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HOT TEMPERATURES FOR MID OCTOBER will occur across interior valleys this afternoon, while fog and low clouds continue to yield cool weather for many coastal locations. A cooling trend is then expected for interior areas going into the weekend, with rain likely spreading east across northern California this Sunday. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 52F on the coast this Thursday morning. I sure did not see fog in the forecast? We have a dense fog advisory this morning & a sneaker wave warning until tonight. More of the same tomorrow then a chance for rain for the weekend.
Hey all y’all FB peeps…
Not sure if this was general knowledge, the model train museum (next to The Skunk station) has a small library you can check books out from. Just finished a couple of small historical books dealing with the history of the town of Mendocino and the Point Cabrillo Light Station. Both had some fascinating info about this area. Fun fact… the streets in Mendocino were named for the local townships (east/west), and the first settlers (north/south ).
DON’T THROW AWAY PUMPKINS after Halloween. Find woods or a field near you, smash them open and leave for the wildlife to eat. Pumpkin is safe for them and the seeds act as a natural dewormer. (Be sure to break them up so the deer don’t get their head stuck inside!) 2.5 billion pumpkins produced, only one fifth gets reused. The rest end up decaying in landfills. So recycle those pumpkins to the wildlife (or even to a wildlife rehab if there’s one near you).
ONE YEAR BUILDING PERMIT AMNESTY PROGRAM FROM NOVEMBER 1, 2023 – NOVEMBER 1, 2024
On September 12, 2023, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors provided direction to Planning and Building Services to establish a one-year amnesty program that waives all Violation/Penalty fees related to building permits submitted after work has already commenced or been completed, which are not associated with a confirmed code enforcement case.
The amnesty program applies to all residential and commercial building permits, subject to the following limitations:
The permits are not associated with a confirmed code enforcement case.
The permits are not already under review with the Department.
The program does not apply to zoning violations.
Amnesty building permits for residential construction will be subject to meeting the building code standards for the year in which we can verify the construction occurred. If no construction date can be verified, they will be subject to current building code standards.
Amnesty building permits must meet all standards for the zoning district in which they are located.
This program is limited to one year starting November 1, 2023 and ending November 1, 2024. All amnesty building permit applications must be submitted on or before November 1, 2024 in order to be eligible for this program.
All members of the public are invited to self-report any unpermitted structures and legalize improvements during this Amnesty Program.
If you have specific questions regarding the process, please contact the Mendocino County Department of Planning and Building Services at (707) 234-6650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE DA’S NON-VENDETTA
by Mark Scaramella
Last Tuesday, while taking five minutes to tell everyone else not to talk about the felony charges he filed against Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison, District Attorney David Eyster told the Supervisors that “Neither my staff nor I have used or will use our positions to pursue retribution or purported vendettas against any defendants, public sector or otherwise, here in Mendocino County.”
Let’s go back to DA Eyster’s remarks to the Supervisors on August 31, 2021 where we find that not only did the DA strongly oppose Ms. Cubbison’s appointment to the position of Acting Auditor Controller over very narrow bureaucratic disagreements about his travel reimbursements and asset forfeiture claims, but he also claims that he was the person who first brought up the idea of eliminating the Auditor position and consolidating the offices. Eyster personally names Ms. Cubbison several times, insists that her appointment is “wrong,” questions her qualifications, and even claims that the retiring Auditor Lloyd Weer engineered and timed his retirement so that the “wrong” person, his assistant Ms. Cubbison, would be appointed.
You be the judge: Ego, Vendetta, or Impartial Pursuit of Justice?
District Attorney Eyster, August 31, 2021 to the Board of Supervisors:
“I have provided you with documentation and background and why we are opposed to this appointment. My staff is ar— 13 years is a long time, my staff doubles that as far as experience. They are good at what they do. Unfortunately, it's not just that they [the auditor] want a piece of paper here or not. If you will see the memorandum from [illegible- Katherine Tomlitz?] we are being advised to take ourselves into an adverse audit exception on bad advice from Ms. Cubbison. And it's not just the district attorney's office. We follow rules of the state CAL-OES and other agencies that we work with. And we work closely with them and we work well. My belief is that this is time to consolidate the departments as allowed by the 27 legislation [sic] that I suggested to you that's out there. We were given special permission — not every county was given that — to allow that consolidation for purposes of efficiency, cost savings, and effectiveness. Eventually — and by the way I am not suggesting that you go to the step that supervisor Williams suggested [consolidation of the offices of Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax Collector] immediately. I think that [Treasurer-Tax Collector] Shari Schapmire does well. But should we come to the point when she wants to retire I think the court [sic- Eyster meant the Board] should well consider going to a Director of Finance model where we have a more qualified, higher experienced, and I guess higher powered individual to come in as our CFO. I note — I will tell you this folks. If I was asking for your appointment and you want to see my personal file you could see it in a second. [Ms. Cubbison had expressed reservations in opening up her entire personnel file as requested by Williams and no one else.] So I'm wondering why that's a problem. Also I'm looking at the documentation that was sent to you and this is supposed to be a rubber stamp, or so it seems, because there is literally no documentation before you. We have always -- I have come to the Board -- and if you ask the CEO, I've come to the board multiple times. And never once as the Board upheld Ms. Cubbison’s decision or Mr. Weer’s decision when it comes to the problems we've ran into regarding finances and obstructionism. If you do appointment Ms. Cubbison I expect I will see you more often which could be a good thing. But I was just hearing recently that your agenda is pretty full going forward. Things like attorneys going to conferences that are required by their MOU, the County, me and the attorneys union— that we can't get those paid? That's ridiculous! When I actually went to the Board the Board actually at that time — I understand that for example supervisor McGourty and supervisor Mulheren were not there at that time and supervisor Williams perhaps also. But the board said why do we have to deal with this stuff and the like? Ms. Cubbison just told you that these travel authorizations need to be approved by the CEO’s office [Carmel Angelo, a personal friend of Eyster] or by me. Well, you know what? The CEO's office -- since 2008 [when Angelo was hired as CEO] — has had an exemption on those because they understand the documentation we provide is always legitimate, good and it covers the IRS responsibilities. What you have is basically — this is a case of demanding a piece of paper that doesn't need to be provided because the CEO's office [Angelo] says we don't want to have to micromanage and approve your travel. We do a lot of travel for conferences, for investigations and the like. It is not -- and the CEO [Angelo] understands this -- it is not to the public's advantage to have to get authorization for us to go out and investigate things where we tell the public where we are and why we’re going there. That just doesn't work for us. As for the asset forfeiture, this has always been a bone of contention with the auditor's office. They are wrong on it. They have always been wrong. And when I've had to go to the board to seek approval to force them to do something they have never won one. At some point they have to get it right before you make this appointment. I apologize to you. I hate having to do this. But this is too important of a position. I also provided you the outside law firm opinion as to the responsibilities of the auditor controller. Which was almost rejected completely by the auditor. And I think what you heard Ms. Cubbison saying is that what she wants to do is contrary to what the law says they should be doing. I take great pride and I have great transparency as to what I've done for the district attorney's office in the last 11 years going on 12. I wish the auditor-controller [Mr. Weer] good luck with his retirement. But when I told the public I was going to run and stay on for four years I meant it and I will. So I think what we are seeing here is an early retirement to try to get this appointment. And it's not the right person, it's not the right time, and it is an opportunity for the County to work better, raise the bar, and either consolidate or go to the CFO model. Thank you very much.”
