiled rotten rich kid from San Diego. It was perhaps that background, of San Diego, that made the connection, plus my enormous curiosity about a man like Manson. And, there was another attraction as well, Sandra was one hell of a good looker, and I responded to her positively and wanted to know more.
Only she wasn't having any of anything Manson had so controlled her that she couldn't see any other man but him.
Another of my special friends was Sarah Jane Moore, known as Sally in the joint. She was the one who, being controlled by the FBI, tried to kill Gerald Ford. I constantly chastised Sally for being too late and missing an appropriate target The Evil One. Only Sally wasn't much for humor.
I spent as much time as I could with both of those women. Sally was on the staff of the T.I.News, so that was easy.
An opening finally came at the T.I.News, the prison newspaper, when the current editor conveniently escaped. In real time he was gone for about three days before they found him, beat the shit out of him, and dragged him back. Only he didn't get his job back; I got it instead.
So there I was, big-time criminal and pornographer, big-time university lecturer and instructor, big-time editor and man about the world settling in to produce a pathetic little multilithed piece of embarrassment that would have mortified a first-year science fiction fanzine editor anywhere in the cosmos. And I was damned glad to get it, too. It meant the first real incidents of privacy since I had entered the federal penal system. It meant an office of my own where no one would push me. Best of all, it meant a typewriter for my exclusive use. Prior to this I had to either write handwritten letters or use the beat-up table model typewriters in the library for correspondence.
I had quite a bit of problems with my staff supervisor, the person allegedly overseeing the production of the T.I.News. He only wanted goodness and light things appearing in the prison paper and nothing remotely close to Taking A Stand or Voicing An Opinion. Eventually, of course, I won, and he receded further back into his inconspicuousness where he functioned best doing nothing.
[Two of my editorials, "Pleased to meet you, too " and "Just as blue as I can be " from the T.I.News, are reprinted elsewhere in this issue of eI.]
He was a perfect example of the type of people administrating the facility at the time. Every one of them was a pensioned off old embarrassment from some federal agency with no place else to go, hanging on for just a couple more years or months. All they did, every one of them, was hide. They would bury their faces inside newspapers and books that never got read pages never turned. They would go to great lengths not to see anyone or speak to anyone for any reason, almost completely including their fellow workers.
There was a solid understanding on the part of all the convicts; it was us against them, and we were a remarkably cohesive force. I was very surprised at this, at how thorough it was and how solidly felt and understood and maintained.
The convicts were in control of everything. They did all the work that needed to be done. They had a grapevine that would give you every morsel of data concerning you in the hands of the administrative staff. They had, actually, absolutely anything you might think of needing right there at your very fingertips all you had to do was ask.
Terminal Island was a co-educational prison at the time and this was completely unexpected. Everywhere I turned there were females of all types from the gorgeous to the ridiculous, and many of them were active, working hookers. They had pimps, just like on the outside. The whole place, in those days, was awash in drugs of all kinds. It was commonplace to smell pot smoke almost all the time coming from one direction or another. It was also commonplace to use cocaine to help pass the time. And, if you wanted it, up to and including heroin, it was also easily and instantly available in any quantity.
The prison was one of the biggest drug and sex parties I had ever been invited to; it was difficult to tell what was the more prevalent, doing drugs or having sex. Various administration officials and guards would bring the drugs in to their special pet convicts who would sell them and give the cash back to their handlers every day and they would leave the place with their pockets bulging with $100 bills. And, it's also important to keep in mind that not one of us criminals was allowed to have any cash at any time. My, oh my imagine that?
Tempers flared quickly in Terminal Island. What looked like a completely innocent discussion could easily flash into a violent confrontation of some sort between two, three, or a crowd of prisoners. Black eyes, bloody noses, occasional broken bones and lacerated flesh were not unknown. Yet, later, the same people involved in those scuffles would act like the best of friends.
It was difficult, at times, determining what was real and what was not.
The facilities at Terminal Island covered quite an area there directly along the Port of Long Beach. Seagulls and other waterfowl were constantly flying over the yard, shitting indiscriminately. There were many structures of different types housing convicts, both male and female, who were housed separately, of course. In all other respects, the facility was integrated gender wise.
There were a number of traditional cell-block movie type cages and numbers of straight military type barracks wards where the convicts where housed.
There were classroom facilities to teach just about anything you could think up only problem was, no teachers. And, the classes that did have teachers had convicts without qualifications filling the roles. Plus the classrooms performed a much needed public service; they were used for sex. Most of the classrooms were set up with big tables around which the students would sit, rather than in individual chairs. This was ideal for the sex trade because there was just enough room under those tables, between the chairs and the feet, for a couple to strip down and have at it. It was okay to watch but not okay to touch, and the watching went on regularly during those heterosexual classroom sessions. And there, locked up for shocking the delicate sensibilities of the post office set-up squad, I got to watch a lifetime's worth of up close, in person, and steamy to the smell lovemaking.
There were factories inside the walls where convicts could work for pennies a day, making furniture and office equipment for bottom-rung federal employees. There were exercise yards with outdoor equipment that could be used, a baseball diamond, tennis courts, all the usual federal "badboy resort" stuff. The classrooms were outfitted with the very best current state of the art electronic equipment including computers and stuff like that. The only problem was no person was allowed to touch a single one of those machines; they were just for show.
Periodically, at Terminal Island, they had "judge tours," where judges from various locations were brought in and given a VIP tour of the place so they would better understand how hardened criminals are really treated behind bars. During those tours, someone would go ahead of the tour plugging in and turning on that forbidden to touch equipment. Then another person who knew how to make it look like the machine was in operation and being used would sit down and do a fake runthrough.
As the judges would pass on, the equipment would be unplugged, covered up, and again forbidden to be touched.
The whole federal system seemed to be that way, a fake-out petty sham of a pretense of an imaginary Woody Allen rant. Nothing what it appeared to be and everything costing, really, hundreds of times what you thought you were going to have to pay for it to begin with.
There were church facilities capable of handling any denomination already recognized and a few looming over the horizon. At times this required a bit of fakery but with the Jewish events taking place on Saturday, there was never a conflict. And, everyone was urged, to the point of ridiculousness, to go to church and to participate in whatever was ongoing there and, most especially, to ":find God." You were graded on how well you did in your search for Him, according to their scale of values.
There were entertainments galore. You name it and it was coming along real soon now. There were movie nights and even Mexican movie nights. I complained so much about being denied my Mexican birthright that I finally got clearance to attend the Mexican events where I felt right at home especially at Mexican night at the movies.
Some of my very best all-time favorite memories involve Cine Ajijic, and gringo night at the movies, when I lived in that magical wonderplace.
There were a number of stage reviews, etc., staged by the Terminal Island inmates themselves, and using costumes of their own manufacture. Some of those shows were quite elaborate.
In particular there was a stunning female impersonator in Terminal Island at the time, and he was the star of a couple of those reviews. His name was T.C., I remember, for "Too Cool," she always insisted.
Too Cool was a star of much more than those stage shows in Terminal Island, she was the hit of almost every ward there where she would regularly put on one-man, one-woman specialty shows for the inmates in the guard-free privacy of their very own fuckatorium. Almost all the inmates were onto T.C.'s booking schedule and ran all kinds of interference, misdirection, etc. while helping her maneuver around obstacles through the prison while performing her mercy missions.
There were also many traveling road-show tour types of almost familiar people performing almost familiar routines from yesteryear; fading vaudevillians on their final tours. What I thought had to be every Motown group that every sold a gold record and all of these shows were the full dress thing with costumes, musicians, lights, acts and really good and really free.
One example was Flora Purim. Flora, while Billboard magazine's Jazz Vocalist of the Year, did a few things with cocaine that brought her to Terminal Island as a part-time resident and federal guest. She was just finishing her sentence and being released as I started becoming familiar with the joint.
And a week later she came back making a triumphant return as a most honored guest. Naturally she had to have permission and a lot of help to pull it off, but she did, and it was one hell of a show.
Two semis with long trailers pulled into the middle of the prison yard and began unloading. Eventually what they constructed was a huge, mega concert type stage with all kinds of scaffolding and light bars and big black speakers hanging all over the place. And there were costumes galore and musical instruments and stands and .
Flora Purim, along with her husband Brazilian big band leader Aierto and the entire big band, put on a three-hour concert that rivaled anything I ever saw anywhere in terms of excitement and out of control quality.
The drugs moving around the yard, keeping pace with the tempo of the music, were pretty special too.
Flora Purim's world-class blowout party saying good-bye to her felon friends.
All of these things, the classrooms, the factories, the churches, the movies, the stage productions, were only time fillers. Someone, somewhere, felt that convicts who seemed to be occupied all the time are trouble-free convicts. The catch there is the "seemed to" and "trouble-free" parts. Sure.
You were like a wind-up convict, programmed to get up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, go to work at a certain time, go to school at a certain time, shit at a certain time, and on and on endlessly.
I had one stand-out and almost stand alone entity watching over me in Terminal Island. Playboy and everything it stood for claimed me as one of their own; they made no similar gesture toward William Hamling. It was as if they were sitting on my shoulders, observing everything. They marked me and did everything in their power to keep that mark glowing and well recognized.
I got mail from Playboy regularly. I got mail from the executive suites on fancy paper. I got mail from their legal department on legal paper. I got regular mail from various departments throughout the Hefner organization on an almost daily basis. I got packages from Playboy on random schedules. I received every magazine, book, calendar, pamphlet, and greeting card they produced. I received files of back titles of Playboy Press publications.
Prison guards and administrative personnel didn't know what to make of it. Prisoners were lining up, glad to get my leftovers or hand-me-downs.
Bill Hamling and I were separated from the time we first arrived in Terminal Island. It turned out there just happened to be a special pampered millionaire section in the prison and wouldn't you know it, they had room for Bill there.
I drew the buttfucking and cocksucking contingent, but that part comes along a bit later.
One of the real pissoffs about being in Terminal Island was just that, all the millionaires and the extreme special handling they received from the guards and administration. Nothing was too good for one of them and there was always someone to furnish whatever was thought to be needed by the guards by the administration by a few of the other convicts as well. These were exemplified by people like Stanley Goldblum, of Equity Funding, who pulled off one of the biggest corporate frauds in history. Stanley and I were in the same Creative Writing class together; we had much in common.
As an example, the following scenario was repeated frequently during the time I was there and in a position to see it happening right in front of me first hand and in person.
