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An Ecstatic Loneliness: Chapter One

By Michael Moriarty
web posted August 13, 2012

What am I doing here? The woman is insane!

Those were my thoughts as I listened to Attorney General Janet Reno assume she had the right to attack television programming such as Murder She Wrote. My own series, Law and Order, would surely be her next target.

"I know Murder She Wrote has no scenes of violence," declared the AG over our shared table of about seven, untouched chicken dinners, "But they talk about nothing but violence!"

I am writing this tale of Ecstatic Loneliness 18 years after that scene with Janet Reno. The sudden but indelibly etched eruption within my memory from a decisively radicalized, American Left-field Medusa?!


Hello, Progressive America!

The Obama Nation!!

I'm in Canada. Have been, as I said, for the 16 years in which my Ecstatic Loneliness has ripened into the other title for my life, The Haunted Heaven.

Who was there at that meeting with me? Law and Order's producer, Dick Wolf, and a number of NBC executives all the way to the top of primetime programming.

They and Janet Reno … and myself.

The Progressive New World Order, or its World War III Axis has, since Bill Clinton's appearance in the White House, become a Clintonian Third Way or, as I see it, an increasingly totalitarian Fourth World Reich.

The pronunciation of Reich, in the context of a Progressive New World Order, or Fourth Reich, should never be Hitlerian or harsh. The Progressive's gentle pronunciation of Reich has a slight but gentle smile beneath it.

Rather like that of Bill Clinton's description of himself as a "Progressive Baptist".

"How gentle will be the Clintonian pilgrimage to Progressive Enlightenment!!"

Roughly eighteen years is how swiftly an "enlightened" insanity raced from Bill Clinton, through George Bush Jr.'s appetite for national debt and then exploding into full-blown Marxism within Barack Obama's first term in office.

Within it, however, was born a blessing in disguise: my Ecstatic Loneliness. One might say it was actually given birth with Dick Wolf's question: "General?"

 According to our pre-meeting informants, Janet Reno loved being called "General".

"General, must you be so strident about this?"

As I watched the other participants in this meeting with "The General", as I felt them squirm at the same time I was almost vomiting into my own uneaten chicken dinner, the guest of honor's most dramatic moment came with this warning: "From now on," she hissed in a whisper, "I will speak no louder than this."
Nurse Ratched
Nurse Ratched as Janet Reno
Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched, the insanely calm tyrant within Jack Nicholson's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, that nightmare of empowerment seemed to have been Janet Reno's speech teacher. We were left with much the same dramatic effect, including Nurse Janet Ratched Reno's wisp of a contemptuous smile beneath it all.

"From now on I will speak no louder than this."

And that, for myself at any rate, was the moment when the American Fourth Reich was born.

Now that I have again cleared the deck of all potential readers and/or listeners on the Left?! We shall begin with a major theme in my life: female authority figures.

My second of five wives claims I projected my problems with my own mother onto that poor unfortunate, female Attorney General of the United States. Therefore we must have a flashback of sorts.

My mother was, like myself, an alcoholic.

My father, also an alcoholic, was an unrelentingly imperial, functioning alcoholic, know-it-all physician in Detroit, Michigan.

I unavoidably had problems with both of them.

Therefore, said my second wife, it follows that I would automatically project onto a female authority figure, such as the Attorney General of the Unite States, Janet Reno, the same trapped feelings I had with my fall-down-drunk mother.

This second former wife, Anne, is a psychiatric social worker.

What Anne says about Janet Reno may be true. Having wallowed in therapy sessions with a psychiatrist for ten years and a Karen Horney graduate in psychoanalysis for an additional two, I'm more than familiar with not only the head-shrink lexicon but most of its disturbingly adaptable applications.

However, and to get on with this opening scene in Washington, D.C., the Attorney General, during the three hours I had to endure that meeting with her, was horrifyingly sober and, amidst her cold-blooded ravings and highly unconstitutional insanity, she was militantly restrained.

