The Freedman Archives: Part II

The following is a collection of letters written by Gary Freedman to his imagined friend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Middle-Aged Man and the Holy See


Hey, buddy. Some disappointing news. I'm sorry, but I have tobreak this to you.

After careful consideration, I've concluded that I cannot accept the honor of being the Prime Minister. Yes, I must decline the call of my party to assume the all-important leadership position of our people. Hope you can get over that, Brian. It's time to move on.

What underlies my decision? Well, I was thinking about something my old buddy Hardy-Ames Hill, the idealistic individualist, once said: "I'm not somebody who's willing personally to barter or change my morals or change my values to be accepted by anyone. That's not being true to yourself."

I can recall reading something that Albert Einstein said in 1948, at the time of the creation of the State of Israel, when he was asked to become Israel's first president -- a largely ceremonial position.
He said that as Israel?s president he could foresee that there would be occasions when he would be called upon to support and promote policies that might be at variance with his values and beliefs. He said he could not in good conscience do that; he had to be true to himself. So he had to decline the offer to be Israel's first head of state.

Incidentally, do you pick up the shades of Hamlet there? "That's not being true to yourself." As the old windbag Polonius said. -- "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." I have the same philosophy, the same philosophy of life and philosophy of politics. Just as I don't vote in elections, I must also decline elective office. "Neither a voter nor a Prime Minister be." Besides, I don't want my toothbrush being used to clean the look -- if you recall that sordid episode in Hardy's tenure as Prime Minister.

You know -- as the actor David Duchovny once said in another context -- I always feel, when somebody calls you Prime Minister, it's like they're saying "fag." You know what I hear when somebody says Prime Minister? I hear pussy. (That's Duchovny speaking.) I don't know why. Maybe the best things about the celebrity of public office are the things like being able to get that seat on Air Force One that you wouldn't normally get, but that's kind of like cheating. They're not being nice to you. You're getting good service, sure, but in the end they're thinking: pussy. I know they are. They're thinking: He couldn't take it if we didn't bring him those special chocolates. They're thinking: He couldn't take it if he had to sit in coach."

Well, believe me, I can take it, buddy. I've sat in coach. It's not that bad. The long and short of it is, I can live without being Prime Minister.

Well, just five more months, and I'll be making my comeback to Cleveland Park. What do you have planned for my return? Any special celebrations? Forget about the champagne and caviar. A modest celebration will do. You know, it's pretty exciting. The thought of a comeback. "The Comeback Kid," that's what they'll be calling me on Ordway Street. Like Napoleon making his way back to France after the disgrace of Elba. One thing, Brian, just don't ever send me to St. Helena. Now that -- that -- I couldn't take. Hopefully, there won't be any Waterloos in my future. When I come back, I'll be back to stay. And won't that be a dream come true!

I'm wondering what the future holds for me in terms of my psychotherapy. Man, do I need psychotherapy! Dr. Bash, The Mad Monk, has promised me that if she can't locate a therapist for me, she, personally, will treat me. That should be a real trip. Psychotherapy with the Mad Israeli emigre.

Dr. Bash thinks I'm a fraud. She's convinced that I'm faking my illness. That I don't actually believe that I'm under surveillance. The whole thing about the Pope knowing me, and having read my writings was too much for her. I still remember when I told her: "All the Prime Ministers of Israel know me, they know of me at least -- and they've read my autobiography." Well, that was too much for Dr Bash. "You're making it up. I don't believe you," she said.

I have to tell you, it makes complete sense to me. The whole thing. The Prime Ministers, the President of the United States, even the Pope. They all know me.

The interesting thing is that it does sound incredible on the surface. But when you start to look at the details--it makes sense. Yes, I admit it, if you look at the whole thing from a Macro-paranoia level it sounds like a script that even Chris Carter would reject. (Remember Chris Carter? Producer of the X-Files? Twin Peaks?) But at a Micro-paranoia level, the pieces start to fall into place.

Here's my thinking. These are the pertinent details.

GARY FREEDMAN. Employed as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (1988-1991). The firm's executive partners include Robert S. Strauss and Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Freedman's status as an underemployed attorney, with a Master's degree in International Trade from American University brings him to the attention of the firm's managing partners.

Upon being considered for a full-time paralegal position Freedman submits to the firm's legal assistant administrator letters of recommendation written by the Secretary of the Society of International Law (the late Seymour J. Rubin, Esq., Professor of Law, American University) and a letter by a former assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The sheer ridiculousness of Freedman's status ensures that he's going to get noticed--if not in a good way, then in a bizarre way, a way ensured to trigger hushed snickers in the inner recesses of the firm's offices.

Freedman is of mixed Polish and Jewish heritage. His mother was a Polish Catholic and his father was Jewish.

Freedman writes his autobiography. The structure of the writing is experimental. Part play, part poem, part novel. The autobiography would tend to appeal, at least as a curiosity, to a person with a literary background.

Freedman has a strong interest in classical music, and the autobiography features an abundance of material about music, musicians, and classical composers.

ROBERT S. STRAUSS. Executive partner and founder of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Areas of concentration include international trade law. Served as Special Trade Representative of the United States in the Carter Administration. Served as Ambassador to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in the Carter Administration. Met with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel.

Ego-maniac. The publication "Current Biography" (1992) reports that Robert Strauss, after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Begin and Egyptian President Sadat, exclaimed: "Begin was intrigued, captivated by me . . . . [and] Sadat was crazy about me, and I him" (quoting Time Magazine, March 14, 1988). From the perspective of the psychiatric nomenclature, the personality quality of grandiosity (a symptom of narcissistic disturbance) will tend to be associated with the qualities of "lack of empathy" and a tendency to "breach boundaries." A grandiose individual might have no compunctions about obtaining confidential mental health information about an employee (boundary breach), disseminating the material to third parties (i.e., be totally lacking in empathy for the privacy concerns of that employee)--all for the purpose of glorifying his own massive ego.

Strauss's father, Charles Strauss, was an immigrant from Germany, where he trained as a classical pianist. Charles Strauss tried to make a career for himself in the United States as a classical piano concert performer.
Strauss has an interest in biomedical issues. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency Medicine of The George Washington University, and has funded a chair in neurology at The University Of Texas Medical School. Freedman was an out-patient at the GW Medical Center Department of Psychiatry from 1992-1996, during the tenure of psychiatry department chairman Jerry M. Wiener, M.D. The late Dr. Wiener was an internationally- recognized expert in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He served as President of the American Psychiatric Association in 1994 and was a past president of The American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Wiener, like Robert Strauss, was a native of Texas and attended the Baylor College of Medicine in Waco.

VERNON JORDAN. One of three executive partners of Akin Gump, along with Robert Strauss. (I don't know the identity of the third executive partner).

Close friend and confidant of former President William Jefferson Clinton (1993-2001).
Serves on the board of trustees of Howard University. Strong interest in education issues.
WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON. Actively involved in Middle East Peace negotiations. His administration negotiated a blueprint for peace, the so-called Wye Accords. National Security adviser Samuel ("Sandy") Berger was formerly a partner at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where Gary Freedman was employed from 1985 to 1988.

President Clinton's attorney in the Paula Jones case was Robert Bennett, Esq. at Skadden Arps. The legal assistant administrator at Skadden Arps was Freddie Rios (1991- ), Gary Freedman's supervisor at Hogan & Hartson (1985-1988).

Skadden Arps employs as an attorney Michal Barak Lotenberg, Esq., the daughter of former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak.

Robert Bennett's brother is William Bennett, a highly-literate individual and author, and former Secretary of Education.

Robert Bennett also represented Henry Zapruder in litigation with the United States government concerning the ownership rights to the famous Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Zapruder's daughter, Alexandra, has been romantically involved with Craig W. Dye, since 1988.

CRAIG W. DYE. Romantically involved with Alex Zapruder, daughter of tax attorney Henry Zapruder. Employed as a paralegal at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson, beginning in 1986. Worked closely with Hogan legal assistant administrator Freddie Rios in 1986-1987 on the firm's furniture inventory, in preparation for the firm's move from 815 Connecticut Avenue to Columbia Square. Dye was Gary Freedman's best and perhaps only friend (for a time). Dye has a master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. Dye scored in the 99th percentile on the law school admission test(in 1991) and was admitted to the leading law schools including Harvard, but declined to attend law school.

EHUD BARAK. Former Prime Minister of Israel. Negotiated the Wye Accords during the Clinton Administration.

Fluent in English. Earned master's degree in systems analysis from Stanford University.
Trained as a classical pianist.

Three daughters, one of whom practices law at Skadden Arps (Michal Barak Lotenberg), where Robert Bennett is a partner.

HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II. Fluent in English. First pope to visit Israel (1999?). Met with Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Polish-born Cardinal. As a young student, was interested in drama and literature. In school days he acted with an amateur theatrical troupe and participated in poetry readings and literary discussions.
Avocations included acting, theater, and playwriting. At age forty (1960), while a priest, the future Pope wrote a play titled "The Goldsmith Shop," which tended toward symbolism, metaphysical, and poetic presentation and was critically acclaimed for its very modern and sophisticated approach to stagecraft.
Well, breathtaking, isn't it, buddy. There's no doubt in my mind. The Pope knows me, and has read my works. He's one of my fans. So much for the Mad Monk's denials. If nothing else, I think this presentation shows that I'm not making up my beliefs. I really believe what I say, because it all works out at a Micro-paranoia level.

Here's the interesting thing. Dr. Bash was convinced that I made up the whole story because when she asked me: "Why do you think all this is going on, all this surveillance? Why is it going on?" I answered: "I don't know." Dr. Bash said: "That tells me you are making up this whole story about the Pope and the Prime Minister of Israel, because every other delusional patient I have ever worke with has been able to say why he believes his in delusions. You can't tell me why you believe what you say you believe. So I have to conclude that you're making these things up."

Well, now I can say why I believe what I believe. This doesn't mean it's actually happening. But I think it establishes my bona fides. I believe--I sincerely believe--what I say I believe because it makes sense to me in terms of the connections of the parties. And we know that's the way my mind works. I am driven, by the nature of my cognition and my paranoia, to link up people and events, to look for symbolic meanings, to investigate people's backgrounds, and to see connections. Crazy as my ideas are, they have their roots in my cognitive style--the need to associate ideas and people, to link up "like with like"--and to see connections between myself and people in my environment.

Again, I realize this is all part of my psychopathology, as I told David Callet years ago. (David Callet is from Pennsylvania, and like myself attended Penn State. That means something, right? We also are very literate individuals with a high level of integrity. We're both "virtue-a-holics." Obviously, David Callet would have a special interest in me. -- Now, of course, that's a little humor, but not just humor.)

The fact is, I can't prove that my ideas about the connections between people are real, or that people have some connection to me. But I think I've established my bona fides, based on what we clearly know about the nature of my personality. I compare, and I link up ideas and people.

In answer to Dr. Bash's question: "Why do you believe this is going on?" I will say: "I believe this because of the nature of my cognition, and the fact that I need to link up my immediate surroundings with people and issues on a grander scale. My real-life connections to Craig Dye and Freddie Rios and my more tenuous links to Robert Strauss and Vernon Jordan link up, at a much more tenuous level, with Prime Minister Barak and the Pope. My mind just expands ideas outward--from the most immediate to the most distant. I wonder if Dr. Bash can accept this explanation?

Be that as it may.

I was doing some reading about the Pope. Funny thing. He has things in common with my old buddy Hardy-Ames Hill. Hardy's mom died when he was ten years old. I think it was a defining event for him. I think his integrity as a person and his idealism can be traced to his psychological struggle with his mother's death.
And don't you know! The Pope's mother died when little Karol was nine years old. He must have been a sensitive child (you can see his artistic temperament in his interests and avocations, going back to his schoolhood days). He must have been really affected by his mother's death.

And oddly enough, he has things in common with Hardy. The idealism. "To thine own self be true." The leadership qualities. "In high school I played soccer, tennis and I swam. I always swam. In my senior year I captained all three teams." Then on the TV reality series "Big Brother" you could see the leadership qualities and the mentoring of the other contestants--and his need to protect the weaker players.

I remember what Hardy said to the other houseguests when he won the Head-of-Household position for the second time (by the way, he holds the record on that show for earning the title three times): "If anyone thinks this Head-of- Household thing has f-----g gone to my head, just stop me in my place and fucking tell me. I ain't better than any of you's guys."

Buddy, can't you just hear the Pope saying that to the College of Cardinals?

Check you out later, Brian. It's been great, buddy.

P.S. You think Shelly Cohen at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius knows nothing about this? He's a GW trustee and Henry Zapruder's old tax law partner at MLB. And of course, Shelly Cohen knows Gene Lambert, Esq. at Covington & Burling, another GW trustee. Give me time and enough computer space, and I could link up the entire world!

By the way, don't tell Shelly Cohen that I haven't filed a tax return in years. He's the former IRS Commissioner. The IRS is just about the only federal agency that hasn't investigated me at one time or another. Let's keep it that way.


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