This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men — go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers or families — re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
— Walt Whitman
Review of "No Innocent Bystanders," by Mickey Z
Published by CWG Press, Sept. 2008
by Mike Palecek
Well, I told my wife the other day, a book has to be perfect, or I won't read it.
Ruth looked at me and her eyes said, I knew you were a piece of garbage the day I met you, you, you arrogant neo-Nebraska a-hole ... the last twenty-six, seven, eight years have been wasted.
She said, "What?"
I said, you know, I have to like it. So do you. That's what everybody does.
Well, Mickey Z's book is not perfect, but I like it.
I think you will too.
It is organized sort of like a Michael Moore book.
Part of the organization is lists of species we have lost, along with chapters on various musings, like Mickey has dumped his pockets of all the notes he made while spending the day on the subway, walking around the city, sitting in the park with pigeons on his knees, watching, making notes.
Mickey Zezima harbors deep observations of Americans and America. It is our luck that he chooses to share them.
They go to the root, perhaps like Ted Rall, maybe Dorothy Day.
He is someone not afraid of conservatives or liberals, not afraid of preserving today's lifestyle, today's routine. Someone who sees a Democrat and calls it by its rightful name.
He is a New Yorker, reporting and writing and running and walking around in the great tradition of the first New York journalists, the ancient idealists, the good guys.