By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Between that and the pages of drab party-line cant in each issue, you've scant chance of finding such absolutely self-righteous people, who were so uptight about being free, or who needed so much theory just to blow their cookies.
In December 1970, the ostensible owner of the bookstore and editor of the paper, Don Elder, was arrested by Newport Beach police on 10 felony counts of conspiracy to solicit burglary (based on the paper's pro-shoplifting article) and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (based on I know not what, but I'm guessing the cop suck-off had something to do with it). I never heard the outcome of the trial, and I lost track of the paper not long after the store—the Bird in Search of a Cage Bookshop, 2307 Balboa Blvd.—was evicted and moved to Santa Ana.
If anyone can put me in touch with someone from the paper, I'd love to hear what became of them. Are they still boosting Doritos and bologna from Albertson's? Or did they buy into the system like so many of us did?
Given the vantage of time, one can laugh at this stuff, along with the very notion of a publication opposed to private property being based in Newport Beach. Silly hippies: how easy it is to rip off "the man" rather than to create something yourself; how convenient to scoff at the "unconscious" zombies in the aisle next to you rather than to see a fellow human just trying to make it through life.
Something that's easily forgotten, however, in this time when youth is co-opted, anesthetized and raised in a climate of overriding cynicism, is just how betrayed one felt then to be in that first generation who discovered that everything they'd been raised on was a lie. We'd been taught that Indians were the "Indian givers," not the white man; that the U.S. was never the aggressor; that our way of life was based upon truth and our foreign policy upon the spirit of selfless giving.
It was vertigo-inducing to stand at the irreconcilable gap between the way things were and the way they should be, to find that we were the treaty-breakers and slaughterers, the ones whose taxes went to prop up despots and overthrow democracies, the ones who were fed propaganda and bloated body counts by our government to further a foul war. It became hard to live alongside people who could see obscenity in a word but not in our napalming Vietnamese villages or raping the environment.
Thank God that's all ancient history. Hey, didja hear how President Bush is going to solve our energy crunch by reversing his pledge to join the rest of the civilized world in adopting carbon-dioxide regulations? The ones scientists say we must adopt in order to forestall killing the world our own children will live in? I'm outta here to go buy some utility stocks!