the column of lasting insignificance...
from the archives…
MARIHUANA WILL NEVER be legalized predicts Kevin Drum because for it to happen, the U.S. would have to renounce its agreement to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which was signed by virtually every other country in the world. Drum, a non-smoker himself, analyzed the pot situation in four pages of Mother Jones’ summer drug issue whose front cover bears the words “totally wasted.” He suggested that even if the blessed herb was legalized, consumption wouldn’t rise very much because most people who smoke it can already find it easily enough. And even though it’s freely available in Holland, use there is pretty much on a par with most other countries. One advantage of legalizing the weed could be to lower alcohol use, currently numbering 80,000 deaths a year. “Even a 50 per cent increase in cannabis use might be a benefit if it led to lower rates in the use of other drugs”, Drum claims. With widespread agreement that the so-called war on drugs as been a costly failure maybe we’ve reached a tipping point, Drum surmises. “Even GOP icon Arnold Schwarzenegger now says, ‘I think it’s time for debate’”.
IN CALIFORNIA, says the Nation, a bill is en route to the State Legislature to impose an excise tax on marihuana sellers and charge buyer‘s sales tax, a move that could reap the state about $1.3 billion a year. The mag claims that “an increasing number of the state’s political figures…argue that the country’s harsh drug policies are not financially viable and no longer command majority support among he voting public”.
ARGUMENTS ABOUT AUTHENTICITY certainly aren’t new to the art world but when a museum curator changes her mind about a work, the discussion gets more heated. At stake here is the reputation of Francisco Goya (1746-1838) whose The Colossus was venerated by Madrid’s Prado. Art News described the picture as “a sort of patriotic history lesson in oil on canvas by one of the nation’s most illustrious citizens”. The Prado’s curator of 18th century paintings, Manuela Mena, once proclaimed it a masterpiece, until she had second thoughts, writing that “the way it is painted… is technically opposed to Goya’s way of working”. Art specialists have jumped in on both sides, two calling Mena’s arguments “scandalous for their errors and sophistries”, and another describing the painting as “a poorly executed pastiche”. The furore, says Art News, has generated “heated responses in the contentious field of Goya scholarship”.
A GIANT AIRBAG, something like those that inflate in automobile crashes, might be ideal to protect houses when raging fires approach. Popular Science demonstrates a huge airbag made from fireproof fabric that can be inflated as the homeowner leaves and which is kept erect over the house by fans pumping air into flexible tubes that maintain a taught exoskeleton above the roof.
Fem philosopher Germaine Greer (b.1939) whose 1970 book The Female Eunuch (“a direct and candid description of female sexuality”-Wikipedia) sold millions because it was derided as much as praised, is the obvious model for next year’s The Female of the Species. Starring Annette Bening, the drama, at the Geffen Playhouse is about the author of a book called Madame Ovary. Her second title was The Complete Insignificance of Male Sexuality. (Quoth Ms. Greer: “Freud is the father of psychoanalysis. It has no mother.)
THE AVERAGE CUSTOMER for a Hewlett Packard printer subsequently spends three times as much for ink as he did for the printer writes columnist Anne Kadet in Smart Money, which explains why the company doesn’t bother about losing $30 on every printer sold. In fact Hp makes twice as much money on its print division as it does on personal computers, aided by the fact that a print cartridge costs three dollars to make and usually sells for $30.
IN A SUPPLEMENT labeled Do Almost Anything! (Count Cards…Stop a fight…Look Good on TV), Wired magazine relays instructions from the Chronobiology Research Institute on how to Sleep Two Hours a Day. The secret, it reveals, is to take a 20-minute nap every two hours, something that presumably demands having a flexible work place. It warns that the first seven days of deprivation “will be sheer misery, but stay on track”.
THE WILCOCK WEB: Why aren’t state legislators obliged to buy and pay for their own cars?….And seeing that the ones in both New York and California aren’t actually working, why are they still being paid?…. The world’s richest soccer club, Real Madrid, just paid $120 million to the world’s second richest, Manchester United, for the services of Portuguese-born forward Cristiano Ronaldom 24, described by the Independent as “a quintessential peacock male”…. ….”Finance” quips Robert Sarnoff, “is the art of passing currency from hand to hand until it finally disappears”….Complaints about the inelegant grunting noises made by female tennis players at Wimbledon prompted critics to measure their volume and one player clocked in at 109 decibels, “almost as loud as a plane taking off” remarks The Week…. A Dallas-based company, SkinzWraps, has produced an adhesive, dimpled fabric which can wrap cars offering an aerodynamic surface like a golf ball which reportedly improves fuel efficiency by 20 per cent….Continental Airlines has developed a seat that extends outwards enough to allow lying down….Italian scientists are planning to burn algae from Venice’s canals to produce biofuels…. The substance found in red wine, resveratrol, touted by Dr. Mehmet Oz on Oprah Winfrey’s show has “given rise to an overnight industry of shadowy peddlers of the stuff” reports Forbes which advises caution by its potential users….The U.S. Army is developing a solar-powered flexible screen that can be worn on the wrist and receive maps and directions….“Political correctness is to thought what sentimentality is to compassion”--anonymous
National Weed (1974, issue #3)
comments? send an email to John Wilcock
— Marijuana: What Is It?
