Books for Everyone!

May Day 2021

The Tinted Windows

Last night, I could not fall asleep right away. It was not one single thought that prevented me from indulging in the gift from Hypnos. It was more of an overall feeling of trying to arrive at a thought, but not being able to do so. My conscious mind could not even approach the shores of those epiphanies for which I yearned, or even the epiphanies that I don’t want!

After a while of not tossing and turning, sometime around 2 p.m. I dozed off, into a very deep sleep. When I awoke at nine this morning, I realized that the underworld I’d visited in my sleep was not that of the ancient Greeks, or even of the ancient Romans. It was more human, and entirely American.

I had a dream wherein I stated that no one in this country trusts anyone anymore. Someone whispered that the problem began with The Tinted Windows.

The Tinted Windows of the cars.

So when did those tinted windows of non-limousines become a widespread fad, especially in urban areas of America?

The early 1990s.

Ghetto cruisers for drug-dealers; the low-rider for low-lifes, who were sometimes rich brats wanting to high-life it with the lower class. Pimps loved tinted windows too, although their beleaguered babes might have been indifferent to the tinting of the glass. The shuttling from one work site to another was most likely a snooze. The degree of window tint ain’t a sign of elegant motoring!

Yes, the 1990s were a time of trashy culture that trashed and rotted whatever was left of American culture from the previous generations who revered that culture. God rot the rotters. He undoubtedly is.

I’d say the Americans’ unequivocal distrust of one another dates back to the advent of Prohibition. That anti-booze law was constitutionally mandated in the U.S. of A. to grab hold of the Woman’s Vote. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed by Congress on 18 December 1917, and then ratified by the needed number of states at that time to make the ban legal on 16 January 1919.

The 19th Amendment, granting suffrage to women, entered history and the U.S. Constitution on 18 August 1920. And the 21st Amendment on 5 December 1933 repealed the 18th Amendment.

Fast work! No “owning the issue” on those cans of worms!

I used to frequent a disco, purely for the purpose of dancing, in Washington, D.C. (It was one of the few eatery/bars I’d not waitressed in!) The place was called The 21st Amendment. Back then, in the late 1970s, boozers had a real sense of humor in this country! That was the America of Before-the-Boomers-Got-Real-Paying-Jobs and Became Yuppies.

There was no sense of humor, or even life, amongst the tizzies of the temperance movement in America. The intolerance of old biddies and hateful harpies married to rummies knew no bounds during the decades prior to the constitutional imposition of Prohibition on small-town and big-town America. Poverty and all of those other social ills were supposed to be vastly reduced, even eliminated, by the do-gooders who, in my mind, were up to no-good. Those rabble-rousing women of that era, just like the Medusas of the Modern Media, wanted power, the power that they perceived men had.

Somehow, the power of a woman just wasn’t enough for those nags and scolds.

The 18th Amendment drove ever upward the market force of extortion-level prices for bootleg liquor in America. That real-world result hit the working class hard; it hit the “poor” of that era even harder, while, concurrently, Prohibition permitted the owner-class and the wealthy imbibers all kinds of liberties that were denied to the Average Joe and his cold one; and, to be fair to this history of equal-opportunity alcoholics, to the Not-so-Ordinary Jane and her gin fizzes.

The Average Joe was not Joe Kennedy Sr. It is not accurate to say that Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., Poppa Joe, got rich from the sale of illegal booze. He shrewdly positioned himself on the lucrative contract end of legal liquor, post-Prohibition, in the wet country that FDR was gonna make come true. James Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hugely assisted Joe Sr. in getting his liquor empire off the filthy ground after the end of Prohibition.

The dynamic duo of this son of a President, one who would himself become a Congressman; and the father of a future President and future Senators, joined conniving marketing forces to form Somerset Importers. That company was the exclusive American import agent for British liquors, primarily from Scottish distilleries.

Joe Sr. was nearly a teetotaler, but he knew quite well how to profit off the vices of everyone else. The term, parasitic, comes to mind.

Had Herbert Hoover been a “wet” and not a “dry” candidate, the contortions of capitalism in this nation might have been quite different from the socialist model that Franklin tried to institute, before World War II blew up that failing public-works-project, and set this country on the road to financial recovery through capitalism as the arsenal of democracy.

The ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933 made wealthy people richer. And the working class, and their working cities, such as Chicago, still had to contend with (and survive) the organized crime infestation that had taken hold during Prohibition.  Poppa Joe made his fortune from that political perch that was covered with dirt. True, he did not get to be President, and the stains of addictions of all sordid sorts run through that lineage. Money, most notably dirty money, achieves its proper reward, a karma that even wealthy crooks cannot flee.

Almost as if on cue, organized crime became big business in the USA after Prohibition became constitutional law. The infrastructure to carry out the rum running had a good (from their perspective) three years to get their operations set up, and their people lined up — for the quick bucks.

What could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong was in the infiltration of “normal crime” by the Mob. The underworld of Mafioso crime in the USA outweighs in hellishness even the ancient underworld of Hades. Back then, in ancient times (well before 1920), the god-father regurgitated the next-in-line to the cosmos-throne. Sons Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon thereby vanquished the gods of their father’s generation. Completely wiped the old guys out. That’s how it worked back then. A form of cancel culture of Antiquity.

Hades got hold of the underworld, Zeus, the sky, and Poseidon, the sea. These three male-gods also got a piece of the action of solid earth, which had been, seemingly forever, the dame-domain ruled by Gaia.

