Saturday, April 9, 2016

ME AND THE KLAN




Long ago when I was in my teens (before my Hollywood days) I was already a rather unconventional character - ravenously absorbing the unorthodox and constantly reinventing myself. I delved into realms of thinking that were never taught in school: Schopenhaur and Nietzsche, Henry Havelock Ellis, Aleister Crowley, Kahlil Gibran. I even read Mein Kampf by Hitler.
My motive was merely to quench the thirst of curiosity - - not necessarily to sway my personal beliefs.

Later I embarked on my quasi-Hinduism phase. I wore sandals and clothes from India. Eventually I became an enthusiastic devotee of spirituality, meditation, and transcendental meditation (that was a helluva trip). A Hollywood Guru advised me to relinquish my worldly goods and practice celibacy.

My worldly goods were less than minimal - - there was nothing to relinquish. I practiced celibacy for about an hour and a half.

Around this time came my letter-writing phase. As a quirky individual (to say the least) and a staunch champion of self-expression via the written word, I always enjoyed sending letters to radio stations, TV shows, newspapers, and other places where I could voice my inconsequential but annoyingly persistent opinions. I used to write long, extremely amusing letters to the L.A. "alternative" radio station KPFK and the late-night announcers would read them on the air. I was a minor celebrity. Very minor.

It was also around this time that I inadvertently - and quite innocently - got involved with the KKK. The Klan.
Hey, settle down and listen. It's not quite as bad as it sounds.

One evening there was a Los Angeles television interview with the then-young David Duke - - who happened to be the new Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke was an arrogant small-time media freak - who got attention by wearing Nazi uniforms at protests and rallies, desperately trying to promote his pro-white agenda.

 David Duke....then

If my sometimes-hazy memory is correct, the interview was conducted by news anchor George Putnam. Putnam was very obviously annoyed by Duke's racist agenda and made his anger known. He lost his temper, started shouting, and I think even overturned a chair.

I didn't particularly like Duke, and I certainly didn't endorse his agenda, but I thought Putnam handled the interview in a completely unprofessional manner. I hastily wrote a letter to the TV station, saying that Putnam behaved childishly and was undignified. I innocently observed the incident as a breach of journalistic etiquette (if there is such a thing) - - I wasn't concerned with the racial aspects.

I mailed the letter and forgot about it. I certainly wasn't expecting a response.

Somehow - for reasons I'll never figure out - my letter was forwarded to David Duke. The letter hadn't been addressed to him, and he was hardly mentioned in the content. At any rate, Duke got the letter and was obviously very smitten by my style.
Here's where it gets kinda hairy.....

 The Grand Wizard

David Duke not only answered my letter, he sent me literature and put me on the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan mailing list!

I'm admittedly unconventional, but I'm not a racist and never even remotely requested a connection with the Klan. Thank God I had only given a post office box and not a home address. I kept receiving Ku Klux Klan newsletters and inside information about rallies and other endeavors. I got invitations to join.

Being young and foolhardy, I initially saw lots of devious humor in the situation. In retrospect, I'm not exactly laughing now.

I wrote several letters to the Klan stating that I wasn't interested in their antics and requesting that my name be removed from their mailing list. They never acquiesced. I continued to be bombarded with unsavory literature for the next year - until my Anaheim POB was closed when I moved to Hollywood.

Hopefully my name isn't still on the KKK list.

Here's a little know fact:
David Duke had plastic surgery so he would look more Aryan, or (as Hitler would say) Wunderkind. He wanted to project the cutsie image of the blue-eyed blonde.

Shit, I never had to do that.......(*smile* I'm being purposefully conceited to piss off my blog critics who think I'm full of myself)


26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It amuses me a lot more now than it did when it happened.

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  2. Jon,
    You certainly have and continue to lead an interesting life! Wow, this is one fact I never knew about your life. I too used to write letters and e-mails, most of which were published or announced on the air. The closet I can come to your experience was having three of my e-mails (out of four) to Bill O'Reilly read on air. I stopped watching Bill O'Reilly and sending e-mails (which wasn't supporting his position by the way) when one of my very conservative former classmates mentioned that he heard Bill O'Reilly read my e-mail on air. I was concerned that he would think I was in his camp and was going to explain to him that O'Reilly's very conservative views had nothing to do with mine. But then I thought "Stop sending Fox e-mails Ron." This after Neil Cavuto read two of my e-mails too. I was getting a reputation for watching Fox News and I couldn't let that continue. These days I'm all MSNBC (Rachel, Chris and Rev. Al). I hear nothing now from my conservative former classmates. Do you think that maybe, just maybe they don't watch Rachel, Chris and Rev. Al?
    Ron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having your email read by Bill O'Reilly is quite an honor - since I sometimes suspected that he secretly wrote the emails that he read on the air. I used to like O'Reilly, but the more I saw him, the more I thought he is completely full of himself. What an ego!!! I do like Neil Cavuto. He seems to be a decent guy.

