Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Manson Murders review

The Times Literary Supplement began as a supplement to The Times, a London newspaper, but became a separate publication 100 years ago though they still enjoy a close association with that newspaper today.   It is considered by many writers to be an indispensable source for serious and authoritative reviews.  Forty years ago TLS reviewed Bugliosi's Helter Skelter and I was struck by how insightful the review was of the author at a time when most US reviewers thought Bugliosi could do no wrong.

The book was published under the title of The Manson Murders -  An Investigation Into Motive in the UK.


April 18, 1975
A family and its head
by Charles Rycroft

The Manson Murders is a detailed, day-by-day account of the investigations into the Sharon Tate and La Bianca murders in Los Angeles in August 1969, and of the arrest, trial and conviction of Charles Manson and members of his "Family" in 1970-71.  Its author, Vincent Bugliosi, was prosecutor at the trial.

The English, though not the American edition, is subtitled "An Investigation Into Motive", and it therefore as such that it must presumably be reviewed in this country, even though it is obvious that elucidation of Manson's motives for murdering and inciting to murder, was not Professor Bugliosi's main motive for writing this book.

If it had been, he would presumably not have written it in a narrative form, first sketching in the facts already known to police before he himself became involved in the case and thereafter describing the investigations and the court proceedings entirely in terms of a day-by-day account of his own activities.  For instance, Professor Bugliosi reveals what he considers to have been the motive for the murders in two chapters, "January 1970" and "February 1970", which are the months during which he, already convinced on the circumstantial evidence that Manson must have been the prime mover behind the murders that on commonsense grounds appeared motiveless, began to understand something of the ideology and chiliastic beliefs that inspired Manson and his "Family".  Although this method of presenting the case makes for lively and exciting reading, it is also bewildering, since Professor Bugliosi records events not in the order in which they happened but in the order in which he learnt about them.  It also has the effect of drawing the reader's attention away from Manson and on to Professor Bugliosi, and, although prosecuting attorneys do, I presume, legitimately play star roles during murder trials, I doubt whether they should continue to steal the limelight while writing a book about the murders.

Professor Bugliosi must, I think, really have had two other reasons for writing this book; first to give as full account as possible of the longest, most publicized and most expensive trial in American legal history, and, secondly, to vindicate his own role in it.  He makes it clear that he insisted on establishing a motive for the murders, and a very peculiar motive at that, against the wishes of police, who would have been content with circumstantial proof; and, although it is hard for an English reviewer to be certain about this, the informality of his relations with the accused and with witnesses may well have raised eyebrows in some quarters.

His written account leaves the reader in no doubt as to which of the various besotted females in Manson's "Family" he liked and found attractive and which he found repellant or as to his opinion of individual detectives and defending counsel.  Furthermore he may well have had misgivings arising from the fact that the motive he proposed for the murders is, as we shall see, extremely hard to reconcile with the idea that Manson was sane enough to be charged.  I must confess, however, that both the court procedure and the moral tone of the trial were so unlike what, I hope, happens in English courts, that at times my credulity was strained; it sounds as though it was shambles from beginning to end.

It is clear, too, that Manson and Professor Bugliosi were in frequent communication with one another and each developed a reluctant respect for the other.  This book is, indeed, more easily read as a confrontation between the two men than as an attempt by one to investigate the motives of the other.  But, although Professor Bugliosi succeeds, accidently I suspect, in getting across the extent to which the trial was a duel between him and Manson, with Manson's life certainly at hazard- the death penalty was only abolished in California after his conviction, though before the appeals were heard- and Professor Bugliosi's possibly so, since throughout the trial many of Manson's followers were at large and known to be armed, he lacks the dramatic sense to present the trial as a contest between representatives of two opposed visions of the nature of society and the meaning of life and death.

Professor Bugliosi and Manson were both in their mid-thirties at the time of the trial, but, whereas Professor Bugliosi was a successful professional man, a district attorney and a professor of criminal law who had attended university on a tennis scholarship, Manson was a habitual criminal who had spent seventeen years of his life in reformatories and had convictions for armed robbery, burglary, car-thieving, forgery and pimping.  A not unusual contrast, one might have said, between a successful professional man and an unsuccessful criminal, were it not for the fact that somewhere along the line Manson had acquired some very curious, way-out ideas, which made him, in the eyes of himself and his followers, a legitimized adversary of the established order, exempt from its laws and conventions and no more a criminal than those of his and Professor Bugliosi's contemporaries who were fighting in Vietnam.

