Patty Hearst & the Twinkie Murders

Patty Hearst & the Twinkie Murders

by Paul Krassner

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Overview

Patty Hearst & The Twinkie Murders is darkly satiric take on two of the most famous cases of our era: the kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst and the shocking assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and gay leader Harvey Milk. As a reporter for the Berkeley Barb, Paul Krassner was ringside at the spectacular California trials, and his hilarious deadpan style captures the nightmare reality behind the absurdities of the courtroom circus. Using his infamous satiric pen and investigative chops, Krassner gets to the truth behind the events: the role of the police and FBI, the real deal with Patty and the SLA, and what really happened in Patty’s infamous closet. Also included is a merciless exposé of the “Taliban” wing of the Gay Movement and their scandalous attacks on alt-rock star Michelle Shocked. The Outspoken Interview features an irreverent and fascinating romp through the secret history of America’s radical underground—names will be named.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629630380
Publisher: PM Press
Publication date: 10/01/2014
Series: Outspoken Authors Series , #14
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Paul Krassner is an author, a journalist, a comedian, and the creator of the Realist, the legendary underground magazine that many credit as the beginning of the radical “new journalism” of the 1960s. Wielding satire as a weapon, he began the assault on middle America that is known today as the “counterculture” and is still a hero to radicals and a menace to the establishment. He lives in Palm Springs, California.

Read an Excerpt

Patty Hearst & The Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials


By Paul Krassner

PM Press

Copyright © 2014 Paul Krassner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62963-038-0



CHAPTER 1

THE TRIAL OF PATTY HEARST


Groucho Marx said during an interview with Flash magazine in 1971, "I think the only hope this country has is Nixon's assassination." Yet he was not subsequently arrested for threatening the life of a president. In view of the indictment against Black Panther David Hilliard for using similar rhetoric, I wrote to the San Francisco office of the Justice Department to find out the status of their case against Groucho.

This was the response:

Dear Mr. Krassner:

Responding to your inquiry of July 7th, the United States Supreme Court has held that Title 18 U.S.C., section 871, prohibits only "true" threats. It is one thing to say that "I (or we) will kill Richard Nixon" when you are the leader of an organization which advocates killing people and overthrowing the Government; it is quite another to utter the words which are attributed to Mr. Marx, an alleged comedian. It was the opinion of both myself and the United States Attorney in Los Angeles (where Marx's words were alleged to have been uttered) that the latter utterance did not constitute a "true" threat.

Very truly yours, James L. Browning, Jr. United States Attorney


Browning was so anxious in his pursuit of justice that he successfully fought for the dismissal of charges against federal narcotics officers who had shot an innocent hippie in the back from their helicopter in Humboldt County. In 1976, I found myself sitting in a courtroom every day, observing Browning as he prosecuted a bank robbery case that seemed like a perverted version of a Marx Brothers movie.

Patricia Hearst had been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army — a group of white men and women led by an African-American, Donald "Cinque" DeFreeze. Patty was kept in a closet, then she joined them, changed her name to Tania, adopted radical rhetoric and robbed a bank with them. Now the philosophical paradox which has plagued the history of human consciousness — Is there is or is there ain't Free Will? — was finally going to be decided by a jury.

The abduction occurred in February 1974. One of the SLA's demands was a free food program. Patty's father, Randolph Hearst, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, arranged for such a project in Oakland. Then-governor Ronald Reagan responded to the long line of people waiting for free food: "I hope they all get botulism."

In June, I disclosed in the Berkeley Barb the non-fact that I had been brought to meet Patty underground. I wrote: "Since there is nothing of investigatory value in the interview, I will not speak with the FBI. Nor am I able to supply any information that might earn me a $50,000 reward. Tania insisted that she had not been brainwashed. My impression is that she was."

In view of conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell's track record with the Watergate story (titled "Why Was Martha Mitchell Kidnapped?"), I decided to devote an entire issue of The Realist to her documented analysis, "Why Was Patricia Hearst Kidnapped?" — the thrust of which was that the SLA was essentially an espionage plot orchestrated by our secret government in order to distort the message of idealism.

