Behind the Bastards - Part Five: G. Gordon Liddy: The Fascist Behind Watergate

Episode Date: October 17, 2023

G. Gordon Liddy is in prison, but just as committed to making baffling Nazi references and lying about violence as ever. As a bonus, he learns Kung-Fu.See for privacy informati...on.

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Choose Business, not boring, with programs ranging from fashion to finance, culinary to commerce, or golf to global business. Apply now at slash business. I'm Paul Muldoon, a poet who over the past several years has had the good fortune to record ours of conversations with one of the world's greatest songwriters, Sir Paul McCartney. The result is our new podcast, McCartney, a Life in lyrics. Listen to McCartney, a Life in lyrics,
Starting point is 00:00:38 on the iHeart Radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, I'm Hillary Clinton back with a new season of my podcast, you and me both. On this show, I'll be talking to people I admire about one of my favorite subjects, getting things done. We'll hear from folks in positions of power, like Democratic leader, have deemed Jeffries,
Starting point is 00:01:03 but also writers and actors and really anyone who keeps doing the work. So please join me. Listen to you and me both on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Calls of media. Oh, welcome back yet again to Behind the Bastards, a podcast about G Gordon Litty. You know, we initially did four parts and I was like, that's probably about as much
Starting point is 00:01:40 G Gordon Litty. I had hoped to cover his whole life in four parts, and I just, I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop getting into these little rabbit holes, kept getting pulled into things. He's just too interesting. And I'm always, you know, whenever we have an episode that runs into the multi parts, I get kind of anxious because I'm afraid that like,
Starting point is 00:02:00 you know, no episode is everybody's favorite, right? And so we try to have variety. We try to go back and forth between, you know, no episode is everybody's favorite, right? And so we try to have variety. We try to go back and forth between, you know, we got coat leaders, business monsters, Nazis, you know, Quack doctors, all that sort of stuff. So everybody gets someone what they like. So I get worried whenever we start going Too long on one guy, but I I listened to the first four episodes and I kept feeling like we were doing a disservice to the audience by not finishing the G-Gordon Litty story. You know?
Starting point is 00:02:34 I will admit, I just feel like there was plenty more to do. There's so much more. I think to your point, you know, it does, he does cover he's like a real like a multi-hyphenate in terms of fucking true, true fuck faces of 40th century. And we're missing still. You know, Watergate is quite a thing. And his, just his, his fascinating brain is worth studying, but we're missing a whole chunk of his career, which is where he kind of invents the modern concept of a right wing influencer in a lot
Starting point is 00:03:10 of ways. So Andrew, welcome back to the show. What up? Now, folks, you you may have noticed the absence of a certain voice in the audience today. Sophie is not here. She was taken into custody by Nick Arrogwind authorities after a brief gun battle last weekend. She's fine. We're working on getting her out. It's just a misunderstanding to do with some paperwork. It's just some paperwork that needs to be filed. Yeah, sure. Yes, paperwork. Paperwork. Yes, that's it. That's right. Sorry. Yes, paperwork, not kidnappings. So Ian, Ian Johnson, our inimitable editor, is sitting in for her today. How are
Starting point is 00:03:51 you doing, Ian? I'm doing pretty good. Excited to learn more about the G-man, you know, his burning himself, light his hands on fire. Yes. I love it. So let's keep it coming. You know, I'm kind of low- glad that that Sophie wound up trying to overthrow the Nicaragua government last weekend because this is an episode that does need a little bit of a boys club because we're going to not just be talking about G Gordon Litty, but a lot of concepts of masculinity in our society. Then I think he kind of embodies pretty well. So this will be good.
Starting point is 00:04:21 This will be a good, good time for the bro squad. Okay, we're going to bro down. Yeah. Okay. Oh yeah. We We're gonna bro down hard, everybody. Just guys being dudes. Just just guys being guys. Yeah. Yeah. You know, Ian, when I was trying to come up with ways to introduce this show last night, I was thinking of nicknames for you in my head. Since I haven't got to do that much. I'd love to hear this. Well, I was gonna go with E-Bow, the letter, which is a reference to an R.E.M. song do love to hear these. Well, I was gonna go with E-Bow the letter, which is a reference to an R-E-M song about River Phoenix
Starting point is 00:04:49 that like four people know today, all of the people who listened to that song back in the 90s are dead now, except for like me and I'm going to guess Dan Acroix. He was one of River Phoenix's friends, right? No, maybe one of the guys in R-E-M are there. They don't even know anymore. No, no, no, there's no way Michael stipe remembers this.
Starting point is 00:05:05 Not with all of the Michael stipe induced brain damage he has. Are we are we ready for the last of Liddy? Yes. Oh my God. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.
Starting point is 00:05:17 When we left off with the G man, he had just been convicted and sentenced to like 20 years in prison for his many crimes, many incompetent crimes. Now, obviously, Liddy does not do close to 20 years in prison, but he and his family don't know that where he goes inside into all for everything I can tell, I believe he was fully willing to serve that amount of time, right? One thing you can't take away from the guy is his commitment to the bit. And the bit, of course, is fascism. So I don't really respect it, but I do respect the commitment, you know? Yeah. You just kind of have to pass to a certain point.
Starting point is 00:05:53 Look, I'm worried that I have said made this anality or repeated this analogy before on this very show, but it's a little bit the same as like the the 9-11 hijackers. Everyone constantly calls those attacks cowardly. Absolutely not. And the one thing they absolutely were not as cowardly. Look, they weren't even a good thing to do, but it was not cowardly. Yeah, that was very brave. Yeah, well, I think this goes into actually something
Starting point is 00:06:20 that's very relevant to these episodes, which is that our culture places a moral value on concepts like courage. And courage, physical courage is an absolutely a moral value. The SS, a lot of guys with physical courage in the SS, doesn't matter, doesn't make them good, is not like a redeeming trait. And it's the same thing.
Starting point is 00:06:39 And when I say something is respectable, respect does not imply morality. It's like if somebody is incredibly good at breaking an entering into houses in order to like take people's valuables, that may not be a good thing. He's probably hurting a lot of people, but you have to respect the degree of skill and busting through a lock, you know? Yeah. Also, that one isn't as ambiguous, unimpiguously bad.
Starting point is 00:07:03 No, it's not. I don't mean, you know, look. We've been a breaking adorick. It's all where it goes. A little bit of B in A. Yeah, I guess it depends on the B and the E. So back to Liddy. So he goes inside and his wife takes a job and thinks he's a sixth grade teacher and is completely the one taking care of the family while he is out. She has some help from Gordon's parents, but his father, Sylvester, is going to die about halfway through his time in prison, which I think seriously reduces the ability of the in-laws to kind of take care of them.
Starting point is 00:07:39 This also means that Liddy is going to be left without the, let's say questionable moral support that his dad was like, that was like the one thing holding be left without the, let's say questionable moral support that his dad was like, that was like the one thing holding him back though, right? I think if his dad had been alive, he probably would have given his dad a copy of the autobiography before what published in his dad would have been like,
Starting point is 00:07:55 you got to be de-hitler this thing by about 50%. Everyone needs that person in your life to just say, just a less Hitler, less Hitler. I know we all want to Hitler a ton. Yeah. Count up the Hitler references in your book. Cut them in half. You know what?
Starting point is 00:08:13 Cut them in half. Half as much Hitler. Fair enough. It's like Coco Chanel for Coco Chanel and Coco Chanel. Yeah. That's right. You just, just the Chanel, leave the Coco out. I think the problems are in the cocoa.
