* The real, ground-breaking journalism (The Boston Globe, April 20, 1966 - April 20, 1973) by the author of the FLETCH novels, Gregory Mcdonald;
* Covering a wide diversity of personalities, (Joan Baez, John Wayne, Jack Kerouac, Andy Warhol, Krishnamurti, Phil Ochs, etc...)
* Published entitled SOUVENIRS OF A BLOWN WORLD by 7 Stories Press, September 1, 2008.
Forty-years out from the cultural watermark that was 1968, and 23-years from its original publication, Gregory Mcdonald’s Souvenirs of a Blown World is being republished by Seven Stories Press and hits store shelves September 1.
Souvenirs of a Blown World is not a book about this transformational time in America, but an actual imprint of the time. The sketches and interviews were conducted during Mr. Mcdonald’s seven years at The Boston Globe where he was a writer for the Sunday magazine, Art & Humanities editor, and a member of the Editorial Board. When he was hired in 1964, editor Thomas Winship gave him simple instructions, "Go have fun and write about it. If you end up cut and bleeding on the sidewalk, call the city desk." And that’s exactly what he did.
The writings (or his education as Mcdonald refers to it) were developed in the middle of riots, while touring the factory with Andy Warhol, bar hopping with Kerouac, and while living through a time of political assassinations, war, and nuclear threat. We join him as he interviews Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin before Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, , and to a Texas barbecue where he talks politics with John Wayne. Mcdonald never lacks for wit or insight while writing during one of the most tumultuous time periods in American history.
Seven Stories Press can be contacted at 1-800-596-7437. Books can also be purchased from Amazon.com, or through a local bookseller.
Ed: In your estimation, how goes the world?
G: I share with much of the world sorrow
at how the sole remaining superpower, The United States
of America, at the beginning of this millennium, has squandered
its wealth in human lives and all other resources, including
moral influence. For the year running up to the invasion
of Iraq I referred to such as historically, militarily,
Ed: What would have done after 9/11, had
you been President of The United States?
G: This is not hindsight. I would have
asked religious and political leaders, all sides of all
fences, of the Islamic world, to meet with me. There I would
have said, "We have a problem. What are we going to
do about it?" Violence is caused by those who are not
being heard, either because they cannot or may not articulate
their grievances, and wishes. So informed, we might have
acted more wisely and in concert with our Islamic brothers,
and, to much better affect.
Ed: Many reasons have been offered as to
why President George Bush preemptively invaded Iraq: his
frustration at the apparent inconclusiveness of the first
Gulf War - inconclusive for reasons of geopolitical balance
considered good, internationally, at the time - the assassination
attempt upon his father, the first President Bush, by Saddam
Husein, oil ... In THE BUCK PASSES FLYNN you refer to oil
as the new gold standard...
G: In that so much oil is not worth so
much per dollar as the dollar is worth so much oil.
Ed: What, to your mind, is the prime reason
we invaded Iraq?
G: It has long been a tenet that for a
leader to be great he must have, or create, a great enemy.
Our 20th Century enemy was Communism, which emnity sustained
all politicians, all western governments, had collapsed.
Ed: Early on, President Bush referred to
this war as a crusade.
G: And more significantly, never again,
after his advisor, Karen Hughes, told him never to do so
again: it was too close to the truth, too revealing of what
Young George really thought.
Ed: A Christian crusade.
G:Wasn't it a Pope Urban, then the sole
superpower of the Western World, who created the First Crusade?
He thus deflected the arrows of those princes who might
have fought among themselves, and, attack the power of The
Holy Roman See.
Ed: The religious aspect of this war is
the third rail the current pundits do not dare touch. Even
Michael Moore's movie, FAHRENHEIT 911, did not delve into
G: Let us, then. There have been hundreds,
if not thousands of creation myths, most lost to us. I think
of religions as languages. There have always been end-of-the-world
myths,too, which seem to comfort people. The reason The
Dark Ages were The Dark Ages is because for a thousand years
people were expecting the world to end imminently. Only
skeptics put themselves forward, established whatever economy
there was, made long range plans. "Repent the end is
near" is comforting. perhaps, because it relieves us
of the responsibility of tending our garden. The most recent
such myth was that of the imminent nuclear holocaust. At
least for literal Christianity the present stimulus seems
to be a series of novels I've heard referred to as "the
Rapture" or "The Left Behind" stories. We
so want to ignore the earth, exploit the world while being
absolved of responsibility for it.
