' John Wilcock - The Column of Lasting Insignificance
The column of lasting insignificance   Ojai Orange   blog   Books   Marijuana   Press   Archives   Contact

the column of lasting insignificance: Dec. 22, 2012
by John Wilcock

NOW IT’S INSOURCING dominating the Business-with-China news as more and more firms realize that there’s much to be gained from bringing their production back stateside. Many reasons are justifying the turnabout: a fivefold increase in Chinese wages in the past decade; oil for cargo ships having tripled in price; a natural gas boom in the US lowering production costs; and deals with unions which allow new hires to be paid lower rates. But, most of all, has been the realization that turning over the operational working of a company to somebody else is not the sharpest thing to do. “What is now dawning on the smart American companies” says General Electric design boss Lou Lenzi, is that when you outsource the making of the products, “your whole business goes with the outsourcing”.
    GE, one of the biggest turnabouts, is reinstalling assembly lines at its Appliance Park in Louisville, KY—a plant that once employed 23,000 workers, by last year down to 1,863. Now the company is spending $800million to bring the plant back to life and has discovered that costs can be lowered even further by seeking employee suggestions for streamlined techniques. This all can lower costs more than offered by outsourcing.
    “There was a herd mentality to off-shoring” John Sook, a manufacturing expert and CEO of a Cambridge firm, told the Atlantic, “an inability to see the total costs—the engineers in the factory and managers in China who can’t talk to each other; the management hours and money flying to Asia to find out why the quality they wanted wasn’t being delivered…All you need is to have to hire one or two 747s a couple of times, to get product here in a hurry, and you lose any savings”. GE’s transformation, concludes the magazine, is mirrored in dozens of other places. “Which”, they write, “raises a troubling but thrilling prospect: the off-shoring rush of the past decade or more—one of the signature economic events of our time—may have been a mistake”.

ROCKING THE BOAT is hardly new for the controversial “dissident-feminist” writer Camille Paglia, and her recent trashing in the Hollywood Reporter of some of America’s top gal singers seems true to form. The argumentative academic accuses the current youth cult of “devouring both entertainment and fashion” and making older women invisible. She refers to “the winsome 1950s glory” of Taylor Swift, her “cultivated blandness…her mannequin posturing……her monotonous vocal style” and Katie

Camille Paglia
Camille Paglia

Perry, though 28, she defines as being in a “wide-eyed teen queen mode”. Paglia, 65, has long been a critic of American feminism and has fought with most of its leading figures. She famously dueled with Susan Sontag, whom she originally admired but later accused of becoming an elitist; Sontag, in return, said Norman Mailer had been bad enough, but Paglia “made Norman Mailer look like Jane Austen”. Naomi Wolf accused Paglia’s writing of being “full of howling intellectual dishonesty”; in response Paglia called Wolf a twit”. Gloria Steinem said Paglia calling herself a feminist “is sort of like a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic” Paglia responded that Steinem was “the Stalin of feminism”.
    Paglia herself, who has in the past listed Dorothy Parker, Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna and Barbra Streisand as among her heroines, has her own view of what feminism should mean, and in her Hollywood Reporter piece charges that, current girl pop has “thrown us back to the demure girly-girl days of the white-bread ‘50s…that rigidly conformist and man-pleasing era when girls had to be simple, peppy, cheerful and modest”.

Data Dump

Will Durst’s
Top Ten Comedic Stories of 2012

10. Donald Trump. Assumes figurehead post of Birther Movement. Then refuses to shut up all year long including several embarrassing tweets on Election Day. An ever-gushing political comedy material fountain with all the grace and elegance of tumbling dumpsters.

9. First Presidential Debate. Turned what was becoming a slam- dunk into a horse race. 70 million Americans tuned in. But for some unknown reason, President Obama was not among them.

8. The entire GOP primary campaign. Party plays Candidate Whack-A-Mole for five months. Everybody takes turns beating Romney like a red headed stepchild, including some folks who aren’t even running.

7. London Olympics. Ann Romney’s horse Rafalca competes in Dressage. Event where the horse and the rider perform predetermined movements. Like interspecies dancing. Which you would think would be illegal in Utah. But horse fails to medal and probably gets shipped home strapped to the fuselage of a 747. McKayla Maroney remains unimpressed.

6. Vice Presidential Debate. Joe Biden goes all Malarkey on Paul Ryan. Two words- decaf. Bold Choice Ryan blames Obama for GM plant closing in 08. Fails to implicate POTUS in fall of the Roman Empire. But just barely.

5. Barack Obama comes out in support of gay marriage. Emerges from his own personal policy closet like a butterfly emerging from a conflicted cocoon.

4. Mitt Romney vows to get rid of Big Bird losing him pivotal pre- adolescent vote.

3. Democratic National Convention. Specifically Bill Clinton laying out the precise reasons why America should re-elect as President… Bill Clinton.

2. Republican National Convention. Specifically Clint Eastwood upstaging the nominee’s acceptance speech by getting into an argument with an empty chair. Which he proceeded to lose. Probably upset him so badly he rushed back to the hotel room where he got into a squabble with his armoire.

1. Mitt Romney. All the charisma of a plastic picnic fork with three of the tines snapped off. May have run the worst campaign ever. And that includes New Coke, McCain/Palin and France in '39.

THE WILCOCK WEB: How many troops will we have to leave behind just to protect that ridiculously oversized, billion-dollar US embassy in Baghdad that’s almost the size of Vatican City?.... AARP checked out which states had the highest median household income , and—surprise! After Alaska it turned out to be DC, where all the lobbyists and their buddies live. Followed closely by NH and VA, next on the list….More than 2,400 admitted millionaires claimed unemployment in 2009, says the Congressional Research Service. Washington says they’re trying to stop millions. flowing to greed heads who don’t need it….Pakistanis don't pay income tax, so the US sends them the billions instead....'To the annoyance of many movie buffs, Warner Brothers is considering making a sequel to Casablanca, written 30 years ago by screenwriter

Funny Times t-shirt
a T-shirt from Funny Times

Howard Koch…...Santa Barbara is rehabilitating at-risk kids by paying them eight bucks an hour to learn bee-keeping…. …Always noted for the extravagant gifts in its holiday catalog, the Neiman Marcus specialty this year is the McClaren 12C Spider, a red 616 horsepower runabout offered for $354,000, The price includes a trip to England to have dinner with the company’s chairman…. A score of British artists were given a decommissioned SAK-47 to decorate for a London show called SAKA Peace. Some drilled holes through the gun, some added graffiti and one artist ground the rifle into a pile of metallic flakes….Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Academy of Music teamed up with an art newsletter to sponsor artists adding to or changing the look of street newsboxes….….”Imagination without skill gives us modern art” wryly observes playwright Tom Stoppard…. Authorities in Venice, reacting to local complaints, want to cut down on the number of cruise ships that visit—655 last year, more than triple the number a few years ago….College presidents paid $2million dollar salaries, when their students have to endure a lifetime’s debt, are ridiculously overpaid….. “In the mountains of truth, you never climb in vain” suggested Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche…..An Austrian retailer. Billa, experimented with selling peeled bananas, wrapped in plastic, but abandoned the idea when customers complained about it despoiling the environment…Thousands of Italians have signed a petition asking for return of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to its ‘home city’ of Florence from the Louvre where it has been displayed for more than 200 years …..Cockroaches equipped with tiny cameras could help rescue workers search for survivors suggests a columnist in Scientific American”.…. ….Somebody nominated WikiLeaks enabler Bradley Manning (deservedly) for a Nobel peace prize….Instead of building a 600-mile-long pipeline to transfer (steal)water from the Missouri to the Columbia River, why not build pipelines to both rivers from regularly flooded areas?....Make your own sparkling Perrier Water, says Wired, using tap water, Epsom salt, plaster of Paris and pickling lime—about twice as much plus table salt for San Pellegrino. You’ll also need one of those kitchen soda-making machines to add the bubbles……. ….Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed headlight beams that, with the aid of a minicam, van shine clearly through raindrops…...”Sooner or later” mused Bern Williams, “we all quote our mothers”….Discovering that coconut oil kills the kind of bacteria that causes tooth decay, scientists suggest it may be a useful chemical to add to toothpaste …. “There is no exception” mused James Thurber, “to the rule that every rule has an exception”…. ….Inmates of a Westchester County jail in New York are suing to be allowed dental floss which prison authorities have banned because it can be used as a weapon… “To remain silent is the most useful service that a mediocre speaker can render” –Alex de Tocqueville (1805-59)

JW, on a Mexican cruise for Christmas,
welcomes ideas about where and how to celebrate
the new year.




Email this link to a friend

Sign-up to receive this column weekly by email

send a comment to John Wilcock



Bagan, Myanmar (Burma):
Seeking the Drama of Everyday Life in Burma: part 4 - Bagan

Lompoc, CA:

Seeking the Drama of Everyday Life in Lompoc, CA:

Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma):
Seeking the Drama of Everyday Life in Burma: part 3 - Inle Lake

Bagan, Myanmar (Burma):
Seeking the Drama of Everyday Life in Burma: part 2 - Bagan

Seeking the Drama of Everyday Life in Burma: part 1 - Yangon

recent columns...

- Complete column archives: 2006 - present

The real, true, history...
Week of May 5, 2018

Alice, Alice at 85, seed money, supermax, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
Week of April 28, 2018

About being in love..., Persoff and Marshall, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
Week of April 21, 2018

The Candy Store
Week of January 20, 2018

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...
Week of December 9, 2017

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......
Week of December 2, 2017

Taxing land, not people, Is Socialism Scary?, Stars acting as assholes, Big Thinkers can be such Morons, and of course, The Wilcock Web...
Week of November 18, 2017

Dear Reader,
Week of August 23, 2017

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, don’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 Hoax…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:  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 Six—The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
Week of October 24, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
Week of October 17, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—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 Four—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 Four—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, ECHO  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 Shepherd’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 Mailer’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

- column archives: 2006 - present

in the press...
The New York Years
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
John Wilcock at the New York Times

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.

(read more)

Manhattan MemoriesManhattan Memories
An Autobiography
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

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 on West 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 Andy Warhol 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.