Whitey Bulger The Pathetic

adx-florence-4My two previous posts concerned Whitey Bulger. I suggested he was no more than a two-bit hoodlum with a highly exaggerated reputation. I’m not saying that he did not cowardly murder people along with his buddies, that he did; it’s just that he was no different from hundreds others like him and except for other factors beyond his control he’d have passed quite unnoticed to all.

Given that, I still thought even among people of his ilk there would be a desire to maintain a modicum of self-respect. Take Murderman John Martorano, he was going to rat out Whitey to get a deal for himself, a marvelous deal as it turned out: twelve years in prison for twenty murders and $20,000 start-up money, a thousand dollars a murder, upon release from prison, but he insisted that he would give evidence against specific people and not others. In other words, as dire as Murderman’s predicament he held on to a little bit of dignity. Even Steven Benji Ditchman Flemmi, the lowest of the low, to save himself from the death penalty refused to give up all his property, although it’s still hard to think of his continual grovelling and lying to save his worthless life as not being pathetic.

As days pass, any such indication Whitey has anything more than enormous self-pity shines out so much that he has turned himself into somewhat of a pathetic laughing-stock. Whitey, the man who was supposed to have South Boston cowering for years turns out to be little more than another whiner. Strange as it may seem, he is not so different from the many begrudgers who make up the core of Howie Carr’s audience.

I say this because as each day passes we see not a man accepting that he has received his long overdue just deserts but one who somehow thinks life is treating him unfairly. Remember this, at his trial he never attempted to show the various machine guns, silencers and weapons with obliterated serial numbers were not part of his armory. Leave out the obvious open and shut cases of money laundering, these acts aside from the murders of which he was convicted in and of themselves are enough to insure he’d die looking at prison bars. And that’s not talking about his failure through his attorneys to contest the prosecutions assertions that he murdered many of the victims he was accused of murdering and was convicted of doing this. There can be no reasonable person who does not believe he is where he belongs.

Now we see the old man brooding in his cell over the unfairness of his situation. He sets out his complaints in his letters that he sends out to people who aren’t really interested in hearing them but seem to think there is a market for his letters. I like the irony of the situation where Whitey is now being played the fool and being used to put ducats in the pockets of those who offer their feigned sympathy to him. I thought there was some law against defrauding the elderly.

How low can a person be who writes and defames one of his victims and her family?  He claims Debbie Davis through the influence of his close buddy Benji became a “material girl.” He tells us she hung around with dangerous people (himself?). He calls her family “low lifes.” He asserts her family received one million dollars from the government because of her death saying it was a “rip off of the taxpayers money!! Unreal . . . ” He ends his vile diatribe by suggesting the Davis family would prefer the money to a live Debbie.

Whitey says Benji murdered Debbie because she was dating someone else. Benji said Whitey did it. It seems clear they both were involved in murdering her but who actually struck the fatal blow may never be known. Debbie was found buried near where Whitey buried another of his victims which clearly ties Whitey into her murder.

Can you think of anyone being more disgusting than one who participated in the murder of a young beautiful 26-year-old woman who then attacks her and her family?  I can’t. As one outside the situation I can suggest that perhaps Debbie may have been wiser in her associates, but for one who participated in her murder to suggest it, that is, that she should have known better than to associate with him and Benji, is truly vile.

Whitey at the time in life when he is laying down his final markers shows himself to be the bereft of a scintilla of dignity. What a pathetic way to leave the stage.





  1. Khalid, with all due respect to your vocabulary and knowledge of history…you have no way of knowing what it was like growing up in the 70’s and 80’s in Southie, when Bulger was operating at full speed. And another thing, I , for one, resent the fact that you paint the Irish in a negative light.

  2. Matt:

    I was thinking of diberage, not in a narrow criminal sense, but, as a cultural phenomena that produces a continuing dialectic, a skein that runs the course of Irish cultural history, up to, and, including, contemporary times. From out of the pagan past, Diberage objects to Patrick’s moral colonization of the Irish soul. Think of diberage, not only as a source of roguery, but, also the pre-Christian wellspring of Irish creativity. As a concept, it could be compared to Marroonage, a rebellious, and, unquenchable, voice often heard in the work of Maya Angelou, and, the poetry of Langston Hughes. What else could Yeats been driving at in his Cuchulain cycle dramas? From where did Brendan Behan’s talent arise? “Borstal Boy” is redolent of diberage. Successfully aping peti-bourgeois British social mores does not grant lace-curtain swells the right to determine what is Irish.

