Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Ace edition cover art by Frank Frazetta
#14 Tarzan The Invincible
Parts 3 & 4 of an 9-part analysis
Through The Dark Continent With Edgar Rice Burroughs
"The horror, the horror." ~ Mr. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness
Africa! The Dark Continent! The physical representation of the Unconscious in the Whte Man's dream world. What fascination the dark outlines of a submerged mental continent held for artists and writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cubism. Freud, the Stanley of the mind's unconscious. What fascination that vanished Africa of the Unconscious held for Edgar Rice Burroughs and, yes, for me. It is no accident that Burroughs placed Tarzan adventures in the Dark Continent.
If I may permit me to say a few words about my intents and purposes for studying the Big Bwana and the man who invented him. Incidentally my use of the suphemism 'the big Bwana' is a dead psychological giveaway. As Anne Morrow Lindbergh said: Listen! The wind is rising.
This essay brings me to the point I set out to find when I began my study of Burroughs. I have tried to point out how ERB's world kept slipping away from beneath his feet. Changes came so thick and fast that there was no time for him to get used to anything. The nineteenth century of his youth and young manhood was burried in the avalanche of technological advances of the first couple decades of th twentieth century; and then the Great War and the Bolshevik Revolution shattered all his political conceptions. As he began his adjustments to these changes in the raucus atmosphere of the twenties, the New Era vanished like a sent email from your screen. Coming from the same place the email vanished the thirties landed onl him like a mountain. As he had to struggle to make sense of his world so in the aftermath of WWII I had my own struggle to make on the rapidly blinking screen of my world while ERB went to a well deserved rest.
There was the giveaway of China, the Korean War, the Kefauver Crime Hearings during which the Organized Crime figures J. Edgar Hoover said didn't exist thumbed their noses at the FBI and got away with it. What effect do you think that had on a perceptive young kid who read G-Man comics?
The McCarthy/Communist duel, the Liberals said the Communists didn't exist too, of course there are those who say you don't exist either, just a figment of your own imagination, sheer paranoia that you believe you do exist. Who you gonna believe? I thought Communists, Organized Crime, and I existed. The duel between all three rearranged my nerve endings changing my world all around but nothing, absolutely nothing, destroyed my conceptions of order so much as the most stunning reversal possible for the Western world, which is to say, my world, as the defeat, not only the defeat, but the unconditional surrender of the supposedly undefeatable French Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu. Ho Chi Minh the Vietnamese leader had even been trained in Paris where he waited tables for several years. Try to put some of this stuff together. You might open some doors.
The bastards didn't even hold out to the last man, they allowed themselves to be emasculated by marching out between the ranks of the assembled Red Army of Viet Nam. So much for the valor of criminals and ne'er do wells. Dirty Dozen my ass.
The FFL is gone now, heck, France is almost gone now. Lost in the oblivion of the corridors of Time. How can I make others understand the legend of the brigades of criminals and ne'er do wells of the Legion; that is the off scourings of all seven continents regardless of nationality, who gravitated to the French Foreign Legion where they redeemed their worthless lives undere the supposedly toughest military discipline in the world on the battlefields of the Sahara. Heck, the Foreign Legion didn't even put up a good fight in Indo-China. They didn't even make good excuses. They just said to the US: Here, you take it, it's yours. Europe began to disappear as a serious factor in history then and there. Effete, used up, worn out, intimidated by the lesser peoples of the world, a cosmic joke. Look at them now. Africans and Semites of varied stripes mock them in their own homeland. Not the world I was born into, is it? Imagine the changes in ERB's.
And then to add insult to injury Europeans gave up their homes in Africa without a fight. I mean they lived there. In some areas for hundreds of years. The conscious ruled the unconscious then. You have to remember that we were raised on National Geographics. Back then the Geographics were nearly a secular bible. You had to be 'invited' to subscribe to their mag, you couldn't just send them the subscription money. They'd return it.
Those were the days we scoffed at Africans who wore grass skirts just like ERB describes. They had weird tattooings and raised cicatrices. Bizarre tribes put plates in their lips; piled copper rings one on top of the other to elongate women's necks. Weird body piercings and strange hairdos adorned the pages f the Geographic. Nowadays the situation is reversed as Whites vie for weirdness in body piercings while Blacks like Robert Mugabe, the Shona chief, walk around in fitted three piece suits.
As bad as Dien Bien Phu was the lights went out in Europe one by one as beginning with Ghana in 1957 African colonies became independent. Europe just capitulated without a struggle. I was shaken, even stunned. I was nearly alone, but I was stunned. Nineteen-sixty was the big year for African independence.
I am writing an enormous novel of my life and times. Up to 1960, three thousand pages or so. I got hung up over Africa; Africa's place in my unconscious. I found it impossible to progress beyond 1960 and the rock of Africa. That was about five years ago. I began a study of Africa to organize my thoughts. I was naturally led back to my childhood influence of the Big Bwana. Tarzan of the Apes. The jungle god. After all Africa was Tarzan's estate. All of it. From reviewing Tarzan I was pushed into a study of Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mastermind.
Now, in this story, as the Communist agents (a tip of the hat to Joseph McCarthy) are poised to stage a fake invasion of Italian Solmaliland, in this novel Burroughs has brought me to the crux to which my studies have been leading. Reds and Africa. The conscious and unconscious. Since I can now explain this the block that prevented me from advancing my own novel has been removed. We will see what the future brings.
Now we're going to take a little odyssey through the Heart Of Darkness to see where the last hundred and fifty years of contact with Africa have led us. As we're primarily concerned with Edgar Rice Burroughs I will try to keep my argruments concentrated on what he understood. The literature of Africa is vast, largely unread, and was perhaps even more vast in Burroughs' time before so many dozens, perhaps hundreds of volumes were consigned to the intellectual trash can by political correctness. As I have pointed out what are classics to us now was current literature to Burroughs. They were fresh and unbowlderized. He would have read them differently than we do. Foremost of all the literature Burrughs read, his primary influences certainly for the Tarzan series, are the novels of the very great Henry Rider Haggard.
Haggard wrote fifty or sixty novels over approximately forty years. The majority are of exceeding high quality too. The majority but not all were African novels. Unlike Burroughs Haggard had first hand knowledge of Africa. He spent several years in South Africa where he was very attentive to African affairs. His knowledge of Zulu affairs is quite extensive; it can generally be historically relied on.
In addition Haggard has a wonderful sense of humanity. He can in no way be considered bigotted toward Blacks.
His first three African novels - King Solomon's Mines, She and Allan Quatermain were issued between 1885-87. They were immediate successes. gaining universal acceptance in both England and the United States. Burroughs attained the age of twelve in 1887. We don't know when he read the three novels but one imagines sometime between twelve and sixteen or at least before twenty. Whether he ever reread them isn't known. I suspect so.
There are clear references in Burroughs' corpus to indicate that he continued to read Haggard's output through the years. In Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid he expressly states his admiration for Haggard. Don't know why there were no Haggards in the library.
He was clearly impressed by a couple passages in the Preface to 1887's Allan Quatermain which echo throughout the Tarzan series. The first I'm going to quote is quite beautiful poetry. Written as prose I'm dividing it here into blank verse.
...he dreams of the sight
of the Zulu impis
breaking on their foes
like surf upon the rocks,
and his heart rises in rebellion
against the strict limits
of the civilized life.
Remember, this was published in 1887 when the scientific revolution was just getting underway. The rigorous mental discipline required to adapt to the scientific model, as difficult as it is for most people today, was even more difficult then when Western consciousness was still in the early stages of development. It is my thesis that the mind of the West broke on that rigororous required discipline in 1960 accounting for much of the West's decline since then.
