Friday, December 27, 2013

Remembering Erwin Knoll

Erwin Knoll (1931-1994)
"Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge" ~Knoll's Law of Media Accuracy

A few days ago, I linked to a video I made from a 1988 radio broadcast by the late Erwin Knoll. If you listened to that recording through conservative eardrums, you probably bristled a bit at Knoll's take on the topic. Knoll personified the sort of Madison liberal I knew well growing up Wisconsin. But in fact, I once met Erwin Knoll, and we probably nodded heads over something at the time.

Knoll used to come into the tiny grocery store where I worked during college. The store was just around the corner from the former offices of The Progressive on W. Gorham St.  He used to come in to buy snacks and whatnot.  I remember his colleague Howard Morland better -- I used to sell him his smokes -- he was the guy who wrote the piece "The H-Bomb Secret, How We Got It -- Why We're Telling It" -- a story which landed them both in a 1st Amendment lawsuit in which they prevailed. They didn't tell me what they were up to at the time, even though this was 1979.

Why the praise for Knoll? He stood adamantly opposed to squelching anti-abortion views of contrarian progressives. This enraged some of his readers. Said one: "I'm always intrigued at how few people understand that free speech encompasses a little more than the speech you like." link

[added: Young Hegelian links to The Progressive article about abortion which Knoll published in 1980]

10 comments:

Michael Haz said...

Speaking of free speech, it looks like the score stands at Ducks 1, Schmucks 0 at the end of the fourth quarter.

YoungHegelian said...

I seem to remember that The Progressive devoted a whole issue in the early 80s to the left-wing case for being pro-life. I can find excerpts but not evidence for the whole issue.

I also have a memory that it was their second biggest-selling issue, after their "Build an H-bomb in your Basement for Fun & Profit" issue.

Lem said...

My impression, with no authoritative knowledge to back it up whatsoever, other than my keen powers of observation ;) is that, after the cold war, liberals like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, died out along with it.

If Erwin Knoll were alive and continued to be the thinker described at the hyperlinks, he would be like a Hitchens or a Camille Paglia, with only their own regenerative powers of intellect to sustain them.

Lem said...

Jay Nordlinger, at the national review, asked reader to name liberals writers they thought were still worthy of being read.

It was a short list... in mho.

Camille & Co.

Lem said...

In some ways I believe conservatism suffers when the lefts keeps throwing up the same old tired clay pigeons, year in, year out.

ndspinelli said...

chick, I had an attorney client who was, for a short time, in the same small building of The Progressive, on Main St. The building is small w/ just 2 offices. Same building? This attorney is pretty conservative.

Lem said...

You know, their case for bigger and bigger government yadi yadi yada.

chickelit said...

@Nick: 4 pages into the H-Bomb link I gave you'll find the street address of The Progressive listed as 408 W Gorham St. That's where they were in 1979. The E. Main address must have been later.

ndspinelli said...

chick, They've been @ 409 E. Main St. since sometime in the 90's, maybe earlier.

Marc said...

The Jay Nordlinger article in re 'Camille and company' referred to by Lem on the 27th at 9:43pm is these days at this link: [http://www.nationalreview.com/article/366693/camille-co-jay-nordlinger]