On Friday afternoons, from some secret hiding place where they have been meticulously maintained and drycleaned, forbidden personal clothing appears magically. It could be a formal tuxedo, an Armani business suit, or anything between. The designated millionaire would put his personal clothes on then go to the front entrance of the prison where he would be met with one or two guards or administrative staff members also peculiarly dressed in a similar but cheaper fashion.
The small group would rush, gleefully, out the door and directly into the millionaire's limousine parked in the no parking zone. The girls inside were already aglow with almost too much advance preparation and they had fresh lines laid out just for them and rolled up C-notes extended.
The millionaire's chauffeur would pull away from the curb as the party began for real.
On Monday morning, that millionaire, guards, and fellow administrative partiers would all turn up again criminals and staff once more.
William Hamling was given a cushy office job clerking for some minor official and passes giving him access to many things and areas, especially at times closed to me. He could eat in the mess hall at any time he wanted to, for instance, but I had to eat only during rigid hours.
Bill would deliberately wait for my dinner time to eat with me. Evenings were almost our only times together, to communicate to any extent. We would eat and then go out into the yard and do an obligatory fat-reducing walk. I found the prison food to be good enough and available enough that I had begun to pack on a few pounds, and so had Bill.
We solved all the problems of the world there, walking endlessly around that yard, dodging the needle freaks, the birdshit, the pimps, and the hookers. For all practical purposes, we were on Main Street America.
After a couple of weeks in a movie cell with my black cellmate buddy, someone figured that I was harmless enough to be moved into the "general population." That meant that I was assigned a bunk in one of the huge, barracks-like dormitory wards.
Happily, I grabbed my meager gear and was ushered to my new home away from home.
The barracks room was enormous and held many beds hundreds of beds. The outside walls of the room were all lined with bunk beds, head in to the wall. The center court left in the middle of the room was filled with row after row of single bunks. The older residents occupied those center bunks, the guys who had been there the longest and had earned the most seniority.
Naturally I had been assigned an upper bunk, and I climbed onto it right away, checking it out. My bunk mate, from below, introduced himself.
"I'm Miz Thang," he said, "and I do quite a bit of entertaining. I'm sorry about that and I'll do my best not to disturb you."
And damn if she didn't and damn if she didn't know some tricks and positions I had never thought of. She was as supple as a reed and could do unbelievable things on her head and bent backward almost double and smiling so sweetly before saying, "Next ."
The same afternoon I was moved into the dormitory, a man walked up to me and introduced himself. "Hello," he said, "I'm Michelle, the dorm cocksucker. I have you penciled in for 9:30 to 9:35 "
"Don't bother," I said, interrupting Michelle, who as it turned out really meant it. She was so disappointed, in fact, that she pursued me for weeks without success including her very best attacks, sneaking up on me from behind in the showers. In all honesty it was a game, not a serious endeavor.
Sex was everywhere. Every night I could look around from my observation deck of the upper berth and watch it happening right before me in living color with real live farts and groans of ecstasy and delight.
Miz Thang I have already mentioned, as being one of the really active ones, but she was not alone, and they were not all shes by any means.
One of the hard things to accommodate for me, a depraved old dirty book maker who had been known to make many books about male gays in prison, was the real zeal and gusto with which those guys in front of me were having at whatever they were involved with that minute.
And, it was a bit hard to think of some of it as being homosexual at all.
One very important thing about all this sex in prison has to do with the timing all of these things happened well before the intervention of A.I.D.S. The biggest roadblock to sex in prison then was moral and religious. Almost the worst thing you could possibly catch from participating in any of that sexual activity could be cleared up with a little soap and water or a round of Tetracycline.
And, a second and perhaps even more significant factor was that in all my time at Terminal Island, watching all kinds of heterosexual sex being performed, watching an incredible amount of all kinds of homosexual sex being performed, I never saw or heard of a single instance where any participant in any sexualizing was coerced into doing so, much less forced into it. In fact, it would be easy to think of those activities as being temporarily acceptable.
There was even one wedding between two of the inmates during the time I was in that dorm, a hillbilly from Arkansas and a fat Hispanic known to one and all as Gorda. The wedding was the real pretend thing with a pretend service and a pretend minister. With a real cake and real wish giving. With an all-night, public display consummation of the happy couple's union.
Drugs were the next best thing after sex and by far easier to come by. There was no problem at all with getting pot any time you thought of it, or coke for that matter. And anything else including LSD, heroin, etc. only took a couple of minutes longer to get delivered.
And the quality of those drugs was really high; much better than street drugs one usually encountered during those days. The prices were within reason and payable, always, in cigarettes from the commissary paid for out of your account.
They kept bitching at me that I had to get religion and "find God" and not one of them could have understood that God and I knew each other rather well indeed already and didn't need any of their help nosiree.
I had become friends with a fellow inmate named Manny Solomon, a New York Jew stereotype. Manny had a drop-dead-gorgeous Puerto Rican wife half his age who would smuggle in the most incredible weed to Manny. How could he not be my friend? He suggested that I could "find God" with him, so I started going to the synagogue with Manny on Saturdays. Plus, we joined the Jewish social organization the Macabees as well, and had lessons and group readings aloud, and celebrated all the holy days in proper fashion.
And adequately satisfied the facility's demand that I get religion.
By Earl Kemp
She was the most frightening thing I had ever seen, something straight out of H. Rider Haggard or Stanley and Livingston I presume. She was small, and I like that, and obviously in great shape; I could see most of her clearly. Flawless skin, smooth and unmarked, like Belgian chocolate...Dove bars...the coating around Mounds. Deep, dark, delicious, and extremely promising. There was no doubt that you could eat quite a lot of it as long as the emotions kept whomping away at you.
Her hair was messed up and seemed to have matted strands of it pointing out in numerous directions all at the same time, as if it had never been touched with a brush or comb and was wild like that straight out of the jungle; it must have taken her a long time to fix it just so. Her lips were the most compelling thing about her face, so huge and bulging with sultry fullness, the kind of lips some actresses pay good money for, only hers just swung right down on the closest vine along with the rest of her feral, feline femininity.
When I was a shallow youth, the only pornography available to me was in the library at school, and I used it every time I thought of it, which was often. The source of much of my inspiration and many of my dreams has always been National Geographic. And she most of all...the one before me on the streets of Sao Paulo...leaping out of the pages where for so long a time she tormented me by flaunting her nakedness. I was captivated by the simple, easy-even normal-manner in which she appeared to go about her routine daily existence...flaunting her nakedness.
She wore a fishnet tank-top blouse that covered nothing, as her pert little nipples clearly pointed out, tilting toward me like radar-sensitive missiles homing in only for the horny. It was a dark purple fishnet as I remember, hanging loose over purple satin wet-look hotpants. That was all she was wearing, except shoes of course and they simply didn't matter at all at a time like that.
Her nipples pointed unerringly toward me and so did she, walking right up to me and staring me in the face intently and saying, "You're the one, stud," only she couldn't; she didn't know a word of English. But she said it anyway, and I heard her. Thank God for that, otherwise we would never have been able to communicate at all; I knew no Portuguese so we were both out of luck.
There was nothing hidden or unknown about her or what she wanted. She wanted me. She wanted me in a way I had never known I had ever been wanted before. She scared the shit out of me. I knew full well she (Queen of the Jungle) had somehow just materialized there straight out of the veldt of darkest Africa, probably even a cannibal (my mind was flooding with visions of just how she could eat me with those incredible sensual lips and how long she could keep at it...or me for that matter), and I was next for her larder.
"You got to understand, stud," she said, and I heard, "that I'm not working. You're not my john; you're mine." She dramatically demonstrated her ownership with her hands.
"Oh, shit," I said, growing more frightened by the pulse beat. "I think she means it."
"Free, baby," she said. "This one's for me...."
Mike Buckner and I (he was my first son-in-law) had decided to kill some time by diverting my mind while I waited for doomsday. We went to see if we could get into trouble by cruising around South America for a month or so, as long as we could afford to stay at it anyway. This is the kind of thing we did from time to time, escaping...running wild and free like idiots or animals or men.
[Part of that story was told in eI6 in "Secret of the Incas" (see http://eFanzines.com/EK/eI6/index.htm) where Analise, sister to the courageous Argentine airline pilot who rescued me from the dreaded Peruvian secret police, was first introduced. Elsewhere in this issue of eI you will find "Mickey Mouse and the Buenos Aires Connection," the further amorous adventures of Analise, written while I was locked up in Terminal Island (there is yet one other Analise piece not yet published about Rio), and "Ubangi? Ubetcha!" about an unforgettable encounter with a stunning Brasilian in Sao Paulo.]
On this trip, in South America, Mike and I had been at it for weeks already, going to new places and doing exciting things and meeting worthy persons and sharing viable riches. At the time we were going north from Buenos Aries headed to Rio, which had really been my main objective in the first place. It always has been my destination; might always be.
I grew up on this kid diet of Disney and Jose Carioca sambaing along
the wavy boardwalk beachfront in Rio. With Bette Gable and Don Ameche in true Technicolor
(by Natalie Kalmus) while Flying Down to Rio. With bossa-nova (flash-forward to
Sergio Mendes) rhythms already pounding through my veins like blood. I was Orpheus there
high above the favelas condemned to playing up the sun each and every morning. Little
wonder I wanted to get a taste of Sugarloaf so badly; I had waited so very long already.
It was an extra stop thrown in just for grins...Sao Paulo was. Sort of like wanting to go to Paris and getting dumped off in nowhere Bosnia. Rio! Damn it! Rio...I don't need any Sao Paulo. A second-rate industrial city, I thought...not a fun place at all.
How wrong I was. Sao Paulo rocked. I had a wonderful time; much better in fact than the experiences I eventually had in Rio where Mike and I were houseguests of a close personal friend, an English professor, and devoted Greenleaf Classics sleaze paperback collector in Rio. He provided excitement and thrills that were nothing short of world-class themselves.
Part of that was due to Mike, naturally, and the input he generated which was always considerable. We had scored some fantastic weed in Buenos Aries and had promises of some killer stuff waiting for us in Rio...another reason that Sao Paulo was just in the way...and all that coke and caffeine still ahead of us in Colombia....
We got into a routine early on, Mike and I, as we would go about our rambling adventuring together, of propositioning acceptable female candidates with the challenge of taking on "a father and son together" at the same time. We almost never scored.
But sometimes we did....
