So, I got an email from amazon claiming that some of my recent reviews had not followed its “community guidelines” and had caused offence i.e. some of my reviews had cost Jeff Bezos a few shekels. Trust me, I write honest reviews good and bad. I like nothing better than praising a well written book or recommending a product that’s worth its price. Sadly, I don’t get to write either of those very often. But when a book or widget is good, I am fulsome in my praise.
I got to thinkin’ about amazon’s “community guidelines” and what constitutes “offensive” material in the eyes of Jeff Bezos. So, I played a game. I entered every sexual kink and perversion I could think of (including ILLEGAL ones) into the amazon search engine and whatayaknow…
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no prude as my long-suffering readers can attest. My memoir Boy Outa Brooklyn is plenty dirty but it’s honest, clean dirt not juvenile jerk-off junk. Further, I believe that what consenting, adult Shih Tzus do in the privacy of their kennel is their business. But I wanna know how come books celebrating sex with the family or the family dog do not offend and are not against amazon’s “community guidelines ” while books questioning any part of the official “holocaust narrative” of WW2 or any aspect of the Covid-hoax are immediately censored?
Don’t believe me? Play my game yourself.
Meanwhile, here are my favorite degenerate-discoveries for sale on amazon with the much vaunted “Jeff Bezos Seal of Approval” –
This next title is too good to miss –
Housewife Lesbian Babysitter
Remember that you can’t sell or buy books on amazon that in any way question the official “holocaust narrative” of WW2. But that doesn’t mean Jeff won’t sell you some holocaust porn… er, I meant to say holocaust erotica – a genre very popular in… Israel.
This fräulein gives Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS a run for the money. Believe it or not, The Toymaker and the Nazi Sadomasochist was not short-listed for a Pulitzer.
If we’re supposed to be worried about Covid infection when someone gets within three feet of us or doesn’t wear a mask then we better be worried big-time about getting within a mile of anyone who dreams of or dabbles in the depravities depicted above. You better pray they’re using hand sanitizer!
The National Socialists are condemned for being book burners. But they didn’t burn classics. They burned unnatural and unhealthy trash like the books for sale on ever-so progressive and enlightened amazon.
Supreme Court cutie Ruth Bader Ginsberg crowed many times that her Jewishness shaped her judicial outlook . . . Not the Bill of Rights, the Torah . . . Not the Federalist Papers, the Talmud . . . Not the Constitution, the Kaballah . . . So I guess it was her Jewishness that made Ruthie promote lowering the age of sexual consent to twelve . . . TWELVE . . . TWELVE!!!! . . .
Here’s a definition of chutzpah: Ginsberg, the champion of affirmative action, hired only one Black law clerk during her forty year judicial career. FORTY YEARS. ONE BLACK . . . She claimed she couldn’t find any more who were qualified . . . I call that “affirmative action for thee but not for me” . . . The Noxious RBG spent her last four years on the bench in a coma with her law clerks propping her up like the eponymous hero of the movie Weekend at Bernie’s . . .
Had Ruthie not been so high-on-her-own-supply and convinced she was the “indispensable” woman, she would/could have retired when Obama was President thus assuring that someone equally toxic would have taken her place . . . Funny how karma bites even the most high and mighty on their high and mighty asses, ain’t it . . . But, waaaaiiittt a minute here, Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that the Black football players in the NFL (Negro Felon League) were “stupid and disrespectful” for kneeling during the national anthem. That’s not nice . . .
Saint Ruthie wasn’t the only extreme libtard with “surprising” views on race and sex . . . Che Guevera (the Left’s favorite pin-up) said, “Mexicans are a band of illiterate Indians” and “The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meagre wage on frivolity or drink.” . . .
Che (the most reproduced face in history aside from Christ) was no friend of the LGBTQ crowd. In fact, he called homosexuals “scum” and put them in concentration camps where they labored beneath a sign that wittily proclaimed, “Work will make you men.” . . . Some say that sort of anti-gay vitriol only comes from a closet queen. Hmmmnnnn . . .
Speaking of the “lavender lads” – it’s being whispered in the corridors of power that Chief Justice John Roberts is “light in the loafers” and is being blackmailed by a certain tribe of rootless-cosmopolitans? . . . This explains his lurch to the Left . . .
Not possible? Welp, the Mafia blackmailed and deballed the famous “crime buster” of the 1950s Sen. Estes Kefauver with pix of his pussy-hound ways . . .
Yup, Ol’ Estes made JFK look like a choirboy . . . As long as we’re talkin’ about choirboys . . .
This squeaky-clean holy-huckster isn’t preaching the Gospel. He’s just sprinkling a bit of Jesus over Napoleon Hill’s classic self-help book Think and Grow Rich. . . Hey, how come we let immigrants with tuberculosis, polio and even plague flood into our countries but if your dog isn’t vaccinated you’re in big trouble? . . . John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival had never been to Louisiana or even seen the Mississippi River before he wrote Proud Mary and other songs about the Bayou . . . In pre-WW2 Hollywood, actors were blacklisted for not being commies . . . Ronald Reagan’s film career tanked when “liberal” Hollywood blacklisted him for daring to clean the commies out of the Screen Actors Guild while he was union president . . . Morons who mock Reagan’s acting have never seen King’s Row, Juke Girl or Storm Warning . . .
