His novel and his latest non-fiction were both very well received and there is a new book on the horizon. In fact, there is usually a new book on the horizon as he is extremely prolific.
I have been a visitor to his site for a number of years. I started going there because I was asked by someone at spinwatch to review one of his books and I very much enjoyed his view of history combined with humour, which is sometimes blatant, sometimes hidden away in the corners but always disrespectful to the right people.
So this interview is a bit of an old pals act. An old pals act might seem a little unprofessional and as I have discussed many things with him, along with the ‘expendables’ on his website the tone of some of the questions is quite familiar. The interviews to follow will not be the same as I simply cold-called some of the other people.
However, if it all seems too unprofessional to you I suggest you look at the documentary “Spin: Behind the Scenes Manipulation of Mainstream News” and watch the politicians and journalists cooing at each other when they think the camera is off.
Anyway, time to commence…
Michael Greenwell: Orwell, Huxley, Monbiot, Ursula Le Guin and many others have written or talked about the anarchist dilemma. In short the problem they all described in various ways is that a truly anarchist community that was peaceful and self-contained is always vulnerable to outside attack by more aggressive neighbours. Can you see any way around this?
MZ: I agree that a truly anarchist society—read: the threat of a good example—would be attacked by all sides of the political spectrum but I’m not so sure such a society would, by definition, be either peaceful or self-contained. It could involve participants in the least likely places and also, would be unafraid to meet aggression with effective self-defense.
What is the most bizarre objection you have had to your work?
MZ: Not sure, but I’d like to share my most recent bit of fan mail:
“Die painfully okay? Prefearbly by getting crushed to death in a garbage compactor, by getting your face cut to ribbons with a pocketknife, your head cracked open with a baseball bat, your stomach sliced open and your entrails spilled out, and your eyeballs ripped out of their sockets. f*cking b*tch”
Who is the biggest waste of oxygen on the planet?
MZ: It’s a 6.6 billion-way tie for first place.
If you could bring someone back from the dead temporarily so you could hear their analysis of current events then who would it be?
MZ: My mother, although we probably wouldn’t bother talking about current events.
Is there a book you reread often?
MZ: Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams. I’ve read it at least once a year for more than 20 years now.