Nevertheless the quotation informs the intellectual background of the Tarzan seies with its own particular reaction to 'the strict limits of civilized life.' As I say the above quote echoes throughout the oeuvre. Immediately following that sentence Haggard goes on to say:
Ah! This civilization, what does it all come to? Full forty years and more I spent among savages, and studied them and their ways; and now for several years I have lived here in England, and in my own stupid manner have done my best to learn the ways of the children of light; and what do I find? A great gulf fixed? No, only a very little one, that a plain man's thought may spring across. I say that as the savage is, so is the white man only the latter is more inventive, and possesses a faculty of combination; save and except also that the savage, as I have known him, is to a large extent free from the greed of money, which eats like a cancer into the heart of a white man.Burroughs title of the last chapter of Invincible - "A Gulf That Was Bridged" - clearly references this quote. Thus Burroughs ingested the preface to Allan Quatermain making it a basis for his own interpretation of Tarzan.
Now, Haggard never appears to have been influenced by either Darwin or the concept of Evolution but Burroughs being nineteen or twenty years younger than Haggard clearly was, thus ERB's notion of the little gulf that existed between the mind of the Black and the White had a scientific basis whereas Haggard's had religious overtones. He was an esoterocist more than he was an orthodox Christian.
If one looks at today's scientific notions of the evolution of man then the consensus is that Homo Sapiens evolved from the last homonid predecessor 150 to 200 thousand years ago in Africa. Nothing is known of this step from sub-human to human. Even if the proper skull were found it would tell us almost nothing.
Scientists have also clearly established that Homo Sapiens have continued to evolve over the last 150-200K years and in fact continue to do so today. If you're a creationist or Intelligent Designer I can only urge you to accept the undeniable fact of evolution. I can't take your opinion into consideration so I won't argue it.
Following the scientific consensus it is reasonable to assume that sub-Saharan Africans have been there for the last one hundred fifty thousand years while the rest of the world has been more recently populated by more highly evolved Homo Sapiens species.
As Haggard notes from long experience, however not Quatermain's forty years, the Black lacks inventiveness and a power of combination, whatever that is. To say he lacks it is to say he is less highly evolved. The small gulf that a plain man's thought can spring across or bridge is one way. A white can regress, as notice the tatooed and body pierced Whites of today, but the Black lacks the genes to spring the other way.
This fact was clearly recognized by the early exploreres and the settlers of South Africa. In fact, after several hundreds of years of intimate contact with Whites the Blacks have not acquired invention or combination. That small gulf is not bridgeable from Black to White.
I give a case or two in point. Let me start in Uganda and its king Mutesa or Mtese. This fellow was king during the years of the search for the sources of the Nile. Stanley gives an excellent account of him and his government in Through The Dark Continent while he figures in Baker's narratives. More extensive is the missionary Alexander Mackay's account.
Always remember that these African chiefs, while familiar with the Arabs, were unprepared for the deluge of invaders who followed the Arabs. Mtese was besieged by Anglian Protestants, French Catholics and Arab Moslems. It was impossible for him to expel the invaders. Anyone who thinks that the Whites were the greatest villains in Africa had better remove their blinders and look at the Africans themselves and more especially at the Arabs both then and now. Mtese knew he was about to be plundered from all sides had no adequate defenses nor, actually, were there any he could have devised.
While his ego as a man among men was large he lacked knowledge, organization and structure. There may have been only a little gulf between the Whites and the Blacks when viewed from the White side but there was an immense unbridgeable gap from the Black side which is not to say Mtese and his Ugandans did not possess intelligence but it was not of a scientific or analytical nature; no invention and powers of combination. Things haven't changed. Over the course of more than a millenium they had devised no means to resist the Arabs.
He was torn between the ferocious Arabs who had depopulated Africa for a millennium. Certainly their reputation was known through out Africa whether they had reached an area yet or not. In the nineteenth century they were especially aggressive, probably their power was ramped up with European weaponry. As in the favored historical method they took the women and children as slaves while killing the men. They are doing the same thing today in the Sudan. In the Sudan just north of Uganda Arabs had reduced the population by seventy-five percent.
Mtese was in a tough spot. The Arabs were present and active while the Europeans were not. He did notice that the trade goods offered by both Europeans and Arabs were of European manufacture. He not surprisingly came to the conclusion that the Europeans were the most 'clever' of the two peoples.
When Mackay arrived in Uganda he served in much the same capacity to Mtese as the Old Stowaway in the Valley of Diamonds of Golden Lion did for the Bolgani. Like the Old Man, Mackay had a number of useful skills which preserved his life but kept him captive. Mtese viewed the White Boy as a slave but saw the need to conceal his status from him. Mackay was given more or less free rein within his area of Uganda but was forbidden to leave. Whether Burroughs was familiar with Mackay's story which he may well have been or not there is a great deal of similarity with the Old Man of Golden Lion.
Now, the point is that neither Mtese or his Ugandans made any effort to acquire Mackay's skills or any other. The banana had been intruduced into Africa c. +1000 by migrants from Indonesia. The First Born had been in Africa for c. 150K years. In all that time they had made few if any inventions. In order to harvest the banana they cut down the tree letting another grow in its place. They had never even conceived of the notion 'ladder'.
Thus, while physically equal and possibly superior on the animal level to the Whites the mental gulf that separated them was unbridgeable.
Now let us travel South a few thousand miles down the Cape to Cairo railway which was never built to South Africa where the Whites began their invasion of Africa in the seventeenth century. At the same time the Bantu peoples were working their way down from the Chad/Ubangi Chari area where it is said they originated c. +1000. As they invaded new areas they exterminated or drove the indigenous peoples, who were of a different stock, before them. The Hottentots and Bushmen the Europeans encountered in South Africa were an entirely different species than the Bantus.
As the Whites moved North the Bantus continued to move South. Naturally these migrations encountered each other. The formidable leading edge of the Bantu peoples were the Zulus. C. +1825 or so the Zulu chief Chaka organized the Zulu, or Chosen People in their estimation, into the most formidable fighting machine in Africa. Known by the honorific, The Great Black Elephant, Chaka was running over or exterminating any peoples in his path.
The confrontation between the Zulus and Europeans should be viewed in the same light as the Zulu confrontation with other African peoples. As invaders the Zulus had no more claim to the territories they occupied than anyone else. The situation was the same as Ozawa telling Tarzan that the gold of Opar was as much his as Tarzan's. Ozawa spoke truly. Tarzan had the superior power so he took it. Just as the Zulus outmatched other Africans the Europeans outmatched the Zulus and other Africans. Simple. Not much morality involved. This was in the natural course of events and should not be interpreted in any other way.
The Zulu method was to 'stamp their opponents flat', that is to say, exterminate them. Haggard, as I said, seems to have been uninfluenced by the concept of Evolution so he notes only a small gulf between Africans and Europeans. Burroughs backed by superior science in reality saw it differently. In evolutionary terms Europeans having come into existence after the Africans as everyone agrees must therefore have been more highly evolved. As current evolution seems to show up most apparently in the evolution of the brain the Europeans must have had added mental powers. What Haggard calls being more inventive and having a faculty of combination are equivalent to science. In short the Africans did not and do not possess the genes that make science possible.
In psychological terms this may mean that the conscious mind of the European is more highly developed in relation the unconscious. In an unintegrated personality this leads to a dichotomy that explains the apparent erratic behavior of the European. He has a conscience that is lacking in the African.
In realistic terms the African approach of 'stamping flat' or extermination is evolutionarily correct. No matter how vast the space there is not room for two species or races of the same family to co-exist. Witness the Europeans and Indians in America. Sooner or later the one will expel or exterminate the other or others. It is going on right now if you have eyes to see. I'll say it again, two species following the same economics cannot coexist in the same space. In Africa over and over again of two tribes competing for the same space one was exterminated even if the land was left vacant. But now this natural order was upset by the conscience of the European. We will examine the consequences.
Chaka was primitive to say the least. When he was a child his father died. He and his mother were treated as rudely as widows and orphans in any society. Read your Bible, the Bible specifically enjoins the Hebrew not to discriminate against widows and orphans. That discrimination is true in all times and places.
When the Great Black Elephant grew up and obtained power he returned to the village. Gathering the males together he pounded wooden stakes up their rectums setting them afire. I'm sure all orphans long for some similar form of revenge. Such antics do cause dissension in the ranks. Gathering the dissidents together under the name of the Ndebele Zulus or alternatively the Matabeles this hardy band moved up into Shonaland in what is today known as Zimbabwe. We're getting warm now. The Ndebele were in the process of exterminating the Shona when the Europeans under Rhodes arrived in force. The Europeans then disturbed the process giving the Shona breathing space. Once again you wil see that the Matabele had no more right to the land than the Europeans. Conscience prevented the Europeans from exterminating both the Matabele and the Shona.
In the European manner the Europeans staked out a huge expanse of territory encompassing many tribes including the Shona and Matabele Zulus. They called the territory Southern Rhodesia. Makes sense so far, doesn't it?
Unlike the Arabs and Zulus who depopulated any areas they wanted the Europeans encouraged the population to grow. Better and more efficient agricultural methods were introduced, spectacular medicines were discovered in Europe and America that allowed the population to expand exponentially. As the Europeans imposed 'peace' the Africans were no longer allowed to exterminate each other.
By now time had passed. The Africans if they had learned nothing else, became fairly proficient with all the latest European weaponry that they still could not make. They had to buy them from the Europeans who were willing to sell to them. What can you say? They would be no more Omdurmans.
At the same time the European conscience back home became troubled. It was thought, for some reason, that the European invaders didn't belong in Africa. They didn't have a 'right' to be there. The Shona for one believed this was true. As resistance movements gathered force throughout the continent and guilt increased in Europe the Europeans in Africa were abandoned to a horrible fate. Unheard of really in the annals of history. In certain areas such as the Rhodesias and South Africa the now native Africans of European descent had built up rather astonishing civilizations cheek by jowl with the grass huts of the Africans. Salisbury, Pretoria. In the natural course of things warfare would have broken out between White Africans and Black Africans that would have resulted in the defeat if not extermination of the Blacks. In the evolutionary sense there was not room for both which we will grimly see was true.
Even though Europeans possessed a scientific consciousness which should have made consequences clear to them they chose to ignore this knowledge for religious ideological reasons. For some other reason Europeans do not believe that other people cherish grievances for what they perceive as injustices at European hands. This is so incredibly stupid it is hard to believe. For instance, after having put the Iraqis through hell politicians in the United States universally believe that the US can just pull out of Iraq with no hard feelings left behind. Good god, boys, have some sense.
In other words, having been severely emasculated at European hands they want their own back which means humiliating and exterminating the Europeans. Kill the men and probably the boys but keep those good looking white women and girls. Am I talking to myself or does anyone else understand how this process works?
In Southern Rodesia or Zimbabwe as this huge area encompassing dozens of tribes who were no nation was known, the Shona nursed a grudge toward both the Ndebele Zulu and the Europeans. Oppression from any quarter was oppression to them. And in realistic terms, why not? The Ndebele had been crushed by the Europeans while the Shona, previously crushed by the Ndebele, had not. Taking advantage of the effete European governments the Shona, under the cover of 'Africans' gained control of the Zimbabwean government. One tribe with hate in its heart for all other tribes had gained the power to enforce its own wishes. What comes next isn't hard to figure.
The Europeans had incorporated the formerly independent territories of dozens of tribes into one mega-structure called a State administered by them for the benefit of all. Whatever tribe controlled the 'State' had the fate of all the other multi-cultural entities under its domination. First the Shona under the Liberal idol, Robert Mugabe, moved against the Ndebele. While the Europeans cried shame over South African apartheid (watch this one closely too) when similar programs exterminate other peoples they voice no complaint, they even applaud. So much for the Ndebele. The women went to the Shona.
The Shona chief, not Zimbabwean president but in control of the state, Mugabe then turned against the Europeans. This was pure racism which the Liberals find offensive only in their own.
Over the course of hundreds of years the Africans had learned nothing of European science. They can't. That's that little gulf that a plain man's mind, like Haggard's, can easily spring across backward but which is impossible forward without the right equipment. So, Burroughs in Tarzan of the Apes has Tarzan being able self-teach himself to read because it is his birthright. What Burroughs is really saying is that he had the right equipment. As an ape or an African he couldn't have done it.
The Shona had never learned farming over the century so all the agricultural production was in the hands of Europeans. Not understanding the motivations of the Shona which they should have the Europeans could not conceive that the Shona would destroy 'Zimbabwe's' own agricultural capacity. A little background in Freud would have helped. What did the Shona care about agricultural productivity? What they cared about was that narrow gulf that they couldn't spring across. European mental superiority constantly reminded them of what they couldn't do but Europeans could. Besides which Europeans distanced themselves from the Africans refusing to blend with them as the Arabs did. Europeans steadfastly maintained their insularity. Wisely so, but very wrong and humiliating from the Shona point of view.
Let's have a show of hands now. Can anybody tell me what the age old solution to the problem is? Oh, there's a hand. Yes, you're right. Kill the men and appropriate the women. Some sensitive tender types call it murder and rape but only if you're not the Liberal's darlings. So, the problem is solved in Zimbabwe. No more Whites. They been ethnically cleansed. Did we hear any Liberal voices crying 'Shame, shame.' from Europe or America. Ha, ha, ha.
Now let's get on the old non-existent Cape to Cairo Railroad and move a little closer to the Cape and see what the situation is back in Zululand. It's pretty bad unless you're a Liberal and then it's pretty good. Rather peculiarly the Liberal attitude toward the Shona solution of their problem is nearly identical to the Zulu solution.
As I have pointed out elsewhere the Liberal position is religious which is to say irrational. Liberals completely disregard facts and reason in their pursuit of an inner ideal or wish. In Freudian terms their ideal is a wishful daydream, Platonic rather than Aristotelian. Religious rather than Scientific.
There is no question that a very difficult situation was created by the Bantu and European invasions of South Africa. Disregarding the Bushman, who the Bantus are now exterminating and the Hottentots both Bantus and Europeans had an equally justifiable claim to the land. In no sense were the Bantus first on the scene. But, Africa is the dark continent par excellence so it is thought to be inherently Black rather than White.
In a normal situation the stronger party would have exterminated or driven out the weaker as both the Zulu and Matabele were doing in their respective spheres before they were prevented from continuing by the Europeans.
The Europeans however could neither exterminate nor drive out the Blacks because of their conscience acquired through advanced evolution.
There's a problem looming, isn't there? Forced to incorporate the Black population into the State Europeans in the interest of self-preservation developed a system of Apartheid. In other words they instituted racial laws.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that segregation is a very poor long term solution especially as European economic policies drew in large numbers of Blacks from the rapidly increasing Black population caused by the cessation of Black extermination policies, better nutrituon and medical practices.
Now, racial laws have existed from time immemorial. One only has to look to India to discover their effectiveness. After having created a Frankenstein's monster of segregation resulting in a disastrous caste system the invading bronze age Indo-Europeans still failed to preserve their racial identity.
The Hebrews of the Bible also had strict racial laws as outlined in the Old Testament. They also have failed.
When the Nazis, essentially following the Hebrew model, enacted racial laws they gave racial laws a bad name while apparently traumatizing Euroamericans into acute mental paralysis.
Liberals have concentrated their devotion of Hitler and the Nazis to such and extent that they have become the oppressor along Hebrew-Nazi lines. While they decry Hitler and the Nazis, functioning along Nazi lines they too have instituted racial laws, but the opposite of the Nazis. Their racial laws are disguised by such names as 'Hate' laws or 'minority rights.'
While the Nazis were aggressors in their racial policy Liberals pose as 'victims' needing protection from some other 'majority.' For some irrational reason they consider the most populous nation on Earth, the Chinese, as a minority. Don't expect rationality from Liberals.
Thus, while they considered Apartheid evil racial laws favoring Europeans over Africans they instituted different racial laws favoring Africans over Europeans. The new laws are meant to discourage the continuance of the Europeans as a distinct identity or species.
Not understanding the nature of the racial attitudes of Liberals, for that is what they are, South African Europeans have requested a new Apartheid in which they will be given their own racially segregated homeland within South Africa much as they granted the Basutos and Swazis. Liberals will never allow this because as the European State prospered the Arican areas would decline.
A people that couldn't think of a simple thing like a ladder will not be able to maintain complex cities like Salisbury and Pretoria without White slaves to do the technical work for them. Even in the Orient all the tall buildings, real monsters, are constructed by Euroamerican technicians.
Thus, in the time honored manner European males will be exterminated while the females will be appropriated. Liberals will call it 'justice.'
Liberal Europeans and Americans who believed for whatever misguided reasons that there could be one world, one people no matter how impracticable or even impossible the ideal became the enemy of Europeans and the friends of Zulu South Africans even as the Shona were attacking the Matabele of Zimbabwe with their approval. Liberals are dangerous emotional fanatical bigots. Nor will they ever come right out and say what the ends they seek are.
Suffice it to say that Liberals returned South Africa to barbarism for almost exactly the same reason they and Mugabe returned Zimbabwe to barbarism. Liberals wanted South African Europeans to abandon their racial exclusiveness to interbreed with Blacks to create an exclusively Black country. Perhaps emotionally satisfying for them but an evolutionary blunder.
If Liberals really believe war will end when we have one world, one people they haven't read their Burroughs on War very carefully. But, then, since they find facts an impediment to their beliefs, why bother?
Back to the unscientific but accurate little gulf a plain man's mind can spring across. As Liberals believe that evolutionary differences between human species do not exist (race, as they put it, is a social construct without a sceintific basis, and they don't want to hear your opinion) they not only pursued their ideal in Africa, where Blacks are solving the problem in the time honored fashion, but extended their program to Europe and America. By America I mean Canada and the United States.
Just in case Africans hadn't thought of attempting to emigrate to Europe and America Liberals went and got them. At the same time despairing of making the African mind spring across that little gulf, after three or four hundred years in America it hasn't happened yet, they decided to dumb down the Caucasian population by denying them education along scientific and rational lines. As a religion Liberalism is opposed to science and rationality anyway. The criteria for graduation became not how well your mind was logically trained but whether you accepted or rejected Liberal dogma. In other words, schools and colleges became seminaries for religious conditioning and indoctrination.
As Mr. Kurtz who Conrad paints as having gone native exclaims: The horror, the horror.
For all his seeming flippancy Burroughs was well read on Africa. The real world of Africa is transformed into a dream world that he can command; a process not too different than that of Liberals but he knew his was fiction. However Burroughs also had a strong scientific foundation. Haggard's little gulf is transformed into an evolutionary difference that cannot be bridged or leapt across by a 'plain man's mind.' In Freudian terms Burroughs unconscious and conscious minds meld into one vision of omnipotence. Actually Tarzan has an integrated personality. His mind is totally conscious to the exent that he can range easily between conscious and unconscious motivations. He is at once beast, Negro and European. He has experienced each stage of evolution as child and man in the African jungles. A terrific appeal for the intelligent reader. In fact, in that sense Tarzan is a god, a jungle god, The Lord Of The Jungle which is to say the World as a jungle.
Consequently Africa is Tarzan's own domain. All of it. One vast Estate in which all look to him as the Man-God. Animals and humans alike. The whole continent North to South, East to West is under the Big Bwanas dominion. He doesn't like to see its equanimity disturbed.
When the series began in 1911-12 it was placed on the West Coast of Africa. Some say Angola, others say the Congo, but my opinion is on the coast of Gabon. Trader Horn thought so while it must be remembered that the French Lieutenant Paul D'Arnot was patrolling French territory when he happened on the cove of Tarzan's cabin which would definitely argue for the French colony of Gabon.
The entire Russian Quartet took place in West Africa, then beginning toward the end of Son Of Tarzan but definitely with Jewels Of Opar the Estate seems to wander East until it comes to rest in Kenya North of Lake Victoria but South of Lake Rudolph. At the time of Jewels Of Opar and Golden Lion Opar seems to have been located West of the Mountains Of The Moon near or adjacent to, possibly in, the Ituri Rain Forest. In Invincible Opar has definitely been relocated to Abyssinia, or its alternate name of Ethiopia, 'in the interior' somewhere to the West of Italian Somaliland but South of Northwest Abyssinia. This story takes place in the Horn of Africa at any rate. The distances covered so easily are baffling; we're talking of a lot of miles here.
At one point Burroughs says that Opar was in a sub-tropical zone. That would place it above the Tropic of Cancer possibly in Egypt or even out of Africa. Perhaps he meant that it was just South of the Tropic of Cancer-- another astrological term for those offended by New Age-- making it sub-tropical in that sense. Ethiopia is wholly within the Tropics at any rate. Burroughs taught Geology and Geography too.
It might be appropriate to review some of the history which informs Tarzan The Invincible.
Burroughs had made a fairly thorough study of the African literature of his times while having lived through so much of the exciting story as it unfolded in newspapers and magazines as well as the literature of his day. It should also be remembered that by 1930 he had shaped others' attitudes toward Africa. There was a plethora of jungle stories derived from the Tarzan series.
H. Rider Haggard's incredible early African trilogy-- King Solomon's Mines, She and Allan Quatermain were still virtually current novels in Burroughs' time not unlike the James Bond stories of our day. In that sense Tarzan The Invincible is a replica of Haggard's trilogy incorporating the events of Burroughs' own day. I find the book an astounding tour de force on several levels. I doubt if there has ever been another novel quite like it written.
Africa seized the imagination of the European in the 1860s when they decided to pinpoint the source of the White Nile. While the White Nile exploration took place a few years before Burroughs' birth the story was still recent enough during his childhood to excite boys' minds while Stanley's adventures in the Congo were an ongoing affair. On the maps of those years of ERB's youth Equatorial Africa would still be colored white as terra incognita.
For an exciting general account of the White Nile exploration see Alan Moorehead's The White Nile. First published in 1960 displaying attitudes which subsequently have become politically incorrect a Bowlderized version was published in 1972. There isn't that much difference between the two editions but the flavor if the original is more authentic and exciting. Let the tender tend their soft spots privately.
Moorehead followed up The White Nile with The Blue Nile. That branch of the Nile coming down from Ethiopia, Lake Tana, had been known for some time. Its story is interesting but nothing compared to the White Nile. If you're in a reading mood you might also enjoy Mungo Park's Travels In West Africa. There's an eye opener for you.
The key writers Burroughs relied on are David Livingstone, Richard F. Burton, Samuel Baker and Henry Morton Stanley. Quite a group of adventurers.
Burroughs relied on Livingstone and Stanley for his early stories but the ghost of Stanley haunts the entire oeuvre. I don't find too much Burton influence but it is clear Burroughs read him. He apparently came late to Samuel White Baker whose adventures make the largest contribution to Invincible. Once again none of these volumes important to ERB's work are in his library. Very strange.
While more obscure and not as attractive a figure as Stanley in many ways Baker's adventures are more startling. Perhaps as a journalist Stanley knew better how to relate his story. While Stanley explored South of Lake Victoria, Baker's adventures begin in the North at the sources of the Blue Nile progressing southward toward Unyoro Ugand near the shores of Lake Victoria. Thus Tarzan's estate is near the location where the careers of Baker and Stanley intersected.
Baker's three fabulous African books are: The Nile Tributaries Of Abyssinia And The Sword Hunters Of The Hamran Arabs; The Albert Nyanza: Great Basins Of The Nile And Exploration Of The Nile Sources and finally the incredible Ismailia. Forgive the superlatives but they understate the case.
I must warn you that while the current Liberal trend is to belittle these men's adventures while denigrating the men themselves I am so full of admiration for their stunning daring that I can barely express myself. If you have difficulty with them just keep repeating Mr. Kurtz's mantra: The horror, the horror.
While Stanley always had deep funding traveling with a large Safari Baker, believe it or not, traveled alone on his own account. He was accompanied by what Moorehead bowlderizes as his wife but who was actually his slave girl. May have influenced Burroughs a little. Baker paurchased her at a White Slave auction in Hungary c. 1855. His adventures took place in the 1860s. His girl is described as quite beautiful. Baker married her before returning to England, no doubt to avoid a scandal. Take note that the European slave auction was held in Hungary in 1855. With the influx of Africans and Moslems into Europe and America the chances of plain men regressing to unconscious standards are very strong. There will probably be a resurgence of slavery and polygamy. The standards the West has developed as to what constitutes a just society may prove to be a temporary blip in history unless vigilance is maintained and action taken.
Invincible is based on Baker's adventures in Ethiopia and the Sudan. The Africa described is, of course, the Africa of Burroughs' imagination.
It might not hurt to consult a colonial map of Africa. The map I am using can be found at http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/afri1914.htm Matthew White copyrighted it so that Bill may not be able to use it but I'm sure he'll find one just as good.
Burroughs places Invincible in 1930. By that time the so-called Scramble for Africa by the European powers convened in the 1880s and 90s was nearly complete. As you can see the entire continent had been parceled out with the exeptions of Liberia and Ethiopia. Ethiopia would be annexed by Italy in 1935. Burroughs has the would-be Emperor of Africa, Peter Sveri, declare that he will replace Ras Tavari as Emperor as Ethiopia was ripe for revolution. Ras Tafari of course became the Emperor Haile Selassie. Ras simply mean prince. The Jamaican rastafarians are based on Selassie while his name was modified by Burroughs to use for Ras Thavas, The Mastermind Of Mars.
In 1930 there was no Nazi threat on the horizon nor was Hitler taken seriously by any but Communists and another fringe element with whom he was engaged in a death struggle for control of Germany. The only visible threat to peace, other than the Communists and Soviets, was Mussolini and his Fascism in Italy. Burroughs detests both the Fascists and Communists as any right thinking American would. The fantasy that there ever was a Fascist threat in America was Communist paranoia. Communists were the threat.
According to Burroughs' story the Soviets wish to create an incident between Italy and France that would lead to another world war. (See Beyond The Farthest Star) making it easy for the Soviets to pick up the pieces and assume control. The scenario wasn't quite the same but it almost worked out that way save the interference of the United States.
As you can see by the map Ethiopia, or Abyssinia, was surrounded by Italian Eritrea; French, British and Italian Somaliland on the North and East; British Kenya on the South; and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan Condominium on the West. With the exception of Kenya these were all Moslem States which harassed Christian Ethiopia continually with border disputes and battles.
Italy which had annexed Libya in 1912 would annex Ethiopia in 1935 leaving Liberia as the only independent African State. As you can see nearly the whole of West Africa was French - the lavender or purple part of the map. Some great Foreign Legion novels were set in West Africa including P.C. Wren's excellent Beau Geste, which became an excellent movie and Jules Verne's The Barsac Mission, which became the prototype for numerous novels and movies.
This is the Africa in which Burroughs sets his novel but many elements of Baker find their way into the story. In Ismailia Baker was made the Egyptian emissary to inform the Unyoro king, Kaba Rega that he had been annexed by Egypt and was now a subject of that State. News to Kaba Rega while being violently rejected by him. He was subsequently captured by the Egyptian forces being sent to the Seychelles Islands in exile.
The story is heartrending apparently affecting Burroughs as it did me. Unyoro and Uganda were contiguous States. Burroughs personifies Kaba Rega in his character Kitembo, the chief of the Basembos. He has Kitembo a Kenyan deposed by the British. ERB has Kitembo and his warriors coming from the Lake Victoria end of the railroad from Mombasa.
Burroughs includes an Arab contingent in the Soviet expedition. He seems to have them more White than Black while in reality at this point in history the people were Arab in culture had been assimilated to the Negroes in color. This was apparently true in Mecca in Arabia also according to Richard Burton because of a long history of Black pilgrimages to this Moslem religious center.
The Moslem invasion of Africa began in the Seventh Century AD when the waves of conquering Moslems burst upon the world. It is often overlooked that this initial offense between Christians and Moslems occurred before the Crusades. By the late fifteenth century when Portuguese explorers made contact with East Africa, the Arabs had been depleting the continent's population as in the time honored manner on the other side of the intellectual gulf they killed the men while taking the women and children. It is to be noted in the current situation in the Sudan that the most recent hybrid Arabs are following the same procedure as they kill or drive the Negroes from 'their' territory. Call it genocide or call it ethnic cleansing it is the unavoidable consequence of two related species contesting the same economic livelihood. You can't fool Mother Nature.
Samuel Baker has some astonishing stories to tell of Arab slave raids. European slave trading was of a very brief duration but more consequential for world history as Europeans populated large areas of the world with Africans who would never have gotten out of Africa on their own. Of the huge number of Africans removed by Moslems over more than a millennium there seems to be no or little record of their survival in the Middle East
According to Burroughs his Soviet conspirators entered Africa from different ports to avoid suspicion. He doesn't say which ports the others used but he has alter ego, Wayne Colt, entering somewhere on the West Coast trekking the whole breadth of Africa to join his fellow. There should be no mystery as to why he was the last to join the group. I'm amazed he made it at all.
The scenario of landing on the West Coast is so ludicrous I have to laugh. As Wayne Colt is an alter ego for Burroughs then what he is doing is assimilating Stanley to himself, appropriating his feats. One hopes Colt didn't roll off the ship in Senegambia and make the longest possible trip. Of course a trek trhough the Sahel would be fairly easy going compared to Stanley's route through the tropical rain forest.
For no other reason than a whimsical one what I imagine I would have done since Colt's exact route is not known, I propose he entered Africa in the Cameroons, which might have been the destination of John Clayton and his wife before their ship was hi jacked, progressing through Ubangi-Chari over the Sudan to the base camp which was five hundred miles from Italian Somaliland in Southern Ethiopia. Southern Ethiopia approximates the area tramped over by Samuel Baker and his girl slave.
Burroughs also gives us the time of the year, June Through September as the rivers are swollen. The rains begin in the summer in Ethiopia, the flood reaching Egypt as Sirius, the Dog Star, rises in August. Abu Batn is held up by swollen rivers so the story must take place in the summer of 1930.
I am especially fascinated with Ubangi Chari because of a couple pieces of ephemera in my life. I used to specialize in French Colonial stamps during my stamp collecting days while one of my favorite rock and roll songs from the fities was Warren Smith's romping Ubangi Stomp.
Well, I rocked over Italy and I rocked over Spain
I rocked over Memphis but it was all the same
Till I rocked over Africa and rolled off the ship
And seen them natives doing an odd looking skip
I parted the weeds and looked over the swamp
I seen them cats doing the Ubangi Stomp.
Ubangi Stomp with a rock and roll
Beats anything that's ever been told
Ubangi Stomp, Ubangi style
When the beat just drives a cool cat wild.
Well, I looked up the chief and he invited me in
Said a heap big jam session about to begin
He handed me a tom-tom and I picked up the beat
That crazy thing sent shivers to my feet
Rocked and rolled and I skipped with a smile
Ubangi Stomp, Ubangi style.
Ubangi Stomp with a rock and roll
Beats anything that's ever been told
Ubangi Stomp, Ubangi style
When the beat just drives a cool cat wild.
Well, we rocked all night and part of the day
Had a good rockin' time with the chief's daughter Mae
I was makin' time and gettin' in the know
The Captain said son we gotta go
I said that's alright, you go on ahead
I'm gonna Ubangi Stomp till I roll over dead.
That's what's called going native. The plain man's mind of our rock and roller had no trouble regressing to the primitive state. Which brings us back to Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness as we end this little foray into Africa.
Heart Of Darkness is a story of the absorption of the conscious mind by the unconscious. Mr. Kurtz is represented as having a conscious mind of the highest order. As the Harlequin Man says - How he could talk. The man is represented as being intellectually deep. However as he went out in the bush to acquire ivory he came into contact with the primitive mindset of stone age peoples. As he became accustomed to dealing with them his mind gradually regressed to the point where he participated in unspeakable primitive rites. We aren't told what they were but Paul Theroux who says he has read Heart Of Darkness twenty to thirty times believes Mr. Kurtz partook in cannibalistic rites. I've only read the story twice and I have to agree with him.
Thus the fine conscious mind of Kurtz could not resist the appeal of the primitive. Tarzan, one notes, was the master of all forms of consciousness from the sub-primitive ape mind to the hyper sophisticated Parisian. He was and is indeed a jungle god. Kurtz became a jungle demon who on his deathbed repented his regression as he cried out-- The horror, the horror.
I've Looked At Both Sides Now
Multi-Culturalism In Tarzan The Invincible
Multi-culturalism as I see it merely heralds that it is no longer possible to keep the five great Homo Sapiens species with their various cultures separate. If one assumes that c. 12,000 years ago when the Ice Age ended the various species had not yet developed sufficient population to force them to live cheek by jowl then cheek by jowl is unavoidable now.
The ending of the last ice age flushed a large number of comparatively highly cultured people out of the Med Basin scattering them to the four corners of the world. It would seem civilization as such started then. I believe all cultural innovations can be traced back to that point and that source.
As population increased the various species both human and animal came into closer contact with each other. So far the animals have been the big losers with dozens already driven into extinction while it is said that 25% will perish in the next few years.
As an evolutionist Burroughs has written a marvelous story here in which the fauna of Africa participate equally with the Homo Sapiens. Obviously they can no longer exist in a separate sphere. Multi-culturalism to ERB means the interaction of both humans and the beasts of the jungle. Invincible might be considered a better version of Beasts Of Tarzan on that level.
Burroughs assembles his entire cast of Beast characters to participate in this story. Tantor the elephant, who has always been in the background takes a prominent role. The Great Apes among whom Tarzan was raised have their place. Jad-Bal-Ja the Golden Lion who first appeared in 1922 in Tarzan And The Golden Lion maintains his preeminent place while Little Nkima who first appeared in 1928's Tarzan And The Lost Empire functions as the protagonist as a Mercury or messenger of the gods. Unnamed hyenas, jackals and leopards abound.
Tarzan as beast-man-god, intermediary between animals and humans as a man deity, completes the beast group.
Nkima the messenger first notices the presence of the Communist conspirators in Tarzan's domain. He goes off to find Tarzan to tell him the news. Burroughs very cleverly shows the character of Nkima as one mischievous monkey. Mischievous nothing, he's a quarrelsome, nasty little beast. He can't keep himself from gratuitously insulting or irritating anyone who comes across his path.
Always ready for flight on his own, when on the shoulder of Tarzan or sitting on Jad-Bal-Ja where he feels immune to retaliation he is one offensive little beast.
David Adams points out that Burroughs is always ready with the fairy tale. When I first read David's essays I humored him a bit discounting the idea. Slowly I am being convinced. Burroughs confesses to an interest in mythology. He was heavily influenced by L. Frank Baum who is a fairytaler par excellence. He quotes Cinderella in Marcia Of The Doorstep. As a child there is no reason to believe that he wasn't familiar with Perrault, the Grimms, Hans Christian Anderson, Aesop and possibly East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon. As a young man he read Rudyard Kipling's fairy stories of Africa and India. This title shows clear influences of Mowgli the wild jungle boy. Thus his Beasts exhibit fairy tale characteristics. As in Oz, that magical fairly land where beasts can speak, Burroughs beasts do speak the universal first language which they all including Tarzan can understand.
After seeing the conspirators Nkima angers a larger monkey who chases him through the lower, middle and upper terraces. Eluding his pursuer Nkima spots a lion below him who he begins to insult. This is not any lion but Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion. Tarzan has already introduced Jad-Bal-Ja and Nkima so recognizing each other they utter a pre-arranged signal in the universal language.
Scampering down from the middle terraces Nkima leaps onto the black mane of Jad-Bal-Ja where he rides through the jungle in state insulting who he pleases.
This little fairy tale is very charming, worth the price of admission alone.
Of course Nkima is in his glory riding on the shoulder of Tarzan like a Ka.
In the multi-cultural way Nkima comes upon the Great Apes in their death dance of the Dum-Dum. Such a scene is purely fanciful on Burroughs' part. No apes ever behaved that way. Remember, this is ERB's jungle.
The Dum dum must surely be based on the great circling of the elephants as witnessed by Kipling's Mowgli.
Not content to merely witness this awe inspiring scene Nina insists on scolding the half-crazed apes. A young light ape is sent into the trees to drive Nina away. Pure moonshine, of course, but in a fairy tale sense a very effective story.
Then again, Tarzan, returning from Pellucidar, encounters the Great Apes in the jungle. They are irritated by the intruders consequently intending to give no quarter to Tarzan. The Big Bwana doesn't want to have to kill a bunch of these 7'0", 350 lb. brothers that it looks like he may have to do when Jad-Bal-Ja and Nkima conveniently happen on the scene.
The presence of Jad-Bal-Ja shifts the balance in Tarzan's favor. In the end Tarzan, the Apes, Ja-Bal-Ja and Nkima are reconciled in this jungle clearing. Moonshine again but entirely believable in this fine fairy tale. Even if impossible I want to believe such a thing could happen in some world somewhere.
Thus Nkima scampers through the story. On his final errand he goes to bring the faithful Waziri to help Tarzan defeat the Communist conspirators.