      Hold your ears while I say this: I HATE MSNBC!

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  3. We all have our mistakes to contend with. I went to a John Birch Society meeting once! Half of my family belonged to the Klan. Not bragging, it's just a fact. I have had some real good black friends and several I was proud to call brother. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that black folks have a large contingent of hate-mongering assholes in the their midst today! I think it is fair to say that prejudice is an equal opportunity proclivity. I wouldn't worry to much about it. Trump is running for President! ha ha ha ha ha

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    Replies
    1. You're right - a lot of those hate-mongering "representatives" of the black community are complete assholes - and they don't represent the majority of the people. Prejudice is definitely on both ends of the racial gamut.

      Glad you survived the John Birch Society meeting....

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  4. Well that was certainly a turn in the road I didn't see coming. Luckily you gave them the shake. They must be persistent little bastards. I chuckled at the part about your "relinquish my worldly goods and practice celibacy" Your lasted about so long as mine. Funny the many phases we go throw. There are things I did, I wish now I could remember...to many nights of gin. My friend said you should write things down diary form. I could never be bothered. Reminds me of a quote from Tallulah "Only good girls keep a diary, bad girls never have the time."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps it's best not to write your secrets in a journal. You should never write anything that couldn't be read in court.....

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  5. hmmmmmmm. interesting. what a life you have led.

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    Replies
    1. If I ever told all the stories about my life, nobody would believe it.

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  6. I remember him big time. Never found him attractive (even with all that plastic surgery), but one could tell he liked what he saw in the mirror each day. Anne Frank put him to shame 101 times. And she wasn't even trying. She was honest. He was a pathological liar. And that's where the legacy ends (his).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was watching some videos about Anne Frank on YouTube a few weeks ago and I was stunned at the vicious comments people leave. They said things like Anne Frank never really existed, and the diary was written by her father Otto just for publicity! And, of course, the holocaust never happened.

      It is horrifying to think that there are so many ignorant and hateful people among us. Ignorance is an extremely frightening affliction.

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    2. RAMEN, bro! intelligent life on this planet is very hard to find.

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  7. Gawd, that first pix of Duke looks like a porn star. (Not that I know this first hand!)

    I wonder if that many people even raise an eyebrow these days when the KKK is mentioned? I suppose it's rough going from Inflammatory to Pathetic. Sad, sick individuals.

    PS - I once joined the Tea Party. For about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, when I recently Googled my own name I discovered the internet won't let it go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the KKK is as powerful as it once was. Today it almost seems like a sick joke. Yup - David Duke does look like one of those sleazy porn stars from long ago. I knew a few of them in Hollywood (I'm not bragging - I'm just saying)

      Don't ever mention the Tea Party on your blog. You'll lose every one of your readers. Except me, of course.

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    2. @mevely - OMB, you're right! and just as sleazy as one too!

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  8. The next thing I know you will be telling us you belonged to a nudist colony. You seem to have done it all and have now retired to the hills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can assure you that I've never been a nudist. Some things are best kept under wrap.

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  9. And I thought I had an interesting past. The more you reveal the better it gets. Yours is absolutely fascinating.

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    Replies
    1. I have a surplus of incredible stories to tell. I only put a fraction of them in my blog.

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  10. By golly, you've had some interesting encounters! I spent the closing years of the '60s on campuses saying things like "Ok pal, you don't really want that gun out where everybody knows you. That's better!" Such a strange, aggressive time. I remember being on the telephone a LOT. Couldn't trust people to stay sane 2 days in a row. We moved to Chico for a year, where nothing Ever happened. Good thing too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my youth, adventure and excitement seemed to follow me everywhere. Now only the cats follow me. When they're hungry.

      Long, looong ago I had a friend who was from Chico. He was later arrested for selling drugs. Things were indeed wild back then.

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  11. Jon,

    I would bet you are still on their mailing list. These mailing lists are like the monster in a horror film, you might think you killed them, but they get up again. You die before they do and then they become your immortality. So think about that, immortalized on the KKK mailing list.

    Lar

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  12. You're right about that. I don't think there's any way to get permanently off of any mailing list. It's like the Scarlett Letter - you're branded forever.

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  13. Jon - do you belong to medici.tv - a website from France that specializes in all kinds of classical music. Can watch the videos of concerts from all over the world - mostly Europe. They have quite a collection. If you have the software, you could copy them as they play. Cost $10.00 /month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stuart - I haven't heard of Medici-TV but it sounds like something I'd be interested in. Thanks for the input.
      Presently I've been getting a lot of my music from YouTube.

      Delete

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