Unfortunately Professor Bugliosi's account of Manson's religious and political beliefs is so presented that it is impossible for the reader to decide whether Manson did in fact possess a reasoned, coherent though bizarre philosophy, which could have impelled him to plan and execute political murders, or whether his mind was really a rag-bag of half baked and delusional ideas.  Although he mentions that Manson had connexions with the flower-children, the drug-scene, the pop-scene, numerous groups and Scientology, and that he was an admirer of Nietzsche and Hitler and was believed by his followers to be Jesus Christ, Professor Bugliosi makes no attempt to assess Manson's philosophy seriously or to relate it to either the history of millennial Christianity or the sociology of the drop-out culture, about both of which an extensive literature does in fact exist.  As a result, Manson's ideas are presented as being more confused, inconsistent and autochthonous than they perhaps were, and, it is impossible to evaluate whether he was speaking literally or using religious metaphor when he asserted that he was already dead or implied that he was Jesus Christ- or whether the sexual performances he organized were orgies or rites.

This failure on Professor Bugliosi's part is particularly marked when he discusses the fact that Manson believed in both love and the permissibility of killing.  Professor Bugliosi, and apparently some of the other lawyers involved in the case, were deeply moved by the atmosphere of love that permeated the "Family".  One, indeed, wishes to write "a book about the beauty I've seen in that group- their opposition to war, their truthfulness and their generosity".  But they also believed in the triviality of death, and that killing was an unimportant event in the life of both the killer and the victim.  Now, although no society could conceivably tolerate members who acted on such a belief, any book that really was an investigation into the motives of the Manson murders would have had to explore that thread in Christian thinking which does lead to such a diabolical conclusion, and Professor Bugliosi's does not.  And it would have to explain why Manson thought it was morally justifiable to kill strangers in Los Angeles in order to provoke Armageddon but morally unjustifiable to kill strangers in Vietnam- or to commit soul murder in prisons- in order to preserve the American Way of Life.  As it is, however, Professor Bugliosi's account of Manson's motive- which was, briefly, to set off Armageddon by committing murders of whites which were made to look as though they had been committed by blacks- makes Manson sound terribly mad; even though the trial was based on the assumption that he was sane and fit to plead.

This is, indeed, the central weakness and contradiction of the whole book; it sets out to investigate Manson's motive for murder, but does so in a way that suggests that he should have never been tried.  It should be added that Manson, his followers, the lawyers and the psychiatrists all agreed that Manson was sane, that Manson never endorsed the motive ascribed to him by Professor Bugliosi, but that several of his followers and acquaintances attributed to him the belief that the Book of Revelations was about to be fulfilled, that the Beatles were the first Four Angels and wrote clarion-calls to revolution into their songs, and that the Bottomless Pit is just outside Los Angeles, all of which sounds very psychotic.






52 comments:

orwhut said...

Helter Skelter, the book, got it's name from Helter Skelter, the motive. Helter Skelter, the motive got it's name from a song about a carnival ride in "England", sung by an "English" recording group. The book, however, was given a different title when published in "England". It would be interesting to know what thinking was behind the title change.

MHN said...

An erudite review written by a distinguished writer on psychiatry and psychoanalysis. It really is amazingly insightful. I'd be interested to read a NYRB review from the same period, see if there is a distinct Atlantic divide in the attitudes.

TLS on TLB. This could get confusing.

MHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AustinAnn74 said...

Wait a minute, did this reviewer call soldiers that were sent to Vietnam, criminals? WTF?

MHN said...

No, Ann. He says that,

"in the eyes of himself [Manson] and his followers" the Family's crimes were no more criminal than what was being done in Vietnam. That's not the reviewer's evaluation.

Matt said...

