The Ultimate Trip: Stanley Kubrick, Stanford’s Saturn Cult, and Star Wars Counterculture (Part 2)

Opinion | Ukraine's 'Dr. Strangelove' Reality | Robert Parry

According to film historian Vincent Lobrutto:

“Since 1958 Kubrick had been intrigued by the subject of thermonuclear war, and lately he was becoming preoccupied with it. Kubrick had reached the obsessive state that slowly overtakes him and culminates in a film project. The idea of an impending nuclear holocaust often crept into his already dark and pessimistic vision of the world. Kubrick had read intensively on the subject…

While still in London, Kubrick asked Alastair Buchan, the head of the Institute for Strategic Studies, a nongovernment research group, to recommend a serious course of books for him to study about nuclear weapons. Buchan told Kubrick that a film about the global nuclear situation was ‘unwise because he would not be able to describe precisely what precautions the United States or other nuclear powers take to guard against the danger of accident or false command.’ Buchan was concerned that this would ‘mislead anxious people.’ In a list of books he thought Kubrick should read, Buchan recommended that novel Red Alert, by Peter George, who had been a Royal Air Force navigator and a British intelligence agent.”

Buchan’s father was John Buchan, also an intelligence agent:

“During the war, Buchan was a correspondent for The Times, wrote Nelson’s History of the Great War in twenty-four volumes (1915-1919), was the military intelligence in France (1916-1917), and finally was Director of Information for the War Office (1917-1918). During this period and later, he was a prolific writer of travel, historical, and adventure stories, becoming eventually, by such works as Greenmantle, The Three Hostages, and The Thirty-nine Steps, the most famous writer of adventure stories in Britain. His connection with South Africa gained him the post official historian of the South African forces in France. He was a close friend of Lord Haldane and Lord Rosebery, both of whom can be regarded as members of the Miller Group…Haldane, with Rosebery, Asquith, and Edward Grey, had formed the Liberal League to support liberal imperialism, with which Milner was closely associated.”

(The Anglo-American Establishment, Carroll Quigley, pgs. 58)

 As Recluse writes on his VISUP blog:

That Red Alert author Peter George had been a British intelligence agent is most compelling as well. Red Alert was of course the book that Dr. Strangelove was based upon and was adapted for the screen by George, Kubrick and comedy writer Terry Southern. Unfortunately, I have not been able to turn up much on George’s role in British intelligence. Its interesting to note, however, that George committed suicide a little over two years after Dr. Strangelove’s release, reportedly over his fears of a pending nuclear holocaust.”

Recluse also notes that Strangelove co-writer Terry Southern was, “By all accounts the Texan was a hipster’s hipster –he spent time in Paris after the Second World War, made the scene in Greenwich Village in the mid-1950s, partied in Swinging London during the 1960s and even seems to have been involved with the notorious Laurel Canyon scene.” Via Mason Hoffenberg, Southern was also adjacent to the Beat Generation, including figures such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. 

According to Tom Wolfe, who famously mythologized Ken Kesey’s career as an LSD distributor in The Electric Kool Aid Acid Tests, Terry Southern was the true inventor of the New Journalism movement in the 1960s and 70s. Wolfe, who contributed massively to this movement and later became a conservative smearing the counterculture it was associated with, got his start  in the American Studies program while attending Yale. American Studies was formalized at Yale by Norman Holmes Pearson, who had helped transform the OSS into the CIA.  It was used to scout personnel for the American intelligence community, including among foreign born students. 

Recluse notes the association between mass murder, serial killers, and nuclear war in Strangelove:  

“Of course he concept of the serial killer was hardly a pop culture staple in 1964 when Strangelove was released and certainly not while it was going through pre-production (the earliest public use of the phrase “serial killer” was in the 1966 book The Meaning of Murder). However, what is now referred to as a serial killer was sometimes called a “mass murderer” during this era, which may have been Kubrick’s inspiration. Certainly General Jack D. Ripper conspires to be a mass murderer on an epic scale while the Russian ambassador (who is named after an author who wrote glowingly of mass murder) is the one tasked with explaining the Soviet Union’s Doomsday Machine, a tool of mass murder. At one point during the film President Muffley (Peter Sellers) tells General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott): “General Turgidson, I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler”

While it may be entirely irrelevant, I should note that, after working on Dr. Strangelove, Southern co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaption of John Folwes The Collector. Both the novel and film left an impression on several serial killers, with Leonard Lake keeping a copy of the book his bunker/torture dungeon.

The man who played Jack D. Ripper, Sterling Hayden, “was briefly a member of the Communist Party during the late 1940s and the early part of the following decade” who “eventually cooperated with the House of Un-American Activities and named names for the Committee.” During World War 2, Hayden served under William “Wild Bill” Donovan in the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. Supposedly, it was Donovan who convinced Hayden to return to Hollywood and re-start his acting career after the war. Donovan was a Catholic and a Knight of Malta, two connections that helped the OSS in its postwar project to establish a network of sleeper cells that came to be known as Operation Gladio. 

Hayden’s character in the film, General Jack D. Ripper, not only has a name that is a thinly veiled reference to Jack the Ripper, but is more than likely based on real-life Major George Racey Jordan. As Recluse explains:

“Major Jordan would go on to become the first major proponent of fluoride conspiracy theories on a national level and was likely the inspiration behind Ripper’s musings on the substance. Jordan is most well remembered, however, for his allegations that Harry Hopkins was who passed on American nuclear secrets to the Soviets (among other things) via Lend-Lease. During the era of Strangelove these were major staples of Bircher literature and other such publications from the conspiratorial right. To a certain extent Jordan’s allegations are still part of the conversation in such circles even if he has been surpassed by more recent “experts”…

Beyond this, Jordan had become involved with an organization known as the Ten Million Americans (TMA) by the 1950s. The TMA featured more than a few pre-WWII “isolationists” (i.e Nazi backers) and sported former Lt. General George E. Stratemeyer as one of its national directors. Stratemeyer was a member of the American Security Council as well as a bizarre secret society known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John (SOSJ) that featured numerous ties to the Pentagon and US intelligence community… What’s more, the SOSJ’s origins may have gone all the way back to the notorious Thule Society of post-WWI Bavaria…”

As I noted in the first part of this series, Kubrick’s work and general political philosophy throughout the 60s seems to be influenced by a lineage of occultists and liberal reformists that include the Theosophical Society, Aleister Crowley, the Fabian Society, and the eugenics movement. Furthermore, A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut seem to directly reference these ideas and even certain individuals associated with them. I can’t imagine that Kubrick, in both Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket, wasn’t intentionally referencing the occult and/or intelligence circles within the “military-industrial complex.” 

Kubrick had close contact with multiple tech corporations and elements of the military during the production of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Factor in his ambiguous relationship to Scientology, a religion started by a former Naval intelligence officer and friend of military occultist Jack Parsons, and his proximity to figures in the same sort of science circles Jeffrey Epstein hung out in, and it becomes hard to deny clear that Kubrick’s later work is influenced by and responding to certain ideas about technology, imperialism, and occultism among members of the bourgeoisie and State apparatus. 

For instance, Recluse speculates that General Buck Turgidson, George C. Scott’s character in the film, may have been inspired by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer. According to the official biography of Lemnitzer by James L. Binder:

“When Lemnitzer sat for formal photographs or was otherwise conscious of the camera, he almost always turned the back of his left hand toward the lens so that the ring on his third finger would show. It was his West Point class ring, but the reason he displayed it so prominently was that it also carried the Masonic emblem. The general took his masonic obligations very seriously; he joined the Freemasons in 1922 when he was a young lieutenant at Fort Adams, Rhode Island, eventually became a 32nd Degree Mason, and finally attained the honorary rank of 33rd Degree. He was a member of the Masons’ Shrine, whose charitable work for orphans probably helped influence his strong interest in Korean orphanages when he was [later] Far East commander in chief. A sure way of getting the general’s attention was to identify yourself as a Mason; military members of all ranks wrote to him, addressing him as ‘brother’ and being addressed the same way in Lemnitzer’s reply.”

Lemnitzer played a key role in Operation Sunrise, eventual head of the CIA Allen Dulles’s OSS effort to achieve a separate peace with the Nazis in Italy at the end of World War 2. This would prevent the Red Army from moving in and uniting with the Italian resistance movement, led by communists who had gone underground after the rise of Mussolini. Dulles used General Karl Wolff, the commander of Nazi security forces in Germany, to broker the surrender. 

In the run up to the compromise, which directly violated FDR’s official policy of “unconditional surrender” Dulles put together a rescue team to save Wolff, who was being held under siege by the Italian resistance. As David Talbot notes in his The Devil’s Chessboard, this amounted to “a joint US-German rescue effort organized for the benefit of a high ranking Nazi general.” Talbot goes on: 

“In the end, Operation Sunrise saved few lives and had little impact on the course of the war. It did, however, succeed in creating a new set of international tensions that some historians would identify as the first icy issues of the Cold War…After the separate peace was declared at Caserta, some German divisions in Italy were told not to lay down their arms but to get ready to begin battling the Red Army alongside the Americans and British…Dulles’s negotiating team went so far as to promise Wolff that he and other ‘decent’ and ‘idealistic’ members of the Nazi high command would be allowed to participate in the leadership of postwar Germany.”

Lemnitzer was also the one who, after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, suggested launching Operation Northwoods, a false flag operation wherein CIA agents would stage acts of terrorism, both real and simulated, against civilians. Cuba would be blamed for the attacks, justifying a full-scale military invasion of the country. Among other proposals, Northwoods participants would sink boats full of Cubans leaving their homeland for Florida. They would hijack airplanes which would then be shot down, or at least made to look like they were shot down. Northwoods was rejected by JFK and documents related to it remained classified until 1997. Lemnitzer later became Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe during that institution’s ongoing participation in Operation Gladio. 

Another connection between Dr. Strangelove and the “power elite” comes in the form of Peter Sellers President character, Merkin Muffley. Sellers performance was modeled on Adlai Stevenson II, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and UN ambassador during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Stevenson came from a prominent political family; his grandfather on his father’s side had been Vice President to Grover Cleveland, his father had been Illinois Secretary of State and his maternal grandfather had been a close friend and campaign manager for Abraham Lincoln. Stevenson attempted to run for President twice, but was defeated in both instances by another member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What I find just as interesting as Strangelove’s explicit references to the National Security state is its implicit sexuality. The film can be seen as saying that the type of sexual repression championed in the 1950s leads not only to unhappiness, but genocidal psychosis. To some extent, this must have been inspired by Kubrick’s experience adapting Nabokov’s Lolita for the screen.

Kubrick went on record saying that the only thing it was fair for critics to chastise Lolita for is the fact that he couldn’t “sufficiently dramatize the erotic aspect of Humbert’s relationship with Lolita.” As Kubrick explains:

“…because his sexual obsession was only barely hinted at, many people guessed too quickly that Humbert was in love with Lolita. Whereas in the novel this comes as a discovery at the end, when she is no longer a nymphet but a dowdy, pregnant suburban housewife; and it’s this encounter, and his sudden realization of his love, that is one of the most poignant elements of the story. If I could do the film over again, I would have stressed the erotic component of their relationship with the same weight Nabokov did.”

In 1972, Kubrick went even further, telling Newsweek that he “probably wouldn’t have made the film” if he knew how intense the censorship restrictions would be.

Further evidence that Kubrick had a rather libertarian view of sexuality around the time he made Strangelove (and for some time after) is the fact that Kubrick initially considered making Eyes Wide Shut as a screwball sex comedy starring Woody Allen. Furthermore, when Strangelove’s hipster co-writer Terry Southern wrote a novel about a mainstream, big-budget feature film that blurs the lines between Hollywood cinema and hardcore pornography in 1970 (just as porno chic was coming  into its own), Kubrick considered adapting it.


All of this is strange to me, because from A Clockwork Orange until Eyes Wide Shut, sex is used almost interchangeably with violence by Kubrick to depict man as an “ignoble savage” (his words). 

A Clockwork Orange’s opening scene emphasizes at least half a dozen pieces of pop-sculpture adorning a sleazy “milk bar.” These are statues of women spread eagle, their faces bereft of any expression or identity. The film moves quickly to a real woman who is screaming and having her clothes ripped off by several young men who are clearly preparing to gang rape her. The only scene resembling consensual sex between anyone comes in the form of a fast-forwarded threesome Alex has with the two young girls from the record store. Thus, the only non-rape depiction of sexuality in the film is shot from afar using a stationary camera, the footage sped up to a comical degree, and the audio of moans or heavy breathing replaced with a kitschy synthesizer reproduction of classical music. Sex minus male violence is made into a farce, whereas brutal rape or implications of rape are repeatedly depicted up close and personal. It could even be argued rape is depicted sensually while sex is simply parodied.

The Shining only features anything to do with sex in the persistent implication that Danny was sexually abused either by his father or someone close to him. The brief scene where Jack is seduced by a rotting ghost can be interpreted as a metaphor for Jack’s shame over said abuse. In Full Metal Jacket sex only exists as a form of dominance, particularly of men trained by the State to mass murder other humans, and while sex (along with rape) is alll over Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick goes out of his way to portray it in the most insecure, anxiety-inducing way possible. As BoyDrinksInk say in their epic review of Eyes, the film:

“…was promoted as a movie about sex, featuring two of the era’s biggest sex symbols and movie stars in the world—Tom Cruise as Bill Harford and Nicole Kidman as Alice Harford, a real life married couple playing an onscreen married couple—and therefore people expected the movie to be sexy. But Kubrick mocks this preconception from the very first shot, showing Alice as she “shrugs off her dress and kicks it aside”. Kubrick gives the audience a few seconds of what many came to see the film for, “a big-time movie star naked”, as if to get it out of the way in order to move on to the serious stuff. Then the screen cuts to black and the paradoxical main title appears, “telling us that we’re not really seeing what we’re staring at. In other words, Eyes Wide Shut is not going to be about sex” (Kreider, Introducing).

It seems that somewhere along the way, for some reason, Kubrick’s ideas about sex started to change. As early as 1970, when he considered adapting Blue Movie into a real big-budget porno, Kubrick was, according to Terry Southern, “too ultra conservative” towards sexuality to go through with it. Somewhere in between 2001 and A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick became much more cynical, reserved, and “ultra conservative” about human sexuality. This tracks with a larger pessimism toward hedonia and “human nature” in general which Kubrick developed halfway through his career. 

“The idea that social restraints are all bad,” Kubrick told the New York Times, “is based on a utopian and unrealistic vision of man.” In another interview, when asked if he was an anarchist, Kubrick said, “I am certainly not an anarchist, and I don’t think of myself as a pessimist. I believe very strongly in parliamentary democracy, and I am of the opinion that the power and authority of the State should be optimized and exercised only to the extent that is required to keep things civilized.” Kubrick also stated, in response to accusations that A Clockwork Orange was fascist apologia, that this was precisely the opposite of his intention in making the film. 

This move was uncharacteristic for Kubrick. Before and after Orange, Kubrick went out of his way not to reveal much about the deeper messages of his films. However, to rebuke the accusations of Orange’s sympathy for fascism, Kubrick wrote a rather in-depth explanation of his film’s themes that was published in both UK and US newspapers. 

Why would Kubrick feel the need to do this for the first movie he made after 2001?  Why make such a politically provocative film, which in his own words is a critique of “psychedelic fascism”, immediately after something with the tagline “The Ultimate Trip”?

Kubrick’s Demons, Sue Lyon’s Demise, 2001’s Propaganda

Before moving on, we must consider the ending of Dr. Strangelove, as summarized by Recluse: 

“The plan Strangelove unfolds is a fantasy of Nazi eugenics on steroids. He proposes relocating several hundred thousand Americans into some of the nation’s deepest mine shafts where civilization could continue unfettered by the radioactive wasteland the Earth’s surface will soon become. Strangelove advocates using a computer to select these potential survivors using a host of genetic factors while also leaving room for the nation’s top civilian and military leaders. At one point Strangelove even boasts that these survivors could equal the nation’s current GNP within 20 years, a seemingly superhuman task that would be enabled by the selective breeding of the survivors in the good doctor’s mind…

Indeed, Strangelove hints that the current nuclear holocaust unfolding is not such a bad thing and that the master race that shall emerge from the mine shafts in a 100 years will represent a major stage in human evolution. As he is outlining this scheme, Strangelove can not help but address President Muffley as “Mein Fuhrer” and breaking out a Nazi salute from time to time…

In Strangelove’s brave new world women are reduced to little more than breeders. He calls for ten women to every man and that they be instructed in the proper “breeding techniques.” This is a logical out come of the subtle misogyny hinted at throughout the film in the nation’s corridors of power. Strangelove’s lone female character, Miss Scott (Tracy Reed), is presented as little more than a sexual object (and is even displayed in a Playboy centerfold at one point). Women are objects to these men and conscripting them into their own personal harems as a matter of national security simply pulls off the veneer.

Muffley, the only American in the entire film to vigorously attempt to stop armageddon, accepts Strangelove’s plan after being absolved of any moral responsibility for the selection of survivors by turning the task over to a computer. This is no doubt a dig at the technocratic nature of the Anglo-American Establishment on Kubrick’s part and its rationalization of genocide when made possible through technological advancements (i.e. “whiz kid” Robert McNamara’s use of “metrics” in the Vietnam War). The look of profound relief that crosses Muffley’s face when Strangelove assures him a computer can decide who lives and who dies rather than him personally is priceless in this regard.” 

I believe we can see the same basic plot structure of 2001 elaborated in Strangelove’s speech; the US ruling class triggers the “next stage” of human evolution through technology developed to survive a potential third world war. The implications of selective breeding leading to superhumans capable of rebuilding the GNP of the US in 1963 within decades of nuclear apocalypse even gives a particularly promethean flavor to this vision, as well as directly referencing the concept of eugenics. While 2001’s aesthetics portray this vision in a way that appears trippy and beautiful, the neo-Nazi nightmare described in Strangelove is essentially the same. Strangelove’s idea to use women as nothing more than breeders in this scheme and the obvious sexual excitement this triggers among the National Security figures featured in the film also prefigures Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick apparently regrets, and is disgusted with himself for tolerating and likely participating in many of the rituals of the Western bourgeois in the latter half of the 20th Century. 

These “rituals” include the abuse of women and children by powerful figures in both the National Security state and mass media establishment. For instance, the producer of two of Kubrick’s most highly regarded films from his early career, James B. Harris, groomed and raped Lolita star Sue Lyons repeatedly while working with the director on that film. As Sarah Weinman writes:

In 1996, following the announcement of Adrian Lyne’s new film adaptation of Lolita, Sue Lyon, the star of Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film, broke many years of press silence. Lyon, a year younger than the new Lolita (15-year-old Dominique Swain) when she played the part, said: ‘My destruction as a person dates from that movie. Lolita exposed me to temptations no girl of that age should undergo. I defy any pretty girl who is rocketed to stardom at 14 in a sex nymphet role to stay on a level path thereafter.’”

Weinman notes that at the time she was filming Lolita, Lyons was good friends with Michelle Phillips, the wife and bandmate of John Philips, leader of the highly influential folk rock group The Mamas and the Papas. In addition to John Philips having a decades long incestuous relationship with his daughter, Mackenzie, he and the band had numerous connections to both Roman Polanski and Charles Manson. 

