From the monthly archives: "February 2013"

I’ve gotten many thoughtful comments on and off the record about “Dogging Steinbeck” from readers in China and Minnesota and Belgium.

Travel master Paul Theroux sent me a nice note saying how much he liked “Dogging Steinbeck.” He’s publicly endorsed my expose of the fictions and lies that John Steinbeck and his truth-challenged editors/publishers passed off as a work of nonfiction in “Travels With Charley.”

Brian Lamb of CSPAN liked “Dogging Steinbeck” so much he invited me on his show to make a tongue-tied fool of myself (my global debut is Sunday, March 3, at 8 p.m. on CSPAN’s “Q&A”).

But then I also get nasty ad hominem attacks like this one from a disturbed person named Heidi:

“It would appear that you are bitter hack who is spending your retirement trying to justify your failures by breaking down the successes of those who came before you. Attempting to expose the fraudulence of other authors is a testament to the truth of your character. You are a man who is wasting the opportunity to write on far reaching criticism of books whose meaning are out of your reach. Even if your assertions are true, it matters not as Steinbeck and Capote were gifted writers. You, Sir, are a fraud and you spend your days running from that truth. I’ll take Steinbeck’s lies over your bullshit any day.”

If turnabout is fair play, I get to make some wild-assed assumptions about Heidi’s troubled psyche.

I’d guess that  Heidi, who clearly doesn’t understand the difference between journalism and fiction, apparently was so unhappy to learn that one of her favorite childhood books was full of shit that she decided to take out her unhappiness on little old me.

I’m sure she didn’t read my book or take the time to find out how I came to discover Steinbeck’s literary fraud.

But, as I like to do when I get these kinds of irrational attacks, I hereby offer Heidi a free ebook copy of “Dogging Steinbeck” so that she find out how wrong she is about me, my motives and why I spent  three years and a lot of my own money writing my book.



Wouldn’t dream of trying to spoil anyone’s religious observance of this holiest of  Hollywood nights.

But in dishonor of the Oscars, the most successful public relations event for an industry in history, here’s one of my favorite quotes about Tinseltown and its products, which I captured in Beverly Hills in 1980 when I interviewed a very straight, very lucid and very funny Timothy Leary, 60, on his front lawn.

“The Hollywood system is really a company town, where everyone’s afraid. It’s run by crooks. It’s run by people who deliberately make these movies that make you feel bad, that make you feel helpless. They never give you a movie about good-looking men and women getting together, and getting smarter and moving and doing and getting something better. Alcoholic, rum-dum, Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, you know, ‘Postman Rings Twice’ repeats and repeats and repeats… It’s a loser industry for losers.”

Ethan Casey, a friend, is a seasoned book writer/traveler/foreign correspondent from Seattle who’s lived in Pakistan, among many faraway corners of the world. He’s not a libertarian, but when it comes to the use of drones and America’s serial war-making overseas, he’s on the right page as far as I’m concerned.

IMG_0195-1024x768From his website is this quote from his essay Drones: What are we doing to ourselves?

“As someone who has been blessed for nearly two decades by the friendship of many Pakistanis and of Pakistan as a society, the word “sickened” is far too mild to describe how I feel about the damage drone attacks are doing in and to Pakistan. And as an American who loves my own country, I’m concerned with the question of whether America is a free country – which I was raised to believe was the point of America – or some sort of consensual military dictatorship.”

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