Ann, I suspect you are referring to:

(An investigation into the motives of the Manson murders )... would have to explain why Manson thought it was morally justifiable to kill strangers in Los Angeles in order to provoke Armageddon but morally unjustifiable to kill strangers in Vietnam- or to commit soul murder in prisons- in order to preserve the American Way of Life.

I think he's just pointing out the paradox of the Family's views on death.


Robert Hendrickson said...

ANN got a bingo, now give HER the WIN. I suggest you'al RE-READ what SHE is talikng about "carefully." BUT, at the time (1975)the liberal media still considered the Blacks, Browns and poor White Trash who did the "killing for a wacked-out JFK and LBJ to be the scapegoats for THEIR mistake.

This reviewer is probably giving US the best insight so far.

I have said many times and even more recently - IF you don't SEE or hear the word "Vietnam" in a Manson Family Story, the author is likely just masterbating over HIS own clever writing sklls.

Last night the NEWS media brought back the MOST famous Black Muslim in American history. NOT an accident - HE could NOT keep HIS mouth shut over the Trump "keep the Muslims out of Ameirca" remark. Ali actually TIED a yellow ribbon around "the Nation of Islam" and the new and improved Muslims of today.

The Title in the UK was changed one or more times.

Realize also, this author has an inherent "objective" view from a far-off perspective. Plus WE in America LOVE to be "brainwashed."

Farflung said...

There should be an American to Queen's English translation book considering the vast differences in our common language.

First is their maddening habit of renaming things. A Snickers bar is called a Marathon, dumpsters are called skips, and inexplicably, English muffins are called crumpets.

In America if you order some pumpkin pie, one receives a pie filled with, you got it... Pumpkin. Order a Shepherds pie in Jolly Ole England, and to my chagrin there wasn't a single piece of Shepherd in the thing. Buttholes.

Breakfast was just as seizure inducing with the appearance of kippers, and the mind warping experience of trying to peel a soft boiled egg.

Even when we use the same word, it carries a completely different connotation; like mad, pissed, and fanny. Oh well.

CrisPOA said...

It really is an in-depth review of the book, but i have to disagree with the reviewer when he says that
"it sets out to investigate Manson's motive for murder"

As he stated in the end of his second paragraph, investigate the motive is not Bugliosi's main motive for writing this book. He should had criticized the British edition title instead.

As for "detailed, day-by-day account of the investigations into the Sharon Tate and La Bianca murders in Los Angeles in August 1969, and of the arrest, trial and conviction of Charles Manson and members of his "Family", written in his first paragraph, i think Mr. Bugliosi did a terrific job.

So the reviewer kind of contradicted himself between the first paragraphs and the final one. Something he said the "Professor" did.

Manson Family Archives said...

Jim Dieugeno did a great examination of Helter Skelter and Bugliosi. As a man who has spent years taking his obsession with JFK to levels that exceed even those obsessed with the TLB murders, he can smell bullshit a mile away and said he was shocked upon reading the book.

christopher butche said...

I love the JFK stuff, but I actively avoid getting too into it, the real deal on obessive behaviour. I am intending to read that book Manson Family Archive. Reviews say it touches on TLB and Bugliosi?

Kanarek's version of Helter Skelter: An Investigation into Objecting, would be my preferred read. He's still with us (92 or thereabouts). Matt can you get him on here?

AustinAnn74 said...

Sorry if I read that wrong, or misinterpreted that. I've been a space cadet the past few weeks from stress and haven't been able to concentrate on much of anything. Do excuse me....

The boy wonder said...

Two countries divided by one language ha ha, been reading the site for some time now and love it but struggle with those who defend the fisherman's wharf. I grant you he is wasn't proven to have actually killed anyone but come on!! Anyhoos keep up the good work and remember the last words of the titanics captain " full steam ahead and fuck the icebergs "

The boy wonder said...

Two countries divided by one language ha ha, been reading the site for some time now and love it but struggle with those who defend the fisherman's wharf. I grant you he is wasn't proven to have actually killed anyone but come on!! Anyhoos keep up the good work and remember the last words of the titanics captain " full steam ahead and fuck the icebergs "

Manson Family Archives said...

