The End of the Sixties
August 12, 2015 8:02 AM   Subscribe

 
I liked the direction the podcast was taking before, but I definitely enjoyed this. Karina Longworth really went out of her way to explicate the serious misogyny in the 60s "free love" ethos and how Manson and many, many others in that scene took advantage of it for their needs, leaving a trail of all sorts of victims.

Also the Kenneth Anger episode was probably one of my favorite episodes of the entire podcast.
posted by griphus at 8:08 AM on August 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


This series was SO. GOOD. as someone with zero interest in the Manson murders or late 60s Hollywood, I was FASCINATED.

Like this podcast shows just how bad that Aquarius show us cause LOOK YOU DONT HAVE TO MAKE ANYTHING UP.
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 AM on August 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also in a lot of ways the stuff about Manson and his family specifically was maybe the least interesting part of it for me. It's all the backstory on the fascinating peripheral characters: Dennis Wilson, Sharon Tate, Bobby Beausoleil, etc. etc. that made this a worthwhile endeavor. I ended up skipping episodes 9 and 10 just because I know more than enough about both the murders themselves and what Polanski got up to afterward.
posted by griphus at 8:11 AM on August 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Kenneth Anger once sent Gloria Swanson a coffin full of roses.
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. Listening to it immediately.
posted by toerinishuman at 8:14 AM on August 12, 2015


This series has been so so good. We still have 11 and 12 to listen to and I'm kind of putting them off because then it will be over.

And yes, I really appreciate hearing these stories told with absolutely no glamorization of the Family or any of the people who kept them around for entertainment value.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:15 AM on August 12, 2015


To me the most interesting aspect relating to Manson himself is how his toolkit for putting a cult together was priced together from Dale Carnegie, advice from pimps he met in prison, and Scientology.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on August 12, 2015 [24 favorites]


Essentially he's a parasite copying other parasites, but a less successful one because he went too far and took to much and got wiped out by his own destructiveness. The pros know how to play the long game.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love how the series really hit that the culture of the time kind of made the murders possible without glamorizing it or making it seem otherworldly, it really was just a bunch of rich kids slumming and lots of bad cases washing up in LA

That Joan Didon passage in the last episode is BRUTAL.
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 AM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


My step-father, an old hippie, always said the 60s ended when Nixon was elected.

But Manson seems a good dividing line too. (Queueing this up, subscribing to the podcast. Dammit. How do people make time for these things?)
posted by DigDoug at 8:30 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The episode on Hair has some interesting things to say on the relationship between the two.
posted by Artw at 8:33 AM on August 12, 2015


Karina Longworth really went out of her way to explicate the serious misogyny in the 60s "free love" ethos and how Manson and many, many others in that scene took advantage of it for their needs, leaving a trail of all sorts of victims.

That would sell me on this in a way that describing it as a part of "the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century" wouldn't, because it isn't as if the Manson murders were or are obscure in any significant way.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:41 AM on August 12, 2015


Yeah the secret or forgotten history part of this series is ALL THE BACKSTORY
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


You could probably even skip the episode dealing with the actual murders entirely if you're not into stuff that is gross and brutal - it's pretty self contained and all the interesting bits are largely elsewhere.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on August 12, 2015


This series was completely excellent. I didn't even know I was this interested in all this stuff, but Longworth really sets the scene (and aftermath) for so many people in such an excellent way, there's no way it couldn't be fascinating.

And all the while listening to it, I couldn't possibly forget that Inherent Vice is set in exactly the space of time between the Family's arrest and the beginning of their trial. That's a very specific moment in time chosen very deliberately by Pynchon, and after hearing this series I'm eager to reread the book.
posted by hippybear at 8:48 AM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I will say, then, that all the episodes are written with a feminist eye, and a lot of the secret/forgotten parts are the stuff that never played because it was about the feelings, motivations, and exploitation of women. I actually loved the Polanski episode in this series, because Longworth is so far beyond unimpressed with that piece of garbage, which is pretty much never how his story is told.

I just cannot say enough good things about this podcast.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:55 AM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, unsurprisingly Polanski turns out to be a total jerk.
posted by Artw at 8:58 AM on August 12, 2015


Turns out? The man's an admitted child rapist, though apparently being a talented director negates that.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:05 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This series has been the highlight of a great podcast. If you have any interest in popular cinema, you should definitely check it out. (I say this as someone who hasn't gone to a movie for at least five years.)
posted by MrJM at 9:10 AM on August 12, 2015


There's so much more in there than just the Polanski stuff, though. Connections to Doris Day and The Beach Boys and the movie Shampoo (which originally was going to be VERY different) and and and....

Really, some of the best listening hours I've spent over the past few weeks.
posted by hippybear at 9:10 AM on August 12, 2015


YMRT is an excellent podcast and this was an excellent series.

