My first thought when Greg walked in the door was ‘This guy’s gonna try and sell me a car.’ And I was right. He had me at ‘low mileage and high performance’. And even if he hadn’t tried, I was ready with a down payment because I would have paid just to hear about the other customers and their stories.
He’s that good.
So, fresh from smudging front pages at Garcia St. Books in Santa Fe, Greg was now at a fab home in that rural island in the urban Albuquerque sea, Corrales. And twelve of us were going to have dinner with ex-IAEA inspectors, health care advocates, fellowship seekers, children’s book writers, former judges, plutonium chemists, radicals, spooks and kooks. I qualified as the ‘kook’.
Greg is on tour with his latest tome, Vulture’s Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum, Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores, and if you’re a Palast fan from such books as The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, or Armed Madhouse, then you already know that you will need a barf bag, not for the writing, but for the sick revelations you will be forced to confront.
It’s that bad out there, folks. But the beauty of it is that we are lucky to have Mr. Palast as the forward base, our own Restrepo, confronting some of the greatest corporate malfeasance in the world. He and his team are that sharp point of the spear aimed at the heart of darkness. And Greg has this endearing talent that matches his fedora. He relentlessly converts ‘Pass the buck’ to ‘What the fuck!’, and he teaches by example that even if you start a writing career at 45, passion can prevail in that battle of good and evil. You just have to be willing to get slapped now and then. Or arrested. Or both.
The thin line that separates ‘us’ from ‘them’ has many porous borders. Good research closes the breaches and arms the ramparts so that the village (aka, ‘us’) can sleep a little safer with Greg and his team on the battlements. He’s not so good at getting you your money back from Wal-Mart for that shitty Chinese towel set, but woe be unto you for shorting AIDS money from Zambia or running shoddy software in your pipeline PIG. He will pull your pants down in public (in print, anyway) and with any luck your stock will follow. For this is how the world works now, my children. And as far as the murder of the earth is concerned, ‘forgiveness’ is just an eleven letter word. Like ‘Kochsuckers’. Also eleven. But you knew that.
It was a book signing dinner, after all, so I thought I’d be smart. I gave Mr. Palast a lead-in on the title page: ‘Only the dead surrender.’ Dramatic, right? And what does he do? He bitch trumps my ass with: ‘But only the living can sue.’ I stand redirected. And inspired.
Here’s the pitch: Christmas is coming. Greg has hungry mouths and lots of various attorneys’ fees to attend to. It would be really sweet of you to buy his book, Vulture’s Picnic. The e-book has some very interesting features that he had to fight Penguin to keep, but I love the feel of a hardback. And (spoiler alert) if you have to throw it in a fit of rage, it’s cheaper than a Kindle Fire. Trust me, you’re gonna want to throw it.
Ok, Greg, enough already. I’ll take the friggin’ Prius, in metallic cinnamon, with fabric seats. And you can let go of my arm now.
Silver City, NM