There was even one time, in Guadalajara perhaps, when Mike and I went prancing into a casket-factory salesroom arm in arm and approached a salesman. We insisted upon being measured for a double and announced loudly for the benefit of all concerned that we intended to be buried together.
I thought they'd never end....
So there we were, Mike and I, walking the red-light streets of Sao Paulo looking for a little fun and games when she attacked. Her, you remember from up there, the terrifying Ubangi....
There certainly was no Mike. "We're a team," I told her. "We do it together...."
"No," she was adamant. Mike did not exist. She turned her back to him and deliberately stood between us to separate us. "Just you. Now!"
"Sorry," I said, "I really mean it; it has to be both of us at the same time or nothing doing."
"You do understand that there's something special going on between just the two of us, don't you?" she asked. "You can't be that dense."
"I got you clear on that, babe," I said. "But with no Mike, no play...understand? That's tonight's game."
She took my hands again and, inside hers, ran them down inside her purple satin shorts and into her almost coarse pubic hairs, my fingers feeling the moistness, the waiting offering. "We must go now...." she began and turned toward Mike, pushing him away from us forcefully and trying to pull me along the street with her, "...Why don't you understand?"
"I can't do it, baby," I said. "You simply scare me too much. I can't trust myself to be with you."
"Pussy!" she said.
"It certainly feels like it," I said, reluctantly
releasing the object of my desires and surrendering to the horror of my fears.
And she was right. I did regret walking away from her, my fingers beneath my nose, sliding between my lips.... And far too many times over the years she has returned as a haunting fragrance one tries desperately to cling to, a pleasant flavor, and to taunt me and shame me for my fears and remind me of all the delights that I knowingly, consciously, deliberately rejected while cruising along the roadway of life. Just another wrong turn in the road.
There are far too many of them and I owe them all apologies for my neglect and for my avoidance and for any pain I might have caused them by not being able to give when that is the single most needed thing left in all the world.
I wish I could have been a lot better....
[Following is the editorial I wrote for the first issue of the T.I.News edited by me. It was written in an attempt to introduce myself to the prison population. While it was a small, multilithed zine, because of federal propensity of making something of nothing-you always have to keep that "street prices" crap in mind-you would think the paper was somehow real. There was a pretense of a staff, besides myself, and special reporters covering just about every segment of life you can come up with.
All of us who were lucky enough to be assigned to work on that paper really milked it for all we could get out of it. Imagine the luxury of a real staff and time and someone else to pay for the printing what a kick-ass fanzine could materialize from all that.
Not so we were dragged way down to below the bottom rung of potential future human intelligence in every way possible including perhaps the worst print job ever to soil virgin 20-lb. bond. There is little wonder why I only managed to hold on to one copy of one issue of the zine. -Earl Kemp]
Pleased to meet you, too *
By Earl Kemp
and I'm glad you asked who I am, only that's a difficult question to answer.
The ego that is me has seen through Tommy's eyes and explored the "Dark Side of the Moon" and left Mr. Dylan's Mr. Jones far behind, yet I am still an infant, continuously learning and moving toward some unknown beneficial goal.
And you think you're confused!
It is difficult for me to tell a man apart from the things he has done, the people he knows (or more importantly, who know him). I am he. I am you, and I am me and all men before and after us. Each separate, each individual, each quite special and very real, at whatever point we meet and/or are the same.
I've been lots of places and done lots of incredible things. I travel a lot and explore unknowns. I've been all around the world and have spent prolonged periods in far-off exotic places .
I've tasted of concepts beyond my imagination and seen, first hand, vistas beyond Castaneda's separate realities. Don Juan is my friend and brujos my companions and, until recently, Mexico my second home. I lived for over five years in suburban Guadalajara, in Ajijic (a village blessed by Ken Kesey and Tom Wolfe) on Lake Chapala, giving up my home there because of prior reservations at Terminal Island, where I bring with me three years and one day for "conspiracy to mail obscene matter."
Professionally I have been an editor for almost twenty years, at various book-publishing firms. I've worked on every imaginable type of prose, in every known category. I retired two years ago to devote full time to traveling and the pursuit of primitives to understand and love. Since that time I've dabbled a little in free-lance Editorial Consultation and lectured at various colleges and universities on the subject, "Pornography as Political Protest - Godiva, DeSade, Etc." I am at home on the campuses of the University of Copenhagen, Chicago, Paris, or California at San Diego. I phased out of my subject almost four years ago but, thanks to being here, I have wide new spectrums to explore.
Personally I like food and music and peace. I am, in some circles, a slight authority on primitive-people handicrafts, especially yarns, a consultant for fiber buyers and collector of pre-Columbian weavings, especially Peruvian shrouds .
Intense communication, wordlessly of possible, furnishes my greatest orgasm. The ability to make thoughts known, across race or culture or language barriers, turns me on most of all, and therein lies my dedication to the future .
There is one important thing we have in common, you and I, we are both convicts and I suffer the same ways you suffer. I hear you and I hope you hear me. I'm in this job for you and if you keep that in mind, it'll help me help you .
[After my conviction for conspiring to mail obscene matter, I was invited to address a special seminar for the law-enforcement community being held by San Diego State University. I was rather reluctant at first, but my old friend, Dr. Tom Gitchoff of the Department of Law, who had testified in my defense, convinced me that I would really enjoy the experience. He was right, but for reasons he never thought of.
I knew that the all-day and evening seminar would include representatives from federal, state, county, and city legal agencies, plus a good number of law students from the university itself. I couldn't refuse the opportunity to have at them just a bit.
Besides that, with Dr. Gitchoff's help, I managed to stack the deck just a bit by arranging to appear on the program immediately following Raymond Gauer, president of Citizens for Decent Through Law, the hand-picked public replacement for menace Charles Keating's Citizens for Decent Literature the very same criminal assigned the task of assassinating the Pornography Commission's work by Richard Nixon.
As you read this lecture it would really help if you could try to visualize it as being a spoken performance rather than boring words. There was deliberate emphasis, at times, on certain points, and pauses where appropriate to wait for laughter or applause to subside.
A real, first-class go-get-'em-tiger rant. Surprisingly, I find much of it rather timely for today and Bush and unnecessary killing for obscene corporate profits. Enjoy! -Earl Kemp]
Dealing With the Devil*
By Earl Kemp
Please allow me to introduce myself; I'm a man of strong ideals. I'm also Chicken Little and the boy who cried wolf, because the sky is falling and there are many high-placed, super-hypocritical wolves abroad these days. I have studied the teachings of Don Juan, looked through Tommy's eyes, spent my time on the cross, and I still don't know why I love Him.
What I have to say to you tonight is extremely personal, perhaps too personal for a forum such as this, nevertheless, I'm compelled to try to reach you at a very personal level. I'm not asking anything of you, beyond your awareness and concern for yourself, and I'm seeking nothing personally.
Generally, I avoid meetings like this, where I'm not sure you can force the inner you to listen, and if I can't speak beyond the façade you have been taught to affect, we're both lost.
Then, when I get to feeling that way, some perfect stranger will walk up to me and say, "Are you the Earl Kemp who edited the Pornography Commission report?" And I'll answer yes, and they'll say, "May I shake your hand, please? I can't begin to tell you how much you've helped me, and what your words have done for me." Then, at a time like that, I could get up here and roar at you all night long.
Editing that book had a profound effect upon me. It has also brought out the absolute best in people. I have been praised and damned all over the world. I have received the most flattering letters of praise from high government officials. I have been asked to lecture at universities and assist government departments and been the subject of an hour-long network TV documentary. I have been interviewed extensively by newspapers and magazines all very favorable and all outside the United States. Wherever I go now I'm treated with respect and attention and people want to touch me or have my autograph outside the United States.
And there you have it again, me sounding like the ultimate egotist, and that is not it, and that is not why I am here. I'm here for you, and for your salvation, and to alarm you to the extent of making absolutely sure you know who you are. You-personally!
I have been to more countries than I care to count and done many great, wondrous, and radically different things. I have watched the cream of our thinking youth in Tangier come alive in the Star of the East, and watched the cream of our robots flare briefly inside Maxim's in Saigon, before going north to die senselessly. I have attended anti-USA rap sessions in Auckland, Papetti, Stuttgart, Ponum Phen, Kowloon, Anacapri, Antibe, and many other places. I have sat in on some of the most down-to-earth, penetrating dialogues possible in lofts in Paris' St. Germain...in radical student apartments in Amsterdam...in an opulent Helsinore mansion...in a Reeperbahn ghetto in Hamburg. I have traveled a great deal and absorbed many things into my consciousness and I am a very complex machine. I am gentle, and kind, and thoughtless, and forgetful, and I love far too many people, most of them total strangers like you.
My traveling at first was for the purpose of acquiring enough knowledge to make me the best available authority on things erotic throughout the world. I visited libraries and private bibliophiles and institutions and established contact and familiarized myself with their pornography collections. I visited bookstores and brothels and photography studios and printing plants and publications offices of every significant pornography publisher in the world. At one time, I thought I personally knew every important individual in the industry. My side projects, of a purely personal nature, were to feel out local public opinion on the actions of the United States in Viet Nam and United States foreign policies in general. My ultimate objective was to try to determine how mankind best lives harmoniously with mankind.
Outside the United States (and very few other countries I can think of, all of them rigidly controlled by some extreme authoritarian ruler and/or dictator) pornography is merely another genre of literature, and pornographers are merely businessmen. Collectively, all the persons I have met or know, engaged in the business of pornography, have been the nicest people you might ever meet. Quite aware people with a genuine concern for other people, and people's rights, and people's futures. In the United States, however, the term is one of legal definition, and a clouded shame is associated with it, through maintained ignorance and faulty programming.
Do not assume that I'm saying "pornography is good." That is not what I mean at all, pornography is neither good nor bad, no more significant than the list of a sailboat or the rolling incline of a gentle hillside. Pornography does happen to be, though, a scapegoat for many evils, in the hands of certain persons, and none of them even remotely engaged in the industry. Pornography is also a whipping boy and a banner that is frequently unfurled before unsuspecting persons to divert their attentions from great blunders, from unspeakable atrocities, from unsavory qualities of highly touted political candidates. And many other everyday familiarities. It is greatly maligned and lied about and used shamelessly by certain unscrupulous money-grabbers, who would be hard pressed for a job without it.
