Gary Webb: Pariah No More

Photo: Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images, Design: Dustin Ames

A few months after Gary Webb killed himself with his dad's old pistol, I stood shirtless in my back yard, staring at the full moon. The sky was black and cloudless, the moon blurry. Earlier that night, I'd poured myself several splashes of single-malt scotch. I shook my fist in the air and screamed.

I'd been a mess ever since Dec. 12, 2004, when the Sunday-morning edition of the Los Angeles Times hit my porch. As usual, I had opened the paper to the last page of the news section, where the Times tended to bury its most important stories. "Gary Webb, 49, wrote series linking CIA and drugs," read the headline, and suddenly I realized I was reading an obituary. Webb, the article stated, who "wrote a widely criticized series linking the CIA to the explosion of crack-cocaine in Los Angeles, was found dead in his Sacramento-area home Friday. He apparently killed himself."

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Readings and Sponsors and Now a Word from Your Bibster

Categories: OC Bookly

I love this photo of quick-to-laugh novelist, teacher and booster of good writing and writers Janet Fitch (White Oleander, Paint It Black). Maybe she will flash it at me and others in the audience when she welcomes attendees to the nifty literary wingding I am putting on in a few weeks, and to which you, fellow bibsters, are cordially, as they say, invited. Fitch is one of our best So Cal book people, and for years (she says) she's been a fan and supporter of Santa Monica Review, edited by your not very humble Sunday morning blogger. Which is to say that I have the difficult and pleasurable and perhaps, for me at least, best job in the world, of reading hundreds of submissions (with help from short story writer Dawna Kemper and smart-dude Gabe Zacuto) and picking the absolute best of short and long fiction, memoir and essays and printing them twice yearly in that terrific project started by Jim Krusoe (Parsifal) of Santa Monica College about 25 years ago, a little West Coast literary magazine we like to call Santa Monica Review, its Fall 2014 issue out in a couple of weeks.

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Read Nick Schou's Kill the Messenger, See the Trailer, Read the Review, See the Flick

Original Kill the Messenger book cover (left) and the version now that there's a major motion picture.
As you'd expect, the cover has changed to OC Weekly managing editor Nick Schou's book Kill the Messenger now that a major motion picture of the same title based on the book hits theaters today.

Whether vintage or new, you'll want to read the book before venturing into a local theater to see the movie starring Jeremy Renner. For Nick's sake, why not buy copies of each version? Check Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Imagining Malcolm Margolin: California's Co-Creator and Cartographer of a Better Reality

Categories: OC Bookly

Last week found Mr. Bib lamenting, complaining, bitching and otherwise cracking wise by way of that rhetorically nearly exhausted (and exhausting) question of Where to Start, as in how to locate some kind of place - ideally at least higher than Lowest Common DenominatorLand, but sort of wishing for at least that - and backing up lightly to basics, of civic engagement, history, critical thinking and science. In this morning's hebdomadal rant I pivot on that one, offering exactly (!) Where to Start, no head shaking or eye rolling, only pointing to those specific places just now of both pleasing difficult reality and imagination, to steal some poetry, happily, from this week's hero, the editor and publisher and all-around booster of the heartfelt, Heyday founder Malcolm Margolin, who the Bibliofella and family were lucky to see and hear last week with an adoring crowd at the terrific ALOUD reading series at LA Central Library, thank you Louise Steinman, curator and host of that most excellent program. 

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Miko Peled Shares His Journey from Staunch Zionist to Israel-Palestine Peace Activist Sunday
Miko Peled is interviewed about his views on Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Though he lives in Coronado now, Miko Peled was born in Jerusalem and has a grandfather who signed Israel's Declaration of Independence. His father served as an Israeli general who later became a peace activist, a critic of Israel's territorial expansion and a supporter of dialogue with the PLO and a two-state solution. Junior followed in his father's peacemaking footsteps, as you'll learn if you catch him speaking in Laguna Beach on Sunday.

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On Immunity: Metaphor, Illness, Community, Logic of the Herd and Heard

Categories: OC Bookly
Thumbnail image for SalkatPitt.jpg
This classic, iconic photograph is an image perhaps somehow suspect by a whole new demographic of Knucklehead Americans, a term I just now coined, thank you. It's Jonas Salk, a scientist-hero and humanitarian. Old joke: If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? I offer the humor toward establishing a deceptive tone of amused and generous goodwill and tolerance toward people who don't deserve it but might be tickled into submitting to reason, the way you tickle a small child, that is until you overdo it and the kid begins to kick and scream and cry. Tough. No, I never know where to start with people, or restart, as in this morning's blog, if helpful to be reminded of that rhetorical problem as I am reading essayist and public intellectual Eula Biss's newest book and heard host Larry Mantle over at KPCC address the recent finding that, no, it's not among so-called uneducated lower economic class Americans that researchers find an increase in both vaccination skepticism and higher rates of non-participation in this essential and wildly successful public health protocol but among so-called "educated," white, upper middle class parents, no shit.
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Marine's Book and Film on Early Days of Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Discussed at Library

A free series that marries books, films and discussion about them kicks off Saturday at Santa Ana Public Library with a Marine's account of the early days in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The author's hand-held video journal from that time will be shown later in the month.

The Blue Cascade is First Lt. Mike Scotti's raw, hard-hitting memoir from the early 2000s, when he participated in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He shares what it was like from him and his fellow Marines serving in those wars.

Limited copies of The Blue Cascade will be available at the library for card holders, or you can buy a copy at the bookstore or through Amazon.

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The Morning News is Exciting: Living & Dying For Lack of What is Found There

Categories: OC Bookly

"Life is valuable - when completed by the imagination. And then only." - William Carlos Williams. The failure of imagination, by which we mean the failure to invite it in, celebrate it, listen closely to its urgings and provocations might be easiest to locate this past week in the historical revisionism over Nixon's resignation 40 years ago, in the nostalgia for collective grief, as if grief were the only lesson available from the resignation of Tricky Dick, not joy, say, or schadenfreuede or a good, healthy dose of I-told-you-so-ism. My own sense of remove from the organized funeral march of the status quo makes me a happy outlier, I think they call it, instead of just a liar, like RN. Nixon was a crook. He was a liar. It makes me happy just to point that out. One of my newest if dumbest conclusions is that one reason poetry is not more esteemed, talked about, celebrated, why people don't, sadly, carry small volumes around with them to the doctor's office or farmers' market or workplace is that it is political ("political"), and not really all that difficult or obscure or hard to understand, not any more or less than is, say, the Nixon story, wrapped and re-wrapped so many times around the arthritic finger of Received Wisdom as to make it impossible to point at anybody.

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Rob Boston Pushes Religious Freedom Book and Philosophy in Irvine Saturday Afternoon

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Rob Boston argues religious freedom is an individual right.
The Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling notwithstanding, the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment does not give organizations and businesses license to discriminate against and control others, argues an author speaking in Irvine Saturday afternoon.

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Guide Claims to Offer Tips on How to Cut Your Time in Disneyland Lines by Four Hours

Categories: Dishney, OC Bookly

Photo by Austen Risolvato/OC Weekly
Authors of an unofficial guide offer their spin on cutting your time in Disneyland lines.

The authors of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2015 claim that within the pages are "revolutionary, field-tested touring plans that can save four hours of waiting in line in a single day."

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