The chapter on Bugliosi and the Manson murders in Jim's book, "Reclaiming Parkland", was removed by the publisher at of fear. But Feral House has it in PDF format.He also read it on a radio show.

DebS said...

MFA The Colonel has had that chapter up on his site for a couple of years. Click on "Dropbox" in the post.

http://tatelabianca.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-secret-world-of-bug.html

leary7 said...

The beauty of blogs, Ann, is that we aren't graded. Everyone of us gets off tilt and misses the mark from time to time. Hell, what fun would it be otherwise. Sorry about your stress, wanna hit Barton Springs for a morning swim with me. I promise to leave my yellow ducky arm floats at home.
Deb, I haven't been to the Col's site in many a moon. I think I forget how to get there. Is he active these days? He's obviously one of the primo characters of the TLB world.
Speaking of which, I love RH but I still need one of those old decoder rings to figure out what he is talking about most of the time. Matt once offered up a formula but I have forgotten it.
Because of my relationship with Junie Oswald and her mother and such I am fairly familiar with most of the USA JFK buffs but I confess to not knowing much about Dieugeno. The English mind is unique, as evidenced by our grimtraveler. Just based on this read the guy is an intellectual/investigative force for sure. I'll have to find more of his stuff. But honestly, with all the 9/11 denials and then Sandy Hook denials and now even San Bernadino denials the conspiracy worlds just feel pornographic to me. I have always believed in the notion that dissonance causes apathy. And I have always said that the real tragedy of the JFK killing was the '86 Gallup poll that showed that while 73% of Americans thought that Oswald acted alone, only 11% thought the matter warranted any more scrutiny or investigation. The resulting premise being that America was raped on 11/23/63 and the public's attitude towards tragedy/controversy since then has been like that of most rape victims - i.e., just file it away and march on. I think it was FDR would said, "the times we live in are so dangerous the only defense is the truth". Americans seem to care less and less about truth, witness that it is looking more and more like there is a real shot we will have one of the all=time idiot blowhards as the Republican candidate. Sure would be fun to know what ol Charlie thinks of Mr. Trump.

leary7 said...

whoops, I wrote that wrong....73% thought Oswald DID NOT act alone....sorry, my bad.

leary7 said...

I think I read recently that Trump got the endorsement of the head of the American Nazi Party. I wonder if an endorsement from one Charles Manson would be a headline. Gotta believe it would be.

Robert Hendrickson said...

ANN and Michael (MNM)

Ahhh, therein lies the confusion that infects the entire MANSON Mystique.

YES the reviewer states that "in the eyes of himself and his followers,"..."no more a criminal than his contemporaries who were fighting in Vietnam." BUT that is the way an author enhances HIS writing to a perceived level of credibility. The word "Vietnam" to my knowledge is no where to be found in Helter Skelter, THUS the author istherein actually interjecting HIS own mental conclusion. AND that is exactly what Bugliosi has done through-out Helter Skelter. It's called "literary licence."
The whole idea that Manson was tooo sane to be so crazy is also the reviewer's conclusion. Here is a perfect example of just how a legend is born. From out-of-work carpenter to King of the Jews - I think it was Sheakspear who once said: "Don't fuck with the author who will write YOUR epitaph." The "word" can be more powerful that a speeding bullet, and as I was taught in college, for an "author" are NO rules - and IF there were - the author would write them.

AND a filmmaker - he is simply an out-of-control author.

MHN said...

True, Robert. Except, don't forget, we don't know a damn thing Shakespeare said. We know only what his characters say. But his greatest human creation, Hamlet, says something that I often think of when reading the words of the Family. Speaking of Denmark, his home, he says,

"there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison."

But what is the logical end if each person constructs their own worldview, their own ethics, their own rules, and lives by them? Did the Family have the right to secede from the norms of USA 1969? How much desert, how much mountain, how much sand and rock must you put between yourself and the world before you can claim the right to live only by your own rules? And even when you do, why take those rules back to the world you escaped and start inflicting them on others?

Robert Hendrickson said...

YES Leary, BUT you already HAVE a decoder ring. YOU just haven't learned HOW to use it YET.

