Neal Pollack

BREAKING: The Greatest Living American Writer: 'I Can No Longer Support This Trump Fellow'

I am the Greatest Living American Writer, the most important voice in American letters since Emerson, and definitely more important than Jonathan Franzen, who isn’t really all that important when you think for more than a minute. Beyond my groundbreaking and occasionally avant-garde novels, poetry, essays, and blacklisted film scripts, I have a long history as this false Republic’s foremost political commentator. I propped up FDR in his wheelchair, served as JFK’s sexual substitute when he got tired, and then switched gears to write Richard Nixon’s lines on Laugh-In. With only one exception — a brief and unfortunate stint as Walter Mondale’s communications director in 1984 — I’ve been a loyal general in the noble Republican cause since then.

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Here Are 7 Murderous Dictators Who May Have Been Nicer If They Had Just Smoked Weed

History sucks. Everyone’s always so angry, all the time. The story of humanity is nothing but murder and wrath and jealousy and rebellion and war and rape and slaughter. Throughout it all, though, there’s been one common denominator (two, if you count greed):  Not enough marijuana.

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"The Mob Responds Well to a Toupeed Con-Man Who Talks About His Penis”: Witness the Great Phallic Unraveling of 2016

As we contemplate the Great Phallic Unraveling that comprises the political rise of Donald Trump, it’s important to have historical perspective on the presidency. Since I’m the author of a five-volume unofficial biography of Richard Nixon—”Devil in Gethsemane”—and “Harlot’s Empanada,” a 3,000-page novel about the CIA’s involvement in Central America, I have more perspective than anyone. Somewhat due to attrition but mostly due to talent, I remain The Greatest Living American Writer. Therefore, it’s my job to call our present moment into focus. But to understand the present, we must journey backward into the gauzy, cisgendered American past.

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The Right to Party

A few years ago, when I was a reporter in Chicago, I did a story on a phenomenon I called "The New Prohibition." The city, for various reasons, was shutting down neighborhood bars. In poor black neighborhoods, taverns were the targets of moralistic church crusaders. In gentrifying neighborhoods, they were the bête noire of noise-averse yuppies. What was wrong with Mayor Daley? I asked. Didn't he want Chicago to be fun anymore?

The article garnered a bit of local attention. I appeared on an episode of a nightly public-affairs show. For once, a piece of mine actually got a few letters to the editor. And I decided to take it further. I did a local NPR radio commentary in which I called, tongue-in-cheekly, for a new political party, "The Party Party," that would campaign to make Chicago the freewheeling town I imagined it had once been.

Oh, how naïve I was then, and how foolish I feel now! Those little tavern raids and precinct vote-dry initiatives were nothing, a little internecine tap-dance, compared to the assault on fun currently being waged by the federal government. Our right to party is being attacked by forces far more powerful, more sinister, and more organized than Mayor Daley's liquor-law enforcement bureaucracy. Everything fun about America is under serious threat.

Let's review the evidence of the last few months.

In late February, DEA and Department of Justice officials arrested 55 people and seized thousands of dollars of drug paraphernalia during "Operation Pipe Dreams." The arrests mainly targeted online bong dealers, who attorney general John Ashcroft claimed had "invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge." But also included in the arrests were employees of several head shops in Pittsburgh, where the investigation was centered. The feds even raided the California home of Tommy Chong, who in mid-May pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia. The most stunning quote from the whole affair came from acting DEA chief John Brown, who said, "People selling drug paraphernalia are in essence no different than drug dealers. They are as much a part of drug trafficking as silencers are a part of criminal homicide.''

The government is equating Tommy Chong with murderous criminals. Perhaps next they'll haul in Rodney Dangerfield and the inflatable pilot from Airplane! Something is wrong. Very wrong.

In March, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware managed to sneak the RAVE act through as an attachment to a bill establishing a national warning system about child abductions. RAVE stands for, amazingly, Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy. But its main targets are concert promoters and club owners, whom the act holds to an absurd standard.