As long as were discussing simians in the cinema – George Floyd fucked-on-film in porn movies . . . This just in – evidence has emerged (seen by your reporter) that Georgie Boy Floyd was a longtime police informant (snitch) – that’s considered the lowest form of life in the ‘hood. . . Meanwhile, Floyd’s fellow-felon Jacob Blake whose shooting caused all the kerfuffle in Kenosha, Wisconsin had a habit of raping women including his baby-mama. He raped her while her young daughter was in the bed next to her. The insistent dusky Casanova forced his fingers into his beloved’s vagina, smelled them and opined, “It smells like you bins wit udder mens.” . . . His baby-mama tearfully testified to this and, ya know, we gotta believe the woman . . . She called the cops to arrest Blake. He attacked the cops, was shot while reaching for a weapon and was left paralyzed from the waist down . . . Mayhaps the unfortunate Blake’s sexual activity will be restricted to digital insertion (hopefully consensual) for the foreseeable . . .
But unlucky Lorez never had that all-important hit record so she never got the bookings and acclaim she deserved . . . One dame who got nothing but undeserved acclaim was Margaret Mead the most famous woman in Cultural Anthropology . . .
Maggie was hoaxed by the South Sea island teens when she wrote her famous pro-Brown, anti-White study Coming of Age in Samoa . . . Turns out their society was actually very straight-laced and violent – not at all the peaceful, sexual paradise the dim-witted Mead portrayed . . .
Mead was a student of the Jewish-Marxist Franz Boas. He invented the pseudo-science of Cultural-Anthropology which holds that a Bantu banging on a tree trunk in the jungle is of equal artistic value to the work of Bach . . .
Guess what? Franny’s famous skull measurement studies which supposedly proved racial equality have been exposed as totally bogus . . . Boas cooked the books to push his anti-White Marxist crap . . . He was as crooked as that other fraud Sigmund Freud . . . Meanwhile, I’m scratchin’ my noggin’ over why people who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves . . . Heard on the Rialto and Rodeo Drive: Meghan Markle is the most pretentious, presumptuous twat in public life and has already worn out her welcome stateside . . .
Tell ya the truth, I’d sooner listen to political punditry from Scary Spice . . . Fred Astaire failed an early Hollywood screen test with this critique, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” . . .
Here’s another showbiz “ouch” – Broadway producer Cheryl Crawford turned down Arthur Miller’s great play Death of a Salesman with this note, “Who wants to see a play about a traveling salesman?” . . . So explain to me why the same loons who say there is no such thing as gender are screeching that there must be a female President . . . Here’s some good news – the future belongs to the fertile. The gender-liquid brigade, the cis-phobic snowflakes and other assorted psycho-sexual misfits aren’t reproducing . . . Wanna know who is breeding? Mormons, Amish, Hasids, Muslims and Evangelical Christians. Looks like the future belongs to the fundamentalists, too . . .
Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle each wrote multi-volume histories of WW2 . . . These three wartime titans devoted about a paragraph each to European Jewry with no mention of gas chambers . . . Betcha didn’t know this – the British almost dropped the atomic bombs on Japan using their Lancaster bombers coz America’s B-29s were too small . . . Elvis Presley “The King” died on the “throne” whilst straining at stool . . . But even in the worst of Presley’s stupid movies there is at least one good tune . . . Barbara Streisand wanted Elvis to co-star with her in A Star Is Born but after one meeting with Babs, The King took a pasadena . . . Who sez Elvis was a dumb hillbilly? . . .
Laurence Olivier almost played the Marlon Brando role in The Godfather . . . Robert Redford almost played the Dustin Hoffman role in The Graduate . . . Jackie Gleason almost played the Gene Hackman role in The French Connection. . . If you think Jackie would have been a weird choice then you obviously haven’t seen him in Requiem for a Heavyweight and The Hustler . . . “The Great One” was a great actor . . . Mary Baker Eddy, the deranged founder of Christian Science, insisted her flock eschew doctors and medicine coz the body and pain didn’t exist; only spirit was real and flesh was an illusion . . . But this holy-hypocrite secretly visited dentists where she insisted on massive doses of pain killers . . .
Surprisingly, the arch-cynic Mark Twain flirted with Christian Science then came to his senses and wrote a hilarious critique of the cult . . . For many decades, the Twain book was as rare-as-rocking-horse-shit coz Christian Scientists (on orders from the paranoid Mary Baker Eddy) found and destroyed copies . . .
Uncle Joe was the second greatest mass murderer of the 20th century second only to that other commie-creep – Mao Zedong . . . Your correspondent laughs and cheers when he imagines the repulsive Julius and Ethel frying in the electric chair at Sing-Sing . . . To his everlasting credit, Judge Kaufman (the Rosenberg’s co-religionist) who presided at their trial blamed them for the deaths of 38,000 American soldiers in Korea . . . That war only happened coz Stalin was emboldened by the nuclear weapons he had acquired thanks to the secrets the Rosenberg scum had given him . . . Another of the Rosenberg’s co-religionists – Congressman Samuel Dickstein actually took money from Stalin to betray America . . . And still they kvetch when people question their loyalty . . .
