"George Bush is a liar AND a loose
gun for hire." I found it so refreshing to read these
affirmations of truth on the cover of Mike Palecek's latest
novel, Looking for Bigfoot. Palecek's
"irreverent" novel is a potent attack on almost
everything which is perverse, depraved, immoral, and malevolent about
the US government and the society which it creates and perpetuates
(through the public education system and its subservient corporate
media). The search for Bigfoot which Jack Robert King, the novel's
protagonist, undertakes is a metaphorical quest for the truth
behind the deteriorating facade of the United States as a
benevolent super power which spreads freedom and liberty around the
Mike Palecek knows a bit about dissent,
and to his credit, is an "enemy of the (corrupt and tyrannical)
state". He has been crusading to find and expose the truth
for years as a journalist, editor and writer. At one point, the rulers
of the "land of the free" held him as a prisoner of
conscience at seven different federal prisons for his non-violent
civil disobedience he carried out against their sacrosanct
military industrial complex. Yes, Mike Palecek is an enemy to that
soulless coalition of the wealthy elite, corporate interests,
pro-Israeli forces, powerful lobbyists, and conservative Christians
who hold most of the power in the United States. They despise gadflies
like Palecek, who challenge their perpetual lies and obscenely
immoral abuses of the public trust, domestic law, international law, and
Flag Wavers and "True
Patriots" will not enjoy this read
I would venture to say that many of
those who tend toward the deeply conservative end of the
political or social spectrum would find Looking for Bigfoot
to be highly offensive and perhaps "treasonous". More is the
pity that their closed minds render them incapable of seeking or
seeing the truth. The individuals to whom I refer are content to wear
the rose-colored glasses while continuing to believe that the United
States of America is a paragon of virtue and that might does indeed
Looking for Bigfoot is burgeoning with
powerful quotes from numerous individuals with a more liberal
viewpoint, like this one from Bill Moyers:
"The more compelling our
journalism, the angrier became the radical right of the Republican
"That's because the one
thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest
way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth."
The Quest and the Quester
While Looking for Bigfoot
is a chronicle of Jack Robert King's tragic search for the truth, it
is also a portrait of a man tormented by the knowledge that he is
living in a nation governed by shamelessly immoral, avaricious
individuals living comfortably behind a carefully crafted illusion of
their virtue. An unemployed, unpublished writer who served prison time
for civil disobedience and who broadcasts an Internet radio show
espousing his "radical" political views, Jack and his family
live in Dyersville, Iowa in the home sitting on the movie
site of the ball field portrayed in Field of Dreams.
How ironic that a man cursed with the knowledge that the
"American Dream" is actually a nightmare (except for a
select few patricians) would live in the Heart of America on the
location where the corporate media created an extremely
popular film which glorified "America's Pastime". Baseball
is as American as Mom, apple pie, and murdering millions of
innocent civilians in the interest of imperial expansion.
After receiving a copy of a magazine with
a cover story profiling his beloved high school baseball coach's
search for Bigfoot in Oregon, Jack decides that it is his destiny to
follow his former coach to the Great Northwest. Literally taking his
show on the road, Jack begins his physical quest for truth on a bus
bound for Oregon, broadcasting his radio show via his laptop at
various stops along the way.
As one might expect of a bus trip, Jack
encounters a wide variety of personalities, beliefs, races, and
religions in the people he sees and meets.
In one of the more poignant moments in the
book, Jack has an exchange with an Air Force retiree who overheard him
recording his next show. The military man confronted Jack:
"I disagree with
everything you've been saying. They ought to place you in prison, son.
I served so punks like you could be free."
Jack responded with an interesting counter
to the widely believed "truth" that Americans who have not
served in the military owe the "privilege of their
existence" to those who have:
"So...I'm free to do what
I'm doing, thanks dude. By the way, next time, don't do me any favors,
"Unless I specifically
ask you, don't kill anyone for me, okay? Don't bomb anyone; don't nuke
anyone; don't napalm anyone; don't murder any men, women or children
for me, okay?
"I went to prison so that
fucks like you wouldn't run the world! Don't give me that military
service patriotism crap. All it means is you were too lazy to
think for yourself and too afraid to do what was right.
"And don't come around
and tell me you kept me free, moron! I'm free because I will stand up
in a crowded bus and look you in the eye.
"You did not do
"Eugene Debs, Michael
Moore, Martin King, not you. Not you."
Grappling with a wide range of emotions,
torment and insecurities throughout the novel, Jack is, to an extent,
a tortured soul. Cursed by his knowledge of the "Great American
Lie" and his feelings of inadequacy which stem from the natural
human desire to "fit in", he lapses in and out of seeing
himself as a social pariah. Driven by a powerful motivation to
discover more truth (i.e. who was actually behind the assassinations
of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King), he abandoned his family to
find Bigfoot. As he progresses on his journey, Jack experiences guilt
and regret, both for leaving his family, and for endangering them by
expressing his dissident viewpoint via Internet radio.
Once Jack arrives in Oregon and finds
Larry Moore, his former coach, he makes some surprising discoveries
about Moore, Bigfoot, and the truths which he has been desperately
seeking. Guided by Moore, Jack concludes he needs to return to his
family in Iowa. Jack's quest for truth ends where it began, on the
Field of Dreams with his family. Be prepared for a shocking finale to
this intriguing indictment of the US government and the society which
it has carefully honed to ensure a complacent populace to support and
endorse its horrendous crimes against humanity.
The truth hurts
Briefly summarizing the thrust of his
view of America, Jack wrote these words in a letter to Cherry, his
"We thought we lived in
the best country in the world and it turned out to be the worst.
"Marine Generals talking
about how fun it is to kill. Americans abusing Iraqi citizens in every
form imaginable. Hummer. A sex term adopted by the military turned
into a vehicle on our streets and a commercial on our TVs. Little kids
talking about wanting to get a hummer. All in the name of good ol'
American patriotism and gettin' behind the team.
"Does anyone at Rotary
realize that we killed more Native Americans in our seizure of the
American landscape than the six million killed by Hitler in the death
If you are looking for another testament
to the greatness of America, don't read this book. It does not contain
the tissue of lies necessary to compose such an illusion. However, I
highly recommend Looking for Bigfoot for veteran
truth-seekers who already realize how morally bankrupt our nation is.
I also strongly encourage fledgling malcontents (who are just
beginning to realize that "something's rotten in Denmark")
read this book as a primer on the ills of American government and
society. Aside from the intrigue of the story, the quotes
and truth woven into the fiction make Looking for Bigfoot
a very worthwhile read for those who are not afraid to discern the
ugly reality beneath the comely veneer of America portrayed in Norman
Awareness that there is a problem is the
first and essential step in eradicating the problem. Let's hope that
many read Looking for Bigfoot, expand their
awareness, and attack the problem through non-violent means.
Jason Miller is a 38 year old activist
writer with a degree in liberal arts. He works as a loan
counselor in the transportation industry, and is a husband with
three sons. His affiliations include Amnesty International
and the ACLU. He welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.