Saturday, September 18, 2004

Will The Real Patty Hearst Please Stand Up?




On today’s date in 1975, while the radio was playing The Three Degrees’ hit, “When Will I See You Again”, and the fall out from Watergate was still being experienced; Patricia Hearst was arrested.

Patty Hearst was the daughter of newspaper impresario, Randolph Hearst. She had been kidnapped On February 4, of the following year by a rag-tag group of home grown terrorists that grandly dubbed themselves, The Symbionese Liberation Army.

From the start, Hearst’s abduction captured the American public’s imagination. Here was this attractive young woman taken from her apartment, her boyfriend beaten trying to protect her; it was a national nightmare that many middle class families may have feared (their well healed daughter taken by a bunch of hippie freaks).

At first the public was sympathetic to the Hearst family and Patty’s ordeal, until that day in April of ’74 when Hearst was photographed at the scene of a bank robbery welding a semi-automatic seemingly assisting her former captors.

And then the tapes started coming forth. The press played these recordings of Patty referring to her parents as “pigs”. Well, that about ended the public’s sympathy for the poor little rich kidnapped girl.

A few month’s before her capture, Rolling Stone Magazine (which actually used to be worth reading if you can believe it) scored some interviews with S.L.A. members and possibly Hearst herself…Suddenly Patty became the darling of the counter-culture and the hellion nightmare of the silent majority.

When she was captured, Hearst was asked what her occupation was, “Urban Guerilla” she responded.

After a point, reports about her abduction become known. She had been blindfolded and kept in a closet for days on end, she was browbeaten daily and eventually, it seems, Stockholm Syndrome proved all to real, and Patty Hearts took the name Tania, and joined those who took her . Was she a victim, or a just a bored teen that found a thrill in this Bonnie and Clyde world she was thrust into---who knows?

Coming from a very wealthy family, Patty's sentence for her crimes was commuted by then President Carter (she was never officially pardoned for the crimes until President Bill Clinton made it official during his final days in office)

Today, Patty is married to her former body guard, and lives the life of a Northern California lady of breeding, when not making movies with John Waters.

If you ever see Hearst being interviewed, she comes across as somewhat … oh how to put this delicately … shallow. I can’t help but to wonder who she really is? I would like nothing more than to meet her and have a heart to heart. I don’t doubt for a moment that her kidnapping was a hellish ordeal, but somewhere along the way, I don’t understand why she did what she did. It seems that she had more than enough opportunities on several occasions during her capture to walk away, why did she chose to stay?

Fear, boredom, or was this the case of a daddy’s girl going for the ultimate revenge?


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