Realizations The Autobiography
of Julian Lee / COPYRIGHT
2009 JULIAN LEE
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My father and I cheated by a no-custody divorce
In retrospect I can see that my father was royally screwed in the divorce. She went to a lawyer friend of the family for the "formalities," and my father probably trusted him, but the end was treachery. They were more friends to my mother than to him. Citing his drinking, she had been granted a "full custody" decree. That was more common in those days, but of course the injustice of it and the separation he had from his children worked its damage on his state. Starting from the separation, in which he moved into the old Rollins home, mother never spoke as if there was any plan or need for us to be with our father on any systematic basis. She regularly criticized him, too. She had a few repeated memes regarding him. I would hear her on occasion saying them to one of her friends in a low voice. I always had the feeling that mother might not approve if I visited my dad; that I might lose her affection.
I heard that Dad stopped working, and sunk into debt and poverty. I think mother's conscience worked on her after a few years, because she suddenly began saying things like, "Maybe you should go visit your dad. It would probably cheer him up." Nothing had ever felt right about my NOT seeing my dad, and his isolation seven blocks away, so the prospect immediately felt good. When I began visit him I found a very dark, gloomy man. At this point the once hard-working man had not worked for maybe three years, and he radiated gloom and despair. Instead of the warm embrace, I got a one-armed, lame response to my hug. As I noticed his living state and saw little notes around the house that he had written to himself, I realized that he was at a suicidal low.
I was not well aware of the concept of "custody" in family law. But I had a son's basic compassion for him and, seeing his state, knew by instinct that something wasn't right about this divorce and the situation I'd lived for the past three years. It began to add some meaning, some rightness, to my life to stop in and see dad starting around age of 16. It also worked a magic on him, and he began to be in a more normal state when I would visit, and would even be delightfully happy. It became clear that a visit by his son gave him joy, and his hugs -- now more robust and warm -- gave me comfort. Robert Bly wrote that a kind of "food" passes from the father to the son through their physical proximity and also by working together as the father teaches him skills. There was an emotional food in my fathers' hugs.
Still, it was all at my discretion. There was no "understanding" or rule that any of his children had to spend time with him. This was, no doubt, part of the injustice and pain that my father suffered as a "non-custodial" parent. I became aware that my older brothers Mark and Victor were also visiting on their own impulses. But it was all random or according to our mood. If my young obsessions happened to distract me for a few months, I might not think to visit him for many weeks. Then at times I would return to gloom again.
The Meaningless Void of My Single-Mother Home
After graduation at 18 I spent a year haphazardly pursing a music career by being a lead guitarist in a rock group called "Dancer." I quit that group over competitions with the leader, a much older blond fellow who played a Les Paul and sang most of the songs. At that point I moved up to the college town of Ames, Iowa to join a rock band consisting of three brothers, as their lead guitarist. I lived with my old organist friend Rick Siberall, with whom I'd been a member of 2-3 different groups in high school. That was a bust, as I didn't like the group or the sort of music they liked to play, and they were not very skilled. I moved back to Des Moines, to my home, where my mother was, pretty lost and directionless. But up in Ames, some things had gelled in my mind.
Just prior to Ames, while in the aforementioned group and still living at my mother's, I had read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. After reading that book I felt as if possessed by Franklin's attitude for some time -- all of his practical earnestness and his application to "virtue." It set me on a track of trying to think more like a businessman about my musical ambitions. In the greater solitude of Ames I did a lot of contemplation about the dynamics of fame, analyzing all the factors that went into the success of the biggest musical groups. It occurred to me that the greatest musical sensations hooked into some kind of great historical trend or change; some new current in the culture brought about by forces well beyond the particular artist such as the Beatles, Elvis, etc. It might be a war. It might be a great change in religion or society. The biggest groups, it seemed, rode the crest of some social wave.
This led me to the question: "What is the big social trend now, and what is the next big trend likely to be?"
