Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl.”
“I see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”
Just before his death, and into my third or fourth midlife crisis, I decided to become a writer. Couldn’t decide between poetry and investigative journalism. Ginsberg read my poetry. He suggested journalism. And then he said, “You know, Greg, I’m an investigative reporter, too.”
Yes, he was. In 1956, Ginsberg sat at a kitchen table in San Francisco and wrote that his friends were going crazy. They could still hear the voice of Joe McCarthy ranting and, out the window, count the Pentagon contractors polishing new war heads. In an America gone mad, insanity was the best defense.
“The soul,” he reported, “should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse.”
And that’s still the news.
Greg Palast talks journalism a la Ginsberg with Laura Flanders tonight at 9:45 EDT on Radio Nation — check your Air America and Community Station listings. Armed Madhouse dispatches form the Front Lines of the class war will be released this Tuesday, 6-6-06 – for more information see www.GregPalast.com.