The handsome guy in the middle was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr., and he would have been looking at his 60th birthday were he alive. Probably would have been president, if he hadn’t driven off any bridges. When he was a teenager, he was a little asshole, so his mother sent him out to the Bar-Cross Ranch for the summer. Just like another teenage asshole we know. Sometimes, boys need some coaching up. Barlow put ’em all to work. Always work to do on the ranch.
The blonde was his wife, Carolyn Besette-Kennedy. She was in the airplane that Junior didn’t quite know how to fly.
If you told John Perry Barlow that famous people were talking about computers, he would say to you, “Let me get my neckerchief.”
Regardless of its Swiss birth, LSD is an American drug, which means there is an East Coast history and a West Coast history.
Timothy Leary was a psychologist and teacher at Harvard. He and a man named Richard Alpert had access to psychedelics and a house so fancy it had a name. The men were academics, so they started an academic journal. They wrote at length about the soul. There were retreats. Meditation. O, the lectures. They took their psychedelics pseriously. Richard Alpert, who was from Newton, Massachusetts, even adopted a Holy Foreign Name, which is the ultimate White Guy On Acid move.
Out West, a redneck novelist stole a shitload of Goofy Juice from the CIA and bought a school bus, which he and his friends used to bother people all across the country. There were no retreats on the West Coast; the West Coast went furthur. There were parties, where famous journalists were lied to, and there was a house band.
Everybody got busted just the same, though.
John Perry Barlow knew Bill S. Preston, Esquire.
(Before anyone starts piping up in the Comment Section about one of the randos is a famous tech billionaire: I don’t care. Fuck all of ’em.)
Hey, don’t judge: I’m sure some of your friends have committed treason, too.
This one, you may judge. You may judge the shit out of this bullshit.
The white-haired fellow on the left is Daniel Ellsberg. Nixon tried to have him assassinated a few times, but Nixon tried to have everyone assassinated a few times. The guy next to JPB is Joan Cusack’s brother.
Listen, this is gonna come out racist, but I don’t give a shit: is that woman wearing native garb? And if so: did Santana force her to?
“Put on your native garb.”
“I was just gonna wear my jeans, Carl–”
“Never deny Santana!”
And so on.
All the computer nerds and freedom fetishists have tried to claim Barlow today, but fuck ’em. He’s ours. He was ours first.