One year after the kidnapping, Patty Hearst was still on the lam with her captors, and Crawdaddy, a music magazine for which I wrote a column, "The Naked Emperor," wanted a feature article on the case. So I wrote an imaginary interview with Patty, and Crawdaddy published it in their April 1975 issue. An excerpt:

Q. There was a pornographic novel, Black Abductor, published a couple of years ago, which seems to parallel your case on several counts, although in the book the kidnap victim is raped.

A. That didn't happen to me. I wasn't raped, but I have made love — of my own free will — with each and every one of my comrades. Male and female. And it's been extremely liberating. I'll tell you, I've learned more about my own sensuality in the past year than in my whole previous life.

Q. There's been a rumor that you used to visit Donald DeFreeze in prison?

A. That's impossible. It's a lie. I never did.

Q. And also that you knew [SLA member] Willie Wolfe before you were abducted?'

A. That's another lie. I mean, I feel as if I've known him all my life, but that's a false rumor.

Q. How have you been affected by the bisexuality?

A. I think it was an extension of heterosexuality. I had never been physically close to a black man like I've been with Cinque. I always thought nappy hair was tough — like Brillo, you know? — but it's really soft. And so then to become intimate with another woman — I could feel my inhibitions peeling off like layers of onion skin. And I became acquainted with my clitoris. My poor little neglected clitoris, ignored all these years. What a waste.

Q. What about the evidence that DeFreeze has been an informer for the Los Angeles Police Department?

A. That was his survival game. If he were still working for the pigs, we wouldn't be in danger now. I mean, you can't confuse somebody like Cinque with — like, I met the Shah of Iran once, and he was absolutely charming, but he's actually a vicious executioner. But I just hope that some of those Watergate bastards go to prison, just so they get even a little taste of it and perhaps understand the lengths that a prisoner will go to — the deals and all — to escape legally, if that's really legal.

Q. What about music? What have you been listening to?

A. Well, we only have a radio here. At a previous safe-house there was a stereo, but we didn't have a variety of records. Joy of Cooking, we played them a lot. Pink Floyd, too. And there's a group called the Last Poets, and there's one cut on their album where they give their interpretation of all the symbolism on a dollar bill, and we just sat around, wiped out on some really excellent grass, looking at a dollar bill while they were reciting that. It's very powerful. I remember how I used to think, when I was a little girl, that real money was just official play money.

Q. I feel silly asking this, but have you been brainwashed?

A. No, I've been coerced, obviously, at the beginning, but I haven't been brainwashed. You have to understand what it's been like from my point of view. Instant introspection. The moment I was taken away, underneath the tremendous fear I felt, I was still aware that it was because I was the daughter of a wealthy family whose comfort depends on the suffering of others. I've always been vaguely aware of that but, you know, you try to repress that kind of thing so you can go on living comfortably yourself.

Q. Did your family know you were getting stoned?

A. Oh, sure. Listen, there was almost a pound of marijuana at our apartment when I, you know, went on this little involuntary vacation trip, but I'll bet my father and the FBI made some kind of agreement to keep it quiet. They couldn't very well pretend that Steven smoked and I didn't.

Q. You were real close to Steven Weed. How do you view that relationship now?

A. It seems like a previous incarnation. He had been my math teacher at Crystal Springs, but I was the aggressive one. In fact, that made me have sort of a vested interest in him — like he was an emotional investment,you know? And there was something, an adolescent romantic fantasy, about making out with your tutor. You got status for being independent.

But we ended up leading a very middle-class life in Berkeley. Listening to records, dinner parties — always with his friends, couples — and shopping for antiques, that was fun. But it was like a couple of children playing house, with my father helping out — with an MG here, and a $1,500 Persian rug there — Dad was saving that for a wedding present. God!

Sex was okay with us, but not really anything passionate. The only affection I got was foreplay. It was always a means to an end. It was always functional.