There are so few podcasts that can effectively synthesize facts/sources into a compelling narrative arc like Longworth. Really engaging stuff and I'm glad it continues to get the attention it deserves.
posted by Tevin at 9:15 AM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Years ago I read the book Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi who was the prosecutor on the Manson case. What a great book. He talked about the case being like a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces, but you don't know what the picture looks like that you're trying to put together, and some of the pieces are missing, plus there are pieces of other puzzles in there but you can't tell them apart. Such a good book. I'm looking forward to listening to this series!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:44 AM on August 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Seconding the Bugliosi book's excellence.
posted by blucevalo at 9:57 AM on August 12, 2015


I got to see Bugliosi speak once, he was a great storyteller. (I somehow missed that he died in June.)
posted by Lyn Never at 10:03 AM on August 12, 2015


My step-father, an old hippie, always said the 60s ended when Nixon was elected.

If memory serves me correctly, Hunter S. Thompson tended to agree.

Third-ing the excellent of Bugliosi's memoir of prosecuting the Manson Family.
posted by Gelatin at 10:22 AM on August 12, 2015


I'm listening to episode 12 at this very moment. I'm not particularly into Hollywood, but this is an excellent podcast. Karina is a very good storyteller. The Howard Hughes series also is quite interesting.
posted by wintermind at 10:48 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping she isn't fine with Hughes, his ones are always good.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on August 12, 2015


And all the while listening to it, I couldn't possibly forget that Inherent Vice is set in exactly the space of time between the Family's arrest and the beginning of their trial.

Worth it for no other reason than Pyncheon gave us the term "Mansonoid".
posted by vibrotronica at 11:01 AM on August 12, 2015


One day I will actually sit down and write up my YMRT Drive Around LA Tour. My husband and I almost always listen to these in the car together, and there is something especially atmospheric about the palm trees and hills and landmarks and stuff while listening to the stories. I always get a little thrill when Waze takes us through Laurel Canyon or down Sunset in time with one of the stories.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:05 AM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


The darker side? It always seemed to me the 60s were nearly all dark, a decade-long bloodbath.
posted by Miko at 11:41 AM on August 12, 2015


She's pretty unsparing in her assessment of "free love" as an excuse for sexual predators and rapists to justify doing whatever the hell they wanted.

Speaking of rapists, she was much more sympathetic to Polanski than I was expecting, especially in her conclusion. Yeah she paints him as a huge asshole, but she also doesn't deny the fact that he himself was also a victim: not just being a holocaust survivor and suffering the senselessly brutal murder of his pregnant wife, but also being the lead suspect in the murder for the first few weeks after it happened.

It's a refreshingly even-handed take that does not in any way try to use his victim status to absolve him of his crimes. Compare this to her episodes on Errol Flynn, Sean Penn, Howard Hughes, and Warren Beatty. She portrays them entirely unsympathetically, especially Flynn and Penn.
posted by Ndwright at 11:41 AM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm up to the Dennis Wilson episode. Wilson's story was pretty sad. I wonder how much of his eventual downward spiral was due to guilt over Manson.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:20 PM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


At 2:00 in episode one she says it was also a revenge fantasy. People were gratified that these rich beautiful people got slaughtered? Am I getting her intended meaning there correct?

Well I guess that there might have been a few that did but if this was at all a factor in the mass fascination implies an extremely depressing (and totally wrong) take on human nature.

Charles Manson sure is great at disturbing people's logic powers if you pay attention to him. Miles Mathis' greatest ever conspiracy theory has Charles Manson as a government agent waging a psychological operation on the American people. It is about 25 pages long and nearly impossible to stop reading. But it is flatly illogical in more than one place.
posted by bukvich at 12:35 PM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


You sure it's 2:00 into Episode 1? I just listened to around that minute and I don't think I heard her mentioning a revenge fantasy.
posted by griphus at 12:39 PM on August 12, 2015


I think it's a little further into the podcast, but definitely in Episode 1. I just listened to it, before the 12 minute mark. I think she is saying that it was a Revenge Fantasy because Manson couldn't get any traction in Hollywood.
posted by fyrebelley at 12:56 PM on August 12, 2015


Maybe she meant Manson's revenge fantasy? He had dreams of becoming a super famous rock star that were led on and dashed by the LA power set.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:57 PM on August 12, 2015


She's certainly not the first person to suggest that there was a sentiment that rich and famous people get what they deserve for being rich and famous (especially if they are women, but being rich/famous will suffice). It happens all the time.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2015


She in no way suggests that whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on August 12, 2015


I enjoy the content, if not the style of the podcast. (I find her speaking style a little stilted, as if she's trying to emulate a character in a low budget film noir from the 1940s.) But the amount of research she does for each episode is AH.MAZING. She did an episode not long ago where she responded to listener questions, and mentioned the vast collection of books that she has amassed on the subject of film. She seems to definitely know her stuff.
posted by BeBoth at 3:02 PM on August 12, 2015


Years ago I read the book Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi who was the prosecutor on the Manson case. What a great book.

I'll have to pick that one up next. Bugliosi was a great writer. I highly recommend his exhaustive (and at times exhausting) 1600+ page book about the Kennedy assassination. (Pretty definitive in its surgical pulling-apart of the various conspiracy theories, if you ask me.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:27 PM on August 12, 2015


I'm on episode 8. I went into this one thinking, "I have zero interest in anything Manson related but I like Karina Longworth so I'll give it a try" and ... she has surpassed herself with this series. As others have said, it's not the murders, or even Manson, that make this interesting - it's the amazingly sick and twisted world of Hollywood in 1969 that captivates.