I felt I could easily answer both of these for myself: The great new social trend in rock music was moral decadence, and this was already well underway. The Big New trend, then, would be moral regeneration. I saw in my mind that after the whole western world became corrupt enjoying it's decadent rock groups -- with men wearing makeup, celebrating violence and depravity -- some new rock star would arise who would reject thee things and be a moral reformer, and maybe even a literal saint. This seemed clear to me. Only involvement in such a massive cultural development could engage my interest. But now I had a problem: I really didn't know, myself, what "good" was and what "evil" was. I myself truly didn't know what was right and wrong. I literally decided at that point that in order to pursue my developing fame strategy I would first have to study the questions of good/evil, right/wrong -- as well as religion -- so that I could have some certitude about these questions and come from a place of conviction. At that time I began checking out religious books from the Ames University Library. These included the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita, and others.
Another fundamental event had taken place in the group "Dancer" some months before. We were in a break in the room that served as our dressing room, in some big bar and raving house called "Jolly's Place" in Ames. Lou Scorpinini, the synthesizer player and a ladies' man, came in and said that there was a table of women who were crazy about me and were hoping to meet me. He was inviting me out there to meet them during the break. This was my first experience of "fans."
I went cold. I was terrified. In that moment I realized that the fame I had always dreamed of would not make me happy. It perhaps helped that I was basically shy and had no confidence with women. Part of my problem was that I didn't want to disappoint them and was pretty certain that I would. I had had girlfriends, and I could be witty and hold the floor with those I was already comfortable with. But this business of meeting strange women who cut the pattern of groupies was a bit over my head. But the worst part was this: I immediately regarded them as stupid. They were entranced with my act and my image. But that wasn't the real me, and I realized they were stupid for buying it, or possibly even degenerate. They were immediately, in my mind, not the sort of women I would want to meet.
The Aesthetic Hippie
My father's hellish separation from his sons and daughters, and now the relief of a return, made him more forgiving toward my counter-cultural tendencies. Overjoyed just to see his son, he no longer made issues about my long hair. Up to the time of the divorce the cultural divergence he was seeing in his sons had been a cause of some conflicts between us. He stood helpless before a sea of media that affected his children, offering up continuous cultural challenges and different moral directions. In me it mainly came out in the way I wanted to dress, and the kind of music I wanted to listen to. He didn't approve of either, but especially my obsessions about having the most "cutting edge" hair and clothes. His instinct that the breakage of hair norms represented a rebellion against traditions and self-restraint made him frequently roiled by his sons as we connived to grow it longer. When the Beatles came out they roiled and provoked by what were essentially feminine gestures. That is certainly how my father saw it. Their longer hair was feminine. Their high-singing vocals, sans male resonance, were also feminine. Their pointy-toed books with raised heels -- there it is again. When men of my fathers' generation would say "He looks like a girl," they meant it, and saw these developing trends as gender confusion. He couldn't understand how, based on the family and cultural mileau I was growing up in, these were actually ways to be macho: To show courage, creativity, originality. Implicit in his viewpoint was, I am sure, the fear of one's sons coming out homosexual or turning homosexual. Thus every style or fashion I might have tried -- were it to have any connection to a feminine lexicon -- would have terrorized my father. Is my son OK?