As McGowan writes in Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: 

Michelle Phillips had a brief affair with Roman Polanski in London while Polanski was married to the soon-to-be-murdered Sharon Tate (during that same sojourn to London, Tate was reportedly initiated into the practice of witchcraft).” In 1970, during the trial of Manson and some of his Family members, Mama Cass Elliott and John Phillips appeared to testify for the prosecution. Polanski accused John Phillips of having masterminded the murder of his wife and her friends in retribution for Polanski’s own brief affair” with Michelle Phillips. “At one point, the director grabbed a kitchen knife and held it to the singer’s throat in an attempt to force a confession out of him.”

Polanski himself has been suspected of enabling Manson and contributing to the murder of his wife and her friends. Peter Bart, the editor in chief of Variety, told journalist Tom O’Neill that Polanski’s “crowd was a little scary.” According to Bart, “There was an aura of danger around them… there was an instinctive feeling that everyone was pushing it and things were getting out of control.” 

Helter Skelter scribe Vincent Bugliosi admitted to O’Neill that when he joined the Manson case, “detectives told Bugliosi they’d recovered some videotape in the loft at the house on Cielo Drive. According to detectives, the footage was filmed by Polanski and depicted Sharon Tate being raped by two men. Bugliosi claims he never saw the tape, telling O’Neil he instructed the detectives to, “Put it back where you found it. Roman has suffered enough..” 

According to Polanski, after the murders, “the idea of work was impossible. Everybody kept saying to me, get to work immediately. Idiotic. Only Stanley Kubrick understood. He told me, ‘You cannot and must not work now.’” This wasn’t the first time Kubrick phoned polanski. “I used to talk on the phone to Stanley Kubrick,” Polanski told The Guardian. These were conversations which would last sometimes for a long, long time. I liked him very much. He was brilliant and bright and it was always so exciting to talk to him because he knew so much about everything.” Kubrick often listed Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby as one of his favorite films.

To circle back to Lolita and Sue Lyon, I mentioned in part 1 of this series that Nabokov’s novel was clearly not just “satire” but also an attempt for Nabokov to elaborate his own pedophilic sympathies. James B. Harris being a pedophile who traumatized Lyon for life, Kubrick decision to adapt Nabokov (who described Lyon as “the perfect nymphet”), along with Kubrick’s closeness and reverence for Polanski, shows that Kubrick didn’t mind tolerating the abuse of women and children from those he worked beside and was friends with, at least for most of his early career. 


It is also interesting to note that in Kubrick’s film, Sue Lyon’s character refers to a dude ranch in Santa Fe where a man takes her after “stealing” her from Humbert Humbert. Epstein owned a ranch in Santa Fe which, as Matt Farwell pointed out, is not too far in any direction from New Mexico locations tied to the Clintons, the sex abuse of the Catholic Church, and Scientology:

“There’s the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, a selective international boarding school in Montezuma founded by Armand Hammer and Prince Charles, originally a resort hotel built on a hot springs sacred to the Jicarilla Apache, the previous inhabitants of the Sangre De Cristos. Bill Richardson—who in recently unsealed court records was named by accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre as a participant in Epstein’s illegal sexual abuse ring—claimed to be a lecturer at the United World College in 2001–2002, between his stints as Bill Clinton’s secretary of energy and New Mexico’s governor…

There are also the sites where the Catholic Church hid pedophile priests in local parishes, until a tsunami of lawsuits from victims forced New Mexico’s largest diocese to file for bankruptcy last June. One of those places is in Jemez Springs, an isolated resort town in the middle of a melange of federal ranges, Pueblo nations, and national forests. (Distance from Zorro Ranch: 50 miles.) Here, the Catholic Church still operates one of two treatment centers in the United States for pedophile priests. They are treated by fellow members of the cloth…

A little over 80 miles northwest of Zorro Ranch is Trementina Base, a bunker and vault complex owned by the Church of Spiritual Technology—an elite order within Scientology—with hardened rooms storing L. Ron Hubbard’s writings. Hubbard’s thoughts on Thetans will survive anything, as they’re reportedly inscribed on etched steel plates in titanium containers filled with inert argon gas. The location is hardly secret, since the CST’s logo, two interlocking circles with diamonds, can be seen in aerial photos, carved into the high desert scrub, ostensibly to help guide Hubbard’s spirit back to its new body—whenever that happens.

In this context, consider that Epstein adored Nabokov’s novel

Speaking of novelists who worked with Kubrick, it is likely that Arthur C. Clarke, whose story “The Sentinel” inspired 2001 and who wrote the novelization of and co-wrote the screenplay for 2001 with Kubrick, was a pedophile. A 1998 Independent article reported: 

“The science-fiction author Arthur C Clarke yesterday denied a newspaper claim that he is a paedophile. None the less, he asked that his knighthood ceremony be postponed so not to embarrass the Prince of Wales…On Sunday the newspaper declared Clarke to be a self-confessed paedophile. He was quoted admitting as much, and a Sri Lankan “friend” – head of current affairs at the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Company – alleged that Clarke was still having sex with boys ‘a few months ago’.”

The newspaper in question was the UK’s Sunday Mirror, so it was widely believed that the allegations were fabricated to smear Clarke, an openly gay man in a less forgiving time then our own for cis gays. However, in a Vice piece that asked “What Childhood Moment Shaped Them the Most” Peter Troyer tells a story about growing up in Sri Lanka worth consideration. Troyer’s story doesn’t mention Clarke by name, but matches the time frame and appears to implicate him:

“I grew up in Sri Lanka. My dad was doing some work for the Canadian government. There were a lot of expat kids in my area and we had free reign of the neighbourhood. Our parents mostly let us do what we wanted, but we were told to stay away—never go near—a large property that bordered my house. When we asked why the reasons were always vague.

There were some rumors that someone very famous or maybe powerful lived there. We all got the sense that he was …a danger in some way. One day I was home sick from school. My grandfather was visiting from Canada and he was assigned to watch me. I remember that I was in pajamas. We were in the backyard and my grandfather was painting peacocks. Out of our hedges this man appeared and approached us. I instantly knew it was the man from the property. The man from the property wanted something from my dad, who of course wasn’t home. My grandfather was star struck by the man. Grandpa could barely speak. The two began chatting. The man flattered my grandfather’s painting. He said he also liked to paint but only people. The man looked towards me and said let’s paint the boy.

