“The family”, by Ed Sanders and the bubble of the summer of 1969: the massacre, the virus and the riots

When Charlie Manson was released from prison in 1967, America was a different place from what he had left. It came from McNeil Island, a maximum security prison in Washington state; in 1960 a ten-year sentence for exploitation of prostitution had definitively set him up. From ten they became seven for good conduct. In seven years the economic boom and the cultural revolution that started with the beat generation had transformed the United States first (and the world then), into a place that seemed alien to him. The middle class sons and daughters had poured into the streets. The California girls dressed in jeans and toppings and flowers on their heads and the males in tank tops and sneakers , the guitar and a backpack on their shoulders in search of a sense that was not that of their parents, all marriage, children and appliances.

It didn't seem true to Charlie. He had read a lot in prison. He liked Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology , with his strange novel in which he said that humans had created aliens. He read esoteric texts, texts on Neuro Linguistic Programming. History Texts. Above all, in 1969, two years later, he listened to "Helter Skelter" , taken from The White Album, the Beatles' masterpiece that Charlie was convinced they had composed for him. "Helter Skelter" was the chaos that would follow the revolt of the "Negroes" of America who, after defeating the institutions of the whites, would have seized power (does it remind you of anything current?); the desperate whites would go to him who in the meantime had formed the liberation army with his boys and girls. Of course, they were a loving commune, they had taken the Spahn Ranch , an old western outdoor laying theater north of Los Angeles, they cultivated their things, smoked weed and made LSD, stole waste from supermarkets and went on horseback. But Charlie wanted them to learn to handle weapons, everyone, even his girls. Who considered him a god, because he had fucked them by convincing them to be their father; reconciliation with the phallic symbol, Freud, the monster; with the institution family. His, the Family .

There is a lot of stuff in this tome of more than 600 pages. "The Family" , by Ed Sanders ( Feltrinelli , 2018). Sanders was one of the Flower Power movement. With his group, the Fugs , that summer of love and death, he had played in Woodstock. Sanders tells us with minutiae and journalistic coldness the bubble of the summer of 1969, the summer in which there was the Asian, the respiratory virus that made two million deaths in the world and the world did not care at all by relegating it to short stories on the last page in the newspapers (does it remind you of something?), a bubble made of pop, music, love, death, drugs, war, missed, risky, postponed revolutions. He tells us that Charlie was obsessed with music. That Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys , his friend, agreed to take his piece "Cease To Exist" and put it on a Beach Boys album, "20/20" , changing the text and title because it was too hard and making it "Never Mean To Love ” , never giving him even a dollar of rights. Above all, he asks us the question of the questions: but Charlie, the massacre in the home of Roman Polanski against his wife Sharon Tate and friends in the villa of Cielo Drive, and in that of the spouses La Bianca in Waverly Drive, ordered it because angry at the refusal of the musical Hollywood producers to publish his 33 rpm, as promised, and therefore out of blind revenge, or because he wanted to train his boys in the war against blacks / niggers who would take power shortly after the revolution of the Helter Skelter ? We will never know the answer. Nor did Charlie give it to his official or less official biographers who speculated everything and its opposite.

The fact remains, his family, Charles Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenkwinkel and Linda Kasabian followed him in all respects. They killed for him. They quartered for him. They denied it for him. They drew their foreheads at the trial for him. They never regretted it. Almost. And they would have moved with him to the Nevada desert pending the call of the whites to avenge the Helter Skelter , if a blowout the following year for a car theft had not given the possibility to the Los Angeles police to arrest them. And if it were not for the only "repentant" witness Linda Kasabian who, in exchange for immunity, spread all the details on the two nights of the horror of that August 1969. The summer of the Asian virus, of Woodstock which took place a week after the massacres, and the Vietnam War. And racial riots that never reached their zenith in the Helter Skelter which remained only a piece of the Beatles .

The post "The family", by Ed Sanders and the bubble of the summer of 1969: the massacre, the virus and the riots appeared first on the Daily Atlantic .


This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/recensioni/la-famiglia-di-ed-sanders-e-la-bolla-dellestate-del-1969-leccidio-il-virus-e-le-rivolte/ on Sat, 20 Jun 2020 03:59:00 +0000.