25th Anniversary: “What’s Left?” September 2007, MRR #292

I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.

-George M. Cohan

The 25th anniversary issue of Maximum Rocknroll slipped right past me.

Mykel Board often laments that he doesn’t get any hate mail anymore. No hate mail, no love letters, no real responses to his columns no matter how over the top they might be. There was a time when a good Mykel Board April Fools column would keep the letters pouring in for months. No more.

That’s not Mykel’s fault. He’s as outrageous and controversial as ever. But when you write a monthly column for twenty-five years, your readership becomes inured to all your provocations. Plus, it’s different times.

I haven’t written my column for nearly as long. Only fifteen years. Nor have I been nearly as successful at stirring up shit. Though that’s what Tim Yo intended. I’d written a couple of guest columns for MRR in 1991, anonymously under the pseudonym “Lefty” Hooligan, when Tim recruited me to write a regular three dot journalism feature for his resurrected news section. The news section tanked. My column didn’t.

That’s because my column raised enough shit-in the form of letters to the editor, even denunciations at MRR general meetings-to warrant Tim Yo keeping me on. To this day, I can remember Jeff Bale accusing Tim-at a general meeting when I was still anonymous-of recruiting an RCP hack to write my columns, just because I was openly Marxist. That was the general meeting Tim Yo cancelled Jeff’s columnist ticket.

I also enjoyed being a troublemaker. I was bummed, if not a little bored, when my column settled into that no comment limbo that familiarity, and regular publishing, breeds. So, I was thrilled to get, not one, but two letters recently taking me to task for what I’d written about the whole anarchist book fair/BASTARD to-do. I’m a tad disappointed at the caliber of the responses. If that’s the best that post-left anarchism has to offer in terms of critical thinking, that tendency might as well call it quits. Still, I’m happy once again to engage in a little political sparring over what I write.

If you like any of MRR‘s columnists, I suggest that you write them some hate mail. Or a love note, or some comment on what they had to say. It’s sure to make their day, if not give them a renewed interest in writing their columns. It will certainly liven up the letters section, and may even help revitalize this venerable punk rock zine, which is older than many of the punks who read it.

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