I was having some drinks and dinner with my daughter once at a small bar at a hotel that I was staying at in San Diego. I was about three Scotch and waters in when I get a case of verbal diarrhea and start slurring out information on everything that I had been reading about for months. Now, the verbal genre of loose bowels is no different in some ways than the real deal and attempting to halt the flow of loosely bound words by placing your hand across your mouth works no better than trying to shove a cork up your butt.
The main discovery I had made in that time period was through reading Tom O'Neil's excellent book Chaos where the author blows the lid off the Manson killings of the late Sixties by revealing that DA Vincent Bugilosi and one of his prime witnesses Terry Melcher (the record producing son of Doris Day) knew that they were lying about things. The author infers that Bugilosi knew his case was dirty all along and was mainly concerned in seeing that the case worked its way out to a predetermined outcome. The message of the book is that the authorities and the media lied to us all along and used the highly publicized murders for ideological and political purposes.
That's some really important stuff right there, and most of the time I can suppress that natural urge to behave like the Howard Beale character in the movie Network and scream what I learned out of my upstairs window. But get a few drinks in me, and my brain does the equivalent of what my stomach does after it mixes up the contents of a large Chicken Salad topped off by a couple glasses of iced tea. I can't control the outcome. The words just start sliding out on their own. If I were sitting with someone who shared my passion for discovering obscured truth, the moment could actually result in a somewhat interesting if somewhat garbled bar conversation. (On long solo drives, I sometimes imagine myself having such conversations with the likes of Charles Bukowski, Martin Amis, or Christopher Hitchens.)
However, the fact that my daughter's interests are vastly different than mine, combined with the fact that we occupy staunchly opposite ideological positions, and the fact that she is far more acclimated to living in a much stranger world than the one where I acquired my basic foundations, I knew instantly that I activated the perceptual filter that revealed to her the presence of the tin foil hat I sometimes wear upon my head. The difference between her perception and mine is that I understand that everyone on this planet has been gifted with such a hat at birth along with the ability to filter out its presence in polite society. While the young often see it on the heads of their elders. No! Wait a minute! I take that back. Most people never actually see the hat. They simply use the phrase because they've heard someone who they admire use it to "roast" someone else who they don't particularly admire, and often those of them who use it most, do so directly proportional to their own ignorance of the subject being discussed.
On the other hand, the elderly eventually see the tin foil topper whenever they shave, brush their teeth, or place their dentures in a jar. They come to like the way it looks and sometimes fashion it into a patriot's hat, or an admiral's hat. Some even fancy they see themselves wearing the admiral's hat sideways like Napoleon with their hand tucked neatly into their underwear and come to imagine that it is doing yeoman's work in filtering out the combined, harsh effects of 5G, The View, Rachel Maddow, and CNN.
The divide between young and old is a natural thing. We are all born on the clock and have it written in our DNA that the time we have to make our mark is severely limited, but then we have to come to grips with all of the slow-assed drivers who appear to be taking one last scenic drive, one last victory lap perhaps, in the left lane while pointing out the window at all the posted speed limits. While, at the same time, far too many young people plant the nose-end of their Teslas firmly into the license plate frame of the car ahead of them like a male dog in heat, and have yet to understand the wisdom contained in the three car length rule, or have never even heard of Coach Wooden's advice to "Play fast, but don't hurry." One of the worse things we do as human beings is rush about with our heads up our ass circling the hour glass drain like headless chickens farting out our personal mantras via the syncopated and often synchronized puckering of our sphincter muscles.
That night in San Diego I wanted to cry. I was drunk blathering and couldn't stop myself, couldn't keep myself from looking foolish in the eyes of one of the two most important people in this world. I love my daughters and hate the fact that I live so far across the Gand Canyon from them on the ideological map. Yet, apparently not enough to abandon my personal beliefs though. I figure I might need these beliefs someday to save the world after the mainstream media and the mud brained mockingbirds have spread enough untruth to tip the balance in favor of the Lie. And if not the world at large, at least, enough of the boulders to hold fast to as the world I've known my whole life rapidly disintegrates into nothingness all around me. However, that night back in my room, I finally understood that there was really no pressing need for me to look for the differences in the way that we each perceived the world, while there was an urgent need to discover common ground. I also developed sense enough to keep most of my beliefs to myself in the presence of people who have little or no interest in my personally experienced and often modified version of truth. That is unless, of course, there is Scotch involved.
I told my daughter that night that I was going to start keeping a ledger where I would place all wild-assed, unproven and controversial facts I run across on one side of the ledger, and all the things I could somewhat verify on the other. I say somewhat verify because anything that exists on this material plane is open to suspicion. In fact, if we humans had ever acclimated our knowledge and understanding to the demands of infinity, we might have to someday actually face the weird reality that proven facts can be both true and false at the same time. Imagine having a brain that could handle that without freezing up!
The purpose of the ledger was twofold: 1) to clear my own mind of all the gimcrack bullcrap that was clogging up the avenues in my head 2) to make sure my foundations were fundamentally sound. More importantly though, I knew there was also the real possibility that the accumulation of such truth would somehow reveal some of the more obvious hidden truths that I was missing because of all the junk I had piled in the windows of my perception obscuring an outside view of things.
The book on Manson made me realize that it was time for me to question everything I thought I knew, even the oft glorified and golden myths of my youth, especially those myths! I now believe that anything of a mythic nature is particularly open to deeper discussion. You know, things like Ken Kesey's story of how he first acquired the LSD needed to jump start the Psychedelic Movement, the photo of three bums in Dallas, the thinking behind the Tonkin Gulf Affair, things of that nature. There's a whole freaking warehouse full of half truths and outright lies to look into. For example, why is it that everyone back then knew a whole bunch about Charlie Manson, but nobody hardly knew anything about Tex Watson, the man who did almost all of the killing?
I've decided not to watch any more television for the time being. The people on TV lie about things that they said on air just a week or two before. They lie about everything pretty much, even things where there is no discernible reason to lie. I guess they have to practice, but that makes them a pretty damn unreliable source in my book. And the conservative news people aren't doing any better as they sound a lot like that English guy on The Curse of Oak Island who gets way beyond excited every time they find a rusty nail. They keep handing their viewers information that is three and four years old, holding the bits out in front of us in their grubby little hands like its the most natural order of journalism to hand us facts we figured out for ourselves several years after it could have done any of us some good.
I no longer believe that the Sixties were in any way, shape, or form an Era of Peace and Love, except in the minds of the young and the foolish who were among the greatest victims of the time. I also believe that the people who work for the mainstream media along with a majority of our political leaders are actively engaged in the suppression of Hope, mankind's greatest weapon against the dark unknown.