“The truly scandalous and shocking response to the Wikileaks documents has been that of other journalists, who make the Obama Administration sound like the ACLU…..the fact that so many prominent old school journalists are attacking (Assange) with such unbridled force is a symptom of the failure of traditional reporting methods to penetrate a culture of official secrecy that has grown by leaps and bounds since 9/11, and threatens the functioning of a free press as a cornerstone of democracy…The result of this classification mania is the division of the public into two distinct groups: those who are privy to the actual conduct of American policy, but are forbidden to write or talk about it, and the uninformed public, which becomes easy prey for the official lies exposed in the Wikileaks documents”
—David Samuels in The Atlantic
HAVING PILLAGED THE EARTH, humans have now shifted their attention to the oceans which early exploration showed to be full of riches, way beyond the fish that are already on their way to extinction. Specifically, the attention is on all those rare metals and minerals that are believed to lie on the sea bottom. Nickel, cobalt and tellurium used in computers, batteries, mobile phones and military applications are the kind of thing everybody is looking for mostly, reports the Spectator, found only at present, “within the borders of corrupt African democracies, failed states and dictatorships”.
Britain and other countries have filed claims with the UN to expand their existing sovereignty over continental shelves, but there is much terrain that doesn’t belong specifically to any single country. ”Under UN law, the sea minerals in international waters are held to be the common heritage of mankind” the mag says, and “the sea floor, which had been thought to be dark, cold and inhospitable, has turned out to be one of the most fertile places on Earth”.
The Chinese government recently applied to the UN to mine for minerals on a ridge 1,700 meters down in the southwest Indian Ocean, outside any individual nation’s jurisdiction. It is the first application of its kind for mining in international waters.
ARE PAIN-FREE ANIMALS in our future? Most people would prefer to eat meat from a cow or pig that died relatively happy (if they think about it at all) and it might be that the remedy for that is as simple as removing a single gene. (With humans it’s a bit more complicated, pain being related to a region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex). “If we can’t do away with factory farming we should at least take steps to minimize the amount of suffering that it has caused” says Adam Shriver, a philosopher at St. Louis’ Washington University who authored a paper on the subject. “I’m offering a solution where you could eat meat but avoid animal suffering.
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS has penalties under our laws but apparently cutting their throats while still conscious and allowing them to slowly bleed to death, while obviously in great pain, gets a pass. That’s because ritual slaughter is regarded as religious and whether practiced by Muslims or devout Jews is an abomination. Practitioners of both halal and kosher pretend that it’s humane and quick but not so. “Very significant pain and distress” is how scientific observers rate such procedures. ”Centuries ago” writes Johann Hari in the Independent, “ritual slaughter made sense by ensuring meat was fresh, but why tolerate it today?”
MYSTERY MEAT will no longer be a mystery once a biologist’s invention goes into production, enabling a meat or fish-like material to be easily identified. Detecting wildlife contraband is expected to be the main value offered by the hand-held device.
DON’T THINK THAT drones are just a wartime tool that are being used in Afghanistan. “An arms race is building among people looking to track celebrities, unfaithful lovers or even wild life” reports the Wall Street Journal in a story reporting how cheap and easy the technology is to employ. “An unmanned aircraft that can fly a predetermined route, costs a few hundred bucks to build can be operated by an iPhone”. Ohio State University Ken Rinaldo is designing a Papapazzi Drone, mainly to follow the movements on sports fields, and the WSJ jokes that one day maybe they’ll be used by nosy neighbors to monitor people not picking up after their dogs.
DOCTORS MAKING HOUSE CALLS and how many have turned into sales calls, is how the medical profession is reacting to a decline in business. says Smart Money. It’s a recessionary reaction to “a revenue decrease as patients stay away in droves”. Last year with the advent of federal subsidies for medical offices to convert their files into electronic ones, the mag says, robotic appointment reminders “that pester patients via text messages, snail mail and everything in between” pervaded the health care industry. “Critics say that makes those needling reminder calls feel like a particularly pernicious brand of hard sell. “You don’t ignore a doctor’s recommendation’ explains Jennifer Jaff, founder of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, ‘unless you’re prepared to find another doctor’”.
STARTING AS A NEW YORK JOKE—the idea of keeping tourists to a slower lane of the sidewalk—is being taken seriously in London. Businesses along Oxford Street hope to inaugurate a “shoppers’ lane” to divert the floods of tourists which make the street almost impassible for Londoners in a hurry. “I understand people who get road rage” commented one frustrated pedestrian, although another asked: “Why would you divide people like that? We’re not cars”. London’s plan, if adopted, would be the first to sort pedestrians by speed; other cities have attempted to ease sidewalk gridlock by removing cars. In fact, New York City turned part of Broadway in midtown to a pedestrian-only zones.
