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October 04, 2004

Paging Paul Maher's Publicist: It's Intervention Time

by Ron Hogan

It didn't take Paul Maher long to respond to the latest post about him...and though he says "I leave this little community," I for one fully expect to see him extending his meltdown a little further once he reads this. But let's parse out the highlights. There's the fan who writes in, "I followed the link to Mr. Maher's web site and all i [sic] saw was good reviews even from the Kerouac's [sic] estate." Well, duh; one hardly expects Maher to trumpet his pans, and he can't very well post the no-comments from people who've ignored him. Said fan picks up on the homophobia theme, at which point Maher arrives, setting out to defend himself one more time.

First he tries to backpedal by saying he only said I "[came] across like a prissy queen," which is apparently so different than actually calling me a prissy queen that it's no longer homophobic. He adds, "There isn't one passage in my book stating that Kerouac never had sex with men." Since I don't have my copy anymore, I can't immediately verify this, but my vague recollection is that he at the very least quotes Kerouac's denials with the implied suggestion that they must be accurate. If I can find his book in any bookstores, maybe I'll look it up. Then he suggests, "[N]owhere in my book have I inserted a negative reference toward gays, Jews or any minority."

Did Paul Maher even read his own book, which includes quite a few quotations of Kerouac's homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist ramblings? Oh, wait, if he had read his book, maybe the "copyeditor's note" on page 103 wouldn't have found its way into print, along with all sorts of other mistakes. In his defense, he's probably trying to say that he didn't make directly prejudicial remarks...but then, until he started tossing around the "prissy little queen" comments, nobody said he had. One wonders why he was so sensitive as to imagine attacks on this issue...

As I say, experience has given me no reason to expect that Paul Maher's really "left" Beatrice, and his public meltdowns are too entertaining for me to consider banning him from further participation, but I would humbly suggest that if his publicist at Taylor is reading this, he or she really ought to dash off an email urging him to stay off the Internet and get back to work on the "definitive biography" of Thoreau he's supposed to be writing.

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