Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. Cockburn’s rules on how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, he will give CounterPunch a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Salinger and Zinn

Dead Together, But Read Together?

by WINDY COOLER

I have a few personal comments to make from afar on propinquity, solidarity and the deaths of two people: Howard Zinn and J.D Salinger.

One of the things I like about Zinn was the very warm way in which he seemingly related with his partner. He always talked about her as his “collaborator.” He and she seemed so united, and he respected what she did for him, as well as for herself, as her work in the world. I saw an interview with him once in which he seemed to be defensive of her, of the impression the journalist was getting of her as sweet and kind “helpmate” and he said that she too had a life, not only with him, as his editor and reader and fellow thinker (not unlike Chomsky’s wife I’d like to add), but as an artist. And he made a point of showing the journalist some of her paintings.

Salinger, on the other hand, was one of the silent bullies, it seems, the “sensitive” silent, brooding variation on the “bad boy” type smart women with a history of abuse just love to be further abused by. I read an old, rather convincing article in the New York Magazine today along these lines. It sounded like he ate the many, many women he had relationships with whole, and then spit out the bones, until he became dependent and old, and even then he demanded total, seemingly very one-sided devotion, in seclusion, from the woman who married him last. And the Magazine story wasn’t sympathetic to the stories of these women, either, I have to say. Perhaps because the private reality of these women is the same as the public reality the thinking of men like Salinger, and even one of my favorite authors of all time, Phillip Roth, and a host more, have created for us. With us, I guess.

I love Salinger’s writings. I probably relate more to his brand of terrified alienation than to Zinn’s incredible courage, energy and warmth, but it makes me sad that I do. I cut my eye teeth on Jack London, after all, alone in the white wilderness with White Fang and Buck, escaping the oppressive man, liberated in my loneliness. That was followed by Nietzsche and Sartre.

Mac loves both Zinn and Salinger. Zinn seems to inspire him to organize though, and Salinger to dismiss the world and hide away in his little chalkboard walled studio upstairs. In the end, which response to love and anger will change the world? Isn’t change what we want? As opposed to hiding in the cupboards — like the helpless little boy in The Shining hides from his ax wielding father? We are not so helpless and we need to act like it.

Both men were great, in my opinion. And I hope in heaven, if there is such a place, they find each other and I hope Zinn helps Salinger find voice to the heart that so frustrated him in life. I think both men were brilliant and both spoke the truth. Both had great public morality and were right in so many ways. I admire them both and both changed my life, I think.

Salinger helped me to question. But Zinn helped me find the answers.

Just as important as our political work, or our public morality though — or love of humanity (which both men surely had) — is our private love of our friends, our family. It matters how we treat people. It matters a whole hell of a lot. This is what I keep reflecting on, given the obvious chance to compare these two guys.

In this, in how we treat others, in my experience, Zinn and Chomsky are the beautiful, beautiful exceptions to a sort of rule of alienation. How can we love the world — have solidarity — when so many of us don’t actively love the people around us? When how Zinn loved his wife and how Salinger abused young women isn’t a huge part of the public story, the story not for entertainment value, but for instruction?

WINDY COOLER is a psychology student at Goddard College. A long-time organizer and former teenage-mother-welfare-queen, her study focuses on the emotional lives of activists. She has two sons and lives in suburban DC.