Q. You said on one of the communiqués that the FBI wants you dead. Why is that?

A. Because I know too much, obviously. It's not just the FBI, but also my father's corporation advisors. I remember the way I used to hate hippies — who were in my own age bracket. I had to justify that hatred by bringing in the puritan ethic. Hippies were unproductive, right?

Anybody who cooperates with the FBI is signing their own death warrant. And it's the same with the pig corporate structure. Their whole existence is devoted to perverting innocent children into consumers.

Why do you think my mother wanted me to go to Stanford instead of Berkeley even though she's a goddamn regent for the University? What kind of hypocrisy is that? She helps control a school that's not good enough for her own daughter to go to?

Well, I'm a hippie now. I'm a white nigger now.

Q. What exactly is it that you know too much about?

A. Well, that my whole kidnapping was scripted by the government ...


* * *

Earth News Service had called the FBI in San Francisco to find out why they didn't investigate me when I originally announced in the Barb that I had met with Patty Hearst in captivity. An agent checked the files and found a notation that I had also announced that I would never cooperate with the FBI, so they didn't bother. However, a week after Crawdaddy came out, a pair of FBI agents from the Santa Cruz office visited me at my home in Watsonville, wanting to talk about the interview.

"I'm sorry," I said, opening the door a crack, "but I have nothing to tell you."

They repeated their request, still friendly and low-key.

"Everything I had to say about that has already been published," I explained. "There's nothing further to discuss."

They tried to peer in my window.

"Patty isn't here, is she?"

"If you get a search warrant, I'll let you look."

In the middle of a Doonesbury strip, Garry Trudeau spelled out the word Canaan, which was the city where a friend of his lived, but federal authorities were convinced it was really a reference to Patty Hearst's supposed hideout in Pennsylvania.

William F. Buckley wrote that Patty should be sacrificed "in the name of Christ." And Catherine Hearst said that she would rather her daughter be dead than join the Communists. She also commented that if only Clark Gable had been at the apartment in Berkeley instead of Steven Weed, then Patty would never have been kidnapped.

Probably true.


* * *

Patty Hearst was finally captured after eighteen months. Although her own cousin Will said that he would not have recognized her, the arresting officer immediately said, "Patty, what are you doing here?" She was so surprised that she peed in her pants, an accident acknowledged in the Chronicle, but not in the Examiner. She was permitted to change in the bathroom.

The FBI inventory did not include "pants, wet, one pair," but there was on their list "a two-foot marijuana plant" — as compared with almost a pound of pot that was not reported by the FBI that was found at the apartment from which she had originally been kidnapped. There was also a bottle of Gallo wine in the SLA safe-house — not exactly a loyal gesture to the grape boycott of the United Farm Workers, whom they purported to support. And there was an unidentified "rock" found in Patty's purse.

A KGO newscaster reported breathlessly: "Patti Page has been captured!"


* * *

I had a lunch appointment with Will Hearst, assistant to the editor at the Examiner and grandson of Citizen Kane's prototype, William Randolph Hearst. Although Will claimed that his status as Patty's favorite cousin was a media creation, he was the very first one she requested to see after her arrest. Now he walked into the Examiner lobby.

"It's a bad day," he told me. "San Simeon has been bombed."

"Well," I said, "at least I have an alibi."

We postponed the lunch, and on the way home I stopped at the federal court building, where Patty's trial was in a preliminary stage. Originally, she was going to be defended by the radical team of Vincent Hallinan and his son, Kayo. The elder Hallinan was in Honolulu when the FBI captured Patty, so he assigned Kayo to visit her in jail. Although as Tania she had called Vincent Hallinan a "clown" in a taped communiqué, now, as Patty, she said of Kayo, "He's good. Like, I really trust him politically and personally, and I can tell him just about anything I want and he's cool." It was, however, a lawyer-client relationship that would not be permitted to mature.

When Patty described her physical reaction to having her blindfold removed in captivity, Kayo recognized a similarity to reactions to LSD. Patty agreed that there had been something reminiscent of her acid trips with Steven Weed in the old Hearst mansion.

