Holy the Crazy Shepherds of Rebellion

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Last night I was watching Barney Miller and Mannix on some nostalgia TV channel … Family Entertainment TV. Wow. Mannix is family entertainment? Well, he did drive some very nice muscle cars.

When we watch these shows, when I watch these shows from 40-plus or 50-plus years ago it reminds me of what I was doing and were I was headed in life when these shows were on TV. Remember the film America Graffiti? “Where were you in ’62?” Well, where were you in ’67 or ’75? In ’73 you were probably at a drive-in movie theater watching American Graffiti or Blazing Saddles.

Tim in Marines (Tim Forkes)

For a part of the 1970s I was a member of the USMC.

Just an aside: As I recall, making out in a car, whether in the front or back seats, was doable and often enjoyable, but having sex in a car … not so much. If you had sex in a car at a drive-in and enjoyed it, leave a comment.

Back in the day Barney Miller was one of those shows we watched when we were stoned. Some of the dialogue is so effin’ hilarious, it just got funnier the more stoned we were. There were a number of other shows that served our stoner purposes. Both The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart were crazy funny, with incredible ensemble casts. Although Newhart didn’t air until after I stopped using alcohol and street drugs.

Back in the day.

We were still in the Cold War, when a B-list actor named Ronald Reagan was president — the second worst president of my lifetime — when the Soviet Union — The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics — was mired in its Afghan War. When we, the U.S., were aiding and abetting the Mujahideen to push the Soviets out, a Mujahideen that included the founders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The past is prologue.

I didn’t start this post because I was watching those old TV shows or because Russia now seems poised to invade Ukraine, but because in April I plan on attending the 40th Anniversary reunion of the Crazy Shepherd, a Milwaukee counter-culture publication that started its crazy life as a monthly rag at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and eventually became an independent news weekly. I was a contributor to the inaugural issue in which the paper’s name was misspelled: “Crazy Shepard.”

Santa Monica Pier (Tim Forkes)

The name was taken from an Allen Ginsberg poem, “Howl,” more precisely, the “Footnote to Howl.” From this stanza: “Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!”

I dig Los Angeles.

It is a wonderful piece of literature, “Howl,” and I highly recommend it to everyone. If you enjoyed Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, you will like “Howl,” and everything written by Ginsberg. He was (is) one of the great American writers, one of the great Beat writers. Back in the day I saw him perform several times, once at the Riverside Theater with the incomparable writer, William S. Burroughs. When Ginsberg brought Burrows on stage, he was rather frail at the time, it took my breath away. “Confusion hath fuck his masterpiece.”

We should read more, and not just the non-fiction books and essays that tend to prove our points about politics and social issues — although those are important too. We should read more Toni Morrison, we should read more Gregory Corso, we should read more Anne Waldman, we should read more Gary Snyder, we should read more Charles Bukowski, we should read more Grace Paley, we should read more Michael McClure … we should read more Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Many more authors could be added to the list, including Maya Angelou and Samuel Clemons. The point is, we should read more.

Tim at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, WI, 1986
(provided by Tim Forkes)

Anyway, I’m headed to this reunion of the Crazy Shepherd — not to be confused with the current Shepherd Express — so I have been growing my hair to somewhat replicate the hair style from 1982. To be honest, it ain’t working. Back then I had long, luxurious locks that were an enviable dark brown. Today my hair is … completely gray and no matter how I comb it I resemble Nick Nolte’s infamous mug shot. In the top photo is my reaction to this punishment of time. Self-realization isn’t always pretty.

Time may heal all wounds, well actually it doesn’t, but time also has its price. Looking old is one of them. But that’s life — we get old, if we’re lucky. I have lived longer than my dad and two older brothers. People I have known since childhood have passed on. Of my seven brothers and sisters, only three of them remain.

So, despite all the pains and aggravations of aging, I’m grateful to still be here, typing away at this Macintosh, much the way I typed away at the Crazy Shepherd’s old Apple IIc and the early Macintoshes in the mid-1980s.

The revolution has been digitized … we should read more Gil Scott-Heron.

“You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag
And skip out for beer during commercials, because
The revolution will not be televised”
“The revolution will be live”

We may be going through another Civil War, this time without geographical boundaries. And most of it is broadcast live. I won’t compare the January 6, 2021 insurrectionists to the revolutionaries Scott-Heron spoke of. Their motives are totally diametric to each other — the “Completely opposed” definition.

“The Calling,” by Mark di Suvero, in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum
(Tim Forkes)

But I digress.

I will try to read more as we get closer to the great 40th anniversary reunion of the Crazy Shepherd. Some of us were there when the Crazy Shepherd was united with another Milwaukee publication, The Express, in 1987 and we became the Shepherd Express. All of the originals have moved on I think, except for that crazy Art Kumbalek. I look forward to seeing all of them in April.

“Everything is holy!”

One thought on “Holy the Crazy Shepherds of Rebellion

  • Timothy W. Maier
    March 8, 2022 at 6:55 am

    I will be there! Can’t wait.

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