From MY position TRUMP is a real piece of work - HE, via his recent Muslim remark, just sucked Mahammuad Ali ( the'greatest' Black Muslim EVER ) right out of "the Nation of Islam" closet.

For decades NO body had a Muslim 'decoder' ring and NOW we got TRUMP putting THEM in EVERY cereal box accross the land - for FREE.

Of course, the Nazi's love HIM - He's going to let THEM have THEIR tortus-shell helments BACK - so THEY can have a 'pot' to piss-in.

orwhut said...

I sometimes think that I could live by my own rules if I owned a desert island. Then I remember I'd have to have to have command of a strong military to defend it. It just doesn't seem worth the trouble.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Michael (MNM) Are you serious, Sheakspere didn't speak, that only his characters did ? Cause when I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, there was a large sign over the entrance to the STAGE. It read:

"It is a poor student who does not surpass his teacher."
William Sheakspere

BUT now it makes sense. Jesus HAD to rise from the dead - to write HIS story "with" the Curt Gentry of HIS day.

ORWHUT: SEE what happens when your DECORDER ring is tuned-up.

AND if you had a really HOT chick on that island, you can be sure THEY would invade your space real fast.

orwhut said...

You're right about the invasion, Robert. Living by one's own rules is two much trouble for a lazy person like me. It's a job for an energetic natural leader like Hitler or Stalin. May there never be another.

MHN said...

Hey Robert. Can't find that anywhere in a fairly large Shakespeare glossary. It's more usually attributed to that other Renaissance mystery man Leonardo. It seems we must question everything.

The only words of Shakespeare that have come down to us are a few minor statements in tedious lawsuits, and the absolutely bland text of his will. It's always a mistake to read a writer's characters as being empty containers into which he pours his own wisdom and opinions.

I expect the same is true of filmmakers.

Fiddy 8 said...

To film, or not to film, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of I was there fortune
Or to take lens against a creek of swimmers
And by filming end them: to buy, to sell

ziggyosterberg said...


Helter Skelter is a conspiracy theory. And a ridiculous one at that :

An ex-con turned musician, wants to start a race war, which he would be the "ultimate beneficiary" of - getting control of the planet handed to him by the victors, because they're too stupid to run things. So he sends a psycho and 2 skanks out to 2 houses to kill people.

Sounds kind of far-fetched, don't it?

If Bugliosi didn't believe in a JFK conspiracy, I highly doubt that he believed his own bullshit.

Robert Hendrickson said...

MICHAEL: THANKS - you just blew my FAITH in everything OUT the window, BUT what should I expect - I NEVER investigated the slogan. Which brings us back to "In the eyes of himself....no more criminal than his contemporaries..fighting in Vietnam." That is a perfect example of how OTHER people put THEIR "shit" on Manson. I could fill a book with all the BS. Charles Manson NEVER thought of our ground soldiers as "killers," BUT our President- "He should be picking up HIS children along side the road, but He's sending THEM off to WAR." AND if He did think of them as KILLERS, what a guy, HE put them out of the "killing" business, when HE ended the sixties.

NOW, if the reviewer clarified that it was JFK and LBJ who were the sick mother-fucking KILLERS, I might buy it.

Imagine POOR Obama - now faced with whether to ignite another Vietnam in the Middle East OR secure HIS legacy as just another loser. Thank God TRUMP came along to be blamed for starting another WAR.

ORWHUT - Thanks for the good laugh. AND "leaders" don't even get any good union benefits. I don't know, do THEY even get ObamaCare ?

MHN said...

Point well made, Robert. To which my response is another question:

If the soldiers (some of whom committed terrible deeds in the hell called war) are basically 'children' placed in a nightmare situation, why draw the line at the President? Can we not think of the President as just another of the children, placed in an impossible situation by....

History?
Fate?
Elemental Dark Forces?
Those Evil 'Corporations'?
Our Lizard Overlords?
a shuffling bum called Charlie?

Where is the sympathy for poor LBJ? He wasn't born evil, was he? Look at his childhood - poor guy never had a chance...

Robert Hendrickson said...

