The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Number One

The first issue.

Now I'm really reaching into the back of the vault to show you the cover of the first issue of The Baystate Objectivist, as it appeared upon its release in November of 1991. (click to enlarge)

Not exactly a model of professionalism, but hey, it was only a zine. The zines were an underground publishing movement that grew out of the early "word processing" technology of the late '80's and early '90's. Zine is a contraction of "magazine" which they sort of resembled, except that they were totally not slick or commercial or mainstream. Zines existed to publish things that the rest of the media ignored. That might mean a zine about a punk rock band, or an x-rated comic book or otherwise censored political discourse. My zine was a dagger (or perhaps more like a rusty metal shard) aimed at the heart of Springfield's corrupt political machine.

The first issue was about housing issues in Springfield. The political insiders were flooding the city with subsidized housing (often owned by politically connected people) and the growing imbalance between subsidized and private homes was radically altering the make-up of Springfield's neighborhoods. The "Abrashkin Strikes Again: Taxpayer's Weep" headline on the "Union-Snooze" (the Springfield Republican at that time was called The Union-News) refers to housing judge William H. Abrashkin, who many criticized in those days for doing little to help local landlords keep their properties. It also covered the municipal elections of 1991, where Robert Markel defeated Ray DiPasquale to become Springfield's mayor.

While I did most of the writing for the zine, a lot of the ideas of what to write about came from Jay Libardi, the co-founder of the zine although he was listed on the masthead (at his own insistence) as merely the "Distribution Manager." That's a fancy way of saying we used his pick-up truck to deliver the zine throughout the city.

In 1994 Jay was found dead in his home of what appeared to be drug related causes. I cut out a copy of the above masthead and slipped it into his pocket at the funeral. Unless something supernatural happens, that masthead will remain in his pocket six feet beneath the ground of Saint Michael's cemetery in ol' Pine Point until the end of time.

Jay Libardi

Monday I visited this restaurant in Belchertown. The natives call it "The Cow Place" but its real name is Hawley's Family Restaurant.

The food is good and the prices are low. It also features photos on the wall by the respected Valley photographer Les Campbell.

Here is a Les Campbell photo of the UMass Grad Research Center, where I used to work.

In Northampton, the Faces Department Store urges you to Freak Your Friends.

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