"Avatar" #25
May 9, 1968


As you have gathered from your distance, there have been some mighty strange changes here in the past two weeks. There is no need to dwell on the details, you will gather them from other sources and as far as I am concerned it's all history by now. All those back issues of the AVATAR molding in the basement and stacked in huge heaps around the sides of our office are remnants of another era. Some day it will all be on microfilm for others to figure out. We were all part of it and owe a great deal to it for it brought us where we are today.

This ephemeral moment, this beginning is what I wish to address myself to. You can call this paper a first edition if you are so inclined, save it, put it away in a scrap book, wrap your garbage with it, use it to start a fire, spread it out for your puppy, hang it on your wall. All is vanity, now no less than then. As soon as it became apparent that we were at the juncture of a new beginning, there was a curious internal jockeying for position. Nothing illustrated the change better than the rearrangement of the mail boxes. All the old names were torn down and over night there was a proliferation of new names, new aspirations, new conspiracies of authority. Even before a single word had been set in type people wanted to know what title they had, what they could write home to tell mother. "Guess what, ma, I'm the office manager of the paper." And then the endless question, what are we going to call our paper. Some say AVATAR, certainly there is a logical continuity, we are in the same offices, use much of the same equipment and most of our staff is the same. Then there is something altogether different, an apprehension that we will disrupt, distort what AVATAR has stood for. Whatever that means.

Even before we go to press people want the assurances, the security of name title masthead. I think it's entirely irrelevant. What's in a name, a rose by any other name smells as sweet. Even as you read this you will have a better idea of what our paper is than I have writing this. I am sitting here writing for a paper that has never existed, that has no tradition but rather only a vague future. Looking through this edition, you will feel confident that we are indeed Something. Even here you have the advantage over me for I have seen it for the past two weeks only as a hypothesis. A first edition implies a second and we intend to keep going for as long as it seems necessary. This, I guess, is the only assurance I can give you.

The second, third and fifth editions already exist in my mind as very specific entities. The second edition I foresee as largely news, and somewhere in the near future we will do a Roxbury issue. The magazine I see as a vehicle that we will use for lavish features of art, music, literature and other issues that seem to have integrity sufficient to warrant a kind of magazine presentation. Because I am an artist, the graphic presentation of the paper will be emphasized. Image will have equal important with word.

As to the specifics of our editorial policy I have been much assailed in the past two weeks. It seems people demand full knowledge of my policies before they can place themselves at the disposal of the paper. The Resistance wants us to be it radical paper. the artists want us to be lewd and lascivious, the musicians want us to put down the Boston Sound, while others think we should talk more about drugs. Some state that we are now a community paper, others that we are a Republican paper and still others a non-descript forum for general opinion.

Decisions decisions, soon I shall be in my Hamlet stage if this continues. It seems wiser to surround myself with capable men and let them judge the material for their respective fields. Even this is impossible for already there are well qualified dissenting factions that are so opposed that acceptance of the one precludes the other. With individual after individual I have had to sit down and eat through all the bones of contention.

In the end I hope that everyone will feel free to submit to our paper. I see our venture as inclusive rather than exclusive. There is a great tendency to let it all hang out, please everyone, include everyone, yet the simple fact remains that there are so few that are truly worthy of acceptance without editing. Much of the stuff thrown at me in the past week is so bad. just terrible, yet I read it patiently, trying to see it. Now and then I come upon something really good and it seems to make the job so much nicer, almost pleasant for a moment. But I am not weak. I'm the BIG BOY. I guess I can take it, even though for the moment I have a splitting headache.

So thanks Wayne and Brian and all the rest of you guys up on Fort Hill that took me out of my lofty isolation. In his last unpublished work, quite an anarchistic venture, Wayne says. "And after this I guess Charlie Giuliano will be the editor, poor Charlie, and it is the best thing that could ever happen to him." Well, Wayne, thanks for the encouragement and in the next few months I'll try to live up to your opinion of me.

Charles Giuliano
The Mild Mannered Editor