Starting point is 00:08:25 So, Lydia's lawyer during this period is a guy named Peter Marulis. And if you comb through Old New York Times articles or other contemporary Watergate coverage, you'll see Marulis mentioned a lot. He had a reputation for being mild-mannered but persistent. He was apparently pretty good-looking. It's hard to judge his actual competence from this case because Lydia isn't really giving him a chance to be a great defense lawyer, right? Lydia is like, I am guilty and I will say nothing else, which is to be fair to Peter, a difficult position to be
Starting point is 00:08:54 in as a defensive attorney. You don't have a lot of wiggle room there. It is really funny the way in which the G man describes his four because Marulis is his former law partner and his best friend, quote, a tall, powerfully built man with a clark, can't face in glasses under thinning sandy hair. Peter Marulis will correct anyone who refers to his ethnic extraction as Greek by advising sternly that he is a Spartan.
Starting point is 00:09:17 He was my best friend. Oh my God. I wasn't sure we were gonna get a sparter reference in here, but there we go. There we go. We got it. We did it, everyone. It's good to know.
Starting point is 00:09:27 And this fight goes back literally as to Herodotus, people who call themselves a Spartan are the fucking worst. Oh, yeah. Anyone who, because they weren't good at it. They're period of time as like it objectively dominant in the Greek peninsula was like roughly the period of time Martin Scorsese has been making movies, right? Like it's not, it's not like that long a span of time. And I think Scorsese is more impressive as like a force in culture.
Starting point is 00:09:59 But Marulis is not a Spartan, of course. He is from Pekipsi, which is the opposite of Sparta, I think, probably in a good way, but whatever. When he first went away, when Liddy first goes away, gets locked up. He's sitting a local jail, kind of as his case is winding its way to completion. He gets a period where he's convicted, but he's not permanently sentenced in everything. Hey, everyone, Robert here. I actually got this wrong.
Starting point is 00:10:22 I double checked. And Sparta's period of military dominance in Greece with something like, with a little over 30 years, whereas Chris A.C. he's been directing for like 50 something years. It would have been better if I had compared the length of time that Sparta was the dominant military power
Starting point is 00:10:37 in Greece to like the run of the Simpsons at present, although they'll beat it soon. And he describes himself during this early period of incarceration as totally at peace, because while he had abandoned his family and left his wife to fill in for their five children completely alone, it was all in service of a greater cause. And that greater cause was Richard Nixon. Now, Litty was not unaware of the fact this is an unfair thing to do to your wife, right? To abandon her for half a decade in order to protect Dick Nixon. The man least deserving of loyalty of anyone who has ever lived.
Starting point is 00:11:14 But yeah, at one point, he seems to have been somewhat aware, dimly at least, that this was not a morally clean thing for him to be doing. And so at one point, this is one of the things that's interesting about him. At one point, he sits down with her in a visitation day and is like, look, I know this is not what you signed up for. This is not fair. If you wanna leave me, get a divorce, find someone new, that's totally fine with me.
Starting point is 00:11:38 I'll sign the papers, I'll do whatever. And Fran opts to stick by him, which is, I guess at least proof that even the sickest weirdos on this planet can find true love. I don't know what you want to like interpret from that. I don't find it optimistic, but it is a thing. And a weird way. It's pretty sweet. It's very twisted, but it's a deeply sweet thing to do. Again, I hate that this incredible gesture of love is on behalf of Richard Nixon. Or at least partly so. Like, that's not great, but yeah, it is what it is. It is. So Gordon does not describe his experience in prison as bad. He does however describe it like a white guy raised
Starting point is 00:12:23 on Clint Eastwood movies from the 70s, right? This is like I don't know the degree to which I know that he's not telling the full truth. I suspect he is Sinsoring his true feelings about his time behind bars significantly and consciously aping movies from the 1970s in this Book that he writes because he he knows that that'll sell with conservatives, right? There's a lot of dirty Harry in a number of chunks of this book. Here's one line where he talks about his early days in jail. In here, people were all neighbors
Starting point is 00:12:55 and it was like old home week. I couldn't understand most of what was being said. It was all in black dialect and I didn't speak it. I have sense of necessity become fluent. I don't think that's the case because he writes and I'm not going to, I'm not going to read him writing what he calls black dialect, but he does attempt to at several times and I, I do not find him credible. I'll say that. Yeah. This is, this is a real, I speak jive. It is, it,
Starting point is 00:13:24 come up before airplane. I actually don't know that. I'm not exactly sure when that movie came out. It's pretty embarrassing to read. Again, I'm not going to like go too much into it because of how embarrassing it is, but you should know that this is not just, not just the thing he does once, but a thing that is like repeatedly a part of this chunk of his narrative. So because Liddy and McCord and Hunt all got caught and charged so far ahead of the bulk
Starting point is 00:13:48 of the Watergate scandal breaking out, there's this long lag time. And this is one of the things that the, the two different TV shows we've talked about really fuck up. I mean, I don't think they fuck it up. I think it's a narrative choice they make, but they really mess with the timeline for the purposes of making it seem like guys like John Dean and Erlichman and whatnot, getting in trouble, times up with the break in and with guys like Hunt and Litty getting in trouble much better than it does.
Starting point is 00:14:15 In reality, the shit with Hunt and Litty happens well ahead of the rest of the scandal breaking. And so these guys are all kind of in jail while the Nixon administration is falling apart. Liddy is determined to prevent this, to prevent Nixon from getting forced out of office. Again, the whole thing that was kind of like keeping him together was the idea that by sacrificing himself and his family, he could keep Nixon in office, that like the chain of custody would stop with him and that Nixon wouldn't get in trouble if he went away. And he kind of comes to the conclusion that if McCord or Hunt in particular break, that's such a danger to the administration that he would have to murder them, you know.
Starting point is 00:14:56 So he claims that, you know, he says that he makes, because he claims he's very popular with some of these other prison guys. And he claims that one of these dudes, and he always tells some of these other prison guys. And he claims that one of these dudes, and he always tells you that these are black men, tell some that the price of a murder is two cartons of cigarettes. He works out like a plan, basically, where he'll assault a guard to get sent to solitary for a few days. And then this friend of his, who's totally his buddy will murder whichever one of his co-conspirators that he needed dead. Knowing Litty, knowing his general level of competence, I wouldn't be surprised if he got a dude to say, yeah, man, give me cigarettes and I'll totally
Starting point is 00:15:34 murder redude with you. You're self-disolitary and I'll make it happen, right? Like, I would not be surprised if someone scammed him. As a spoiler, he never comes close to hurting anyone in prison that we can prove in any way, shape, or form. I think a lot of this is just bluster and this dude having watched a lot of prison movies. You really, look, I just back of the envelope being a little bit of, even with inflation, how the fuck you gonna try to get away
Starting point is 00:16:00 with two cartons of cigarettes is the price? Like, what the fuck out of here? I think the idea is that, like, well, if you're a lifer or whatever, it doesn't really matter either way, whether you're a cigarette or whatever. But like, I think they're going to take your cigarettes, right? Like, if you murder a guy, they're going to throw you in solitude. I don't know. It doesn't seem that, especially since we're talking about like very high profile prisoners.
Starting point is 00:16:24 Like, it's one thing if it's like, if you murder this other dude who's a lifer and who nobody on the outside cares about and you could probably get away with it because the prison authorities aren't going to investigate. If you murder E Howard Hunt, like, they're not just going to pretend that didn't happen, you know. But also, people know what kind of money you have access to and what you're trying to do. You don't think the price is gonna be 100K to my family on the outside.