    • I’m headed out to the barn to rustle through my books, and, papers. I may have lifted that last line from Bobby Sands. In any event, please add him to the list of literary notables I mentioned above.

  3. Henry:

    I’ll look for “Repressive Tolerance” on the internet. “Revolution and, Revolt,” Marcuse’s analysis of Hegel, is the work I’m most familiar with. I’ve read most of his other stuff: “One Dimensional Man, Eros and Civilization, Counter Revolution, and, Revolt, etc. Was “Repressive Tolerance” a full text, a monograph, or, a journal article?

    • Khalid:

      You and Henry make good partners. I enjoy reading your information and concise summary of matters.Thanks.

  4. Henry:

    Make that often guilty.

  5. Henry:

    Thanks. Sounds about right. I have no doubt he might have been a prickly fellow, interesting theorist, though. There’s a great anecdote about an incident at an academic conference at which Wittgenstein threatened Karl Popper with fireplace poker. Sometimes thoughtful folks can take themselves way too seriously. I’m sometimes guilty of that myself.

  6. Marcuse was a rigid Marxist. I knew him at Brandeis many years ago. He was not a nice person. Try reading the book he wrote that became the Bible of the 1960s New Left, “Repressive Tolerance”

    Marcuse’s CIA employment has yet to be fully researched:


  7. Firefly:

    Thanks. Check out “Eros and Civilization” by Herbert Marcuse. If you like what you google, paperback copies of the text are lying around every used bookstore. Marcuse was Angie Davis’ intellectual mentor at San Diego State back in the late sixties. You can catch occasional glimpses of him in her work.

  8. Let’s coin a neologism to express the outcast consciousness. We’ll call this lawless rogue mentality “diberage.” For example, a lad of nineteen who had his barber cut out a numeral on his head signifying the number of punishment beatings he had endured at the hands of the IRA, and/or, INLA, could be said to be in a state of “diberage.”

    • Khalid:

      Diberage sounds too close to gibberish which would take away its effectiveness. We already have have a word to express the idea of being out of favor with the people in general: POOF. I don’t think however that would cover the type of person you are speaking about who seem to fit the idea of Thoreau: “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. ” Perhaps rather thand diberage we can call it thoreauian.

  9. Khalid,

    Working with so many “excess males” as I do,
    how can we guide them into exciting jobs of Peace?

    War is just so much more exciting.

    Taunting, bumping, fighting, calling out, mouthing off,
    disrespecting respectable people….

    How do you make PEACE more enticing than stupid battles?

  10. Existence is made of words.

    James Bulger emerged from the “salt-water” Irish discourse. His essence is a notion, carried as myth, in the minds, and, oratures, of illiterate croppies. Proto-Bulger travelled like a germ, mutating, upon contact, replicating, and, populating, the brave new world. He is the reification of a Jungian archetype birthed in the pre-history of the Irish race. Bulger is a contemporary manifestation of a diber (pl. dibearg).

    Dunns, and, crannogs, were the ancient habitations of the pre-historical Irish. They were crude fortifications designed to repel a existential threat to the settled population. This danger was, paradoxically, both external, and, intimate, simultaneously.

    Freud theorized that there was a time in human prehistory when matriarchy was the prevailing social system. One’s mother would be known, but, father, not. The survival of these communities was always precarious, a dire matter of food availability. Excess males were turned out of the community upon reaching puberty. In ancient Ireland, these outcasts wandered the land until they gathered into gangs, predatory groups that would pillage the settled of their food, cattle, and women, especially the women. These rejected youth, “dibearg” in Irish, were Freudian rebels, beings of pure want, expressions of the Id, at war with the word “no.” There was some ryhme for their destructive rage, perhaps, an urge toward thanatos (death), a nihilistic need to wreck what they could not have. At the very same moment that they were doing their worst, they also satisfied Eros (life) through the anarchic sowing of their seed. This dialectic somehow offered a Darwinian advantage in the contest for the survival, for the dibearg flourished on the land, and, its people, in a symbiotic parasitical relation.