— From the Archives: Bakewell Diary
— From the archives: THE WILCOCK WEB -- South Africa, scene of the 2010 World Cup, is thinking of changing its laws to allow prostitution and drinking in public after noticing the popularity of both at the 2006 WC in Germany (where there are 400,000 legal prostitutes)...
— The early days of the Underground Press, and how I met Amber...
— Burma Diary, SATURDAY: Fourteen hours out of LA we stopped in Seoul, banished from the plane and obliged to walk through the airport, go again through security before re-boarding to await departure for Bangkok where we arrived at 1am, two hours late...
— Xtreme democracy - 100,000 US voters in one public debate; Bad taste in art - always an eye catcher; Get off of my wave! - surfers revolt; the high[er] cost of getting soused - a novel solution to 'Britain's blight on society'; mining in space - Buck Rogers or Big Bucks?; and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— British Columbia’s pot industry—felling Canada’s new timber; vampire power; liberal guilt; planning a vasectomy; the summit of Ben Nevis awash in human ash; and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— From the Archives: Sex in stately homes; Congress asserts ‘spooky, malevolent forces lurking inside our cars’; the trouble with concrete; Big Brother is always watching…; ’We the corporations, in order to form a more perfect bottom line…; and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— From the Archives: Cuba Diary (part two)...
— From the Archives: Cuba Diary (part one)...
— The future of Obamacare now lies in the hands of...
— It’s almost Easter and thus Jesus-impostor time…
— Chapter 9. Other Scenes
— Charles Henri Ford
— “For the wealthy few, it’s getting better all the time...”
— From ‘The Wilcock Web’ archives
— “JOHN WILCOCK: Leaving the trial, I realized Kennedy had just been killed.”
— “Birth of a Voice:
John Wilcock, writer, mailman”
— “JOHN WILCOCK: An Incident on Liberty Street”
— “JOHN WILCOCK: My First Orgy”
— “A party without cake is just a meeting.”
— “What I was actually trying to do in my early movies was show how people can meet other people and what they can do and what they can say to each other. That was the whole idea: two people getting acquainted.”
— “ONCE AN IDEA forces its way into the public domain, it can never be pushed back; it will only grow and spread, eventually fulfilling itself, even if it takes a long time. Consider, for example, the case of marijuana...”
— “John Wilcock:
India, LSD, and Leonard Cohen's ‘Flowers for Hitler”
— “John Wilcock: The Day I Turned Down The Beatles”
— “No matter how complex, no matter how unique, your password can no longer protect you.”
— “There's no point to regretting things that have gone to the trouble of happening.”
— “I like to be the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place. Being the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place is worth it because something interesting always happens.”
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JOHN WILCOCK: Leaving the trial, I realized Kennedy had just been killed.
February 12, 2015
July 13, 2012
Manhattan Memories: an autobiography
(The complete review begins on p.175)
December 1, 2011
On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S
November 28, 2011
The Book Bench - Loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department
October 22, 2011
An authorized comic book biography of John Wilcock,
This is a book length comic series on John Wilcock. People who enjoy focusing on underground and alternative media are occasionally familiar with John's work, but most often the response is "who's that?" Outside of small press historians and collectors, John remains very unknown. Which makes no sense, the more you learn about him. We're very excited about the opportunity to tell his story. Art for THE STORY OF JOHN WILCOCK is by me and co-conspirator Scott Marshall. Story comes from an extended and ongoing year-long interview with Wilcock, himself. The focus is John's years in New York, roughly 1954-1971.
“The Return of the World's Worst Businessman”
John Wilcock is not what you would call a household name, and yet, he has had a measurable impact on art, journalism and culture-at-large over the last century. He co-founded Interview with Andy Warhol. He also was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He has written for countless print and online publications: Frommer’s, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, The East Village Other, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Ojai Orange, etc. So why, one feels inclined to ask, is he relatively unknown? The answer seems simple: Wilcock has called himself “the world’s worst businessman.” This self-description makes sense because listening to him one hears the voice of a writer and a traveler and an enthusiast, not at all the voice of a businessman. In an age when it seems like everyone is all about business—art as a business, fashion as a business, everything as a business—it is refreshing to hear someone self-identify as “the world’s worst businessman.” It seems less like he has failed as a businessman and more like he has refused to become one. In addition to all his other accomplishments,...
Monday, November 15, 2010
A Reader Comment from the recent New York Times Frugal Traveler post
Not only did John Wilcock shake up staid publishing in the USA, from the Village Voice to the East Village Other, his influence extended to several continents, including Australia & the UK, where - in his mild mannered way - he pushed the boundaries of image and speech. The counter culture was nothing but a dull puddle, until John kicked out the jams and ignited the Underground Press, which attracted absurd prosecutions, that of course boosted circulations. An unsung hero of the sixties,
It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."