In my mentality all of this was about getting attention, standing out, being the one with the most breaking fashion. Thus I and my friend Bill Reilly were the first to wear bell-bottomed pants in our school, and we were very proud of the fact. In generally we were influenced by the English rock stars. If we saw some rock musicians, such as the Moody Blues, wearing puffed sleeves like an English lord, we would avidly buy them as soon as we found them available anywhere. This brings me to an analysis of the different kinds of "hippies" that developed from the 1960s. Now, I was really too young to be a "hippie" technically. So I use the term loosely. I would term my friends and I as simply "longhairs," and English-influenced. My impression is that there were several types of longhairs or hippies:
-- Political hippies
-- Drug hippies
-- Sex hippies
-- Aesthetic hippies
Most of the types combined more than one. For example Abbie Hoffman, the Jew who became famous as an icon of hippiedom, was in the first three categories, though probably the 2nd not so much. Later two other saner categories emerged:
-- Natural Living hippies
-- Religious hippies
The last category was a later development, and included those attracted to India and gurus, and a neo-Christian type that were sometimes called "Jesus freaks." The Natural Living Hippies loved groups like Crosby, Stills & Nash and that album where they are sitting on an old couch. Their song "Our House" expresses the inner instinct of this type: To return to naturalness and wholeness. These types were the ones who gardened, formed agrarian communities, or founded health food stores which were a new cultural development. Or at least they frequented health food stores.
As for me -- and this also went for my brothers -- we were aesthetic hippies, to be sure. This type loved the musical developments of these times, perhaps above all, and loved to dress in new and beautiful ways. The phenomenon of the Renaissance Fair is good symbol for their values.
So a favorite activity of our youth was to get together and listen to the new album just released by one of our favorite groups. Whoever bought the album first might invite a few others over and we'd experience it together. It's charming to remember how big such events were to us, and how enjoyable it was to share the experience of the music. Comments as the music played might include: "I love the double guitar leads" or "Listen to this piano part," "He's playing that guitar part through a Leslie" or in the case of a Genesis song (to come later): "This thing is in 5/8 time. Isn't Buford amazing." In particular we liked the bands out of England that were not yet known or popular in the U.S. One of these, very popular with my crowd, was called "Yes." We had been listening to them for a while before they were heard in the U.S. Bands like Jethro Tull, with their combination of acoustical Troubadour-like guitar, a creative flute, early Goth-like metal riffs, cynical and intellectual-sounding lyrics -- also attracted our type. We loved the cerebral quality of the developing music, as well as the richness of the European musical lexicon that it mined.
And then there were the fashions. An aesthetic hippie was a kind of dandy. My mother had called me a "clothes horse" already by kindergarten. I made her press my pants just so, and went through suffering over my hair amiss or my collar not quite right. My brother Mark was the master of clothes, and I had influences from him. He even worked at THE "hip" clothing store, a place called "Marcovis'" in downtown Des Moines, and he had all the latest duds. He was a veritable Paul McCartney. I had less taste, and was easily swayed by crass things. Once I saw a bright purple tank top shirt in the men's clothing section of Yonkers, made of net. I thought it was very edgy and different. When my father saw me in that thing he became agitated. I am sure at this point that he thought: "Is my son turning into a homosexual?" I didn't have those kinds of associations with fishnetting, I just thought the thing was interesting and different. He began to speak harshly to me throughout the day. He was enraged by the strange shirt. I was washing dishes in the kitchen -- ever the helpful son to my mother or maybe trying to win some points with dad -- when he came in at me with some critical words. I said something cheeky to buck him. He had probably been drinking. This enraged him and he came at me.
I soon evolved toward the Natural Living and Religious side of it. I liked to eat at a wonderful "hippie" eatery called "The Soup Kitchen," and experimented with diets like the Macrobiotic Diet and also fasting, which was a passion with some of my 17-year-old male friends. I recognize this now as an ascetic streak in both myself and my peers which resonates with our White European and Aryan ancestors.
Finally I evolved toward the Religious side of hippiedom, the choicest part. But by that time, the "hippiness" of it all was gone. Already by the 1970s society was too broken up to find anything shocking about any of these types.