ANN got a bingo, now give HER the WIN. I suggest you'al RE-READ what SHE is talikng about "carefully." BUT, at the time (1975)the liberal media still considered the Blacks, Browns and poor White Trash who did the "killing for a wacked-out JFK and LBJ to be the scapegoats for THEIR mistake.

This reviewer is probably giving US the best insight so far.

I have said many times and even more recently - IF you don't SEE or hear the word "Vietnam" in a Manson Family Story, the author is likely just masterbating over HIS own clever writing sklls.

Last night the NEWS media brought back the MOST famous Black Muslim in American history. NOT an accident - HE could NOT keep HIS mouth shut over the Trump "keep the Muslims out of Ameirca" remark. Ali actually TIED a yellow ribbon around "the Nation of Islam" and the new and improved Muslims of today.

The Title in the UK was changed one or more times.

Realize also, this author has an inherent "objective" view from a far-off perspective. Plus WE in America LOVE to be "brainwashed."

AustinAnn74 said...

Leary, the weather isn't too Barton Springs friendly right now. Thanks, anyway, though....

Robert Hendrickson said...

MICHAEL: I have pondered the LBJ issue for years and there is little question - HE was just blindly following in the footsteps of HIS predecesor.

BUT because HE is on record for declaring "We must stop the Communists" I can't help but wonder WHY he didn't just invade CUBA, 90 miles off our shore, instead of shipping tens of thousands of our finest clear accross the world to Vietnam.

It's like, what IF ISIS took over CUBA today and Obama "declared" "NOW, let's send thousands of troops over to the Middle East to eliminate ISIS."

I mean - IF there is really a GOD, he has got to scratching HIS head over this one. Like how can a people so smart "elect" guys so "stupid."

Fiddy - love the Hamlet skit.

NOW - here is a FUN question: The reviewer says that "Manson and Bugliosi were in frequent communication with one another."

OK, What did THEY say to one another ? ANYONE ?

MHN said...

What did they say to one another? I guess,

"Charlie, make my watch work again. Please?"
"Screw you, Bug"
"You owe me a watch you motherfucker"
"Your watch has really gone through some changes"
"Use your powers you little punk, bring my watch back to life"
"I just brought your career to life, bozo, buy your own goddam watch"

MHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
christopher butche said...

Deb, thanks for the dropbox link (and Col for filling up the box).

I was distracted by the anecdote from the Michael Caine autobiography that he attended a.party at Momma Cass Elliot's and was introduced to Manson with Sebring and Tate also in attendance. Is this regarded as verifiable or wishful thinking?

Mr Hendrickson, whereas you and your fellow countrymen fought against Ho Chi Minh, back in the 1910s over here in the UK we had him washing up our plates
http://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/ho-chi-minh

grimtraveller said...

When my older sister was studying law, we used to have this frequent argument about whether torturers and violent killers had to be insane to do what they did. She always felt they did. I didn't. I felt that people could do all kinds of things without being 'mad' even though when one hears of some vile acts, one would say the perpetrator was 'sick' almost as a reflex action.
This is a very interesting article but very English in some of the thinking. The idea that in order to think apocalyptically and believe it to the extent that you'd act on it, you'd have to be insane and shouldn't be tried for subsequent actions {if they are criminal}, that is ever so English ! It's part of that same strand of thinking that happily believes there is a God but baulks at the idea that that God could communicate with you, the simple Joe or Josephine.
That the TLB case throws up many contradictions isn't a surprise, at least not to me. We as human beings are walking contradictions.

TomG said...

First of all, there is no Apocalypse. It is an excuse of the weak or confused or fucked up who don't want to deal with the reality of they own life. The world goes on. Whether that's a good thing or not is your shit.

Seconds of all, the wheels of humanity have come off and things will probably get worst before they get better.

Third of all, I like the Eagles over the Bills.

What says urine?

grimtraveller said...

Farflung said...

First is their maddening habit of renaming things. A Snickers bar is called a Marathon

That's what they were called when I was kid n the 60s & 7os. The advert used to say "Marathon makes you go, go, go !" You can imagine the diarrhoea jokes we used to make with that.
But I can't recall it being called Marathon since the very early 90s or maybe even the late 80s.

Farflung said...

