No. 14, Dec. 8, 1967, p. 4


Some of us are beginning to wonder who are the "freaks" in this world and who are the "straight" people. Some of the "straights" are looking pretty flipped out lately. A case in point. A short while ago some of the AVATAR staff and two law students dropped in on Cambridge City Manager DeGugliemo, "Goog" to his friends. The idea was to find out from the horse's mouth what all this harassment was about, what was behind the unexplained disappearance of the AVATAR from all the news stands in the square, and why people were being arrested for not having a permit to sell the paper when they didn't need a permit anyway (under the Constitution) and when City Hall refused to issue any permits. We were mystified when we arrived, but we were more mystified when we left. The whole thing was a freakout. It was more like a mind-blowing riff than a conversation. First we were treated to about ten significant minutes of chilly silence. Next, a painfully prolonged analysis of our names, origins, addresses, and voting districts. Next, the good "Goog" offered us some gratuitous legal advice, cleverly camouflaged in the form of a threatened prosecution for perjury. Meanwhile we kept punctuating this whole monologue with questions about why AVATAR couldn't have a license to distribute in Cambridge. Finally after three or four excursions into the general evils of drugs and obscenity and a few ego trips into how highly respected he was, "Goog" dropped the freakiest bomb of all. You cannot have prior censorship of a newspaper, but AVATAR. he informed us, "is not a newspaper." This amazing revelation left us momentarily speechless, but recovering, we asked, "What is it?" Reply — "It's a commodity, and I can refuse to license distribution of a commodity any time I want to." At about this point, we left, taking with us the strangely puzzling realization that AVATAR can lay claim to being the first "commodity" ever busted for obscenity: Warning: DO NOT EAT AVATAR.

Pope Barrow