“Nothing can exceed the solemnity and the stillness of the redwood groves of
“Did you say the Bohemian Club? That’s where all those rich Republicans go up and stand naked against redwood trees, right? I’ve never been to the Bohemian Club, but you oughta go. It’d be good for you. You’d get some fresh air.”
Bill Clinton, to a heckler in 2007.
This has to be one of the most jaw-droppingly surreal things I have ever heard of. I don’t believe in massive conspiracies and All-Powerful Secret Societies, but…….. (more whirring of Theremins) in San Francisco in 1872, a small group of journalists formed a private club at the Astor Hotel on Sacramento Street called the Bohemian Club. The original members were basically learned, monied men who felt a certain disdain for what they perceived as the plebian character of post gold-rush Californian culture. They longed for the gravitas of the
It seems that initially, the club was more or less true to its name, and membership was based around considerable wealth, artistic talent, and intellectual prowess. However, from the very beginning, the Club’s Eurocentric pretensions dwindled fast, and the interests of commercial and political power came increasingly to the fore. Slowly, it evolved into a highly secretive, all-male club whose membership history is a staggering role-call of the American military, political, and media elite; every Republican president since Calvin Coolidge has been a member of the Bohemian Club. In 1878, several dozen Bohemians took to the secluded redwood forests of Sonoma Country, some 75 miles outside
In 1899, the Club bought a 160 acre piece of land in the
Weird Scenes inside the Grove.
President Herbert Hoover once called the Grove “the greatest man’s party on earth” , and it seems that a great deal of unfettered male revelry goes on. The elites are said to enjoy the freedom of excessive outdoor drinking, urinating, and apparently even a fairly high percentage of homosexual shenanigans, under the shadow of those towering redwoods. (Nixon, with typical charm, labeled the event “very faggy” in private conversation, adding “I wouldn’t shake hands with half those people in
Weirder Scenes. This extraordinary picture was taken in the Grove in the late fifties. The man standing is Glenn T. Seaborg, a Nobel prize winning chemist. Sitting at either side are Ronald Reagan and Tricky Dicky. Reagan was still a B-movie actor at the time.
There are certain things which, though certainly true, possess such a transcendent level of camp strangeness that they transform the world we live in into some kind of deranged B-movie extravaganza. This is certainly one of those things. I don’t know how else to preface this, other than by saying that it is all a matter of uncontested record. In 1885, Joseph C. Redding, musical genius and attorney for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, was elected president of the Bohemian Club. Under influences that remain obscure to this day,
Well, we’ve only just scrapped the surface of this rich subject, and will certainly return to it, by and by. For the moment, let it suffice to say if you that if you are ever asked the question Is there a Place on this Earth where the World’s Most Powerful Men participate in a Pseudo-Sacrificial Ritual at the Foot of a Giant Owl that speaks with the Voice of Walter Cronkite, the answer, weirdly enough, is yes. Bohemian Grove, seventy five miles outside of San Fran. It might come up in a pub quiz.