Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Let's not confuse my own adoration and wholesale gratitude for a country governed by law with the question: How does a Jew, of all people, volunteer to defend a Nazi's 'right' to hurt Jews? It wasn't the government who provided Collin with a public defender in '78; it was the ACLU, which was under no obligation to offer those shitballs aid. And if they were, if I've misread their charter, if the ACLU's raison d'être mandates that every sick fuck no matter what their intentions must be defended by their donations-supported organization whenever so-called civil rights are in question, then the Jew who was offered the pulpit should have STEPPED DOWN, claiming conflict of interest.
But it wasn't a conflict of interest for that lawyer. Which begs the question, "If I am not for myself, than who shall be for me?"
Even in the U.S.--the greatest country in the world, the solar system, the whole universe--even here, a Jew need not feel obligated to put a light bulb in his mouth when someone comes to turn his head into a lampshade.
The Nazi-Skokie story opens in late 1977 when Frank Collin, head of the National Socialist Party of America (Nazis) in Chicago, applied to the Skokie Park District for a permit to hold a rally in a Skokie park. The Chicago suburb’s population at that time was 66,000, about half of them Jews; many, survivors of Nazi Germany. The park district required Collin to secure a huge liability insurance policy to cover possible damages. So Collin responded by saying his followers would march, in uniform, in front of the village hall on May 1, but the village's lawyer obtained an injunction to block the demonstration. The village board also enacted three ordinances: Requiring insurance for demonstrations, banning persons from parading in "military-style" uniforms or displaying offensive symbols, and banning distribution of hate literature.
A lengthy series of court battles ensued after Collin obtained Jewish counsel from the Illinois Division of ACLU. Both the injunction and the ordinances were declared unconstitutional. Here’s Federal Judge Bernard M. Decker expressing the principle in striking down the Skokie ordinances: "It is better to allow those who preach racial hatred to expend their venom in rhetoric rather than to be panicked into embarking on the dangerous course of permitting the government to decide what its citizens may say and hear…The ability of American society to tolerate the advocacy of even hateful doctrines…is perhaps the best protection we have against the establishment of any Nazi-type regime in this country."
When Collin’s court victory was announced, thousands of Jews were mobilized by Rabbi Meir Kahane, z"tl. I was among them, a 17-year-old street fighter bussed in from Rockaway, New Jersey. The Nazis might march in Skokie, but we’d be there to meet them. The slogan Never Again has often been misinterpreted as meaning never again will there be a Holocaust. That’s a mistake. The slogan meant never again would we stand idle while Jewish lives were threatened. The slogan meant that our generation—the post Irgun Jew—understood with the greatest simplicity that there are causes worthy of the ultimate sacrifice. Especially when the enemy is making it.
Was Collin victorious? No. There were too many of us. The band of several dozen brown-shirt goons were no match for what we'd brought to Chicago. Hell, they'd have been no match for my friends in Rockaway. Forced to change the site of their march from Skokie to Chicago's Marquette Park, these Nazis were clandestinely transported in U.S. mail trucks then protected by nearly five hundred police—mostly mounted, in full riot gear—who had been imported from multiple Chicago suburbs to protect these thugs. Protect them from thousands of men who had come to twist them into swastikas.
One sad note: If the ACLU had not agreed to represent Collin, he would have lost in court. "Skokie would have prevailed," said David Hamlin, the director of the Illinois ACLU in a later interview. "There's no question about it. The Nazis couldn't afford to hire a lawyer, and even if they could have, I don't think there is a lawyer who would have taken the case."
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The shooting occurred 12 hours after the official ceasefire in the Gaza.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
On the home front, Gene is feeling better but is certainly not out of the woods. Medical tests are inconclusive and a biopsy is forthcoming while my friend is functioning on only 10% of his liver. Nevertheless, he reported a healthy appetite yesterday and got out to enjoy the weather now that the heatwave has blown by. Gene attributes his "improving health" to the love and devotion fans and peers have shown him these last six weeks. What a guy!
In an unrelated story, a minister from Pequannock, NJ, was reportedly struck by lightning yesterday in my town and lived to tell the story. "The lightning burned a hole in my hat, entered through my head, exited through my left ankle, and blew off my sneaker," the 47-year-old Rev. told reporters. My son Jesse and I heard the report on 1010 WINS this morning. "I don't believe it," said Jesse. "You think the radio's full of crap?" I asked. "No," said Jesse, "but I don't believe that man." Now that I think about it, I'm not sure it's fair dinkum either. Hard to imagine a man my age who can't tie his sneakers well enough to keep them on, rain or shine.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008
The news has been encouraging in the Colan home with the addition of a new doctor.
Adrienne Colan, Gene's wife, shares her recent letter to Dr. Nancy Bach at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York:
I'm generally so focused on and attending to what is wrong with Gene that it just occured to me I can share one thing positive for sure with you tonight: There is no question since under your care that Gene has made a 1000% return to better stamina than I've seen on him for a very, very long time. Even a year ago, he was falling asleep in the middle of conversations, in the middle of dinner, even if it was at a restaurant. We didn't know what was wrong. This week, it is so evident that he is awake and alert and even back to drawing his beloved comic books (he's currently drawing Captain America). So tonight, Dr. Bach, you are the superhero. I can't thank you enough for your remarkable devotion to trying the best you can to restore quality to Gene's life.
And don't forget to order Gene's new book: Click here for details.
You can still get The Gene Colan Treasury signed/numbered by Gene - only a few remain - click here.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
[Meth's] writing is dark, relentless and always in your face. It doesn’t make for easy reading, but it is highly emotional and makes you pay attention, which is the best thing a writer can do… You might even turn away from some of his twistier concepts, but I don’t think Clifford expects otherwise. He writes from a place others won’t walk [and] forces you into some queasy speculations that make everything you just read even creepier. Clifford’s strength is that he makes your imagination work overtime, again one of the best things a writer canYou can order the signed/numbered limited edition NOW; send $20 plus $3 shipping via PayPal to: email@example.com
Friday, June 6, 2008
We're also just weeks away from Septumus Orion's debut CD Caged, which was inspired by my story “Queers". The CD's cover art (pictured) is by Dave Cockrum and Christian Krank. Band members include ex-Celtic Frost drummer Reed St. Mark and J.R., former front man for the hardcore horror-metal band Rosemary’s Babies. In addition to the trippy, musical experience around my reading of "Queers," there's a half-dozen other tracks by this extraordinary ensemble.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Bill writes me this morning with, “I see everyone has a quote on your page except me.” Then he proceeds with what people in Buttfuck, Michigan apparantly regard as high praise:
“In public, Clifford Meth is the ‘anti’ Bill Messner-Loebs. He is opiniated [sic], swaggers, glories in grudges, sneers at his enemies and takes no prisoners. His work is about the dark side of life, as if he were sculpting beautifully realistic statues while working exclusively in blood and excrement. And then setting them on fire. But the real Clifford Meth has saved my life a couple of times, so I am probably biased… and I’m also a huge fan. I read him mouth open and giggling, stunned, amused and aroused. Clifford Meth is my pornography.”
Opiniated? As in full of opin? No—that can’t be right. Messner-Loebs is an educated man. He knows his diphthongs from his dipsticks. It must be a typo, I thought all atremble, before I swaggered on to the next subject.
Monday, June 2, 2008
And there's an interview with me at Westfield comics.
And the Gene Colan Benefit Auction continues with new items.