Hades was the alpha-god with his three-headed guard dog named Cerberus. The hound, or hounds, if you wish to count heads, of Hades; that Guardian of Hell, I am quite sure that canine beast did not require any training. By instinct, Cerberus knew how to bite another head off of a Hydra!

From the many-headed liquor bootleggers came the opposing forces of the street sweepers, the wire-taps, and, more recently, the laptop cleaners of the current cyclops known as the modern F.B.I. Founded in 1908, this agency is not multi-headed or even a mixed bag of crime-fighters. The F.B.I. was, and is, a duality of an organization, a split-personality that has only gotten more schizoid with the passing years, ever since its establishment as part of the law enforcement arm of the U.S. government.

One side is law-abiding, decent, hard-working Americana at its best. The other side, the under-belly, is the tumor of injustice within the Justice Department, the malignancy that the virtuous societal surgeons of the F.B.I. want to cut out. Can you imagine the civil war constantly being waged within that federal family?

While the ethical, though covert, F.B.I. agents want to root out criminal activity, even in its midst, their hands are often tied, if not judicially hand-cuffed, by the prissy cult of snoops and voyeurs who, behind tinted windows, mightily strive to reach the highest pole position possible; and, at the same time, that pile of creepy peepers tries to stay as low as they can go — to keep an eye on the keyhole in the door.

There you have it: Principled Frank and Frances vs. Peeping Tom and Tina.

For the better part of a very busy decade, I knew a woman and her husband whom I shall call Mr. and Mrs. H. They’d been my next-door neighbors in the Suburbs, so they were witness to, though never a part of, the many daring deeds by Debra to flee the fetid blob of tract houses and transplant her little tykes in the country. Mrs. H. had worked her entire professional life at the F.B.I. in San Francisco, the city where she was born and where, until 1993, she’d lived her entire life. Her husband hailed from Yakima, Washington.

Mr. H. sized me up as the rugged individualist and seeker of wide-open-spaces that he was. Mrs. H., however, was very much a creature of the city, at least the city that had resembled the San Francisco of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

When these two senior citizens left San Francisco in the early 1990s, they settled, as retirees, into the very new suburban area of western Roseville. Mrs. H. brought with her the entire culture of FBI-Thought. Whenever I’d inquire, during our lengthy phone conversations (of which there were many) about her plans for that day, her hushed tones took on a conspiratorial air — simply about going to the grocery store.

I once asked about what was on the agenda for that week — an entire 7 days in advance — and I felt as if I did not have adequate security clearance to posit such a question. The need-to-know-basis had not yet been sufficiently proven and established. That need-to-know did, in time, become established, but that process of trust reminded me of the search for my fingerprints to send to the feds in D.C. (See The Great Crayola Controversy)

When Louis Freeh was picked, for nefarious reasons, for the top job at the F.B.I., Mrs. H. assured me that he was a good, and a fine, F.B.I. agent.

I suggested that his days of superior work were about to end, in the criminal administration of the sleazy 2-fer Lawyer-Deal who started off their co-Presidency by firing 93 U.S. Attorneys in 1993. Mr. Freeh would not be free to do his job. My friend said nothing; her husband nodded.

The trust between us became a touch strained, once I moved from Roseville to the rural town of Newcastle. Mrs. H. simply did not understand why I would leave all of that comfort and convenience and security in the Suburbs, for an aging old house on an acre gone to wrack-and-ruin. I always felt as if I was unintentionally frightening this woman, and, on some level, I always was. Her dear husband knew that her declaration of confused amazement: “I’ve never known anyone like you!” was a good thing for her, but not necessarily for me. She needed to grow in ways where I showed her the way, as I went on my way, from Tract-Homeville in 1998.

I found her understanding of the U.S. government to be almost childlike. FDR promised her that Social Security money. FDR was viewed by this woman, and by many women of that epoch, as a father figure. It’s not an inherently harmful attitude, except when the Commander-in-Chief does not meet up to the benevolent image. Then the image-makers go to work, often round-the-clock, with new audio-visual technologies and Hollywoodien editing effects, wonder-drugs, plastic surgeries, soft-focus lenses, fisheye lenses, and diversionary media tactics that have become laughably predictable and yawningly boring.

Today’s Exposé Headline is the reddest red herring on the propaganda parade.

The stupid pony-tail guy in the staged setting of the Town Hall Meeting Q&A for the 1992 Presidential Election, he asked the draft-dodging sex freak what he would say, to the nation, as The National Father . . .

Even the dastardly J. Edgar Hoover rolled in his grave. I simply rolled my eyes. The American people then got rolled. The nation nonetheless survived the routine assaults on its Constitution. The News Media augured into fraud and then complete obsolescence. Trust became a commodity to be sold. The tinted windows, which had been a bad-tint job to begin with, bubbled and peeled away.

Voila! The truth for all to see, at least for the people brave enough to look at the truth, which is not often a pleasant sight to see.

We’ve gone from Prohibition in the 1920s to legalized psychedelic drugs and pot by 2020; from Pop Joe Kennedy setting up a fortune that got swiftly squandered, to Grandpop installed in the Oval Office, swiftly squandering what little trust was left in the People’s House. And now those windows are all tinted.

I do not know what happens when the F.B.I. finds out that no one is watching them watching us anymore. Maybe I’ll have a dream, and someone will whisper:

It’s the bolted door.

And I shall reply: Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the candlestick.