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The Fake Revolt (1967)

by G. Legman

Published in 1967, the year of Sgt. Pepper, Monterey Pop, and the "Summer of Love," The Fake Revolt is an I-was-a-Revolutionary-when-Revolutionary-meant-something-Jack indictment of the goofy sixties radicals (many of whom later wormed their way into government power, hello Tom Hayden). Even if the subject matter doesn't interest you, the pure dynamic ranting makes it well worth tracking down the book, which practically needs a spit-guard, this guy's so angry. It's especially gratifying to read a critique of free love not by a stodgy Republican or preacher, but instead by a man who was a socialist himself, as well as a premier folklorist of erotica, the man who claimed to have invented the first vibrating dildo in the thirties and also claimed to have coined the sixties catchphrase "Make Love, Not War."
It is precisely this angry, grumbling, wildcat hostility to everything, that will make the Fake Revolt the chosen vehicle of the next Hitler ... who will naturally require drug-addicted goon-squads and a Lumpen "Elite" (on motorcycles) to scare YOU, the yellow-belly public, into frightened silence and guilty connivance, exactly as happened once before in living memory.... Don't imagine for a minute that I'm the only sorehead still remembering Hitler and the German Death Camps, laid out and suggested in Celine's Bagatelles pour un Massacre and L'Ecole des Cadavres, works carefully omitted from this particular lunatic degenerate's complete works, now again being plugged as "in." The motorcycle hoodlums and surfers of the California coast, at least, want nothing more in life than big waves (of the Future?) and Nazi medals, German pilots' crush-caps, and Hitler Jugend daggers to sport, and will pay any price to get them; will even trade hand-engraved idols of the surfers' secret god, "Tiki," for them... (Cross-cultural note: most Iron Crosses now being peddled in America are forged by two pop-sculptors in Los Angeles.) .... The New Left is essentially a front operation or "Social Democratic" Trojan Horse, intended to set up cadres to welcome the new Hitler when he comes. [p. 20]

The main feeling one gets, picking one's way through the sodden bodies and surly faces of the "flower children" in these psychedelic pads nowadays, is that of a terrible and empty sadness and meaninglessness. Mostly, the kids just sit around among the unwashed dishes, scratching their unwashed armpits, screwing, etc. (you want details? -- subscribe to their poetry magazines), and work themselves up on drugs to writing newer and worse manifestoes and poems, all in a bad imitation of the style of Walt Whitman's bad imitation of the King James Bible, also a century ago, or rather three centuries ago, but this time all beginning: "My armpits were green when I woke up this morning." Look, chump, you're lucky you woke up at all, the way you hit that snakeroot. Also, where does it say that free speech for poetry, or for "love," involves masturbating four- and five-year-old communally-held children for kicks? That used to be called the Black Mass. Now, all of a sudden, it's a Human Be-In, and a private Love Event around the old pad. Ya wanna play sex-games with daddy? Pardon me while I puke. [p. 17]

It's a fun, cranky read and at least Legman (even though he himself was a collectivist) noticed the curious connection between hippie-ism and totalitarianism, something that usually goes unnoticed. (How many people these days have heard of the Wandervogel?)

It's not surprising that Legman missed certain other related connections; collectivism is a pretty thick mask. In the thirties the poet Hugh McDiarmid was well-connected in socialist and occultic circles; a friend scolded him, saying, "What are you doing among these people? Don't you realise they will all go religious-Fascist?" Decades later McDiarmid admitted, "I did not realise anything of the kind, but they did all go religious-Fascist, and I still do not see why that should be so."


A thousand thanks to Jean for tracking down this & a number of other elusive books