He has just published another bestseller. He is one of the most powerful voices in media and politics, yet he is a misunderstood loner. He is banned in Britain. He tells it like it is, is brusque and hard to like, yet underneath the rough exterior is a Teddy bear who loves his dog . . . Teddy. Millions hear him every day, but have not quite heard Dr. Michael Savage like this.
TRAVERS: You grew up in New York during a time that might be described as “Sinatra swank.” It was an era of big bands, jazz, Yankees dominance, mob “wise guys,” racial awakenings via movies like “West Side Story,” blues music, and the like. These cultural touchstones created a huge melting pot of ideas and common perceptions that plays out on your show. Is this a time that we will never see again?
DR. SAVAGE: The answer is simply no because this was a post-World War II era, which was dominated largely by men who came back from fighting for our freedom, and so men were much different then. Everybody was involved in the war one war or another. Either men had been in the war, profiteering from the war, dodging the war, having relatives who had been killed in the war. You see, everybody in that era had been affected by World War II, and the children, such as myself, of that period, having been born in ’42, were all products of World War II, of Hitler, especially of the threat of Nazism, which was just around the corner. Had the Germans won World War II I wouldn’t be speaking to you, and the fact of the matter is it was an existential reality that was imposed, excuse me, that was imparted upon everyone. So, the short answer is no, how could it ever happen again?
So, I’m basing this in part on a period, the post-World War II period, I’m talking the ‘50s I guess is what your asking . . .
TRAVERS: Well, basically we’re talking 1947 to 1963.
DR. SAVAGE: That’s a long period of time. I was five years old in ’47, so I have no recollection of it then . . . of the Atomic bomb being tested, I’ll never forget it personally as long as I live. It was in the New York Daily News, I think, and it showed “the Bomb” dropped on Japan, or something to that effect, and I ran down the street with the newspaper screaming, “The world is coming to an end, the world is coming to an end.” Somehow it affected me deeply. Some probably thought I was a nut. Some thought, as I have described in the Bible, “ . . . your young shall prophesize, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
I hope I wasn’t a prophet but the fact of the matter is that ushered in again an existential cloud of the world ending over us in a few minutes, which we’ve all lived with ever since. Think about that one. Prior to the Atomic weapon, nobody perceived the entire world could end in a few seconds, in a few minutes.
TRAVERS: Only from a Biblical standpoint.
DR. SAVAGE: How many walked around fearing that the Earth would tilt off its axis? That didn’t happen until Al Gore came along, trying to scare everybody along with his friends at the National Geographic channel, forever again showing a catastrophe and a meteorite hitting the Earth and wiping out all life, but the fact is nobody thought about that. Anyway, that period of time was quite unique, and it produced vibrant men – the ones that came home, the ones that survived – full of life, full of zest. America was a nation that had just produced a major victory, wasn’t it? So the nation was tremendously confident in itself, tremendously confident in its vision for the future, and look at the amazing things that were produced in the post-World War II era, from design to inventions, I don’t have to list them. Look what burst forth on the scene.
Then, along came the degenerates, and I’ve long played with the idea of writing a long essay on this, on who destroyed America’s psyche . . . and it was Allen Ginsberg, a troika; it was Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and in the legal sphere who broke the (ILLEGIBLE) in the law, who made the law into a mockery, it was Kunstler, William Kunstler, the freedom riding bus guy who went on the buses in order to get laid. Believe me, he was a straight Jewish lawyer who discovered the Civil Rights Movement, and it was said that he loved the women. That’s one of the reasons why he rode the buses so frequently to Alabama.
Now you could also enter into that troika the women’s movement, because it was not based upon equality, it was based upon hating men. There’s a difference between equality, which we are all for, and hatred of the male. Those elements shifted the nation from optimism and production into something entirely different; looking over your shoulder, questioning yourself, doubting the history of the nation, that’s the result of only a very few people, a handful of revolutionaries. That ‘s my opinion, so that’s the answer to that question I think . . . do you wanna go the next one?
TRAVERS: The New York you grew up in was thought of in many ways as the New Rome, America at its epic heights of power after World War II, New York the center of everything. Is this something that only makes itself apparent now, looking back, or did this permeate the consciousness of people at the time?
DR. SAVAGE: I’m looking at that: America at its epic heights . . .
TRAVERS: Is this something people think about only in retrospect, or did you realize at the time that we are now the most powerful country, or did this permeate the consciousness?
DR. SAVAGE: We didn’t even think about it. Everyone walked around knowing that New York was the center of the world and that America was the center of the world; New York was the center of the center. That was the attitude then. Now, as you well know, liberals still have this attitude, as evidenced by their chauvinism incidentally. They claim they are people of the Earth, people of the world, citizens of the world rather, right? But look at their regio-centrism.
TRAVERS: What’s that word again, Dr. Savage?
DR. SAVAGE: Regio-centrism, meaning their region is the center of the Universe, meaning they still think New York is the center of the world, the snobbism, the same thing you might find in a Parisian today, still walking around like that’s the center of the world. Anyway, so yeah, we all knew that New York was the greatest place on Earth. At the time, we all knew it. That doesn’t mean it was correct.
TRAVERS: Let’s move on to the next question. You have many fans with Southern accents who call your show. On the surface they would not seem to have a lot in common with you, but when you talk with them there is much common ground. What is that common ground and how do you so easily find it?
DR. SAVAGE: I think it’s a world view of how the world really should be or is, as opposed to the way the media presents it and it really isn’t; the way the media shapes our mind into that world. Look at what just happened with gay marriage. They wanted us to believe that, “Oh well, that’s Neanderthal, everybody’s in favor of gay marriage” . . . oh really, what happened in North Carolina, what happened every time it’s been voted on in 31 states? No it’s quite true that most of the world doesn’t see the world the way the media portrays it, and so the guys in the South like an outspoken man whose willing to speak his mind in a clear, strong voice, and whether or not they agree with everything I say, I cannot say. Who knows? I think they like the outspokenness of the man, the forthrightness. I can’t speak for them because we’re talking generically, I don’t know.