I was placed on a stool in front of the two men. I was eleven years old. Very quickly the neighbour said the clothes were spoiling the beauty of me. He asked me to remove my clothes. I looked at my grandpa and did as I was told. Soon after I was on the stool, naked, and crying. I don’t know how long this went on but at some point my father arrived home. He quickly reviewed the scene, saw the man from the property, and…went ..nuts. He just lost it on them: raising his voice. Getting in people’s faces. I honestly thought he might kill them both.

Within a couple of hours my grandfather was gone and they never – ever – spoke again. Although in some circles it was common knowledge, the man from the property was a famous British science fiction novelist. Apparently he had been banished to (then) Ceylon from postwar Britain rather than face prison for being a pederast. I think about that day sometimes.

Even more disturbing is the close work between Kubrick and cognitive/computer scientist Marvin Minsky

Minsky invented the first head-mounted graphical display, which has made modern virtual reality tech possible. He also published a book in 1969, one year after 2001 was released, that became the foundational text of artificial neural networks, a cornerstone of efforts to develop a real-world artificial intelligence. Minsky was also a co-founder of MIT’s artificial intelligence laboratory. In part 1 of this study I pointed out that Stanford was receiving massive amounts of funding from the military throughout the 1960s. MIT was a similar story:

“Sizing up MIT in 1962 from his perspective as the director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, physicist Alvin Weinberg, who coined the term “big science,” quipped that it was becoming increasingly hard “to tell whether the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a university with many government research laboratories appended to it or a cluster of government research laboratories with a very good educational institution attached to it.” With nearly a hundred million dollars in annual government-sponsored research contracts by the early 1960s (a figure that would almost double by the end of the decade), science and engineering at MIT had become big business.

A closer look at where that money was coming from suggests that this was big business of a very specialized nature. The military had a significant, even predominant, influence in setting the agenda for big science at MIT. At the end of World War II, MIT was the nation’s largest nonindustrial defense contractor, with seventy-five separate contracts worth$ 117 million, far ahead of second-place Caltech ($83 million) and third-place Harvard ($31 million). 

It held that lead throughout the Cold War years, often with three times the contracts of the second-ranked school and still ahead of some large defense-oriented corporations. In the early 1960s its contracts with the Department of Defense totaled $47 million, plus additional obligations of some $80 million to its federal-contract research centers, the Lincoln and Instrumentation laboratories. In 1968 MIT ranked fifty-fourth among all defense contractors, sandwiched between missile giants TRW and Thiokol Chemical. 

In 1969, the year Minsky published his influential work on artificial intelligence, MIT’s prime military contracts totalled $100 million.

During this same period, Minsky served as an advisor to Kubrick and Clarke on 2001. “One of the first electronic learning machines was built by Minsky, so he was well qualified to advise. Helping to determine what a computer which could speak intelligently would look like, he advised that it would be made up of many black boxes.” Minsky’s contributions to 2001 were so important that Clarke even explicitly references him in the novel version, implying that it was specifically Minsky’s work that made HAL 9000 possible; 

“In the 1980s, Minsky and Good had shown how artificial neural networks could be generated automatically—self replicated—in accordance with any arbitrary learning program. Artificial brains could be grown by a process strikingly analogous to the development of a human brain. In any given case, the precise details would never be known, and even if they were, they would be millions of times too complex for human understanding.

Minsky illuminates another connection between Kubrick and Epstein, as Virginia Giuffre named Minsky as one of the men who raped her on Little St. James. “In the deposition, Giuffre says she was directed to have sex with Minsky when he visited Epstein’s compound in the US Virgin Islands.”  Another witness testified that “she and Minsky had taken a private plane from Teterboro to Santa Fe and Palm Beach in March 2001. Epstein, Maxwell, chef Adam Perry Lang, and shipping heir Henry Jarecki were also passengers on the flight, according to the deposition. At the time of the flight, Giuffre was 17; Minsky was 73.”

 As the linked article notes:

“Minsky was one of a number of prominent scientists with ties to Jeffrey Epstein, who often called himself a “science philanthropist” and donated to research projects and academic institutions…Minsky’s affiliation with Epstein went particularly deep, including organizing a two-day symposium on artificial intelligence at Epstein’s private island in 2002, as reported by Slate. In 2012, the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation issued a press release touting another conference organized by Minsky on the island in December 2011.” 

According to a 2020 article in the Finacial Times, quoting a report written by a law firm hired by MIT:: “Senior administrators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology approved charitable donations from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein with full knowledge of his criminal past but then tried to conceal the money’s origin to protect the university’s reputation.” The report, “shows the close relationships between Epstein and various MIT professors. One, Marvin Minsky, visited Epstein in jail.” Four years before Epstein’s first arrest in 2006, he donated $100,000 to Minsky.

Minsky and Epstein also shared an interest in cryonics as a natural extension of their reverence for artificial intelligence. I have pointed out elsewhere how Epstein’s interests in cryonics and transhumanism amount to a new form of eugenics. Minsky seems to have had similar beliefs. He was so committed to cryonics that he sat on the board of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. 

Minsky wasn’t the only part of the mutualistic Cold War relationship between the military, technological research, and American monopoly capital who participated in the production of 2001. 

“We have been working with many, many companies; about fifty, really,” said Harry Lange, another scientific consultant who worked on 2001. “IBM, General Electric in Philadelphia, RCA in Michigan, Bausch and Lomb in Rochester, New York, and so on down the list. Wherever we needed help, we’ve gone to industry and they have been more than delighted to give it to us.” 

2001: A Look Behind the Future, a documentary released in 1966 to promote Kubrick’s film, opens in the offices of Look magazine, where Kubrick got his start as a photographer. Vernon Meyer, the owner of Look at the time, says

“This spring, Dr. Wernher von Braun, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Center, said early next year we’ll flight-test the huge three-stage Saturn V rocket, which will transport three Apollo astronauts to the moon.… This amazing progress in space finds the American people less than well prepared to comprehend its social impact. Scientists maintain a dialogue with scientists, quite properly to be sure. But there remains a much needed job of indoctrinating our public with the consequences of cosmic communication and the inevitable changes in our life, in our culture, in our philosophies, our economies, our markets.” 

Clarke pops up in the documentary, saying “Stanley Kubrick and I have set ourselves several objectives. We hope to convey to the public the wonder and beauty and promise of the new age of exploration which is opening up before the human race. We want to convey the message that our Earth is perhaps not the only abode of life.” Clarke notes that our sun is one of only billions across the galaxy then wonders how they, “shine upon our equals, or our masters, out there in the depths of space?” Another interviewer from Look asks Clarke to elaborate on a point he made in an earlier work, which is that the public is “space conscious but not space minded.” Clarke explains, “The universe is much more than a contest between two mid-20th Century powers. It’s really the next stage in the evolution of mankind…What we’re starting now with our drive into space is the next step of evolution.” 

