by JACK LYNE
Energy exchange: Leary-to-crowd-to-Leary, etc.
The noted Dr. Tim, tagged by the zany Firesign Theater as the "keeper of the sacred tablets, " dubbed by his detractors as the "hallucinogenic huckster. " bursts through the side entrance into the hygenic confines of the University of Kentucky Student Center Ballroom.
Leary paces around the lectern like an evangelist, resplendent in hand-sewn light green and gold buckskin.
But for all his satorial splendor, Leary's message this night rates at best a medium. It is essentially what he has been saying and writing for the past several years, a restatement of his advocacy of the "feelgood I philosophy. You can't do good unless you feel good. "
Leary seems pleasantly surprised at first focusing on the 2, 5 00 bodies jammed into every available niche in the room. A mild pleasure jolt jumps out from Dr. Tim in the warmth of his surprise. The crowd senses it, catches it, redoubles it and throws it back.
This bit of psychic ping-pong continues until finally Leary is prancing toward the podium with all the vigor and cocksureness of a mildly zonked Zorba as all 2, 500 of the faithful rise in howling homage.
Yet, if Leary1 s pyrotechnics are no match for William Jennings Bryan, he can be forgiven. Dr. Tim hits the college lecture circuit two to three months a year, usually at a thousand dollars a shot. It is simply unreasonable to ask the man to unfold new mental layers each night.
Instead, he resorts to a more or less standard set of raps, berating national 6
foreign policy as "alcohol-dominated, " and assuring the flock "They lied to you about marijuana like they lied to you about masturbation. "
In essence, Leary is performing the same function described by historian Hans Morgentheau when he wrote, "The President of the United States tells the people Who they are. "
Dr. Tim, psychedelic shaman and self-styled outlaw, is reassuring his people, telling them who and where they are.
Holding a deep green plastic pitcher aloft like some avant-garde Statue of Liberty, Leary rasps, "You may not ball more than your ancestors, but you ball better. "
87, with lettuce
Leary spends a lot of lecture time bad-rapping the Nixon-Agnew administration. It is truly a job well worth doing. However, like young Holden Caulfield's obsession with wiping clean the rest room walls of America, it is a massive task defying completion.
Later that night Leary forgives Agnew, "a scapegoat with the courage of Richard Nixon's convictions. He probably doesn't even know what effete means. "
Someone adds, "Except he probably is. "
However, scapegoat Spiro has liberated the down-home, pent-up souls of that nebulous "silent majority. " No longer are narrow-mindedness, fanaticism and parochialism the personal domain of the right or the left, the black or the white.
Even as Leary is speaking, TV creature Art Linkletter is firing away in Louisville, recounting the details of his daughter's suicide for the umpteenth time.
Spellbinding a rapt audience composed of 3, 000 members of the first annual convention of Dairymen, Inc., Linkletter labels Leary as "the man
most responsible for experimentation with psychedelic drugs by today's youth. "
Meanwhile, Leary in Lexington is cautioning his audience that "probably not more than 20 to 25 percent of the population should be exposed to the LSD experience. "
Uncowed, Linkletter's Louisville lambast continues: "The men who made LSD killed my daughter, " It is a serious charge and sends the mind reeling in search of answers without questions. Do distillers kill drunk drivers?
Even a week after Leary's November 20 appearance, the decidedly uneffete vibrations are still resounding. An unidentified caller on a Lexington talk show stands up for the no-longer-silent majority.
First, he defends the alleged 1968 slaughter of 109 South Vietnamese men, women and children in the village of My Lai: "Yeah, we hadda bump off those gooks. I know it's not popular to say, but I believe in my country rite or wrong. "
Of course, following that bit of cerebral acrobatics to its logical conclusion would leave this country still a British colony.
Now the telephone tirade moves to Leary. "Yeah, " the caller asserts, "I agree with Leary. Every man who wants that marijuana should be able to git it, by Gawd. "
He pauses, lets the silence sink, then adds his karma of a kicker, replete with satanic cackle: "Only first, by Gawd, they awta CASTRATE the sonofabitch. We'd have a lot less wierdos, a lot less kooks. "
Bluegrass reflection, of kooks and gooks.
Time warp, back with deep green plastic and light green buckskin.
It may be a cobwebbed speech, Tim, but keep talking, please keep talking. By Gawd, these people need all the reassurance they can get.