THE WOMAN WHO transformed New York (above) is Janette Sadik-Khan who went from being vp of an international engineering firm to being Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Transportation Commissioner. Closing down parts of Times Square to traffic she installed chairs and tables. Defying conventional wisdom, local business revenue has increased by 70%.
THE WILCOCK WEB: The official excuse for remaining in Afghanistan is so that it doesn’t become a safe haven for Al Qaeda. So why aren’t we occupying Pakistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia?….When a state finds itself billions of dollars in debt, why is nobody held responsible? It wasn’t just some unavoidable accident….. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons: Las Vegas is opening two paid-admission museums about the Mob that ran the city before it went respectable….Thousands of closed-circuit cameras monitor streets in the U.K., and now that some of their output is being streamed on the Internet, viewers are invited to report crimes they see happening—and be rewarded if their reports have an effect… Talking to Newsmax about WikiLeaks, Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachov deplored “the kind of language these so-called diplomats use in characterizing nations and peoples”, adding: “I think that such diplomats should be replaced by normal people”….Some English company is manufacturing a soap named for the Sex Pistols…. While writing the script for The Social Network says Aaron Sorkin, “I had to find the parts of Mark (Zuckerberg) that are like me. It wasn’t hard. I’m awkward socially. I’m shy. And there have been a lot of times when I’ve felt like an outsider”….With a site called Anti-Social you can turn off “distracting” parts of the Internet for as much time as you specify. “It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you turn off your ‘friends’” says the pitch…. Marihuana energizes the mind….There’s something extremely suspicious about that ubiquitous series of Smile Train ads which appear in virtually every magazine you’ve ever heard of ….”I have a very sissy job”, Christian Bale told Esquire, “where I go to work and get my hair done and people do my make-up and I go and say lines and people spoil me rotten”….Invented by Minnesota-based Innovative Packing, the SmarTote carries a barcode which enables stores to check its usage and eventually reward customers with rebates… The Smithsonian just loaned its $2m Monopoly board for an exhibition at (where else?) New York’s Museum of American Finance. The cards are gold-plated, the board studded with gemstones and the tokens and dice are solid gold …. Bumper sticker: Too poor to buy a politician…Only five states ( AZ, CA, CT, NH, HI) and DC, can claim that more than 16% of its adult population eats enough fruit and vegetables….. Global warming in Siberia has prompted the emergence of woolly mammoth corpses, hidden for thousands of years, and now being dug up for their ivory tusks…. The German firm GFD has perfected a diamond-coated tungsten carbon razor blade which it claims will last for years without sharpening…. Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.--Voltaire (1694-1778)
THE WILCOCK WEB: Barely surfacing in the Bernie Madoff scandal so far, has been the Medici Bank of Venice’s boss Sonia Kohn of whom more will be heard (March 21/2009)
“The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Bernard Madoff’s investment firm launched a $19.6bn lawsuit against Austrian banker Sonja Kohn on Friday…” --Wall Street Journal, Dec 11, 2010
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— From the archives... The religion of Violence & Statistics, otherwise known as college football; WPA II; Would it be called Indiastan or Pakindia?; Who you Gonna call? Crime Predictors; Being a Bank means you never having to say you're sorry; Oil vs. Democracy, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
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— From the archives... The Mother of All Family Feuds, Otaku Means Geek in Japanese, Affirmative Action or 'It all depends on who you know', The Moonies are packin', and of course, the Wilcock Web......
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— Dear Reader,
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— Dear Readers...
– Week of January 25, 2017
— John Wilcock ... Marijuana, the symbolic center of the underground society
– Week of June 8, 2016
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: Cuba Diary—Havana, April 2011
– Week of April 20, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen (continued)--Travels
– Week of April 16, 2016
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, donâ€™t forget the Republican Paradox
– Week of April 13, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen--Travels: Tokyo-Rick Kennedy recalls; Japan on $5 a Day; About Chapbooks; Magic in South America
– Week of April 9, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen (continued)--Theory & Practice of Travel Writing;
Remoteness of Callanish;
Jim's Paris dinners
– Week of April 2, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen--The Quest for Magic: Around Europe by VW bus;
Regarding armchair travelers;
Pisa's Leaning Tower;
The magical Alhambra
– Week of March 26, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen (continued)--London's Magical library;
In the Cannes
– Week of March 19, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
– Week of March 12, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
– Week of March 5, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary
– Week of February 27, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen (Part Two--Manhattan phone book, JW'S Secret Diary
– Week of February 20, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen--Party Circuit
– Week of February 13, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
– Week of February 6, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
– Week of January 30, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
– Week of January 23, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve--Andy Gets Shot: Max's Kansas City;
Jane Fonda's gesture;
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
– Week of January 16, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven (continued)-- We go to Rutgers, Ann Arbor ...