And it's a weather vane, a measuring stick, and a screaming herald of political repression within the United States. The two faces of our Administration are using pornography to strip the citizenry of what few remaining freedoms they once had guaranteed to them by the Bill of Rights. The two faces of our Administration are escalating their schedule of programming of the citizenry until, today, far too many of them already believe they're in some measure answerable to the government. In the effusion of bullshit heaped upon them daily, there's a laxness within them, an unwillingness to resist, that allows them-you-to forget that the government is here to serve them-you - and not the other way around. You will be quite shocked, I suspect, after Mr. Nixon's second inauguration, at his new schedule of taxes and further decreed limitations upon our separate persons.
I do hope too many of them - of you - are not already dead, because only you can change the tide that is, daily, drowning you in lies and calculated misinformation.
I thought long and hard about coming up here and addressing you, because everyone I know has advised me not to do it. What you don't know, but I do, is that there are many individuals out there right now in this audience who are taking great note of every single word I say. (I recognize some of you.) Those words will be analyzed, computerized, decoded (where no code exists), reconstructed and, eventually, used against me. But, you say, all he is saying is personal, private political opinion, and there is no such thing as political repression in this country. Yet our prisons are full of political prisoners pure and simple who have expressed some concern about the removal of individual freedoms in this country. Yet daily more and more of our vital young intelligent citizens flee the country, seeking relief from the yoke of repression and domination. Do not sneer and say "good riddance" because you have been designed to do that because as you do you seal up yet another escape route from your own coffin. You may say it only after you've carefully considered all the facts, and then find those persons worth of your scorn. Considering those facts will be in itself quite difficult, as most of them are deliberately kept from you.
President Nixon will not view any film designed for adults (regardless of subject matter). It is President Nixon who announced, ahead of time, that regardless of what cold hard facts the greatest scientific minds in this world could put before him through the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, he would accept nothing favorable, and when that Commission's Report could evolve ONLY favorable data, he tried to bury it in obscurity. It is President Nixon who announced, ahead of time, that regardless of what cold hard facts the greatest scientific minds in this world could put before him through his Commission on Marijuana, he would accept nothing favorable. And now that Commission's Report has been leaked to the press one month prematurely, and that Commission could evolve ONLY favorable data. What will now be the fate of their report? Why is it that the highest office in this land can't be confused with facts when they differ from narrow, pre-conceived opinions? Why is it that far too many facts vital to our day-to-day existence are consistently withheld from us?
Let me alarm you with some facts. Everything possible is done in this country to keep the mental level down. There are no general-circulation sex education periodicals available to adults, without severe legal struggles. There are no visual divertissements for thinking adults that are not, in some areas, submerged for just what they are, adult mental exercises. And San Diego is one of the worst such areas in the whole country.
I well remember the first time I encountered the use of the word "fuck" in a major metropolitan newspaper. I was stunned, yet there it was, in the world's single most intelligent newspaper, the London Times. That was, I believe, four years ago yet today the most courageous newspapers in this country are still hung up on category words like homosexual, genital, crotch, etc.
And, of course, there is the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune. It is so embarrassing to read them, but as captive persons you must, otherwise you might miss the I Magnim sale. But as you read them you have no way of knowing to what extent the news has been rewritten, or worse yet, for what ulterior purpose. You have no way of knowing which comic character on the funny page has had his costume altered, or his dialogue changed, to protect you from from from something dreadful. You have no way of knowing how drastically the syndicated columns have been altered, or outright censored, to uphold the viewpoint of the local paper, however fatally they have altered the columnist's position. Even Dear Abby, regretfully, comes under the sharp surgeon's hands at the Union, when she gets political . Tremendously important local happenings are not covered at all, certainly if they are of an adverse nature, or happen in Logan Heights. Quite significant world happenings are reported many days later, after Time and Newsweek have covered them in depth. All datelines are carefully omitted so you will never know when it happened. If you didn't have out-of-town papers to read, you might never know what's happening locally. The New York Times, by the way, carries the most valid local non-white news. You will certainly never encounter it here. And God help you if you're looking for a movie, or some adult entertainment. Even if it happens to be the best picture of the year, Midnight Cowboy, a nonsexual picture by any rational definition. Even if it happens to be the best picture of the year, A Clockwork Orange, a nonsexual picture by any rational definition. If you're kept in total ignorance, you will vote correctly and you will never open your mouth with any opinion, so help you Copley.
Before I move away from this point, let me make one thing clear. The Union/Tribune is not all bad. They do many good things well. In particular the reporters are almost uniformly excellent, giving a fair account of most things they are assigned to cover. I will say that many of their accounts are altered after they hand them in, but their efforts were in the right direction. And there seems to be visible evidence of evolution within the papers, toward a more real, more adult truthfulness.
Many out-of-town publications must come to us through the mails, which brings up the Post Office. Here we find a group of people dedicated to the proposition that mail will be held up as long as possible, for the highest fees. Once one has experienced foreign mail handling (and there are exceptions to this), with frequent daily deliveries, six days a week, for pennies, by a person who couldn't possibly care what's inside the envelopes one is reluctant to tolerate the U.S. Postal Service. Far too much mail is detained while "covers" are prepared, flow charts arranged, and surveillance conducted of both sender and receiver. Far too many first class envelopes accidentally come open in the mail, and are read carefully before they are sent on or delivered. If it happens to be mail coming in from another country then you're in big trouble.
About three years ago I was asked to cooperate with some foreign publishers in a large controlled experiment to determine the advisability of mailings into the United States. The items, from postcards to very small parcels (nothing over a quarter inch thick or larger than 5"X7") were mailed in well-sealed, clearly addressed envelopes from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Each single item was coded for identification and mailed airmail, special delivery, registered to various stateside addresses. Exact details of the delivery of each item were noted and, in the case of undelivered items, their absence was quickly reported back to the mailer. In each such case an official protest was filed at the mailing post office under the registry number, which was in turn passed on as an official foreign government protest to the U.S. Post Office. In each, after extreme delays, a curt "no record" was reported back. All items received stateside in the test had been thoroughly examined, and even the letters opened and read. And I will repeat that these were mailed airmail, special delivery, registered. It is not important that they were business letters or advertising brochures concerned with publishing adult literature. What is important it that this government has arranged, without protest from the people this government allegedly serves, to open at will, and read, reproduce, or whatever, any single piece of private correspondence coming into this country from any foreign location and to delay that mail as long as they want to. (By the way, one of those missing "no record" control parcels mailed three years ago was delivered five days ago. How's that for efficiency?)
The Customs people, with or without the Bureau of Narcotics, depending on which excuse they're using at the moment, also have the authority to capriciously detain any notes, receipts, letters, contracts, memoranda of sales meetings, business cards, expense records, or other personal items you might bring into this country from abroad. One would hardly think they had time for such foolishness. They also maintain flying squad roadblocks in foreign countries, backed up by bribery muscle. I was detained for an hour at one such block, 300 miles from the closest U.S. soil. That happened in Mexico where our Border Patrol regularly, in unmarked cars and out of uniform, surveys all near-border Mexican highways. In Mexico where every major city has its resident FBI agents (what do you mean restricted to Stateside operations?) whose job, pure and simple, is to spy on the gringo touristas to keep them out of trouble? No way, to find out what they're doing every minute of every day.
The Bureau of Narcotics also maintains, in San Diego Harbor, a fleet of luxury pleasure boats that does nothing but cruise up and down the coast, spying on civilian boat owners to find out what they're doing, not to help them out. There's also submarines used locally to follow suspected narcotic smugglers in private craft.
Airlines luggage handlers are paid rewards for discovering any illegal substance inside passengers' suitcases. These rewards come directly from the government or your tax money, to be more exact. What this does, of course, is give the luggage handlers license to open, at will, any bag they happen to be carrying, and to examine the contents. I think it used to be called breaking and entering, or pilfering, or burglary. And the government didn't use to encourage it, sanction it, and pay rewards for having it done at their instruction.
Most of that, of course, has already been eliminated in a masterful stroke of unsubtlety I'm referring to the recent anti-hijack regulations making it mandatory that government representatives examine every piece of luggage going on any plane taking off in this country and to examine every piece of hand luggage, every purse, every scrap of paper, every cigarette and to examine the persons of every person to make sure that another PSA L.A. flight doesn't wind up in Havana? nonsense, to see exactly what you are carrying to Aunt Tessie in Oxnard and the computers will play hell sorting all that information fed in about you.
Do you know that the FBI follows people all over the world (though forbidden to do so by charter), even on business trips or holidays? Do you know that the FBI routinely, without provocation or judicial permission (that translates into "illegal") tap phones, through both the central phone switching system and now, using more subtle remote sensory devices. I could tell you bugged phone stories all night, but the most amusing was the time the bug got crossed with their radio system and all we could get for over an hour, every time we picked up any phone in the office, was police calls. We had to go to a pay phone to get an outside line. And this very day, the upcoming Attorney General is arguing his cause before our Congress. He wants the sole and exclusive prerogative of delegating who is to tap your phone, without permission or authority, beyond his okay. A condition, by the way, that would eliminate the Fourth Amendment from the Bill of Rights. He further wants all FBI files to be closed and not available for the Congress to inspect especially those parts about the Senators themselves, no doubt.
Do you know that FBI representatives routinely, indiscriminately, and without reason, visit your bank, examine your banking records, copy them, and take the copies away with them? That they have access to your tax forms, your credit applications, your drivers license and car registration papers and all this information about you personally and-you thought-privately is passed from hand to hand through many different offices, past many different persons, all of them trying to catch you breaking some law. What a pity these great resources, this vast potential knowledge, isn't directed at something constructive or beneficial.
Are you aware that the local police have planted several "student radicals" in local colleges, and that the job of these police officers is to agitate and rabble-rouse and destroy public property in order to mold public opinion against some students, so those expressing political opinions can be eliminated. That the first person to yell "Kill the pigs," in a confrontation is usually a police officer. Several undercover officers of this type were unmasked during the past year. Taking the same practices from the college to the high school level, most local schools have at least one plain-clothes police officer, allegedly a teacher or "student advisor" who spies on the students, has master keys to their lockers, and performs other disgusting public services. At even lower levels, into the grade schools, regular programs are conducted to persuade the younger children to inform on their friends, older siblings, and parents, should they suspect any wrongdoing. Who watches the watchbird?
