Tom Robbins' Attraction

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

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This is one of a series looking back at Seattle Weekly's first year.

30th Anniversary

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Seattle Weekly's cover man this week was former P-I headline writer and magic-mushroom aficionado Tom Robbins. Two hundred thousand copies of Robbins' first novel, Another Roadside Attraction, had taken up permanent residence in the backpacks and hip pockets of America's youth since its publication five years before, and the respectable New York firm of Houghton Mifflin was on the brink of bringing out his second, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. The Weekly treated readers to the rambling career of a rambling man turned cult author and offered a jonesing world a preview peek into Cowgirls, in the form of its preface in praise of that single-celled animalcule the amoeba.

Back in the so-called real world, reporter Richard Fineberg of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner filed an investigative report on the then a-building Alaska Pipeline, concluding that there appeared to have been no major catastrophes or spills so far, but that the odds of the public finding out about one if it occurred were pretty slim, thanks to the company's tight control over visiting reporters and pipeline personnel.

Also in business news, reporter Bill Cushing definitively quashed a spate of rumors that the Boeing Company would soon be restarting the Supersonic Transport program killed by Congress five years earlier. Instead of dreaming about the 7,000 jobs Boeing lost when the competitor to the Concorde was shelved, Cushing said, pay attention to the plane Boeing had developed instead: the 747.

The week's local-personality pages featured a Roger Sale profile of SuperSonics coach Bill Russell, seen even then to be a believer in the human-resources rather than well-oiled-machine approach to basketball. Sale illustrated his thesis mainly with examples of team members popping off at their coach, but seemed confident that in time the management style would produce a great ball club.

Ever the first to spot a trend, editor-publisher David Brewster devoted his "Last Word" column to pointing with pride to a lengthy article in the April issue of Atlantic Monthly by one Thomas Griffiths, who perceived in Northwest life a feeling for family, nature, and the less fortunate sadly lacking elsewhere in the nation. Very complimentary, but it appears that the same article introduced or greatly expanded the use of the word "liveability." Nevertheless, Brewster thanked the author for providing us with a "myth to fit the scene"; not a rowdy frontier but "an alternative future."

rdowney@seattleweekly.com

 
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