David McCalden Archival Materials
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In the last issue of SR I asked what you thought about making McCalden's papers available to the public, noting that in his writing he was often wrong and cruel. With the exception of a handful of you, all who responded suggested that the materials should be made available to all those who are doing research, and that good sense should be used the rest of the time. There were three or four who wrote that the papers should be made available to all who want them, regardless of what they want them for. One man said we ought to destroy the lot.
A surprising number of you wrote or called to say that McCalden had knowingly written falsehoods about you, sometimes damaging ones. I was set back by how many of you made such claims. If I remember correctly, none of you who claimed to be slandered in McCalden's newsletter asked that the materials be kept from circulation.
When Cole and I first thought of doing something with the McCalden Newsletter, what came to my mind was how much of the history of revisionist activism they contained and how helpful they will prove to be one day when a real history of revisionism is written. I didn't really think about all the old bad-blood stories McCalden used to run. I tend to let that stuff slide. It's a weakness in my character that many people pointed out to me.
From the day I met him until the day he died, McCalden was my friend, and that's the way I rememher him still. When I started hearing from some of you about your experiences with him, much of which I was unfamiliar with, I began recalling some of the old arguments he and I used to have. One example will suffice to suggest how bone-headed he could be.
One evening we were lifting a few pints of Harp and Bass at the King's Head Pub in Santa Monica, when I happened to mention that both my parents had been born into Catholic families. My father drifted away from the church about 1905, and my mother gave up on it during World War I while she was in high school in Santa Monica, only a few blocks from where we were drinking that very night, 70 years later.
At the time McCalden (I'm using David's last name so that there is no confusion with David Cole) and I were having a row over a public debate that CODOH was arranging between itself and a team of Christians led by Hal Lindsey, the best-selling author. The row had to do with my not having invited McCalden to be on the revisionist panel. Mark Weber, I, Robert Faurisson and Robert Countess were to make up the revisionist team for this debate, which in the end didn't happen because at the last minute the other side backed down.
I was soon to discover that in addition to the other charges that McCalden was making about me, he added one about me being part of a "Papist plot." I think I've written about this before. At first I thought it was funny. I thought he would drop it, but he didn't. It didn't matter that I had been raised a Brethren, not Catholic, that I had never been to a mass or a confession, and that I had lost my religious interests as a boy in the 1940s, and all religious "belief" by the time I was 20. None of that mattered. I was working for the victory of the Papist plot. It was the sheer bone-headedness of the thing that impressed me.
Now, over the last couple months, listening to people tell me about experiences they had with McCalden that were considerably more serious than a papist plot accusation, I've had occasion to reflect on my friend's career. While McCalden would view the incidents differently than the individuals do who were on the other side of them, nevertheless, there is a pattern to the material that is very disturbing. I began to feel that I didn't want anything to do with his newsletters. More than half, I guess.
The Roy Bullock/ADL Affair has impacted on this story in a way that I would never have been able to predict. Bullock is the art dealer in San Francisco who, it has been revealed, has been a spy for the ADL for years. McCalden and I and a lot of other revisionist knew Bullock in the 1980s. Apparently Bullock and the ADL had a special relationship with at least one officer on the San Francisco police department. Bullock and the ADL both appear to have been on the receiving end of confidential police files. Bullock has been at his work for 20 years or so.
I met Bullock about 1986, the year he was denounced as an ADL spy and banned from attending the IHR Conference in Southern California. While I took the charge seriously, as is usual with me, I neither believed nor disbelieved it. I had nothing personal against Bullock, he appeared to be a pleasant sort, and when he asked me to have coffee with him, I went along. He wanted to tell me about how bad it made him feel to be accused of spying for the ADL and so on. He was of medium height, with the strong upper body of a weight lifter (I think he was wearing a T-shirt), and I had the uneasy feeling that he was homosexual. It wasn't my sense of him being homosexual that made me uncomfortable but my sense that he was and that he didn't want me to know. It was how this apparent subterfuge made me part of something that it was unnecessary for me to be a part of that caused me the discomfort.
When McCalden died, it soon became common knowledge that he had died of AIDS, I received several calls from reporters wanting background on him. One was a free lancer working on a story for The Advocate, a gay weekly published in Los Angeles. Its offices on La Brea are down the street from where I lived for so many years.