Starting point is 00:16:53 You don't think anyone's going to like FOIA to see like, hey, this guy got murdered right after G Gordon Liddy gets put in solitary. Did he buy anything for another prisoner, right? Before he had like, is that documented? Like every journalist in the country would have poured over this. Anyway, whatever. But again, Liddy never does anything.
Starting point is 00:17:15 Gordon claims that during the start of his time in prison, he is because he's a white man in a jail, the subject of numerous racial epithets during the start of his time behind bars. He says his new neighbors were particularly angry because, and this is his fault, he would walk naked to and from the shower, which he thought was fine because of his experiences in high school gym. But like, it's apparently rude in a prison. Now again, prison more is changed regularly and are differ from region to region. But this seems like a pretty easy thing to know if it's like getting a bad reaction to people just to lock
Starting point is 00:17:50 naked around it, put a towel on, man. Like it's not that art. Anyway, his decision is not to just put a towel on. He says that after a week of so being basically being called honky, he decides to fight back. And I'm going to give you one guess as to how he decides to fight back. And I'm gonna give you one guess as to how he decides to fight back against anti-white racism. What he describes is that. Did he light himself on fire? No, that was the other likely. No Ian, no, it's Nazi stuff. He does a Nazi again.
Starting point is 00:18:18 He's got one play and he loves to play. Ian's right, he's got two. He has bringing up the SS and lighting himself on fire. Like those are the only two plays he ever developed. Well, at that point, that was also the Kignazi move. Yeah. Yeah. Let yourself fire. Yeah. That's what Hitler did to the whole country. Yeah. So quote, I see.
Starting point is 00:18:40 Then an idea he's see after getting, you know, yelled at. Yeah. Then an idea hit me. They wanted race. I'd give them race. My mind reached back 35 years, deep into my childhood, and then I head the shortwave of my mother's old embers and snapped on. The music started, and I started to sing.
Starting point is 00:18:56 Sing as I hadn't in years. I roared out into the chaos about me, the anthem of the nation, whose psychotic obsession with race sent millions of those believed in fear to their graves. And then he starts singing in the horse's whistle-lide. Oh my God. By the time, even as far as Nazi shit
Starting point is 00:19:14 you could do in prison, that is impressively bonkers. And he's like, there was something so powerful about the music that they all stopped yelling at me as soon as they heard it, even though they didn't speak German. And it's like, no, they look, I'm going to, yeah, of course, I'm going to guess most people in the DC jail did not speak German, but like they knew this was Nazi shit.
Starting point is 00:19:33 They knew that it doesn't sound that hard. When a guy starts singing a Marshall German song, you get what's going on in a jail. Yeah. Like. So this is where I, yeah, it's pretty fun. So after some time in the DC jail, he gets sent to a larger facility, Dan Berry. And he's, he's still kept out. He's in a bigger facility now,
Starting point is 00:19:57 but he's kept out of the general population because he still hasn't been sentenced. He claims that during this time, he met another Nazi, the son of the SS Gestapo commander of Brussels who became his chess partner. He's like, yeah, I met the son of this SS Gestapo commander in Brussels and we started becoming like, you know,
Starting point is 00:20:16 chess buddies. Quote, we get on famously. He knows more songs than I do. And shower time sounds like the invasion of Poland. Oh my God. That's a sense you should not ever write. Now, these two naked Nazis felt a got fucking vogn or in the, yeah. First off, comparing your shower time to the invasion of Poland. Let me remind you all three million Jewish polls are murdered during the Nazi occupation,
Starting point is 00:20:41 along with at least 1.8 million non-Jewish Polish citizens. That's a little bit political, right? Like the Polish state will say it's about 3 million Polish citizens. Honestly, that doesn't really sound impossible to me. Like a lot, so many Polish people die as a result of the occupation. More importantly, though, we can actually drill into the accuracy of this claim, is claimed that he was buddies with the son of the SS Gestapo commander in Brussels. Because that's a job, we know who did that gig, right? The head of this Gestapo in Belgium was a dude named Constantine Canaris.
Starting point is 00:21:16 Now, you may have heard of a guy named Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. Canaris was a Nazi who was one of the guys that was kind of part of the plot against Hitler that's in that, um, that, uh, that's our cruise movie. He gets a little rehabilitated for this. That should not be the case. Villeum Canaris is like not one of the worst Nazis, but was definitely, definitely in our city.
Starting point is 00:21:40 He worked very closely with Ryan Hart, Hydrick, architect of the Holocaust. Um, he's one of these dudes who doesn't like Hitler at the end because he thinks Hitler's losing the war. And he gets executed by the way, should have been executed and was fucking executed. His nephew is a Constantine canarse, who is the head of the Gestapo in Brussels during when Brussels is occupied by the Nazis.
Starting point is 00:21:59 Constantine is also a fucking war criminal. He gets sentenced to 20 years hard labor. For a number of things, he's responsible for the execution of a number of political prisoners. He's also, he plays a significant role in the roundup and deportation of Belgian Jews. He is one of the guys who helps do the Holocaust, right? Constantine Canaris.
Starting point is 00:22:18 Obviously, he's the Gestapo head in Belgium. He's not a good person. Constantine serves half of his sentence and then dies in 1983, which is three years after Lydia's book was published. I have a little trouble nailing this down entirely, but his German Wikipedia entry says that he has multiple sons, but it only names two of them.
Starting point is 00:22:37 And of the sons that I know he had, neither of them ever spent any time in a US prison. Klaus Wilhelm was a legal scholar and a professor who spent his entire life living and working in Germany. Volker Canaris became a director and produced a famous movie about the Cominante of Auschwitz. He also spent his life in Germany. I can find absolutely no evidence
Starting point is 00:23:01 that Constantine Canaris had a son who went to the United States and was put in a DC area jail or prison No evidence whatsoever that this happened. I believe based on what I can confirm that G Gordon Liddy is lying about this or that some random dude Liddy about being this guy's son, you know, I It's I feel like at this point, it's, you know, hey, the guy that was singing fucking Nazi songs in the other prison before got transferred over, I'll just tell them as a regular ass-american Nazi that I'm a special not. Yeah, that I'm Constantine Kenaresis son.
Starting point is 00:23:40 Anyway, yeah, again, he's lying here or I think that like there's a pretty good chance that Liddy is lying because he does lie regularly in his memoir. And I hope that keeps in your head as we investigate the wackier claims he makes on his journey. Anyway, moving on, Liddy says that due to his familiarity with FBI studies on interrogation, he knew that the ideal time to interrogate and break a person who has been locked up is after six weeks. The FBI likes to leave people in custody for about six weeks because there's this kind of initial period you get when you move into incarceration where you get like extra
Starting point is 00:24:16 resilient and like kind of tough and like, I can take this. I'm going to and that after about six weeks, the kind of natural boost you get from that wears down and you're at the lowest point in your psychological defenses. So he figured that they were going to wait until he'd been in there a couple of months, and then they were going to try to break him, right, and get him to talk because that's when he would be at his most vulnerable. So he decides that he has to build up his willpower to fight back.
Starting point is 00:24:40 And the first move he takes to do this is to become honestly, you know, I hope, you know, if you've got an eating disorder, we're going to talk about that a bit here. He decides to cut his food intake to 600 calories a day and starve himself while doubling his daily exercise routine. And like he describes this as like a mental exercise to increase his willpower. As someone who has had an eating disorder, this all reads to me like a guy describing his descent into anorexic mania in order to have more control over his situation after being locked up. Like that is how this reads to me. And I'm going to I'm going to read you a segment from that quote, my mood remains steady. I was getting along with all the other prisoners.
