In the wake of Bill Ayers’s op-ed in the New York Times today, titled The Real Bill Ayers, I have obtained Charles Manson’s submission to Times editors, titled “The Real Charlie Manson.” Some excerpts:
Over the years, I have been cast in the role of “1960s-era mass murderer.” Now that the election is over, I want to say as plainly as I can that the character invented to serve this drama wasn’t me, not even close.
Here are the facts:
I never killed or injured anyone. I did join the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, and became a big fan of the Beatles. I was a songwriter and admittedly a bit of a drifter. In the late 1960s, I founded the Manson family.
The Manson Family crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, Roman Polanski’s front door, Leno LaBianca’s refrigerator, and Sharon Tate’s and Leno LaBianca’s abdomens. The attacks on property, never on people — unless you consider the pigs we slaughtered to be people, ha ha — were meant to respect human life, by repeatedly taking it.
I have been cast as “unrepentant” just because I have repeatedly told the parole board that I wanted to live among snakes and spiders in the desert and be a “force of darkness” tormenting the world. I’m certainly at least as “repentant” as Bill Ayers, who was quoted as saying that he didn’t regret what he did, and felt he didn’t do enough.
Regrets? I’ve had a few. These include mistakes of excess and failures of imagination, posturing and posing, inflated and heated rhetoric, blind sectarianism, failing to off that loudmouth bitch Susan Atkins while I had the chance, and a lot else. No one can reach my age with their eyes even partly open and not have hundreds of regrets. This swastika scar in my forehead is lopsided. Why didn’t I carve it with more care? Etc.
There is a long and sad history of guilt by association in our political culture, and at crucial times we’ve been unable to rise above it.
The Manson Family and I sat around on a ranch together; we lived in the same diverse and yet close-knit community; we sometimes passed in the bookstore; we held wild sex parties. You might even say we were “Family friends.” But while we may have given each other gonorrhea, we didn’t pal around.
Hey, I didn’t say it was iowahawk. If you want iowahawk, read iowahawk.
Ace reminds us that the New York Times wouldn’t publish an op-ed by John McCain on Iraq because, they said, it offered no new information and merely attacked McCain’s opponent. Yet Ayers is allowed to minimize his role in an organization that most assuredly did kill people, portray himself as repentant when he has said he is not, and generally twist the facts in a million other ways.
Ace’s post is valuable in many other ways, not the least of which is his reference to “a piece of crap blog calling itself ‘The Moderate Voice.'” Read it all.