Since Lockdown more Brits have died from flu and pneumonia than from Covid-19 and that’s even accepting the massively exaggerated Covid death totals . . . On the other side of the pond, the New York Times reported that the most widely used Covid-19 test in America is returning 90% false positives . . . Say, don’t call me daffy, this Corona-hoax gets more apparent and preposterous by the day . . .
Waaaiiittt a minute – first they told us to buy expensive masks with breathing valves coz simple masks wouldn’t stop Covid. Now they tell us to not buy masks with valves coz they spread the disease. Who’s in charge here? . . .
From its earliest days television was described as “chewing gum for the eyes” and “the idiot box” and “a vast wasteland.” All correct . . . My favorite description of TV is – “an electronic sewer-pipe in the corner of your living room.” Even the genteel NPR in the states and BBC in Britain are pumping genteel sewage into your brain. Turn ’em off . . .
Hey, if masculinity is so “toxic” why do so many lesbians pretend to be male and dress like traditional grooms . . .
And why do they pretend to be super-butch males? Doesn’t that make them super-toxic? . . .
Hey, If masculinity is so “toxic” why would any woman want to “transition” to male? Answers on a postcard . . . Another question – If male to female transsexuals are returning their bodies to a “natural” state then why do they have to insert a dildo-like plastic tube into their manufactured vaginas for several hours a day to prevent their bodies from closing up and healing what it detects as an open bleeding wound? . . .
When bluegrass bands play heavy metal and Motown music, it’s better than the originals . . . Southern, White Christian males are the only group in the world that we are allowed and even encouraged to mock . . . When people wearing Corona-masks flinch away from me, I want to beat them to a bloody pulp . . . In the 1960s, U.S. police departments came under massive Marxist attack over supposed police brutality against Blacks. The anti-Communist John Birch Society ran the counter-campaign: “Support Your Local Police and Keep Them Independent.” It made them a laughing stock . . .
Please explain this to me – The US & UK built many massive “Covid emergency centers” to handle the predicted overflow from hospitals. These facilities, boasting many thousands of beds, were unneeded and unused. They’ve been dismantled. But, hold up, from the beginning of the Covid-hoax we were warned of even deadlier second and third waves of the virus. If the powers-that-be actually believed this disaster was coming then why did they dismantle essential facilities mere months before Covid would return with a vengeance? . . . The big band leader Stan Kenton had an incestuous relationship with his daughter that lasted from her pre-teen years to young womanhood . . .
Is it me or are more female teachers banging their students these days? . . . British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is such a racial mongrel even he doesn’t know what he is . . . BoJo wants to import 3.5 million Chinese from Hong Kong at a time of unprecedented UK unemployment and economic crisis . . . Maybe our boy is Chinese, too? . . . How do the Chinese pay him off? . . .
The Empire State Building was a flop for decades and was dubbed The Empty State Building . . . Even before Corona and the riots, I knew that Trumpowitz was gonna lose the election coz the demographics were against him in Florida, Arizona and Georgia. He had the right impulse about Corona i.e. let it burn through and develop herd immunity but then he listened to President Kushner and surrendered to the hysteria. Then he listened again to President Kushner and didn’t crack down on the riots immediately. He’s making a few tough tweets now but it’s too late. He’s gonna have no convention, no rallies and no second term . . .
The spectacularly corrupt and stupid Biden will win but he will be a figurehead and so will his incompetent female Black VP whoever she is . . . America will be ruled by a cabal of Marxists with Obama pulling the strings . . . Bader-Ginsburg will resign with much fanfare and spike the football on her way out. The Marxists will get to appoint at least two other justices. Then they will abolish the electoral college, open the borders, open the prisons, pass amnesty and bankrupt the country . . . When Trumpstein appeared, I said that he wasn’t important but what he represented and who came after him were. I also said that he would fail but that his failure would be useful. It would set the stage for a genuine White Nationalist leader to emerge. This coming leader who is yet unknown will operate outside of electoral politics. He will be a strongman in the mold of Caesar or Franco . . .
During the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s more Communists were killed by other Communists than by Franco’s forces . . . Stalin saw that war as a chance to finally clean out the Trotskyites . . . The Gospel Quartets and Quintets of the 1940s and 50s were pure rock & roll, doo-wop and soul. Listen to the Swan Silvertones and the Soul Stirrers and you’ll hear it . . .
I’ve never bought any music by The Beatles or Bob Dylan . . . Cardinal Spellman of New York was called the American Pope. He was also a predatory homosexual who cruised gay bars in Gotham accompanied by famous homos of the theater. These lavender lads all favored young Black meat . . . The Cardinal was also a rabid hawk. It’s said he spent more time on his knees in Viet Nam servicing GIs than praying . . .
