“Nothing will improve for a long time, because the American and Pakistani governments are in a sense mirror images of each other. The Americans have allowed their military and the CIA to dominate Washington’s policy-making on Afghanistan and Pakistan, just as the Pakistani military and ISI dominate decision-making in Islamabad”.
—Ahmed Rashid in the New York Times
THAT REVERED HEROINE of Burma, Daw Aung San Sui Kyi and her lifetime battles with the country’s tyrannical leaders may have diverted attention from an even bigger problem writes Joshua Kurlantzick in the September issue of Current History. And why the world should be worried about this country—“on the verge of becoming a failed state”—is its unholy alliance with North Korea which has been supplying it with nuclear and missile technology. Kurlantzick, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, who says Burma’s potential for meltdown has significantly increased, calls the development “extremely frightening” and that Washington needs to pay closer attention to Myanmar, going beyond the existing sanctions policy. It would be advisable too, he suggests, for us to capitalize on the crisis in the country’s ethnic-minority areas (where the government has always had limited authority) to work more closely with China whose lack of real leverage over the country is increasingly being demonstrated. “In many ways the country’s long border with China has the potential to be as explosive as the frontiers of Pakistan and North Korea”, the writer warns.
THAT FAMILIAR RIPOFF in which taxpayers are obliged to subsidize the ambitions of wealthy billionaires, still endures in the world of sport despite all that has been written about it. “Public subsidies for stadiums are a great deal for team owners, league executives, developers, bond attorneys, construction firms, politicians and everyone in the stadium food chain, but a terrible deal for everyone else” college professor Frank Rashid told the Nation. “The case is so clear against this being a top priority for cities to be doing with their resources, I would have thought that wisdom would have prevailed by now” mused Rashid, described as a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan. Why Do Mayors Love Sports Stadiums? the story asks, suggesting that it’s due to fear. “Politicians continue to believe that it would be political disaster to lose a team on their watch”.
THE LIFESTYLE OF THE WEALTHY is not an acceptable one for politicians to flaunt writes columnist Noemie Emery, offering five examples led by Barack Obama’s $50,000 rental of a vacation house in Martha’s Vineyard. “For many people (that) would be a big down payment on a house in which they would live on a permanent basis, for most it would amount to their entire income for a year”. In her piece in the weekly Standard, Ms. Emery asks Mitt Romney to wait before knocking down his $12m California house to replace it with a new one four times the size; urges Newt Gingrich to close his Tiffany’s account (“A jewel is the essence of extravagance, also of uselessness…”); refers to John Kerry’s $7m yacht (“how nice to know you have some place to go when your five mansions will not satisfy”); and scoffs at John Edwards’ 28,000-sq-ft compound (“to which you repair when you tired yourself from your anti-poverty speeches”). And then there’s the tendency of Obama to use Air Force One “more or less as a taxi”, and Nancy Pelosi commandeering an Army jet to commute continually between California and Washington. “Together” writes Emery, “(they) suggest a large and bipartisan government stratum that is completely insulated and immune from the strains that beset normal people, not to mention addicted to a luxury, privilege and grandeur to a toxic extent”.
“I’m not a party animal. I see myself as rather boring, a straight arrow kind of person who wanted to be free, and I’m constantly searching to liberate myself from my own insecurities and my own uptightness. I think a lot of my work has been a weird attempt to liberate myself, but it’s not altogether successful. That’s my dichotomy”
–Helen Mirren talking to Andrew Goldman
BY THE END of 2010, the United States was home to 25 percent of the world’s prison inmates” reports the media watchdog National/Change, with roughly 2.4 million people behind bars and over seven million under "correctional supervision". The bill for housing prisoners, says Elsie Scott, president of the Black Congressional Caucus, is nearly 68 dollars a day per person.