(I find her speaking style a little stilted, as if she's trying to emulate a character in a low budget film noir from the 1940s.)

How funny - I was about to write the opposite! She's one of the few podcasters whose style just draws me completely into the narrative. I've quit a lot of podcasts that were otherwise interesting after growing irritated with the narrator's voice. Some are too dry, some repeat themselves endlessly, and some are just too damn chatty. Karina would make my top ten of 'Americans who have a good speaking style.'
posted by kanewai at 3:31 PM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


The quote is: "But it's hard not to see them as the fulfilled revenge fantasy of one of the millions of pilgrims who have come to Hollywood looking to make their mark, only to be condescended and lied to, and turned away with nothing to show for their efforts".

I interpret that as definitely meaning that it was Manson's revenge fantasy, not that other Hollywood pilgrims share it.
posted by andraste at 3:31 PM on August 12, 2015


Thank you for posting this. I'd never heard of this podcast but I listened to the first Manson episode today and am very impressed by the amount of research and the context-setting.

I missed Bugliosi's death too. I bought Helter Skelter secondhand when I was eighteen and it sparked off a lifelong appreciation of well-written true crime. Thanks, Vince.
posted by andraste at 3:32 PM on August 12, 2015


I highly recommend his exhaustive (and at times exhausting) 1600+ page book about the Kennedy assassination.

If you're pressed for time you can read the "short" 680-page version.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:40 PM on August 12, 2015


I really like Karina's speaking style, but she often sounds... self conscious about enunciating the letter "t". I can't say "little Italy" without concentrating, so I feel for her.
posted by peppermind at 5:46 PM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really like Karina's speaking style, but she often sounds... self conscious about enunciating the letter "t".

A quirk I hear often on USA TV (Canadian here) is people with no obvious (to me) regional accent dropping T's in the middle of a word such as 'important' being pronounced 'impordan' or 'impor'an' and satan being pronounced 'saydan', Martin as 'Mardon' and I hear that in her podcast. Is this a California thing?

This does not detract from her excellently researched and informative podcast though, it's awesome stuff.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 6:57 PM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was somehow not aware of exactly how much of an asshole Polanski was/is, even before he laid eyes on Samantha Geimer. His manipulation and gaslighting of Sharon Tate, his affairs with other women when she was pregnant, and the predatory elements of his relationships with teenage girls were revolting. Although Chinatown struck me as a work of genius when I saw it in college, I don't think I have the stomach to watch any of his movies again.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:58 PM on August 12, 2015


Klaxon Aoooogah is obviously NOT Canadian because there was not one single apology in that comment. Although there was that positive bit at the end, so maybe....
posted by hippybear at 2:55 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this! I was unfamiliar with this podcast and I'm 9 episodes into the Manson saga already. I've read a fair bit about about the Manson family but somehow I must have missed/forgotten the Kenneth Anger connection (via Bobby Beausoleil). I'm definitely going to add YMRT to my podcast subscriptions.
posted by MikeMc at 8:18 AM on August 13, 2015


OK I listened to the first five parts. Charlie's trip is death. The presentation really does reward a close listening as this woman has taken a lot of speech classes. I bet she can do all the Cicero speeches without missing a beat. One quibble: my dictionary does not have a "z" in prophesy. Prophesize is overkill and my spell checker does not like it either.

If anybody has a link to written material this woman has read aloud or transcripts of some of her podcasts--so I could read and listen at the same time--I think it would be interesting to try and use that as speech lesson material.
posted by bukvich at 8:43 AM on August 13, 2015


I really like Karina's speaking style, but she often sounds... self conscious about enunciating the letter "t".

The hard "T" Longworth uses is a US regional accent feature that I associate with the upper midwest, particularly Minnesota - I wonder where she's from?
posted by ryanshepard at 7:03 PM on August 14, 2015


A quirk I hear often on USA TV (Canadian here) is people with no obvious (to me) regional accent dropping T's in the middle of a word such as 'important' being pronounced 'impordan' or 'impor'an' and satan being pronounced 'saydan', Martin as 'Mardon' and I hear that in her podcast. Is this a California thing?

Drives me utterly bonkers, especially since she's so inconsistent with it. She can't seem to say Richard Burton or Satan, but she has no trouble when she gives herself credit as Writer or Narrator. I found her constant mispronouncing of Hollywood players' names to be so annoying that I gave up listening. Then a few months went by and she started the Manson series and I was torn. I don't have much of an interest in Manson but that era of Hwood is my main interest in American Film.

I started listening to the series again and still hate her voice and her many, many narrating ticks (PLEASE stop staying "Won't you?" after you say "Join us". Please! (And yes, I'm aware of the reference)), but her research is impeccable. I really wish she'd get someone else to narrate what she's written though I know that'll never happen.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:49 PM on August 14, 2015




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