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Melvin Eats Bluber

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(@entropy)
Posts: 491
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I have no idea why this question popped into my mind but does anyone know anything more about the "Melville Eats Blubber" buttons that Zodiac is referencing here? I know it’s a reference to Moby Dick, of course, but what exactly was this button attempting to convey, who the hell would wear it and why?

In doing a bit of googling, it seems that the Melville Eats Blubber buttons, like the peace sign and Black Power buttons also mentioned by Z, are described as "Hippie protest buttons", "favored by at least one college English professor" and apparently sold in "underground counterculture stores". They were produced by Irwin Weisfeld’s Horatio Button Company, which was known for creating other countercultural slogan buttons in the mid to late 60s, and the ones I saw for sale came from small stores in San Francisco.

It just seems like a rather curious and obscure reference from Z, IMO, and why is he focused on these countercultural protest buttons? He indicates that "everyone has these (countercultural protest) buttons and would be "cheered up considerably" if people wore Zodiac buttons instead, which he never elaborates on. I know most folks think he changed the slogan to Melvin as a purposeful reference to Melvin Belli but I honestly wonder if this wasn’t just a slip of the pen from somebody who may have already been focused on Belli. If it was intentional, what would this be trying to convey to Belli?

He also states that he wants to "see nice Zodiac butons wandering about town", which to me would most likely be referring to San Francisco rather than Vallejo or anywhere else since SF was the center of countercultural protest and he had sent two letters in the past week to the SF Chronicle FROM San Francisco. To me, this seems to indicate that he is spending a good bit of quality time in the town of San Francisco and then complains two months later that he is not seeing anyone wearing his ill-defined "Zodiac buttons".

Perhaps I need to go back to read Moby Dick to get the countercultural message here?

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 10:43 am
Seagull
(@seagull)
Posts: 2309
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I think Melvin Belli was part of the equation for Zodiac mentioning that specific button. Not sure why exactly, though. It could have been because out of all the buttons he could have mentioned, this one came closest to being a veiled threat as opposed to something that said "Make Love Not War" or "Tune in, Turn on, Drop Out", for instance.

www.santarosahitchhikermurders.com

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 11:10 am
(@entropy)
Posts: 491
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Topic starter
 

You may be right, Seagull. Still not clear what the implied threat would be though or what the original button conveyed. I wonder if Z got the drift of it whatever it was intended to convey?

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 11:26 am
Quicktrader
(@quicktrader)
Posts: 2598
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I know most folks think he changed the slogan to Melvin as a purposeful reference to Melvin Belli but I honestly wonder if this wasn’t just a slip of the pen from somebody who may have already been focused on Belli.

True…Z mentioned Melvin Belli in two of his letters. Think that someone would only do that if he had a personal connection, what type of ever, to Melvin. Z mentioned the button Melvin used and may or may not this have been from the lawyer’s organization (‘nasty ones’). So obviously Z is not only referring to Melving but also to such an organization, possibly being angry on Melvin being an attorney. This again would imply Z could have been related to a case Melvin Belli was involved. Somewhere it was mentioned that police had tried to check all of Melvin’s clients, however was not able to find any hint connecting a client to Z cases.

QT

*ZODIACHRONOLOGY*

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 3:57 pm
morf13
(@morf13)
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"In 2011 Weisfeld developed another addition to the Heavy Metal Magazine brand with the creation of Metal Media, a news and personality section featuring unseen film pre-production art, profiles, movie design reviews and other material related to science fiction and fantasy entertainment. The initial section spotlighted the work of film pre-production artist Rafael Kayanan and discussed Kayanan’s character designs for director Tarsem’s Immortals (2011 film) In the January 2012 Metal Media article, Weisfeld described his father’s creation of a 60s fad button (Melville Eats Blubber) which was cited in letters written by San Francisco’s Zodiac Killer (who twisted the button into, "Melvin Eats Blubber", a swipe at lawyer Melvin Belli ) as inspiration for his button extortion plot against the city. The Zodiac threatened to blow up a school bus if he did not see people wearing "Zodiac Buttons". The school bus threat became a central element of the film Dirty Harry, a film which, ironically, had been a strong influence on on Weisfeld’s creative development when he was a teenager. The original Melvin Eats Blubber button was produced by the Horatio Button Company, named for Weisfeld when he was a child, several years before the Zodiac killings began."

Some Melville books- http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/7v-antique-vintage-herman-melville-typ…-7452-c-19631f610e
Personally, I don’t read much, so not sure what his books are about

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 6:10 pm
(@anonymous)
Posts: 1772
Noble Member
 

I think Zodiac was slamming the fact that Melvin Belli was somewhat obese, also.
Melivn eats Blubber is a big FU to Belli. Zodiac most likely lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and was exposed to
the counter culture. And it did touch him somewhat. It’s all about LOVE baby, that must have rattled his cage.

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 7:43 pm
AK Wilks
(@ak-wilks)
Posts: 1407
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Herman Melville is most famous for writing "Moby Dick" , about the hunt for the great white whale.

MODERATOR

 
Posted : February 8, 2014 8:13 pm
smithy
(@smithy)
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I have to post in this thread ‘cos of my avatar. ;)

 
Posted : February 9, 2014 2:44 am
(@entropy)
Posts: 491
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Topic starter
 

I have to post in this thread ‘cos of my avatar. ;)

Best post ever. :lol: So… smithy… if you were this guy hanging out in 1969 San Francisco, why would you pin that button on your flower vest?

 
Posted : February 9, 2014 7:27 am
smithy
(@smithy)
Posts: 955
Prominent Member
 

A little expression of rebellion. Was Moby Dick a set text in schools and colleges perhaps?
A button saying "Shakespeare do sucketh, prithee" would have gone down well at my school.
That’s about it, I think. *shrug*

Oh! And the guy who wrote those letters was of course making a smug little literary-based joke about Melville’s name v’s Melvin Belli, the notion of the hunt for a white whale, and the idea that compelling people to wear buttons through the threat of murder is OK, but that they shouldn’t wear "nasty ones".
I believe he was wondering how far he could push the envelope. A little experiment.
A strange man, huh?

 
Posted : February 9, 2014 2:37 pm
Tahoe27
(@tahoe27)
Posts: 5315
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I think Melvin Belli was an ass and I’d bet Zodiac did too. Just a pun of words, imo.

Why did Melville eat Blubber? I don’t know…maybe he was an ass too. I read a lot of people didn’t like his work.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : February 10, 2014 1:19 am
(@deplorable-at-best)
Posts: 78
Trusted Member
 

In the January 2012 Metal Media article, Weisfeld described his father’s creation of a 60s fad button (Melville Eats Blubber) which was cited in letters written by San Francisco’s Zodiac Killer (who twisted the button into, "Melvin Eats Blubber", a swipe at lawyer Melvin Belli ) as inspiration for his button extortion plot against the city. The Zodiac threatened to blow up a school bus if he did not see people wearing "Zodiac Buttons". The school bus threat became a central element of the film Dirty Harry, a film which, ironically, had been a strong influence on on Weisfeld’s creative development when he was a teenager. The original Melvin Eats Blubber button was produced by the Horatio Button Company, named for Weisfeld when he was a child, several years before the Zodiac killings began.

 
Posted : February 10, 2014 9:45 am
(@deplorable-at-best)
Posts: 78
Trusted Member
 

In June 1967 Marvel issued a comic satirizing Spider-man vs. Batman and featuring attorney Melvin Belly (Belli):

http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogsp … atman.html

Enjoy.

 
Posted : February 10, 2014 10:02 am
(@tracers)
Posts: 35
Eminent Member
 

I’ve seen other vintage pins with saying like "Shakespeare Eats Bacon," "Goldilocks Eats Porridge," and even "Ronald Reagan Eats Peanut Butter." I never understood that Reagan one. I have that Melville Eats Blubber Pin and around the sides on the back of mine it says "A Big Little Store 1738 Polk St. SF" There is some sort of indentation or stamp on the inside of the back of the pin, but I can’t make out what it says.

 
Posted : February 10, 2014 10:37 am
Tahoe27
(@tahoe27)
Posts: 5315
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The pin which is smithy’s avatar was recently listed on ebay. Here is what they wrote:

***

Psychedelic Relic! 60’s – 70’s VIETNAM Peace & Hippie Era PROTEST BUTTON!

No Reserve Auction. Now with Free Shipping!

AUCTION ITEM – Title:

"MELVILLE EATS BLUBBER"

Moby Dick

Vintage Hippie LSD Psychedelic Movement related Protest Pin.

Based on the popular literature the fiction novel book by Melville "Moby Dick."
Description: VERY GOOD CONDITION! Size: 1 1/4" Type: Celluloid. Condition: All items are used and will have imperfections. All imperfections may not be described. Please examine the photos for the best information on the condition of any item. Additional: Manufacturer’s ID on curl for: UUU. SEE SCAN. No reserve. This is genuine- not a reproduction.

Many baby boomers were required in High School to read "Moby-Dick"(1851) the sixth book by American writer Herman Melville. This made the symbols ripe for plucking for protest button writers. The work is an epic sea-story of Captain Ahab’s voyage in pursuit of Moby Dick, a great white whale. It initially received mixed reviews and at Melville’s death in 1891 was remembered, if at all, as a children’s sea adventure, but now is considered one of the Great American Novels and a leading work of American Romanticism. Ishmael narrates the voyage of the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ahab has one purpose: revenge on Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white whale which on a previous voyage destroyed Ahab’s ship and severed his leg at the knee. The detailed and realistic descriptions of whale hunting and the process of extracting whale oil, as well as life aboard ship among a culturally diverse crew, are mixed with exploration of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of God.

Sixties Flashback:

Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project while his studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university. Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy, such as "turn on, tune in, drop out", "set and setting", and "think for yourself and question authority." During the 1960s and 1970s, Leary was arrested regularly and was held captive in 29 different prisons throughout the world. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as "the most dangerous man in America."

As the psychedelic revolution and hippy protest movement exploded counterculture shops blossomed from New York City Greenwich Village to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury to Berkeley, California a multitude of protest and cause buttons brightly decorated landscape proclaiming the message of change- from Dr. Tim Leary’s "Tune in, Turn on, Dropout" to the peace movements plea to "End the War in Vietnam" to the "Free Love" sexual revolution to zany barbs and boosting acid rock bands like the Grateful Dead- these pin are now valuable collectibles bringing back memories of a vital era in American culture.

This underground pinback button or badge relates to the Hippie (or Hippy) Counterculture Movement of the psychedelic Sixties (1960’s) and Seventies (1970’s) and is guaranteed to be genuine as described. This retro kitsch collectible can be a great Christmas and Holiday gift or present for the baby-boomer who loves nostalgia! This vintage underground political pinback button relates to the Viet Nam Era Anti-War Peace Movement and relates to the liberal, radical and socialist progressive political movement and is guaranteed to be genuine as described.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : February 10, 2014 10:56 am
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