According to the law, it is illegal to "manage or control any place, whether permanently or temporarily, either as an owner, lessee, agent, employee, occupant, or mortgagee, and knowingly and intentionally rent, lease, profit from, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the place for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance."

This definition was derived from a 20-year-old federal law that permitted raids on "crackhouses." The law is so broad that you could have 10 people over for dinner, put on some loud music, and you've got yourself a rave. If someone lights a joint at your "rave," and the neighbors complain about the music, and the police are in a bad mood that night, you face decades in prison. Suddenly everyone is a potential drug criminal and it's doubly dangerous if there's dancing involved.

And this just in: In late May, a DEA agent in Montana threatened a venue owner with a $250,000 fine, under the RAVE Act, if she hosted a joint benefit for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Students For Sensible Drug Policy. The event was canceled. The RAVE Act has officially arrived.

Keep in mind that these are Democrats pushing these laws. This War On Fun is not single-party. That said, the Republicans seem to have a serious problem with sex. The federal government's financial commitment to "abstinence education" reached a new high this year. When I say a new high, I mean $120 million. This is not the sex education we received in high school. According to federal guidelines for applying for abstinence education grants, a federally funded program must, among other things, teach "abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children," and that "a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity."

From personal experience, I will agree with certain tenets, such as the fact that "drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances," and I cannot argue with the fact that "sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects," but is this really something that needs to be legislated? Can you imagine being a teenager today in this context? Teen pregnancy and STDs are a problem, for certain. But is the answer really organizations like Pennsylvania's Silver Ring Thing, which, in exchange for $12 and a pledge of abstinence until marriage, offers high-school students a silver ring and a Bible? Sounds like a bad trade to me. Couldn't they at least throw a couple of condoms into the gift pack, just to make sure?

Lest we think that these phenomena, which seem to be loosely linked, are just the usual mix of anti-drug nonsense and hypocritical fundamentalism, we should think again. Journalist Eric Schlosser, in his excellent new book "Reefer Madness," drops the stunning statistic that more than 20,000 Americans are in prison for marijuana-related "crimes." But the current trend in policy goes far beyond that. Under the RAVE act, you're guilty by association with marijuana smokers.

Abstinence education had a foothold during Bill Clinton's America, too, but now there's an extra moral force, and lots more money, behind the preaching. When Pennsylvania Rick Santorum made his controversial remarks in April about not approving of homosexual "acts," he also said, "the idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society."

What is he talking about? What consequences? As far as I'm concerned, that phrase, from a leading Republican Senator, is an official government declaration of a War On Fun. What exactly would be Rick Santorum's idea of a good party? One where nobody got drunk or high, where nobody hooked up, and where nobody danced with abandon? Why, that doesn't sound like a party. It sounds like church.

I've had enough.

This time, for real, I'm calling for the establishment of a Party Party, or, at the very least, for a Party Party attitude. I'm issuing a call to arms for those of us always in need of, as the great Jeff Spicoli once said, tasty waves and a cool buzz. Of course there are many issues in the world that are more pressing, and we should continue to press them. But Saturday night eventually comes even for the most politically committed. These are tense times. People want to loosen the steam valve a little bit. They want to participate in culture outside of the jurisdiction of federal "morality" educators. We don't want the government telling us how to spend our free time, sussing out and prosecuting casual drug users and harassing nightclub owners. And for heaven's sake, give the kids some condoms.

Sex and drugs and live music make life great. These are the kinds of things that were outlawed in Taliban-run Afghanistan. If they can't be legal and easy in America, then I don't want to live here anymore. I want to live in a place where drugs and sex are tolerated, where the government provides a sane level of social services, where religion isn't always threatening to take over the state. Amsterdam. It always comes back to Amsterdam.

Americans, we have to party. It is our right. And we have to fight for that right. Yes, you heard me. We have to show the moralizers that they cannot win.

We have to fight for our right to party.

Neal Pollack is the author of "The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature" and "Beneath The Axis Of Evil." HarperCollins will publish his first novel, "Never Mind the Pollacks," in September. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Che Guevara Goes to Business School

My mind plays havoc with my soul, and my heart in turn feels as though it were being devoured by a thousand sharp-toothed weasels, delicate in purpose but implacable in mission. From the desolate wreckage of experience I deliver this message to you, full of hope and bereft of doubt. My decision has been made.

You have raised me to believe that the wretched of this earth can only improve their lot through bloody revolution. I was brought up thinking that land must be seized from the powerful, grabbed from the rich, removed from the hands of the greedy finqueros who curse our starving continent.

Well, madre y padre, I have wandered the countryside, on motorcycle, bicycle, unicycle and pack mule. I have seen toddlers no bigger than my whiskey bottle roaming the streets with machetes. I have seen a 90-year-old woman bite off the head of her plantation foreman. I have seen a colonel, a venal, corrupt torturer, suffer a savage beating at the hands of a gaggle of portly nuns.

Yet nothing has changed in our land. There is no justice. There is no peace. The people do not rule.

And that, my dear parents, is why I have decided to business school.

Many will call me an adventurer, and that I am; only of a different type-of those who believe spreadsheets and marketing plans and globalization will once and for all end the cycle of poverty and inequality that plague our planet. I have been an artist, a doctor, a writer, a rallier of peasants, but it has been my experience that nothing-nothing-brings about social justice faster than a well-ordered business plan.

Take as example the people of the wretched Peruvian hamlet of Santa Puta de la Chingada, a place where the life expectancy is seventeen years of age, and that, until five weeks ago, had no running water, electricity, grass, or household pets.

Then, from seemingly nowhere, up rumbled a United Nations jeep containing a team of seven business students from Wharton, in the state of Pennsylvania. Within three days, Santa Puta had its first concrete building. Within five, its first factory. After a week, the town had a bagel shop and a little perfume boutique. Now, barely more than a month after the business students arrived, it is the third largest city in Peru and boasts one of the world's leading opera companies.

You must understand, dear parents, that the world is changing. Although I am deeply pleased that vicious criminals like Augusto Pinochet and P.W. Botha are being brought to justice, you also must understand that the politics of those who opposed them are outmoded and dull. There is no more room for uncontrolled rebellion in today's fast-changing global economy.

I encourage you to subscribe to a new publication, Forbes Global. We are reading it in business school, and it is nothing short of a revolution. In a world where five-year plans change every five minutes, where timely, accurate information is the universal currency, Forbes Global is the only hope for survival.

It was on the back of a Mexican second-class bus, headed for Juarez, where I found my first copy of Forbes Global. I'd been planning to organize Sony-employed maquiladora workers on the border, but instead crossed that picket line and joined the company's elite management team in planning world-class business solutions for the 21st century. My decision to go to business school was sealed forever.

In fact, parents, I am so convinced that Forbes Global will change your life forever, that I'm sending you a six-month trial subscription, free of charge. I'm that confident that this publication will give you courage to move forward with your lives.

I never would have imagined so much could be accomplished by using a personal digital assistant, cellular phone, and speculative capital. I see now that the weary lungs of our continent will soon be breathing fresh air. As I take to the jungle next time, I will not be armed with a carbine and grenades. Instead, I will take my wits. Instead, I will take my laptop. Instead of wearing fatigues, I will wear a $3,000 suit.

I apologize for this change of heart, mother and father. I know that this must be difficult for you to hear as you huddle in your bunker, fearing the knock of the right-wing death squad that has hunted you for so long. But now the will that I have polished with the delight of a revolutionary must sustain a vibrant and healthy business career.

Be strong in the knowledge, my dear parents, that soon the sorrow-stricken of the earth, the teeming, bleeding, filth-covered mass of struggling workers, will soon be free of their burden. I am convinced that business school, and Forbes Global, shall set them free. This remains my shining hope.

Yours in the struggle for freedom and justice,


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