TRAVERS: I’ve lived in the South, and still deal with many of them, and a lot of them are fans of yours . . .
(CALL CUT OFF)
TRAVERS: How old were you when you first grasped the meaning of the word “honor,” and what circumstances led to this revelation?
DR. SAVAGE: I was a cub scout. It was drilled into us, that there was such a thing as self-respect, I think you’d call it. We didn’t use the word honor. I think, respect yourself and respect others, we were taught by our scout leaders, that was the answer, I think. But my father in his little store, I mean, without using words such as honor, told me never to cheat on anyone, and if somebody didn’t like something, take the object back and give them their money back, that kind of thing. I think that self-respect was in the words we would use, without even using them, nobody even used those words. I think once you use words like that you lose the meaning of them. I think you have to teach it through actions, let’s put it that way; or learn it through actions. I think you learn such things through the actions of mentors, whether it be your father or your Cub Scout leader, or your teachers, or your preacher, whoever it may be. That’s where it comes from. It’s not thinking about it, but doing it.
So the next one is the Mailer-Salinger question?
TRAVERS: Yeah, exactly. You grew up during a post-war, literary renaissance with writers like Norman Mailer, J.D. Salinger, Jack Kerouac, even Allen Ginsberg. How did you react to these writers and their books? Did their writing shape you at the time, or did you have to read them again as an older person to gain understanding?
DR. SAVAGE: Not really, because I’ve never re-read them, I read them as a younger man, and some of them influenced me positively, and some of them influenced me negatively. And you look at Mailer, he was all over the map when I was very young. He was the literary lion, and he was (ILLEGIBLE), he ran for Mayor, notorious sexcapades, he tried to imitate shooting an apple off his wife’s head, which he copied from William Burroughs, I think that’s where he got that shtick from. He was very much a fair promoter along the lines of many of the literary, political movie star type people of today. Whether he was as great a writer as he thought he was and people made him to be, I don’t really know. I was more influenced by Mailer’s shenanigans than I was by his writing. I never quite understood why he was considered such a great writer, in that his writing never touched me; in that he was a seminal figure for the same self-promotion I’m famous for. I mean, I’m pretty clear on that, because if I don’t promote myself, Steve, who will? As you well know.
DR. SAVAGE: I’m a shunned figure in the media, yet I have a very powerful radio show and I’m a bestselling author over and over again, so I’m not ashamed to say to you that without self promotion you can’t survive in this society, because no one’s gonna do it for you.
TRAVERS: As a writer I know that.
DR. SAVAGE: And there’s no shame in that. If you can pull it off, God bless you. It’s business. Mailer’s self-promotional activities in that sense inspired me, but not his writing. Now, more influential as a writer was Hemingway.
Again, there was a sheen of bravado in his persona that appealed to me greatly as a young man; the safaris, women in the tent, the khaki clothing, you know what I’m saying? That kind whole imagery, of the heroic imagery . . . in fact I spent a lot of money in protecting elephants, the poor creatures that they are, to protect them from the evil Chinese who use their tusks for aphrodisiacs. If I could I’d donate a million dollars for Viagra for the old bastards in China to get stop them from having poachers killing elephants in Africa. So don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hunt for that reason, but again the imagery, the Hemingway imagery . . . Now remember, a lot of those guys in that era, whether be Hemingway, Kerouac or Miller, they were all heavy, heavy drinkers, and they boasted about being alcoholics. That was the thing of the literary ‘40s, ‘50s, the drinking, right? Of course, it’s absurd; you can’t write when you drink.
TRAVERS: Absolutely you cannot.
DR. SAVAGE: It’s impossible, you can’t do anything when you drink, but they said they could do anything. Again, that was a negative influence in that regard: “Oh, I’m gonna be a wild writer, I’m gonna get drunk in bars.” But it was stupid, just stupid.
Hemingway was an influential writer. His writing was sparse, he had been a journalist first, as we all know. So his writing was not adorned with a lot of flowery language, and as a trained scientist, as I grew older I learned the Cardinal rule of science writing was to be as succinct as possible. And it appealed to me, you know. The economy of words, so to speak, so there was a nobility in Hemingway’s writing, and a nobility in his characters, the heroic male who was usually a loner, usually misunderstood, somewhat introverted or, shall I say, introspective, was extremely appealing to me because it matched my character. So I was drawn to that same type of personality.
The same goes for Kerouac, the same type of character; introspective, loner, outsiders, but not shunning action when necessary. So Kerouac was probably . . . Hemingway was probably more influential initially because there was an adventurous side to him. As a kid I read Boys’ Life. I’d say Boys’ Life influenced me more than Hemingway or any of the other writers. I loved Boys’ Life. I loved shows such as Sky King, which showed airplanes flying into the Alaskan outback, so I loved adventure stories, always.
Then I heard about On the Road. I was in college, and there was this fat kid named Harold, who went back to college when he was older, at 19, and he told us about this crazy wild story where somebody just drives across America and has a lot of fun and has a lot affairs, so we all read it. You know, we didn’t know quite what it was about, other than having escaped responsibility and getting stoned and driving around in a car across the countryside, and meeting beautiful women, and having affairs in Mexico, but On the Road led me to the incredible books he wrote, you know: The Subterraneans, Dharma Bums, which were set in Marin County as you well know. We both live in Marin County; you live here full time, I live here part time, but a lot of Kerouac’s writing was centered around Mt. Tamalpais, and the whole concept of it was so beautiful, with the deer coming down into the backyard, and I never encountered that in New York. There were no deer in Queens, and the idea of deer coming down and munching on your vegetables sounded quite romantic to me.