Even when we use the same word, it carries a completely different connotation; like mad, pissed, and fanny

I prefer your 'pissed' to our 'pissed off' but I only use it on sites with lots of Americans because otherwise, people just think I mean 'drunk'. I used to read crime fiction by James Hadley Chase {I was surprised to learn he was British because most of his novels are set in the USA} and I liked the use of the word 'fanny', like if I wanted to offer someone a seat, I'd want to say "plonk your fanny there...." but I dare not say that ! No one that I've ever met here has a clue as to the American usage of 'fanny.'
We also use a phrase, 'Sweet FA' which means 'nothing' and the FA can be 'fuck all', 'Fanny Adams' or 'Felicity Arkwright.' I would like to use the second but, this is England and 'fanny' just isn't a word used in polite society.
Funnily enough, my wife has used it all the time I've known her !

CrisPOA said...

Something he said the "Professor" did

I keep laughing at the reviewer calling him Professor Bugliosi. Maybe he misread "prosecutor" because he had a deadline to meet ! Mind you, over here we do like our professors.

Manson Family Archives said...

Jim Dieugeno did a great examination of Helter Skelter and Bugliosi. As a man who has spent years taking his obsession with JFK to levels that exceed even those obsessed with the TLB murders, he can smell bullshit a mile away and said he was shocked upon reading the book

I read a long and interesting article that he did on this subject a couple of days ago and part of the basic thrust of his argument in the first section was that it made no sense that Bugliosi made a name for himself connecting Manson to a conspiracy that he {the writer} obviously did not believe he was part of while concluding that Oswald acted alone and that there was no conspiracy which he {the writer} obviously felt there was.
I guess one person's bullshit a mile away is another person's manure worth travelling that mile for.

grimtraveller said...

leary7 said...

I love RH but I still need one of those old decoder rings to figure out what he is talking about most of the time

He can be rather cryptic. Interestingly, there's nothing cryptic from him in "Death to pigs." It's a really clear read and his running commentaries leave one in no doubt what he means. It's the Family that you need a decoder for sometimes there. Great book, if you can snag a copy.

Robert Hendrickson said...

The word "Vietnam" to my knowledge is no where to be found in Helter Skelter

It is in there a few times. For example when Bugliosi challenges Sandy Good with the Family's credo being murder, she counters with "people are being murdered every day in Vietnam."

Robert Hendrickson said..

The reviewer says that "Manson and Bugliosi were in frequent communication with one another."

OK, What did THEY say to one another ? ANYONE ?


I actually have always found the little discourses between Manson & Bugliosi one of the most fascinating elements of Bugliosi's book. There are a number of conversations recorded as a précis each time. I wish the descriptions were little fuller. But they are definitely there. Some years later, Bugliosi says he got a letter from Charlie that he didn't reply to and a while after that he says he got another one in which Charlie complained that he hadn't answered the first one.

grimtraveller said...

TomG said...

What says urine?

Irene says piss off

grimtraveller said...

A little toilet humour there, Thomas.

grimtraveller said...

TomG said...

First of all, there is no Apocalypse

Whether there is or not is kind of missing the point. Many people believe there will be one and many act accordingly, for better or worse. That's the point.

It is an excuse of the weak or confused or fucked up who don't want to deal with the reality of they own life

That may well be true in some instances. But it's a heck of an assumption to ascribe that to every person that believes there will one day be an apocalypse, using the common usage of the word pertaining to the end of the world {it's literal meaning is to uncover or disclose something that's been hidden}. Loads of people that believe in the kind of doomsday scenario don't necessarily believe it'll happen in their lifetime so how it becomes an excuse for those that don't want to deal with the reality of lives they're already dealing with every day is, indeed a mystery that you'll have to uncover for us......an apocalypse, if you will !

Matt said...

Tom, I like the Eagles over the Bills too. Buffalo must go down.


grimtraveller said...

Manson Family Archives said...

Jim Dieugeno did a great examination of Helter Skelter and Bugliosi

A couple of years ago on Col Scott's site, Matt pointed out some of the inaccuracies and unsubstantiated "facts" given in the book by Jim.
Fascinating, Captain.

leary7 said...

