5.10.12

Joe McCarthy's Grave, Appleton, WI

Joe McCarthy's Grave with apparition, St. Mary's Cemetery
2019 West Prospect Avenue, Appleton, Wisconsin, September 14, 2012
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Joe McCarthy's Grave with Fox River view, St. Mary's Cemetery
2019 West Prospect Avenue, Appleton, Wisconsin, September 14, 2012
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

"SO LONG, JOE," TULI SAID AS WE WALKED DOWN THE HILL

The legacy of Joe McCarthy (1908-1957), the Wisconsin farm boy turned WWII hero turned anti-communist US Senator (1947-1957), looms over Appleton, Wisconsin. McCarthy's claim to have lists of communist infiltrators made him a household name in the early 1950s as he appeared repeatedly on television and in Life (magazine) fueling American cold war paranoia. Arguably McCarthy remains among the most famous and notorious Wisconsinites. Wisconsin portrait photographers John Glander and Walter Sheffer listed the senator as an important part of their portfolio.

After reading Ed Sanders awesome Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side (Da Capo Press, 2011) recounting the Exorcism he, Tuli Kupferberg, Allen Ginsberg, and a group of 75 friends performed in February 1968 at McCarthy's grave, we hastened to the cemetery in Appleton. Sanders described the action as "dignified and respectful" occurring as it did just a few months after he and other Vietnam war protesters staged an Exorcism (and levitation) of the Pentagon. Their plan for Appleton was to "lecture the ghost (or summoned apparition) of the Red-baiting senator for his homophobia" and for "the careers wrecked through falsehoods" (p. 295-300) The grave along the Fox River in St. Mary's Parish Cemetery was certainly serene the day we visited (in honor of J. Lindemann's birthday). Perhaps the Exorcism worked? We sat before the stone pondering it for awhile then made several negatives, one of which contains an orb emanating from a yellow silk rose filled marble urn.  That Tail Gunner Joe flamed out by age 48 of complications of alcoholism reminded us of the "Wisconsin: Not so Boring if You're Drunk" t-shirt we bought online recently. 

Ken Weaver with woman who "agreed to array herself atop
the senator's stone  as an offering," February 1968
(Ed Sanders Collection) from Fug You
Note: Froze over Fox River in background
Ed Sanders chanted the final words of Plato's Republic in
 Greek after Allen Ginsberg lead an invocation to
bisexual Greek and Indian Gods to Exorcise McCarthy's grave, February 1968
 (Ed Sanders Collection) from Fug You


Senator Joseph Mccarthy film obit newsreel circa 1957 provides a 1:44 account of his illustrious career

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