Upon returning to my Washington D.C. hotel room, I opened both my laptop computer and the liquor cabinet. Knowing full well that my entire family had been pickled, virtually embalmed by alcohol, I began my leap into what many might call "my mid-life crisis".

Yes, this is actually when and where my Ecstatic Loneliness had begun. I somehow knew what I must do to warn America about the Clinton Administration and its Medusa of an Attorney General. These plans of mine to expose the Clinton Administration of its continuing assault upon the Constitution? Affronts to an individually free America in the same way this same General Reno assaulted the Koresh Compound in Waco Texas? I already sense that these efforts of mine would all come to utter and complete defeat. Yet I knew I must press on with these revelations.

By the end of two days and while back in New York, I had produced a record of the Washington D.C. meeting with the clear intention of sharing it with The Press.

Going public about the meeting?

My fair weather friend at the time, Ira Glasser of the American Civil Liberties Union, following the press conference, warned me, "Michael, they (the Establishment) will cut you from the pack and you will soon become isolated and entirely alone."

Hmmm … that was fairly clear and painfully accurate.

There were lighter moments to these initial ordeals, as when one member of the Law and Order production company observed, "To attack the Attorney General like that, Michael, you must have to carry your balls around in a wheel barrow!"

Quite to the contrary!

Beyond that disclosure, I have no more details to add.

Couple that almost candid disclosure regarding my "manhood", link it with the chest scars which, five years ago, I received from a heart operation and … well … thank God my face is in reasonable if somewhat chubbily decent shape.

I wish my teeth weren't falling out so fast but … oh, well … I'll deal with it when they've all fallen out and I can get dentures.

The truth be known, I was never an altogether manly specimen. My limitations made my brief football career in prep school and Jesuit high school … these increasingly seminal embarrassments made such playground valiance ultimately unsustainable.

I was a diver on the swimming team for about ten minutes. My height of 6'2 and my utterly rebellious feet proved fatal to both diving and ballet.

"Spoon feet" my ballerina first wife, Francoise, called them. Appendages that were born not to point!

So there, in short, is a snapshot of Michael Moriarty as an increasingly confused teenager.

Fear not!

Enlightenment and my first taste of ecstatic loneliness – preceding Janet Medusa Reno by decades –  were only a few years off!!

Heaven on Earth at 24 was approaching.

My first encounter with a "blinding light", as it is sometimes called, was in the Spring of 1964. Most of my thoughts, at least those I hold to passionately, revolve around a Joycean "epiphany" in that year's Florence, Italy. My whole life leads to it, away from it, and then, thank God, a permanent return to the home of this ecstatic loneliness.

An old way station of mine, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, has recently reentered my thoughts with the mild, spiritual despair of my dearest friend, Irene Mettler. She had found a total non-sequitur in C.S. Lewis' Catholic meditations. It momentarily broke her heart. She honestly asked where she might turn for a bit of spiritual renewal.

I suggested Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Or, as his disciples call him, "Osho".

To help her, I bumped up the increasingly numerous internet links to Rajneesh's theological magic.

There is, in my mind, a dividing point in Rajneesh's life: before and after the moment he began to include Christ in his small list of role models.

He had always based his personal Trinity of philosophers on Buddha, Mohammed and the East Indian school. The necessities for his own amalgamation of these three corner stones were mathematics, music and emptiness. Within that trio of subjects lay full enlightenment.

With the progeny of Judeo-Christianity literally owning the major achievements within science, then Christ's life as a Dancing Wine God and, finally, the evidence of Jesus' surrender to Christian Emptiness with the words: "Thy will, not mine"?!

Upon realizing that, my momentary dependence upon Rajneesh ended. His exercises in speech and silence, seen clearly in his own speech patterns, are, however, always refreshing!

The Seat of Nothingness, of course, sits in the very Universe that surrounds us.

I prefer to call it The Seat of Listening!

If you can't be profoundly silent, you can't be profoundly informed. You cannot hear deeply enough.

