I can give you a good idea of what kind of a guy I am by relaying the circumstances surrounding the naming of this site, Guns and No Butter. If you don’t have time to read the fascinating story of how I selected the name Guns and No Butter, you can just read this:
I am a lawyer and my immersion in legal practice has amplified and magnified my radicalism a hundred fold. I am a gay man, and I have a bunch of ideas regarding sexuality – a sexual ideology, if you will — that deviates dramatically from gay and straight norms (Or so I seem to think in my perhaps slightly grandiose perception of myself.)
WHAT I WANT TO DO ON THIS SITE: I want to use this site to express my ideas re sexuality, politics, ethnic identities and aesthetics. I also want to share my poetry. My poems, I think, diverge from much of contemporary poetry because many of them are rhymed, have a distinct beat (Poetry, after all, had its origins in music – and I used to be in rock and roll) and are, I think, easily accessible to any person with a moderately above average intelligence; my poems are not sprinkled with esoteric literary or historical allusions. If I get up the nerve, I will offer something in addition to poems and ideas: I will have a third section which I may call entertainment. I might sing satirical lyrics of social criticism. Impersonate various sorts of persons who irritate me (And just about everything irritates me at one time or another). Perform one of my plays in which I will adeptly act-out all of the roles owing to my keen ability to split my ego into various personalities in the matter of Freud’s dissociative hysteria. In short, a good and riotously fun time should be had by all.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES BEHIND THE NAMING OF THIS SITE: Initially, I wanted to name this site “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” I became enamored of this phrase when I read about the notorious July 1967 issue of the New York Review of Books. The front cover of the issue provided a diagram with instructions for making a Molotov cocktail. In addition, in this issue, Andrew Kopkind famously declaimed that “the civil war (race riots; revolts against the war in Vietnam), and the foreign one (Vietnam), have murdered liberalism in its official robes.” In disgust, conservative critics said that the magazine was a hothouse of mad dogs and Englishmen. I guess I always wanted to be a mad dog and an Englishman, someone with an elegant and eloquent radicalism who screamed radical screeds but did it with an aristocratic flair. I wanted to express ideas ala Norman Mailer but exude the stylishness of Mick Jagger’s recital of Shelly at Hyde Park in 1969. I wanted to be one part Abbie Hoffman, one part James Baldwin, and one part Gore Vidal. Okay, I admit it: I am a piece of work.
In any event, because of various aberrations in my new computer system, or on this site – or because of my technophobic tendencies – I was not able to select that name. Therefore I selected the next best thing: Guns and No Butter. This is derived from Lyndon Johnson’s belief, in the 1960’s, that we could have both guns (The Vietnam War) and butter (an enlargement and expansion of social programs to aid the poor and disenfranchised) Of course, I am contending that in fact we got war, but we did not get the butter. This is not a terribly novel idea. Hopefully, most of the ideas, in the “ideas” section of this site, will be somewhat unprecedented and unique. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time by reiterating thoughts already amply expounded upon in the Times, the New Yorker and other periodicals.