The Johnson Imprimatur

Arriving at the Lost Signals p.o. box early last year was a Memorex audio cassette tape (Chrome Bias II), marked in red ink, the Johnson imprimatur. The tape does indeed seem to be dubbed from the Lyndon Johnson White House tapes, and seems to have been recorded sometime in 1965. The “Gerri” in question is likely Gerri Whittington, Johnson’s personal secretary, and the first African-American secretary in the history of the White House. There are–or were–two versions of the phone call on the cassette. In version #1, the feedback at the end of the recording, after the hang-up, lasts several seconds longer and seems to approximate the sound of a machine gun, giving rise to an obscure set of theories that the recording is, in fact, an abstract comment on the war in Vietnam. Because of damage to the cassette, that version is lost, and what remains is the truncated version, below, which cuts out right before the staccato feedback becomes machine-gun like.

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