My older brother was a Catholic priest, and an excellent man. He was scholarly, wise and caring, so that the influence that he exerted over his parishioners was done for good. In private conversations I came to realize that he did not believe in the mythology of Christianity, and yet was happy to “preach the gospels” because within the mythology is a recipe for personal happiness without harming others. If it turned out that Jesus and Mary were not real, and all of the saints and martyrs were merely reincarnations of pagan gods, it did not matter. He used mythology for good.
Most people are simply not capable of grasping the hard cold reality of life as it is, and need their myths.
Some of us can live above all of that – I am one of those. I don’t need religious icons, I don’t pray, I don’t believe in Jesus, Mary or Joseph, the Bible or the Catholic Church. It is all lies, but I don’t mind those lies. Religion makes people happy, gives meaning to their lives, and harms them hardly at all. In fact, religion in good people is a way of seeking truth, just as science is for more practical people.
The United States of America is built on lies as well. Military flyovers at sporting events do not send shivers up my spine, as I realize those machines are used primarily for killing innocent people. Our national anthem is a horrible piece of music, and when I see the flag raised up a pole, I don’t salute, don’t care. I’ve seen too many lies, too much killing, to think that symbol has any power for good.
Yet, sans myth, I am happy in my skin, love my life and all the people in it. I know that I live on a different plane, and am careful not to trip over their myths. They are so deeply embedded that they cannot be undone. As Ellul said in his 1965 work on the subject, people need propaganda to be happy. Mythology is more real to them than reality, and thus it must be. Take away their myths, you destroy their raison d’être
Nothing then surprises me. Everything about this crazy country falls apart on close examination. They didn’t land on the moon, the president is appointed rather than elected, and real power is silent and hidden away. The power that runs this country carefully constructs and reinforces our myths. Myths are taught and tested in the schools, and the few of us who see through them are carefully escorted to the margins. We go through life with a smirk on our face, I suppose, knowing that everything about us is a lie. In truth, it is kind of fun.
Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the 911 Commission, has an interesting academic background. His study centered on “creation and maintenance of public myths.” Of course! So much time and effort is put into reinforcement of our mythology that it has to be systematically studied somewhere! Just as my brother was trained to understand and accept people as they are and feed them myths to help them along, so too must certain of our leaders be trained in the same subject, their religion called “Americanism.”
If only, like my brother, American myths were used for good. Rather, they are used for great evil. The American century, which started in earnest in about 1917, has rained hell on the planet and its inhabitants.
Americans are shielded from all the evil done in our name. We are fed lies not just about history, current events and politics, but are supplied our pop culture too. The same people give us Brittney Spears who gave us 9/11, Tonkin, Sandy Hook, etc.
Dave McGowan, perhaps a disinfo agent, perhaps just lazy, stumbled on the Laurel Canyon scene of the mid-1960s, and wrote about hit in his book, Weird Scenes in the Canyon. He is supposedly dying of aggressive cancer right now, but I don’t take anything at face these days. That would reinforce the myth that CIA uses cancer and heart attacks to secretly kill people who get too close to the truth. The problem with that underground assumption is that McGowan never really got very close. And he’s a heavy smoker to boot. Or used to be. I’ll bet he quit just recently.
But what he did discover was startling.
Most of the musical icons of the era 1965-75 were frauds, but it was interesting to see how mediocre talent could be foisted upon us. In Emperor’s Clothes fashion, we convinced ourselves that they were indeed talented and good. But more interesting was that so many of the icons of that era – Jane and Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa, Sharon Tate, Joan Baez, David Crosby, John Phillips, Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Stills and on and on … had either parents from the military intelligence community, or were themselves in military intelligence.
The music was faked, by the way – most of it supplied by a group of real musicians who became known informally as The Wrecking Crew. The fake musicians could not do much in a music studio, and so had to be helped along. But interestingly, when kids went to the concerts and heard, for instance, the Byrds sounding like shit, their brains supplied them with the studio music to accompany the fractured chords and raspy voices of the real thing. We entertained ourselves.
It was done with purpose – there was a real movement afoot, something my generation should be proud of – a truth movement spreading on campuses called “antiwar.” The real activities of the American military in Indochina were being examined and exposed, and it had to be stopped. The Laurel Canyon scene was part of a much larger effort by intelligence to supply false leaders for the movement (Fonda, John Kerry, Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden among them). In the music scene, the object was to take impressionable youth, drug them up, dumb them down, and brand the anti-war movement as acid freaks and free lovers. Thus did military intelligence destroy the antiwar movement in its cradle.
It is within this much larger framework that I exist, on this higher plane, understanding more about or culture than most, and living easily with the lies. I see the events like 911, Boston, Paris, San Bernardino, going on around us, and easily accept that they are false. It’s all part of the mythology, used for evil and not good. Sadly, it has such a hold on the public mind that the few of us who see through it cannot change or help anyone. We just have to sit back and enjoy the show. Pardon me if I smirk. As long as the events are fake and no one is really harmed, I don’t shed a tear.
It is also within this much larger framework that when I learn of a man named Mark Staycer, who looks like, sounds like, acts like, and even has all of the paraphernalia of John Lennon, I laugh out-loud. Of course! It makes perfect sense. The Beatles were no more a natural phenomenon than the wind-whistling-through-a-beer-can voice of Bob Dylan being sold to us as good music. They were groomed for us, sold to us, styled for us. Their music was probably supplied to them by others, and what came out of the studio was no more a real sound than that of the Byrds or CSNY. That they happened to have real musical talent helped – it seems the Brits were better at producing true musicians than the Americans.
That they fake-killed him? Fake and suspicious autopsy-free deaths in the entertainment industry are common. It seems to be a common exit strategy. It is hard for us to understand, but living in a fish bowl wears people down. Fame is a beast that must be kept in a cage. It appears that after doing their jobs, carrying our their roles as pop icons, some are given a back-door exit to a real life in quiet solitude. Thus did McGowan discover in Weird Scenes a highly unusual and suspicious string of deaths among musicians.
The joker strikes again! Lennon could not handle life outside the spotlight. He’s fucking with us again. I am having a laugh. If you choose to believe in mythology and laugh at me, it is part of the burden I must bear – that of understanding stuff that you don’t. That wears me down. I don’t like being laughed at, as my lone voice laughing at you is drowned out by the chorus of loud ignorance. That is the burden of knowledge.
You might actually take a look at the evidence,
but I know you too well. You won’t.