A CLOSE READING of the government code that the outside attorney cited when advising the Board that they had the authority to suspend Ms. Cubbison (Section 27120) says that “Whenever an action based upon official misconduct is commenced…” Therefore, one can assume that the simple filing of charges against the Auditor is all they need to justify her suspension. If the objective is the obvious one — to get rid of an official they simply don’t like because she sees her job as something other than a rubberstamp for whatever the DA, the CEO or the Board want to do — it doesn’t matter what the outcome of the case is. The Board and the DA have already achieved their objective. Even if the DA were to drop the charges tomorrow, or the case was tossed at the prelim, or the defendant is utimately exonerated, the most likely real purpose of Tuesday’s events is already history.
CARRIE SHATTUCK: More knowledge left the County…If Sara Pierce, acting ACTTC is able to fill this position and do the work, then why has she not been providing reports from the CEO office to the BOS all along? Why has the CEO’s office not been providing department budget numbers to the BOS, which is their job? Is Pierce qualified to hold this position? What about Chamise’s seat on the Retirement Board? It’s so obvious now that this has been the plan all along. How do you circumvent an elected position to an appointed one? Just like this. The replacement for the remaining 3 years 2 months of Chamise’s term has now been hand-picked by the BOS. What if these charges are dropped to a misdemeanor or she is found not guilty? What kind of backlash will there be then?
GOOD QUESTION FROM ON-LINE COMMENTER: Who is Sara Pierce, the Deputy CEO who the board appointed to replace Cubbison? Does she meet the requirements of the government code for both Treasurer and Auditor? Will she be giving interviews? Why was there no quote from her in the county’s press release? Is she still an employee of the Executive Office, or did she resign? How will the ACTTC office remain independent if Ms. Pierce would ultimately return to the employment of the Executive Office? Will she be meeting with the School Districts and Special Districts for whom she will now be managing their treasury funds? Did she even accept the position? Will a CV be made public? Was she involved in the investigation, if so, what role did she play? Since the Executive Office has been unable for years to provide regular financial updates, what qualifies her to somehow turn all that around? Were other candidates considered?
TIMELY QUESTION from a former Mendocino County DA, Duncan James: I’m curious about the legal basis in the Government Code granting the Board of Supervisors the authority to suspend an elected official. I seriously doubt being charged with a criminal offense makes it possible. If they can do it, beware Assessor and DA if they don’t like you.
ON-LINE COMMENT RE THE CUBBISON AFFAIR: News reports say the DA brought charges, but no arraignment had occurred prior to the board of supervisors pushing out the elected auditor. CA Government Code (2406) allows the board to remove a county officer upon certification of felony conviction. The code provides for deputies to act for the county official in cases of vacancies (GC 2400). The board of supervisors does not have the authority to remove an elected official from office that is not convicted of a felony; and they don't have the authority to appoint a deputy for an elected officer.
In law, misappropriation may be defined as "[t]he unauthorized, improper, or unlawful use of funds or other property for purposes other than that for which intended." Misappropriation commonly refers to situations in which the offending party has an added measure of responsibility, such as misconduct by a public official, a trustee of a trust, or an administrator of a deceased person's estate. An individual who has committed misappropriation may be liable to criminal prosecution for a form of theft as well as disciplinary action, if the person is a civil servant.
(Cornell Law School)
* * *
Differences between misappropriation and embezzlement…
Embezzlement is misappropriation when the property or funds involved have been lawfully entrusted to the embezzler. In circumstances where the funds are accessible to, but not entrusted to, the perpetrator, it is not embezzlement but can still be considered larceny, misappropriation, misapplication, or some other similar term.
THE LATE, GREAT ALEXANDER COCKBURN was always an adventure. One day, we walked into the little Palestinian market near my place in San Francisco to buy lottery tickets — yes, yes, I know — when the store's owner exclaimed, “The great Alexander Cockburn! The only friend to the Palestinian people in all the American media! I am honored, sir.” Cockburn laughed and said something like, “At your service.” The Palestinian refused to take our money for our Quick-Picks and, beaming, followed us out to the sidewalk, still showering Cockburn with gratitude for defending his beleaguered people.
OCTOBER 18, 2023 as UN Secretary-General Cuellar warned, the current Israeli-Hamas war menaces the entire globe with a cast of nuts and incompetents in the power slots — Biden, Netanyahu, the Ayatollahs. Like most lefty-wefties, I've always supported the Palestinians, but with zero sympathy for Hamas, a murderous gang of fanatics who imposed themselves on Gaza what? 15 years ago and have offed any Palestinian who dared oppose them ever since, holding hostage the entire 2.5 million Gazan population as the Israelis go about their usual disproportionate response to Hamas's provocations. It all raises the old argument, best articulated years ago in the Sartre-Camus debate: What justifies the murder of non-combatants, children? Sartre said that terrorism being the only weapon left to the oppressed, whatever the oppressed do to defend themselves is justified. Camus said no struggle justifies the murders of the innocent. This debate seems quaint these days as the bombs and rockets rain down indiscriminately.