Little did I know that if you wanted to shoo them away, if they ate your tomatoes . . . but Kerouac, I think the fact that Kerouac also had a brother who died young resonated very deeply with me, and my situation, with my brother Jerome. The way he felt about his dead brother was the same way I felt about my own brother, and still feel about my brother, which was that he was a saint, because he never really tarnished himself on this Earth. I’m trying to think through Kerouac before I go on, because Henry Miller was as influential as Kerouac on me. Why? Was it just the depraved sex that he wrote about? In part. But Henry Miller invented most of those sex scenes. That’s the interesting thing as I got to know about the man, which is most of his affairs were fictional. “He threw her down and he penetrated her.” I mean that was all Henry Miller’s cartoonish fantasies, not reality. But if you read Henry Miller, you had to have read Black Spring, and if you read Black Spring, you read one of the greatest books ever. Fiction, fiction. Modern fiction. And then you got to understand the true nature of his genius, so the Tropics books . . . how many people read Black Spring from Henry Miller I don’t know, but I read that book over and over again. As I got older I read it again, especially when I was stranded in Fairfax for many years, I came to understand Black Spring even better, because I lived through a gigantic Black Spring.
Now you mentioned other writers in that little list; I added Hemingway to that list. Allen Ginsberg was very influential on me, because I confused him as a prophet. There he was, the rabbinic figure, Jewish voice, Jewish name, right? Deep, sonorous voice, he was devil incarnate, probably one of the most evil men in modern American history, like a Rasputin of the literary world. Not that he personally hurt me in any manner, but I got to know him very well in the East Village. I thought he was kin of a demi-god rabbi, and then I got to know Ferlinghetti, another fraud, one of the biggest fakers in the world, another one who makes believe he’s down with the people, owns massive real estate holdings in San Francisco and Paris, and pretends (EFFECTS STONER VOICE) “I’m down with the people, turn Left, you know, more power to the people,” so that whole scene, that whole scene . . .
TRAVERS: So would you say the literary aspects of these people; their fraudulent activities, and the fact they were not what they made themselves out to be, kind of turned you to the Right?
DR. SAVAGE: No. I became a conservative after I got my Ph.D., killing myself. Remember, I earned a Ph.D. from one of the great universities of the world - UC Berkeley, and I earned this Ph.D. in three years, which is kind of a world record. I earned it. It was not just that I earned a Ph.D. unpublished. I have an earned Ph.D., which I’m proud of, because I worked my ass off for it. And it was after I got the degree . . . you see I have a master’s prior, not “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes on the bottom of the box” degrees. My first one was a master’s in botany that yielded a published study that was so fabulous it was entirely published in its entirety in a journal published by Harvard University, which was better than most master’s degrees written.
This is an interesting question you raise, Steve, because why did I get two master’s degrees, why did I bother? You want to hear about this, because this is an interesting story?
TRAVERS: Go ahead.
DR. SAVAGE: I never talked about it. When I was in high school, you know, I was in with the typical crowd of kids. They ere all kind of driven in some way, in one way or another, in that many of them were the sons of immigrants . . . you know, I was the son of an immigrant, I don’t think they were, but they were driven and were severely hard driving kids, and I remember we always looked at role models; I mean look at him, we’d look at a professor’s credentials, and I remember one kid said to me, “Look at him, he has two master’s degrees,” before he got his Ph.D. I thought that was amazing, and that became a goal, to prove how good you were, right? Then, as I got into academic work, I read that a master’s degree can be a major monumental accomplishment if you do a real master’s degree, and I believe it was Herbert Hoover, one of our Presidents, obviously, who had gotten a mining degree. I could be mistaken. I believe it was Hoover who had designed the Brooklyn Bridge after his master’s thesis, you better check on that, because I’m not sure what President it was, Steve, but one of our Presidents had designed the Brooklyn Bridge as a master’s degree thesis, can you believe it?
(CONSTRUCTION OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE BEGAN IN 1869 AND WAS COMPLETED IN 1883-84. PRESIDENTS IN OFFICE DURING ITS PLANNING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMPLETION INCLUDED ANDREW JOHNSON, U.S. GRANT, AND OTHERS. ITS OFFICIAL ARCHITECT WAS JOHN ROEBLING. HERBERT HOOPER WAS BORN IN 1874, FIVE YEARS AFTER CONSTRUCTION BEGAN. HOOVER WAS A MINING ENGINEER CREDITED WITH THE HOOVER DAM, NAMED AFTER HIM. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE STARTED UNDER HIS GUIDANCE. HE WAS AN ENGINEER AND VISIONARY, BUT NOT OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE. A GOOGLE SEARCH DID NOT REVEAL WHICH PRESIDENT DR. SAVAGE REFERRED TO AS DESIGNING THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE AS PART OF A MASTER’S THESIS, BUT DEEPER DIGGING MAY WELL REVEAL THE ANSWER.)
To show you the degree between that and a degree in ethnic studies, or Chicano studies, or black studies, or women’s studies today, where they grant degrees in such rubbish? So, I said, “Wow, if a master’s degree could do that, I’m gonna do that,” so my master’s degree could do that, I said “I’m gonna do that,” so my master’s degree was the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge in the field I was studying, which was botany. I was way ahead of my time in that. So, okay, that’s why I got two master’s degrees. Now, why am I a conservative?
So, despite all these phenomenal achievements - accomplishments rather, real master’s degrees – I got another one in medical anthropology, again based on real research – and then I got a Ph.D. from Berkeley in three years, I figured that’s my “meal ticket.” All these old professors told me, “In order to be a professor you need a ‘union card.’ The ‘union card,’ Michael, is the Ph.D.” So I told myself, well, okay, I’ll get a Ph.D. from the greatest university in America, so I got one. I had six books published by that time. So guess what? Two young children, “union card called Ph.D. from great university,” I was 30 something years old – 37, I don’t remember – unhired. 200 colleges rejected me. I don’t even know how many colleges. 200 rejection letters. Why? Certainly not because I didn’t have the academic credentials. I had committed the greater crime. I was not born a black, a Hispanic, and I was not an illegal or a preferred minority. And I wasn’t a woman. Because “affirmative action” had clicked in, where “white males need not apply.” And I must tell you, Steven, when your - 42, 52, 62 . . . when you’re 36 years old, and you’ve killed yourself to support yourself without scholarships to get two master’s degrees and a Ph.D., and you have two young children, and you’re not hired because you’re of the wrong race, or sexual orientation, it tends to make you think very hard about your society, and then you find out that society is all twisted. I’ll never forget as long as I live what the ACLU published in those years, the darkest years of my life: “some people will have to put their lives on hold so that others may advance.” That was the ACLU’s writings on the issue of not hiring white males. I think that pretty much defines when I became a conservative.
I should add a footnote to that little story; I’ve done very well in life, financially. But I’ve crawled over broken glass, I’ve rolled over hot coals, I’ve had people scar my body and my soul, but I’ve done well. But what about the million of white men who haven’t been as fortunate and didn’t have as much drive as I had, who are fine people, who have the degrees and have the brains, but were locked out, permanently underemployed, so that lesser qualified, lesser talented, lesser intelligent people can fill the ranks of bureaucracies, academia, and corporate books. Take a look at America today, as a result. Just take a look at it.
TRAVERS: Yeah, I agree, your “preaching to the choir.”
DR. SAVAGE: (LAUGHING) I’m sure.
TRAVERS: You know, my dad always noticed these things just as you did. He saw all the same things.
DR. SAVAGE: It’s going on in the military.
DR. SAVAGE: They’re throwing fine white men out of the military to promote lesser qualified, if qualified at all, individuals. Let’s not go in that area, because it’s gonna turn this into a bitter conversation, which is certainly not where I want this to go, certainly not from my point of view, because I’m not really embittered at all.
TRAVERS: I’d like you to take the next very simple question: is Hugh Hefner -
DR. SAVAGE: We missed an old book, by the way. I just opened an old bookcase. You remember those old paperbacks with the cute covers . . . oh, here they are, right in front of my eye: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, right? Now, strangely enough, you wouldn’t believe it, Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan influenced me. You’d say, what? Why would Bonjour Tristesse, “the sensational bestselling novel about an 18 year French girl,” why would that influence Michael Savage? Simple answer. Because when the book came out in 1950 or ‘51 I think, I didn’t even know if anyone even knows the book . . .
TRAVERS: I don’t.
DR. SAVAGE: It was written, published by Dell Publishing, 1955. Because she was a young French girl who wrote a bestseller, and she was then seen in PR photos with a brand new black XK120 Jaguar convertible roadster rather. So I figured if writing could lead you to owning a Jaguar, I’d better become a writer. I mean, what influences young people? I’m giving you the honest truth here.
TRAVERS: I completely understand where you’re coming from, and had similar experiences. I gotta ask you a completely different question, and I’ll encapsulate it to a very simple question, which is –
DR. SAVAGE: I have to give you one more book. A Shropshire Lad. You ever hear of that poem?
DR. SAVAGE: I read it in college. Can I tell you that story, it’s fantastic?
DR. SAVAGE: A.E. Houseman. A period, E period. H-O-U-S-M-A-N.
TRAVERS: My daughter read a similar poem at my dad’s memorial.
DR. SAVAGE: Oh jeez, A Shropshire Lad. What did she read, “To an Athlete Dying Young”?
TRAVERS: No, but it was similar: “I carry your heart with me,” by E.E. Cummings.
DR. SAVAGE: “On your midnight pallet lying” - See, he wrote very dark poetry. “ . . . When I was one-and-twenty, I heard a wise man say, ‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas, but give not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies, but keep your fancy free.’ But when I was one-and-twenty, no use to talk to me.” How’s that for a poem?
TRAVERS: That’s incredible.
DR. SAVAGE: Anyway, I was introduced to poetry when I entered college and took English 101 at Queens College, the university of New York. We had a professor named, I forget his name, but I’ll never forget how he looked, though: shocked white hair, piercing blue eyes, and remember these were working class kids including myself, so called working class kids. It was not working, but lower middle class kids, with no cultural background to speak of, right? So when he introduced poetry, we all squirmed kind of nervously, we thought it was “faggy,” right? You know, c’mon, fruits listen to that stuff. That’s how we kind of . . .
But when he read Housman, he set off so many different things within me, and it was very much like Plato wrote about in his Dialogues, where he takes a slave kid and through logic shows the reader that the reader knew mathematics in a previous life, because he had logic, okay? So I read poetry in a previous life type of thing.
TRAVERS: Like George Patton.
DR. SAVAGE: So anyway, A.E. Housman, and in college this guy introduces me to poetry, which I think introduced my interest in writing altogether.
TRAVERS: That’s where I see your personality.
DR. SAVAGE: Nobody’s ever heard of the Housman story, that’s an important part of this interview.
TRAVERS: I’ll look into that further and make sure I get that right.
DR. SAVAGE: Especially his poem, “To an Athlete Dying Young.”
TRAVERS: Well, that’s his famous poem.
DR. SAVAGE: That’s because as a young man, who had a sense of mortality, was going through the sufferings of young (ILLEGIBLE), where you over emphasize your own value, where we’re all so tragic, because we ‘re gonna die one day, right?
TRAVERS: Please read and comment on the following statement: Hugh Hefner represents a unique cultural figure in American history. For centuries, when armies won battles, soldiers were paid the “spoils of war,” which meant to pillage the countryside and have their way with available women. This was the way of the Romans, the Vikings, and was still part of war as recently as the Russian treatment of German maidens in World War II. Hefner’s Playboy magazine represented the modern “spoils” of war in a civilized society, the “winners of history” rewarding themselves with lavish homes, fast cars, fancy food and drinks, and beautiful women. His magazine represented the “good life” that the American male desired after winning the biggest fight ever fought. His introduction of gorgeous girls was a rite of passage for millions of young men, in many ways a healthy appreciation of sex described as common to any “red blooded American kid.” However, Hefner’s depictions were like marijuana, a gateway to hard drugs, in that they were a gateway to pornography and its addictive powers. He created an image of perfect women who performed sex acts that average girls could never match, thus elevating male expectations to unattainable status. The result is that marriages fail half the time, and sexual perversion is now common.