Starting point is 00:25:22 Things were going very well too well. I decided I needed more stress to bring my will to maximum power. I told it turned to my old reliable method of ordeal by fire. This test would have to exceed all others in destruction of tissue and time of severe pain. I selected a particularly strong willed black bank robber named Tex, with whom to engage in a battle of wills. Ready with a box of wooden matches, I got him into a discussion of the subject and pressed into the point where he expressed disbelief and challenged me. Because I had been warned never again to indulge in that practice near or on finger joints, and my palm was already burned out. Jesus Christ, Gordon. I had to go back to where I started years before. My forearm. The scars there were light. Strike a match, I said to text, and locked my eyes
Starting point is 00:26:04 onto his. He struck it and held it out, not knowing what to do next. I put the unburned outside of my left forearm directly over the flame. As the fire burned through my flesh and melted it back into a black and depression, a look of horror came over text, but he stayed with it. The match burned down and scorched his fingers before he dropped it. I grinned as him as he looked at the burn unbelievably then looked ill, got up and left. So I know this is somewhat your exerting of this book, but it is a little telling that
Starting point is 00:26:32 I feel like over about four some hours now, the only moments of human intimacy he seems to have is while he's burning himself. Well, he's laying himself on fire. Yes. Yeah, it's really shocking. This is both the kind of anter... Well, I'm going to starve myself to damage my body by starving myself. And I am going to engage in these kind of... This is the same as cutting, I think. I think there's a lot of that going on here.
Starting point is 00:27:04 He has to frame it as this like this is willpower. I mean, or it's like as clearly, this is a very like, you know, this autobiography is unedited essentially. This is clearly what he's telling himself. So like, he has to believe about it, right? But like this is also something he pretty consistently goes back to
Starting point is 00:27:25 in times of like stress and anxiety. Speaking of self-harm, you know what's and human intimacy? And human intimacy. You know what's fundamentally, oh, I don't know, self-harm is much more complicated than that. But what's not complicated is these ads. When it comes to managing payroll and HR, pay works easy to use products, expert guidance,
Starting point is 00:27:57 and detailed reports will take you from burnout to total bliss. That's why Accountants and Bookkeeping Pros across Canada love our user-friendly, affordable products and unlimited access to the industry's best customer service. Take a breather by visiting today. What will you do with all the time you save? I'm Paul Mulden, a poet who over the past several years had the good fortune to spend time with one of the world's greatest songwriters, Sir Paul McCartney. We talked through more than 150 tracks from McCartney's not just quite as cut and dried as we think it is. And now you can listen to our conversations in our new podcast, McCartney, a life in lyrics.
Starting point is 00:28:58 It was like going back to an old snapshot album looking back on work. I hadn't thought much about for quite a few years. Listen to McCartney, a life in lyrics on the iHeart Radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Penelope Spheras, I'm a film director. I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine. Back in the 70s, Peter Ivers moved to LA to start his music career. He scored Ron Howard's directorial debut. I didn't know one thing about Peter Ivers. I just said, okay. Let's meet him. And even hosted LA Night Cable TV show. It showcased LA punk bands in all their glory.
Starting point is 00:29:48 The crowd started getting bigger and bigger and then there was Beverly Danzola. There was John Baloofer. But then it all went to hell. It was murdered. Peter Ivers was murdered on March 3rd, 1983. And it raised a question that 40 years later, we still don't know the answer to.
Starting point is 00:30:10 Who killed Peter Ivers? Listen to Peter and the Acid King on the I Heart Radio app Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. wherever you get your podcasts. Oh, we're back. We're back and we're talking about G Gordon Litty, who, you know, I will say this. I bet one of the things that will stop people from fucking with you in jail is lighting yourself on fire while staring at them.
Starting point is 00:30:45 That does seem like an effective way to make someone be like, this guy's not worth it. Like, that is the weird thing is it's like, like he has this desire to cultivate this like I survived prison tough guy shit. And the shit that he's actually doing, he just, it's so weird when he chooses to frame in which way.
Starting point is 00:31:06 Because he could just feel like, this was how I chose to- If he had ripped things, yeah. Yeah, I wanted to scare people, so I permanently damaged my skin without breaking eye contact because I thought the end, like I would believe that. I would be like, yeah, man,
Starting point is 00:31:20 does sound like something. Does sound like people would probably give you a little bit of space. Lydia also tells several stories of fights that he got in. And I don't really believe, yeah, I will say, I believe he got in some fights because most people who spend years in prison wind up having an altercation or to it very least, right? These are never particularly glorious stories.
Starting point is 00:31:44 He tries to punch them up. Like there's one where somebody steals something and so he has to go and like fight that guy so that other people weren't mess with him. And he describes it as like a fair fight, but he gets cut up horribly because this dude has a fighting ring, which is a cheap ring with the stone removed
Starting point is 00:31:59 that will cut an opponent if you punch them with it. And so he goes into loving detail about how he like talks his way into buying a fighting ring. He spends like a meaningful amount of time telling us about how he gets this fighting ring for himself. But he never uses it. Like he talks a lot about all the weapons he acquires in prison
Starting point is 00:32:18 and he doesn't, he doesn't ever do anything with them. He just needs to begin. He needs you to know he has them. Knife catalog guy. Knife cat. Very, you to know he has them. Knife catalog guy. Knife cat. Very, very strong knife catalog guy energy. Yeah. This dude has a knife shaped like an eagle with an American flag. Absolutely. Yeah. So while his skill at letting himself be severely burned for no reason, convinced Liddy that his will was in violet. E Howard Hunt is not doing so well, right?
Starting point is 00:32:46 Hunt is notably less satisfied, spending the rest of his life behind bars. He's got several kids and, you know, Hunt, you'll know this at least if you watched the White House plumber show, his wife dies in a mysterious plane crash, like while she's taking money in between a number of these watergate convicted guys. It's very shady, you know, Hunt kind of made some statements about having knowledge of the JFK thing. It's all a messy story. Hunt's also a famous liar and fabulous. So I don't know how much you want to read into that.
Starting point is 00:33:14 But he isn't a bad position here, right? And he starts to unravel pretty soon after they all go behind bars. Now Gordon becomes convinced that Hunt's book trail would destroy his beloved Nixon. So he starts preparing to carry out an assassination against his old friend. Because Liddy is starving and deranged by this point, he starts looking for hidden messages in his limited communications with the Nixon people and mostly in newspaper articles. He sure that the Nixon campaign is going to send him a message to kill eHoward Hunt via like statements made to the paper.
Starting point is 00:33:46 So shit. Yeah. So he sits down with his friend, this gangland figure who told him that you can kill a guy with the price of two cartons of cigarettes. And he tells the dude, Nixon hasn't told me through like the fucking Washington post to murder eHoward Hunt yet, but it's surely coming. Yeah. Let's get it on the schedule. Yeah, let's get it on the schedule.
Starting point is 00:34:06 Yeah, let's get it on the schedule. That precaution out of the way, we decided quickly upon the method, Hunt received special meals because of his history of ulcers. In the parlance of the DC jail, it was a diet tray. It was served to him in his cell rather than in the CB4 mess hall on the first floor. Should I have the order to kill Hunt, he would be served a special meal indeed. It would contain a lethal poison. A lethal, it's like nicotine, right?