Undercover police now have authority to drive far-out vehicles, like hippie wagons or limousines using out-of-state license plates, to further entrap you into doing something wrong. The same officers have regular policies of borrowing lease cars from local automobile dealers for use in stakeouts, as most unmarked cars, like most plainclothes officers, are instantly recognizable. They also photograph the people who attend large public gatherings, especially if they are political gatherings, and files are kept of the people attending the rally, and their frequency of appearance is carefully observed. Police memory experts in plain clothes attend rock concerts and other youth gatherings, moving quietly and cautiously through the crowds, memorizing faces of the spectators, for narcotics files. Later, narcotic offenders are given options of going to jail or deliberately setting up a certain number of their close personal friends for a bust. And, aided by the "no-knock" law, they can walk, unannounced, into any private home in this country, right through the door, without pausing to ring the bell.
Yet I couldn't begin to tell you how many of these very officers, and at what high levels, have contacted me and asked for the most outrageous personal favors. Usually in the nature of some far-out sexual literature or device for their private sexual preferences. Or what judge runs the best stag films in his chambers. Or what anti-smut fighter has the best lending library going.
Have you noticed, when you drive across the border from Mexico or Canada, how your license plate number is punched into a high-speed computer and, within seconds, a vast array of personal information is spread out on the computer screen. Like the number of times that vehicle has crossed the border, who owns the car, who the most probable driver is, if that driver is wanted for any purpose, or if the car is suspect for any reason. Did you know that your banking and other financial transactions are fed directly into the IRS computer, and that your Social Security number is rapidly replacing your name for identification purposes, and that everything about you, including suspected thoughts, is being fed into giant computers every day, and that some government agencies, notably the FBI, has full-time operators doing nothing but tapping private computer banks, duplicating their information, and cross-referencing all of it about you into one master machine that will probably come to be known as "Big Brother." 1984 is so very near at hand.
What all of this snoopervision means to you, as an individual, is that the probability of you running afoul of the law, innocently, mistakenly, or guiltily, is increased immeasurably. And at the same time, the cost of Justice is so incredibly enormous that most people will be convicted, innocent or not, and incarcerated, because they simply will not be able to afford the cost of a ticket to the game of "Guilty Until Proved Innocent," another rampant misconception about Justice in this country. A country where Instruction Number 1 from any lawyer, before going into court, is, "get a shave, a straight haircut, a suit and a tie." The difference in your appearance from what you really look like to looking like a rubber-stamp robot could be worth as much as two years to you. How sad it is that something so unrelated could even be a consideration.
By this time you've probably begun to wonder what all my agitating and name-calling has to do with the pornography industry. I think everything I've said is thoroughly interrelated, and it's certainly a personal failure on my part if I haven't imparted the significance to you yet. Perhaps it'll make things clearer if I point out that sex has, historically, always been used as a form of violent political protest, throughout the whole world. I gave a series of lectures on that very subject at the Vincennes campus of the University of Paris on, ironically the very grounds where one of the world's most infamous political protesters, the Marquis de Sade, was imprisoned for many years for his outspokenness.
Yet, sex is a perfect tool for political protest. Nothing shocks the sensibilities quite so much as the abrupt confrontation of something decidedly audacious. Consider for a moment the public activities of the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their petitions did earn them total eradication, but that, too, has been the historic pattern. The Marquis de Sade, just mentioned, barraged the establishment of his day with volumes of the most outrageous satire ever directed at any era, at any body politic. It earned him many years of incarceration and the reputation of being insane. Only time has put him and his work in proper perspective. Then there was Lady Godiva and her famous horse act. Jonathan Swift and his Lilliputians, before they were whitewashed for the juvenile trade. Benjamin Franklin, cavorting with the Hell Fire Club in Anti-British protests. Samuel Clemens assuring us, in "1601," that royalty does indeed have bowels and farts, just like the lowest slave. George Orwell's anti-sex league and Aldous Huxley's "orgy porgy Ford and fun." The nude bathing in the fountains of Washington, DC. The parade of naked Yippies scheduled for the upcoming Miami convention.
The emperor's new clothes, it seems, are strictly a state of mind.
And absolutely nothing is what you have always thought it was. You must refigure it all, or you will not find yourself in proper perspective with what is. I am not saying it is all good. God forbid that anything should be all good. But it is reality, and if you don't face it squarely, on its own terms, you better start crawling into a hole because, without standing up and speaking out clearly for whatever it is you believe in, you are a total zero. The establishment thrives on zeros, and consumes thousands of them daily. Only in that manner can it grow large enough to consume the rest of us. It is your private battle for survival that I'm discussing. I cannot do it for you. God knows no single administrative authority will do anything to help you. It is clearly your duty, or your surrender. And the bad part, if you are apathetic, means your hesitation makes the battle just that much harder for the next person standing in the robotizing line.
"My country right or wrong" is a chillingly terrifying concept when it carries with it the blanket permission to commit wholesale murder, without reason, inside the boundaries of any other nation. Far better is Thomas Jefferson's belief that "God help us all if there's not a revolution in this country every twenty years."
Twenty years of our time have already been spent in Viet Nam, with constantly changing lies about the reasons why we aren't at war to prevent 80% of the citizens of another nation from maintaining the form of government they would prefer to select via proper democratic elections. It's so easy for us to forget about the staggeringly beautiful Vietnamese people that they are people, with their own aims and goals and desires. We get so easily sidetracked into flag-waving and "love it or leave it" and writing letters to Hanoi demanding that they release from their prisons the criminals they've captured red handed in the act of murdering women and children and destroying hospitals and schools and playgrounds. What kind of idiots are we supposed to think they are? We must view them as people, and their divided nation as their property, and their laws and customs as binding as ours, and their dreams and aspirations as important to them as ours are to us. Not only for Viet Nam, but for every other nation as well. This world is much too small for imperialism of the sort the United States is demanding through might as its prerogative. We are vastly out of step with reality. Our representatives have no right to dabble in world structure of the sort that supports India and Pakistan against Bangladesh, directly resulting in massive senseless murders. Our representatives are not representing me in any aggressive action in any spot on this globe and I suspect they are not representing you there either.
The heroes of today, the Jeffersons, the Tom Paines of yesterday, are Daniel Ellsberg who is trying to make it possible for you to know the extent of your guilt in the Far East, and urging you to make some effort to clean the blood off your hands. They are the Berrigans, God bless them, who want you to see there is something inconceivably inhumane in you if you knowingly allow your children to be regimented and shipped off somewhere to play Target or Cannon Fodder for some reason unknown to them, and invalid on any scale of justice. They are Angela Davis who spent almost a year and a half in jail, incommunicado, for an alleged crime she has yet to be tried or convicted for. A crime that many suspect is a clever farce contrived to silence a very vocal person who, most of all, just wants you to find out who you are and to speak up for what you believe in. The age of the robot is solidly upon us and either you are one or you are not, as simple as that.
Thought is private, and your thoughts are your property alone. You may share them, as you wish, but only you have the privilege of controlling them. Your personal choices of entertainment, of pleasure seeking, of spare-time spending, likewise are yours alone, to have and to hold. No way am I saying that gives you the right to run rampant over any other single person's similar rights. You may not. You must not. You have no right to harm any single person (of any race or any nation) for any reason. Having sex, also, is a personal thing, and in whatever form or whatever combination, it should be your private personal business and no one else's. It is the height of stupidity to assume that one can legislate against morality or worse yet, that a select individual, or group of individuals, is more suited to dictate what any single one of us should think, do, act-out, desire - lust for, if you will - in the form of sexual activity or sexual expression. You must not allow that to happen to you.
If I sound callused and disenchanted, then I must apologize for that impression. It is not true. Of all the places I have visited, lived in for a time, many of them are absolutely delightful and I shall someday return, hopefully for longer periods of time. It is still this country that offers the most of the best. The sadness is that it doesn't offer them to the extent that you have been led to believe. This nation, under equitable and impartial leadership, without prejudice and favoritism toward privileged persons or organizations, without aggression toward other nations, other peoples, could be paradise on earth. No single nation, no other nationality has the same potential. We have here the physical terrain (however smoggy and polluted) to provide all that we could need, maintaining ZPG of course. The wealth of many smaller empires, the mental wealth of countless geniuses, the pride and the beauty and the joy of life that is needed for success. Once we strip away the hypocrisy, and turn some of the obscenely expensive government-directed projects toward the citizenry, we'll be well on the way toward becoming what most of us mistakenly thought we were.
It's the people of this great nation that are supposed to be making it what it is today, not the government. It is the people of this great nation that are supposed to be making the government do things for the people, not the government making the people perform petty charades to divert them from nefarious and unspeakable goals. Any single citizen of this country is more valuable than the government. We are in the middle of a revolution, and one no less serious than any allowed to appear in our school textbooks. We have seen many of the bloody battles already, and have more in the offing. You and I are this government, and we must never let them forget it.
What I am saying, what I have been trying to say to you, is just this: Please, God, be your own person. If you are not absolutely sure exactly who you are, make it your business to find out. Don't be diluted into thinking you're who you've always been told you are. Work it out and, whatever you discover there, so long as it harms no one, be it-do it. You Lib! You'll probably be delighted to discover what a really wonderful person you are, what a remarkable piece of machinery your body is, for communication, for relating and what great people you know.
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
I love you very much. Thank you. (Salute the audience.)
- - -
"Just as blue as I can be ."*
By Earl Kemp
the sound of a cornet wafts over the yard, rippling through "St. Louis Blues."
"I hate to see that evenin' sun go down ." Can any sound, alone and penetrating the sudden darkness of evening, evoke such a personal feeling of sharp, accurate loneliness? " takes that man around, by her apron strings ."
A concertina, in Mexican hands, squeezes out an accompaniment with a definite Spanish lift. A student guitarist cautiously stumbles through a few chords trying to keep pace. Congas pound out the basic beat, occasionally running a little ahead then slowing back to the right pace. A saxophone or two takes up the wail, forming the St. Louis Woman's ("Now if it wasn't for diamonds, and store-bought hair .") agonized voice, cutting through the wispy fog of solitude. Then, picking up the last refrain, a harmonica, sounding like a freight train through the night and absolute aloneness and all the fears our abandoned souls can evoke. "That gal's got a heart like a fish cast out to sea ." The sea you can easily gaze into from T.I.?
Mingled voices, mingled people, co-eding hymns to God-their songs drifting outward from the jubilant choir in the chapel. Moving just a bit, letting the hymns slowly segue into "Solamente una vez ." As the multiple voices of the improvisational mariachis evoke lonely memories of quiet Mexican evenings, strings from their several guitars following easily the lead of the deeper base guitar. Just out of sound from them, Los Gringos have their own guitar chorus strumming through " I'm goin' to wait for the midnight hour ."
