A little over two weeks ago, when Obama matter-of-factly announced he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, many hearts fell - not just because an eight-year war doesn’t show any signs of stopping, but because the President’s decision somehow seemed contradictory to his message of positive change. It’s fitting, then, that Astoria’s own beloved government cynic, author and activist Mickey Z., has a new, stimulating read, Self Defense for Radicals: A-Z Guide for Subversive Struggle, set to debut tomorrow from PM Press.
With the keen eye of a historian, Mickey’s sharp, humorous words expose oft-perceived truths as false. Since 2004, long before it was de rigueur for a writer to pen a blog, he launched the Cool Observer (www.mickeyz.net), analyzing current events and attracting a loyal group of readers dubbed “The Expendables.” Over the decade he’s also managed to publish 10 insightful tomes, from The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda and No Innocent Bystanders: Riding Shotgun in the Land of Denial.
“I’ve always been an outsider who is capable of looking like an insider. I just never trusted the mainstream flow of things,” he says.
In SDR, his newest work – an amusing, alphabetized, 40-page pamphlet - which is sprinkled with cartoons and words of advice from unlikely heroes such as Patrick Swayze’s Dalton in Roadhouse, Mickey continues to inspire change by combining his lifelong passions for writing and martial arts. He encourages readers to defend their visions - even if it means resorting to a good, old-fashioned head butt.
“As I learned more and more about our destructive culture, and watched how most humans are seemingly unwilling to put up a fight to create change, SDR became more urgent,” he explains. “We just watched tens of millions of people craving ‘hope’ get hoodwinked into trusting yet another corporate politician. SDR is my little gesture toward suggesting that the concept of creating change by using the system is a fantasy.”
He may expose you to new ways of thinking, but Mickey Z. is not your everyday fire-breathing radical full of conspiracy theories. At the end of the day, he’s just a “blue collar guy from Queens.” Growing up two miles away from his current digs with wife Michele, Mickey describes Astoria as an old-time New York neighborhood that is “walkable, friendly, and diverse. When I get off the train from Manhattan I let out a sigh of relief. I can see the sky, the streets are less crowded, and everywhere I look, I see a familiar face.”
Order Self Defense for Radicals: A-Z Guide for Subversive Struggle here: http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php?story=MickeyZ
Mickey Z will be reading at A Benefit for Revolution Books and Tribute to Edna St. Vincent Millay at the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan, Sunday, December 27 at 6 p.m. www.bowerypoetry.com/?#Event/85397
Or, mark your calendar for his talk at Bluestockings bookstore in Manhattan, Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m.