DEVOTING 4,000 WORDS in the New York Times Magazine to his support for the misbegotten invasion of Iraq, former NYT editor Bill Keller explains:
“I wanted to be doing something, and standing by was not enough….George W. Bush famously argued that to command respect in the world we needed to demonstrate not only strength but also humility. In office, though, the humility gave way to hubris. President Bush got it wrong . And so did I”
EXTREME FOOD FADDISTS are extremely annoying and might be completely nuts says columnist Starshine Roshell. “You can’t lob a legume through a restaurant these days without hitting someone on a fussy—and fairly freaky—diet. Do you have legitimate medical and/or moral reasoning for your odd eating, or rather non -eating habits? Yes, I’m certain that you do. Does it make it any less irritating to the rest of us? No it doesn’t”. she writes in the Santa Barbara Independent. She was nostalgic, she said, for the days when people had food habits rather than food renunciations—“things we liked and didn’t especially like, rather than things we wouldn’t consider swallowing”
THE WILCOCK WEB: After claiming that her campaign funds were “wiped out” by a fraudulent assistant , it looks like Dianne Feinstein might actually have to spend some of her own millions to finance future campaigns. No wonder pols can’t protect the people’s money when it takes ten years for them to discover they’re being ripped off….Choosing Dick Cheney as his vp would be pretty much of a death wish for Mitt Romney…. Herman Cain says he’d bring “a sense of humor to the White House” if elected. His fantasy that he could win is certainly amusing....Republicans hate Obama because he’s socialist; Democrats are pissed off because he’s not…. “Sadly,” writes Robert Scheer, “Obama has proved to be nothing more than a Bill Clinton clone triangulating with the Wall Street lobbyists at the expense of ordinary folks.”…. The first aerial bombing in history occurred 100 years ago next week (Sept 29) when an Italian pilot dropped a grenade from his plane onto an oasis near Tripoli (the Italians were at war with the Ottoman empire)….. Is there a secret document somewhere mandating that all TV stations agree to show commercials at the same time?.... Competitive TV ratings never made any sense to the layman; if advertisers pay for numbers-watched, why is it wiser for networks to halve their potential viewing figures by running similar shows against each other (ABC’s Desperate Housewives vs CBS’ The Good Wife, CBS’ Sixty Minutes vs NBC’s Dateline) instead of in different time slots? …. After watching that vainglorious video, Disney employees are now calling their boss Robert ‘Ego’ Iger….Bulldozers, excavators and other heavy equipment are available for use at Dig This, a Las Vegas theme park, by visitors who’d like to play at being blue collar workers…..Is anybody surprised at the popularity of burning-bank paintings?....Researchers have come up with a pen that writes with electricity-conducting ink which will enable the production of paper batteries and medical diagnostic devices….”The truth is” declares the Weekly Standard, “that ‘green jobs’ is a 21st century euphemism for a more familiar term—crony capitalism”….“The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese"…If people are paid adequately for doing their best job, so-called “performance-based incentive bonuses” are a
|A four-man tent that looks like a bus (www.firebox.com)
Photo credit - The Observer
ridiculously expensive overkill….Palestinians already have a state; it’s called Jordan…. Scientists can analyze anything these days so how could Coca Cola possibly still have a “secret” formula?.... How do you recognize a Kerry pirate? He’s got a patch over each eye…. For $5,000 you can buy the WlliamsWarn Personal Brewery whose pressure-fermenting device allows you to brew beer at home condensing the month-long process and allowing home-brewed beer in seven days…. The remains of Adolf Hitler’s onetime deputy Rudolf Hess which were buried in the German town of Wunsiedel have been removed and scattered at sea after too many neo-Nazis had begun to turn his grave into a shrine. (Hess flew early in WW2 to England was imprisoned for the rest of his life)… “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little” —Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the U.S. (1882 - 1945)
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— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, donâ€™t forget the Republican Paradox
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— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen--Travels: Tokyo-Rick Kennedy recalls; Japan on $5 a Day; About Chapbooks; Magic in South America
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— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen (continued)--Theory & Practice of Travel Writing;
Remoteness of Callanish;
Jim's Paris dinners
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— 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
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In the Cannes
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— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve--Andy Gets Shot: Max's Kansas City;
Jane Fonda's gesture;
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
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— 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...
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— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten (continued)--The 'Movement' splits: Eldridge Cleaver
Year of the Great Hoaxâ€¦The OZ trial
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Rolling Stone's underground sabotage
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— 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
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— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
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— 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
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— 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
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
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— 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
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— 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 Andy Warhol
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.