Ever since I walked away from traditional journalism in 1960 to produce the periodical which touched off the so-called "Alternative Press" movement, The Californian, my major purpose in writing has been truthseeking. Eventually it resulted in my being blacklisted from periodicals that once routinely carried my byline. Because I accomplished a lot of education and social reform that otherwise would not be available, however, I have no regrets. I would do it all over again, even more intensely than before, and I am still doing it.
During the 1960's and 1970's I tried being a hack, a commercial writer, slanting my work to markets. I succeeded in making quite a bit of money doing that - especially from the periodicals called variously male periodicals, adult periodicals, girlie periodicals, "tabloids," and "porn sheets." At the same time, my work was appearing in prestigious literary journals. One week I would be Burton Wolfe the hack writer and the next week I would be Burton Wolfe the intellectual. I would look in the mirror and ask myself: Which Burton Wolfe are you going to be this time? It was the kind of situation that can cause anyone who invites rather than evades self-examination to become schizoid. In fact, that was more or less what happened to the man who may have been the most prolific journal writer of all time: Richard (Dick) Gelman. He wrote for any kind of periodical that would pay him, alterning the level of intelligence and slanting to the market, as needed. He poured them out faster and more frequently than anyone in memory. He once boasted of writing an article while in a telephone booth discussing a different article with an editor. He wound up in a mental institution and was heard of no more.
I am, or rather was, the author of hundreds of published articles, essays, and oped pieces.There was a time when you could walk into a bookstore or browse at a newsstand and find my byline in half a dozen periodicals at once. Among the mainstream publishers who brought out my books are New American Library (The Hippies), Putnam (Hitler and the Nazis), and Doubleday (Pileup on Death Row). Today, no periodical will accept my articles and no publisher will take on any book of mine. That is because I am too controversial, more so than ever, and I violate taboos that did not exist during my most prolific period, but that are fiercely entrenched now in this era of oversensitivity in which publishers struggle to avoid offending any of 666 groups that may raise a ruckus over some sentence or even one word that is considered "socially incorrect" or "politically incorrect." The concept of complete freedom of expression has been scrapped by the major part of the media and the publishing industry.
So, in order to get out my extremely controversial work, it has been necessary for me to resort to POD publishers for my books and online journals that do not pay writers for articles or essays. I have stopped resorting to both because I need to be earning money and I have not seen any positive results from either. Instead, with a few exceptions (such as this piece), I confine my writing to my own e-books, which I promote via email and sell via my web site Mind Opening Books - http://mindopeningbooks.com. With no money for print advertising, and with more and more internet servers blocking and "spamming" anything that looks promotional, I am unable to generate many sales. So, my work may go unrecognized and unrewarded unless times change and some intrepid publisher comes along with guts enough to take on the extremely controversial, taboo-breaking work I produce. I put out what I believe humanity needs to know and is not obtaining from other sources, and let the fates determine the result. At the age of 77, I am no longer willing to compromise.
Burton H. Wolfe