I admit that I occasionally listen to the sometimes juvenile, always hostile archconservative talkmeister, namely because his vitriolic rants against minorities, gays, liberals and Dubya' — and frankly, anyone who doesn't agree with him — are downright entertaining. He pisses off Democrats. He pisses off Republicans. I once heard him challenge a listener to a fistfight. I've heard him threaten to pick someone off with a sniper rifle. He's even inspired an anti-Savage site. Yeah, the San Francisco-based pontificator is a real tough guy.
Or is he, now? One would wonder, after reading Ron Russell's excellent story on him in the Press's sister paper, SF Weekly. Russell reveals that Michael Savage was once Michael Weiner, a wannabe beatnik who hung out at coffeehouses, smoked pot and trolled for women. He kept a paperback copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road in his pants pocket. But actor Gary Goodrow says that Weiner was "a pretender, a BS artist" -- a thought shared by many of Weiner's former leftist friends.
Weiner was even a huge fan of beatnik poet Alan Ginsberg. So much so that he'd often write the gay wordsmith. Here's a tidbit from a postcard that Weiner wrote to Ginsberg in the '70s:
"Watched a tourist from New Zealand taking pictures of Fijian people in the marketplace [and] thought of inserting my camera's lens in your A-hole to photograph the walls of your rectum. I really do apologize, but the thought did occur."
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(Cue uncomfortable silence)
You know, I could insert a Weiner/rectum joke here, but I'll refrain.
The leftist became a rightist, and the rest became history. Russell sheds a whole new light on this man who now thinks journalists should be in "shackles" for reporting on alleged U.S. war crimes. Hmm... a former counterculturalist with purported homoerotic tendencies, who later turns into a tyrannical fascist? Sounds awfully familiar.
Anyhoo, I'll be listening come five o'clock. Maybe I'll even call up Savage at 800-449-TALK, and ask him if he's been doing much "photography" in the Bay Area lately. -- Steven Devadanam