The health of Crawdaddy magazine founder Paul Williams (not the Muppets-identified '70s singer-songwriter) has been in decline since a bicycle accident in 1995 caused serious brain damage. In an entry today on the Web site Boing Boing, author Jonathan Lethem tells readers that Williams, 60, now requires full-time care -- a huge financial liability on top of the devastating emotional effects his family already feels.
The tone and style of pop-music coverage in the age of blogging can trace its lineage to Williams, who started Crawdaddy when he was still a teenager. (The zine is archived at wolfgangsvault.com; click the Crawdaddy up top.) Lethem sums up Williams' contribution and the alternative press's debt to him best:
Apart from being a true Founding Father of 'rock writing,' and Philip
K. Dick's literary executor ... for anyone with a curiosity about the formation of
world-changing subcultures through grassroots media, Paul was there
when blogging was a twinkle in a mimeograph eye.
The difficulties Paul's wife, the singer Cindy Lee Berryhill,
and his son, Alexander, now face due to Paul's need for full-time care
are an opportunity for crowd-sourcing at its best. This is a rotten
time to be hitting anyone up for contributions for anything, but it is
simply the case that if everyone who acknowledged how Paul changed
their life by his music-writing and editing -- or by his efforts
propagating the writings of Phil Dick back into prominence -- were to
give even five or ten dollars it would transform a very unfortunate
situation. (If everyone whose life had been changed by Paul's work but
didn't even know his name were to contribute, they'd build his family a