He was a mentor, a storyteller, a fire-breather. He was more passionate than anyone we’ll likely come across again. Of course, you know this already. Because if you read his stuff, you know the man. Everything in his writing is everything he was in real flesh-and-blood life.
Our friend and colleague Steven Wells died two years ago today of the cancer he had documented so well in two cover stories for Philadelphia Weekly. On June 14, he submitted this column.
Swells could be hurtful in what he wrote, but his contrarian stance was never mere posturing. It was underpinned with an unswerving belief that things could be better—culturally, politically and globally.
Swells was funny and opinionated and smart enough to realize his limitations and work within them. He did it for himself. He was from the fanzine world. He was a tastemaker critic, for sure. People took notice of his opinions, and acted upon them. He challenged people’s opinions, led them, changed them—most of this by default, by sheer force of his personality and peerless ability to entertain. If something was wrong, it was wrong. Didn’t matter what anyone else thought. Of course, Swells might then change his mind the next day.
Politicians are endorsing it. President Obama says it’s not so dangerous. If a Democrat wins the Pennsylvania’s governor’s race this November, it’ll be decriminalized. But for the time being, in Philadelphia, its advocates and users are still getting arrested, and receiving, in one case, two years probation and harsh fines. Chris Goldstein, a member of Philly’s [...]
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 41 hate groups actively operate in Pennsylvania. In York County, an affiliate of the KKK and longtime nemesis of the SPLC has decided to “give back” to its community: by starting a neighborhood watch group. “A local chapter of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan launched a [...]