Sunday, March 19, 2017

JIMMY BRESLIN, 1930-2017.

Another notable passing. If you're the sort of person who reads alicublog you probably know what a terrific, fluent writer Jimmy Breslin was, and about his various journalistic coups such as interviewing the Kennedy gravedigger and the cops who brought John Lennon to the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital. All I have to add is in addition to being a writer-writer, he was a newsman from the days when the difference between a reporter and a columnist barely existed, and did the job like it was important, at all hours and sometimes under extreme duress, as when he returned from being beaten and robbed at the Crown Heights riots to file a story. If journalism seems like a drag and a whore now, it certainly isn't any of his doing. He was the real thing.

Also, years ago I wrote a little something about hearing him read from one of his books and asking him a question. Here's a bit of it:
There was something I had long wanted to ask Breslin: How do you get cops to talk to you? I never have any luck with them. 
Breslin squinted. "Ask 'em what's doin'. Why wouldn't they want to talk to you? A nice white fella from Long Island. What'dya say to them?" 
"Um, 'I'd like to ask you a few questions.'" 
Breslin looked disgusted. "Don't come on like a district attorney! That'll make 'em nervous. It makes me nervous. Who d'ya write for?" 
Breslin inclined his head. "You against cops?" 
He shrugged. "'What's doin'?'"
Brush with greatness, that. And still good advice.

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