Fact Magazine

From the Shelf

You've probably noticed that some people devote themselves to propositions. Ralph Ginzburg and staff, formally of Eros, and now of Fact, are "dedicated to the proposition that a great magazine, in its quest for truth, will dare to defy not only Convention, not only Big Business, not only the Church and the State, but, if necessary its readers." In other words, Ginzburg thinks he's a hero. He thinks his magazine has something new, something full of wild, wonderful, and galloping anomie. He's wrong. Fact contains 64 pages of the sweatiest and dullest ever, and Ginzburg still wants an exorbitant $1.25 for it.

The lead article in the new publication prints 21 letters from some authors, baseball players, and rightwing congressmen, all of whom are angry with Henry Luce and the rewrite men of Time. Presumably, the letters are meant to present "facts" about Time magazine. And if, as a good student, one believes that all facts should be underlined, here are some which deserve penciling.

Taylor Caldwell:

I was curious to find out who had written this incoherent and almost insane diatribe and after some investigation I discovered that it was none other than Whittaker Chambers, who was then book editor of Time. Imagine the gall of that ex-Communist!

Vincent Price:

Time, Jan. 25, 1963, did a story on an art buying trip to Paris that I made on Sears, Roebuck...

Walter Winchell:

Time's inaccuracies are a stapie of my column.

These "facts" strike the reader as a bit incongruous; Walter Winchell for one, has a log in his eye, while the rewrite man may have only a sliver in his. Besides, spoofing Time is pretty old stuff, pretty cheap entertainment.

But ad man and "superbeatnik", Ronald Weston, contributes the cheapest piece of prose to the current issue. In "Of Transcendental Beauty and Crawling Horror," Western describes his experiences with peyote and belladonna. He anticipates the first question with this answer. "I decided to try drugs because I am an artist, and something of a mystic, but I am a Buddist mystic, not a Christian."

While taking peyote, Weston started having homo-sexual fantasies, which, after he quit the drug, disappeared. "But I am very glad that I had this experience for it has taught me to understand homosexuals a little better. It has also taught me why Freud was so fond of quoting the old proverb, 'Nothing human is alien to me.' "Before Weston finishes, he manages to construe a few more turgid moralisms for readers in the "square world."

Expect for Bertrand Russell's short piece on the testban treaty, the rest of the articles are just as disgusting. Warren Boroson claims that Warren G. Harding was one-quarter Negro. O.K. So what? Psychiatrist Alfred Auerback worries about "fight mental health groups," because "educated people pay attention to their views. For example, in the February, 1962 Readers's Digest..." Publisher Ginzburg tells us about his courageous interview with George Lincoln Rockwell, someone who "proves it can happen here." And finally, a man named Bennett, clearly a member of the if-it-ain't-filthy-it-ain't-real school of psychoanalysis, probes the sexual symbolism of Christmas. Not surprisingly, Santa comes out of it, Father Santa. How dull.

The Great Age of Publicity has claimed two more victims--Ralph Ginzburg and Fact magazine. Ginzburg has no talent, but he apparently has enough money to force news stands to peddle his inanity and self-conscious pretension.