IF YOU'RE WONDERING why the supervisors haul in an expensive lawyer from one of their preferred Frisco legal seraglios when the County of Mendocino employs 9 (count 'em) lawyers just down the hall from their bullet proof chambers, you're not alone. Old timers will recall when there was one county counsel — Tim Stoen. He handled everything from Boonville school board beefs to land use disputes at the same time the poor guy was running off hours legal errands for Jim Jones.
THE PRESENT BOARD of Supervisors is not a responsible public body, a fact of Mendo public life they make obvious every time they convene. 1st District supervisor McGourty is a lame duck whose only triumph in one term in office is to help 5th District supervisor Williams and the DA engineer the illegal ouster of the elected Auditor. 2nd District's Ms. Mulheren has no idea what she's doing, simply following the 5-0 votes on all issues, looking to Williams for all her cues; 3rd District's Haschak occasionally shows some independent initiative but the bar is so low with this crew that, dim as he is, Haschak actually manages to seem, on rare occasions, more or less capable; 4th District supervisor Gjerde is also a lame duck and has been checked out now for the past two years. In a just world, Gjerde would get maybe a third of his pension; 5th District supervisor Williams, a devious little fellow so eager to please the next authority up on the ladder that he has now joined DA Eyster in the illegal removal of an elected official, both of them having Caesar tendencies. Williams calls the tune for this dim crew, and the tune he calls is one that has nothing to do with the welfare of the good ship Mendo.
I'VE OFTEN imagined elected people being subject to the same job performance scrutiny as, say, the Forty Niner football team, their every move replayed endlessly before millions of weekly critics. Take supervisor Gjerde, for handy instance. How many hours a week do you suppose he devotes to his elected duties? Apply NFL-level scrutiny to our supervisors and you would find them worth, on a good week, maybe ten percent of their lush pay and benefits.
BILL HATCH: Although I have been warned off by authorities from questioning the courage of a certain Middle Eastern country now invading the "outdoor prison" as the press puts it where the other race in the country lives, I hope I can still say that I am an American citizen, a descendant of a pre-Revolutionary family, and I do not support Israel anymore. Is that "hate speech"?
CHECK OUT Mendo CEO Darcy Antle's skull ring. Is she an old rock n' roller?
ANOTHER NARCAN SAVE
On Saturday, October 14, 2023 at approximately 7:01 P.M., a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was on-duty and learned of a medical aid call regarding a subject possibly overdosing in a vehicle which was traveling northbound on Highway 101 towards the city of Willits.
The Deputy parked on South Main Street near the South Bypass in the event the vehicle were to exit on the South Main Street freeway exit. A short time later, the Deputy saw a white Mercedes-Benz sedan exit the freeway and begin attempts to flag down the Deputy.
The Deputy contacted the three occupants of the sedan and noticed an adult male passenger was unresponsive, diaphoretic (sweating) and had a large amount of mucus emitting from his nostrils. The Deputy also noticed the adult male appeared to have very shallow to no breathing at all.
Fearing the adult male was suffering the beginning stages of a potential lethal drug overdose, the Deputy administered multiple doses of Narcan. The adult male responded to the administered Narcan, and medical personnel arrived shortly thereafter and began providing additional medical treatment.
In April 2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) began to issue NARCAN® (Naloxone HCI) nasal spray dosage units to its employees as part of their assigned personal protective equipment. MCSO's goal is in protecting the public and officers from opioid overdoses. Access to naloxone is now considered vital in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control. At that time, the California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard reported Mendocino County ranking, per capita, 3rd in all opioid overdose deaths.)
Refer to dashboard for current updated ranking information. Narcan nasal spray units are widely known to reverse opioid overdose situations in adults and children. Each nasal spray device contains a four milligram dose, according to the manufacturer. Naloxone Hydrochloride, more commonly known by the brand name NARCAN®, blocks the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose (both medications and narcotics) including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.
The antidote can reverse the effects of an overdose for up to an hour, but anyone who administers the overdose reversal medication in a non-medical setting is advised to seek emergency medical help right away. The spray units can also be used by Public Safety Professionals who are unknowingly or accidentally exposed to potentially fatal amounts of fentanyl from skin absorption or inhalation.
The issuance of the Narcan nasal units, thus far, have been to employees assigned to the Field Services Division, Corrections Division and the Mendocino County Jail medical staff. Employees are required to attend user training prior to being issued the medication.
Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall would like to thank Mendocino County Public Health for providing the Narcan nasal units to the Sheriff's Office free of charge as part of the Free Narcan Grant from the California Department of Public Health.
Since the April 2019 issuance, there have now been (18) eighteen separate situations wherein Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Staff have administered NARCAN and saved the lives of (18) eighteen overdosing individuals in need of the lifesaving antidote medication.
In October 2021 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a grant from the California Naloxone Distribution Project through the Department of Health Care Services to help maintain an inventory of the live saving antidote.
The 192 dosage units have been distributed to the Field Services Division and Corrections Division as previous inventories from Mendocino County Public Health had been exhausted.
Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall would like to thank the California Naloxone Distribution Project through the Department of Health Care Services for awarding the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office with the Naloxone grant to better help protect his employees and the public.
BOON BOX SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE!
The Boon Box is our version of a CSA (community supported agriculture). We don't sell any of our crops fresh but want a way to get some really special chiles into people's hands in a fun way. Think of the Boon Box as a subscription box that you get 3 times a year, except with this you pay once up front for the whole year.
There’s a few changes to the Boon Box this year (as well as a diet specific variant!) so please read on to make sure you understand how it works!
How does the Boon Box work?
The Boon Box is a curated box of goods from our farm delivered to your door 3 times a year.
Your one time payment includes the purchase of all 3 boxes (and shipping).
Each box will include 3 of our chiles (either powders, flakes, or whole dried) plus one item made with our chiles. The December box will also include a brand new spice blend made by one of our favorite spice companies.
Boxes will ship:
Box 1: early December
Box 2: early March 2024
Box 3: after July 4th, 2024.