Ed: You've written, "The most evil
word in any language is infidel."
G: It is the word, the concept, that allows
us to maim, plunder, and slaughter our brothers, in the
name of God.
Ed:Are we in a religious war, to your mind?
G: We appear to be at the mercy of the
fundamentalists of the three great religions founded in
the Middle East, Jews, Christians, Muslims. It seems so.
But, as always, in any religious war, the literal believers
are the victims of those skeptics who use the particular
language, unmercifully, for various forms of power and profit.
Ed: Is George Bush a victim, or a skeptic?
G: I don't know.
Ed: Aren't we, therefore, still talking
G: Power, profit, land, an elegant lunch,
impressing the waitress, while, yes, the dollar shrinks
next to a quart of oil.
Ed: What will make the literal believers,
the fundamentalists, all sides, understand they are beeing
used, are victims?
G: I've studied the prophets not as closely
as some, but I don't think any advised us to covet our brother's
goods, to kill our brother, etc. Don't damn the infidel;
damn the concept. I think those who interpret the sands
of the holy texts might come to another conclusion as to
the proper use of prosperity, in light of the several natural
disasters visited upon us during this same period, the tsunami
in the Indian Ocean, earthquake in Kashmir, hurricanes Katrina
and Rita, mud slides in the Philippines; Aids, Asian Bird
Flu... Young George might be seen as a Daddy so fixated
on a plush gambling pit he hasn't the means to provide for
his family's and neighbors' needs.
Ed: In practical terms, what do you envision?
G: War is not the means to peace; war is
the end to peace.
Ed: Is it possible these are the end of
G: No matter how one weishes it, no. And
even if that were so, there is never absolution of our responsibilities
to this earth, and, to each other. At least, that's my readings
of the prophets.
>Ed: G, a few years ago you ran a Day
Book on this website that was both interesting and provocative.
Why did you stop?
>G: Two reasons. First I intended to
make it light and breezy. I slipped back into serious journalism
related to what I had practiced seven years writing for
The Boston Globe. It became almost a full-time job for which
I was not being paid. Second, I discovered it was being
influential. That worried me, as I was working without the
resources I had at The Boston Globe.
>Ed: Do you and your wife, Chjeryle,
still take winter walks across the pastures of Camaldon
Farm trailed by an odd assortment of dogs, cats, a rooster,
ducks, goat, as earlier described?
>G: More or less. The cast of characters
has changed. The rooster got smushed by a little old lady
with a heavy right foot. A road runs through the farm. We
had to put that wonderfrul collie, Sphyinx, down recently.
He was the most wonderful gentleman I'vc ever known on two
feet or four - the only pet I've ever had that kept pets
of his own. He'd pick up baby rabbits, frogs, even kittens
gently with his mouth and hide them from the coyotes under
the sun porch. When cattle was acting up, he'd amble in
among them. For several minutes one couldn't figure out
what he was doing. Then, suddenly, in a flash, the herd
would become organized. He would cause them to do exactly
right. Brilliant. Whenever I was working in the fields I
would forget all about him, look up, and see him sitting
in the nearest shade, watching me. I never worried about
Ed:You and your wife suffered many deaths
this past year.
>G: Deaths and dyings, and worse. Living
on a farm helps keep one's balance, though. Everyday it
seems something dies, something is born. In the country
one is more aware of sunrise, sunset. In cities I think
the only people so aware of sunrise, sunset are cops and
>Ed:For years now so much space has
been taken up on the internet and elsewhere discussing the
next FLETCH film...
>G:I understand there was even a public
campaign to make new movies based on the FLETCH novels without
benefit of a film studio...
>Ed:Much impatience. The difficulties
between two studios, Miramax and Disney, definitely was
to your detriment...
>G:It's been interesting over the past
years watching, hour by hour, Harvey and Bob Weinstein wriggling
in the air like a thrown cat, finally landing beautifully
on all four feet. Remember that in Dimension-Miramax Bob
and Harvey created the only brand-name studio we've had
in decades. Before we had any association with the Weinsteins,
Cheryle and I at the video store were always sure we would
like a movie under the Miramax imprint and we were seldom
disappointed. I am certain Harvey and Bob will do even better
in creating their new studio, Weinstein & Co.
>Ed: You could have left them and didn't?
.Ed: What's happening now?
>G: Harvey has been most gracious to
us. I am delighted he has now committed his own creative
energy, genius, and savvy to what he calls "The Fletch
Project", franchise. Full steam ahead on turning FLETCH
WON into cinema. A new screenwriter is working.
> Ed: Who?
>G: Let's give the guy a chance, shall
we, before the whole world lands on him?
>Ed: Million dollar question: who is
the new Fletch?
.>G: More than a million. Not named,
yet. I've always thought it would be fun to have a nationwide
audition. No time for that now, I guess.
>Ed: Will we see FLETCH WON in theaters
>G: Harvey assures me we will.
>Ed: Does my playing Editor, Q to your
A, make this process easier for you?
>G: I think so. Almost as good as my
>Ed: I'll get tougher.
>G: I expect so.
Additional Perspectives: THE NEW REALITY
world has changed, my friends. You know it, and I know it,
but the present incumbent in The White doesn't seem to know
it. His advisors don't seem to know it...
to be that what happened in New York and Washington was
important in Paramaribo, in Durban, in Kampuchea. Nothing
was more important. Well, things have changed. Now we know
that what happens in Santiago, in Tehran, in Mali is terribly
important in New York and Washington. Nothing is more important
Third World, as it's called, is no longer something out
there - separate from us, inconsequential. Whether we like
it or not, the world is becoming covered with a network
of fine, sensitive nerves - an electronic nervous system
not unlike that which integrates our own bodies. Our finger
hurts, our toe hurts and we feel it as much as if our head
aches or our heart aches. Instantly now do we feel the pain
in Montevideo, in Juddah, in Bandung. And yes, my friends
in Winslow, we feel the pain from our own, internal Third
World - from Harlem, from Watts, from our reservations of
is no First World, Second World, Third World. The world
is becoming integrated before our very eyes.
and I know there is no theology, no ideology causing this
new, sudden, total intregration of the world. Christianity
has had two thousand years to tie this world together...
and it has not done so. Islam has had six hundred years
to tie this world together... and it has not done so. American
democracy has had two hundred years to tie this world together...
and it has not done so. Communism had nearly one hundred
years to tie this world together ... and it did not do so.
and I know what is tying this world together, better than
any band of missionaries, however large, ever have or could;
better than any marching armies ever have or could.
satellites permit us to see every stalk of wheat as it grows
in Russia, every grain of rice as it grows in China.We can
see every soldier as he is trained in Lesotho or Karachi.
We can fly to Riyadh or Luzon between one meal and another.
Every economic fact regarding Algeria can be assimilated
and interpreted within hours. It is possible to poll the
entire nation of India regarding their deepest political
and other convictions within seconds.
and I, my friends, know that technology is tying this world
together, is integrating this world in a way no theology,
no ideology ever could. Technology is forming a nervous
system beanth the skin of Mother Earth. And you and I know
that to avoid the pain, the body politic had better start
responding to this nervous system immediately! If we ignore
that which hurts in any part of body earth, we shall suffer
years more, generations more of the pain and misery of spreading
disease. If we knowingly allow wounds to fester in any particular
place, the strength, the energies of the whole world will
politics must grow up to the new realities of life on this
planet! Technology brings us closer than any Biblical brothers!
Technology makes us more interdependent than any scheme
of capital and labor! Technology is integrating the people
of this earth where love and force have failed! This is
the new reality! We must seize this understanding! Seize
it for peace! For the health of planet earth! My friends,
for the very continuation of life on earth!
- from Gregory Mcdonald's
FLETCH AND THE MAN WHO, 1983
will be forthcoming...)