Starting point is 00:34:30 They're gonna like, because you can, if you have cigarettes, you could like basically concentrate the nicotine oil and pure nicotine, it's pretty easy to kill someone with. That's his plan. Again, I don't actually know that he knew anybody, he had the capacity to do that. Yeah. This is more bl capacity to do that. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:34:45 This is more bluster for the book. The reality is that Hunt told Liddy, like what actually happens. He talks a lot about how ready he was to kill this guy, all the plans he had. What really happens is Hunt tells Liddy, Hey man, fuck Nixon, I'm going to, I'm going to rat, you know, I'm going to rat for a better deal. And Liddy pouts and refuses to ever talk to him again, but he doesn't do anything else.
Starting point is 00:35:06 Nothing happens. Like again, all hat, no fucking cattle is the way to summarize this guy's whole life. The most important thing to know about Litty's time behind bars is that it served as a surrogate combat experience for him. That's why he's so dedicated to this, right? He never gets to go to Korea. He never gets to fight anybody. He never gets to go to Korea. He never gets to fight anybody. He never gets to kill anybody. But he has this public chance where all he has to do is sit
Starting point is 00:35:29 and be quiet. And he will build the reputation. He's always wanted as a hard, dangerous, tough man, right? It's, it's really, it's quite easy. His wife has to go through hell, right? His kids have to go through hell. All he has to do is sit quietly in a room for several years. And then he gets this thing that means more than anything to him, proof that he's a hero, right? That's all he has to do. So this is really, in a lot of ways, the fact that he gets caught and charged for Watergate is the best thing that ever happens to him, right?
Starting point is 00:36:01 Yeah. This is like it. It really is like it. But he wants a psychological twist in that like, yeah, this is definitely the best shit that's ever happened to him. There's this, there's this, do you guys ever, you guys have a list of the band Doz? Nope. Not familiar.
Starting point is 00:36:17 Yeah, it's a, I don't know, kind of a folk bluegrassy outfit. They got a song called When My Time Comes, that I think there's a line in it that really well sums up kind of the young male attitude about bravery, the attitude about like courage and heroism that you have as a kid, like as a dumb kid, that I think leads a lot of people to like, you know, joining the military and stuff
Starting point is 00:36:45 like that. It inspires a lot of actually some of our worst behavior. There were moments of dreams I was offered to save. I lived less like a workhorse, more like a slave. I thought that one quick moment that was nobler brave would be worth the most of my life. This thing that like, and what's going on, what they're talking about here is this like, this realization you get as an adult, how complicated and difficult and messy and gray the world is, and how nice it is to feel like you can do just one thing.
Starting point is 00:37:12 If it's the right thing at the right time, and then you've succeeded at being a person, right? Even if you die doing it, at least you don't have to think anymore. And the reality is that doing good is hard and complicated and what his wife does, what Litties wife does is by every measure, much more impressive. It's not fancy, it doesn't get you a career's
Starting point is 00:37:36 immediate influencer, but committing to care for children for four and a half years alone, five kids, is so much braver than sitting in a cell alone, right? Well, I think it's like the need a shortcut silver bullet, like shoot the moon of having a worthwhile life, like these fucking clouds are not even clouds. Lots of people feel despair. And it's just like, well, this thing will make me a person.
Starting point is 00:38:04 This will do it. Just get the lottery, just get the right, like, meaning of life lottery ticket. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's it. And he's gotten his lottery ticket. So that's, I do believe to an extent that he's, he's got morale behind him in this because he's, he's getting everything he wants from it.
Starting point is 00:38:20 So, I do suspect that eventually though, like, like with anyone, like just being locked up, being behind bars, being in this situation, he does start to grow deranged. And some of this is probably because he's starving himself, which is not great for your mental health. And literally doesn't have the self awareness to recognize this, but you see pieces of it in stories he tells. Probably the best one that best embodies this is he tells one story of a time when he's out, he's jogging in the yard, they've got wreck time, so they're kind of outside, he's doing laps, and he sees a dead rat on the ground, right? This huge nasty decomposing dead rat, and he becomes instantly convinced that there's another prisoner who's like kind of sitting nearby and that this guy picked up the rat from somewhere else and put it down where Liddy would see it to fuck with him,
Starting point is 00:39:07 which is insane. Like it is a prison, there's rats, rats die. There's no reason for him to think that a another prisoner stuck the rat there. And also it's like, so he just placed the rat kind of vaguely near a chunk of the running path that you might pass. Like that doesn't seem likely, G Gordon-Lady.
Starting point is 00:39:26 That doesn't really seem like a taunt, even. What, from like putting yourself in their shoes, like what the fuck was the plan, dog? So he gets so angry at this that he, he steps on the rotting rat to squish it and like mash it up and he picks up this like rancid decomposing fetted carcass and he walks over to the guy with it. And he's like, here's a rat.
Starting point is 00:39:52 And the guy is like, what the fuck? Why? I'm just trying to get some, what are you doing? And he's like, oh, the guard did it, you're saying. And the guy is again, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about, man. Like, it is, and again, even from Lydia's prose, it's very clear that everyone else is like, oh, this guy's fucking lost it. Yeah. And telling the story after the fact is,
Starting point is 00:40:16 what? I mean, yeah, that's something you keep to yourself. That is, that's something you never tell anybody. Yeah, maybe if you're like having an emotional conversation with your loved ones afterwards to tell them how bad it got anyway, whatever. Liddy is also peculiar in his time behind bars because he is not just an unrepentant fascist. He's also a lawyer and he does care to one extent about the letter of the law. Even though he's always, even behind bars, a strong supporter of mass incarceration, he's livid every time his fellow inmates have their rights abused, because he knows what the jails and prisons
Starting point is 00:40:54 are supposed to provide, and he knows when they're falling short, and he can't stand for it. And so he becomes a jail house lawyer for everyone inside. And for everything I've read, he really does quite a lot. He helps a number of these guys. This is probably more than anything why he doesn't get fucked with much because like he really does provide a service after a while to a lot of dudes, you know, he helps them work through their
Starting point is 00:41:17 cases. He gives them advice on how to appear in court. He helps them file motions and stuff to get things that they need. He makes complaints like on behalf of this, there's this Jewish prisoner who's not getting kosher meals. He like, gets forces the prison to give this guy kosher meals. He develops feuds with a couple of different prison officials. He's in like eight different facilities. And I think his reasons are genuine. Some of these prisons, like people get killed doing dangerous work and he's angry about
Starting point is 00:41:44 that. The food is not of sufficient quality stuff like faucets and shit in prison facilities aren't being maintained. And he understands who to send letters to, what kind of letters to send, who to threaten, in order to force the system to take action. And I think he's actually quite good at this. And it's evidence that like again, had he been a better person, a guy like Litty with these skills could have helped a lot of people in his life, you
Starting point is 00:42:09 know, it's like so close. And it's so telling that his own autobiography doesn't see what could be good about him. And what could be redeeming about him. I think he sees. So weird. Yeah, he sees this as good because it's bad for the system not to be consistent. And he sees this as good because these people deserve anything. Right. But, you know, maybe I'm being too negative. Probably the height of this behavior is when Gordon and more than 500 fellow inmates, he basically helps forces like a hunger strike at a facility he's at.
Starting point is 00:42:43 He gets 500 fellow inmates to refuse to eat food for several days. It's the longest of three strikes at that facility that year, and Litties leadership seems to be why. The prison officials are so frustrated with him that he gets transferred to a maximum security facility afterwards. This is like when he's at a minimum security place. He does spend a period of his bid, uh, behind bars in California, because he, you know, you remember he broke into that psychiatrist's office?