Tony Blair’s Labour Party promoted 24/7 drinking in pubs and widespread gambling so I guess it really did care about the health and welfare of the White working class; or was it that Blair took money from scumbags who made their fortunes by selling gambling, alcohol and tobacco to the White working class? . . . Hookers will tell you that often their johns just want to talk about their wives and children . . . The Arabic word for African is “slave” . . . Millions more Africans were enslaved by Muslim countries than by the Christian world . . .
Saudi Arabia didn’t outlaw slavery until 1962 . . . Millions more Africans were enslaved by Brazil than by the USA . . . Brazil didn’t outlaw slavery until decades after the USA did . . . Most of the slave ships and slave markets were owned and run by Jews . . . How come Black Lives Matter isn’t protesting outside Brazilian, Israeli and Islamic embassies? . . . My favorite true-crime cases are Lizzie Borden, Sam Sheppard and Jeffrey MacDonald . . .
The father of singer Harry Connick, Jr. was a New Orleans D.A. accused of covering up the JFK assassination . . . The father of actor Woody Harrelson was a Texas hitman who many believe was one of the mysterious “Three Tramps” arrested behind the Grassy Knoll on the day JFK was hit . . .
Abraham Lincoln opposed expanding slavery into the West not because he was opposed to slavery but because he was opposed to spreading Blacks further into America . . .
Lincoln’s last meeting in The White House was with Black leaders to decide how and where to repatriate or resettle the freed slaves – Africa, South America and part of Texas were considered . . .
I grew up in New York City in the 1950s – the last gasp of the Golden Age of newspaper columnists. These were the “gents room” journalists who sported trench coats and fedoras, smoked cigars and drank rye.
Walter Winchell and Jimmy Cannon were the “big beasts” whose columns brimmed with opinion, gossip, lies and even some facts. These one-finger typists wrote hard-boiled rants ripe with street smarts and sentimentality. They gave readers the lowdown on Broadway and City Hall and the straight skinny on Harlem and Wall Street.
Winchell and Cannon punctuated their column items with three dots that captured the look and rhythm of machine gun bullet holes. Like this . . .
Here then is my homage to Walter Winchell and Jimmy Cannon . . .
George Floyd was a violent career criminal and this reporter won’t miss his sorry ass one little bit . . . All women with pink hair and tattoos are skanks . . . I hate Oreos – always have, always will . . . If there’s a funnier writer in the English language than Charles Portis, I haven’t read him . . . If the world is facing an existential threat from Covid-19 then why in hell are any planes allowed to fly anywhere anytime anyhow? . . . Buddy Guy and Dolly Parton are the most charismatic live performers I’ve ever seen. No one even comes close. . .
George Floyd killed himself with a drug OD. He had enough Fentanyl in him to stop a horse and Fentanyl creates the delusion that you can’t breathe even though you can . . . The pulp crime writers Henry and Frank Kane (no relation) are better than Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. So is Ed McBain . . . The smell of flowers reminds me of death . . . Why do gay men always say “Miss” Judy Garland and “Miss” Peggy Lee?. . . Wanna know how and why the world was stampeded into Corona-panic? Read: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. He nailed it in 1841. That’s right – 1841 . . .
Mainstream Jewish newspapers and organizations have bragged that Antifa is a Jewish revolutionary movement with roots in the Russian revolution and that any criticism of Antifa is anti-Semitic. So… by their own proud admission the Jews are behind this attempt at a violent overthrow of the US. Blacks are just their puppets.
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in high speed, comic-flow are as good as it will ever get . . . Climate change is a hoax designed to transfer wealth from White to Brown people . . . I’ve never met a good-looking commie – male or female . . . All Hassidic Jews smell faintly of garlic . . . Virtue signalling Whites who support Black Lives Matter should move to Gary, Indiana or Camden, New Jersey to demonstrate they are truly “down with the struggle” . . . The jazz singer Johnny Hartman was the best of the “Sepia Sinatras” but he often strayed painfully off pitch . . .
The accordion and the zither should be outlawed . . . Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is over-priced slop. Breyer’s ice cream is the best in the world . . . New Mexico policeman Lonnie Zamora didn’t see a crashed UFO in the desert. What he stumbled upon was the NASA testing of a moon landing craft . . .
The FBI infiltrated and controlled many of the UFO cults and contactee groups of the 1950s . . .
Why are male psychics almost always swishy queens? . . . All imitation meat products promoted by vegetarians taste like a miscarriage on cardboard . . .
Most of Lenny Bruce’s jokes don’t hold up but his routines about liberal hypocrisy get better with time . . .
Mort Sahl, Bruce’s main competition, was never funny or dangerous . . .
American acting never recovered from the pseudo-Freudian, method acting pushed in post-war NYC acting schools by left-wing Jews who flunked Psych 101 . . .
Montgomery Clift was the worst example of this constipated style of acting. I always want to smack him and scream, “Just say the fuckin’ line already”. . . Steve Cochran on the other hand was a terrific actor. A real hell raiser. No mamby-pamby method acting bunk in his performances . . .
