the column of lasting insignificance: May 17, 2014
by John Wilcock
MORRIS DEES AND HIS Southern Poverty Law Center have been media heroes for more than 40 years fighting against racism and segregation and battling for immigrants and civil rights in all its forms. “Even the SPLC's severest critics give the center's lawyers credit for providing high-quality legal services that have resulted in tangible legal changes” writes Charlotte Allen. But now some of those critics have their say in her story in the weekly Standard where their gripes focus on Dees himself whom they call “a shyster…a con-man,…King of the Hate Business… and an indisputable genius at self-promotion”. The Center's 76-year-old founder, who lives in what the Montgomery Advertiser describes as a “lavishly appointed neo-Mediterranean home” is said to be a multi-millionaire from direct-mail sales of everything from doormats to cookbooks, and the SPLC is called, “a Charity of Riches”. Specifically, the organization is reported to have expenses of $26 for every $100 raised (compared to the ACLU Foundation's $11) and to be sitting on $256million, dispensing only $24.9m last year of the $38.5m raised. “It has transformed itself into an all-purpose anti-hate crusader, labeling 1,007 different organizations across America (including the) category ‘general hate’” the magazine says.
“The Republican platform is about deregulation, drill baby drill, frack baby frack, cut that wood, lay that pipe, mine that coal, ditch the EPA...ditch standards…global warning is a hoax,,and that every man is entitled to any amount of money he’s able to amass, no matter what the consequences to ‘his’ human worker bees or the planet.”
SAME SEX MARRIAGE is beginning to have unexpected consequences, just as some critics foretold. The latest response is from the Muslim community who see it as a justification for the polygamy that their religion has always favored. “Islam sanctions polygamy—more specifically, polygyny—allowing Muslim men to keep up to four wives at once” says the National Review, pointing out that in France there are estimated to be as many as 20,000 polygamous families, and in the UK, men with extra wives receive extra benefits. “The opportunity presented by the redefining of marriage make it very likely that direct appeals for official recognition will ramp up over the next decade, as more Muslims join vocal non-Muslims already laying out the case that polygamists deserve no fewer rights than gays” writes David J. Rusin of the Middle East Forum. “Almost nine in ten Americans still see the practice as morally wrong. However, neither bureaucratic obstacles nor public exposure of the social ills accompanying polygamy will deter polygamous Muslims from seeking what they desire”.
“Virtually all US senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1% when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1% and know that if they serve the top 1% well, they will be rewarded by the top 1% when they leave office.”
IT WON’T BE LONG before the world comes to appreciate that artist Al Weiwei, is one of the most important people in it. China is a powder keg approaching the “explosion point” says former Communist Gao Wenquian, now living in New York, who forecasts the artist that could be the match to ignite it. “He had to be snuffed out”. In the style of all important artists with a conscience, Weiwei, 53, has been provoking his government to respect human rights and uncover corruption and now, not for the first time, he has been arrested. His politics have become his art, writes Barbara Pollack, author of a book about the Chinese art world. “What he has done is really quite heroic” she told Newsweek. “Many people felt he was emerging as a leader of a protest movement”.
SEX IN STATELY HOMES is the latest gimmick by the prolific publishers of “romance” novels, Mills and Boon, which issues eight new novels each month to subscribers and bookstores. (Each month the books left unsold in the stores are pulped). Under a deal with Britain’s National Trust (which preserves many of the country’s historic, but cash-short, homes) the publisher will start producing novels set in these celebrated mansions, fictionalized versions of real romances. The first (reports The Bookseller) is set in 17th century Ham House on the banks of the Thames in Surrey. Scandalous Innocent by Juliet Landon weaves the story of the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale, with that of the fictional Phoebe, “a beautiful scandal magnet who falls for the duke's personal secretary, Sir Leo. Trysts and quarrels occur inside the walls of the property, with its sculpted gardens playing host to stolen kisses”.
Bakewell (part 2), its mayor, and its pudding...
National Weed (1974, issue #3)
Bakewell and Chatsworth 2013 (part 1)
send a comment to John Wilcock
- Complete column archives: 2006 - present
— The Candy Store
— 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...
— 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......
— Dear Reader,
— Dear Readers...
— John Wilcock ... Marijuana, the symbolic center of the underground society
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: Cuba Diary—Havana, April 2011
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen (continued)--Travels
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, don’t forget the Republican Paradox
— 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
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen (continued)--London's Magical library;
In the Cannes
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen (Part Two--Manhattan phone book, JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen--Party Circuit
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
— 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
— 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
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
— 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
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six—The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
— 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
— 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
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
- column archives: 2006 - present
Now on Boing-Boing!
JOHN WILCOCK: Legal Mescaline via Mail-Order and other DRUG MEMORIES of 1961
May 2, 2014
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.
Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook on amazon.com.
"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