Acid Heroes

December 24, 2009

Timothy Leary footnote

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 6:08 am
Tags: , , , ,

The story I got on Leary (and I kinda’ wish there was a literary device where I could preface everything I say with “the story I got” or in other words “in my opinion” — that would save me a lot of trouble, but it’s just too boring and redundant to repeat it every other sentence, so one can only hope that the reader takes it for a given…) was that when he was plea-bargaining with the Feds to get out of the joint, one of the requirements was that he spill the beans on everything he knew about Eldridge Cleaver and the Weather Undeground and all the other political freaks that broke his sorry ass out of jail in the first place, and holed him up in their various underground bunkers, etc.  And given what an amoral, opportunist huckster Leary was, with no loyalty to anything but his self-interest of the moment, I’m sure he snitched off
everything he knew.  On the other hand, if I had been in Leary’s shoes, and was quite possibly going to spend the next 20 years in jail for smoking a joint, I too might have concluded that the whole gig was bullshit from every side, so I might as well spew any bullshit that’ll get me out of this jam.

I actually saw the Timothy Leary is Dead documentary that came out in ’97.  My friend Claire Burch shot a lot of the footage: her interview with Ram Dass — one guy I think highly of — is the best part of the film. There was one odd scene where Leary was interviewed in prison by the local network news.  For the entire hour of the interview, Leary has this mega-wattage salesman grin plastered on his face.  Doesn’t let up the grin for a second.  It was so strange, like the painted Joker from Batman.  I couldn’t figure it out until afterwords I realized Leary knew the interview would be edited down to a 3 or 4 minute clip for the news, and he wanted to make sure he had that Leary “on-top-of-the-world” smile plastered on his face no matter how they tried to edit the footage.  For that was the heart of Leary’s fake act always, as with most salesman.  But anyway, as far as I know, nobody was ever arrested or did time because of Leary snitching them off.

The actress Winona “shoplifter” Ryder is also one of Leary’s godchildren.  God knows how many parents bequeathed their children to this great Father Figure of The 60s.  Which is odd when you consider his OWN daughter committed suicide (as did his wife).  What a bullshit artist that guy Leary was. Right to the bitter end.




  1. You are uncharitable to Dr. Leary. Treat yourself to a voyage into Timothy Leary’s Exo-Psychology recontextualized

    Comment by Heresiarch — January 3, 2010 @ 11:00 pm | Reply

  2. Maybe so. You know what Leary said: “Everybody gets the Timothy Leary they deserve.” And I guess his wife and daughter — both suicides — got the Timothy Leary they deserved, too.

    Comment by acebackwords — January 22, 2010 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

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