Starting point is 00:43:10 Daniel, that's for a second. So at a point in time, he gets like sent over to California because you got to do some time there because some of your grimes are over there. Um, he claims that by this point, he was famous in the prison system and he gets gifted with treats by his new neighbors when he arrives. I don't disbelieve that necessarily. Number one, he's probably got a good reputation. He helps people. He's also famous. So like, you know, straight up, yeah, straight up like fame gets you places, right? But then he goes into what is definitely a lie. He tells an elaborate story about how one of the fellow inmates in California is a Kung Fu
Starting point is 00:43:45 master who just happened to be locked up to. And the sky is from like, you know, he's the sky is from China. He's like traveled to the US and their mysterious circumstances, but then he gets locked up and like, we become friends. And Litty writes one of the most embarrassing paragraphs I've ever read in my life. We worked out at the weights together. And finally I decided it might be mutually advantageous to exchange instruction. He hesitated, then took me aside and told me that he had never imparted such knowledge to an accidental and a friendship was not sure he ever should.
Starting point is 00:44:21 He paused and studied me quietly. Finally, he spoke. You are a very violent man. I can see it in your eyes. I control it, Litty said. You must, if you ever use what I teach you to take advantage of the week, I'll find you wherever you are and kill you myself.
Starting point is 00:44:40 Of all the things that have never happened, this is the thing that's least happened in the history of things that didn never happened. This is the thing that's least happened in the history of things that didn't happen. Oh my God. It's like a cutscene from Mortal Kombat. It is, get the fuck out of here. The head is embarrassing.
Starting point is 00:44:54 That is embarrassing, G Gordon Liddy. Under no way did any of this. Now, it's not impossible that he just met a Chinese American man who got locked up and was like, yeah, I'll light it a sky. Like, what else am I going to do? Prison's boring, right? Who believe anything I say?
Starting point is 00:45:13 Not a zero percent chance. Also I love the like, you're a very violent man. No evidence that G Gordon Litty successfully did violence on anyone in his entire life. Not one piece of evidence for this. God, it's so funny. I can see it. Sad thing to say. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:45:33 Speaking of sad, you know what isn't sad? The value that our sponsors bring to our listeners' lives. In fact, I don't even, would you say that our listeners' lives. In fact, I don't know, Ian, would you say that our listeners' lives actually have no value whatsoever if they don't purchase the products that sponsor our show? I think legally I have to say yes. Yeah, I think you do. Based on the contract you had assigned to get healthcare. Yeah. Anyway, here's ads. I'm Paul Mulden, a poet who over the past several years had the good fortune to spend time with one of the world's greatest songwriters, Sir Paul McCartney. We talked through more than 150 tracks from McCartney's songbook, and while we did,
Starting point is 00:46:23 we recorded our conversations. I mean the fact that I dreamed the song yesterday leads me to believe that it's not just quite as cut and dried as we think it is. And now you can listen to our conversations in our new podcast, McCartney, a Life in lyrics. It was like going back to an old snapshot album, looking back on work I hadn't thought much about for quite a few years. Listen to McCartney, a Life in lyrics on the iHeart Radio app, Apple podcasts,
Starting point is 00:47:01 or wherever you get your podcasts. This is In Retrospect, a podcast about pop culture from the 80s and 90s that shaped us. I'm very much a product of the pop culture I consumed. Yeah, and I don't think that's a bad thing. I'm Jessica Bennett, a New York Times writer and bestselling author. I'm Susie Bette-Kerrem, an award-winning TV producer and filmmaker. Every week, we'll revisit a moment in cultural history that we just can't stop thinking about. From tabloid headlines to illicit student-teacher relationships,
Starting point is 00:47:31 and one, very memorable red swimsuits. I found myself in Pamela Anderson's attic, as you do. I put that red swimsuit in a safe, because it seemed everybody wanted it. We're digging deep to better understand what these moments taught us about the world and our place in it. I want you to really smell the axe body spray that emanated during this time. It was presented more as kind of like a crime topic.
Starting point is 00:47:56 Okay, not a love story. It had been branded on the uteruses of every single woman from C to shining C. Listen to In Retrospect on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. I'm Mo'Raca, and I'm excited to announce season 4 of my podcast, Mo'Bituaries. I've got a whole new bunch of stories to share with you about the most fascinating people and things who are no longer with us.
Starting point is 00:48:30 From famous figures who died on the very same day to the things I wish would die like buffets. People actually take little tastes so long away with their fingers. Oh, they do. Oh no, I'm so sorry. Do you need a minute? This is the only interview where I've needed a spit bucket.
Starting point is 00:48:49 I'm so sorry. We'll tell you about the singer who helped define cool. And the sports world's very first superstar. To call Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete in American history is not a stretch because no athlete before his sinc is done what he did. Listen to Mobituaries with Moroca on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah!
Starting point is 00:49:16 What a good time. Feeling good. Feeling good. Feeling fine. Has everybody else. Great. This is amazing. This is like one of the funniest things I've heard all week. So I'm afraid good stuff. So after meeting a kung fu master and learning the secrets of the Orient,
Starting point is 00:49:39 Lydia round up back on the East Coast. He was briefly released due to like, there's some court motions. I think this is evidence that Peter Marulis is a pretty good lawyer. He basically gets him a few weeks out of prison to like be with his family based on the technicality and like they know getting out of this is gonna last.
Starting point is 00:49:57 Shit like this. This is the kind of stuff a really good lawyer can do for you, right? Right. Spring, spring break from prison. Yeah, you get a little spring break from prison. Um, then he goes back in and he, he served another two years. He does 52 months in total on April 12, 1977, President Jimmy Carter, history's greatest monster, commutes his sentence from 20 years to eight, quote, in the interests of justice. Now, this
Starting point is 00:50:26 is one of those moves that I never understood, right? When my, when my knowledge of woody and watergate was a little more casual, I was like, what the fuck was Carter? Why would he do that? Like, he's not an idiot. Why would he, why would he pardon this very unbelievably guilty man? Hey, guys, Robert here. I misspeak. The sentence was commuted as I noted just a second ago. I use the word pardon here. That's incorrect. A commutation basically means that you're not questioning whether or not they were guilty.
Starting point is 00:50:55 They're still guilty. They're just out of incarceration or whatever. This is significant in part because Litty was not legally able to own firearms for the rest of his life, although he's still kept on in guns He just said they belonged to his wife He shouldn't have been able to like use them But people don't come after conservatives who get in trouble or hold them to any of the standards of their bail or whatever But Carter that always surprised me right why Jimmy Carter?
Starting point is 00:51:19 Why would he get this guy out of there? The White House spokesman said that the decision was made, quote, based on a comparison of Mr. Liddy's sentence with all of those others convicted in Watergate prosecutions. In other words, I think it was Carter's personal sense of fairness. I believe this is a bad call, but I get where he's coming from, right? Liddy, despite being a repentant fascist, is the most respectable of the White House people who go away because he doesn't lie or obviously he's like, yeah, I'm guilty, put me away. I will say nothing else. I'm not going to roll on anybody. And the fact that all of these guys who I think are kind of worse in a lot of ways, you know, right? Dean maybe, Dean is pretty consistent after Watergate of speaking out against
Starting point is 00:52:04 the extremism for decked up to the present day, right? He's a major figure of sort of being anti the modern Republican party. I think he might actually have eventually had kind of a real change due to his conscience. Possibly, I'm not certain of that. But all these other guys, Erlichman and Magruder and fucking E Howard Hunt, these people are fucking trash, Alderman. And the fact that Litty does more time than them, I think it may have just kind of frustrated
Starting point is 00:52:33 Carter because he was aware of that. And so he weirdly thought it was unfair for Litty to stay in. I don't think that's a good call, but I think that's from everything I've read, I think that's why Carter made it. It's the rest of the justice system is so far that those people didn't go away for longer. Yeah, I still think Carter perfectly fine to be critical of him for this choice, but I think that's why it was made. Yeah. Yeah. So Lydia gets paroled and his wife picks him up from jail. He had had plenty of time to think while in prison, and I think he had developed a pretty nuanced understanding
Starting point is 00:53:06 that his future was in media. He's watching TV and stuff, he's getting letters from his family, all of these other Watergate guys are putting out books that are often best sellers. So he's aware, number one, probably I need to write a book about this, there's probably a lot of money in that. And number two, I can't work for a campaign anymore.
