Tag Archive | "Charles Manson"


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Have you ever heard of someone with a photographic memory?

Isn’t much of what we commonly refer to as memory, photographic in nature?

While memories often rely on information derived from all of our senses, the most common memories contain a good deal of imagery.  That’s one of the reasons why over the last two centuries photographs and their progeny, videos, have become cherished heirlooms in many families and why major events in the lives of most people are captured for posterity by the camera.

An old photograph can stimulate memories and provide a nostalgic journey to even the most unsentimental of viewers.  And so, in that spirit, discover what memories are invoked by viewing the following pictures written about in my own stream of consciousness fashion.

Before these three lads became Beatles, they were Quarrymen.  John, the band’s founder and oldest member, thought George Harrison was too young to be a member, but – at the insistence of Paul – let him join.


A number of years later, George married model and photographer, Pattie Boyd.

However, Boyd became enamored of fellow musician and Brit, Eric Clapton whom she later married and subsequently divorced following his affair with Italian model Lori Del Santo.  Oh, well.  She did, however, inspire the Harrison songs, Something and For You Blue,  and the Clapton hits Layla, Wonderful Tonight, and Bell Bottom Blues.

Eric certainly appears to be feeling blue in this picture with his mom.

Photos, of course, can remind us of how we once appeared.  Clothing and hair styles as well as the apparent age of a photo’s subject(s) can often provide clues as to the date – if one doesn’t already know – of a particular image. 

Consider the case of one Reginald Kenneth Dwight, better known as Elton John.  Is this picture from his Emptry Sky days?

Or, how about this photo of Angelina Jolie?  Were they attending a wedding that day or is that how they dressed strolling around town?

The daughter of actress Tippi Hedren, of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds fame, Melanie Griffith displayed her own acting chops and body at an early age.  She is pictured here with her first husband, Don Johnson.

And, is my memory failing me or wasn’t she one of the underage girls with whom acclaimed director, convicted pedophile, and international fugitive Roman Polanski had sexual relations?

Pictured with the always charming Polanski is actress Sharon Tate, who was a victim of the gruesome crime committed by the Manson Family and documented in the Vincent Bugliosi book Helter Skelter.

In photos, however, even the most perverted individuals can appear normal and even pleasant.  Consider the Manson Family.

Aren’t they a good looking group?

And, of course, who can resist an adorable baby picture?  The tot in this photo was destined for worldwide fame, or should I say infamy.

This adorable tyke was none other than Adolf Hitler.

I hope you enjoyed this pleasant stroll down memory lane.

Idle Minds

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George on Seinfeld

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” has been the slogan of the United Negro College Fund since 1972.  Despite the intuitive validity of such an admonition, we are, each and every day, encouraged and even exhorted to do just that – allow our minds to rest idle – by educators, advertisers, politicians, preachers, and a host of others who would then dictate that which is to be accepted as true by their unthinking audiences.


The unthinking mind, closed and unreceptive to new information and alternative modes of thought, has long been a tool employed by authoritarians – whether leaders of empires, nations, religions, groups, or families – to control the perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors of those under their sway.  In many instances, the subjects of such leadership have been stripped of their humanity and act as automatons, blindly and unsympathetically carrying out the desires and whims of their leaders.  Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, the Charles Manson family, and the Jonestown religious sect in Guyana are but a few of many examples throughout recorded history of charismatic, despotic leaders who exerted an almost hypnotic level of control over large proportions of their subjects who accepted, without careful consideration, the validity of the concepts propagated among them.


Whether established and maintained by force, intimidation, fear, brainwashing, or other means, the control of such leaders over their followers is absolute, because it resides within their minds.  The mind, shackled by an accepted belief system, regulates behavior to a degree unattainable by attempts at physical control.


Of course, the purpose of mind control need not be as nefarious as world domination, murder, or mass suicide.  It may be as simple and innocuous as convincing someone of the correctness of a particular philosophy, or promoting and selling a product.  Marketing, advertising, political discourse, religious proselytization, and many other forms of communication are intended to persuade their audiences to accept a concept as true, factual, or beneficial.  The convictions thus produced in the minds of audience members may come in forms including brand loyalty, association with a particular political philosophy, or adherence to the tenets of a religious belief system and will then function to regulate the behavior of those individuals in the marketplace, voting booth, and context of their dealings with others throughout their lives.


Education itself is a form of mind control in that its contents can shape the way in which it students think and perceive the world around them.  The concepts taught most of us from birth onward form the building blocks from which our language, beliefs, and thoughts are erected.  Beginning with our parents or caretakers and continuing in public or private institutions of learning, our early education has a very profound impact on the values and behaviors we exhibit throughout our lives.  With so much at stake, it is no wonder that so many groups – political, social, familial, religious, commercial – vie for the opportunity to inject their particular messages and values into the minds of the young.


As infants and young children, we absorb the information offered us by parents, relatives, teachers – secular and religious, communications media, and others, accepting its validity unconditionally.  Fortunately for all of us, our minds and thinking are not ordered permanently by our early programming.  With growth and maturation comes an innate ability to reason and evaluate thoughts, beliefs, and values. 


The problem is that most of us, in one or more areas of our knowledge and belief, never really utilize this capability.  We become obstinate and our modes of thinking, at least in some areas of life and belief, set.  This is the nature and definition of what is known as a “mind-set.”  If you have ever engaged in a serious discussion with someone whose mind is set, you understand that no amount of information or reasoning will alter that person’s perspective, regardless of its validity.  To you and others who may be witnessing or participating in such a discussion, the person with the fixed mind-set may appear stubborn or ignorant.


Now, imagine that the stubborn, ignorant individual is you, for we all have our “sacred cows” – those articles of knowledge, experience, or faith that we are unwilling to subject to close scrutiny, usually because we are lazy or fearful of the impact that a change of mind or belief will have upon our lives.  We, as human beings, are creatures of habit, and we find comfort and security in habitual thinking.  And yet, when we think habitually, we are not really thinking at all.  Absent our cognitive abilities, we become reactionary, like the lower life forms on our planet.  Without thought, we lose our freedom.


Thinking, like physical exercise and other discretionary activities, requires effort.  When we decline to expend this effort, however, we become subject to those who would dictate to us how we should think and what we should believe – whatever their purpose, good or evil.  Personal growth and the advancement of civilization depend upon thinking individuals who will remain open to new concepts and modes of thought.  As a matter of course, each of us should question and evaluate all ideas and information presented to us, as well as our own deeply-held beliefs.  For, if “idle hands are the Devil’s tools,” what can be said of idle minds?

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