My Brilliant Career
Austin Dispatches 
No. 28
July 10, 2001

As I push further into my fourth decade,1 less and less happens the way I anticipate.2 Nothing bad, mostly, just disconcerting.

Take my work situation (please).3 I figured the slump chronicled on these Web pages would have pushed me into a chronic struggle, the kind that can result in taking one's meals at the Salvation Army.

Yet so far, the biggest ordeal was the commute for my last contract. I worked in the office of Guerra DeBerry Coody, a San Antonio advertising/media firm next to the Riverwalk (created by James Joyce during a lull in his writing career).4 There, around the ides of June, I wrote the user guide for a software program, InfoCaesar. That application combines a search engine with the database creation capabilities of a program like RoboHELP.5 InfoCaesar is neat, or will be once the developers fix its errors.

Meanwhile, I turned down one prospective job: I was asked to run for governor of Texas.

OK. You can stop laughing now.

Seriously, C. David Eagle, Travis County Libertarian Party chairman, asked me about campaigning in the 2002 election.6 Though intrigued, I declined.

The 1990 nominee, Jeff Daiell, is willing to run again.7 However, Eagle and the other "partyarchs"8 want someone fresh (I know, they don't come any fresher than me). In particular, they want someone who can present a respectable, conservative image. The gubernatorial nominee would be largely a paper candidate, while the Texas LP concentrates on down-ballot races. Moreover, the Texas constitution makes the governor perhaps the weakest in the union; he's not really expected to do much of anything, which is how Texas survived "Dubya" and the annoying "Ma" Richards.9

I still declined. The problem isn't my politics. It's my sociocultural baggage. My roots aren't deep enough. I'd be automatically designated the "smart-ass Yankee carpetbagger"10 running against "two authentic sons of the Lone Star State."11 (In this race, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Haskell, and Tony Sanchez, D-Laredo or Marty Akins, D-Marble Falls.)12 Realistically, there's no way I could overcome that barrier outside of Austin and the "Telecom Corridor" north of Dallas.13


Too bad Russell Means chose otherwise. The Indian activist-turned Hollywood actor-turned resort manager sought and received the gubernatorial nomination from the New Mexico LP.14

Whether he can retain the nomination is another matter. New Mexico law prohibits convicted felons from seeking office. Means has a felony conviction in South Dakota from his earlier days as an Indian activist that could be pardoned — if his political enemies feel magnanimous.15

Moreover, Means has more baggage than an Samsonite warehouse.16 As an activist, Means switched repeatedly between declaring his rights as a U.S. citizen and declaring his rights as a member of an independent sovereign nation.17 Ultimately, he can't have it both ways.18

Then, in the mid-‘80s, when he lost his original non-Indian supporters for fighting the Sandinistas, he declared in Reason magazine that his Indian outlook was compatible with libertarianism.19 That's accurate, to a point.20 Nevertheless, Means has never passed up an opportunity to denounce the “Eurocentric” mentality that “dominates American society.” Here's a passage from his autobiography:

Today, the dominant society in America is based on believing [original emphasis] things – a linear mathematical concept which comes from the head. Indigenous people share beliefs, but our actions toward everything in the universe are governed by our feelings …. 21
Means' denunciation extends to the "unbridled free market,"22 "industrialization,"23 and even writing, as a form of "cultural genocide."24 I doubt even Ishmael Reed, with whom Means shares a provocative but inconsistently libertarian outlook, detests writing.25 Most recently, Means opposed Italians holding a festival in Denver, that might refer to Columbus, as a form of “hate speech” not protected by the First Amendment.26

The big question is why Means affiliates with the Libertarians, most of whom favor what he denounces, and by his estimation, are “limited by their linear, Eurocentric male mindset.”27 Perhaps the New Mexico LP is dominated by whites indulging in guilt, “that corrosive vice of the civilized during the twentieth century.”28

Means particularly focuses derogation, then and now, upon U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who defeated Means for the 1988 Libertarian presidential nomination.29 Means’ autobiography and interviews are peppered with errors and misrepresentations toward Paul. (I met Paul in 1996. He is a consistent libertarian, a true patriot and a man of honor – not a distinction I usually bestow upon officeholders.)