What people say about Andy
– Week of January 9, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven -- Andy Warhol First encounter....People talk about him....His movies...
– Week of January 2, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten (continued)--The 'Movement' splits: Eldridge Cleaver
Year of the Great Hoaxâ€¦The OZ trial
– Week of December 26, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten--Tom Forcade's smuggling funds High Times;
Rolling Stone's underground sabotage
– Week of December 19, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine (continued)--Rip Torn on stardom… Robert Mitchum's gift; London: Julian Beck’s critique; Emmett Grogan and the Diggers; Greece: The Junta, Charlotte Rampling, and art hero Daniel Spoerri
– Week of December 12, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine--Bob Dylan in the Village, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Richard Neville and OZ, What Does London Need Most?, The International Times
– Week of December 5, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
– Week of November 28, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
– Week of November 21, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven (continued)--The Underground Press; Army revolt: Â fragging officers; Bowart goes to Millbrook
– Week of November 14, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven--The singing Tit-o-Gram; The East Village Other; Art & Forgery; Birth of Black Power; The Underground Press
– Week of November 7, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
– Week of October 31, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixâ€”The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
– Week of October 24, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fiveâ€”Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
– Week of October 17, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fiveâ€”Reefer Madness--The man who turned on the world; Tested by Harvard professors; Jan and Stan change my life
– Week of October 10, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
– Week of October 3, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”Into the '60s--More Working at The New York Times; Mexico On $5 a Day; What Richard Condon taught me; Henry Miller's wise words
– Week of September 26, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHOÂ and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
– Week of September 19, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--More trouble with our star novelist; Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column; Jean Shepherdâ€™s phantom novel
– Week of September 12, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
– Week of September 5, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Gilbert Seldes' The Lively Arts; Norman Mailerâ€™s Voice column; Giving parties to meet strangers
– Week of August 29, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
– Week of August 22, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Jack Kent Cooke tells me to stay in Canada; Becoming a New Yorker ;A new Village newspaper; The casual wisdom of Steve Allen
– Week of August 15, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
– Week of August 8, 2015
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in the press...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler
by Seth Kugel
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.
by John Wilcock
"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."
-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
The Autobiography and Sex Life of AndyWarhol
by John Wilcock
Edited by Christopher Trela
Photographs by Shunk-Kender
Village Voice and Interview cofounder John Wilcock was first drawn into the
milieu of Andy Warhol through film-maker Jonas Mekas, assisting on some
of Warhol’s early films, hanging out at his parties and quickly becoming a
regular at the Factory. “About six months after I started hanging out at the
old, silvery Factory onWest 47th Street,” he recalls, “[Gerard] Malanga came
up to me and asked, ‘When are you going to write something about us?’”
Already fascinated by Warhol’s persona, Wilcock went to work, interviewing
the artist’s closest associates, supporters and superstars. Among these were
Malanga, Naomi Levine, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet, all of whom had been
in the earliest films; scriptwriter Ronnie Tavel, and photographer Gretchen
Berg; art dealers Sam Green, Ivan Karp, Eleanor Ward and Leo Castelli, and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Henry Geldzahler; the poets Charles Henri
Ford and Taylor Mead, and the artist Marisol; and the musicians Lou Reed and Nico. Paul Morrisey supplied the title: The Autobiography and Sex Life of
AndyWarhol was the first oral biography of the artist. First published in 1971,
and pitched against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s, it assembles a prismatic
portrait of one of modern art’s least knowable artists during the early
years of his fame. The Autobiography and Sex Life is likely the most revealing
portrait of Warhol, being composite instead of singular; each of its interviewees
offers a piece of the puzzle that was Andy Warhol. This new edition
corrects the many errors of the first, and is beautifully designed in a bright,
Warholian palette with numerous illustrations.
The British-born writer John Wilcock co-founded The Village Voice in 1955,
and went on to edit seminal publications such as The East Village Other, Los
Angeles Free Press, Other Scenes and (in 1970) Interview, with Andy Warhol.