Issue #16/71, August 12 - 26, 1999  smlogo.gif


In This Issue
Book Review

New Customs Rules
Whither Russia Journal?


By Edward Limonov

My American Heroes

When John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, in full view of television audience of whole world, I was a steel worker, working at Kharkov's factory "Hammer and Sickle". On night shift, eating our lunch, I remember, we have discussed that television drama. We, I mean our brigade, our team, was consisted of youngsters, mixed with a dozen of ex-convicts converted to a hard-working fathers of numerous families. Elders of brigade were on Kennedy's side, young workers, we were fascinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, especially by the fact, that Oswald have lived and worked in Russia. Somehow, we felt connected to that shouting in Dallas, Oswald haven't he worked, as we work, at a factory in Minsk?

Following days new episodes of Dallas drama been transmitted to the whole world, Oswald, ex-Marine and pro-Russian Marxist sympathizer was in his turn shot dead at Dallas Police Headquarters by a gangster, nightclub propietor, Jack Ruby. We were stupefied. At night, eating our lunch amongst metal chaos of our shop, we got into very heated discussion, started by a head of a shop unions' committee, who came to lecture us on Kennedy's assassination subject. He said that Kennedy was shot by reactionary forces of America. My friend Yuri, Yurka, replied that Oswald have married Russian girl Marina Prussakova, that he have worked at Minsk's factory, so how can he possibly be a representative of reactionary forces, he obviously represents Revolutionary forces...

Later, my liking of Oswald have grown in proportions. Restless, unstable, adventurer, seeker of truth, Oswald was and is more sympathetic for me than offspring of Massachusetts millionaire family, Harvard graduated lucky golden boy John Kennedy. I always liked losers.

Then in 1968 (I was already living in Moscow, the life of counter-culture poet) America produced not a one, but a series of dramatical murders: Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Manson's family killings. As a giant factory of murders, America worked well in 1968. As I have lived in Moscow disordered life of counter-culture poet, Manson's family mystified me, put a spell on me.

Charles Manson, musician, Christ-looking little man, become most known, glorious personality of hippie movement. As all American great stories are born by murder, Manson's story is also been born by murders. He personally didn't kill anybody, but Manson's family have killed some insignificant people: couple of Polish drug dealers, Roman Polanski's perverted wife Sharon Tate, few Hollywood idlers. So, Manson have everything that great American drama is required: murder (few), some mystery (his strange adventures in Mojave Desert), some sex deviations (he had his harem of teenage girls), his songs. I heard some Manson's music ("The Way Of The Wolf" album), it's not bad at all. But as Hitler is declared "bad painter," so Manson, worldly known for Manson's Family killings, is declared musician-loser. But it's bullshit. Hitler was a very good water-colorist, he was also a good designer of Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. Manson is a good musician. Only both of them some day have switched to another professions.

When I think about Great Americans of my time I think about those fascinating characters: about Oswald and Manson. As to harm, what they did, they look like a babies in comparison with a John Kennedy. American supported invasion to Cuba, thousands dead at Bay of Pigs, first American involvement in Vietnam--all those murders done by Kennedy, beloved John Kennedy. If one counts Cuban Missile Crisis, what have put entire world to the brink of nuclear war, what an irresponsible, egotistical shmack that golden boy Johnny Kennedy was.

Self-made heroes, children of ordinary American, Oswald and Manson are real heroes of American Dream, forever they took their places in the Hall of Glory.

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