Beside the auditorium wall Fresh Trout (truchas fresca?) filters through in up-beat rehearsal. Then an unnamed trio "Cold Duck"ing it, ironing out the wrinkles of newness.
Up the stairwell toward 7, packed solid with guitars, improvised rhythm instruments, and drumsticks pounding on everything in sight, almost but never quite like the unmatchable street musicians of Rio the beat is never the same anywhere else.
And always, the Saturday night hitkickers, the local Grand ol' Opera, slides into the echo corner of the yard, kickin' the stuff up knee high and hoein' it down again.
Only Nature's accents can surpass all the manmade efforts worked into the concert. The penetrating screech of the seagulls, wings flopping through the air. The mellow little chirps of the sparrows rushing in and out between the mating, cooing, pigeons, stealing everything in sight. The persistent low-level buzz of myriads of insects and, when you listen very closely indeed, the purring from somewhere deep within Fred's (the yard cat's) mellow soul the sounds all somehow blending into a natural chorus of their own.
Intrusions the harsh cacophony of mechanics blaring into the symphony like punctuations of Stravinsky. Little boat whistles and big booming cruise ship signals. The whirr of small helicopters and the overriding throb of big ones, digging right into your body itself. The putting motors of small planes and, in the far distance, the occasional roar of a commercial jet. The swishing of lawn sprinklers and pings of balls bouncing "follow the bouncing" basketballs, handballs, bocce banging. Metal clanging against concrete weights in motion.
Then the unkindest intrusion of all, destroying the suite for a captive audience that so many work so hard to produce, that so many of Nature's own struggle to create to obliterate the fine Goldenness itself. Radios blaring their canned opiates and walkie-talkies squawking, bringing back present time and rupturing the unreality of a Terminal Island Symphony.
- - -
In this class, each student would write a piece, then stand before the class and read it aloud, and suffer the harshest criticism a bunch of don'twannabe scribes could possibly inflict.
There was usually a significant outside guest appearing before the Creative Writing class. These included many well known people such as John Byner, the stand-up comic, who was a regular. In fact, Harlan Ellison came to visit me and perform for that Creative Writing class one time. I memorialized the occasion in "HE's A Jolly, Good Fellow " in Dwain Kaiser's upcoming issue of Nonstop Fun.
On the evening when "Mickey Mouse and the Buenos Aires Connection" was finished and I stood up and read it for the class, the special guest visitor was Stacy Keach, who laughed uproariously as I read the piece aloud. --Earl Kemp]
Mickey Mouse and the Buenos
By Earl Kemp
"Fuck-er," she said, an affectionate two-word description that was hard to maintain after two days with the fantastic snapper. "No doubt about it, the old man's a real fucker."
"Hey," I said, allowing her to enter the dining room ahead of me, "that's no way to talk about your president."
"Yeah, just shows you don't know anything about that goddamn Peron. The motherfucker's going downhill fast, and it bugs the shit out of me. Here, let's sit at this table."
"Okay," I said, placing her fancy leather hatbox in an empty chair and sitting down for breakfast. I sure needed nourishment. "But I think you'd want to get rid of him."
"See, just like I said. You don't know anything, fuck-er. When that old sonofabitch dies, we all get dumped into the crapper. Especially me, but it's too late to back out now ."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Her endless chatter often drifted off the subject and confused me. Analise was like that all the time. She appeared in a cloud of mystery and disappeared most of every day to "take care of business," hatbox in hand and a convenient taxi always nearby. Some kind of model, I think. There were fragments in her conversation about "down at the studio" or "all that fucking makeup" that led me to think she was a bit actress on television.
That's where I first saw her, in front of the television station. I was driving past when I saw her rushing out the front door like she was escaping from a fate worse than death. God, I thought she was beautiful with her straight black hair blowing behind her.
When she saw me she smiled and I looked deep into her electric green Sunday-comic eyes and remembered immediately where I had known her before. As a kid with a perpetual hard-on I'd borrowed her many times from Terry Lee and Steve Canyon. She was the inscrutable lady from the mysterious East who walked in a haze of expensive Oriental perfume and moved like a cat and was the epitome of sexual desire to a beat-off-bent kid.
I smiled back at her and reached over to open the passenger door. "I thought my dreams would never come true, Dragon Lady," I said, "but you're right on time."
"Why the fuck not?" she said, sliding into the seat beside me and throwing her hatbox into the back. "You can call me Analise, fuck-er."
I pulled around a big black limousine in No Estacionarse and headed straight for the Sheraton.
Analise sure had a mouth on her, and did she know how to use it. The more I talked to her - well, listened actually, it was very difficult to talk to her - the more I loved her. She was the most fantastically vibrating speed freak I'd ever known, and someone had spoiled her rotten.
It was lust at first sight for both of us. "You know it's not your body I'm hot for," she said.
"Just shut up, baby, and do it some more." Jesus, how Analise could move, vibrating like mad, with the help of three miniwhites.
What made it so damnedably difficult for me was, I'd picked up a god-awful head cold that was screwing up my suavest routine.
She had the most fantastic skin, all over. She was delicious sometimes chocolate and sometimes raspberry, but always virginal, without the slightest trace of makeup anywhere. A real nature girl. Maybe that's why she tasted so good.
"Then what is it you're after?" I asked, lifting up to look into Analise's glowing, vibrating face.
"Oh, Christ, you're as bad as the old man. And I was just about there, too."
"Money?" I asked.
"Fuck-er, I'm going home of you don't get back down. Well, not home, but I do have a place that's still secret. I think, but ."
She was so sweet and refreshing, if only I could shake my head cold. I could hardly keep at anything for longer than two minutes between Kleenex grabbing and nose blowing. Still and all, we did the best we could with the talent available.
"Actually I prefer a king-sized bed, but what the hell does Sheraton know about fancy fucking? Goddamn motherfucking CIA front," Analise said, "too fucking wound up in supporting Peron and heroin running and world ruling to operate a decent hotel."
Nevertheless, all this time I'd been hotly pursuing Analise for more than her best assets. What I really wanted from her was grass, not ass. She knew everyone in B.A. and where you could get absolutely anything, but for some reason she was reluctant to come across with plain old blow. Anyway, if the Dragon Lady couldn't provide it, no one could.
"Oh, come on, baby ." I pleaded, for the nth time.
"No, maybe later. Now stand still."
Christ, how that girl could eat. She took me to some damn fine restaurants.
Walking the early morning streets with Buenos Aires looking more like Paris than Paris-only the burning chestnuts were missing-and me so fucking ripped it was difficult remembering what continent I was on, much less what city. Turning down dark streets and knocking furtively on questionable doors. "Analise sent me," I whispered into the peephole, knowing damned well it was supposed to be "Joe." Nevertheless, the magic words earned double the official black market rate for traveler's checks.
"If it isn't money you want ?"
"Christ, fuck-er, you want me to give you money? Cra-ziee! Now get your pants off, I've got a surprise for you."
And surprise she did. No one's ever done so much with Alka Seltzer and raspberry douche before. As a matter of fact, I was so tired I could hardly drag myself downstairs for breakfast.
Across the table Analise was radiant as usual, hiding "from her public" behind big fancy sunglasses, bitching about the old man, and vibrating like mad. How anyone could pop so many whites confounded me. She kept ordering different things from the menu, like a child, and I kept wiping my nose and bitching about my cold.
"Oh, Christ, do I have to take care of that, too? My brother's a doctor, you know. The old man's doctor, in fact. Well, not his only doctor. He's got lots of doctors. He takes all kinds of shit. The old motherfucker's got absolutely everything, you know." She snapped her fingers and a phone magically appeared. She dialed a number and ran her shoeless foot up my leg and into my crotch. I snuggled closer to the table, eager for my first vibrating toe job.
"Bab-eh," she said into the phone, "'s me, 'lise. Did your clap clear up yet?" And aside to me, "The old man's got that, too, you know?"
Then back into the phone, "Listen, bab-eh, Earl's got this absolutely retched head cold and no, Earl but, bab-eh, Avram was last week yes, Earl. Anyway, I thought you could fix him up with some dope. Sure, talk to him." She handed the phone to me.
"Hello, uh, bab-eh," I said.
He sounded quite nice. He asked what was wrong and told me he'd prescribe the same thing for me that he gives the old man, and to please give the phone back to Analise.
"Shoot, bab-eh," she said, paper and pen in hand, scribbling away and not missing a foot stroke. "Oh, the same thing you gave the old man. Why didn't you just say so?"
She hung up and snapped her fingers again, saying, "Give me a twenty for the fag, fuck-er." She gave the phone, the bill, and the note to the busboy, rapid-firing Spanish at him and simultaneously wiggling her finger for the waitress.
The kid left and the waitress brought hot chocolate that I could almost taste and we played with it for a while and Analise kept her foot right where it was, vibrating like mad, until the boy came back from the drug store and I did too.
"If you aren't after money, then what?"
"Well, it's like this, fuck-er. You got one thing I can't get in Argentina, and I want it."
"You want my hump ?" I began, quoting uselessly.
" you're not listening, fuck-er. I know what you want, and I'll bring it over tonight; I've got to update a tape today. Only it's going to cost you, and ."
"Jesus, you found some grass ." I began, but she interrupted again.
"Whacha mean found? I had it all the time. It's great shit, too."
"Fanfuckin'! What's it called? My first Argentine weed ."
"Whacha mean Argentine? Christ, I had this motherfuckin' pot flown in from Bogotá, and ."
"Deal," I said. "No arguments. Whatever you want, you get."
"I'm almost embarrassed to tell you, fuck-er, but I'm hot for Mickey."
"There's no embarrassment in you."
"Jesus, you're one dumb fucker, fuck-er. Doncha know nothing? I want your sonofabitching watch, man. What you got that turns me on is Mickey Mouse."
I took my cheap traveling watch off and passed it over the table right there in front of God, the CIA, the FBI, the spirit of the old man, and the mincing busboy.
"Oh, and one other thing," she added, "tomorrow night, my place, remember? And ." She handed me a fresh Kleenex and told me how I should take the medicine and continued her run-on, " dinner, wine, music. Oh, Pepe's flying in with some fresh Oaxacan mushrooms, so ."
And the chocolate was finished and I definitely was, so she put her shoe back on while I signed the check and we went to the lobby. I held her hatbox in front of me to hide my pants and was doing my damnedest not to break up.
