Welcome to the inaugural brawl of the Mad Hatters. As Hatters, we’re touched by the ravages of these arduous times, discombobulated by toxic psychosocial fallout, compelled to rage, exuberate, pontificate, move, swoon, decry, denounce, elucidate, amuse and entertain. There are dangerous ideologues and crusaders in proliferation, idiot leaders who recklessly and callously disregard life, greed-crazed multimillionaires committing myriad nefarious acts as the planet grows moodier and moldier.
As Hatters, we see the world as an asylum in which absurdity speaks to the truth, surrealism to reality, chaos to order, and nonsense to sense. We believe that "[t]he reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." (George Bernard Shaw)
Despite bloodcurdling atrocities and escalating assaults on civil and human rights, we Hatters are cavorting beside ourselves on our deluxe croquet court at Miami Beach. We’re laughing and weeping with hyperbolic glee mixed with ethyl-alcohol (of course), relishing the amazing features of our child’s first born issue. ‘tis an aromatic and colorful bouquet of demented, whimsical and passionate wits and lyricists, accompanied by a most sublime and ridiculous spray of musicians, recording performers and artists, including our most humble editorial selves.
This issue includes the writings of three very fine Australian bards, one blatantly crazed British crime writer, one Dutch dreamer, one angst-ridden American émigré from Finland and Norway, one South African lyre, our Associate Editor, who hails from Odessa, former USSR, and a succotash of very odd and haphazard native born Americans, including yours truly. With time, we hope to conquer the world and offer intoxicating tastings from all corners (as if this planet had corners). We aspire to become no less than addictive. And we aspire to pay contributors and even one day offer an annual print edition, when we can afford the costs of a beautifully illustrated journal, accompanied by a CD containing music and recorded recitations. Most pieces in Issue One are accompanied by recorded recitations or custom-composed music; all of them come with custom-made visuals. In this sense, Mad Hatters’ Review is a collaborative project. How did we come to be, at least in our current carnation? Way back in summer, 2004, I decided that the Internets [sic] didn’t have enough exciting multimedia “literary” magazines, not to mention edgy ones. I envisioned something real flashy and eccentric, experimental, collaborative, multi-cultural, playful and even meaningful, in the social change/progressive sense. I had recently acquired a Masters Degree in Social Work (community organizing) and decided to do little with it immediately so I could concentrate on writing.
Slowly, I gathered a little community of exceptionally talented and similarly crazed cohorts from the offices of the online writers’ workshop at zoetrope.com. I occasionally think of myself as the Top Hat of the Mad Hatters’ Sweatshop, cracking the whip, but in truth, we are all working stiffs, devoting our hearts and our time in pursuit of our creative visions. Fortunately, we’ve managed to snare a modest but skilled battalion of contributing fine artists to lighten the load of our generous and prolific Art Editor, Stan Crocker. We hope to similarly lighten the loads of our Music Editors, Paul A. Toth and Steve Kane, with contributions from composing readers (preferable to contributions from decomposing ones. Okay, groan.).
One cautionary note: contrary to appearances, this Review is not a self-aggrandizing venture. You will notice that most of us working stiffs here have contributed a sample writing to this issue. As Top Hatter, I decreed that it might be in appropriate disorder to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and introduce you to our creative selves so you can grasp just how demented we really are and thereby get a feel for our brainchild. So that when you frantically sort through all the works of genius those mainstream zines have rejected, or decide to follow rabbits and see where your uncollected unconscious leads you, you’ll know that you may find a home here, where we delight in the very finest of bipolar, schizoid, and borderline creations.
None of us can predict where our child will go or how many of us will stick around to send the kid to college. Maybe we’ll run astrology and advice columns. Maybe this Editor will be carted off to Guantanamo Bay. But hey, we’re going to enjoy the ride while it lasts and we sincerely hope that you’ll join us in spirit, if not in deed.