Nkima and the faithful Waziri are at rest. They engage in a little horseplay. P. 173:When they pulled his tail they never pulled it very hard, and when he turned on them in apparent fury, his sharp teeth closing upon their fingers or arms, it was noticeable that he never drew blood. Their play was rough, for they were all rough and primitive creatures...So, as we find here and will find throughout the novel and the oeuvre that Burroughs places both the animals and the African on the far side of that little gulf Haggard notes.
Also prominent in the story is Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion. He interacts with the animals, Nkima and the Great Apes, as well as any animal Tarzan tells him to. Jad-Bal-Ja remembers each and every one and they all remember him. A feat of memory for the beasts, I am sure.
Tarzan advises the Lion that certain people are friends who the Lion is to befriend.
Way back in 1922 in Tarzan And The Golden Lion Tarzan had advised Jad-Bal-Ja that La of Opar was to be protected. Eight years later without having seen her once in that time Jad-Bal-Ja remembers her taking her under his active protection. She isn't sure that he isn't stalking her but when attacked by a Leopard Jad-Bal-Ja flashes by her to kill the Leopard she realizes he is her protector but doesn't know why. La has forgotten the Lion over the eight years but finally recognizing him.
Thus Jad-Bal-Ja is a prominent animal character in the story. He brings to mind both Kipling and Baum. There's also an element of Aesop in these animal characters.
Finally there is Tarzan's great friend, in more ways than one, Tantor the elephant.
Tarzan lazes on Tantor's back as the big beast ambles lazily through the sunny forest. Safe from all harm Tarzan muses on the nature of Time, or perhaps that was Burroughs, Tarzan and Tantor merely commune.
When Tarzan rescues Zora he calls on the big beast to stand guard over her while Tarzan hunts, nursing her back to health. The great calm beast gently picks Zora up in his trunk setting her down with her enclosure. Ever helpful he swims the crocodile infested river with Tarzan and Zora on his back.
There are two sides to Tantor's character however. When Dorsky has Tarzan bound and threatens him Tarzan lets out a piercing call for help that Tantor answers. Charging into camp he throws Dorsky down trampling him backwards and forwards side to side until the only evidence Dorsky existed is a dark spot on the ground. Nor could Tarzan make the angry beast desist until he had fully avenged his friend. Then, like Tarzan in the Rue Maule, Tantor reverts to his placid self.
Next follows what David Adams would identify as a fairy tale. Tantor picks the still bound Tarzan up placing him gently on his back. Tantor deposits Tarzan under a tree then leaves. Tarzan still has to free his hands. He calls to some monkeys in the tree but they refuse to help him. Once again Tarzan shrieks the trouble signal far and wide. Nkima hears him but so do the jackals and hyenas.
Tension is created between Tarzan and the attacking hyena as Nkima struggles to free Tarzan before the hyena attacks. Unable to untie the knot Tarzan advises him to chew through the bonds. As Nkima chews, the hyena grows bolder finally charging in for the kill. With a mighty flexing of his rolling muscles Tarzan breaks the partially chewed bonds.
Having strangled the hyena and tossed him aside Tantor arrives on the scene to serve the hyena as he had served the Communist, Dorsky.
In this multi-cultural paradise..."the three friends stood in the silent communion that only beasts know, as the shadows lengthened and the sun set in the forest." Walt Disney could have learned a lot from Burroughs.
If that doesn't get you soft and gummy nothing will. You will note that here Tarzan is a beast among beasts and yet a god to them.
This most charming jungle fantasy forms as integral a part of the story as do Tarzan's relations with the humans. On to the Conspirators.
In the old days these would be described as an international cast of characters. But in today's jargon with the 'nation' in disfavor we have to refer to it as a multi-cultural assemblage. Liberals, perhaps posing as wizards, believe that by merely wishing they have removed differences of culture, nationality and speciation. One gets the impression from their jargon that as they believe 'race' does not exist neither do cultural differences although they still call their fantasy multi-culturalism. In their fantasy no one struggles to be top dog but all commune as equals like the beasts Nkima, Tarzan and Tantor. The missing point in their equation is that Tarzan is the god calling the shots. He is the top dog. He is the dominant culture. So, one asks, in their fantasy which culture represents Tarzan?
So, in this multi-cultural assemblage Peter Sveri, a Russian Communist calls the shots until a greater than he, Tarzan of the Apes upsets his plans. There's two people you don't want to mess around with-- Mother Nature and Tarzan.
Multi-culturalism as I see it merely heralds that it is no longer possible to keep the five great species of Homo Sapiens with their various cultures in separate spheres. The Darwinian evolutionary struggle for survival requires the elimination of all but one of the competing species in a family following the same economy. Tolerance or cooperation is out of the question. Intolerance will trample the tolerant like Tantor on Dorsky. Only the strong and determined survive. Any other fantasy, such as Liberal multi-culturalism leads to extinction. Bless the peacemakers but get them out of the way; we've got work to do.
Certainly the invasion of Eurasia by Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century was a fairly recent indication that independent development was no longer possible. Then beginning in the fifteenth century when Europeans prematurely ventured out into the world to impose their culture the fate of species was inextricably engaged. Be it remembered that there were many thinkers who saw the inevitable result of joining combat of which Burroughs is only one. Once engaged, Europeans had to follow through. The problem was that Europe's own house was not united. Rather than acting as a unit, the various nation states were competing with each other. The competition resulted in the two world wars. The first war let the world know how vulnerable Europe was while the second destroyed the self-confidence of the West itself. Why I don't know. Hence one has this ridiculous feeling of guilt caused by the conflict between the two socialist ideologies International Communism and National Socialism. Just to make my position clear Socialism is the Liberal ideology. Neither Hitler nor the Nazis were conservatives. The conflict was between two versions of Liberal ideology. All the actions of National Socialism can be traced back to the French Revolution which was Liberalism par excellence.
I am not a socialist, nor was Burroughs. I abhor socialism and collectivity so in discussing Communism, Fascism or Nazism I am discussing abhorrent Liberal ideologies. Liberals will have to live with that taking responsibility for their own actions as abhorrent as that is to them.
It should also be borne in mind that multi-culturalism is only a Euroamerican ideological fantasy. It is not shared by the other Homo Sapiens species although Liberals think and act as though it were. The events in Darfur should confirm this. The Mexican invasion of the US to establish what they call Aztlan (Liberals currently deny such a concept) should be clear evidence that they do not share this Liberal fantasy. Nor do the Semites or Mongolids. All of those species are enthno-centric, who if successful will establish a world according to the ideals and customs of their species.
That is today while we are here talking of the world of ERB's time. At that time the tool for establishing multi-culturalism was Communism. That ideology was the common language that allowed these cultures to communicate across cultural lines just as the universal language of the beasts of Tarzan allows all the animal species to communicate with each other.
In this story one has Africans of various cultures, the Semitic culture of the Arabs, a Filipino, a Mexican and of the Liberal Whites several Europeans of Russian culture, a Hindu and a number of Oparians. With the exception of the Oparians the cultures are all held together by the Communist ideology. While Kitembo and his Basembos are not strictly Communists they intend to benefit under the Communist aegis.
The expedition will fail not because of ideology but because of the failure of individuals to subordinate their personal desires to the ideology.