I haven't been to the Col's site in many a moon. I think I forget how to get there. Is he active these days? He's obviously one of the primo characters of the TLB world

Bit by bit I've been going through the archives there, starting at 2005. In fact I'm right up to the point that DebS mentions in 2013. It's an interesting site. I've found many of the debates there enthralling. Over the years there's been a most engaging stream of characters, debates and fights. I've enjoyed yours and Frank M's input and find it intriguing that the two of you used to clash so heartily. The two of you are among the thinking person's posters.

Robert Hendrickson said...

AND that is exactly what Bugliosi has done through-out Helter Skelter. It's called "literary licence."

I do love the book and still find it a right riveting read but one thing that has really come home to me recently is how much "Helter Skelter" borrows from or recycles info found in other books that were published in '70 {Five to die}, '71 {The Family and The Garbage People} and '73 {Trial by your peers}. In some instances there's the same sentences or things put in exactly the same way. And where there's duplication, the detail is much more in those other books. For example, I've long wondered how the police came to be looking for Kitty Lutesinger. HS mentions that they were but "Five to die" explains exactly why and how she came on their radar and how she came to implicate Susan Atkins and how things went on to blow up. Even more amusing is that he dismisses "Five to die" as a quickie paperback that was out before the trial {it half makes his case !} and is very critical in Robert's book about Sanders' book.
I've noticed that literary licence is something many writers seem to use, it just seems kind of ironic coming from the man that wrote in HS that Charles Manson was "an eclectic ~ a borrower of ideas...."

orwhut said...

Grim,
Didn't Vince teach law classes in California? I had the idea that's why the reviewer kept calling him Professor Bugliosi.

leary7 said...

Sir Grim....I enjoyed the Col's site immensely for a long time but then he went inactive and got lazy about visiting. And I miss Frank. I very much liked him and can't remember why we clashed so much except that I vaguely recall his posts seemed to have to much "absolutism" for my tastes.
The Eagles beat the Bills. TomG and Matt nailed it. And my Pats restored world order.
It will always baffle me that someone like Vince didn't have the basic human curiosity to communicate with Manson one last time, just out of respect for history if nothing else.
Anyone know what's up with this series on the History channel (?) called "Hunting Hitler"? Didn't they prove by DNA testing that the skull the Russians have is in fact Adolph? Is there no longer a difference between historical fiction and fictitous history.

leary7 said...

shit...I meant to write " I got lazy about visiting". I, me. The last thing I want to do is occur the Wrath of the Col. I need to read before I hit the publish button.

grimtraveller said...

grimtraveller said...

it just seems kind of ironic coming from the man that wrote in HS that Charles Manson was "an eclectic ~ a borrower of ideas...."

And even that came from Ed Sanders' "The Family."

grimtraveller said...

orwhut said...

I had the idea that's why the reviewer kept calling him Professor Bugliosi

It kind of rolls off the tongue though. Makes him sound like a character from the old "Spiderman" cartoons.

leary7 said...

And I miss Frank. I very much liked him and can't remember why we clashed so much

I actually first came across Frank at Lynyrd's site. The way he was greeted, I got the impression he was well known and regarded but hadn't been around the blogs in a while.

It will always baffle me that someone like Vince didn't have the basic human curiosity to communicate with Manson one last time, just out of respect for history if nothing else

I can understand why he didn't actually. I think we tend to romanticize their past adversary and Charlie did say to Rolling Stone in that 2013 interview that he hopes he outlives Bugliosi because otherwise Bugliosi has won.
But I guess it's like anyone coming back into your life after 35 years. So much water has gone under the bridge by then. Sometimes I run into people I haven't seen or had any contact with in 20, 25 years. And after chewing the fat for 7 minutes, the hardest part is saying goodbye, not because I'm emotional that way, but because it's embarrassing swapping numbers you know you'll never call !

FrankM said...

Still around, Leary, just not got much to say these days. I'm with Wittgenstein: „Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.“ Sound advice.

TomG said...

I don't even know what that bird said. Sometimes I read posts three or four times and still don't know what the bird said.

My own advice is mind your own business, you don't know why people did what they did, and concentrate on present things,