Starting point is 00:53:25 I certainly can't be a lawyer anymore, but I can parlay my fame. And my fame, particularly for being this like hard-headed, unbreakable soldier of the far right into a career. He understands, as long as I stay consistent, this can keep me fed forever, right? And, you know, he is very famous.
Starting point is 00:53:45 There's a crowd that gathers at the prison on the day of his release. And when he does like a press conference, when his wife picks him up and reporters, her old questions at him, everyone wants to know where he's headed. Liddy gives a cryptic answer to that one. He says, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Starting point is 00:54:00 Now, any enemy says anything that he clearly didn't write. I'm like, gotta know if that's some Nazi shit, it is not. This comes from a Norwegian folk tale. I went and read it just to be like, is there any racist stuff in there? Not that I saw. It's, it's gonna be an adaptation of an older Greek myth.
Starting point is 00:54:20 One of the things I learned looking into this is that researchers, scientists or whatever, who study folkales, I guess anthropologists have a classification system where they like group different kinds of folktales by their type. And this one qualifies as type ATU425A, the search for the lost husband or the animal as bridegroom. It's a little bit of a beauty in the beast kind of story. The gist of it is that there's this white bear that like comes to a poor family and it's like if you give me your your daughter's hand in marriage, I'll make you rich. The bear is secretly like a cursed prince,
Starting point is 00:54:54 right? And when she finds out he's like, look, if you, as long as you, if you don't follow these very specific rules, I'll be sent to live with an evil witch and she lives east of the sun and west of the moon. Anyway, that's where the lion comes from. Nothing Nazi that I found in it. But it feels like given the way his brain works, that was supposed to be some kind of code to the true, the true, you know, someone's and it just will never know. Whatever the fuck his trade of thought was, it possibly. Yeah, he doesn't give a good explanation as to why he picked that one to reference. It is a pretty good cryptic sounding thing to say. I'll give him that.
Starting point is 00:55:31 The other question he gets asked is how it feels to be out of prison and Liddy replies in German. What does not kill me makes me stronger. And it is true that like Hitler, Liddy seems to mostly have benefited from his time behind bars. This seems to work out a lot of times for fascists, especially when you cut their sentence in half and don't just really put the screws to the fuckers. Maybe a lesson for other folks, though Washington posts sat down with his family right around them.
Starting point is 00:56:00 And they published an article that gives us some fascinating glimpses of their lives. Well, Gordon was away. Quote, at the house in Oxen Hill, the color television was on yesterday and a sound tape recorder was nearby so the boys could capture any reports concerning their father's release. Two dogs relaxed on the living room couch outside the family's 15 or 20 cats minded their own business. Just had to tell you that last bit there. The ladies have 15 to 20 cats.
Starting point is 00:56:26 That's too many cats. That's too many cats. That's crazy amount of cats. Yeah. Anyway, good to know though. Interesting color on the family here. So this piece reveals that the ladies had purchased copies of every other Watergate memoir that could get their hands on. I think this is so that they can help their dad when he has to write his own memoir. And I'll give him credit. I've read a number of Watergate memoirs. His is the best. Not in terms of its accuracy. None of them are trustworthy. But it's it's the most readable. You can't put it down. He is actually, this is one of the things he is actually good at, one of the only things that he's legitimately
Starting point is 00:57:10 a skill with. He's a pretty good writer. Like he's effective. He's not like an artistic writer. He's not like, he's not fucking, you know, core MacArthur or whatever, but he's extremely effective. He's very clear. He understands how to pace things. You're never bored, you know? You, I read the whole book through cover to cover and I was at a pretty consistent level of interest the whole time, partly because it's so crazy, but he doesn't get in his own way, right, with his clothes.
Starting point is 00:57:36 So I'll give him credit for that. He's not a bad writer. The most interesting thing that Washington Post piece gives us as a snapshot is an understanding of how deep the Litty family's Nixon derangement went. Quote, Jim and Tom Litty said they had watched the end of the first episode of Washington behind closed doors. They said they are not angry at Nixon for referring in the frost interview to those involved in the watergate operation as nuts.
Starting point is 00:58:00 I don't blame him for anything. He's gone through so much said Dom. Poor Dick Nixon the real victim of water gates. Oh Just the ultimate the ultimate fascist. These people yeah, it is it is remarkable. I didn't know people could be that fascist, but by God. Now the most important thing you get here is an understanding of what a nightmare this whole period behind bars is for Mrs. Litty.
Starting point is 00:58:26 In addition to being the breadwinner, she has to raise their adolescent children alone. Quote, Their mother, Tom Litty, said, is having it harder than we are, holding the place financially together. Jim said, finishing his brother's sentence. There were ups and downs, but she went through all of them. And the dimensions of the Litty marriage have always been kind of confusing to me.
Starting point is 00:58:45 They are together for 54 years. I have heard speculation that he cheated on her at one or more points. It's common enough that I think there might be something to it, but I don't know, I haven't seen any evidence of it either. Certainly nothing that's like conclusive. Some of what he writes about her does seem to me to be borderline abusive.
Starting point is 00:59:06 The clearest example of that comes right after his release when she picks him up from prison. Liddy saw what he claims as she's driving over from the prison. He calls them for cream-colored Ford granadas with New York license plates that identify them as press cars that start following him, tracking him as they're leaving the jail. Now I like to do it. New York does issue special marked plates for journalists. You know, you have to be with a pretty big outlet to get them, but that is a thing that they do. Liddy claims that he had Fran drive slowly at first so they could all get a shot of him
Starting point is 00:59:39 and he hoped they would leave, but they keep following him. Fran tries to lose them, but Litty writes, quote, she's just not cut out for that sort of thing. So Litty, the man has to take charge and save them from these journalist cars that are tracking them, because obviously he's got the FBI, we're gonna talk in part two about his FBI driving skills. We got a chance to test him when he's on fear factor
Starting point is 01:00:04 as a spoiler for where this whole episode ends. Yeah, that's right. We come to a Joe Rogan point at the end here, handing off the fat, but anyway. So Litty the man has to take charge. Pull over. What? You heard me.
Starting point is 01:00:18 Pull over. We're putting in the first team, but you're not even insured. Don't argue with me, God damn it. Pull over. So he takes over behind the wheel, but he can't lose the tail, right? It doesn't matter that he's taken over because he's no better at this than her. And an honest observer might conclude from this that like, maybe you don't actually know anything about losing a tail, G Gordon
Starting point is 01:00:39 Litty. Maybe you have absolutely no skills driving in this manner. But he can't admit this. And he writes that he told his wife, I know they've got more cylinders and radios, but nobody stays with me when I don't want him to. There's something wrong here. I don't know, I guess they do, G-Martin. His solution to this problem is to drive like even more of a maniac.
Starting point is 01:01:01 He like does like a 180 in the middle of like a busy street and like spins around and shit. This terrifies his wife. She has spent close to half a decade dealing with all of this unimaginable stress on his behalf. She picks him up probably not entirely certain how the man that she married is going to be different after five, almost five years of prison.
