Oh how the mighty are not yet behind bars, homeless, or dead from a self-inflicted bullet to the brain. It's been almost a year since MCR returned to the U.S., after having fled it; after having vowed to never return and to henceforth take being "part of the solution" to the next step by being either the chief of some indigenous tribe somewhere (like Martin Sheen at the end of Apocalypse Now) or possibly even consigliere to Hugo Chavez. He wasn't yet quite sure at the time.
But the world is a delicate place for a leader with no cult. He had a good thing and screwed it up. I wonder if he wishes sometimes that he had never moved to Oregon, but rather stayed in his apartment on Magnolia: writing his stories, manning a small staff and, although not exactly importing barrels of money, making just enough cheddar to justify being one's own boss. Most importantly, above and beyond everything else, is that when MCR lived in L.A. he was able to enjoy the right amount of privacy and anonymity required for him to maintain the following he possessed, enjoyed, and wholly took for granted.
You see the thing about MCR is this: he's a bad internet date. He's that all-around perfect guy or gal you've been looking for all your life. He says all the right things, and surprises you frequently with a few more. He gets your blood pumping and makes you feel alive and hopeful. That is, of course, until you meet him and very quickly realize that he is, in every way imaginable, the exact opposite of what you'd expected -- to an almost menacing and predatory degree; in many ways, kinda like a child molester.
To this date, as far as I've been made aware, MCR has continued to reside in NY with Jenna Orkin (or, for those who need refreshing: "the dyke that loves me" "[that girl] I fucked in the a$$ when we went to that ASPO conference in NY..."). None of us ever thought that relationship would last two months. Lucky for Mikey that it did, or one hard-assed rite of passage it would have been until his trust fund kicked in -- which it finally did, I think, sometime in August or September.
The longer MCR stayed on the activist scene the more his true colors bled through. His days were numbered. To put it one way, he wasn't the genuine article -- a concerned citizen selflessly slaving away to expose and fight the wrongs committed by the United States government. Anyone not a complete sheep whose known Ruppert is well aware of his lust for social status and power. This is where his actions belied his words, his writings and all his friggin' footnotes. He despised fellow 9-11/Peak Oil activists, attacked and dismissed them. Only he was the expert. Only he was worth listening to. As a result, the number of his followers shrunk over time, and increasingly so as his narcissistic frustration and anger swelled. It's always been my belief that, when you get down to it, most rebels are just individuals who're pissed off that they aren't the ones in charge. For all his seemingly endless ranting and raving about the corrupt elite that control the world I have no doubt in my mind that Mike would give his balls for a seat at the conspirator's table. Being that most of the people involved in the 9-11 and Peak Oil activist movements are truly concerned and well-meaning people who are genuinely selfless in their cause, an animal like Ruppert could only move among them undetected for so long. Again, as it was, he was on borrowed time, and as said time passed it was clear that some changes were about to take place. Knowing this, to one degree or another, Mike was determined to remain in the game. Now it was Peak Oil that he began to singularly focus on, but with much more of a doomsday bent than others in the field ("others" such as university professors, geologists, people with the qualifications necessary to address said topic, etcetera etcetera etcetera...), which again served to allow Mike to be special and stand apart.
Mike once said, "Oregon is the promised land for me." He could not have been more wrong. His reasons for wanting to move aside, it never was a practical venture -- at least not in the way it was approached by Ruppert. First of all there wasn't an actual plan...for anything. It was as if Mike assumed that things would naturally fall into place when the times were right. "The Universe will guide me," he said on more than a few occasions when either myself, or a whole bunch of us were trying to talk sense into the man -- trying to get him, for the love of god, to change his mind about moving north. He talked about the universe a lot and how much clout he had with it, being that he was such an awesome guy and all. To the rest of us it seemed that if the universe did have Mike's back then it was for sure going out of its way to send message after message warning him that moving to Oregon was bad ju ju. Take the business, for example, which at the time was operational, sustainable, whose earning potential had already peaked. There was only so much money that could be made from Mike's beloved following who, as a demographic, aren't characteristically wealthy people. Just enough money was made to pay employees, rent, bills, and Mike's expenses, which to briefly state, were lavish. Since there was no plan for relocation that also meant that there hadn't been any money set aside to bankroll the expenses of a move. Being that FTW was a sole proprietorship, Mike was FTW and vise versa. Mike was up to his neck in debt. Money was owed to credit card companies, vendors. There were back taxes that would have to be dealt with, state and federal. The whole thing was a mess.
It was at the beginning of 2006 and Mike was determined to make the move sometime during the first half of February. Despite having made bogus predictions within the past two years about when exactly the fall of western society would happen, for some reason that now slips my mind Mike had come to the conclusion that the shit would hit the fan on a world-wide scale in March or April – or maybe it was May; anyway, according to Mike it wasn’t that far off. Of course it’s quite understandable how, in the face of impending societal collapse, money would be low on the list of priorities. That said, I was never able to reconcile Mike’s thinking along those lines. How was it that Mike could have such big plans for FTW, such as expanding the business on a five-fold scale once in Oregon, while at the same time believing that life as we have known it was about to come to a tragically sudden and, no doubt, bloody end? Mike had spoken many times about how it was his dream that someday FTW would become as big as The New York Times. How he could sort out those two ideas is way beyond my scope of imagination.
What was very clear was what Mike expected from Oregon with the same vigor with which he desired it all his life (of course Reality ended up presenting him with a severely disappointing polar opposite). To put it simply, Mike wanted to be a leader of the masses just like his sworn enemies, his secret idols. He had always been well received in Oregon whenever he gave lectures there and he just assumed that in the wake of all the destruction to come he would just naturally be able to step up as a wise chieftain, warlord, or commandant somewhere – most likely in the Ashland area, being that that’s where he was going. I am not kidding. His "relocation fantasy" was based on the idea that Peak Oil was going to hit and hit hard. Almost overnight it would be anarchy as the fuel that made our way of life possible simply just ran out. It would be like Mad Max and Road Warrior, basically. The communities that remained, or that would crop up during this time, would have to circle the wagons and be able to defend themselves in order to survive. Mike spoke of building a small army that we would train – he even said I could be one of the D.I.’s! He would whip those hippies into shape, train them up to Delta caliber, arm them, and when the time was right all of us would head a few miles south and blow up the mountain pass separating Oregon from California. The reasoning for this was to keep the thousands of tired, hungry, scared, fleeing California refugees from entering the Rogue Valley (where Ashland and a few other small towns are located) to suck dry whatever realistic chance of hope and survival the communities they were to eventually come across still had – they would be like locusts, a walking scorched-earth policy. Yes, this was cruel, Mike admitted, but it was necessary. The pie would not be big enough for everyone to have a slice.
To be continued…