inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #51 of 351: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Sat 13 Mar 99 16:09

David Dearest,

Stop trying to piss me off!  I'm pissed off enough already.  WOmen have all
the power, indeed.  I mean please.

Well, I suppose you have women issues but you're still my new best friend.


Sun March 14 at 7:30 p.m. is the 92nd street Y panel discussion. 92nd and

On tuesday at 6 p.m. is the NY Public Library thing where I better start
thinking about what I'm going to say.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #52 of 351: impoverished intervallic palette (castle) Sat 13 Mar 99 16:10

I just want to know how you plan to turn 54 this year and be 4 years 
younger next year.  That's the book I wanna read!
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #53 of 351: impoverished intervallic palette (castle) Sat 13 Mar 99 16:11

slipped by plum!
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #54 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Sat 13 Mar 99 17:41
i never presume to figure out what plum is trying to say, and I do
feel tht women have all the power---theymight not think they do, and
perhaps men might not want to acknowledge that, but they do. It doesn't
bother me none, I like smart women, but women don't like smart men all
t4hat much of the time. It's just better to play the stereotypes, so
much more comnforting isn't it. On the other hand, I'd delighted to be
your new best friend, when did that happen, was it something I said? I
thiink it's fashionable in some cirecles for women to think they're
powerless, but I dunno, I've watched one women with a great set of legs
cross them and have a whole room stop talking....I've got this book in
the works, my transitional object I suppose called "The Sound of Legs
Crossing and Other Tales from the House of Women", I have a feeling
Cynthia, you'd be far more interested in that one than TNB. My most
recent essay was one called 'Yes Dear', but it's unfinished. The Sound
of Legs Crossing, that's some powerful sound that women can make.

if I could figure out how to turn 54 and then be fouryears yonger I'd
like to write that book. Ws it something I said, missaid? where DID
that come from.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #55 of 351: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 13 Mar 99 18:41
I'd like to be honored for having more power than the ability to move a body
part in a comely manner.

It's interesting how smart men and smart women think that they like the
other but that the other doesn't like them.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #56 of 351: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Sat 13 Mar 99 18:52

Well, sure, sexually we have all the power.  Or, as my Texas friends like to
say, the trouble with women is they have *all* the pussy.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #57 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Sat 13 Mar 99 18:59
and men have a tendency to be confused by it---btw the way Cynthia my
dear do you know what Sharon means by what she said to me, or is this
some secret "female"language which I as a fairly basic man can't hope
to understand. All I know is that if men had babies they'd think twice
about it, carrying around a child for nine months which takes over
one's body. I know after being in the delivery room for four (count'em)
four children, I have quite a healthy respect for what my wife went
through, especially with the twins---THAT was something I'm not likely
to forget.

If we're going to talk about sex here, if I may be permitted to say
something about it, it appears to little ole me that the reason women
think about sex differently is that they receive instead of give, in a
word, or perhaps a few more, they are less detached than men by the
sexual act---fellatio aside (gosh have we stooped this low, it must be
Saturday night)---but again this just makes my point about Teenage
Nervous Breakdown, and the fact that Americans never seem to get out of
high school, because in high school that's all that's talked about,
even if no one is getting any, or the fact that most of
the"information" that's passed around in highly anacdotal in
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #58 of 351: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 13 Mar 99 19:12
Sorry I confused you.  Which word gave you trouble?

>they receive instead of give

inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #59 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Sat 13 Mar 99 19:45
YMMV? what dis?
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #60 of 351: Katherine Branstetter (kathbran) Sat 13 Mar 99 20:28
Your Mileage May Vary

It's an acknowledgement of the diversity of opinions.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #61 of 351: Carol Brightman (brightman) Sat 13 Mar 99 20:30
David, I'm the one who lives in Maine, not Gail, and it's Walpole, a
little town on Pemaquid peninsula, nearly two hours downeast from York.
 Meanwhile, this cybertease smacks of American Grafitti, and I want
you to know that while I was heading down Broadway to meet some friends
tonight, I stopped in a Barnes & Chernobyl and took a look at your
book (which is why "American Grafitti" is fresh in mind). It is full of
life and very timely and mispackaged in a way with all those
professors' kudos on the back, and the cartoonish Munch character on
the front.  I think I'll order it from when I get home, in
which case it will be my first transaction.  
Cynthia, sorry I'm going to miss those panels. I have some friends who
are planning to go, so I'll get some news.   
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #62 of 351: Barry Smolin (shmo) Sat 13 Mar 99 22:54
Carol, definitely get David's book. It's most broadening.

David, I'd love to hear you (see you?) talk (post?) a bit about what draws
you to your subjects. Your first two books dealt with two figures, Frank
Zappa and Ernie Kovacs, who were incredibly forward-thinking and endlesslay
(now there's a cool typo, endless lay, what a concept) I mean endlesslay
(shit I did it again) that is to say ENDLESSLY experimental. Are these the
sorts of people you are attracted to in your everyday personal life, or is
it only subject matter for you?

What was it like hanging out with Zappa?

If Ernie Kovacs were alive today, and not totally senile, what do you think
he'd be doing?
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #63 of 351: Lenny Bailes (jroe) Sun 14 Mar 99 00:11

Producing outrageous cigar commercials or hosting
The Daily Show?
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #64 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Sun 14 Mar 99 08:23
first Carol: about the book andit's cover, my editor at Plenum really
didn't know what to do with the book when he decided he wanted it, as I
said, he wanted to call it "We Are The World" which I told him would
qualify it for being remaindered as soon as it was printed. My editor
really was uncomfortable with it when it was done---for one thing he
didn't understandmost of what I ws trying to say, and the house itse'f
was an academic house---i was lucky that I had a bite but Plenum though
I would have written the book anyway with or without the advance (more
than I've ever gotten despite the fact that my books have legs and
stay in print for years--- anyway I think you'll get a big kick out of
it, I tried hard to do a big think, make it illuminating and
interesting and informative a rant as I could---as for the cover,
Harvey Erhlich is an old buddy of mine and it was a great kick to have
him do something for me. As for the blurbs on the back, if you look
notice, there's two music guys, a a couple of cultural history guys---I
mean how DO you try to sell a book like this? Anyway, if an when you
blow through southern Maine on your way downeast, give me a holler, I'm
right on RTE #1 just above Kittery, right on the York River

kathbran: thanks for the linguistic lesson, as I must have said
earlier, I'm new to all this so any lesson in the lingo is

lenny: I think he'd be doing cigar commercial and working on "cutting
edge" television/ sightgag comedy. The Daily Show would be a little too
tame for him, maybe he's have a weries of specials on Home Box, maybe
they'd just give him a timeslot and budget and let him do what he
wanted to do. It certainly wouldn't happen on a big three network---on
the other hand he would also be into movies and I"m sure he'd be on the
web or at least working in computer graphics and comedy and webtv and
holographic sightgags. He'd probably be doing Hollywood Squares with
Whoopie. He would have done stuff with the Pythons and Kenny Everett,
he would probably had his own cable station/network, produced and
written and generally had a very good time.

I'm interested in the pathology of genius (how's that for being
official), how cfreative people do what they do, why, what motivates
them, stuff like that. I wrote about Zappa because he appealed to me as
a historian, had something definite about American culture to say, had
a command of musical form and content, knew the history of American
music in all its forms, and basically knocked me out. He was like
Kovacs in a way because with Kovacs you had to concentrate to get it,
you had to pay attention. I wrote about Kovacs after Zappa because they
both had mustaches (no, I was being cute), because they seemed to come
from the same part of the forest, they were outsiders; I'm always
interested int he outsiders. I was an outsider myself though on the
surface I looked like a normal kid, it was my brain that was
unconventional. I was always attracted to unconventional people I
suppose, I have a reputation for having strange friends, in the msuic
business, it was the highly gifted (or damaged who sought me out---like
Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Band (the late lamented band and
Viv),---off center people I like talking to, off-center people seek me
out, what can I say? I know my kids think its a little bizarre, but
they tend to accept that in my personality makeup.

I guess you'd say I'm just drawn to them, not people who are bizarre
in a destructive way, who are deviants, but people who are creatively
on fire. Runs in my family, I had a cousin named Elie Siegmeister who
was a composer, a contemporary of Aaron Copeland---Elie was a Socialist
who got into trouble with the hosue on Unamerican Activities
Committee,,Elie had a brother who was involved with the Hollow Earth
group, who went under the name of Dr. Bernard, Elie's brother was a
vegetarian/food/sexual freedom wacko in the Forties---that's my
father's side of the family, myt father was an attorney and a damn good
one---my mother if she hadnt married my father would eventually have
become a very fine painter (and she was in her way and very, very
good). Otherwise, I don[t know how it all happened except that I've
always been attracted to intellects who reach, who question reality,
who bend it, shape it, etc. I met a lot more of them when I was in my
twenties and early thirties when I was single and living in New York
and working on the music scene and in the literary scene. I'm looking
at a birthday this coming week and am always a little cranky and
thoughtful, so my posts will improve after the big day comes and goes.
No, these guys aren't just subject matter because I definitely bring
something to the table when I looked at Zappa and Kovacs. The writng of
a biography is like an alchemical marriage , a
emotional/spiritual/intellectual marriage. I'm working on a guy right
now named Herbert Feis (1893-1972), a Jewish economist who through a
set of circumstances (his own) went to Harvard, was befriended by Louis
Brandeis and then Felix Frankfruster (who took him under his wing, who
got him into the State Department of Herbert Hoover, who eventually
hooked him up with the Roosevelt State Department as Economic Advisor.
He stayed there from 1933-1944, then went to the War Department, then
did a stint in the Policy Planning Staff under Paul Nitze in 1950-1951.
I stumbled into Feis because I bought this house in Maine he used to0
live in, and that his librtary thourgh some strange set of
circumstancers was still intact, and his ghost was there, q ghost my
wife and I can hear typing in the room he used to work in, in a room
where he wrote 11 books on diplomatic history (the period from
1933-1950), one of which got him the Pulitzer Prize in 1960. When I
went looking at this house, I didn't know who had lived in it, I only
knew that I was drawn to this big room with a walllength bookcase in
the unehated part of the house and it put the zap into my soul. I've
never been one to ignore my instincts---that's one of the little
lessons I learned growing up as a 'head' in the Sixties, it's one of
those little cosmic rules evolved people have to know if they're to
survive and thrive in this mad age, I suppose.

It was said of Feis, by Tuime magazine no less, that, "he looked like
Harpo, and wrote like Karl (Marx)", that he was as Zelig type of figure
in the state Department. He had little tolerance for fools but
nonetheless he survived in the State Department in the Thirties and
Forties not only as an intellectual, but as a Jew---so it's a story
which is too good not to turn down and everywhere I turn around, I run
into more Feis material, for he was well-known in York, Me. where the
house is located.So it's a great story and anyway there
's 28,000 documents at the Library of Congress, and he's well known in
the field of diplomatic history. So I have a chance to wrte a social
history, a cultural history and an intellectual history all in one. And
the best part of it is that I'm uniquely qualified to write this book
because this book just about came to me on a flaming pie!

Hanging out with Frank Zappa was a chore because I always had to be on
my toes, it was always a power struggle, you know "how smart are you,
kid", etc. he was cordial to a point but that was because I was useful
to him as a journalist, he bought me a few meals, probably smoked a
half carton of cigarettes in all the time a spent with hih, his. I
liked him but he was very distant, he was very lonely and I told him
so, and he didn't know what to do with that at all. If you bring him up
some other time, Barry, I'll talk about him, but compared to Herbert
Feis, he was very unevolved
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #65 of 351: Daphne Merkin's spanking piece (chuck) Sun 14 Mar 99 09:34
By the way, David, it was your response <50> which contains the statement

>(I'll be 54 this week, 50 in the year 2000 thousand which I'll
> have a good time in my diary with).

I, too, would love to be able to engage in that kind of aging.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #66 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Sun 14 Mar 99 10:35
thanks, I meant I'll be 55 in the year 2000---sorry for the
misconfusion. I told you it would take a while to get into the swing of
this, you all after all have had more experience
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #67 of 351: Carol Brightman (brightman) Sun 14 Mar 99 11:30
The Feis story is wonderful!  And to write it in HIS room.  His name
is vaguely familiar to me, and given his credits I see why.  But who
would expect a Zelig figure behind that career?  Was he a lefty?  In
the 30s?  And if so how did he 'scape whipping? Do you have a
publisher? Who?
Re all this whining about ageing, which I feel myself, boring down on
the END of my 50s, is further vindication of our prolonged adolescence,
doncha think?
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #68 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Sun 14 Mar 99 12:54
I was referring to the Woody Allen movie "Zelig", as in q character
who always seems to be around, sorry not to have put that in quotes for
you. Feis was like Leopold Bloom: in the state department he was "the
only jew in the room", he was a stuanch anti-communist but when you
consider what he lived through, what kinds of things he worked on in
the State Department, what information he was privy to, he was no
friend of Stalin's expansionist policies, and he along with Arthur
Schlesinger, jr. took an awful lot of heat from trhe New Left
diplomatic historians in the late Sixties and early Seventies. They
attacked the new left as historians, because New Left historians, when
their facts didn't fit their hypotheses, changed the facts.(that's the
short version, I've no interest in delving into this here and now). He
was called a 'court historian" by his critics mainly because he had
sources of information which were closed to most historians, access to
classified documents and diaries (of Stimson, Cordell Hull, etc.). He
was liked and trusted by the power people, he was defnitely NOT a court
historian in as far as he always had an independent view. Feis wrote
some of the standard diplomatic texts, especially his masterful study,
"Churchill--Stalin--Roosevelt: the War they Fought, the Peace They
Sought". Feis's later books at least for me have a mystical cast to

No publisher, not interested yet, but when I have more of the pieces
of the puzzle and my hands on more material, then I'll start pitching.
Most of the money would be spent as expenses in Washington DC because
I've just got to camp out in the Library of Congress to look at the
Feis papers, but that's still months and months away, I"m still just
getting my bvearings, reading all his books and taking some notes and
settlingin for the long haul.

Now on aging: I think discussions like I"ve been having are pointless
and boring. You can't stop time, not even for a second, and anyway
what's the point---ALL of life has its pleasures and lessons to learn.
I wouldn't want to go back to my adolescent daze for anything, too
painful, lucky I was young when it happened because it would kill me
now, not to mention making me an emotional wreck. I live living in the
present with a presence of the past
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #69 of 351: David Gans (tnf) Mon 15 Mar 99 12:39

>I've never been one to ignore my instincts---that's one of the little les-
>sons I learned growing up as a 'head' in the Sixties, it's one of those
>little cosmic rules evolved people have to know if they're to survive and
>thrive in this mad age, I suppose.

That was a hard one for me to learn, but it has served me well over the
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #70 of 351: impoverished intervallic palette (castle) Mon 15 Mar 99 12:39

(Thank you for finding that reference, chuck!)

David, I am really enjoying your discussion here.  Happy birthday to you 
- mine was yesterday, and I, too, was cranky until it was over.

I'm really struck by your description of Zappa as lonely and unevolved, 
neither of which would I have expected.  Made me wonder about him as a 
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #71 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Mon 15 Mar 99 15:04
yeah David, all that "hippie" bullshit really does work,doesn't it.
Now the real test is to be able to bring that knowledge to a new
generation who thinks it has no need of it.

glad you're enjoying the ride, Linda, I certainly am. I'm very
delighted to be talking with you guys, having heard much about this
community out there in the world.
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #72 of 351: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Mon 15 Mar 99 17:42

have you visited any other WELL topics or conferences, David?
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #73 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Mon 15 Mar 99 19:05
No, I haven't, and I'm sorry. I've been working on this new book,
spending lots of time out there in the ozone. You have any suggestions
about groups? 
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #74 of 351: Barry Smolin (shmo) Mon 15 Mar 99 19:13
You'd like the Media Conference!
inkwell.vue.33 : David Walley
permalink #75 of 351: David Walley (dvdgwalley) Mon 15 Mar 99 19:15
I can't talk about FZ as a parent because that was one aspect of him
that I was not qualified to discuss, what he was in his personal life
was his personal business, that was what I decided to do. Thus I didn't
discuss his many girlfriends though I met most of them (or they
introduced themselves to me), I didn't attempt to discuss the
relationship he had with his wife because it was none of my business. I
could on the other hand discuss him as an artist, yes, as a composer,
yes, as a ringmaster in the human zoo which was his creative life, yes.
But not as a father, that's something between him and his kids. You
should get Moon Unit up as a guest on the web. I think that there were
certain aspects of Frank's fatherdom which were cool for a kid to have
a "famous" father---but hey, you do what you can. I  think he thought
of himself as a provider and chief bread winner and that's what he
spend his time doing. He was his work after all, like he said to me
long ago and far away," I don't go to work, I am my work." and he was.
Anyway what I have had to say about FZ, I said in No Commercial
Potential: The Saga of Frank Zappa (Da Capo Books, 1996), it's all
there and I'm glad that I wrote it when I was 27 because it would have
killed me to write it today. I'm proud of it, and it seems that the
public agrees with me as do the fans---but I was a different person
then I suppose, and I'm 27 years older now.

Alright, Barry, after I get off ths post, I'll check out the media
conference, what do you thihk about what I've been saying. Is this what
you had hoped I'd be doing?


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