For example, Means and his supporters like to deride Paul as a crypto-Republican using the LP as a vehicle to maintain his political career.30 In fact, Paul's involvement with the Libertarians predates Means’ by many years, and Paul remains a lifetime LP member.31 Meanwhile, Means sought the 1984 Republican vice presidential nomination as the running mate of pornographer Larry Flynt. So Means himself is a former Republican-turned Libertarian, which he conveniently neglects to mention outside of his autobiography.32

Means also claims in his autobiography that Paul lost his old seat in through redistricting.33 In reality, Paul was unchallenged in his last race for a House seat that had been redistricted by a Democratic Texas Legislature.34 Paul then ran for U.S. Senate in 1984, losing to Phil Gramm.35

The other big question is why Means chose New Mexico for his brand of politicking. If Means continues to play the race card, it'll be part of a losing hand. The Mexican political elites of the Democratic machine play the race card, too.36 And as Catholics, they're less receptive to being guilt-tripped.37 Unfortunately for Means, guilty WASPs are a minority in the state.38 Also, Means’ vision must compete against advocates for a separate Southwestern nation, “Aztlan.”39 The Aztlan vision implicitly excludes a place for an Oglala/Lakota “patriot” who's relocated for business reasons.40 Unlike Means, however, the savviest Aztlan advocates are willing to use Anti-Federalist and states’ rights arguments – i.e., Eurocentric arguments.41

The only end Means will accomplish is turning the New Mexico LP into a laughingstock.

Business Roundup

I turned down such a spectacular career in politics in the confidence that other opportunities abound. For instance, Austin businessmen are trying to lure their California counterparts, according to the Austin Business Journal.42 The more the merrier, I say.

Those new employers, fleeing the days (and nights) of the locusts, will find more vacant office space.43 Of personal interest: Dell is moving out of the Plaza 35 offices where I worked earlier this year.44 Also of personal interest: Trilogy Software Inc. seeks to move out of its headquarters and into the nearby offices where I worked as a contractor for pcOrder (back when there was a pcOrder).45

Cultural Canapés

The June 6 issue of New York Press contains an interview with elfin singer-songwriter-actor Paul Williams, who is mounting a comeback.46 Now, while it's true that if the Culture Wars were fought for real, and the equivalent of the Nuremberg Trials were held, Williams would have to receive some sort of punishment for inflicting upon the world "The Love Boat" theme and several tunes squawked by Barbra Streisand.47 On the other hand, Williams did appear in "The Loved One" ("The motion picture with something to offend everyone") and "Phantom of the Paradise," the best film ever made about the rock music industry.48

Not to be outdone, the June 11 New York Observer contains a lecture by Jerry Lewis, who managed to span the gamut of his personalities in just a couple of hours. Hey, lady!49

Ain't it Cool News reports MTV will set its 11th season of "The Real World" in Chicago.50 Doesn't the city that gave us David Mamet, Sun Ra, Lou Rawls, Mike Royko, and John Belushi deserve better?51 Maybe the cast can volunteer for the Chicago Crime Commission, which is on the verge of dissolving because nobody thinks the Mafia operates in the Windy City anymore, according to the July 2001 Esquire.52

Elvis Costello has released a new CD, a collaboration with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne-Sophie von Otter.53 The CD is the sonic equivalent of a Swedish modular furniture piece. I'll stick with Per Madsen Design just the same.

James Ellroy, the self-described "demon dog of American literature," is on tour flogging his new book, "The Cold Six Thousand."54 I caught Ellroy at BookPeople, where he read excerpts and answered questions ranging from the murder of Robert Blake's wife to his literary style, which he's refined into a long string of short, rat-a-tat-tat sentences in hipster lingo about various thugs and psychopaths hopped up while beating the fillings out of suspects and witnesses.55 Dig it, daddy-O.56

Collector's Choice Music has has reissued a two-fer of albums by the recently deceased Jack Lemmon.57 Yes, that Jack Lemmon. It is, dare I say, an odd couple.58
E-mail: deisler1@swbell.net

Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. New York City: Regan Books, 1995: 15.
2 Foss, Nicolai  J. “Austrian and Post-Marshallian Economics: The Bridging Work of George Richardson.” 1996. Rpt. in Economic Organization, Capabilities and Co-ordination: Essays in Honor of G.B. Richardson. Ed. Foss and Brian J. Loasby. London: Routledge, 1998: 153.
3 Youngman, Henny, and Neal Karlen. Take My Life, Please. New York City: William Morrow, 1991.
4 AAA Texas TourBook. Heathrow, Fla.: AAA Publishing, 1998: 126; “Car Dealers Sign With Guerra DeBerry.” Adweek Southwest. 7 Feb. 2000: 8B; Joyce, James. Finnegans Wake, corr. ed. 1967. Rpt. New York City: Viking Press, 1982: 3.
5 Kobler, 238; Meade, Jim. RoboHELP 7 for Dummies. Foster City, Calif.: IDG Books Worldwide, 1999.
6 Eagle, C. David, and Dan Eisler. Letter to Travis County Libertarians. 28 Jun. 2001.
7 “Libertarian Candidates Nominated.” AAS 10 Jun. 1990: A14.
8 Hess, Karl. “Factions: Something for Everyone.” LPN Spring 1986: 4.
9 AD No. 20 (Aug. 27, 2000); “Arthur, Chester Alan” [R.W. Bradford]. “Election ’90: How Freedom Fared.” Liberty Jan. 1991: 21+; Eisler, Dan. “The Eyes of Texas.” E-mail to Arik Hesseldahl. 24 Jun. 2001; Fehrenbach, T.R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans, rev. ed. New York City: Da Capo Press, 2000: Ch. 23; Hummel, Jeffrey Rogers. Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War. Chicago: Open Court, 1996: 305, 313-315; Smith, Evan. “Two Fisted Texans.” Mother Jones. Mar./Apr. 1996: 60.
10 AD No. 21n6 (Oct. 1, 2000).
11Eszterhas, Joe. American Rhapsody. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000: 404-405.
12 King, Michael. “Political Trampoline.” AC 6 Jul. 2001: 28; Smith, Amy. “Looking for Tony.” AC 8 Dec. 2000: 34+; Stutz, Terrence. “Years of Political Experience Culminate in Governorship.” DMN 22 Dec. 2000: 26A.
13 AD No. 21; EAD No. 11n2 (Jan. 11, 2000).
14 Trager, Jonathan. “Russell Means Launches Bid for Governor of New Mexico.” LPN Jul. 2001: 1; Tyrrell, Steve. “Means Registers to Vote.” Santa Fe New Mexican 6 Jul. 2001: A1.
15 Means, Russell, and Norman J. Wolf. Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means. New York City: St. Martin’s Press, 1995: 341; Trager, ibid.; Tyrrell, ibid.; White, Richard. "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West. Norman, Okla. U of Oklahoma P, 1991: 586-588.
16 Beirne, Mike. “Samsonite Packs Starck for Saucy Travel Gear, Eyes ‘Lifestyle’ Badge.” Brandweek 9 Oct. 2000: 6.
17 White, op. cit., 580-586.
18 Wolfe, Alan. “Alien Nation.” TNR 26 Mar. 2001: 30-36.
19 Arthur. “The Libertarians’ Quandary.” Liberty Aug. 1987: 36-39; Dodge, Larry. “Russell Means.” Reason Aug./Sep. 1986: 20-25; Francis, Samuel. “The Other Face of Multiculturalism.” Chronicles Apr. 1998: 37; Means, op. cit., Ch. 47-48.
20 Benson, Bruce L. "Enforcement of Private Property Rights in Primitive Societies: Law Without Government." JLS Winter 1989: 1-27.
21 Means, op. cit., 536, 545-554.
    See also Bradford. “The Liberty Interview: Russell Means.” Liberty Mar. 1989: 17-20.   
    For a critique of Means’ critique, see Reisman, George. Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism. Oceanside, Calif.: Second Renaissance Books, 1990.
22 Means, op. cit., 480.
23 Ibid., 553.
24  Ibid., 545.
25 Martin, Reginald. Ishmael Reed and the New Black Aesthetic Critics. New York City: St. Martin’s Press, 1988.
26 Bradford. “Russell Means What?” Liberty Dec. 2000: 19.
    See also Vargas Llosa, Mario. "Questions of Conquest: What Columbus Wrought, and What He Did Not." Harper's Dec. 1990: 45.
27 Means, op. cit., 482.
28 Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, rev. ed. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991: 41.
    For another explanation behind the nomination, see "Big Government Libertarians." Rothbard-Rockwell Report Nov. 1994. Rpt. The Irrepressible Rothbard: The Rothbard-Rockwell Report Essays of Murray N. Rothbard. Ed. Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000: Ch. 16; Rothbard. “Freedom is for Everyone (Including the Despised ‘Rightists’).” Liberty Mar. 1988: 44; Rothbard. “Life or Death in Seattle.” Liberty Aug. 1987: 39-42; Sheldon, David. “The Matter of America.” Idem., 42-44.
29 Arthur. “Convention Notes.” Liberty Nov. 1987: 9; Barone, Michael et. al. Almanac of American Politics 2000. Washington, D.C.: National Journal, 1999: 1549-1552.
30 Arthur. “The Libertarians’ Quandary”; Bradford. “The Liberty Interview: Russell Means”; Dentinger, John. "Strange Bedfellows: The Libertarian/Conservative Misalliance." Liberty Mar. 1988: 37; Means, Autobiography, Ch. 46; Robertson, John. Conversation with Eisler, Ron Friedlander and Fred Hagen. 18-19 Dec. 1991. Cited in Eisler. “Reader blasts ‘The New Libertarian,’ Anarchy.” Letter. The Oregon Libertarian, Feb./Mar. 1994: S1; Eisler. “Win a Free Trip to Eastern Oregon!” Letter. The New Libertarian Apr. 1994: 7.
31 Arthur. “The Only Libertarian in Congress.” Liberty Jan. 1997: 37; Arthur. “Ron Paul Runs Again?” Idem., Nov. 1991: 44; Doherty, Brian. “A Principled Maverick.” TAS Nov. 1999: 14; Paul, Ron, and Earl C. Ravenal. “Nonintervention and the Reagan Foreign Policy – a Dialogue at the LP/10 Convention.” Libertarian Review Nov./Dec. 1981: 27-28.
32 Means, Autobiography, Ch. 46.
33 Ibid., 485.
34 Barone, Michael, and Grant Ujifusa. Almanac of American Politics 1982. Washington, D.C.: Barone & Company, 1982: 1098-1099; Barta, Carolyn. “Republicans Sweep Statewide Offices.” Texas Almanac 2000-2001. Dallas: Dallas Morning News, 1999: 418-419; Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to U.S. Elections, 2nd ed. Ed. John L. Moore. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1985: 1055.
35 Barone et al., op. cit., 1550; Congressional Quarterly, ibid., 1102; Frum, David. “Righter Than Newt.” ATLM Mar. 1995: 81; Judis, John B. “What Sort of President Will Phil Gramm Make?” GQ Nov. 1994: 208-215+.
    Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, succeeded Paul to represent the 22nd Congressional District. Barone et. al., ibid., 1569-1572; Lawson, Guy. “ ‘I Look Mean.’ ” GQ Jun. 2001: 188-193+.
36 Barone et. al., ibid., 1065; White, op. cit., 320, 593, 595-596; Williams, Linda. Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White From Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2001.
37 Gottfried, Paul. “The Religious Foundations of the Managerial Therapeutic State.” Telos Summer 1999: 3-28.
38 Zoretich, Frank. “Southwest Shall Secede from U.S., Prof Predicts.” Albuquerque Journal 25 Apr. 2001: 4.
39 White, op. cit., 595-596; Zoretich, ibid.
40 Means, op. cit., Ch. 1-2, p. 554; Tyrrell, op. cit.
41 The Complete Anti-Federalist, Vol. I-VII. Ed. Herbert J. Storing and Murray Dry. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981; Kilpatrick, James Jackson. The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1957; Zoretich, op. cit.
42 Piasecki, Mary Alice. “Groups Target Silicon Valley.” ABJ 29 Jun. 2001: 1+.
43 Hudgins, Matt. “Occupancy Rate Drops.” ABJ 6 Jul. 2001: 1+; West, Nathanael. Day of the Locust. 1939. Rpt. Novels and Other Writings. New York City: Library of America, 1997: 239-389.
44 Hudgins. “Dell to Put Space on Market.” ABJ 29 Jun. 2001: 3+.
45 AD No. 26; Hudgins. “Trilogy Gives Up Space.” ABJ 6 Jul. 2001: 3+.
46 Taylor, J.R. “Paul Williams.” NYPR 6 Jun. 2001, online ed.
47 EAD No. 9n23 (Oct. 23, 1999); P. Johnson, op. cit., 421-422; Salenger, Jon. “Paul Williams.” Retro Hell, 246; Steyn, Mark. “Barbra Does Blackouts.” National Post 25 Jun. 2001: A14; Streisand, Barbara, and Kris Kristofferson. A Star is Born. Monument/CBS 86021, 1976.
48 The Loved One. Filmways Pictures/MGM, 1965; Phantom of the Paradise. Dir. Brian DePalma. Harbor Productions, 1974; Salenger, op. cit.
49 Goldman, Andrew. “The Professor’s Still Nutty.” NYO 11 June 2001: 13; The Ladies’ Man. Dir. Jerry Lewis. Paramount Pictures, 1961.
50 Johnson, Hillary, and Nancy Rommelmann. MTV’s The Real World. New York City: MTV Books/Pocket Books/Melcher Media, 1995; Patane, Joe. Livin’ in Joe’s World: Unauthorized, Uncut, and Unreal. New York City: HarperTrade, 1998; The Real World Diaries. New York City: MTV Books/Pocket Books/Melcher Media, 1996; “Sleazy_G” [Nick Harris]. “Why I'm REALLY worried about this show: after Manhattan this season, they've already announced they're coming to Chicago.” 19 Jun. 2001. Ain’t It Cool News. “Real World 10th Talk Back.” 18 Jun. 2001 <http://www.aintitcool.com/tb_display.cgi?id=9348#307520>; Solomon, James, and Alan Carter. MTV’s The Real World: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide. New York City: MTV Books/Pocket Books, 1997.
51 Ciccone, F. Richard. Royko: A Life in Print. New York City: Public Affairs, 2001; David Mamet: A Casebook. Ed. Leslie Kane. New York City: Garland Publishing, 1992; Rawls, Lou. “Dead End Street/Tobacco Road/Love is a Hurtin’ Thing.” Live. Philadelphia International 35517, 1978; Szwed, John F. Space is the Place: The Life and Times of Sun Ra. New York City: Pantheon Books, 1998; Woodward, Bob. Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1984.
52 Kurson, Robert. “The Chicago Crime Commission.” Esquire Jul. 2001: 107-113+.
53 Costello, Elvis, and Ann-Sophie von Otter. For the Stars. Deutsche Grammaphon 289 469 530-2, 2001; NRSE, 215-216.
54 Ellroy, James. The Cold Six Thousand. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001; Scanlon, Paul. “ ‘Demon Dog’ Has His Day.” GQ Oct. 1992: 200; Sublett, Jesse. “Burning Down the Sixties.” AC 29 Jun. 2001: 40+; Wice, Nathaniel, and Steven Daly. alt.culture. New York City: HarperCollins, 1996: 88-89.
55 AD No. 27 (May 23, 2001); Ellroy. American Tabloid. New York City: Knopf, 1995; Sublett, ibid.
56 Beaulieu, Trace et. al. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. New York City: Bantam Books, 1996: 44; Ellroy. “Out of the Past.” GQ Nov. 1993: 258.
57 Harmetz, Aljean. “Jack Lemmon, Dark and Comic Actor, Dies at 76.” NYT 29 Jun. 2001: A1; Collectors’ Choice Music Catalog Jul. 2001: 4; Two Classic Albums From Jack Lemmon. Collector’s Choice Music WWCCM0205x, 2001.
58 The Odd Couple. Paramount, 1968.