The reporter said the Advocate was interested in the story if McCalden had been gay. If he hadn't been, they weren't. I said that McCalden and I had drunk together for ten years, that sometimes we had drunk a lot, and that it had never occurred to me that he was homosexual, and the fact that he had gotten AIDS hadn't changed my mind about that. The reporter wouldn't let go of the story. Finally he leveled with me. He had gotten a lead from an activist lawyer in Boston. He gave me the lawyer's name, which I recognized at the time but have forgotten now. The story was that McCalden, while attending two successive conferences of left-wing lawyers in Washington D.C. in the late 1980s, had ended up each time in a corner of the room with a clutch of known homosexuals. While the anecdote was hearsay, and I was told it by someone I didn't know, I confess that I felt a little whisper of anxiety about it. I don't know why. That's the danger with rumor and gossip. In only a moment, it can undermine a lifetime of experience. No one should know it more surely than ourselves. Rumor and gossip are what so much of the Holocaust story thrives on.
Several weeks ago, while I was reading some clippings from the San Francisco Chronicle on the Bullock-ADL connection, I learned that Bullock speaks openly about being homosexual. So my sense of that about him had been right all along. The Bullock story of course is a subject of some interest and amusement among revisionists, and I talked about it a number of times. A story line began forming in the back of my mind.
I had always been impressed with the professional quality of McCalden's newsletter. It was chock full of real news and real information every issue. He hadn't arrived in America until 1978 but knew stuff about revisionism, revisionist figures and right wing personalities from the 1960s and 70s that demonstrated he had a source or sources for information that was beyond what any of the rest of us had, myself particularly. I never thought to wonder who his sources were. I don't know why.
One night during a telephone conversation it was suggested to me that Bullock had been McCalden's source. Why? McCalden died of AIDS; Bullock is homosexual. Bullock is an acknowledged spy for the Anti-Defamation League. McCalden wanted information on figures in the Holocaust Lobby. Bullock wanted information on revisionists. Who else would talk to McCalden? Almost nobody who had any real contacts with the radical right or among revisionists trusted McCalden or would talk to him. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but not much of one. Bullock is the one figure who had what McCalden wanted, and McCalden was the one revisionist in a position to use what Bullock could provide.
There didn't have to be a sexual relationship between Bullock and McCalden. It was only a matter, as my friend said, of "those people hang together." In certain circumstances, I suppose they would. I think now that it's possible that this might have been one of those circumstances. The pieces fit together very well. It's intriguing. I'll probably never know the truth about it, but it's a scenario that answers a lot of questions. It's a scenario whose outline embraces even the gossip about McCalden's behavior at the lawyers' conferences in Washington.
Now I recall one other thing that the reporter for the Advocate told me. One reason he suspected that there was something to the rumors of McCalden being gay, in addition to his dying of AIDS, is that he was an incurable gay-basher. Which is true. A number of us, as a matter of fact I think every one of us who knew him and liked him and admired his work, argued with him year after year to let up on his "outings" of suspected homosexuals and his ceaseless and openly cruel attacks against known homosexuals. It was something about him we couldn't understand. Even those among us who had no particular esteem for homosexuals argued for him to let up on it in his newsletter.
So what does all this mean, if anything? What does it mean to me? Well, it's a good story line. It doesn't change the memory of friendship that I carry in my heart for my dead friend. It's an intriguing story. And I suppose it adds to my reluctance to involve myself further with the McCalden newsletters for the time being. It's not political, has nothing to do with ethics. I feel a subjective aversion to being involved with them. The feeling will probably pass.
Meanwhile, as a matter of fact, I don't have possession of the newsletters. By a series of coincidences, all the relevant McCalden materials are in the hands of David Cole. He didn't ask for them. He was simply the only one at the time when the decision had to be made who was able – and willing – to take charge of them. By his action he saved the remnants of McCalden's files from being trashed by others who have no interest in seeing any of it survive. Cole has put himself out considerably taking care of these materials, and it will be he and whatever other representatives there still are of McCalden's shattered family who will decide among themselves what should be done during this last act of the David McCalden drama.
May he rest in peace.
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Bradley R. Smith|
|Title:||David McCalden Archival Materials|
|Sources:||Smith's Report, no. 15 + 16, Summer 1993, pp. 23-27|
|First posted on CODOH:||Sept. 1, 2015, 1:18 p.m.|