The two convicted Black felons apprehended with George Floyd didn’t resist arrest and are alive . . . The FBI’s secret recording of the right-wing militia leader Joseph Milteer weeks before the JFK assassination is proof that people knew Kennedy was about to to be hit. The tapes are on youtube . . .
Simple proof of a second gunman in Dealey Plaza is the cadence of the shots reported by everyone no matter how many total shots they heard. The cadence goes… BANG… BANGBANG. There is no way Oswald could have fired his bolt action rifle twice that quickly.
Bobby Kennedy never believed the Warren Commission . . . There was a second gunman in the hotel kitchen shooting at Bobby, too . . . There is intriguing evidence linking Canada’s wealthy Bronfman family to the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations . . .
Ginger Rogers was a great dancer but she was also the most underrated actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age . . . Since being turned over to Black rule, South Africa has become an ungovernable shit hole . . . The same goes for Haiti where Blacks slaughtered the Whites and mulattoes over 200 years ago. The result? Port-au-Prince is the only capital city in the world without a sewage system . . .
I don’t care what aficionados say, the Edsel was ugly . . . Lili St. Cyr was the sexiest of the old-time strippers . . .
Malcolm X was a pimp who sold Black women to White men. He then had sex with men in prison. Maybe he liked it coz his wife complained that he was a flop in bed. Most of the tough-guy exploits in his best selling autobiography are the invention of Alex Haley who later plagiarized a White man’s novel and called it Roots. Haley settled with the original writer out of court . . .
Louis Farrakhan the leader of the Nation of Islam is a Scientologist and a Mason. How does he remember which funny hat to wear and handshake to use? . . .
Leo Frank was guilty as hell. He raped and murdered Mary Phagan and threw her down an elevator shaft. Frank was a sweatshop owner, rapist and murderer. Mary Phagan was only 13 so Frank was also a pedophile . . .
The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded to defend Leo Frank. Its lawyers blamed the rape and murder on two innocent Black men who worked for Frank. You won’t learn this in Parade the Broadway musical about the case or in the many biased TV movies. Hey, remind me – who controls Broadway and TV? . . .
Any list of famous writers from Brooklyn would fill a decent sized phone book. And any list of books set in Brooklyn would be almost as large. I’ve read plenty of both but there are many more I’ve missed. So, the posts I’ll be making about Brooklyn books will be far from a definitive list. Think of them as tips from your friendly Brooklyn librarian.
It would be remiss of me not to begin with the very first “Brooklyn” book I ever read. (Hell, it was the very first book I ever read cover-to-cover!) And, I’ve reread it many times since – most recently last Tuesday. In fact, it’s the overdue book mentioned above – overdue for over 60 years! If you haven’t read it then all I can say is, “I pity you!”
“Psssst, hey kid, ya wanna read a really doity book?”
As you drive into Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge a large sign looms up at you. It screams, “Last Exit to Brooklyn.” If a driver doesn’t take that exit they are taken onto the Gowanus Expressway and thence over the neighborhood of Sunset Park where the spectacularly downbeat novel Last Exit to Brooklyn is set. In the 1950s, the period of the novel, that sign should have screamed, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”
In the 50s, the waterfront of Sunset Park was a land of perpetual night – a slum rotting in fetid shadow beneath the elevated Gowanus Expressway. The Mafia had killed the docks, Robert Moses had killed Sunset Park by cutting it in two with his hideous highway and the Dodgers had killed Brooklyn by moving to L.A.
Hubert Selby Jr. knew this coz he was a Brooklyn boy born right next door to Sunset Park in Bay Ridge.
Selby’s book consists of inter-locking tales of losers, junkies, sadists, pimps, hookers and trannies who fight for scraps in a nightmare world of gangs and gang-bangs.
I was raised in the 1950s just a few blocks away from this world. I even swam in the public pool there. But, I knew better than to venture into the Terra Incognita below the highway. Many years later, I met a Yorkshireman who had lived in a sleaze-bag hotel in Sunset Park during WW2. He was outfitting ships to British standards that had been built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He told me that the whole area was full of crap games, gyp-joints and whorehouses all making a fortune from the servicemen and dock workers.
In the 1980s, I would spend pointless, penniless weekends meandering around Brooklyn by bike. I was drawn to the derelict and rotting factories of Industry City that lined the waterfront in Sunset Park. I thought, “Damn, this would make a great film set.” And, that’s exactly where, a few years later, much of the movie of Last Exit to Brooklyn was filmed.
That film is good but doesn’t capture the daring style and outrageous vitality of Selby’s prose. Plus, by 1989, much of the shock value of his book’s subject matter had been lost. But, when it was first published in 1964, Last Exit to Brooklyn was an outrage and banned in several countries. I haven’t been impressed by Selby’s other work but anyone interested in the lower depths of Brooklyn life and the heights of “outsider” American literature should read Last Exit to Brooklyn.
In 1965, I read it as a 15-year-old while working as a messenger in Times Square. The guy who sold it to me could have been arrested. I made sure that its instantly recognizable cover was always visible sticking out of my back pocket as I made deliveries. And, I made sure that same cover was visible as I read Last Exit to Brooklyn on the subway. I didn’t live in a artist’s garret in Greenwich Village but it was fun to pretend that I did.