Every shipment also includes access to a digital zine filled with photos and information about why we grew the different chiles, what makes them special, how to use them, as well as seasonal updates from the farm. It's a fun way for you to learn more about us and the "how and why" behind our farm.
If you love getting new chiles throughout the year and like to be surprised, then the Boon Box is for you! If getting 9 jars of chile powders or flakes seems like too many for your spice drawer, then this might not be the best option for you (and that's okay!).
The Boon Box also makes a really great gift!
Boonville Barn Collective Po Box 7 Boonville, CA 95415
HOSTESS DONETTES KINDA FISHY
Dear AVA Editor,
Yesterday I purchased the Hostess “donettes” double chocolate flavored mini donuts. Upon opening the bag I noticed a faint smell of dead fish. Really. So today I read the back of the bag. It says “Contains Bioengineered Food Ingredients.” I hope those who favor these snacks would go back and tell the store owners. I do plan on mailing the bag for evidence as proof. Yet I didn’t keep the recipe.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, October 18, 2023
CHEYENNE CHRISMAN, Fort Bragg. DUI, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, domestic abuse, brandishing, resisting.
LAMONT JONES JR., Ukiah. County parole violation.
DAVID NEIDENBACH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KIMBERLEE THOMPSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation violation.
THE CLOVER MOVIE THEATER, CLOVERDALE’S ONLY MOVIE THEATER, HAS CLOSED
The Clover announced its closure in an email to theater members Tuesday.
by Sara Edwards
Cloverdale’s only movie theater, The Clover, and offshoot business Next Door Comics have wrapped up business and has officially closed.
An email obtained by The Press Democrat was sent to its movie members Tuesday by co-owner Ryan Hecht announcing the theater’s closing.
Hecht declined to comment in an email received Wednesday.
He said in the email that the theater ran out of money and that he couldn’t think of a solution to keep it going.
Hecht had hoped to keep the theater open until the end of October and that the release of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” would help the theater make it to the end. However, poor attendance “put the nail in the coffin” and the theater officially shut down.
“While I’m sad it’s over, I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish over the last 10 years,” Hecht said in the email. “We showed a lot of movies, popped a lot of popcorn and hopefully gave people some really fun times.”
Moviegoers will now have to drive either to Lakeport Cinema 5 in Lakeport or Airport Stadium 12 theater in northern Santa Rosa.
The news was a huge blow to the Cloverdale community with people taking to social media to express their feelings regarding the closures.
Cloverdale resident Jaremy Bill worked at The Clover in the early 2000s when he was in high school. The best part of the job was being able to see big movies release in theaters, he said. Bill remembered when Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean filled The Clover’s four theaters with almost 150 people.
He was shocked when he learned the theater had closed.
“These are jobs that high school kids are no longer able to get and these kinds of jobs can segue a bit into college courses dealing in film,” Bill said. “Here’s to hoping that maybe in five or 10 years we get someone with the same ambition that the former owner has to reopen it and get it going again here in Cloverdale.”
Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce director Neena Hanchett was heartbroken when she heard the news.
“ (The theater) was one of the important fabrics of our community,” Hanchett said. “It was super hyperlocal, the people that worked there knew your name … and it was valuable to them (the community).”
Nonprofit organization AVFilm, in which Hecht’s wife Kathryn serves as executive director, released a statement regarding the theater’s closing.
The Clover Theater and AVFilm are both separate entities with Kathryn being a part of AVFilm and Ryan running The Clover Theater as a private entity.
The statement, shared on social media, said the organization was “deeply saddened” by the news of The Clover’s closing and thanked Hecht for sharing his passion for films with the community.
The Clover made multiple efforts to bring moviegoers back following the pandemic.
One of its most recent attempts was the launch of its membership program, where movie lovers could attend any movie showing any day at any time for $25 and get 10% off concessions.
These memberships, according to the email, are in the process of being canceled with party reservations also being canceled and refunded.
The theater would hold special events, too, during the week where a classic movie would be shown with a curated snack prepared for members who attended.
For example, members who attended the showing of “Casablanca” were able to purchase a “Bogey’s Hoagie” from MoE’s Eagles Nest Deli around the corner. The theater also catered pink cupcakes from Flour Girl for the premiere of “Barbie” earlier this year.
Hecht’s email also announced the permanent closure of Next Door Comics, an offshoot business of The Clover.
THE NEXT TIME YOU TAKE A TRIP within the U.S., I encourage you to try a thought experiment: Imagine how long the same trip might have taken a half-century ago. Chances are, it would have taken less time than it does today.
The scheduled flight time between Los Angeles and New York, for example, has become about 30 minutes longer. Aviation technology has not advanced in ways that speed the trip, and the skies have become so crowded that pilots reroute planes to avoid traffic. Nearly every other part of the trip also lasts longer than it would have a few decades ago, thanks to traffic on the roads and airport security. All told, a cross-country trip could take a few more hours today than it would have in the 1970s.
Shorter trips also take more time. Auto traffic in almost every metro area has worsened, and the country has done little to improve its rail network. In 1969, Metroliner trains made two-and-a-half-hour, nonstop trips between Washington and New York. Today, there are no nonstop trains on that route, and the fastest trip, on Acela trains, takes about 20 minutes longer than the Metroliner once did.
The speed at which people can get from one place to another is one of the most basic measures of a society’s sophistication. It affects economic productivity and human happiness; academic research has found that commuting makes people more unhappy than almost any other daily activity. Yet in one area of U.S. travel after another, progress has largely stopped over the past half-century.
This lack of recent progress is not a result of any physical or technological limits, either. In other parts of the world, travel has continued to accelerate. Shanghai’s airport is almost 20 miles from its city center, and the trip on a high-speed train takes less than 10 minutes. La Guardia Airport and Times Square are significantly closer together — yet good luck making the trip in less than 30 minutes.
Why is it more difficult to get around the U.S.? Above all, it’s because our society has stopped investing in the future as we once did.
— David Leonhardt, NYT
THE BAY AREA'S LITTLE-KNOWN MUSEUM OF INTERNATIONAL PROPAGANDA IS WORTH THE TREK
by Dan Gentile
It’s a hot Friday afternoon in San Rafael, California, and someone is knocking at the door of the Museum of International Propaganda. There are still a few minutes before the obscure attraction on the edge of downtown officially opens at 3:30 p.m., so curator Tom Areton isn’t anticipating any visitors during our interview. The surprise guest turns out to be Lori Deibel, research librarian at the Marin History Museum, carrying an unmarked envelope.
“Hi, I’m Lori from the Marin History Museum,” she says. “And I have something for you that doesn’t fit our collection that you might be interested in.”
Areton, 75, is very interested. He has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of propaganda, traveling to nearly 100 countries, alongside his wife Lilka, to track down rare items and artwork that symbolize institutional ideology, such as a watch gifted to soldiers by the Chinese government after the Tiananmen Square massacre. But long before he began traversing the globe looking for propaganda, it had profound effects on him and his family.
Born in Czechoslovakia while it was under social rule by the Soviet Union, Areton became familiar with nationalistic messaging at a very early age. An oil painting of a Soviet soldier “liberating” a village of Slovak children hung on the wall of his high school. Today, after a long bureaucratic battle with customs agents, it graces the walls of his museum. Just 2 miles away at the Mount Tamalpais Cemetery, another marker demonstrates propaganda’s effect on the curator’s life: A recently installed empty tomb, known as a cenotaph, memorializes the 57 members of Areton’s extended family who died in the Holocaust.
Compared to landmark museums like San Francisco’s de Young and Legion of Honor, the Museum of International Propaganda is a modest operation, blending into the small-town landscape of San Rafael. Tucked in a corner shopping center alongside a salon and Pilates studio, the storefront formerly housed a Kinney Shoes store until Areton took over in 2016. Now, the loafers in the windows are replaced by artwork glorifying dictators and demonizing their enemies, with an ominous figure giving a Nazi salute visible from the street. The $3,000 per month rent, costs for electricity and a docent’s salary are all subsidized by Areton’s student foreign exchange program Cultural Homestay International, which is headquartered a mile away. But despite the museum’s small size, it has a surprisingly broad scope.
“Propaganda is a huge subject,” Areton says. “It shows its face in many different areas. There’s religious propaganda, commercial, political, religious, you name it. This is a small space — what we have is the political propaganda of the last century. So you will not find here Trump or Obama or whatever.”
Sometimes Areton stumbles upon his propaganda, like when he discovered a poster shop in Havana. According to Areton, Cuba’s socialist government is one of the most prolific producers of propaganda, close in production to countries like Russia, China and North Korea. When he asked the Havana shopkeeper how much the money he had in his wallet would buy him, the answer was the whole store. Within 30 minutes, the employee packaged up the entire cache of art to be shipped to San Rafael.
Other times, propaganda shows up anonymously on his doorstep, like in the case of a standing ashtray with a Nazi insignia that looks like a set piece from Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”
“One morning I came here and this was in the doorway,” he said, motioning towards the ashtray. “No letter, no note, no sticker. It was just in the doorway.”
Then there’s the occasional donation from other archivists, like today’s surprise delivery from the Marin History Museum. Areton welcomes Deibel inside and she empties the contents of the envelope on a table, revealing a collection of World War II leaflets produced by the U.S. armed forces. These types of (literal) flyers were dropped by American planes over Japanese islands. Areton points out that the writing on them isn’t typical Japanese characters, but rather phonetic Hiragana script, such that the American propaganda — of which there’s a large cache in the museum — could be understood by children who weren’t yet able to read.
Youth indoctrination is a common thread in the first section of the museum, which focuses on leader idealization. In these works, adoring children surround dictators, who are characterized as father figures to be idolized.
The rest of the museum is organized by theme: fear and intimidation, national glorification, overstated tributes to the common man, vilification, veneration of the military, and a post-1989 section, which features reactionary art that criticized fallen dictators and bygone political movements.
The museum serves as a cautionary tale on the persuasive power of the visual arts, and how authoritative governments have bent even the most innocuous topics towards nationalist interests.
“You can actually use anything for propaganda,” Areton said. “But can you use insects for propaganda? The answer is yes.” He points out an Eastern European poster from the 1950s showing the Colorado potato beetle, which has a pattern on its back that resembles stars and stripes. The German government turned the invasive pest into a symbol of the West, publishing a book called “Stop the American bug.” Areton remembers being sent out into potato fields himself in the third grade to pick the insects off the crops.
Although the messaging behind the art in the Museum of International Propaganda is subversive at best and offensive at worst, the most surprising thing about a visit to the museum is how stylized much of the work is. As Areton says, “Propaganda in essence is art in service of political power.” Abstract geometric Russian Suprematist posters from the early 20th century look like they could easily be your favorite art rock band’s album cover, and a colorful Cuban poster of a woman’s silhouette from 1977 would fit right in as a mural in the Haight.
AN OPEN LETTER ON THE SITUATION IN PALESTINE
We, the undersigned artists and writers based in the EU, the UK and the US, are speaking out to demand an end to the violence and destruction in Palestine.
The deliberate killing of civilians is always an atrocity. It is a violation of international law and an outrage against the sanctity of human life. In Gaza, neither the occupying power, Israel, nor the armed groups of the people under occupation, the Palestinians, can ever be justified in targeting defenceless people. We can only express our grief and heartbreak for the victims of these most recent tragedies, and for their families, both Palestinians and Israelis.
Nothing can retrieve what has already been lost. But the unprecedented and indiscriminate violence that is still escalating against the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, with the financial and political support of Western powers, can and must be brought to an end. By cutting off vital electricity, food and water supplies; by attempting to displace by force over one million Palestinians from their homes, with no guarantee of return; and by carrying out continual airstrikes against civilians, including those who are attempting to evacuate, the state of Israel is committing grave crimes against humanity. Its allies, our own governments, are complicit in these crimes.
Human rights groups have long condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the inhumane treatment of – and system of racial domination over – Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state. But we are now witnessing a new and even more drastic emergency. The UN expert Francesca Albanese has warned that Israel’s current actions in Gaza constitute a form of ethnic cleansing. The Israeli historian Raz Segal has described the situation in Gaza as a ‘textbook case of genocide’.