Raghunath Jafar, the Hindu, sacrifices his life for his passion for a White woman. He is killed in the attempt to impose his sexual desires on Zora Drinov. Burroughs uniformly denigrates his Hindu or Indian characters. In this story he makes Jafar grossly obese and greasy. ERB comments that Indians are generally believed to have occult powers which notion is unwarranted. Of course this is true which may account for his antipathy to the Hindu or Indian. He may have been influenced by Harold Gray, who created the Little Orphan Annie comic strip in the twenties. The great Daddy Warbucks employs the Indian, whether Hindu or Sikh, I'm not sure, who makes people disappear by magic. Punjab would be a recognition of the general belief that Hindus had special powers. You know, rope climbing, mind over matter, that sort of thing. People still believe Indians can do those things. Live for months in a buried coffin, incredible stuff. In India. Of course, they have difficulty replicating the same feats in the US.
The Filipino, Tony Mori, and the Mexican, Miguel Romero, are portrayed very advantageously as compared to the Russians especially the leader, Zveri. Next to the American, Wayne Colt, Romero is the bravest, most alert and intelligent of the conspirators. On the negative side Burroughs has him hating all Gringos which is entirely plausible.
Mori is portrayed as more dependent hoping to acquire his share of the Rockefeller and Ford millions. When the big distributions occurs he hopes to buy fine clothes.
Both men abjure Communism in the end when Zveri proves to be a cowardly and inept leader. They discover that the ideology is merely a cover for self-gratification.
The Arabs led by Abu Batn are impelled by the desire to rid Africa of the Nasrany or Christians. They hate all Nasrany. Their goal appears to be to drive out the European or Christian colonists. They offer Zveri little help being more of a hindrance. During the second assault on Opar they pack up heading out into the jungle leaving Zveri to shift for himself.
ERB portrays the Arabs as of the white Bedouin type he used in The Return Of Tarzan and The Lad And The Lion. Portrayed positively in those two stories the Arabs of Invincible are more negatively portrayed.
Actually the story takes place in the area which the Mahdi of the 1880s reigned. He who defeated General Gordon at Khartoum. The Arabs of the area were Arab in culture but assimilated to the Negro in color. Their customs also were somewhat different than the Arabs Burroughs portrays. Of course, his could have been recruited from the Mahgreb.
The African chief Kitembo of the Basembos is of interest. He is said to be Kenyan from the railhead on Lake Victoria. This story was written in 1930. By this time the African resistance was gathering force. The Africans were never so much subdued as dominated. As Burroughs exhibits an up-to-date and profound knowledge of Communism it is quite possible that he was much better informed about African affairs than might be apparent from a casual reading.
I don't say that he was but he might have been aware of the incipient Uhuru (Freedom) Movement in Kenya of which Jomo Kenyatta was already prominent. At this time Kenyatta was in England stumping for recognition of Uhuru among the bedsheets of England's plumpest and finest. First things first, as Burroughs consistently notes White women are the most desirable women to the other species. Within a year Kenyatta would go to Moscow to study there. So there may have been an element of Kenyatta or other Kenyan leaders in Kitembo.
An additional element may have been from the story of the Unyoro king Kaba Rega picked up from Samuel Baker. Kaba Rega was deposed for refusing to accept Egyptian sovereignty although in real life he was sent to the Seychelles in exile. But here Burroughs may have worked his grievance into the story.
Kitembo and his Basembos are separated from the conspiracy by the program of terror undertaken by Tarzan. Tarzan recognizes the role of the terrorist in destroying morale. He then plays upon the religious superstitions of the African to get them to refuse to cooperate with the Europeans or White Men as he puts it.
This was helped along considerably by Zveri's ineptness and cowardice. Kitembo himself is killed by Tarzan when he tries to abduct Zora. The Africans are portrayed as being on the far side of the gulf of Haggard or evolutionarily anteceding the Europeans.
The faithful Waziri also play a part by assaulting the Communist front on the march to Italian Somaliland.
Wayne Colt, as has been hinted throughout the story, is a double agent working for the US.
The Russians are Zora Drinov, Peter Zveri, Paul Ivitch and Michael Dorsky.
Zora, who is a beautiful woman, while not a double agent is playing a false role. She has two stories. In one she tells Wayne Colt that she is a daughter of a peasant who was killed by the Czar. She seems to be too cultured for this so this story is probably just a cover.
At book's end she says that her father, mother, brother and sister were murdered twelve years earlier by Peter Zveri. That may make Zveri Jewish. Twelve years earlier would have 1918 so it is quite possible that Burroughs means to imply that she is the lost Princess, Anastasia. Thus Burroughs who favors Princesses slyly mates Wayne Colt with a Princess. That's just a guess.
Peter Sveri is about to shoot Colt as a traitor, which he was, when Zora drills him from behind. It is then she explained Zveri murdered her family.
Dorsky is, of course, trampled to death by Tantor. Little more can be said about that.
Zveri fails because of various character flaws such as cowardice and ineptness while being shot in the end by Zora.
Paul Ivitch reflects back to a villain of the Russian Quartet, Paulvitch. He's an ancillary character here without much purpose. Tarzan magnanimously allows him to leave Africa which may refer to earlier animosities.
As usual the Russians are treated very harshly by Burroughs. Of all the nationalities, pardon me, cultures, ERB is consistently hardest on the Russians. The Germans even come off better.
Burroughs' attitudes seem to have been fully formed by 1900, changing little thereafter. On page 68 of Porges' biography of ERB he reproduces a cartoon ERB drew but is undated. Opposite on page 69 is a cartoon showing TR carrying the Republican Party on the way to the White House captioned: Slightly handicapped but still a safe bet. This implies to me that it was drawn for the 1912 Bull Moose campaign. The cartoon on page 68 is of the exact same style which would imply that it also was drawn c. 1911. The cartoon shows the Jews and the Russians at their perpetual war. Russians kill Jews while Jews blow up Russians as Uncle Sam and John Bull look on. The caption is: How would you like to be a Russian?
Porges includes the cartoons in text related to the pre-1900 years so he apparently associates them with the Chicago Art Institute. No matter, ERB had the same attitude from early on. The attitude never varies from his first book to his last. So his portrayal of Russians is consistently negative.
His portrayal of multiculturalism is accurate. Apart from being a Liberal dream each culture pursues its goals without consideration for any of the others. The dream falters on the rock of self-interest. Even the superficially unifying ideology of Communism is not sufficient to weld the cultures into a single unit. The success of multi-culturalism can only be the imposition of one culture on all the others as a guiding force. Burroughs accurately identifies the Russians as making the attempt.
So in our day Liberals must fail as they can never impose their ideals on all cultures that must and will reject any ideal that refuses them the dominance they crave.
I suspect that the multi-culturalism of the Liberals will fail for the precise reason that nobody believes in it but themselves. The ideal is even shabby as a Utopian scheme that can be imposed only by force. As with the implementation of all Liberal schemes since the French Revolution to the present, its success can depend only on the mass extermination of any dissidents who stand in the way of its implementation. Thus Hitler was a descendent of Maxmillien Marie Isadore de Robespierre. The extermination of the Jews was no different than the extermination of the royalists of La Vendee and served the same purpose. Extermination is the way of the Liberal. You can look forward to the creation of a new worldwide Gulag system to exterminate Liberal opponents if they are not checked.
But let's move on to the premise of Burroughs novel.All pagination 1964 Ballantine Edition
E. Prindle's Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#14 Tarzan The Invincible (11 parts)
Time On His Hands
Through The Dark Continent With ERB
Multi-Culturalism In Tarzan The Invincible
Six White Men In Search Of An African Empire
Inside the Gates of Opar
Outside the Gates of Opar
Red, White And Black
a. Politics: The Entertainer
b. Religion: Standing On Promises
c. Love is a Huring Game
Tarzan the Invincible
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