The Christmas blues of 1970 morphed into the January blues of 1971. I and my fellow “cultural casualties” of the 1960s having dropped out of college and dropped far too many psychedelics were facing the prospect of a lifetime of blue-collar work in the Post Office.
Yeah, yeah, it was a job-for-life with uniform and pension but not quite what we had envisioned for ourselves just a few years before. Back in college we were going to be actors, writers, musicians, poets, painters, philosophers even. But, the luster had faded from our Age of Aquarius fantasies as it had from the few sorry strands of Christmas tinsel that hung from atop the mail sorting coops.
We were a motley crew but not without our talents and charms. Alex was a half-assed genius and chess master. Mark was a poet and fluent in Latin. Murray was a killer wit and killer blues guitarist. Sandy was trying to decipher the hidden codes in Dylan’s lyrics. And, Charles, our only Black member, was trying to convert everyone at the Post Office to 7th Day Adventism and vegetarianism. We were all from working class families and had discovered to our shock and horror that unless something miraculous happened we would not escape the gravitational pull of our caste. So, we embraced our fate.
As if on cue and without any spoken agreement, we took to wearing plaid, flannel work shirts, tattered jeans, garrison belts and battered work boots. We cut our freakish hair back to a moderately radical length. Less Woodstock. More Workers of the World. We trimmed our facial hair to Lenin length. And, we embraced the Grateful Dead’s album Workingman’s Dead as if it were written only for us. After all, we were nothing if not workingmen.
One of the worst aspects of being a trainee mail-sorter was that we weren’t guaranteed hours. If the mail dried up we were sent home. And, this often happened shortly after we had clocked on for our graveyard shift. There we’d be in midtown Manhattan at Midnight having planned to be up all night and having ingested amphetamines to help us be up all night but suddenly with no reason to be up all night. Luckily, Alex lived in a nearby East Side tenement so we’d pick up some munchies and beer and head over to his pad, there to smoke hash and listen to Workingman’s Dead till dawn’s early light. Or, at least, till Alex’s neighbors banged on the walls. We named ourselves the Dead Workingmen. (Okay, not that clever but we needed all the help we could get.)
Suddenly, it became embarrassingly clear that Tony, one of our Supervisors, was madly in love with Sandy. I don’t think this burly Italian knew he was gay and he certainly wasn’t swishy in any way. But, goddamn, he was as queer as a three-dollar bill for Sandy. Lovesick Tony was eager to demonstrate to Sandy how powerful he was by how many favors he could do for him. One big problem. If he gave Sandy a break he had to give it to all of the Dead Workingmen or his cover would be blown. We teased Sandy mercilessly about his conquest but he still generously connived to use his charm over Tony to the group’s advantage i.e. without “coming across” for the Italian Stallion, Sandy kept him sweet on our behalf.
Some nights Sandy would persuade Tony to let us get lost for a few hours. We’d head over to Alex’s while still on the clock and then sneak back in at 8AM to punch out. Some nights at Sandy’s behest Tony would let us hide and sleep on the filthy mailbags piled out on the loading dock. Other nights he’d put us on parcel sorting duty – a welcome break from the din and dementia of the sorting coops.
We’d stand before rows of open mailbags and practice our basketball jump shots tossing boxes into the bags. Sometimes we even read the addresses and aimed for the right mail bag. Sometimes we even made a basket. But, truth to tell, we didn’t give a shit. We had come to hate the mail itself. Mark once tickled his throat until he vomited into the tray of mail he was sorting. (I know, I know, disgusting. But, you gotta understand that 99.999999% of the mail we were sorting was junk mail. And, the rest was going to Reverend Ike!)
Time Clock Confidential
I don’t know if anyone actually punches a time clock anymore. But when I first joined the world-of-work as a teenager, I was angered by the demeaning nature of this act. I was even more angered by the grown-ups who loitered by the time clock waiting for it to tick to a specific second so they could get a few paltry shekels more in their meagre pay envelopes. I was embarrassed for them and hated how they compared stories of time clock victories and defeats and of famous “time clock jockeys” of yesteryear. ThePost Office was full of these lifers who stared in amazement and clucked with disdain as I strode past them and punched out without even looking at the hour hand. Wage slaves. Not me.
Meanwhile back at the Tony-Sandy love affair things became waaaay too strange and sad for this trainee mail-sorter. It happened one night when members of the Dead Workingmen were surreptitiously tapped on the shoulder and told to report to Tony’s office. There we discovered the other invited guests were the usually unfriendly Supervisors. Tony had set up a movie projector and hung a sheet on the wall. He greeted us conspiratorially then locked the door, turned off the lights and showed us a stag movie i.e. the type of fuck-film that was usually confiscated if sent in the U.S Mail. I wondered if this film had been caught by an eagle-eyed postal dick and turned over to Tony.