We call on our governments to demand an immediate ceasefire and the unimpeded admission of humanitarian aid into Gaza. We also demand an end to all arms shipments and military funding, supplies that can only exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe at hand. Although these measures will not be enough to secure true justice, liberation and equality for all in the region, they represent an urgent and indispensable first step. We plead for an end to all violence, an end to all oppression and denial of human rights, and a path towards a just and sustainable peace for all.
Sally Rooney, Naomi Klein, Gillian Slovo, Kamila Shamsie, Kathleen Alcott, Kevin Barry, Sara Baume, Claire-Louise Bennett, Ronan Bennett, Fatima Bhutto, David Butler, June Caldwell, Seamus Cashman, Rachel Connolly, Selma Dabbagh, Margaretta D’Arcy, Edwidge Danticat, Natalie Diaz, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Yara El-Ghadban, Anne Enright, Caleb Femi, Esther Freud, Mia Gallagher, Francisco Goldman, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Isabella Hammad, Honor Heffernan, Rita Ann Higgins, Louise Kennedy, Trevor Knight, Laila Lalami, Ben Lerner, Jonathan Lethem, Patricia Lockwood, Andrea Long Chu, Rosa Lyster, Carmen Maria Machado, Sophie Mackintosh, Niall MacMonagle, Lisa McInerney, Maaza Mengiste, China Miéville, Pankaj Mishra, Sepideh Moafi, Noor Naga, Viet Nguyen, Megan Nolan, Iman Qureshi, Youssef Rakha, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, James Schamus, Olivia Sudjic, Susan Tomaselli, Eley Williams, Gary Younge ...
'MY MOTHER wanted me to be a boxer before I was born. She picked out my name - Gene, after the fighter Gene Tunney. After I was born, my father took one look at my face and decided there was nothing else for me to become. The only problem was how to get to the top.'
- Gene Fullmer
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The same people who can do all of the things you can’t, such as get inside info. on when to sell stocks, move money around the world with no fees, commit fly to Davos on a private plane but tell you you need to install 200k worth of insulation on your house, and much, much more.
I suspect they can even print money when they run out of it.
No doubt, like me, you are horrified at the terror and killings by the radical, terrorist organization Hamas of innocent Israeli civilians going about their lives. I am equally horrified by the inhumane policies perpetrated on innocent civilians of Gaza by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The borders in Egypt and Israel are closed to them, so they are trapped with no water, food, electricity or medical care.
While I am in agreement with President Joe Biden’s support of Israel during this crisis, I am shocked and disappointed that he has not spoken out against Israeli government policies in Gaza. Starvation of civilians in a war is a violation of international humanitarian law and is a designated war crime.
THE CATASTROPHE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
by Matt Taibbi
I’m constantly asked, how come you never weigh in on Israel and Palestine, but especially this week. Like you, I backed off social media, I haven’t said a whole lot, and not to make this about me, but this is part of the way to talk about this issue. How do I view the job of being in the media?
So for me, usually, typically it starts with an educational process. A journalist’s first job is to learn the thing, right? If you get assigned to cover a topic, you have to learn as much as you can about it, as quickly as you can, and typically, you do this in stages. You take a little piece of it and you learn everything there is to know. It’s like cramming for a test, you learn what happened in incident X, or what is a mortgage-backed security? How does that work? You learn that, you describe that. And then over a very, very long process you learn a whole bunch of things, but the job isn’t to reveal to the audience what’s going on in the incoherent, confused, emotional world that is your private self. That’s why we don’t talk about, on the air, we don’t talk about the confusing, difficult things that we go through with our families. A lot of us don’t give away what we think about whom to vote for, or what our ideologies are.
A writing teacher once described this to me as having sufficient distance. That part of you that feels a lot, but the feelings are sometimes incoherent, you have to keep that separate from the audience. But then, after a period of time, if you’ve done enough research and you’ve learned enough, eventually you will have strong, clear feelings about certain things, and that is when you step in and you have an editorial type article. You may, having a fairly good sense of what the entire landscape of all the issues is, say this is definitely crazy, this is worthy of ridicule, et cetera, et cetera. But you don’t go to that step before you’ve learned an awful lot. And so, for instance, for COVID, it took a long time for me to understand a lot of the issues. I didn’t know a lot of the science, and I didn’t realize that certain people were right and certain people were lying, and this is difficult to work out at first.
With this issue, there’s no way around talking about, in the immediate, you have to, as you say, you’re in shock, there’s some horror. What I see everywhere is everybody rushing to take these very, very strong stances, and they do it with anger and hatred for people who have not similarly come to a quick conclusion about things. Or, it’s people who have a lengthy background in these issues, and they don’t understand why you’re not rushing to their side immediately.
The reason I hesitate is because I can never get to a place where I can justify the wanton killing of civilians. No matter what happens, no matter how aggrieved the people are, I can’t get behind that. So, over the years, I’ve had to do stories on Palestine, I’ve had to do stories about the suppression of Palestinian speech. I’ve covered pro-Palestinian protests, I’ve had to spend a lot of time with people in the Palestinian community. I’ve had to do a little bit of reporting about Gaza. From what I learned, I completely understand a lot of the anger, and we can talk later about Israel’s policies there, but I can never get to the place where paragliding into a music festival and gunning down civilians, where I’m okay with that.
Similarly, I can’t get to the place where I understand bombing civilian areas, which we did after 911. I mean, I remember the shock and awe campaign, and I know Americans were really, really angry at that time, even though it was years later, after 911. But the killing of civilians, I just can’t understand that. It comes down to larger questions like, what’s the strategic reason for what Hamas did? Are they trying to accomplish something? Are they trying to end a policy that’s so grotesque that it could ever be justified? I don’t know the answers to those questions, it might take years to work through some of these things. All we can do right now is just react to what we’ve been told, and talk about what some of the information is. I don’t know, I guess we should start with that, what are the main points of information so far that we’ve been given?
BIDEN CONCLUDES ISRAEL TRIP AS PROTESTS SPREAD OVER GAZA HOSPITAL BLAST
The president said he had convinced Egypt to allow 20 truckloads of aid into Gaza. Biden earlier said U.S. intelligence supported Israel’s claim that the blast was caused by a rocket fired from Gaza.
by Liam Stack, Haley Willis and John Ismay
The administrator of a Gazan hospital rocked by a deadly explosion on Tuesday night has said that the Israeli military repeatedly warned the hospital’s management in recent days to evacuate the site.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that the explosion, at the Ahli Arab Hospital, killed hundreds of civilians and was caused by an Israeli airstrike. Israel said it had not been firing in the area and instead blamed a misfired Palestinian rocket, which hurtled to earth shortly after launch. American officials agree the evidence points to a misfired Palestinian rocket.