    These roving gangs of wanton youth were the primordial inspiration for the fianna of Finn McCool, the riastrad of Cuchulain, and, the frenzy of Sweeney (Heaney knew this well). The dibearg have been a constant throughout Irish history. They survived the transition to patriarchy by playing the system as it developed. Rustling cattle, a serious offense in any livestock based economy, kept the dibearg alive. The rustlers would sell cattle stolen from one petty Irish lord to another covetous local chieftain just over the next mountain. Always moving, always hungry, the dibearg watched for any opportunity to prey on the sedentary community. As they always had, and, always will, the evolving dibearg gangs attracted the same human material to their company, the landless, itinerant, and, connectionless, youth, those with no stake in society, or, its laws. The dibearg fiannas reeved the entirety of the island for centuries, not only outcast, but, now, outlawed by church, and, chieftains, as well.

    There is a splendid 11th century wood-cut of a diber in the text “Irish Military History” (author?). The figure, armed with shield, and, spear, dressed in the loose linens of the gaels, wears his hair in a “culann” a mockingly simulated monk’s tonsure, starkly bald in the front, and, long, and, flowing, in the back, a style long proscribed by law, both Brehon, and, English. This signature coiffure earned its’ wearer instant death at the hands of any formal authority.

    The fabled highwaymen of the 17th and 18th centuries were latter day manifestations of dibearg. Their bold, and, bloody, deeds were expressions of the outcast spirit, as were, the furious communal contests of shillelagh gangs meeting at county fairs, donnybrooks that were regularly attended, and, avidly enjoyed, well into the 19th century. A wild, and, violent, anarchy possesses the souls of outcasts. Today, we see the dibearg consciousness displayed by the drug gangs that control Irish housing estates (for example, the Dundon/MacCarthy gang infesting the Ballinacurra-Weston Housing Estate of Limerick, Ireland)

    The dibearg represent the obscured, and, repressed, libidinal side of the Irish collective identity, the inside of it’s mask. They continue to exist in the Irish psyche of today. Look to the notion of diber for the possible meaning of Jim Bulger.

    • Khalid,

      And it’s not just the Irish.
      The youth of the Arab are doing wildly dangerous acts.

      Wow. Just Wow.

      You said:

      Excess males were turned out of the community upon reaching puberty. In ancient Ireland, these outcasts wandered the land until they gathered into gangs, predatory groups that would pillage the settled of their food, cattle, and women, especially the women. These rejected youth, “dibearg” in Irish, were Freudian rebels, beings of pure want, expressions of the Id, at war with the word “no.” There was some ryhme for their destructive rage, perhaps, an urge toward thanatos (death), a nihilistic need to wreck what they could not have. At the very same moment that they were doing their worst, they also satisfied Eros (life) through the anarchic sowing of their seed. This dialectic somehow offered a Darwinian advantage in the contest for the survival, for the dibearg flourished on the land, and, its people, in a symbiotic parasitical relation.


      These “excess males” are bad new, very bad news.

      Thanks for the post.

    • Khalid:

      That’s quite a history but I’d suggest that it is not unique to the Irish. It wasn’t necessary to have a matriarchal society to have roaming gangs of men. I’d suggest in most societies in the world that type of behavior happened. As a young man growing up in the inner city for a while I was in such a gang. After the war fought by the so-called greatest generation, there was a time when each section of the city of Boston had several gangs of young men who in a way mimicked the dibearg you write about although they were restrained in many of their activities by the laws of society that were sometimes enforced.

      I’m not sure we have to go back into Irish history to understand Whitey. I don’t think he’s that complex. He was a junior Martorano or Flemmi, a person who had no problem murdering others. We can’t blame their Irishness for Martorano’s and Flemmi’s predilection for murder.

  11. He’s never had a big sense of dignity. Maybe a primitive sense of criminal type “respect” once he had a bit of status, but not dignity.

    He whined like a persecuted prima donna to his family & others on his first trip to prison. He had every string pulled for him that he could pressure them to pull. He even whined to the prison staff (& a priest on the outside) to get his delicate self moved to a single cell. He didn’t do much to project a man doing his time with any sort of strength or dignity.

