A great New Yorker has died. He was also a great publisher. And also a great fighter for first amendment rights. That's "great" in a certain sense of the word. Lots of people would choose another word. Lot's of people never found him to so "great." He was, as he'd surely have been the first to admit, truly disgusting.
I'm talking, of course, about Screw magazine founder Al Goldstein. As Choire Sicha writes at the Awl:
"Brooklyn's Al Goldstein had one of those captivating personalities that it's easy to not recognize is actually the presentation of mental illness until it all collapses and the interior self is revealed. An incredibly intelligent and hilarious man crippled by self-hatred, an inside-out Woody Allen, a lecherous troll from out of the Qumran caves, mid-life Al Goldstein washed up like a whale onto New York's public access channels. There he talked endlessly, lecherously and also quite hilariously, documenting New York City in a way that no one else did."
Disgustingness is a part of the human condition (a pretty big part, if you think about it), and therefore, important to document. Al Goldstein dove headfirst into the job, wallowing in the yucky stuff like some kind of Jewish hippopotamus. (All the nicest hippopotamuses are Jewish.) He was a real pioneer at the in-your-faceness that has become such a part of American culture—he probably flipped the bird at more cameras than any rapper ever has. And if you can find any man from the tri-state area who was a teenager in the '80s who says he never stayed up late to watch Al Goldsteins "Midnight Blue" at the lowest volume possible, ready to change the change the channel at the first sound of parental footsteps coming down the hall, I'll find you a liar.
Al Goldstein was 77.