The fabulous historian Rick Perlstein has changed his Facebook profile picture. Now, when you go to his page, you see the one-time celebrity bank robber “Tania.”
That was the nom de guerre of kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst. To refresh, she was snatched by members of some rump revolutionary bunch of crazies who fancied themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. By and by, thanks to the psychological condition known as the Stockholm Syndrome, she fell in love with one of her captors, donned camouflage, and lugged a machine gun into a bank to help the gang finance its lifestyle.
Here’s the pic:
I’ve gotta admit it: She looks pretty hot in that get-up.
Okay, Big Talk is moving forward, baby step by baby step. Thus far our new cross-media, multi-platform interview series has aired twice on WFHB. We’ve talked with cartoonist/graphic novelist Nate Powell and sound effects artist/actor/poet/roller derby announcer Tony Brewer.
The companion print piece for the Powell interview is in the current issue of The Ryder (it’ll go online in a week or so.) Brewer’s print interview will run in the May issue. And we’re working on a YouTube channel so you can actually see Big Mike grill his victi…, I mean, subjects.
Go to our new Big Talk page on this here interwebs site for links to the audio interviews. They’re only eight minutes each, so have fun. Quick fun.
Back to “Tania” and her posse. I couldn’t figure out immediately why Perlstein was homage-ing her until I hit Neil Steinberg’s column today in the Chicago Sun-Times (and, concurrently, in his own blog, Every Goddamn Day.)
Steinberg recently got a call from a fellow who was up in arms about the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana employing one James Kilgore at its Center for African Studies. Kilgore, it seems, was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. He participated in a bank robbery where an innocent bystander was killed. Kilgore didn’t actually pull the trigger but, as a participant in the caper, he was subject to prosecution for the murder. Kilgore went on the lam in 1975, spent 27 years teaching at the University of Cape Town in South Africa under an assumed name, and was extradited to the US in 2002. He served six and a half years for the robbery/murder and when he was released, claimed to be remorseful and rehabilitated. Eventually, he got the job at Illinois under his real name.
The Stages Of A Man’s Life
The caller was aghast that such a man could be teaching “18-year-olds from Schaumburg and Arlington Heights.” He told Steinberg, “I don’t like bank robbers who kill moms in banks.”
BTW: My guess is a scant few 18-year-olds from Schaumburg and Arlington Heights are taking any course offered by U of I’s Center for African Studies. It’s doubtful they see that academic pursuit as helpful to their eventual goal of getting the highest paying job possible.
BTW II: The son of the murdered Mom, a fellow named Jon Opsahl, apparently has forgiven Kilgore.
Anyway, Steinberg goes on to ruminate about criminals and the possibility they’ll become productive members of society. He writes: “[W]hile we demand they turn their lives around, we seem to also resent the ones who do.”
Yep. That’s us.
William and Emily Harris of the SLA lived in Bloomington for a while. William did something at IU and Emily taught at Binford Jr. High while I was a student. I don’t *think* I ever had her for social studies, but I know a couple of friends of mine did, and remembered that her class handouts were pretty weird.