Besides, there was circumstantial evidence that the SLA could have dosed her with LSD: the brother of SLA member Mizmoon reported that she and fellow member Camilla Hall had taken acid; in TV Guide, reporter Marilyn Baker claimed that drugs had been found at the SLA safe-house in Concord; and on the very first taped communiqué, Patty herself had said, "I caught a cold, but they're giving me pills for it and stuff."

Her defense was going to be involuntary intoxication, a side effect of which is amnesia. So Patty would neither have to snitch on others nor invoke the Fifth Amendment for her own protection. In response to any questions about that missing chunk of her life, she was simply going to assert, "I have no recollection." The Hallinans instructed her not to talk to anybody — especially psychiatrists — about that period.

But her uncle, William Randolph Hearst, Jr., editor-in-chief of the Hearst newspaper chain, flew in from the East Coast to warn his family that the entire corporate image of the Hearst empire was at stake, and they'd better hire an establishment attorney — fast. Enter F. Lee Bailey. He had defended a serial killer (the Boston Strangler) and a war criminal (Captain Harold Medina of My Lai massacre infamy), but he said he would not defend Patty Hearst if she were a revolutionary. You've got to have standards.

Bailey and his partner, Albert Johnson, visited with Patty for a couple of hours at San Mateo County Jail in order to encourage her to tell the psychiatristseverything and not say, "I have no recollection." She could trust these doctors, they assured her, and nothing she said could be used against her in any way. Now her defense would be based on the Stockholm Hostage Syndrome. Patty had been kidnapped again.

Brainwashing does exist. Built into the process is the certainty that one has not been brainwashed. Patty's obedience to her defense team paralleled her obedience to the SLA. The survival syndrome had simply changed hands. F. Lee Bailey was Cinque in whiteface. Instead of a machine-gun, he owned a helicopter company — Enstrom, an anagram for Monster. Instead of taping underground communiqués, he held press conferences. It was all show biz.

There had been a rumor that Patty was pregnant by Cinque. Indeed, one of the first questions that Randolph Hearst asked when he met sports figure Jack Scott — who had supposedly seen Patty on the lam — was to ascertain if that rumor was true. I wrote in the Berkeley Barb: "Now, with their daughter on trial, the Hearsts have hired a lawyer who wears pancake make-up to press conferences, the better to transform a racist fear into a Caucasian alibi."

I received this letter by certified mail:

Dear Sir:

You undoubtedly did not realize that the name "Pan-Cake Make-Up is the registered trademark (U.S. Patent Office No. 350,402) of Max Factor & Co., and is not a synonym for cake make-up. The correct usage is "Pan-Cake Make-Up", capitalized and written in just that manner, or, under circumstances such as these, where you obviously did not intend to mention a particular brand, simply cake make-up.

We are sure that you are aware of the legal importance of protecting a trademark and trust that you will use ours properly in any future reference to our product, or, in the alternative, will use the proper generic term rather than our brand name. So that our records will be complete, we would appreciate an acknowledgment of this letter.

Very truly yours, Max Factor & Co. D. James Pekin Corporate Counsel


In response, I explained that there had been "a slight mis-understanding — what F. Lee Bailey had been wearing to all those press conferences was actually Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix — and I hope that has cleared up the matter."


* * *

It was not an easy task for Examiner reporter Stephen Cook to report about the trial of his boss's daughter, what with the boss sitting right there in the front row of the courtroom to oversee him, but he didn't spare his employer from embarrassing testimony; and, to the Examiner's credit, he was not censored. However, Dick Alexander, who was writing feature material on the trial for the Examiner, had his copy changed so drastically that he requested his byline be dropped.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Patty Hearst & The Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials by Paul Krassner. Copyright © 2014 Paul Krassner. Excerpted by permission of PM Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

The Trial of Patty Hearst,
The Case of the Twinkie Murders,
"Reflections of a Realist" Outspoken Interview with Paul Krassner,
Why Was Michelle Shocked Shell-Shocked?,
Other Books by Paul Krassner,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews