Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse- and thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.Omar Khayyam
I started out on Burgundy
But soon hit the harder stuff.Bob Dylan
H. G. Wells, Joe Stalin, Multi-Culturalism And Edgar Rice Burroughs
Unraveling Burroughs' political situation of the thirties, particularly the years from 1930 to '36 is difficult. I don't think anyone has ever considered that there might be a political situation involved. Porges passes right over it. Fenton doesn't deal with it. The BB and ERBzine scholars don't seem concerned with a political environment, yet Burroughs was in the crosshairs of the Left.
The world in which ERB emerged as a writer had long passed away. That America had been wiped off the face of the map. The thirties was the new post-war America that evolved into whatever we call this mess today. The America I grew up in has been wiped off the map too. Time toddles right along changing everything on a daily basis except our attitudes. It isn't easy, it is even impossible to keep up, to run abreast of Time. Life isn't as orderly as a baseball diamond, that particular Field of Dreams where everyone knows his place and stays in it.
The basis for interpreting the period then is what has become known as Multi-culturalism, the Kultur Kampf or in English, Culture Wars. The question has been and is, which culture is going to be Top Dog. That's an English term to describe the nineteenth century culture wars. Trader Horn understood it well. If you read his book you will have an accurate understanding of what Top Dog means. He had it, his boss didn't. Rhodes had it. In multi-cultural terms the Semites have it.
Thus during Jewish Emancipation since the French Revolution the Jews have unerringly striven to be Top Dog. Their Semitic cousins, the Arabs, have the desire and just to give it a date, since 9/11 they have given notice that they intend to be Top Dog. The Western World, Europeans and Americans have lost the desire to be Top Dog. They kind of walk around with their tail between their legs. As the West has lost the instinct of Top Dog there is no doubt the Arabs will attain it too, shoving their Jewish cousins aside.
But, our story concerns the years 1900-1930 and is concerned only with the Semites in the United States which is to say the Jewish Culture.
Socially they have attempted and succeeded in making 'bigotry' the issue. But the issue isn't the issue. Charges of racism and hatred are thrown about to obfuscate the true issue which is naturally what is termed 'race.' Race is the issue; bigotry is the obfuscation in the drive for Top Dog. Semitic goals and attitudes, regardless of the language employed have remained the same since their first encounter with the HSII Sumerians six thousand or so years ago. Who knows how far back these things stretch. It might not be out of line to say seven or possibly even eight thousand years ago. Foundations take a long time lay; the superstructure goes up relatively quickly; the finishing touches even more quickly.
Whether speaking in Biblical or scientific terms the result is the same. Semites believe there is a special relationship between themselves and their god. In Freudian terms the Semites basing their identity on an unreal basis are psychotic. See The Future Of An Illusion.
Jewish religious notions may have been best expressed by a Rabbi Schneerson of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Judaism centered in New York City transplanted from the Lithuanian community. First a quote from the Lubavitcher Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg:"If every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, is a part of God, then every strand of DNA is part of God. Therefore something is special about Jewish DNA.Here we have a mind completely distorted by his religious preoccupations. We have bad science compounded by worse logic. However his if-then format leaves him an escape route. Every 'simple' cell of a Jewish body doesn't entail divinity. If the Rabbi is going to be scientific he has to assume the position that there is no such thing as divinity. If he wishes to maintain there is then he has to limit his argument of other religious types as out of touch with reality as he is. The Rabbi may be able to argue his case on these terms with his fellow religious types but being of the scientific persuasion I can't have any truck with such stupidity.
Further, if every strand of DNA, which means both the male and female contribution to the Jewish body is part of God, then that means every Jew is, in fact, God. If in Rabbi Ginsburgh's mind each Jew is God then let's see a world full of miracles. Without the ability to act as God, not gods but God, Rabbi Ginsburgh's premise falls to the ground. He becomes not only stupid but possibly demented as well. The Rabbi is incapable of sound reasoning. The challenge of Science to his religion has driven him off the deep end. This guy is not going to Top Dog me.
Rabbi Schneerson writing his his Gatherings Of Conversations of 1965 trundles a little further out to the end of the pier:"The difference between Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: "Let us differentiate.' Thus, we do not have a profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of 'let us differentiate' between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world...So, in Rabbi Schneerson's mind the world is composed of two different Homo Sapiens species: The Jews and everyone else. Sitting around the basements of Brooklyn meditating this stuff the fumes from the sewers must go to one's head. In so far as the Semites, not Jews specifically, being a different species, on that score Rabbi Schneerson and I are in agreement. I have so stated in earlier articles so there is no argument there. Writing in 1965 Rabbi Schneerson was even prescient as the study of genetics had advanced insufficiently for the statement to be made authoritatively. Nineteen sixty-five was the years also that homosexuals discovered the homosexual gene. So shall we say that at the time the good Rabbi was in good company.
That he could make the leap from a feeling of genetic superiority to the notion that Jewish 'bodies' are differently composed than other bodies shows the degree of religious fanaticism that distorts his reason. Remember that these people are now influential with President Bush.
Rabbi Scheernson carries his folly even further going on to state:An ever greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness... SourceOne trembles at the thought of Einstein and Schneerson having ever gotten together. Whew!
It can be plainly seen that the Rabbi Schneerson is the last of the line of Jewish 'scientists' which includes Marx, Einstein and Freud.
If there is anyone who can believe such twaddle then let them but for my purposes I quote this only to show the basic attitude of the members of the Jewish Culture who reached these shores from 1870 to 1920 plus the later refugees and stragglers. In the struggle to be Top Dog it is this attitude that has shaped American culture into what it has become beginning in 1900.
Burroughs when he began writing in 1911 was only trying to save his life. He would have been unaware that Anglo America was being challenged for its role of Top Dog within the United States. Nor, could he have had any idea what a threat he was in the contest with the Semites. He would have had no idea that he failed the test when he answered the AJC questionaire in 1919. A little over a decade later he had been drawn unknowlingly into the thick of the battle, indeed, a significant target.
Now, the twenties began the great age of the debunkers. Volume after volume appeared discrediting every Anglo-American hero from Patrick Henry to Henry Ford. I don't see any reason to challenge the fact that George Washington ever told a lie or whether he threw a dollar across the Delaware, the Mississippi or the broad Missouri before it was channeled. But some others did.
This was a good approach for the Underdog to dispose of the Top Dog. First one emasculates him by making his ashamed of his ancestors then one destroys his own confidence in himself, in his own decency.
In a society in which the Negro was an intrusive and unresolvable problem this was not at all difficult. The Jewish Culture sided with the Black Culture against the White Culture. Even a careless reading of Rabbi Schneerson will show the Culture was not interested in either Blacks or Social Justice. Schneerson clearly states his Culture is of a different and superior species from everyone else which means Whites and Blacks are destined to be hewers of wood and carriers of water for his culture.
Jewish support of Black culture, then, could only intend to be divisive. They wished to exacerbate an already difficult and untenable situation in their drive to be Top Dog.
As the Jews were part of the Liberal Coalition the Coalition swung in behind them.
Now, at the same time they were diminishing White heroes they were elevating Jewish heroes replacing those of the Whites. Thus Maimonides and Spinoza, Moses Mendelsohn and others were lauded as the greatest of philosophers while Hegel, Kant and others were belittled. I have no brief for philosophers, I belittle them all. But it should be noted that such as Maimonides and Spinoza are cut from the same cloth as Rabbi Schneerson. Indeed, they all climb up out of the Talmud.
In their conquest of Top Dog it was necessary to create an 'us and them' polarity. Judaeo-Communists as 'us' were the good guys. After 1933 anyone who disagreed was a Fascist or Nazi, a little Hitler. At that point 'us and them' good and bad was clear. Prior to the success of Fascism in Germany their opponents could only be denounced as prejudiced which was a major sin. The term 'bigot' in its current racial meaning was not yet in common use, but we will use it here.
In the Judaeo-Communist lexicon Burroughs was a bigot. The AJC typed him as an anti-Semite in 1919. But that typing was too tenuous to use. However there was no doubt that Burroughs considered White superior to Black. Yes there is extreme hypocrisy here as the Jewish Culture also considered itself superior to Blacks. The attitude was not lost on Blacks who to this very day are accused of being anti-Semites because they resent being so condescended to.
It would be very worthwhile to know what pressures were being placed on Burroughs. Indeed, as a defensive move Leopard Men may very likely have been written to show that while Whites might be construed in a negative light for their treatment of Blacks that Blacks themselves could be just as oppressive and violent when they were Top Dog. On p. 129 he says:It was with a feeling of relief that Kali Bwana saw Bobolo and Kapopa depart. During the interview with Rebega no one had once addressed her, just as no one would have addressed a cow he was arranging to stable. She recalled the plaints of American Negroes that they were not treated with equality by the whites. Now that conditions were reversed, she could not see that the Negroes were more magnanimous than the whites. Evidently it all depended on which was the more powerful and had nothing whatsoever to do with innate gentleness or spirit or charity.This has the sound of being an answer to someone. One asks what might be the occasion. A possible source may have been the row kicked up over the Scottsboro Boys. This case was the centerpiece of Communist propaganda against America and Americans.
For those not familiar with the situation, on March 25, 1931 an incident had occurred between Black and White hoboes on a train traveling from Chattanooga through Alabama on the Southern Railroad. The only evidence is the testimony of the participants so really the only question is which side are you on? Us or them?
According to the ascertainable facts two groups were hoboing. One Black, one White. The Whites were in a gondola car while the Blacks were in the trailing boxcar. It seems clear that the Blacks decided to invade the gondola of the Whites. For what purpose isn't clear but a battle then broke out during which the Blacks threw the Whites off the train with the exception of two White girls and one White boy.
The Whites thrown off the train asked the station master at a town called Stevenson, Alabama to call ahead to have the Blacks arrested for assault. Irate citizens in Paint Rock, Alabama stopped the train taking the Blacks off. The two girls said they were gang raped by the Blacks. The Blacks were arrested and given a speedy trial and conviction well before Burroughs began to write. Were they guilty? That depends solely on whether you want to believe them or the girls. That there was a fight and the Whites lost is without question. No one contests that.
It was a perfect issue for the Reds. The Blacks were held up by the Communists as sterling 'youths' while the White girls were labeled tramps and whores. Well, you can see this going nowhere. The only question is who are you going to believe? I have no doubt that a group of Blacks who had just triumphed over Whites in the deep South with their blood up, exultant, would do the obvious and physically assault the girls. Seems logical to me. There is no answer.
The Communists over the next several years made political hay out of the case arousing White prejudices against the South and Southern 'bigots' while posing as being really interested in the fate of the Scottsboro Boys.
Burroughs would have read the news through clenched teeth. Here was all the evidence he needed that Blacks would assault White women given the opportunity. When conditions were reversed Blacks were not the Stepan Fetchit stumblebums Liberals liked to represent them as. If Blacks were 'shuffling along' it was because they were held down; they were not naturally as Liberals believed. That is what Burroughs is saying.
It may be coincidence but Leopard Men opens with the attempted rape of a White woman by a Black. Kali Bwana's head man Golato enters her tent as the storm breaks with intent. Kali Bwana fires a shot at him wounding and driving him off. Golato then organizes a mutiny. Kali Bwana's safari deserts her leaving her alone in the heart of the Ituri Rain Forest.
Storm and forest are sexually laden symbols.
So, a second impetus for the hurried writing of Leopard Men may have been the arrest trial and conviction of the Scottsboro Boys.
Now, the pressures on him were coming from the Left. The pressure was not obvious and overt but clandestine and secretive. The question then arises as to whether the Leopard Men represented the Communists and their Fellow Travelers who functioned as a secret society. As the post-WWII investigators into the Communist influence in Hollywood would prove, none of these Communists, many of them Soviet agents would even admit that they had ever been more than 'liberal.' When asked were they now or had they ever been Communists none of them would give a simple yes or no answer. They took the Fifth. To answer would incriminate them. Right.
Many of these people, Dalton Trumbo, John Howard Lawson and others were already established in Hollywood by 1930. Communist sites on the internet now list them as having been Communists at the time. Soviet documentation obtained after the fall also confirms this. A leading Jewish Congressman from New York, Samuel Dickstein, was on the Soviet payroll. It was he who originated the House Un-American Activities Committee the purpose of which was meant to be to run anti-Communists to earth. To Dickstein and his Soviet handlers it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The key fact is that, through Dickstein, Stalin and the Soviets were able to exercise extreme influence on the American political system even directing American policy. Had HUAC fallen into Dickstein's hands there is no doubt that he would have forwarded Judaeo-Communist goals while putting what he was pleased to call un-American citizens in jail. In 1944 the ADL/AJC did just that causing pre-war dissidents to be arrested and tried for treason.
Hollywood Reds insisted that they were 'liberals' seeking 'social justice' and were completely uninfluenced by Soviet agents or handlers. Using Dickstein as your model you can see that the probability of this being true is nil. While Studio heads like Mayer, the Warners and Cohn maintained a cover of being All-American Boys while not recognizing that their Studios which were managed closely from the top were not controlled by Reds must be pure bushwa. They had to be involved if not ringleaders. But none of the Hollywood people wished to be known as Communists. They were all taken advantage of by Left wing groups. What of bunch of overly naive innocents.
So, Leopard Men can be read as a portrayal of this very dangerous situation in which ERB found himself. The Leopard men with their secrecy and infiltration of all the tribes can easily be equated with the Communists. The witch doctor, Sobito, of the Utengas who pretends to be a loyal Utengan while he is actually a Leopard Man betraying his own people into their hands is a prime example as on a more proletarian level is Lupingu who actually betrays the army of Orando.
So, one might say that Stalin with his love of movies had an actual hand in Hollywood, one of the two capitals of the Communist world, the other being Moscow. It is not improbable that story lines were formulated in Moscow being sent to traitors like Dalton Trumbo to be worked up into serviceable scripts for American consumption.
Stalin's agent H.G. Wells who was making derogatory attacks on several honest writers was writing furiously at this moment. As much as I personally like Wells, the man must be debunked. Wells met with Charlie Chaplin, another notorious Red, in Hollywood in 1935. Already a courier between Stalin and Roosevelt, what messages did he carry to Chaplin and the Hollywood Reds? Remember Wells wrote the propaganda novel The Shape Of Things To Come in 1933, followed by the movie Things To Come in 1935. If you haven't seen the movie of which Wells had nearly complete control it is worth seeing. More than once.
Leopard Men as a possible comment on the utopian Wells presents what must be the most vile dystopia ever conceived. Worse than Orwell. As in Invincible of the year or so before in which Tarzan singlehandedly foils Stalin and the Soviet plot in this one he destroys the Leopard Men. At least within the vicinity of the Utengans which might be to say, Hollywood. It is only after the Leopard Men are destroyed that Tarzan pays any attention to Kali Bwana and Oldtimer. In the battle between the Utengans and Leopard Men Tarzan once again gets his head bashed but when he comes to he has regained his memory. No longer Orando's Muzimo he goes back to his old ways.
Interestingly the first thing he does when he comes to is call for Nkima. The two are inseparable in this novel. The realtionship between the two and their characters deserves a deep study.
By the time the novel was written in July-September the proceedings for the making of Tarzan, The Ape Man must have been well advanced. I'm not aware of the date that Weissmuller was selected for the role but probably by or during this time. He would have needed time to memorize his lines. Nor do I know the exact date ERB obtained his copy of W.S. Van Dyke's Horning Into Africa. I would imagine that he had at least met Van Dyke by the time of writing. Possibly ERB's rather gruesome concentration on cannibalism may have been meant as a refutation of Van Dyke's statement that there was absolutely no proof any African had ever been a cannibal. There's fair evidence in Horning Into Africa that Van Dyke knew which side his bread was buttered on expressing himself accordingly.
Dickinson and Van Dyke (Horning Into Africa)
A Masai Warrior (Horning Into Africa)
While ERB took his main frame from the Horn book and movie he gussied the story up with plenty of his own motives and themes. Just as Invincible was anti-Communist so Leopard Men probably is too. Since we've covered politics we might as well go on to religion in Part III.
Continued in Part III
Tarzan and the Leopard Men: ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Encyclopedia
Intro & Trader Horn
Debunking the Debunkers
This Silent River
Of Mystery And Death
Cast of Characters
How the Story
Edgar Rice Burroughs
In His Milieu
W. S. Van Dyke
A Photo Gallery
R. E. Prindle
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