Fred Ordway and Harry Lange are noted as”formerly of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration” and described as Kubrick’s “principal astronautic advisors.” Lange explains, “We’ve been brought in here by Stanley Kubrick to more or less ensure the scientific integrity of the film to make sure that it’s very, very close in reality to what we’re doing today in the space flight program.” When asked how Dr. Wernher von Braun, the leading figure in Nazi Germany’s development of rockets during World War 2 who was poached by the US government as part of Operation Paperclip, relates to 2001 Lange says he, “formerly worked for Dr. von Braun through Marshall Space Flight Center…Arthur C. Clarke is a very close friend of mine.” 

Von Braun’s lineage can be traced back to the ruling classes of Western Europe towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries. HIs father, Magnus von Braun, was a Baron and conservative politician who participated in the failed Kapp Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish an autocratic military regime with nationalist principles that preceded the final Nazi consolidation of power by 13 years. Wernher’s mother traced her lineage to medieval royalty, including Philip III of France, Valdemar I of Denmark, Robert III of Scotland, and Edward III of England. “Von Braun’s lineage can be traced back to the Junkers, a social class of nobles that dominated the Prussian military officer corps, the landowning elite, & offices of civil service in the 19th & early 20th centuries.”

Lange himself spent his childhood in Hitler’s Germany and then in a West Germany which, as mentioned earlier, was not fully de-Nazified. He moved to the United States in 1951, working as an ad man before illustrating flying manuals for the US military during the Korean War. From there Lange worked in the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and then moved to NASA, where he met Arthur C. Clarke.

All of these threads of militarism and fascism running through the production of 2001 can be observed in the film itself. The early sequences of “primitive man” have been widely noted as a parable of the advancement of human knowledge leading to both better means of survival but also more efficient weapons. One of 2001’s most famous moments is when the ape-creature throws the bone in the air and it transforms into the first spaceship the viewer sees in the movie. 

Film theorist Rob Ager writes:

“The sequence of satellites orbiting the Earth gives itself away as a representation of space warfare. The very first one, which we cut to from the flying bone shot, has a bone shaped feature at the top, signifying it as a weapon just like the bone. The other satellites include a German flag alongside what appears to be a black Maltese cross, a Chinese air force insignia on the satellite in which the shot scrolls up to show the Moon and another air force type insignia which appears on the satellite that is travelling toward a rising sun (possibly French or Bulgarian).” 

“The musical composition of this scene is called The Blue Danube, which was also the name of Britain’s first nuclear weapon. So right away we have technology depicted as a threat to human existence.

It was apparently intended in an early version of the script that the starchild would simultaneously detonate all of these nuclear devices upon returning to Earth thus bringing an end to the space warfare threat. Though this does not happen in the movie it is significant that when the starchild returns to Earth there are no satellites or spacecraft to be seen. In fact we can’t even tell what point in human history Bowman has returned to.”

On a recent episode of his podcast, Recluse speculates that HAL 9000’s murderous rampage in 2001’s second act is not a result of a malfunction, but is HAL attempting to see if the crew has what it takes to endure contact with the Monolith at Jupiter.

At one point during this portion of the film, HAL is said to be compiling psychological profiles of the crew. Recluse points out that the ARPA/DARPANET, which later became the Internet, was being built by the Pentagon during this time, with its primary objective to act as a command and control center during a nuclear war and its secondary objective to collect data on humans to predict human behavior. When one notices the references to IBM throughout 2001, recalls IBM’s roll in the Final Solution, and considers my point that 2001 is a “happy” version of the scenario laid out by Strangelove at the end of that film, we can see 2001 as propaganda not only for American victory in the space race, but as a product of the “psychedelic fascism” Kubrick addresses in A Clockwork Orange.

It must also be said that Strangelove’s vision of waiting out the apocalypse in a bunker while building a master race of white Americans capable of ushering in a new world order is nearly identical to Manson’s vision of Helter Skelter. 

The Stanford Cult of Saturn and 2001’s Metatextual Elements 

“From the very outset of work on the film we all discussed means of photographically depicting an extraterrestrial creature in a manner that would be as mind-boggling as the being itself…. You cannot imagine the unimaginable. All you can do is try to represent it in an artistic manner that will convey something of its quality. That’s why we settled on the black monolith—which is, of course, in itself something of a Jungian archetype, and also a pretty fair example of ‘minimal art.’”-Kubrick 

In the first part of this study, I pointed out that the “Saturn Cult” conspiracy theory appears to be a mystified form of a real lineage that exists among the Western bourgeoisie in the arts, the military, and the sciences. I referenced Stanford University and the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in particular as examples of this bourgeois lineage’s manifestation in and influence over the US Empire. It is my belief that Kubrick, in 2001, was working as a propagandist for this group’s ideas about promoting technocracy during the “neoliberal” era of Western imperialism, ideas which were elaborated on in SRI’s Changing Images of Man. These ideas may be summed up using Kubrick’s expression “psychedelic fascism.” 

Stanford University’s founding president was David Starr Jordan, a eugenicist with political and economic views that would today place him among the tech-libertarian circles now associated with Peter Thiel. Starr Jordan considered certain races as “born to be exploited” and saw Stanford as a place to cultivate an “aristocracy of brains” which he considered the “final purpose of democracy.” 

According to Jordan:

“Democracy does not mean equality–just the reverse of this, it means individual responsibility, equality before the law, of course–equality of opportunity, but no other equality save that won by faithful service. That social system which bids men rise must also let them fall if they cannot maintain themselves.”

According to Max Chafkin:

Stanford would later attract Herbert Hoover’s conservative think tank and its commitment, according to a mission statement, ‘to demonstrate the evils of the doctrines of Karl Marx, whether Communism, Socialism, economic materialism, or atheism.'” 

The Hoover Institute eventually became an official part of Stanford’s campus. Its executive director, W. Glenn Campbell, would serve as a senior adviser to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Campbell later named Ronald Reagan as an honorary fellow of the Institute. Martin Anderson, the man sometimes credited with coalescing the economic policies later referred to as “Reaganomics”, was a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute. Reagan would appoint at least thirty of Anderson’s Stanford colleagues to prominent positions in his administration, crediting Stanford with having “built the knowledge base that made the changes now taking place in Washington possible.”