Still, the repeated warnings from Israel before the strike can be expected to fuel anger in Arab countries among people who are convinced Israel was to blame, a feeling that has driven protests across the region.
On Wednesday, the Anglican archbishop who oversees the hospital said that the Israeli military had called and texted the hospital managers at least three times since Saturday, asking its patients and staff to leave the hospital compound, along with the displaced Gazans who had crowded onto the grounds because they considered it relatively safe from aerial bombardment.
Archbishop Hosam Naoum, the head of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, which runs the hospital, said in a news briefing on Wednesday that in recent days, large numbers of Gazans — 5,000 at their peak — had taken shelter at the hospital site to escape Israeli airstrikes.
Archbishop Naoum said the warnings were particular to the hospital, and not part of Israel’s wider push to encourage civilians to leave northern Gaza for the territory’s south.
“There were specific warnings to get out of the building,” the archbishop said.
Lt. Col. Amnon Shefler, a military spokesman, said the calls to the hospital were part of a wider campaign to urge all civilians to leave northern Gaza, in order to make it easier for Israel to conduct ground operations there. “It was part of the general moving of the population,” Colonel Shefler said, adding that the hospital was not a target for the military.
The archbishop said the warnings came after a smaller strike at the hospital on Saturday that had damaged its diagnostic center, and its ultrasound and mammography units.
Video posted after the Saturday attack — and verified by The New York Times — showed damage inside the hospital. The footage also showed the remnants of an artillery shell amid the debris.
Palestinian armed groups have typically relied on long-range artillery rockets to strike inside Israel and have not been recorded using howitzers that fire shells of this type. But Israel commonly uses howitzers to strike inside Palestinian areas.
Colonel Shefler denied the Israel Defense Forces were responsible for the strike on Saturday. In general, he said, the hospital “was not in any way a target.”
UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, 18 OCTOBER
Lethal airstrikes killed civilians in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia overnight, while Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed crowds at China’s Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is reported to have praised the ties between China and Russia, as the pair look to strengthen their “no limits” partnership.
Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the casualties in Zaporizhzhia. Ukrainian officials attributed blame to “racist terrorist forces,” while a Moscow-installed Russian official in the city said the destruction came as result of “clumsy actions” by the Ukrainian armed forces.
Meanwhile, Russia and the United Arab Emirates are reportedly set to meet with the U.N. Security Council Wednesday to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.
* * *
Putin’s ‘nuclear briefcase’ caught on camera, media reports say
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been captured on camera with his so-called “nuclear briefcase,” Reuters news agency reported.
The briefcase, which can allegedly be used to order a nuclear strike, is said to never stray far from Putin’s side and is rarely filmed.
The footage shows the Russian leader walking between meetings, the report says, ahead of an entourage of naval officers.
“There are certain suitcases without which no trip of Putin’s is complete,” the Kremlin correspondents of state news agency RIA said in a post on Telegram under the footage, as reported by Reuters.
ARE THE LEFT'S THOUGHT POLICE ABOUT TO CANCEL GEORGE ORWELL?
Socialists have long loathed the 1984 author because he ruthlessly exposed their absurdity. Now a book claims he was vile to his wife, homophobic and a sadist
by Peter Hitchens
Is George Orwell about to be cancelled? This gaunt, scruffy Old Etonian has been a grave nuisance to the Left now for more than 80 years.
A revolutionary, an anti-imperialist, actually wounded in battle against the dictator Franco in the Spanish Civil War, he is over-qualified for socialist sainthood.
Having worked as a colonial policeman in Burma, Orwell renounced and condemned his actions in that post. He lived as a tramp, worked for starvation wages in Paris, personally experienced the squalor and poverty of the Great Depression. He cannot be dismissed as a public school elitist.
Yet he has also been one of the most effective and merciless critics of the failings of the Left. In two mighty classics, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four he imperishably exposed and lampooned the Left’s abiding tendency to intolerance, repression and the creation of police states.
He knew what he was talking about. The Communists tried to murder him in Spain for being the wrong sort of socialist, and very nearly succeeded. He also mocked his comrades for their ridiculous fads, jeering at them: ‘We have reached a stage when the very word “Socialism” calls up . . . a picture of vegetarians with wilting beards, of Bolshevik commissars (half gangster, half gramophone), of earnest ladies in sandals, shock-headed Marxists chewing polysyllables, escaped Quakers, birth-control fanatics, and Labour Party backstairs-crawlers.’
Imagine how his pen would have shredded Extinction Rebellion, veganism, ‘taking the knee’ and Sir Keir Starmer. It is a matter of mystery that the BBC has erected a statue of Orwell outside their headquarters. I can only conclude that nobody there has actually read what he wrote.
But I have, and confess here that for many years of my life he was more important than anything else I read, or was taught, or experienced. Like any educated person I had read the two great anti-totalitarian works in my early teens, but I was 17 when I first opened his Collected Essays, Journalism And Letters. I still have my tattered 1960s paperbacks, priced in shillings.
This treasure-house of brilliance, written with the simplicity of utter honesty, would one day help me find the exit from the Trotskyist dogma in which I had imprisoned myself. Along with his friend Arthur Koestler, he provided a way for me and many others to change my mind without surrendering my spirit.
This is why the Left are so suspicious of him. He was undoubtedly on the side of justice and liberty. He had taken a true and brave part in the Spanish Civil War which was the first and last crusade of the idealistic Left, and which still has the power to move 90 years later.
Ultimately he remained a British patriot who greatly loved this country, its people, its culture, its liberty from state power and its literature. Many on the Left much dislike this aspect of him but know it cannot be denied. The power of his books and thoughts is a nuisance to them. But what can they do? He is just too good to be torn down.
