Any student of recent cultural history is aware of the phrase “New World Order,” which is either an optimistic reframing of the imminent future or the code name for an ongoing global behavioral science project being conducted by the hidden heads of history. The latter interpretation suggests, among other things, that the 60’s “flower power” upsurgence was either coopted and neutralized by the establishment or entirely fabricated by them to provide an acceptable form of “revolution” thus avoiding the real thing. In this connection, I’ve read and reviewed books suggesting the Doors’ Jim Morrison was an “experimental individual” who faked his own death upon completion of his project, and coming soon, a book diagnosing Hollywood’s Laurel Canyon scene, which included such notables as the Mamas and the Paps, the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Charles Manson, as a deliberate infiltration of the youth culture by MKULTRA.
Well, at least the Beatles weren’t involved, I thought at first, having grown up loving the Beatles and learned about loving music from them, visiting Liverpool once as a kid and going through a phase in my adolescence of reading every single book I could about them. But last year I read a book proposing their unprecedented smash success, mobbed by screaming fans at airports, etc. was the result of a pact between John Lennon and the devil, and now this.
Richard Warren Lipack’s Epoch Moments and Secrets: John Lennon and the Beatles at the Mirror of Man’s Destiny makes the case that what the Beatles got themselves into through their manager Brian Epstein’s contracts and guidance, unbeknownst to them, was a role in the New World Order’s plans to test out mass mind control, transforming the gritty covers band with an attitude and talent into a sociopolitical tool. The group’s decision to admit their use of LSD and marijuana as they began to move beyond their Beatlemania image into the psychedelic era was apparently a step toward independence from this, but considering the flower-power-as-CIA-hoax motif, you couldn’t disprove it by me. Epstein replaced their leathers with collarless suits by Pierre Cardin, which got them into family rooms around the globe, presenting a huge opportunity for Tavistock (a British charity concerned with group and organisational behaviour and alleged arm of the English version of MKULTRA) to capture the minds of the entire world’s youth. The modern multimedia presentation of music and marketing began here. Such unconventional postulations, which once might have seemed outrageous, are increasingly believable in this age of new angles, and preferable to me for what they destroy and create. As proven by shows like Surreal Life where “washed up” celebrities are made to cohabitate for viewers’ amusment, or Fredrik Colting’s book on Salinger’s Holden Caulfield as an old man, fame is a cannibal, worshipping even its own leftovers, a perversity of taste noted famously by Nathanael West.
Richard Warren Lipack, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, currently makes his home in Atlanta, Georgia. Brian Epstein’s estate had considerable involvement with the production of this book, as did other Beatle intimates, like cavern club MC Bob Wooler (who I had the fortune of meeting in Liverpool’s John Lennon Memorial Club, as a kid—he kept making my dad buy him beer and I was too shy to ask about how John cracked his ribs at Paul’s 21st birthday party), and is apparently the first in a trilogy. Lipack’s writing is bumpy—whole chapters consisting of exposed FBI, CIA files, and material on social engineering, the mark of the beast, Waco, black choppers, militia, mind control, the drug trade, Nazi connections, UFO and alien appearances, backwards messages, etc. are alternated with more straightforward accounts of the band’s experience on tour–but the book’s unusual angle held my interest. I look forward to the next two installments, having always been conscious of several anomalies in the official story. Epoch Moments and Secrets is illustrated with previously unpublished photos of the fabs hanging out backstage on acid with Joan Baez before their final show at San Francisco’s Candlestick park in 1966. You know you gotta see those.