As the silent, grainy, 8MM black and white film unspooled on the stained sheet, the air in the room became noxious with nervous laughter, unfunny quips and cigar smoke. We’d been invited to a classic “smoker.” The film showed a singularly unattractive couple reclining on a singularly uncomfortable table and fucking in a singularly unenthusiastic manner. Watching their coitus was as erotic as watching the piston action on a Ford V8. But, I sensed that a bizarre male-bonding ritual was at play. The Supers wanted to show us that they weren’t such bad guys after all. Hey, they were like our fathers and uncles – just a bunch of older working-class fellas who liked watching fuck-films with a bunch of younger working-class fellas. This secret screening was an olive branch extended across the generations and a sort of test.
Would we make the grade and join their ranks of Merry (albeit horny) Mailmen?
Also, except for Charles, we were all White as were the Supers. I sensed they wanted to find racial solidarity with us since they spent so much time with obese Black women with whom they shared little cultural interest. Least of all watching fuck-films.
I’m sure that shrinks would highlight what they’d claim was clear homo-eroticism in this sweat-lodge soiree. But, I don’t think that was what was going on with the Supers. Except for Tony. He turned on the projector, pushed me aside and sat next to Sandy. As the couple built to their inevitable climax we all watched in silence. Except for Tony. He giggled and elbowed Sandy while peppering him with questions in hushed rabid whisper.
“You believe the size of the cock on that guy?”
“Wait. Wait. She swallows the whole thing.”
“Look at that bush. You like hairy twat, Sandy?”
“Hey, Sandy, you ever put it in a girl’s ass?”
Then, after the “money shot” in which the on-screen stud splashed his semen all over his fair maiden’s belly Tony gushed – “Yeah, that’s the good part, right, Sandy?”
The Supers must have overheard Tony’s pillow talk but they didn’t react. Meanwhile, the Dead Workingmen shared looks of amused horror. Mainly horror. Then the lunch horn barked, the lights came on and with eyes cast downward we bolted out of there muttering, “Holy shit, what the fuck was that?!”
Shortly after that night I was fired for telling an especially sadistic Supervisor to go fuck himself. The union jumped to my defense assuming that I wanted to keep my job. At the mediation meeting the union rep was dumbstruck when I told all present that the United States Postal Service could sort my job where the sun don’t shine. I thought about throwing the porn party in their faces but didn’t coz I knew that would make big trouble for Tony and the Dead Workingmen I was leaving behind.
Ten years later while walking in the middle of nowhere on Staten Island, I ran into Murray. (What are the odds?) We recognized each other even though he was now as obese as his female Black co-workers. Yes, he was still at the Grand Central P.O. but he was now a Junior Supervisor. No, he wasn’t playing guitar anymore.
It was an awkward encounter and a painful one for him. Murray and I had come from similar working-class backgrounds, two Brooklyn boys who had arrived at the same point via similar paths. Then our paths diverged. I had followed my dream of being an actor. He had buried his of being a musician. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to get together. We never did.
The evening of July 13, 1977 was hot and sticky as July nights in New York City are wont to be. Vic and I were at Shea Stadium watching the Mets lose to the Cubs when BANG the lights went out. Groans, cheers and whistles from the large crowd followed immediately by jokes.
“Hey, Mets, pay ya fuckin’ electric bill.”
The crowd assumed it was a power failure limited to Shea. And, the stadium was able to run dim emergency lights so we weren’t left in total darkness but more of an eerie glow. Then we were told there had been a blackout in the entire city and the groans, cheers, whistles and jokes got louder.
“Hey, Mayor Beame, pay ya fuckin’ electric bill.”
A hardy (and hungry) few felt their way to the concession stands to stock up on beers and dogs before they got hot or cold. Others gathered around geeky fans who’d brought transistor radios to the game. (These “transistor types” looked like they’d been dressed by their mothers who invariably supplied them with sandwiches and a thermos.) The “huddled masses” around the radios looked like actors in a Radio Free Europe commercial hungry for news from the Free World. Meanwhile, the stadium announcer kept us informed and the organist kept us entertained with a Christmas carol sing along.
Then a few cars were driven out of the bullpens on to the outfield grass with their headlights shining toward the infield. Several players from both teams took this cue and took the field to play a phantom baseball game with an invisible ball in ghost light. They made spectacular diving catches, impossible throws and gravity defying slides. The crowd went wild!
After an hour or so and just as the fun had begun to pall (“Okay, enough of this shit, how the fuck am I gonna get home?”), we were told that transportation had been arranged and we would all be home safely and soon. We were directed to buses in the Shea parking lot that were bound for major intersections all over the five boroughs where we would be able to get on the city buses that were still running. In our many thousands, we exited the stadium in better order, humor and time than we did in daylight. No pushing. No punches. No panic.
Vic got his bus to the Bronx but I had to get to the Bowery – the scuzziest street in the slum known as the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Walking around my neighborhood was an exercise in urban survival even in bright sunshine. The idea of traversing it in blackness did not fill me with joyful anticipation. Plus, in the summer of 1977 the city had just about bottomed out. It was not a happy place and having the serial killer known as the Son of Sam picking us off at random and at night did not fill New Yorkers with confidence. But, I couldn’t sleep at Shea so I boarded a bus that took me across many blacked-out Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods then over the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island finally dropping me at the ferry terminal.