Starting point is 01:01:22 And then he immediately goes insane on the highway, shouting about imaginary people following them. I mean, to her, to her comfort, it's nice that he hasn't changed in prison. I guess, maybe quote, it was a challenge that couldn't resist. And I took off hitting over 70 miles per hour through city streets, going through red lights deliberately and taking turns at the limit of adhesion. By the time I got into Jersey, there were only two tails left in France. Skierterter Witts was crying uncontrollably. Oh my God.
Starting point is 01:01:54 So his wife is just sobbing. And he's like, no, I did a good job. Only two guys are still following us. Yeah, two out of four. You know that radio and telephones exist. You are still being tailed Yeah. Two out of four, you know that radio is a telephone to exist. You are still being tailed, G Gordon Liddy. Liddy eventually claims he lost the tail. I don't think he really, I don't believe that at all.
Starting point is 01:02:17 Maybe they lived in Jersey and were glad, like, yeah. Yeah. After an extremely long journey, which he says that his, basically him failing to lose this tale and traumatizing his wife is a victory, a symbolic victory of his triumph over Judd's serica quote and his allies in the press. And I love that he sees it that way because it's like, man, the New York Times argued you should be released. The press are your only real friends.
Starting point is 01:02:44 Yeah. times argued you should be released. The press are your only real friends. Like Nixon threw you under the bus. The media held you up because they wanted to like make money writing stories about you. Your whole career came from the fact that the press were your allies. Anyway, whatever. Although that's classic. I mean, that playbook gets repeated so much more in the people who he influenced. Yeah. Litty is so overjoyed at his victory over this tale that he starts singing the lyrics
Starting point is 01:03:10 from his favorite song, which comes to the play. Now, this comes from, I expect him to like sing, I don't know, my country, Tisza. The, he picks a song from the musical cabaret, which he had, and it's a song that he modified, quote, to suit myself. The lyrics go, America, America, and it's a song that he modified, quote, to suit myself. The lyrics go, America, America, show us the sign your children have waited to see. The morning will come when the world is thine tomorrow belongs to thee. Now that could be kind of innocuous, right? But when I saw that line, especially the part about how he had reworked the lyrics of
Starting point is 01:03:43 the song to see themselves, I had to look into it a little deeper. The song he was singing that he had modified is called tomorrow belongs to me, which could be fashy. And in fact, is because it's from a 1966, cabriots, a 1966 musical. And it's written by two Jewish musicians, right, who are lampooning at the fascist qualities that they see in American nationalism. The specific song tomorrow belongs to me is sung by a Nazi in the play. It is specifically a Nazi song about his view of patriotism that Lee has modified and is kind of like, unironically singing because he is such a fucking fascist.
Starting point is 01:04:24 And in fact, he's not the only to do this. Nazi's love, this is an example of like kind of failed satire, because Nazis love the song tomorrow belongs to me. They love it so much that they have been adapting it for their own albums and pre-printing lines from it in their propaganda since the 1970s. The first use of the song by a white power band that we have documentation of was the
Starting point is 01:04:45 year before Litty published his autobiography Will 1979 when British Nazi band screwdriver does a cover of it. Screwdriver are like hardcore fucking fascist musicians. Swedish Nazi singer Saga also records a cover of this song, which is cited by Norwegian mass shooter Anders Brevick as one of the things that inspired him to gun down like 70 children. So yeah, love that she Gordon Litty singing this. I mean, so unsurprising, but very, very, this might be the most direct Nazi thing that I've seen him do, right? And that's pretty impressive.
Starting point is 01:05:25 Pretty, and that he's done a lot. Litty claims at the end that after belting out this fascist anthem, his wife looks over at him with tears in her eyes and says, God, after all these years, you haven't changed it all. She blew her nose lustily then sighed, I don't suppose you ever will. I grinned over at her, bet your ass, kid. Oh my God. How does someone blow their nose lustily? That's a great question.
Starting point is 01:05:51 Ian, I don't think they do, but maybe Snot Purverts, right? Those have nothing. I mean, there's at least one. There's gotta be. There has to be a thriving online Snot Purbert community. There's definitely a subred there has to be a thriving online Snot Pervort community. There's definitely a subreddit for that.
Starting point is 01:06:08 That like, that has a larger GDP than Lichtenstein, right? The number of, the amount of money and Snot Pervort stuff, you could, you could start your own city outside a Silicon Valley. That's where we're gonna close things out for today because this is basically where his book ends. Don't worry, we have a lot more to say about G Gordon, Litty, but this is kind of the endpoint of his autobiography will.
Starting point is 01:06:32 So Andrew, do you have anything to plug? Yeah. Yeah, since the last episode, we triumphed over the fucking AMPTP, Asteris, you know, sort of. Beat their asses. Yeah, better than anyone ever thought, triumphed over the fucking AMPTP, asterisk, you know, sort of. Beat their asses. Yeah, better than anyone ever thought, labor fucking works.
Starting point is 01:06:51 Strike is over. I don't know. I'm not going back to a writer's room, so I'm back to just the hustle, but I don't know, still, still, Yosus racist, still got premium shows. We did a little strike wrap up that. I think people found informative. So I don't know, check it out. Yeah. Higher Andrew put him in a
Starting point is 01:07:11 room. I know David S. Goier always listens to the podcast. So, you know, bring him on. Well, we still got, we still got, you know, if we can just get someone to see the vision of super socrophilicists, there's two options, lot of irons in the fire. Yeah, lot of irons in the fire. I'm pushing goyer specifically because it's my dream that you'll get, you'll get staffed on foundation. And then I can parlay that into having lunch with Leapace, which is my life. Said, well, yeah, my promise to you, I guess, we'll do that.
Starting point is 01:07:45 Yeah, there, there we go. Just some in an out burger. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, you know, it can be fancily if you want it to be. Yeah. I'll do. This has been behind the bastards. If you want to listen to this show and all of our other shows free of ads, cool zone, what do we, coolers own cooler zone? Thank Cooler zone. Cooler zone, thank you Ian.
Starting point is 01:08:06 Cooler zone media, subscribe. It's not very much money and there's no ads. So if you're doing a road trip, if you have a long, if you have like a nine hour drive and you're like, you know what, it'll get me and my family through this nine hour drive is learning a disastrous amount about G Gordon Litty. You can do that without ads, you know?
Starting point is 01:08:24 Yeah, it is. 50% cooler. So it's 50% cooler. All right, everybody. Go to hell. I love you. Behind the bastards is a production of Cool Zone Media. For more from Cool Zone Media, visit our website
Starting point is 01:08:41 or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcast. I'm Paul Muldoon, a poet who over the past several years has had the good fortune to record hours of conversations with one of the world's greatest songwriters, Sir Paul McCartney. The result is our new podcast, McCartney, a Life in lyrics. Listen to McCartney, a Life in lyrics on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Starting point is 01:09:21 Hi, I'm Hillary Clinton back with a new season of my podcast, UN Me Both. On this show, I'll be talking to people I admire about one of my favorite subjects, getting things done. We'll hear from folks in positions of power like Democratic leader, HEPKIM Jeffries, but also writers and actors and really anyone who keeps doing the work. So please join me. Listen to you and me both on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Penelope Spheras.
Starting point is 01:09:54 I'm the host of a new podcast about the life and death of Peter Ivers. Peter was the host of a TV show featuring prominent LA punk bands until he was murdered in 1983. 40 years later, we dive into that music scene and the mystery of his passing. Listen to Peter and the Asad King on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. us.

There aren't comments yet for this episode. Click on any sentence in the transcript to leave a comment.