The pauses within Rajneesh's talks, regularly placed in intervals following, at the most, four or five words of speech … remind you of the Master's own technique of meditation. He doesn't "check in" to his emptiness following every sentence. No. In mid-sentence he empties. Goes void, testing the actual authenticity of his own thoughts by a surrender to Nothingness. For the most part, he rarely ventures down a path of thought that doesn't complete itself both fully and poetically.

All of this clarity and logic, despite the interruptions of Nothingness.

Symbolically and metaphorically, Rajneesh was himself a walking poem.

He was, in contrast to many of the well-known artists and scientists of Life, his own greatest creation.

Rajneesh's best role model, though it took him awhile to admit it, is Christ!

Oh, my second wife – the psychiatric social worker – and I became big fans of a Rajneesh disciple, a Catholic priest no less. His sermons were particularly liberating.

They were so liberating that he was moved to another parish.

Hmmm …

My relation to the Catholic Church, because of such "Catholic" decisions, would weaken.

Then, years later after the arrival of a pro-abortion President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, my Catholic ties would strengthen.

In between, were my four Law and Order years.

Those ties, of course, ended when my network, NBC, and studio, Universal Television, backed away from my stand against Attorney General Janet Reno. Realizing their cowardice, I announced my departure from not only American television but America itself. I advertised it in both Variety and Hollywood Reporter.

Law and Order's response was to say they "fired me" for odd behavior on the set.

Variety and Hollywood Reporter made no effort to set the record straight.

So Ira Glasser was beyond accurate. He'd painted a mild picture of The American Establishment I would be dealing with for the rest of my life.

I saw no recourse but to leave for Canada.

I record these memories as they come to me, guided by a general outline of the last eighteen and a half years of my life, 1993-2012, the duration of my Ecstatic Loneliness.

What I haven't confessed about that time was my increasingly close relationship to Christ!

What has now become my God, my Evy, my nickname for Everything, is centered in the New Testament.

My other, increasingly profound influence, the ancient Greeks and their God of Wine, Dance and Theater, Dionysius, would grow in these coming years of An Ecstatic Loneliness.

A Christonysian God never left me. Even in the pain of both my heart failure and the beating I was given in Maple Ridge, British Columbia one night.

Yes, I'll be jumping around, as they say. All seems interconnected now and the whims of my narration will venture to show that.

In order to prove that?

I'm listening now to the most recent recordings I've done, the One For Mamma selection.

Bye Bye Blackbird begins them. Then My Funny Valentine.

Yes, I do enjoy that treasure chest called The American Songbook.

It was forever a profound part of my Ecstatic Loneliness.

I'll be adding and ripening what I hope will be another CD of mine. Perhaps my favorite album, since everything about it so far carries all the effects of my Ecstatic Loneliness.

Please remember, however, I was never without the loneliest soul to ever walk the earth, Jesus of Nazareth. I prayed to Him daily, drunk or sober.

He was an even more profound Wine God than Dionysius.

He still is the profoundest of Wine Gods, despite the "Let Go, Let God" salvation of Alcoholics Anonymous and eight years of sobriety.

I have work to do for my Lord and I can't drink if I want it completed.

Just added a few lines to my poem: Speaking From Eternity.

Speaking from a Broadway stage, however … 'n carrying on like a male girly-girly?! 'N I was good! Won a Tony Award for it, prancin' around not like a man … but a girly-girly.

My God, seems like such a long time ago … like another life.

Another Century!

It was the Seventies then.

Early Seventies before AIDS showed up.

Showed up to scare the hell out of us.

Where was I in this book-length narrative?

Somewhere and some place following my encounter with Janet Reno.

The first thing that comes to mind is the lonely period, the bewildered days in my new house, Evergrowth.

But this is as good a place to break off my story. I don't want any of my chapters to be much longer than ten pages at the most.

Till next week?


Till next week … and the next chapter. ESR

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at rainbowfamily2008@yahoo.com.






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