From there, we “happy few” ferried across a New York harbor that was in almost total blackout – the skyscrapers of Manhattan (including the World Trade Center) were barely visible. The only bright light in the harbor was the flame atop the torch on the Statue of Liberty. It was a scene out of a dystopian sci-fi movie – beautiful but unsettling. A hush fell over us passengers as the ferry plowed by Lady Liberty and that hush enveloped us until we disembarked at the Battery. There we climbed aboard city buses already waiting to take us uptown via the main avenues.
This evacuation and transportation of the Shea Stadium multitude was handled brilliantly. Yet, I have seen it reported nowhere! We all like to complain about government inefficiency but I gotta say that in this case NYC really nailed it. I blush to admit that I felt proud of my hometown and her people. No panic. No anger. No fights. Just cooperation and jokes. Lotsa jokes.
I got off the bus on First Avenue and praying that the Son of Sam was not lurking nearby equipped with a night scope, I began slowly picking my way toward my loft on the Bowery. (Goddamn how do blind people do it?) I made the trek slowly with only passing headlights, flashlights and candlelight from impromptu stoop parties to guide me. I declined invitations to join those parties coz I just wanted to get home.
I did have to navigate through a few stretches of inky blackness and, this being the Bowery, I had to be careful not to trip over bums sleeping on the street. Plus, a few overly friendly creeps loomed up at me from the murk hoping to give or receive a blowjob. But, WHEW, made it home!
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
The next morning, I went for a walk around my still powerless neighborhood where the stores and restaurants were practically giving food away. It wasn’t until late that afternoon, when power was restored, that I learned there had been widespread looting and arson in certain neighborhoods. (Ya want numbers? – $1.2 BILLION worth of damage in 2019 dollars. 3,700 arrests – the largest number of mass arrests in NYC history!)
Since 1977, the narrative about the blackout has been all about excusing those crimes with nary a mention of the cooperation. Perhaps this is because that cooperation seemed restricted to certain other neighborhoods. The spin has been that the crimes were caused by racism. The blackout has been turned into yet another tale of poor Blacks being victimized by evil Whitey.
Apparently, power failures are just another aspect of White privilege and the patriarchy. Apparently, it was my fault that Blacks looted and torched stores, restaurants and even their own apartment houses. It’s over forty years later and I have yet to see, hear or read a single account of the blackout (including many by foreign news sources such as the BBC) that doesn’t push this anti-White race-hustle bullshit.
The awful truth is that when the lights went out on July 13, 1977 some New Yorkers went feral.
The awful truth is that when the lights went out on July 13, 1977 some New Yorkers went festive.
Thanks for visiting my blog. It is a sampler of my murder-memoir Boy Outa Brooklyn. The best way to enjoy it is to start at the first post and read chronologically. I hope you’ll find it both hilarious and horrifying.
I will also be posting about the best books, movies and songs about Brooklyn. And, sharing my practical and off-beat travel tips. If you enjoy my blog, please follow me. Hover your mouse in the lower right corner of the screen and a pop-up box will appear. Enter your email address and you’ll never miss one of my posts. Your address will not be sold or shared and you won’t be pestered with any sales cons.
As long as we’re on the subject of female torsos… we rented our Bowery loft to a yoga instructor who was transitioning to yogi, i.e. a female to male transsexual. (Mind you, this was 1976, so the current “I was born in the wrong body” dementia-mania is nothing new.) “Jack” was fresh from having her breasts sliced from her female torso and was wrapped in more bandages than Tutankhamen. This creature was so cranked on pot, painkillers and testosterone that she floated several feet off the ground, vibrating in midair like a hummingbird. (You know the scene in the horror movie when the actor transforms via time-lapse photography from man to monster? Imagine a stop frame of that process mid-way. That was what “Jack” looked like – suspended between male and female, between past and present, between serenity and suicide. Unsettled and unsettling.) “Jack” was so uncomfortable around men, I was sure she would evaporate whenever I got near her. I, of course, delighted in torturing this psychosexual misfit by getting “up close and personal” as often as possible.
Even before the hit song by the Village People, everyone knew what went on at the YMCA. But, after a day walking around the streets of Manhattan and a night running around the moors of Scotland, I was too whipped to care. Plus, the “Y” was only minutes from the theater and Jersey wasn’t. So, I risked it. But, getting a room at the “Y” was not easy. It was a popular place for young Christian men to fellowship, evangelize and sodomize. The line at the check-in desk looked like a casting call for The Boys in the Band.
So, I counted my blessings whenever I could get a four-dollar room with the all-important private shower. I felt like a real swell as I piled all the furniture against the door to dissuade unwanted visitors and watched Johnny Carson in glorious Black & White. For two bucks, I could get a private room but with a gang shower down the hall. One catch. There were nightly gangbangs in the gang shower. So, on two-buck nights, I’d wait until 4 AM when the orgy had finished then tiptoe down the hall and take a shower – fully clothed. For a buck, the “Y” supplied a bunk bed and a butt-plug.