"Hey, what's so goddamned funny?"
"The check," I said. "Something I've always wanted to do. I signed it Richard Nixon and made up a room number."
"Absolutely delicious, fuck-er." She kissed me quickly and took her hatbox. She took a last admiring look at Mickey, snuggled around her wrist, said, "taking care of business," turned and dashed down the street toward the waiting taxi, skipping every other step and vibrating like mad.
I walked across the lobby not caring what anyone thought about the way my pants looked and went back upstairs to my room. I took a double dose of the old man's cold remedy, opened a fresh box of Kleenex, and went back to bed. God knows I was tired after the night before.
"Just bend over and spread, fuck-er," she said. "This's called the 'knots in the string.' You'll pop off like crazy."
But before I did, alone in the non-vibrating room, the last thing I saw was Isabel shouting something about the old man at me from the television set.
"She's not real, you know," Analise said. "The old man built her. That's nothing but makeup and a high-neck dress that hides a great body. That's an awful wig she's wearing, all that piled-up 'forties shit."
"What're you talking about?"
"Her," she said, pointing to the screen. "Isabel, the wind-up robot veep." She shuddered visibly. "No matter what they do, they can't make anyone in Argentina like her. Everyone calls her a two-bit Panamanian whore. Imagine the old man leaving the country in her hands?"
Something warm and moist was wrapping around me in my sleep, only I wasn't asleep and it was real. "Analise," I said, "you're back," raising up to look down at her.
"I knew that'd get you up, fuck-er. See, I was right."
"Never mind that, I'm too tired anyway. What about the mari-jua-waah-nnna?"
"Behold," she said, flashing a newspaper-wrapped package; they're not very big on baggies in B.A. "The killer weed itself."
She shook the paper and half a dozen rolled joints and a few chocolate bars tumbled onto the bed. I fondled them while she fondled me and finished undressing. I breathed in deep, smelling the weed through the Zig-Zags. It had been weeks since I'd scored and the urge to partake was descending on me like a troop of Boy Scouts on a whorehouse.
I jumped up and opened the windows wide and turned the television volume down, wondering how long it would take us to smoke one Mouse worth of MJ. I fell back onto the headboard beside Analise and flicked my Bic, listening to her.
"Just take it easy, fuck-er, its potent shit," she said.
Isabel was pidgin-Spanishing again, standing in front of posters of the old man and emoting like an honors grad from the Kathryn Kuhlman Acting School, while the relentless propaganda machine prepared an ungrateful populous for the second coming of Saint Evita.
"One small toke for Analise," I said. "Tu chingadera Peronista."
Drag deep, hold it down more longer. Oh, Christ, detonate!
"And one giant toke for the old man," she said, squeezing the number in one hand and the joint in the other.
We forced ourselves through two whole numbers, most of the chocolate bars, four room-service visits from the faggot busboy, and every anatomical exercise in the Intermediate Manual before I started heavying out.
Analise was relentless. "Next I'll show you how to split the banana," she said, rolling onto me again.
"Christ, woman, have you no shame?"
I would drift out of my head and into my crotch and back again, for hours or minutes, nodding off and pumping like mad and looking at everything like Alice through a cloud of hookah smoke with caterpillars and dancing cards and comic-book colors and trying to drown out Analise's story about where she was going to put the last candy bar and how I had to eat it all before she'd do the thing with the ice cubes again.
I escaped from the grinder just one step ahead of Fu Manchu and made my way into the bathroom, trying to drown the cottonmouth and running off at the other end. As I stumbled back into the bedroom I saw Analise, arms spreading in four directions, waiting lustfully for me.
On the television screen, Isabel was doing much the same, gesturing frantically at photographs of the ailing old man. I couldn't fight it off any longer. I closed my eyes and pitched forward, to be wrapped in a blanket of vibrating euphoria where I floated for hours just three feet above the bed.
The window was still open and the drapes billowed into the room wildly as an unexpected breeze began intermingling with our naked flesh. The blinds beat a steady, relentless tattoo against the windowsill and there were many moments when I was sure I would die, right there, submerged in total vibrating ecstasy.
Analise jumped out of bed and ran across the room.
Shaking the weed-fog from my head, I remembered there'd been a steady rapping on the door. When she flung it open, I saw her favorite busboy.
"It is time, Senora," he said. "They're coming now."
"Gracias, Angel." She made a dash across the room for her hatbox. "It's okay, fuck-er, stay cool. Nothing's going to happen to you."
I got up and walked toward her. "What's going on? Who's coming?"
" didn't mean for it to happen like this, bab-eh. Have to cancel out tomorrow. All of them. They're here."
"They ?" I ran to the window and hung out, looking down at a big black limousine, miniature sky-blue and white flags fluttering on both front fenders, surrounded by a motorcycle escort. "What .?"
I turned around and two men walked into the room through the still open door. They were black-suited, muscle-bulging, and very stereotyped. "We must go now ." One began.
"Yes, I know." She said, and I looked at her. The Dragon Lady had stepped back through the looking glass, never to return. She kissed me, some of her heavy makeup brushing off on my cheek.
"The last of the good times," she said, "and you'll never really know what's real, fuck-er."
They left, a goon walking on either side of her and me standing bareass in the open hotel room door, watching them go. With her hair piled high atop her head and her high-neck dress in place, she walked regally and just a little like a small child, frightened.
My Mickey Mouse, my Analise, every inch a lady and one damn fine two-bit Panamanian whore.
- - -
Here Am I, Don Earlito, Man of La Chinga!*
By Earl Kemp
I never wanted to be Don Quixote. I never wanted to spend any of my time doing battle with First Amendment windmill monsters as they invaded my horizon. But I was crazy enough to think about wanting to, and to try to now and then, and to wind up with my ass in a royal crack being squeezed between that proverbial rock and a hard place.
Talk about off the wall Kafkaian to the max stage set in Dante's Inferno with backdrops by Hieronymus Bosch. The whole thing could have been a psychedelic dream, brought on by LSD and a little Amaretto.
I was actually on trial in a great big fancy federal courtroom in a big old federal looking federal building. Me ? And I couldn't believe a moment of it. It everything was completely and totally not even there. I actually went so far as to ask a well-known Hollywood psychic to tell me what he saw in the stars and he told me there was absolutely nothing there. That the trial was not happening. That's the best way to describe how I felt about it as well, only there was a trial ongoing and it was the damnedest thing I had ever gotten into the middle of when I wasn't even asleep.
Someone was out to get my ass real good and going to some extraordinary lengths to do it as well. I had no doubt about that, and they were hammering away at me inside that courtroom as if I had just become their one and only all-time object of personal, individual detestation. To my ears, it sounded as if every word spoken inside that room, and there were three other people on trial besides myself, somehow pointed only toward me, regardless of who or what subject was being discussed.
For months before the trial even began, I had been concerned about a phrase that kept repeating itself over and over in correspondence coming into my scope of knowledge originating in the U.S. Department of Justice. Almost every message began with the words, "Because Kemp edited the book " and then would default to other matters completely unrelated either to Kemp or editing any book. I kept asking Lou Katz and Stanley Fleishman to explain that to me.
There was nothing illegal about editing that book. There was no sort of conviction associated with editing that book. Why then is it necessary to begin routine correspondence with "Because Kemp edited the book "? I was never to know the answer to that question.
The prosecution had prepared a huge blow-up of my driving license showing my photograph, my date of birth, my residence address, etc. The usual personal stuff one hardly casually flaunts around a courtroom. Nevertheless, as each witness appeared on the stand, they were shown that blow-up of my license and asked, "Can you identify the man in the photograph as being Mr. Earl Kemp?"
And the witness would say, "Yes, that is Mr. Kemp." Then he would point at me.
And the prosecution would then say, "Let the record show that the witness has identified the defendant, Mr. Earl Kemp, as the person who did it."
Then the prosecution would take that blow-up of my driving license and put it on an easel directly before the jury and tell them to look into the face of "the person who did it." And they would do this time and time again.
Not one of the other three defendants on trial had their license blown up and displayed even once, much less time after time, day after day, week after week, until even I was beginning to suspect that I might be "the person who did it" even though no "it" had been identified and I seriously doubted if I did "it" in the first place.
But I was sure tired of them parading my photograph around, pointing to me where I was sitting, and endlessly repeating "the person who did it." When the trial was finally over and we had access to the trial exhibits, the first thing I did was demand that my photograph be withdrawn from the trial files, and it was.
The whole thing was so pretentious it was embarrassing, with everyone posturing and posing and trying for positions on the evening news.
Stanley had given all of us strict advice to sit quietly and to not display much emotion. To be perfect gentlemen (and lady) at all times, the best of friends and the best of people. And we did, but it was difficult to do while listening to the preposterous things being said about me, about us, and tossed around inside that courtroom.
The audience was almost a full house at every court session. There were a number of reporters there from places like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times in addition to the local media. A few wire service stringers and local television reporters as well.
A couple of my neighbors took to attending the trial with my wife, to offer her support. Stanley had also decreed that our wives and adult children would sit there throughout the entire trial offering their moral support to us, and they did.
The thing that almost packed the house, though, was the kids students from San Diego State University who were assigned the trial as classroom work by a number of professors, some of whom were actively participating for the defense in the trial itself.
I had never felt so proud in my life. Those kids were really doing a trip on my head, the way they looked up to me and glowed. Many of them had copies of The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography and tried to follow along as the trial progressed. And, naturally, they wanted me to sign their books for them, and they weren't alone.
Of course I signed them. It pleased me greatly, especially whenever I knew that Judge Thompson was watching me surreptitiously, and I would try to hold the crowd's attention as long as I could in hopes that Thompson would wonder what the hell was really going on here, but he didn't.
The press, bailiffs, and courthouse employees from all over the building would also slip into those signing lines, during breaks in the trial, and watch my big green pen scrawling across the title page, "The Truth Will Make You Free!" and signing an illegible blurb, my real time official John Henry.
To say that I was annoyed about being on trial is an understatement. Waiting for the trial to begin in the first place had almost destroyed me all by itself. I was really pissed off at the feds for pulling such a stunt in the first place. Imagine the millions of dollars spent over one year dogging me much less over ten years. They could have bought me outright considerably cheaper; there were many who already knew I was willing to work far below scale if the thrill lasted as long as the flavor.
So, because it wasn't real and I wasn't on trial, I could do anything, right?
