From the Zola System


New York, New York, USA
January 30
I grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in the Zola System, my father’s philosophy of life. He taught my brothers and me the basic life skills: how to run a street hustle, perpetrate a con or recognize when you were being hustled or conned; information we needed so we could feed our families if another Hitler came to power. My father Aron Zola was a Romanian Jew, a holocaust survivor, a black marketeer, a gun runner, a successful entrepreneur, a true citizen of Detroit. When I was 18, I rebelled against the Zola System and moved to New York City. I was fascinated with cultural heroes – Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson and the aesthetic bohemian artist lifestyle that, in my naivete, I thought they lived. Now I see they were working their own hustles on the public, just like the Old Man. Even the Manhattan dating scene runs on the Zola System. To paraphrase Mark Twain, now that the Old Man is dead, I’m shocked how much he learned. I wrote reviews for SPIN, an unpublished brunch guide for New York City, covered the death penalty, reviewed books for the New York Law Journal and profiled sports stars for the Jewish Forward. I have two crime novels and a bartenders guide to New York City that I am trying to sell. After dabbling in so many genres, I finally realized I’d been running from my subject: my father and the Zola System. The Old Man is gone now and I am his eldest son carrying on as he wanted me to do. This was not supposed to happen.


Alexzola's Links

Editor’s Pick
JULY 25, 2011 3:34AM

Amy Winehouse And The Sure Poison Of Celebrity Rehab

Rate: 4 Flag

The news hit the wires around 10am this morning.  Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home of an apparent drug overdose.  She was 27 years old.

This came as no surprise to anyone.  Winehouse had been at the top of many Rock and Roll dead pools since 2008.  She had many stints in rehab, a contentious marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil ending with his incarceration and their divorce.  Plus the reports of extended bouts with crack, sleeping pills, booze, extreme bad behavior in public and a nasty issue with anorexia all pointed to dying young.  There are many out there in Internet land wondering why her demise took so long.

However, there is something else underneath Winehouse’s death, a cynical barrage that began when “Rehab” became a number 1 single and thrust Amy Winehouse into the public eye as a major celebrity.  Mick Farren put his finger on the problem in a recent Facebook post:

Amy Winehouse is dead at the crucial age of 27. The booze and drugs certainly killed her but I swear to god she was also a victim tabloid culture and the fraudulent belief that rehab achieves anything but a life-burden of hypocrisy and imposed guilt.

I don’t totally agree with Mick as per what rehab can/does achieve.  Steve Earle and Robert Downey Jr., among others, have benefitted for rehab.  Ok, it took several trips but something finally clicked in these immensely talented individuals and they are now back to contributing their art to a Mass Man driven society that desperately needs culture and intelligent input.

Farren’s larger point about the Ortega-esque nightmare of that is the modern Tabloid driven celebrity obsessed wasteland that passes as Western media is dead on.  Rehab is just a career move these days for those twerps who get caught acting bad in public and play the victim card.  Anthony Weiner, Chris Brown et al declare themselves addicts and run to the nearest clinic to be coddled and then turned loose on a 24/7 greedy for more and more fuck ups.  Rehab centers like Betty Ford are no longer treatment centers for serious Charlie Parker type addicts and people with real problems.  They are sweat lodges to prepare for the next go round with vomiting in public.

For someone like Amy Winehouse, an addict who really needed the help of serious psychological professionals, rehab was just another step on the road to the inevitable. It makes me miss the Oliver Reed'sPeter O’Toole’s and Rat Packs of yore, when public messes were civilized as the altar of victimization had yet to be constructed.

Lindsay Lohan gets lectured by a judge and set free for another romp in the pissant lawless lane.  They both were fodder for the 24/7 cable tabloid culture.  Lohan, living on the coat tales of Mean Girls will go on servicing our tastes for lightly bad behavior while giving nothing back to the culture that salivates (and cheers) for her fuck ups.

Winehouse used her music to define a time and place for many. Her serious problems with drugs and anorexia delighted the grinder and we are left with the overdose of young possible powerhouse singer/songwriter who was unable to control her own self-destructive impulses - another in the odd statistical surge of dead 27-year old rock and rollers

And so the 24/7 Cable Tabloid monster and its consumers move on to new business.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Absolutely correct. The meatgrinder shall move on to the next victim. Sad, sad waste of the immense talent of Amy Winehouse.
I never got Amy Winehouse, but then I don't get most young performers these days. What I get is how impossible it is for these young people to get the help they need because the people who are trying to provide the help can't function in the face of the celebrity of their star patients. This is true across the board. Great wealth, public adulation, an entourage of hangers-on that palpate your ego, and the pressures of living up to a reputation are a cruel mixture forces beyond the individual's control. If that individual has not been well-prepared in early life to deal with these challenges, they don't have much luck at learning how later in life. Most telling was Winehouse's mother's comment that they all knew it was coming. Oh, really? If nothing else, that comment makes clear where Winehouse's problems began.
it seems to me that the semi-credible media has been avoiding winehouse/lohan for a long time....
Like any other program, rehabs are not magic. For a person to get sober, they have to really want to. They have to admit they are no different or better than any other addict and embrace the program. Winehouse only entered rehab after she was practically dragged there?

The evidence is that she died of a seizure while attempting to detox alone, something that no expert in alcoholism or addiction would ever recommend. She thought she knew better than other people including the experts and other addicts with long term sobriety and she paid with her life.

You can't blame the rehab programs when it was her decision to ignore the advice I can guarantee she was given.