Kim Kizyma
Graphic Designer + Creative Technologist


Blog Posts and Ideas by Kim Kizyma

When Patty became Tania

Last night I watched two parts of a new series on CNN..."The Radical Story of Patty Hearst."

I had never heard of her or her story before, but the commercials on CNN got me hooked. So I watched it.

Instead of me summarizing the events in my own words and missing some details...I am going to pull info. from CNN itself and share it here to give synopsis to those unfamiliar with the story from the 70s.

Read the excerpt from CNN:

The kidnapping of Patty Hearst can seem as distant in time as a yellowed newspaper clipping — and as current as today’s bit-borne headline.

Fundamentally, though, the story is timeless, because at its core it’s a mystery about why human beings do what they do. And the key elements that play out in the saga — terrorism, the role of the media, wealth and celebrity — are as relevant today as they were more than 40 years ago.

The rough outlines of the story will be familiar to news consumers of a certain age: On February 4, 1974, Patricia Campbell Hearst, heiress to the greatest newspaper fortune in the land, was kidnapped from her home in Berkeley, California, by a little-known revolutionary cell called the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Within weeks, she stunned the world by announcing that she had joined forces with her captors and was seen wielding a machine gun as the group robbed a bank in San Francisco.

Following a bumbling manhunt by the FBI, six members of the SLA were cornered and then killed in a shootout in Los Angeles. Hearst was elsewhere at the time and spent the next year and a half on the run from the authorities. Once she was captured, Hearst was placed on trial, defended by the legendary F. Lee Bailey, and ultimately convicted for the armed bank robbery.

The case captivated the entire country as it stirred the national consciousness about issues such as brainwashing, free will and the collective insanity that gripped the United States in the 1970s.
When Patty turned into Tania

When Patty turned into Tania

I found the story at its core such an intriguing one and an almost silenced part of American history and I was wondering why the topic wasn't covered in any classes I took in high school or college?

Granted, I was an art student, but I took criminal justice and history courses. Isn't there a lot to learn here? Isn't there a lot to question and debate? Conversations to be had? Questions about humanity and right vs. wrong, force and brainwashing and so on? The such significant value people place on status and the heights that they will go to "reach" it?

What I got from the documentary so far is that the SLA ultimately stood for radical change. They did not want California to turn into a "police-state." Police were about to enter schools and require students to use ID cards. From my understanding, the SLA thought if they allowed that, then more and more of their rights would be taken away.

The members of the SLA gave themselves nicknames as part of their new identities. Patty, after she decided to stay with the group, chose the name Tania.

I certainly do not agree with their way of showing the outrage for this killing the man (Marcus Foster) who wanted to implement these school changes. But I think the idea of showing disapproval and speaking our minds is as important as ever. (I also do not agree with every other terrible terroristic thing they did, including the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and "brainwashing" her into becoming a terrorist...etc.) But, just saying, we need to be involved and speak up for what we believe.

Anyways, just something I've been thinking about and trying to understand more about after that documentary.

Obviously, after googling, I know what happens next. But I still am excited to see the rest of the series.