This makes the Stanford Research Institute’s connections to Joseph Campbell (and in turn Campbell’s influence on Kubrick) more nefarious. As Russell McCutcheon notes:

“For Campbell, regardless of the material conditions of their composition, all myths functioned in the same psychological manner: as an expression of the inherent human need and desire to follow our heart’s desire, whatever that may be. For example, in the Moyers interviews, Campbell likens both the Vietnam Protesters and American soldiers to heroes on quests. Regardless of the dramatically different sociopolitical implications of their actions, they are all, according to him, on a quest for personal fulfillment. That each type of quest in this case exacts a considerably different price in human lives is not an issue of importance to his approach. Like all good heroes before us, we are all simply following the bliss of self-realization. In other words, Reaganomics had found its spiritual and psychological legitimation.” 

The SRI more or less confirms this in Changing Images

Additionally, it now appears possible to combine the insights of science, art, and religion so as systematically to reduce the fear of (yet) unknown discovery and to foster the abilities of normal persons to discover and apply more of their creative potential. Such approaches as Synectics (Gordon, 1961), group dynamics (Bradford, Gibb, and Benne, 1964), Psychosynthesis (Assagioli, 1965), Scientology (Hubbard, 1954), psychedelic drugs (Masters and Houston, 1966; -Aaronson and Osmond, 1970), integral yoga (Chaudhuri, 1965), self-hypnosis (Krippner, 1969), biofeedback training (Rervik, 1973), small conferencing (Mead and Byers, 1968), imagistic thinking (Krippner, 1967), specific educational programs (Barron, 1969), and others (Peterson, 1971) typify the diversity of ways in which one or a group of individuals, with an appropriate “set and setting.’:” can be helped to make the type of conceptual breakthroughs here being discussed.

We are not simplistically advocating that society needs a great man to lead us to a new image of the nature of man. It may be that because of the new approaches for self-exploration, the communication flow which makes esoteric ideas and processes more available, and the exchange of shared and vicarious experience, many persons may find themselves on the path of the adventurer, reflecting first the stress and problems of the society, then opening themselves to new insights and direct perceptions of reality which are less strongly filtered by the current paradigms and myths, and finally emerging to see the world in new ways. 

As Joseph Campbell (1968) has observed

For even in the sphere of Waking Consciousness, the fixed and the steadfast, there is nothing now that endures. The known God cannot endure. Whereas formerly, for generations, life so held to established norms that the lifetime of a deity could be reckoned in millenia, today all norms are in flux, so that the individual is thrown, willy-nilly, back upon himself, into the inward sphere of his own becoming, his forest adventurous without way or path, to come through his own integrity in experience to his own intelligible Castle of the Grail-integrity and courage in experience, in love, in loyalty, and in act. And to this end the guiding myths can no longer be of any ethnic norms. No sooner learned, these are outdated, out of place, washed away. There are today no mythogenetic zones. Or rather, the mythogenetic zone is the individual heart. Individualism and spontaneous pluralism-the free association of men and women of like spirit, under the protection of a secular, rational state with no pretensions to divinity-are in the modern world the only honest possibilities: each the creative center of authority for himself, in Cusanus’s circle without circumference whose center is everywhere, and where each is the focus of God’s gaze. We would thus hope not for a handful, but for a thousand heroes, ten thousand heroes-who will create a future image of what humankind can be.”

Yes, there was another reference to Scientology in that passage. The SRI references two of L. Ron Hubbard’s books which, funnily enough, puts him just about Aldous and Julian Huxley’s names in the “references” section at the back of Changing Images.

The references to occult groups don’t stop at Scientology. Changing Images of Man draws heavily on the ideas of the Freemasons throughout:

Of special interest to the Western world is that Freemasonry tradition which played such a significant role in the birth of the United States of America, attested to by the symbolism of the Great Seal (on the back of the dollar bill). In this version of the transcendental image, the central emphasis is on the role of creative work in the life of the individual. (In “true Freemasonry” there is one lodge, the universe-and one brotherhood, everything that exists. Each person has the “privilege of labor,” of joining with the “Great Architect” in building more noble structures and thus serving in the divine plan.) Thus this version of the “new transcendentalism” (perhaps more than other versions imported from the East more recently) has the potentiality of reactivating the American symbols, reinterpreting the work ethic, supporting the basic concepts of a free-enterprise democratic society, and providing new meanings for the technological-industrial thrust

Restorative strategies can play an important role in the present transformation because of the fact that the new, emerging image is essentially that of the Freemasonry influence which was of such importance in the shaping of the nation’s foundations.”

Ironically, considering how much right-conspiracists enjoy listing Trotsky as a particularly evil commie and accusing him of Masonry, Trotsky’s criticism of Freemasonry sums up why the Stanford cult would be interested in it: 

“We have mentioned freemasonry, which in the political life of France plays a by no means negligible part. It is substantially a petit bourgeois imitation of Feudal Catholicism. The French bourgeois republic, displaying now the right and then the left wing, then both of them together, makes equal use of both the authentic brand of Catholicism and of its petit bourgeois imitation – Freemasonry – in which the roles of cardinals and abbots are played by bankers, parliamentary politicians, mercenary journalists and lawyers on the alert for fat fees. Freemasonry, diluting the strong wine of Catholicism and effecting economic reductions of the celestial hierarchy, leaving only the “supreme” being (l’être suprême), at the same time adopted the current terminology of democracy – Brotherhood, Humanity, Justice, Virtue, etc. Freemasonry is an unofficial but extremely important component part of the bourgeois regime. Outwardly non-political, like the Church, it is substantially as counter-revolutionary as the Church. To the acute forms of class antagonisms it opposes mystical, sentimental and moral symbols, which it clothes in a masquerade of ritualism after the manner of the Church. In its origin an inefficient petit bourgeois antidote to the class struggle which rends mankind, Freemasonry has become in its turn, like all movements and organizations of that character, a valuable weapon of the class struggle in the hands of the ruling class against the dispossessed.”

We have, then, a Cold War ruling class in America which has networks of pedophiles interested in the occult mingling with neoliberal economic theorists and transhumanist scientists. Kubrick apparently schmoozed with these people and shared some of their tendencies toward psychedelic fascism and probably even engaged in acts of child abuse with them. During the Space Race, he even created a propaganda film for them and their ideas about “a new image of man.” This film doubled as a seed in the public consciousness of the USA’s “victory” over the Soviets for the skies. But there is an interpretation of 2001 which shows that Kubrick may have already been reconsidering his relationship with the bourgeoisie during the creation of 2001.