I dressed like a mafia overlord. Each week, every day, I never let them see me wearing the same tailored, severe, Armani rip-off three-piece Italian silk certified made in China suit with proper hand-tailored dress shirt and tie, naturally.
Only one person had the clout to try to out dress me, local Federal District Attorney Warren Reese, who favored $1,000 (1970s prices) suits also. But then the feds have always been known to spend far too much money trying to make a statement directly contrary to what their mouth is speaking.
And, to make matters even more heavily weighted in my favor, I would go to each morning's trial session with a maximum stoned glow radiating outward from my inner contentment. Then sit there, quietly, amused, chuckling at myself, and fingering whatever the day's de jour federally illegal substance happened to be. There, secure inside my pocket, in the federal courthouse, watching the federal judge working at shagging my federal ass for his federal boss.
The foreman of the jury slept through most of the trial proceedings. It got to be a standing joke he was awakened so many times and told to pay attention, only he couldn't. Sleep was a much more desirable retreat.
Finally, just before Christmas, it was all over and, S*U*R*P*R*I*S*E, I lost again.
Now it was time for the appeals process to begin.
Follow the Appeals; Pay Attention!
Curiouser and Curiouser
In November 1972, my and Bill Hamling's convictions for conspiring to mail obscene matter came before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Los Angeles. All four of the convicted Greenleaf Classics felons, Hamling, Kemp, Wright, and Thomas, were present to watch their separate fates being decided by three very old men of fair and impartial justice. The fair and impartial is a necessary part of the myth.
The following day, while all that had happened was still fresh on my mind, I wrote a long letter describing the session to my friend Frank Robinson, a fellow Hamlingite. Among other things, I made this observation about Stanley Fleishman:
"For the previous two cases, at least two of the judges had been visibly bored, annoyed, detached. As Stanley took the podium they all three snapped into rapt attention, pencils and paper in hand. They hung onto every word and made frequent notes. One of them apparently nodded occasionally in agreement with some point of law Stanley made They did not give Stanley a hard time at all except they did remind him that he was running over time and that he had to stop talking."
Stanley Fleishman was so unbelievably good to watch in operation, when he had the machine cranked up really high and running on lots of adrenalin. He dominated every courtroom he ever entered and towered head over heels above any judge, any justice. He always stood his ground, regardless, and met them nose to nose.
Because he had been crippled since infancy by paralysis, and wore an elaborate harness, and used crutches, most people didn't seem to know how to react to him, all five feet of him. I got to know Stanley so well, and was allowed to watch him at work so often, I believed I knew him pretty well indeed.
And I think he deliberately gimmicked his harness to appear to be bigger and clumsier and more painful than it was. I believe he practiced the use of his crutches until he was as good at twirling them as a ballet dancer at leaping about.
Totally aside from anything that might be ongoing inside those courtrooms, and anything Stanley might be saying, he was doing things with his body, his harness, and his crutches. He was distracting, disarming, and confusing. He could pivot on a dime and swirl all the way around, flinging his crutches out like huge defensive weapons and pointing one of them accusingly at a witness.
He could bring the entire room to a shocked stillness, breaths held, while fumbling down, trying to reach a crutch that had almost accidentally fallen noisily and jarringly on cue.
Stanley was all powerful, all controlling; he was wonderful.
Sam Rosenwein, Stanley's mentor, was there to argue the case for my release, and Sam was also a formidable force. I said this of Sam:
"Sam took the podium and argued for me In all honesty, I feel he argued rather heavily for me It was almost a hard sell (brought on, I hope, by the fact that I literally threatened him and Stanley with Talking to the Right People if they didn't get me off. Sam really did a strong pitch for me). Let's face it, I'm selfish and goddamned if I'm going to go away quietly for something I had absolutely nothing to do with and somewhere, some time, someone's going to listen to me."
Then I wrote:
"During one point of Stanley's argument wherein he was discussing Rule 30; an attorney's request to the judge for discussions without the jury being grounds for mistrial the presiding judge said that was an if-fy rule subject to interpretation. The judge to his right said, "No, that is an absolute rule, without variation." Presiding judge sent for his law book and asked judge-to-right to point it out to him. Right looked it up, passed it over, saying "absolute" presiding judge said, "You're right."
I did not make a note of "judge to the right's" name. I am sorry about that because he is the Curiouser and Curiouser of this segment.
Throughout the entire proceedings, he was very vocal in support of reversal of our convictions. He did not treat the prosecuting attorney nicely at all. He was inspiring to me and caused me to write:
"I had a good feeling throughout most of the proceedings about the judges. Perhaps this is because my personal involvement makes me see good things and feel good vibes, because all else would be incomprehensible to me. I do feel there is honesty in this court (a thought that did not pause, however fleetingly, in my head throughout the trial) and that the judges are honorable men. But then I doubt seriously if I could allow myself to think otherwise at this point in time.
"Later Stanley says it is a positive reversal on the point of Rule 30 ."
Then, the Curiouser and Curiouser happened. Our appeals were denied through a miracle of imaginative intervention.
On his deathbed, literally, judge to the right did a complete about-face and denied every conviction he had loudly and publicly espoused up until that moment. There is a line of ink and a smear where he finished signing the document condemning us to prison even as he was dying, or so they say .
Curiouser and Curiouser .
Fleishman For the Defense
From 1975 through 1979, Gay Talese wrote a series of articles for Esquire magazine about pornography, pornographers, and the law. Among other things, Talese pointed out the criminal activities at the time of Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Attorney General John Mitchell, and others operating directly out of the White House. A good portion of Talese's writings dealt with our trial for publishing Illustrated, and for mailing a brochure advertising it.
Thanks A Lot, Milhouse
When we scheduled publication of The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, we hired a prestigious advertising agency to plan and conduct a big, nationwide campaign for the book. The advertisements were not so much attempts to sell books as verbal missiles fired to taunt Nixon.
The campaign they came up with was all keyed on their slogan, "Thanks a lot, Milhouse " Hamling nixed that instantly, "Too disrespectful," he said. "Make it 'Mr. President.'"
The brochure advertising the book was one sheet of 11''x14'' glossy paper printed on both sides in color. Then the printed sheets were machine folded to fit inside an ordinary No. 10 business envelope. There were three versions of the infamous brochure. At a quick glance, they all appear to be the same.
The outside of each version is the same, a reproduction of the book covers and a couple of blurbs. The inside of each brochure is different.
In one version, the adjudged obscene brochure, the center spread is filled with color reproductions of hard-core pictures selected from inside the book.
In a second version, the center spread is filled with a very clinical doctor's chart depicting stick figures in sexual intercourse positions.
In the third version, the center spread is filled with completely innocent but provocative pictures selected from inside the book.
There was every good reason to suspect that it would not have made any difference in the directed outcome of our trial had the most innocuous one of the three brochures been chosen to use as the prosecution's target.
As far as Talese went with his research, he presented a well-rounded view of most of the related things that had been ongoing in the sleaze publishing business and in the highest possible positions in Washington, DC.
Those articles were gathered and published in Talese's Thy Neighbor's Wife (Doubleday, 1980).
In his chapter dealing with the U.S. Supreme Court pleadings involving our Illustrated convictions, Talese has this to say about Stanley Fleishman:
"In a stentorian
voice, Chief Justice Warren Burger announced to the Court: 'We'll hear
arguments next in 73505 - Hamling against the United States.' Nodding
from his high-backed black chair down toward the attorney, Burger added:
'Mr. Fleishman, I think you may proceed whenever you are ready.'
Talese had perfectly captured the beauty and essence of Fleishman the man, the respect he commanded, and the power he held over even the most powerful in the land.
With Unclean Hands
In November 1970, when we published The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, William Rehnquist was a high-ranking official in the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney General John Mitchell was in charge at the time, and taking his illegal orders directly from crime boss Richard Nixon.
It was Rehnquist, in fact, who fronted the effort to have William Hamling and myself indicted in the first place.
Then, to complicate matters, Richard Nixon appointed Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no reason to suspect he did that solely because he approved of Rehnquist's actions directed toward me. This position, like that of Gordon Thompson, Jr., was a lifetime contract that came complete with some rather attractive bennies.
After our convictions and the denial of our appeals before the Appellate Court in Los Angeles, our appeals then moved directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is important to take note that William Rehnquist, that fine gentleman from Milwaukee, did not excuse himself from sitting in on those appeals even though he was, de facto, the original accuser in the matter a number of years earlier.
Then, to ad a healthy modicum of insult, it was William Rehnquist himself, in person, who cast the deciding vote condemning William Hamling and me to prison. And then he wrote the majority opinion in the case. Doing so must have been rather rewarding, considering how long he had to wait to do it.
From accuser to executioner in one easy move.
To this day I have trouble comprehending what the meaning of "conflict of interest" is, and why men of honor have no trouble at all recognizing and observing it.
Repeat with emphasis:
Department of Justice Attorney General John Mitchell followed illegal orders from mob boss Nixon.
Department of Justice underling William Rehnquist followed illegal orders from Mitchell from mob boss Nixon.
Mitchell was sent to a US Federal Prison for his efforts.
Rehnquist was sent to the US Supreme Court for his efforts.
There will be a quiz on this section.
A Proud And Lonely Thing To Be A Fan
It is a proud and lonely thing being a better man than habitual criminal Richard Milhouse Nixon.
It is a proud and lonely thing being a better man than judge to the right.
It is a proud and lonely thing being a better man than William Rehnquist (with Abe Fortas thrown in gratis).
It is a proud and lonely thing .
Time moved on, making many peculiar changes as it did so. And, in its customary fashion, things that were good became bad and things that were bad became good. Things that were commonplace became illegal and things that killed were sold on every street corner in the entire country to anyone with enough money to pay for them.
Nothing as bizarre as President William Jefferson Clinton's impeachment for sexual activity performed in the Oval Office with a frisky intern named Monica Lewinsky. You would have thought that everyone in DC had somehow forgotten Jack Kennedy's well-known and publicized mafia and movie star White House sex parties.
As the Clinton impeachment trial became a reality in early 1999, I acted on a spontaneous impulse.
I picked up the telephone and phoned Bill Hamling. When he answered, before he could say anything, I blurted out:
"Bill, I've decided it's time for us to publish The Illustrated Presidential Fuck In the Oval Office Book."
He broke out into a big laugh. "And," he said, "we can use the original cast for the pictures."
We had a good laugh at the vagaries of Fate and the flip-flops of Destiny, all made possible one more time by our wonderful professional politicians and the corporations they work for.
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