I remember around 1969, going into a so-called "head shop" in the campus section of Des Moines on University Avenue. They sometimes called themselves "emporiums." This one had the fascinating name of "Elysian Fields." There was also a wonderful one on Cottage Grove Avenue called Dottie Dumpling's Dowry. Here you could find the exotic totems of hippiedom -- fluorescent posters of Jimi Hendrix, Asian incense, strange "underground" magazines, hash pipes, artful posters featuring sexual positions -- all the necessary paraphernalia of the self-important "hippie." My heart raced in that dark lair. There was a heady philosophical atmosphere to make me feel vaguely noble. But I felt I was in a naughty place -- like a dirty book store. But it was there in that "head shop" that I first saw a picture of the great guru Paramahansa Yogananda, and his mystical book "Autobiography of a Yogi." There was also a copy of the arcane Bhagavad-Gita. Heady stuff. (That's why they called them "head shops.") At the time I didn't know how out-of-place that book was. Yogananda, like all Hindu yogis, was a celibate and gave no quarter to drugs.
The dark-haired and mustacheod purveyor of hipness on University Avenue could not be bothered about what was actually inside of that little book. It was just agreeably subversive, and sufficient to give a start to "Mom and Dad" and their "empty" Christianity. For the merchants of "progressivism," it is all about "being cutting edge." It doesn't matter what is being cut and shredded, just as long as something is being cut. Progressives are a little like termites that way. Or like a boy who delights in popping all the bubbles in a sheet of postal packing. They just get a rise out of breaking things. Then again, some may have found some interest in that little book.
My father could only get glimpses of all my interests as a distant observer, picking up snippets of news about me. Or maybe now and then hearing about it from my own lips, whatever I felt was safe to talk about, should he rarely give ear to me more than 30 seconds. For indeed, most of my visits to dad developed into the sort of conversation as times past, in which he did all the talking and told me stories about his past. But he was my dad, and it felt better to visit him and have a father-son relationship than the crazy feeling of the past three years. Visits to my father made life make some sense again, and I could see the possibility of meaning in it. Yet I was still living in a meaningless void.
It would be fair to say much of my mind, even starting young, has been taken up with observing and coping with the religious, cultural, and racial collapse that has beset the White European peoples. As I grew up, my neighborhood, city, and nation was indeed a White European place. It was also a predominantly Christian environment. Much of my teens involved a process of watching the assumptions and values of White European culture -- and especially it's moral and religious underpinnings -- come unraveled. I remember walking into bookstores and magazine stands and always coming out shocked and disturbed. It seemed every time I went in and scanned the magazines or books, there was a host of new disturbances. Some new taboo was being broken. Some new envelope was being pushed. Some new "revolution" fomented. Even as a boy of 13 I found it disturbing. It took me many years to understand that my own sin was creating this situation. Then it took many years more to perceive that, externally, these changes were being fomented by a particular race, the Jews, who had a centuries-long hatred for Christianity and Gentile culture. They lived among us unnoticed, blending in, while always feeling themselves profoundly different and inimical to us. They had created for themselves the advantage of psychological invisibility. It was, in fact, these very same Jews who were behind most of the disturbing taboo-breaking literature I was constantly seeing in the magazine stores, most of it published from out of New York City. I didn't understand that then, but I see it now.
I would say that the predominant thought of my human mind, from the teens on up, has been grappling with this cultural and religious collapse, trying to find its true cause and conceive of valid and effective solutions for it. It boils down to the Gentile Christian peoples being told many lies. Lies about themselves and their own history. Lies about their ancestors, lies about their religions, and lies about the Jews. The lies told about the Jews are such as to make it psychologically difficult or impossible to even talk about them, giving them psychological invisibility in the culture so that they can act unhampered with full force. In my later years, about 40's on, I came to see how important it was for Gentiles to become aware of Jews, their motivations, their cultural agenda, their influence on the Gentile societies, and their power. This was a very difficult step for me. But as I saw the extent of their influence, I found I had no moral option to remain silent. Their terrible creation, Communism, must also be spotlighted and it's many new forms and guises thoroughly understood. In my teens, however, I did not even have a clear concept of right-and-wrong, moral understanding, much less spiritual understanding. This was because religions naturally become moribund over time. Thus I had to quest for that knowledge before I could understand society.