As Rob Ager notes: “an early cut of the film was shown to MGM studio executives and featured a ten minute black and white opening. This sequence featured interviews with scientists about the possibility of extraterrestrial life.” The reason for this cut, Ager argues, is that Kubrick intended for the monolith to be seen as a symbol for the cinema screen itself. Ager’s elaboration on this theory is quite compelling (I can only quote portions of it here but I highly recommend you read the entire thing for yourself):

Variations on the same haunting piece of music, taken from Gyorgi Ligetti’s Requiem, seem to occur every time an evolutionary step is being taken in 2001. We hear this music when the apes first encounter the monolith in the dawn of man, when the astronauts encounter a second monolith in the Tycho moon crater and when Dave Bowman encounters the third monolith near Jupiter. We are given repeated confirmation that this music is the singing voice of the monolith and that it sings when it is helping its primitive hosts to evolve

During the stargate, which is preceded by shots of Jupiter, Ligetti’s requiem blends seamlessly into another Ligetti piece called Atmospheres. Atmospheres is heard at the very beginning of the film over a black screen and later repeats during the intermission just before the astronauts do battle with the HAL 9000 computer, again over a black screen. So, why the black screens? The answer can be found by noting one of the key differences between the film and Arthur C Clarke’s original short story, The Sentinel. Clarke described the monolith as a pyramid shaped piece of polished mineral surrounded by a spherical force field. Kubrick, in adapting the story for cinema, changed this to a black rectangular box …. Why? Because the monolith is a representation of the actual wideframe cinema screen, rotated 90 degrees…

Vincent Lobrutto’s book on Kubrick provides some evidence for this idea:

At one point a private contractor was asked to mold a large block of Lucite. Kubrick was interested in experimenting with projecting images onto its surface (the monolith). The block was cast and received a lot of newspaper coverage about it being the largest casting of plastic ever attempted. The optics weren’t up to Kubrick’s standards, though, and he scrapped the idea.”

Ager also cites an interview between Kubrick and Joseph Gelmis in 1969:

“Interviewer: To take one specific, in the novel the black monolith found by curious man- apes three million years ago does explicit things which it doesn’t do in the film. In the movie, it has an apparent catalytic effect which enables the ape to discover how to use a bone as a weapon-tool. In the novel, the slab becomes milky and luminous and we’re told it’s a testing and teaching device used by higher intelligences to determine if the apes are worth helping. Was that in the original screenplay? When was it cut out of the film?

Kubrick Yes, it was in the original treatment but I eventually decided that to depict the monolith in such an explicit manner would be to run the risk of making it appear no more than an advanced television teaching machine. You can get away with something so literal in print, but I felt that we could create a far more powerful and magical effect by representing it as we did in the film.”

If Ager is correct, or even partially correct, 2001, on one layer, is a propaganda film about how the military & the various giant tech companies are working to bring about a new era of human evolution. On a deeper level, it shows that cinema opens the “gate” for all kinds of ideas to be implanted into the viewer’s mind subconsciously. This latter point seems to be precisely what both the dark hedonism which motivates the Droogs and the Ludovico Technique of A Clockwork Orange are criticizing.

Now ask yourself, what film came along toward the end of the 70s at the same time as a New Age and self help movement rooted in precisely the same ideology as the Stanford Cult? Which film which was inspired by both Joseph Campbell’s research and Stanley Kubrick’s cinema, which positively portrayed a hippie-type messiah figure going on a psychedelic quest, happened to become a massive hit in between the end of Vietnam and the counterrevolution of Reagan/Bush? 

POSTSCRIPT

In 1997, while Kubrick was shooting Eyes Wide Shut, a new adaptation of Lolita was released on Showtime and in select theaters. This new Lolita was directed by Adrian Lyne, who made a name for himself throughout the 1980s and 90s directing and producing films which blurred the line between the softcore pornography that you might see on late night cable and mainstream feature filmmaking. Seven years earlier, Lyne directed Jacob’s Ladder from a screenplay by a “meditation teacher” named Bruce Joel Rubin. Rubin had previously penned the screenplay for Brainstorm, directed by 2001: A Space Odyssey’s special effects artist, Douglas Trumbull. The film is described on Wikipedia as following, “a research team’s efforts to perfect a system that directly records and replays the sensory experiences and emotional feelings of a subject, and the efforts by the company’s management to exploit the device for military ends.” Sounds like precisely the type of thing I’ve been discussing right?  

Lyne’s Lolita, despite coming out in a more politically correct era, still used a 14 year old actress in the role of Dolores Haze. Furthermore, Lyne shot simulated sex scenes between the girl and Jeremy Irons, who was on the cusp of his fiftieth birthday.. Thus, Lyne’s  version is literally a work of softcore child pornography.

Lyne’s breakthrough movie, 9 ½ Weeks, was co-written and co-produced by Zalman King, whose television program The Red Shoe Diaries helped redefine the type of porn-on-TV referenced earlier. King’s erotica was so well-made, that Kubrick asked the pornographer for advice on the erotic elements of Eyes Wide Shut. As an article dubbing King a “forgotten auteur who revolutionised sex, kink and female desire on screen” points out:


When Kubrick was in pre-production on 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut, his erotic puzzleboard of a thriller, he knew exactly who to turn to for advice. They would speak every night for weeks on end.

Kubrick loved how the men and women were portrayed in Zalman’s work,” author and screenwriter Elise D’Haene remembers. “He was calling to discuss how they shot women, how they cast women. He wanted to know how one approaches erotica as a filmmaker.

Porn-on-TV’s relationship to the 1997 Lolita becomes even stranger when we consider that Paul Klein, who played a major role in getting pornography on television in the 80s and 90s, worked closely with the National Security community. The twitter account “Paul Klein Fancam” has extensively researched Klein’s work as both a pornographer and propagandist. 

“To understand how important Paul Klein is to the history of TV porn,” Fancam writes, “consider this: Paul had his hand in all three channels that launched the cable porn revolution.” At the same time, As Fancam says elsewhere: 

Barry Zorthian, head of the PSYOP program in Vietnam, joined Time after returning to the US, extending the CIA/Gladio legacy of the Luce family, CD Jackson and others at Time. From there, he teamed up with fellow capitalist vanguardist, Paul Klein, to develop HBO and directed Time’s investment in Klein’s company, Computer Television, Inc. Aside from Time, the other principal investor in Klein’s CTI was the notorious Schroder Capital Corp (previously, Schroder, Rockefeller and Co), known for its close ties to Allen Dulles and Nazi industrialists.” 

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