    Later when he was aligned with the Killeens & had the Mullens gunning for him he cut a deal to betray his pals. After they whacked his best friend Billy O’Sullivan he dropped any pretense of stand-up gangster dignity as he ran to the bargaining table.

    Despite being a narcissist, he’s always been pretty shameless.

    • Jeff:

      You are tracking along on the correct track and put the matter into a nut shell. Good post. Whitey was pretty much an empty suit when you come down to it. Like his buddy Murderman, come up behind them and shoot them in the head. The idea he is much more than a protected Charlie Manson makes one smile.

  12. Forget about this supreme no goodnik and worry about the psychopaths that Uncle Sam got in bed with so that the DOJ could garner a day in the sun with their scibbler pals. Mostly worry about where uncle Sam is heading.

    Leave Mr.Dark White to those that have a familial duty to care about him.

    We should reflect on what sucked us in to this slimy vortex. Did we fall for the Father Flanagan delusion or watch too much Robin Hood? What is it that attracts some of us to the noir side of life, is it our own demons that we have bottled up, is it a vicarious walk on the wild side because we feared our parents would raise the roof or a cop might give us a kick in the arse.

    Maybe we just miss the spice in our lives that came with our neighborhood enclaves and big families all struggling to find their place in the pecking order, neighborhood legends, folklore,honor,pride and a certain lustre that attaches to our neighbors that succeed in their pursuits, medicine,law,business,politics,education,military, sports, streetfighting whatever, even crime and mayhem. As Rockne would tell us these evildoers were more feared than respected and respect is the prize in life. This neighborhood dynamic may exist with the new crowd hanging on our corners and in our parks but our ways and days are gone. We relive them in reunions and goggle groups and watch in pain as wannabes in Hollywood try to represent the ineffable espirit of 20th century Boston.
    Notwithstanding Uncle Sam’s abetting this disgraceful saga we now can be cetain that Jim Bulger was a lousy human being with next to no redeeming social value and he and his crowd added nothing to Boston and the lives of its hard working citizens.

    St. Peter will do the arithmetic and prepare the final report.

    • Mr. HOPALONG, that was extremely well put. Bravo.

    • Bravo, Hopalong! Very astute observations. Very artfully stated. While our generation is heading off into the sunset, let’s point our flashlights at the DOJ and Press that got in bed with the serial killers and perpetuated their perjuries and helped set them free in our neighborhoods, scot-free, with cash lining their sordid pockets; and let’s not forget Howie Carr’s despicable role in all of this: he the constant Character Assassin who profits from killers’ tales and mocks murder victims’ deaths. We, the Woodstock generation and Beatnick generations still have a lot to say about this country’s decline. Our words can still light the way for younger generations, some of whom appreciate our insights, still. Great thanks to Matt and all who post here and read here. Keep on sharing your viewpoints and experiences. It’s good for America to hear the truth from the other side of the tracks. Persevere and let no one silence us or intimidate us, especially not the prevaricators in the FEDs and Media. Do good and fear no man!!!

      • The sunset, William?
        The sunset?

        Fix your hair.
        Turn around in place, and turn around again.

        Are you dead, man?
        Are you dead?

        Then let them know the power of the juice that flows through your veins.

        You have no idea how much they need to hear it.

        • Firefly, they’ll hear us, whether they truly listen or comprehend is another story. As for sunset, I agree: Remember Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

    • Hopalong:

      Nice post. It is time to do some reflection on this and that is what we’re trying to do. When a circus comes to town there is excitement and anticipation and while it is ongoing it is enjoyed but after it leaves one has time to look behind the big top.

      Father Flanagan or Robin Hood – there was the Southie thing that Whitey, or as I’m going to call him on occasion East Coast Charlie, did help the nuns and old ladies and some other people out of luck but that really doesn’t play too much into this anymore. Neither Father or Robin murdered people especially people who were their friends. I suppose what happened with East Coast Charlie was people tried to find some good things to think of him just in case they came across his path and if you figured he had a smidgen of good then you had a chance to escape his dark web.

