Burton is the author of The Hippies, Hitler and the Nazis, Pileup on Death Row, The Devil and Dr. Noxin, The Devil's Avenger. He was considered by many to be the foremost investigative journalist on the West Coast of the USA.
Winner of many awards, Burton's articles have appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines from San Francisco to Athens, Greece. He is also listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in California, Dictionary of International Biography, Contemporary Authors, and Outstanding Intellectuals of the Twentieth Century.
Recently, Burton launched Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language, published by Wild West Publishing House.
When did your passion for writing begin? What keeps you going?
At age 12, in Washington, D.C., I decided I wanted to be a sports columnist like Shirley Povich of the Washington Post. I abandoned sports writing for literary, philosophical, social, and political writing midway through college. Somehow the desire to communicate through the printed word remains as I navigate through old age, though mentally I do not feel old. Motivation is a difficult psychological factor to fathom. My onetime dear friend, Earl Conrad, author of such landmark books as Scottsboro Boy, kept writing until his death, and his answer to the motivation factor was simply: "For me writing is a habit I can't break."
Why did you feel compelled to write Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language?
Over the years I have become more and more aggravated by the way Americans butcher the English language, by the way members of the media misuse terms, by the charlatanical ways in which corrupt persons in power desecrate noble words such as "democracy" which, coming from their mouths, is the equivalent of the word "love" emanating from the mouth of a whore.
Satirizing all of that, much in the way that Ambrose Bierce and H. L. Mencken did the same in a previous era, provided a release for me. Also, I have an extremely slim hope, undoubtedly quixotic, that if the book becomes popular members of the media will become more careful about the way they put words into print or sound them on the boob tube, and that at least those who read the book will begin to try using the English language, a beautiful language when it is used properly, in a more accurate and original way, understanding that just as you are what you eat, also you are as you speak.
How long did it take you to compile all of the words contained in Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language? Can you explain some of your research techniques, and how you found sources for your dictionary? How did you come up with your unique and sometimes hilarious definitions?
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