DR. SAVAGE: Oh God, yes in one sense only, by airbrushing women he destroyed the minds of millions of men. Turned them into something they weren’t. Created Barbie dolls instead of women, so men kept looking for the shiksa in the Vermont cabin, who was perfect and had perfect breath, right? Who smiled all the time . . . and never had a bad moment in her existence. Who could lift you out of your despair with one wink! (LAUGHS)
TRAVERS: The seduction, of course, that’s exactly what he did. The other thing I think he did is, throughout history, armies would rape and pillage the countryside, and America is a civilized country that doesn’t do that, and I think he provided a form of that; the spoils of war though his depictions of the good life, mainly through beautiful women and fast cars. What’s your feeling about that?
DR. SAVAGE: Well, that’s your observation. I can’t comment, I never thought of it that way. It’s certainly a valid observation if that’s how you see it. I couldn’t even see it in the global picture, in that sense that truthfully I think he fictionalized women. Remember the pornography that preceded him was all graphic of real people, right, okay, some were misshapen but they were real. These were not real. None of these women were real. We’re in the age now of the (ILLEGIBLE) breast where it’s so many women have mutilated their bodies with silicone, and he mutilated their bodies with airbrushing. He was the first female mutilator, modern American mutilator. He made a fortune by mutilating women in the pictures he showed.
TRAVERS: Did he ruin men? Did he ruin men’s lives?
DR. SAVAGE: I don’t know what he ruined. I don’t know what he did for people. I know he screwed up the American mind. Both for men and women. No woman could ever be like that, so they gave up and became gay. No man could ever find a woman like that, so they gave up on marriage. I don’t know. If you want to blame him for everything I guess you can!?
TRAVERS: You’re right about that, people do look at it of their own free will.
DR. SAVAGE: Look, you can look at a person’s influence on culture, and you can make him into anything you want. Some would say he’s a great liberator, I would argue the opposite. But it’s too late, but it’s way past that, the point of no return. Look what’s followed it. Look at Larry Flynt, with what he followed Playboy with. Okay, he went from the airbrushed to the super-graphic, remember? Larry Flynt came along and reversed it from the airbrushed woman to the super-graphic. Again, what did that do for womanhood? He debased womanhood forever, by taking their most intimate part, and making it almost macroscopic instead of microscopic, blowing it way out of proportion to the overall being, making a woman into one gaping (female genitalia) instead of into a human being. So if you want to blame one person for the demise of women it would be Larry Flynt, not Hugh Hefner. Hugh Hefner turned women into angels, right? Larry Flynt turned women into craven sexual whores, that all they ever wanted was a gigantic (male genitalia). They had no other needs. They’d forego food, water, shelter; to Larry Flynt all women ever needed was a gigantic male member. (LAUGHING)
I‘m sorry, you start me off, I’m gonna give you the full truth and answer you in the most graphic way I can.
TRAVERS: I get it. I totally get it. I agree with you.
DR. SAVAGE: This is the kind of question that should have been asked of me by that schmuck from Playboy magazine. I was asked by that (deleted), I gave him eight hours of my life, he sat in my house, made believe he was my friend, then the (deleted) publishes an interview which starts by saying, “I’ve never disliked anyone in my life more than Michael Savage.” Not once did he indicate he didn’t like me, he was such a lying weasel.
TRAVERS: Well, for one thing, you’re talking to a person who’s listened to you, on average, 40 minutes a day for 16 years.
DR. SAVAGE: Oh Jesus.
TRAVERS: So I know your work, and have not always liked you, and have not always agreed with you, and sometimes even turned you off, but I keep coming back. I think that probably describes a lot of your listeners.
DR. SAVAGE: Ho can you can believe and like anyone for 16 years?
TRAVERS: Because we’ve always, for 16 years, had a common complaint, which is that liberalism has really done such horrible things to the world, not just America.
DR. SAVAGE: We’ve only just begun what they’re going to do, it’s worse than ever.
TRAVERS: I know. It’s awful.
DR. SAVAGE: It’s gonna get worse than ever under this gangster regime.
TRAVERS: Please read and comment on the following statement: God created man, who was corrupted by Original Sin and therefore sentenced to eternal damnation. He so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that it might be saved. Christ died to pay for our sinful natures, but we still are born into sin whether we believe, ask for forgiveness, or try to live perfect lives. Perfection is impossible for man. Therefore, sin is natural and in fact many good Christians do many sinful things. Many who do not believe point to this and call it hypocrisy, but Christians never said they are perfect, just saved.
DR. SAVAGE: I’ll tell you another hypocrisy. You see that’s where the bastards get it all wrong (ILLEGIBLE) holy, don’t they understand it’s an ideal? Judaism and Christianity present an ideal for man. It doesn’t mean you’re a hypocrite if you fail to reach that ideal. But what if you never try to reach that ideal, then what are you? Then you’re the Left, they’re the ones who defecate in public places, so that’s not hypocrisy, that’s depravity.
TRAVERS: That’s a very interesting point.
TRAVERS: You came to the Bay Area to attend the University of California, Berkeley, which in the 1960s allowed itself to become the de facto staging grounds of American Communism. You settled in San Francisco, which was transformed by the Berkeley riots and the Summer of Love into one of the liberal bastions of the world. Still, you choose to stay here and profess much love for the City, and admiration for Cal as a great university, despite tremendous political differences. What is it about these places and experiences that drew you and made you love them even when you found yourself in the minority view?
DR. SAVAGE: I’m on the verge of leaving almost every day because of Jerry Brown. He makes it almost intolerable to live here. We don’t have any newspaper, that’s the truth for a long while. We don’t have any leadership. He’s the leader the unions and the illegal aliens. It’s almost intolerable to live here if you’re a successful working person. You know, 100 companies, top CEOs just voted California the least favorable state in the nation to create and run a business. That’s what this man has created. Tax and spend. Out of control taxation, and spending, and incidentally the Hollande victory in France; it turns up, it came out yesterday but was hushed up in the papers . . . the so called anti-rich candidate Socialist owns three houses on the French Riviera.
TRAVERS: Of course, that’s par for the course.
DR. SAVAGE: That didn’t get published in any American newspapers. Somebody ought to investigate how much “white liberals” in San Francisco and the state capitol own, like who’s the wealthiest woman in Congress? Nancy Pelosi.
A “women of the people,” Barbara Boxer, our dear friend Barbara from Marin County, her husband Stew the lawyer and her son the lawyer. How about her zoning games here in Marin County, re-zoning agricultural land into re-development sites while screaming about the environment, and how much have they profited while they’ve been in office? And how about Dianne Feinstein and Dick Blum, how much has her wealth increased since she’s become a Senator? It’s beyond belief, how gullible people are. But I know why, and I know how this game works: by feeding the radical Left, their social meat, the politicians can get away with the most grotesque robbery of the public treasury imaginable, because otherwise intelligent people who would be on the side of justice, are so oriented only around their doxy, and their single issue, whether it be gay marriage or whatever their pet project may be, that they pay no attention to the overt thievery of their political henchmen. That’s the game, how it’s cleverly played.
TRAVERS: It’s amazing. It is.
Communism traces back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the French Revolution, 19th Century European uprisings, Marxist writings, and then the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the U.S., “Red Emma” Goldman and anarchism represented the earliest stirrings of this sentiment, recognized from the beginning by J. Edgar Hoover. Many of FDR’s staff were paid Soviet spies, all confirmed by Venona. Sides were taken when Alger His was convicted despite the Left insisting on his innocence, with revenge taken after McCarthyism by a Left-wing backlash in movies, the media, and the Democrat Party. Despite so much carnage of history, and so much evidence that Socialism fails, many refuse to turn away from it.
Many know they are opposed to Communism but have not seen it up close like you. You often refer to children who grew up in New York under radical parents, often attending NYU, and many of whom went into the ACLU. In the 1960s, Communist fronts supported and financed much of the anti-war movement. Saul Alinsky was one of the early organizers. This became a cottage industry, with Barack Obama one of its leaders. After the Berlin Wall fell, many took up “global warming” as a perfect international mantra. Please help me understand who these people are; where their money comes from; how their organizations are tied to each other; and how Communism, whether Soviet-controlled or home grown, has morphed into something that never dies, a kind of cancer on society opposing all traditions like Christianity, family, patriotism, military valor, and rugged individualism. Please describe the psychology behind this phenomenon and give some allegorical examples of it. Is it Satan?
DR. SAVAGE: Rebellion, I don’t know. I don’t know about Satan, I mean that’s beyond me. I don’t want to talk about metaphysics because I don’t have an answer for any of that. I mean, I live in this world. I leave that to God and the experts. I have no answer. I mean, why does evil exist?
Evil exists so we know what goodness is. That’s what the mystical rabbis teach, that without evil there can be no good. So the evil exists in order for us to understand what good is. And we should not shun evil. We should understand it, in order to understand what goodness is.
Within each man in Jewish teachings there is a thing called the evil impulse, and the evil impulse is within every man. And the object of the evil impulse is to overcome it. In other words, not to deny its existence, because it exists.
As one rabbi said to me once, he said, “Michael, do you think I’m made of stone?” He said, “Don’t you think I see I see beautiful women, that I don’t see all the temptations of the world?” Then he said, “I do.” But he said the object is to deny them, not to cater to them. That’s the whole bondage to God, and believe me it’s a bondage. You know in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, and I’m not religious, but they wrap phylacteries. What they are is leather thongs with two rings inside a little box, and they put them on their head every morning as they pray to God each day. What does the ritual mean? It means your bonding yourself to God each day, to try to keep you on the straight and narrow. Right. Why? Why would a mean need to bind himself with a leather thong around his arm each day in a certain way with a little box with the teachings of God in it? Why? So he remembers which way to go that day.
Another rabbi once taught that life is like a gigantic carnival, with a central walkway down the middle, and on each side there are booths. And each booth has something more tempting than the other, and as you walk down this long, long walkway, each booth has something beautiful beckoning you to enter. And he said your object is to stay on that path down the middle of the walkway down past the booths, and not go into any of those booths. How’s that for a metaphor?
TRAVERS: That’s it.
DR. SAVAGE: Who teaches these things any more, Steven? No one teaches these things any more. The booth operators, the hawkers, have taught us that’s the way, come into this booth, I own my friend’s booth, I own the circus, and by the time you walk out the end there’s nothing left.
TRAVERS: I went to my church and we had a round table discussion and I wanted to talk about the nature of sin, and my own guilt for being sinful, and the pastor, a woman pastor who once compared Abu Ghraib to the Holocaust -
DR. SAVAGE: Oh Jesus.
TRAVERS: . . . And she just looked at me like I was out of my mind, like what are you talking about?
DR. SAVAGE: A lesbian preacher?
TRAVERS: She’s not lesbian, but -
DR. SAVAGE: She’s worse. What denomination?
DR. SAVAGE: Lutheran? Is that liberal?
TRAVERS: It’s pretty liberal. I’ve got friends at the church so I go, you know.
DR. SAVAGE: Is that in Corte Madera?
TRAVERS: No, it’s in Fairfax.
DR. SAVAGE: There’s a small Lutheran church in Corte Madera, near the Bank of America.
TRAVERS: Have you ever read Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville? Would you agree that beyond great victories in war, Wall Street big business, or grandiose accomplishments (like building a national railroad, the Hoover dam, or water aqueducts), the simple act of organizations like Lions and Rotary, which allow competing businesses that in Medici Italy created cut throat vendettas, to in this country help each other in a “rising tide that lifts all boats,” represents true American Exceptionalism? Please elaborate.
DR. SAVAGE: I did but I’d rather not refer to it because I think he’s been over discussed. Everyone refers to deToqueville in that regard and I think it’s kind of done.
TRAVERS: Much of your background is counter-culture. Based on this assessment, would you consider yourself to be an enigma?
DR. SAVAGE: (LAUGHING) No, I’m an enigma within an enigma. I am the double Chinese fortune cookie. I am the DNA inside Rubik’s cube. I hold the key to Houdini’s locker.
TRAVERS: I think we’ve just gotten the epitaph quotes that will appear in a box at the top of the story.
DR. SAVAGE: “The key to Houdini’s locker . . . I am an enigma within an enigma.” (LAUGHING)
TRAVERS: Somewhere in that.
DR. SAVAGE: That’s funny. Those are the bullet points.
TRAVERS: Well, my editor came up with this, and he said, “Here’s a guy who came up in the counter-culture, and was influenced by Ginsberg and Kerouac and-what-have-you, and yet he’s a so called Right-wing guy, and he said, that’s an enigma.”
DR. SAVAGE: Let me answer that, because you raise a key point that we missed on Kerouac that should be added and put in somewhere. A key point on Kerouac was that he was conservative. Does anyone know that?
TRAVERS: So was Salinger, too, to some extent.
DR. SAVAGE: I didn’t know that political stuff, but I knew that Kerouac, who had been a great, great role model of mine, was a supporter of Nixon, hated Ginsberg as the devil incarnate – said he misled him in his early life - and shunned the entire, the entire Left-wing (B.S.), and wound up living with his mother in Florida, where he died, as you know.
TRAVERS: From alcohol.
DR. SAVAGE: Well, okay, but he was a die-hard anti-Communist, anti-liberal.
TRAVERS: I know, I know, I read his biography.
DR. SACAGE: But they don’t teach that in the colleges.
TRAVERS: He’s viewed as this, you know, new age type; he shunned that whole Beatnik, hippie thing.
DR. SAVAGE: He saw right through it.
TRAVERS: Well you know, there’s a great song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who, and The Who had come up out of the ‘60s, the British rock invasion, and went to Woodstock, and were part of that whole anti-war thing, and at Woodstock everyone was dirty, and filthy, and stupid, and they wrote this song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” which you should play on your show, which basically is, “We were fooled by the Left and the anti-war crowd as being idealistic,” and it’s not what it is. And that’s what that song is about, and you should investigate it; you play a lot of great songs.
DR. SAVAGE: Before you go, since this is an interview, I’d like to read you something. There’s a big part of my life, of collecting medicinal plants, in the South Pacific, that’s unknown completely. I want to read you the back of a little pamphlet I published on herbs and immunity, a paragraph. You can use it if you wish:
“Michael A. Weiner, Ph.D. and author. We are just beginning to tap the vast healing power of plants. We can bring the world highly effective natural alternatives for the prevention of disease. Michael A. Weiner, M.S.A. Ph.D., is the only person ever awarded a Ph.D. in nutritional ethno medicine from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978, based on many years of research on the use of plants and medicine, the studies of human nutrition and studies of medical botany. This degree was granted. He also holds an M.A. in medical anthropology and an M.S. degree in botany from the University of Hawaii. He has studied traditional medicine for over 20 years conducting plant-gathering expeditions to islands in the South Pacific, the Middle East and throughout North America. For many years he provided plant samples from the Fiji Islands for the National Cancer Institute anti-GMO screening program. He is credited with starting the herbal revolution.”
So, that important, that’s a big part of my life that someday somebody will remember.
TRAVERS: I absolutely see that.
You played a song by The Kinks that tells the tale of how England, after all their wars, sacrifice, and struggle to form a great civilization, is a shell of its once-great empire. What causes civilization to erode?
DR. SAVAGE: Comfort, security.
TRAVERS: What a conundrum, because those are the things you fight for.
DR. SAVAGE: Comfort is the road to . . .
DR. SAVAGE: “ . . . Not decadence so much, but not paying attention to what’s going on around you. Why struggle if you don’t have to? Everybody seems to want, a life of comfort and plenty. That seems to be the goal of civilizations, every animal, and plenty. Elephant seals I watched on the island of the Farallons want to dive out and get the seals, so it’s okay to hang out and fornicate like a hippie in the ‘60s. The only thing to look out for are the sharks, like the hippies had to watch out for the cops so they’d not be busted for drug use.
TRAVERS: In the history of the world, are dark-skinned, indigenous people better off for coming into contact with white Europeans, or worse off?
DR. SAVAGE: Well that’s a loaded question. I’ll answer it this way. Look at Haiti. Is Haiti the most impoverished island nation in the Western hemisphere? Yes, is that correct or incorrect?
DR. SAVAGE: Yes, look at the history of Haiti. Haiti is the only nation, island nation, to have successfully fought against colonialism, and successfully evicted the colonialists, their slave masters from the island. That’s a fact. What happened after they evicted the white man from their island? Take a look at Haiti today. They did not have the capacity to support themselves, sustain themselves. The same is true in ex-Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwe under Mugabe. They kicked the white man out of this nation called Rhodesia, which was once a food exporter, and is now the basket case of Africa. Can’t raise enough food to feed its own people. Sorry.
TRAVERS: Are you familiar with the legend that the Haitians did a deal with Satan to get rid of Napoleonic forces?
DR. SAVAGE: I didn’t know about that. I’ve heard about that, but I don’t get into the metaphysical.
TRAVERS: Well, look into it.
DR. SAVAGE: Again, I’m not into the metaphysical. So, Satan punished them in this way?
TRAVERS: Well, you have to look into it.
DR. SAVAGE: I’d rather not have that in the interview, I’d rather not get into it. It would put me into an area that I don’t feel comfortable with, Steve.
TRAVERS: Pleas read and comment on this premise: God involves Himself in the affairs of Man.
DR. SAVAGE: I’ve had this discussion with others and with myself all my life. I once read a book 30 years ago called Peace of Mind, by a former rabbi, who wrote that if he believed God was omnipotent, he would cease believing immediately, because there’s so much tragedy on Earth, right? Little children crushed under refrigerators, people suffering violent deaths from disease, so he said if you believe God is omnipotent and controlled everything, he would cease believing in God.
TRAVERS: You know, that’s actually what Norman Mailer said.
DR. SAVAGE: So he definitely believed that God was omni-present, not omnipotent, meaning he’s everywhere but he doesn’t control everything. What’s the good of a God like that, you may say.
TRAVERS: Well, the answer to that comes down to the question of Original Sin, and that’s a longer -
DR. SAVAGE: That’s for somebody who does God Talk. Talk to Bernie Ward. (LAUGHTER)
TRAVERS: That guy drove me crazy for years.
DR. SAVAGE: No, that’s an opening to a funny little side note I’m going to mention . . . You said, talk to Savage, and he said, “That’s beyond me for somebody who does God Talk, and he said talk to Bernie Ward, and you laughed because blah blah.
TRAVERS: I know that whole story, I know about that and you don’t even have to talk to me about it, because I know that whole story . . . he gave away your home address . . .
DR. SAVAGE: That S.O.B. tried to kill my radio career from the day I started.
TRAVERS: Didn’t he give your home address and tell people to show up at your house?
DR. SAVAGE: I’d be on the air and I could smell him, he stunk so bad in the other studio at KGO, and he’d say, “I hear the white sheets rustling,” that S.O.B. He personally stank. I don’t know if you know that, but nobody would go in the studio after he had been in there, until a cleaning crew had been in there, and deloused the room. He was physically, and this is an important point; you know they say cleanliness is the closest thing to Godliness! This man stank, he would leave garbage, food on the floor, no one could be around him, and look how he wound up. I have found that people who are physically repulsive are spiritually degenerate as well. It doesn’t mean that everyone that’s clean in good, but this whole Occupy Movement is filled with Bernie Wards.
TRAVERS: Exactly. You see it wherever the Left protests. They leave a mess, and wherever the Tea Party goes they pick up after themselves.
DR. SAVAGE: That’s right, because they have self-respect. It goes back to your first question. By the way, what magazine is this? Is this an on-line magazine?
TRAVERS: It’s called Gentry magazine. It’s a regular magazine that will be on newsstands. It’s the same magazine I wrote an article for, about the athlete Barry Zito that you so kindly interviewed me about on air, but it will also be available on-line.
You mention cleanliness, and I’m reading Steve Jobs’s bio, and you mention an interesting point; this is a guy who lived on fruits and nuts, and died of pancreatic cancer at age 56?
DR. SAVAGE: How long did he eat fruits and nuts?
TRAVERS: Very early, from Reed College on.
DR. SAVAGE: Oh, he went to Reed?
TRAVERS: I don’t know if he did it all the way to the end or not.
DR. SAVAGE: People don’t understand that there are natural plant toxins, number one. I’m an expert in this field, and there’s a misnomer that if it’s natural it’s good for you, but there are many toxins occurring naturally in food. I read this in grad school and was shocked by it. I thought what, if it’s natural it’s good for you? But you start with the obvious. How about plants that contain natural amounts of strychnine or kirari?
TRAVERS: You talked about this the other day with some dingbat who said marijuana was natural.
DR. SAVAGE: You can kill yourself with plants pretty good, too.
DR. SAVAGE: I don’t know what plants the poor man ate. We’re certainly not doing a book, a doxie on Steve Jobs, but peanuts . . . peanuts if they are not properly stored have a very potent carcinogen called aflatoxins, so people who eat great amounts of peanut butter or peanuts, are not aware that some of these food could be carcinogenic because of the aflatoxins, so God knows if he ate peanut butter that was contaminated, I don’t know. I’m giving it to you off the cuff if, certainly not a scientific analysis.
DR. SAVAGE: You say something about Muslims that nobody else does; that many of them hate the West because we are immoralists who abort our children, turn from God, embrace homosexuality, and make sexuality our “god.” You get a fair number of Muslims call your show and agree with much of what you say. Please comment on this dynamic.
DR. SAVAGE: What they hate most about this country is cultural degeneracy. A Muslim family man who is religious and is not a fanatic does not want porn, does not want his daughter to end up like Britney Spears, or his son like Jeffrey Katzenberg, tries to limit the effluence of the Hollywood sewer pipe, detests Western culture, which has become the antithesis of Western Civilization. He might embrace the ideals of Western Civilization, such as religious tolerance, but all he hears is degeneracy, and does not want his daughter to look like a Hollywood slut.
Steven Travers is a USC graduate, ex-professional baseball player, and former columnist for the San Francisco Examiner who has authored 20 books, including the bestseller Barry Bonds: Baseball’s Superman, and his latest, The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times. His web page is redroom.com/author/steven-robert-travers/ and he can be reached at USCSTEVE1@aol.com.
QUESTIONS NOT ADDRESSED
Clint Eastwood said as he got older he was “not afraid of doubt.” Does age and life experience toughen you, or make you doubt yourself less, when you face criticism?
We live in the “information age.” Today it seems everybody goes to college. Movies are made by people who study filmmaking from their youth. Still, it seems the more we “know,” the dumber we are. Movies are not as good today as they were when they were made by people who almost seemed to fall into the business by accident (think of roustabouts like Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen). Please comment on this, or disagree with the premise.
You are considered a “Right-wing” or “conservative” talk show host, but your program and your audience is substantially different from most of the other conservatives in the media. What have you tapped into that makes you so darn fascinating not just to Right-wingers but to literate people with a love of history?
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism