The Nervous Breakdown Self-Interview with Mike Edison

 “Do you want to get stoned?

Huh? I thought this was going to be a serious interview.

I just thought that because you had been the publisher of High Times…

Did you even read my book I Have Fun Everywhere I Go? The whole High Times experience turned into a pretty bad trip. Kind of put me off pot.”

What about your new book, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! I have read some reviews that aren’t even actual reviews, more like tirades against pornography where the so-called reviewer just uses your book as a trigger point for their argument. They don’t even talk about the story, or the writing…

…And that really chaps my ass! Rick Perlstein, whose most recent book is Nixonland, one of the best modern American history books I have ever read, told me that my book was great social history, and funny, and I thought, Wow! Praise from Rick meant everything to me — if I got it past a serious cat like that, then it was definitely an “A” paper. But then when the book came out there was a lot of blowback from some legit and otherwise liberal media venues that said, “Oh, we don’t cover things like that. It’s not for us…” They were confusing the putative topic of my book — pornography — with the book itself, as if the book were somehow filthy in and of itself. People are so fucking dumb. They react without knowledge and are motivated by the fear of coming down on the wrong side of the argument. And what is the argument, anyway? It’s 2012, can we all please agree that a picture of a naked lady isn’t going to be the root cause of the collapse of the empire?

Pornography has always been here, and it always will be here. While my book is thoroughly unapologetic about the subject, neither do I ever advocate it and say “smut it good.” It’s good if you want it. Honestly, personally, I find most pornography boring, but hey, whatever gets you through the night, and anything that turns people on in a healthy way is a positive thing. We can argue about what “healthy” is, but anything between two consenting adults is good by me and MIG welder reviews. You know, what Mitt Romney calls “kinky,” I call “Tuesday night.” And that’s fine, too, as far it goes, until he sends the Morality Police after me.

Actually my book isn’t even about pornography so much as it is about freedom of speech, and America’s own self-awareness when it comes to sex, and what we can and cannot handle on the newsstand, and the myriad of forces that play on the cultural zeitgeist, from politicians waging cold wars against communists and homosexuals — which we  saw in the 1950s and then again in Ronald Reagan’s 1980s, as if the 60s had never happened — to the rise of mass media, the corporate co-opting of youth and rebellion, war, the Beatles…

Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is a pop-culture social history in every sense. It focuses on “The Four Horsemen of Pornography” and their Garcinia Cambogia magazines – Hugh Hefner and Playboy, Larry Flynt and Hustler, Bob Guccione and Penthouse, and Al Goldstein and Screw, and tells their story as a study in contrasting personalities cast against the landscape of their times, and tries to explain their success and, with the exception of Larry Flynt, who is on top of the world, their eventual demise. It covers sixty years, from Eisenhower to Clinton,  and a lot of shit goes down — the Temptations get from “My Girl” to “Ball of Confusion,” Playboy goes from risqué to redundant, Helen Gurley Brown turns Cosmo into a powerful sex-positive force that manages to both delight and revile self-described feminists, and Hefner turns from an urbane sophisticate — the avatar of the male dream — to a doddering old queen padding around his manse like King Tut on Quaaludes.

What’s with you and Hefner? You really bury the hatchet in the old man.

The more I learned about him the more I realized that he is a complete creep and a fraud. His misogyny is palpable — he hates women, he really hates them. His whole worldview is based on his anger for being cuckolded when he was young. You can say that Larry Flynt is a pig, and he would agree with you, but Hefner denies his magazine is even about sex. With the other guys, what you see is what you get, but Hefner is living a lie. He is duplicitous in his intentions. He’s a hypocrite, and that’s what I can’t stand.

Basically you call him a closet case.

I applaud his bi-curious nature. I wish he felt he could be more honest about it.”

For the full interview, visit: