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Mark Dery on Charles Manson

12 19 1969

Over at Thought Catalog, Mark Dery looks back at the Manson Murders of 1968 and how Charlie's "love and terror cult" sliced open a seeping wound of fear whose scab is still being picked. Dery titled his essay, "Getting the Fear," Manson's phrase for "embracing the dry-mouthed jitters of sheer terror, riding that moment when your heart is thudding so hard it feels like something trapped inside your ribcage, trying to get out," as Dery explains it. From the essay:

"Growing up in Southern California, in 1969, I knew the isolation of the cul-de-sac houses out on suburbia’s asteroid belt, where the night air was thick with the cloying smell of sage and wild fennel and the darkness echoed with the hiss of automatic sprinklers, stuttering across lawns. A man might scream, might run into his front yard and scream, as Wojtek Frykowski did that night on Cielo Drive, Oh, God, no, please don’t! Oh, God, no don’t, don’t, don’t…,and get nothing but echoes for an answer. I knew the mass-produced alienation of suburbia, where you could live your life in a tract home fit for a battery hen, your sixth of an acre flush against your neighbors’, yet never exchange much more than a nod of recognition as you pulled into your driveway and they out of theirs.Whether or not I was aware of the Manson murders, the spreading stain of fear was seeping, in August 1969, under the locked doors of everyone’s consciousness."
"Getting The Fear: Manson, Me, And The Summer Of Hate"

The Story of The Source Family Birth Rope, as told to Boing Boing by Isis Aquarian in Hawaii

[Boing Boing Video Link.]

"The Source Family" a documentary by Boing Boing pal Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, tells the story of Father Yod and his Source Family, a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. You can download it on Amazon or iTunes, and it's a terrific film.

Isis Aquarian, one of the Source Family members featured in that documentary, sat down with Boing Boing at her home on the island of Oahu to share a special artifact from the Source Family treasure chest. It is the "Birth Rope," a handmade rope on to which were tied the names of each child born into the flower child cult—including Isis' own daughter Saturna.

In our video above, Isis references a mugshot of her. It was taken by Hawaii police when she was arrested for not turning over a fellow Source Family member's body to authorities when he died. The group believed in natural ceremonies for both births and deaths. That police photograph is below.

Read the rest

Bearded scientists: Will they kill us all?

This image comes from “Microbiological laboratory hazard of bearded men," a peer-reviewed research paper concerning the risk bearded scientists who work with bacteria and viruses might pose to their families. Published in 1967, the study tested whether bearded men were more likely to accidentally "carry" microbes home with them.

You can read the whole study online. And thank God for that. Because it's full of more great out-of-context quotes than I have time to cut and paste today.

Conclusion: Dirty hippie scientists shouldn't normally be a threat to family and friends. However, accidental beard-based contamination is possible, if the bearded scientist in question does a lot of repetitive, close-contact work with microbes. (Read: Grad students) In which case, those scientists should really wash their beards before they leave the lab.

Thanks, David Ng!