November 15, 2004
"Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."
(Swans - November 15, 2004) So, did you get the very first issue of Bruce Anderson's new Weekly, the AVA Oregon! in your mailbox this week? I did!!!
Friends, colleagues, comrades, dear readers, if you haven't gotten it, then, well, you can't know what you're missing, but, let me tell you, you are missing lots of goodies, for sure.
Now, I suppose that they still have a few copies of the first issue left around the office. Don't waste time -- pick-up your phone, call Ling at 541-688-4264 and tell her your check is on the way. Then sit down and write the darn check for either $22 for a six-month subscription or better yet, $40 for a full year -- that's 52 issues, or 77 cents per week, for cheesesake (it's an insane bargain!) -- and mail it to AVA Oregon, P.O. Box 40038, Eugene, OR 97404. You can also send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Come on people, just do it!
I guess you may wonder why I'm doing this shameless plug for Bruce and Ling Anderson's latest venture in the publishing world when I cannot even begin to "market" Swans, right? Puzzling indeed!
Here's the reason, or better, the reasons:
First I am an idiot and find Bruce good company to keep. See, we get into those ventures without thinking much about the logistics. It's like, once upon a time, long, long ago, as we were counting florettes to the damsels, we understood what Bergson meant when he said, "We want to know the reason why we decided and we find that we decided without reason, perhaps even against all reason. But that is precisely, in certain cases, the best of reasons. For the accomplished action answers to the whole of our sentiments, our thoughts, and our aspirations." We do it simply because we cannot not do it. Then, we wonder how we'll make a go at it -- I mean, financially -- and our respective companions, Ling and Jan, cringe at our stupidity (or is it infantilism?) and save the day again and again, all the while wondering why they chose to live with those kids. So, that's one reason enough. I can't sell myself, don't have T-shirts or coffee cups with my name inscribed on them like some silly revolutionaries I know, but I sure can try to help a friend.
And help they need. In his first column for the AVA Oregon!, "YEWGENE: Off the top," Bruce begins his very first paragraph,
LEFT UNSAID, in my blustery front page "statement of intentions," is the grim fact that this publishing adventure suffers a shocking lack of start-up capital. I've got three months to make the paper self-supporting before I drown in Visa-Master's frigid seas. Check that. Given my long history of fiscal miscalculations that probably means that I've got two months to make AVA Oregon self-sufficient or reconcile myself to spending my golden years selling apples and pencils in front of the Eugene Post Office. This paper will either pay its bills, or it'll die fast...Furthermore, this new paper shines by its absence of ads -- actually the bottom half of page 5, in the first issue, is left pretty much blank, with a big headline, "This Space For Rent" . . . "(In fact, all pages are!)" . . . and an appeal for subscriptions... (Actually, you can get six months for just $20...but it would be nice to fork over the $22 all the same, and better yet, $40). One call away, people: 541-688-4264.
Is this a real newspaper, Bruce? "Yes," says the man, "this is a real newspaper, dude. So real it does not have horoscopes, teen pages, sex ads, big color photos of toddlers romping with puppies, or tributes to the local titans of free enterprise. It assumes that people can decode what they read without it being filtered by a graduate of a journalism school." Here you have it... 541-688-4264.
Worse still, when Bruce Anderson lived in Mendoland he had managed to alienate pretty much all the Dumbocrats in the county -- the county went 63.7% for Kerry...that's how dumb they are! (By the way, write-in votes were 364, 1.03% -- read Nader -- and 246, 0.70% for Cobb, wink, wink.) So, his paper then, the Anderson Valley Advertiser, suffered the same affliction: few ads. Subscriptions from all over the country and beyond and local sales were overwhelmingly paying the bills with the added bonus that you got more content and less crass-consumerism than in all the other papers in the county.
Once in Eugene, being the unredeemable idiot that he is, Bruce did not lose much sleep over his propensity to take on the local bureaucracies, commercial parasites, and general vulgarity of city-USA nowadays. "JUST BECAUSE I got into town five minutes ago doesn't mean that I don't have lots of opinions about the place. Stand by for your first force feeding," says he. And here he goes again. He takes on the local police; the competition ("Inside the [Eugene] Weekly's 'Best of Eugene' edition the moronic becomes the cretinous, 'Nice shoes, wanna fuck?' This witticism is described as Eugene's 'best pick-up line.'"); City Hall; Barnes and Noble, Eugene; the post-industrial wilderness and its billboards, the "Great Slide" of the American monster ("Eugene's welfare boss said the other day that her beleaguered agency received a thousand-plus new referrals of child abuse and neglect over the past year, and if that news isn't more evidence of a society in free fall, what is?"); and more of the same.
Way to go Bruce. You had 90,000 dumbasses in Mendoland; now you're taking on 300,000 in Eugene. Say ciao to your ad budget, man.
Friends, just for his sheer lunacy, the poor fella deserves your support. Come on, send him your hard-earned 40 bucks -- AVA Oregon, P.O. Box 40038, Eugene, OR 97404.
Another reason to subscribe to the AVA Oregon, besides a bunch of talented contributors, is Bruce Anderson himself. Last June, in "Bye, Bye Boonville; Hello Eugene! America's Greatest Editor Moves On," Alexander Cockburn wrote in CounterPunch, " I write as a 19-year contributor to the AVA and a pal of the Editor, and can therefore state with more knowledge than most that as an example of all that is seditious, muckraking, contrarian, courageous and uproarious in American journalism, Bruce Anderson's AVA has been up there with the best of Paine, Twain, Steffens and H.L. Mencken." Want a little taste of it?
IS EVERYONE in Eugene a message board or does it just seem like every other vehicle is telling us something we either know or would rather not know? Stalled on the Beltline's afternoon rush hour, I found myself staring at a young whippersnapper's shiny truck's rear end message board telling me to "Visualize your slacker hippie ass getting a job." Moi? See here, bub, this here old beatnik went to work as a paperboy at age 9 and hasn't stopped working since. Pays his bills, too. And another message on a (what else?) Subaru: "Yes, I am a witch. Deal with it." Frankly my dear, if I were any more indifferent to your religious practices I'd be asleep.And Bruce concludes his first column for the AVA Oregon:
STARTLED at roadside sign on highway 126 announcing itself as the "Open Fly Shop." Wonder how business is.But there's much more than his humorous, muckraking, dissenting, and journalistic exploits that should move you to get your buttocks off your computer screen, pick up the phone and call 541-688-4264. Think about erudition, humility, gentleness, and unending generosity -- and the right politics, too.
Come on, friends and foes, we've only got a few minutes left before the end of this drive. We'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming in just a bit. Take your checkbook, write down $40 in the name of AVA Oregon and mail it to P.O. Box 40038, Eugene, OR 97404 (don't forget to lick the back of the stamp, and not your ass...).
Gentleness, you think I've gone bozo, no? The man's a satanic devourer of his favorite victims -- like the lib-labs, New Age fetishizers, local power structure with a particular animosity against the education VIPs (UofO, Eugene, get prepared!), snake-oil biz, and other polluters (mind and pocket included), the me-me-me generation, baby-boomer-former-hippies on Viagra turned superintendents, scratching their scrotums aimlessly as they live off taxpayers' money like leeches, and all the blockheads (and scrubs) around the block (Vivir se puede, pero no the dejan...). He'll pillory them all with his mix of witticisms and indignation, as he's done for two decades. No holds barred. Only a gentle man can reach this level of serene apotheosis of fairness and justice.
And, if justice has any redeemable meaning in this disintegrating country and doomed culture, he'll get Mike Sweeney for the murder of Judi Bari. You can count on it!
Erudition? A house covered, wall-to-wall, with 5 to 6,000 books, a life of reading and thinking -- not one of his favorite targets, glued to the TV and social advancement, "scrotumizing" their hyper-egos down under, has ever read half, no 10%, of Bruce's library!
Generosity? Haven't I hammered the notion enough? The man is an imbecile, a nincompoop, a natural: Why, oh why, would he give away so many complimentary subscriptions to some of the myriad incarcerated bums around the U.S. -- 2,212,475 of them as of the end of 2003 (OJP figures) and counting? The old AVA, and the new AVA, have and will be read by inmates all over the country, gratis prodeo. And one wonders why this imbecile has only two or three months to make a go at it? Bruce, you take it (or not) from your anti-Mensa soul brother, the Idiocy Virus Syndrome is VERY contagious!
People, this idiot is only one phone call away: 541-688-4264 -- Should not hurt your vagabonding hand, should it?
Humility? Er, just ask Mickey Z. (who's he?) whether Bruce Anderson sells T-shirts with his own name imprinted on it. Look at the record: Bruce would sparingly put his columns on the front page of the old AVA. Comes the new journal on the block, and his column is on page 4. Like the man is selling himself, right? Well, if he does, it's not paid much for him over the years, right? Idiot? Right again!
I wish we had a few "idiots" like him around...
The right politics? Put it that way: The new AVA Oregon! has a "Spiritual Adviser." His name?
Eugene V. Debs
That, friends, colleagues, comrades, dear readers, says it all in a nutshell...
I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him.
Had my say... Time for yours...
P.O. Box 40038
Eugene, OR 97404
Thanks folks. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...
· · · · · ·
Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.
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