      As for the attraction to the dark, good question. As a big fan of film noir I wonder if that makes me qualified to answer the question. I’m not sure it is demons or a desire to emulate the criminal, perhaps it is more curiosity or entertainment or a relief from the everyday work schedule that turns for most of us dreams of greatness into the reality of earning one’s daily bread. There is the attraction of trying to figure out what makes a gangster tick rather than what makes work-a-day Jack get up in the morning.

      I have to admit that I did my share of wild things as a teenager; some of which could have resulted in being dragged into court had I been caught. They were done in fun and not injurious to any person or invasive of anyone’s property so I did not lack for the spice in my teens, but as wild as I may have been looking back, which my friends sometimes call to my attention, I never thought myself as such. It seemed both my friends and me had core values that seemed to inhibit us going overboard. It was not as my friend Tommy’s mom used to say “the difference between you guys and Tommy is Tommy got caught.” Tommy, and those like him, was in a different league – much more daring, cocksure and selfish, interested in only what was in it for him from the point of excitement.

      Thinking of this, perhaps the separator was how we handled our free time.What probably separated the law abiding from the felons was sports, the ongoing games we played as teens that took all our energy; from those who were alienated by them we could find our criminal friends.

      Neighborhood, a thing of the past, played a big role in much of this. One parent at home families replaced by one parent families. We’ve seen ethnic homogeneity slipping away so that we become one great melting pot and the group culture no longer the fence within which we operate. Are we better now? Having just watched Midnight in Paris we see how the past is always viewed with rose colored glasses but the past in Boston was horrible for some but for others they were the golden years.

      You state: “Notwithstanding Uncle Sam’s abetting this disgraceful saga we now can be certain that Jim Bulger was a lousy human being with next to no redeeming social value and he and his crowd added nothing to Boston and the lives of its hard working citizens.” Truer words were never written but I’d add that the media also did much to contribute to perpetuating the idea that there was something of merit to this dreadful saga.

      Thanks for the thoughts.

  13. Vile villains. Vile is the right word for them: Whitey, Murderman Martorano,, Flemmi et al.

  14. Can’t go there with you Matt. The solitary confinement etc. Plus I have no problem him pissing on Steve Davis and family. Whiteys version makes more sense.
    If whitey is just an average thug made into something bigger by the press then why knock him for acting like a normal thug, person. You can’t knock him for not living up to the image created by the media.

    • Ernie:

      I’m a little bewildered about how solitary his solitary confinement is. I recall one bit of evidence in the trial was a 50 plus minute telephone call he had with his niece and nephew where he talked about the rat-a-tat of the machine gun murdering Eddie Connors. I get the idea he’s out of his cell a lot more than we’re led to believe.

      As for the Davis family, I have no delusions about them and have no problem with you hating them but I do when a guy kills one of their female siblings and he does it. He complains about ripping off the taxpayers money when we can also see how much his defense cost us, not only that, his involvement in other murders continues to cost us.

      I find Whitey, although a normal thug, pretends to himself and is aided by others that he is something out of the ordinary. It is not just the media who created the image, he himself sees him as this powerful gangster, as we saw with his lawyers telling us (and they would not have done it without his approval) about how he made millions upon millions of money running the rackets in Southie. It is his grandiosity that I object because he, and Murderman and Benji, men blown up by media and federals are little more than low life criminal with a bit of extra cruelty and a willingness to take a life, something most are not.

      I suppose Whitey aka East Coast Charlie acting like the normal thug is to be expected but pointing it out reminds people what he is really all about.

      • I received a letter from Jim last night. He says he is only allowed outside one hour a day in a fenced in area. That conversation he had with his niece and nephews was through a glass window.

        • Beejeezus Jim:

          You are going to be a rich man one of these days getting those letters from Whitey. They’re selling for ove $400 a letter I’ve heard. When you write to him next ask him why he got involved in helping the FBI investigate Myles Connor and also what he knew of John Naimovich and why he had him framed. Let us know what he says and when you’re smoking cigars and drinking gin and tonics on your yacht in the Caribbean courtesy of Whitey give us a little thought some day.

          If Whitey gets outside once a day to a fenced in area he must also get outside when his lawyers or visitors come. How does that work.