Well, now I sense that they are limbering up for an attack which may yet see that statue pulled from its pedestal. For Orwell, you see, was a man, and a man very much of his time. He had prejudices against Jews, against Scotsmen (I have the personal word of one of his former secretaries for this) and against homosexuals.
He denounced other Leftists to the British government in the opening years of the Cold War. And his attitudes towards women were about as bad as they could get. He stands accused of having tried to rape an early girlfriend, Jacintha Buddicom.
As Kathryn Hughes described the wretched event in The Guardian in 2007: ‘Previously the young couple had kissed, but now, during a late summer walk, he had wanted more. At only five feet to his six feet and four inches, Jacintha had shouted, screamed and kicked before running home with a torn skirt and bruised hip’.
Such an action by any young man in these times would no doubt have led to serious trouble, if not to prison. And, of course, we are now in these times, so it is deeply damaging and who can or would defend it?
But is it enough to cancel Nineteen Eighty-Four or Animal Farm, or the collected works, or Spain? Leo Tolstoy was an absolute beast to his wife. So was Charles Dickens. But they are purely literary superstars. Orwell’s standing is partly political. If he can be discredited among the modern Left, he may well totter and fall. I sense that it may become enough.
For a new and menacing front has just opened up in Orwell studies. After an avalanche of largely friendly biographies of Orwell (one academic has written two) we now have a biography of his first wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy, whom he married in a Hertfordshire village church in 1936.
Poor Eileen had to put up with Orwell’s grim scrimping life, living in great discomfort in more or less squalid dwellings, cleaning out the filthy lavatory, a job Orwell disdained to do. She followed him into deadly danger in Spain (and then, by quick-witted inspiration, helped to get him out of it) and died, tragically young at 39, during a hysterectomy in 1945.
Orwell had often treated her in an offhand way, perhaps not unusual among Englishmen of his age and class.
But in 2023 this now matters hugely.
My heart sank when I read that this work’s author, Anna Funder, believes: ‘Patriarchy is a fiction in which all the main characters are male and the world is seen from their point of view.’
She has entitled her book Wifedom: Mrs. Orwell’s Invisible Life, in case readers and buyers are in any doubt of its chilly theme. The clever cover shows only part of Eileen’s face.
The rest has slipped out of the frame. Eileen is the Cultural Left’s perfect weapon against Orwell, for she was a modern woman before her time and he treated her miserably. She had a good degree from Oxford (something her husband never achieved) and Ms Funder speculates that she may have contributed greatly to her husband’s successful books, without credit. Who can now say?
However, it is easy to suspect that Ms Funder has it in for Orwell. She recently told a literary festival he was ‘enormously homophobic but deeply attracted to men and I think not particularly interested in women sexually’. Talk about the worst of both worlds, that of 1943 and that of 2023.
Her vituperation is slightly moderated by thin praise for his writing ability: ‘So he’s a very complicated man. He’s sadistic, misogynistic, homophobic, violent sometimes and also brilliant. And I think that he desperately wants to be decent.’ Wants to be? But was he? Perhaps not.
Does it matter? Yes, whether we like it or not. Patriotic conservatives used to be able to deploy Orwell against the old Left because he was one of them, who saw through them.
But now he is an alleged rapist, misogynist, homophobe, etc, the modern Left can and will retort that he is not in fact theirs at all, and if conservatives like him that only shows that they are all rapists and misogynists too. I think the BBC should be making quiet plans to shift that statue.
It doesn’t belong there anyway.
by Philip Clark
In 1959 the guitarist Chuck Berry plucked a young girl off the streets of Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican town across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Janice Escalanti was fourteen and had been making money as a sex worker. Berry later claimed that he had pitied Escalanti and wanted to help her, offering her a job as a hat-check assistant at the nightclub he had recently opened in his hometown of St. Louis. Had it ended there, everybody involved would have been saved a lot of trouble. Instead, Berry, by now a rich and successful musician, had become infatuated with Escalanti. If she wanted to take the job, he told her, she needed to leave town with him and his musicians that same night, and after five more one-night gigs, they would all return together to St. Louis.
Berry fixed it so that Escalanti and he shared hotel rooms. They slept together, then Escalanti was perturbed to see Berry bring two other girls back to their hotel one evening and disappear with them into another room. Once they reached St. Louis and Escalanti started working at Berry’s Club Bandstand, the hat-check counter didn’t suit her, so she started mingling with the customers. Fights ensued, she got fired, and Berry dragged her to the Greyhound bus station where he tried to put her on a coach back to El Paso. But later that night she turned up again at the club. More angry words followed, and a few days before Christmas Escalanti and Berry found themselves on the sidewalk in front of Club Bandstand, in the early hours of the morning, under arrest and explaining themselves to a police officer.
R.J. Smith, author of the new book “Chuck Berry: An American Life,” ends chapter 10 of his new biography of Berry on a cliff-hanger, with Berry and Escalanti on their way to the police station, then opens his next chapter with a disclaimer. “The work and life under examination in the last years of the 1950s,” he writes, “present a challenge to the biographer, and possibly to the reader.” But Berry’s moral transgressions don’t come as a complete surprise. Rock and jazz biographies are packed with tales of on-the-road licentiousness. Berry had his fair share of such encounters. (His wife is noticeably absent from the book.)
Following a show earlier in 1959 for an officers’ club at a former army barracks in the South, a young girl was seen running from Berry’s dressing room in distress. A year before that, Berry was arrested in Virginia by an off-duty police officer after he was caught peering over the partition of a women’s bathroom.
Once Escalanti enters the story, we understand that his bad behavior has become habitual. Berry ended up serving twenty months in prison for violating the Mann Act which outlawed the transportation of women over state lines “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose. But he failed to learn from the experience and continued his pattern of appaling and exploitative treatment of women, leading to lawsuits, arrests, and scandals in the 1980s and 1990s.
Berry died in 2017 with his reputation paradoxically in the ascendant and in the sewer. In death he was hailed as not merely a rock-and-roll pioneer. No, Berry was the king of rock and roll, the man who had left 1950s popular music all shook up with a procession of hit records like “Maybellene,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Johnny B. Goode” Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley had all needed to take the measure of Berry before they could create their own styles. After he died, that legacy needed to be weighed against his escalating patterns of abusive and criminal behavior.
(New York Review of Books)