Editorial: Birds of a Feather
by Bob Hoffman,
Strength & Health
Birds of a feather flock together is an old adage. And like seeks like. A
rat is everything that is opposite to goodness, purity, and gentleness; it is
debased, filthy, frequently diseased, certainly evil and malicious -- yet a rat
has friends -- at least other rats live and associate with it. A rat even
finds love of a sort, for rats do mate. We think that skunks smell badly at
times, but skunks have friends too; they live with other skunks and they mate
and reproduce. We think that jackals and hyenas are about as low on the
mammalian scale as they can be, for they eat carrion, are cowardly and vicious,
and they eat their victims only when they are thoroughly ripe. Yet they too
have friends of a sort, for they go around in packs.
Yes, birds of a feather flock together. There is a lid for every pot. Even
the most degraded types of humans have their friends and associates. Like
attracts like on every level. There are humans who are counterparts in every
way of the rats and vile scavengers described in the paragraph above. Their
friends and followers must be of the very same type, because they approve of
the things their masters do.
Evidently there are a lot of people who enjoy reading and hearing vicious,
malicious stories filled with lies and half-truths about people and prominence
and good reputation. Confidential magazines became one of the
biggest sellers because people rush to read the type of stories its publishers
feature. Usually one who is defamed in this manner has no way to combat the
allegations made by his attackers. Too many people think that a thing must be
true if it appears in print. They believe the most monstrous lies that can be
told. Telling the truth after the lies have appeard in public rarely helps the
maligned person, for even when a statement is poved to be a false, base lie,
many people who read the lie fail to reat the refuation, and many of those that
do don't believe the truth when it does appear. And so the liars go on and
on. You read about them every day. They cover the earth. They attack their
neighbors, they attack Dulles, they attach President Eisenhower, they castigate
other leaders of our country; They attack our beloved United States. Untruths
go out by the millions. The Russian radio, the Chinese radio, the Cairo radio
are good examples.
In our own wonderful sport we have a small Hitler, a small Stalin, one who
is a master in all the despicable tactics imaginable. The poor fellows he lies
about can do nothing to gain relief. He claims them as pupils, he claims that
all they are and all they hope to be is the result of his food supplements.
They write to us by the score, and they tell us that they never took his
course, never ate a mouthful of his food products, that they have no contact
with him. But he goes on making his claims and exploiting them just the same.
He is smooth, he is slippery. A battery of smart lawyers behind him tell
him just how far he can go. One of these fine days, however, he will go too
far. We think he has gone too far now, that we have ammunitino enough to prove
slander and to win a defamation of character case from him in open court. We
know that it is difficult to tie down a smooth operator of his ilk. So often
all the evidence in the world plus expensive lawyers fail to insure justice
because of the caprices of a single juror. Confidential continues
to be published in spite of the millions of dollars spent by the government,
because a hung jury caused a mistrial to be declared.
Legal action is one thing, but there is another surer way to combat this
evil force. If you don't like the way Weider does things,
don't read his magazines. If you approve of his methods, by all
means,buy his publications. Buy several, hand them out to your firneds. But
if you buy his magazines, don't buy Strength & Health. If you're
his type, we don't want your business. Birds of a feather do flock together,
and we don't want any Wieder birds connected with us. We like the fellows who
are good, clean, ambitious, self-improvement seeking, patriotic citizens, men
who want to make the most of themselves mentally, morally, and physically. We
want nothing to do with the other kind, for we can do nothing for or about them.
Yes, friend reader, it is time for birds of a feather to flock together. It
is time for you to choose sides. If you have any difficulty, or if there are
any doubts in your mind, you belong on the ohter side. All this character to
who we are referring really cares about is making money. He has no interest in
the game itself. He most certainly does not like me, and there isn't much
doubt about the fact that he has no love for Grimek, Stanko, Terpak, Bacon,
Shandor, Utterback, Bachtell, Dietz, Mitchell, all members of our staff who
average mor than 20 years each with Strength & Health. We know he
did not like the late Harry Paschall, for he persists in publishing the vilest
kind of slander about Harry even though the man has been dead for more than six
months. Like the vulturous jackal he is, he feasts on a dead man, and licks
his lips at that ! What decency, what courage !
It's impossible to play on two sides at once. You have to play on either
one team or the other. We hope that those of you who want to play on our team
will gather around us, back us to the limit as you have done. We hope that
our friends, that you will say you are in agreement with the work we are doing
and have done. Birds of the other feather can flock the other way.
Charlie Smith, the first of Weider's hatchet men, ended up getting the same
hatchet buried in his own neck. Then Barton Horvath took over and made vicious
attacks upon us, upon the A.A.U.; and now there is another hack hatchet man
pouring out the same vicious slander. He hides behind fictitious names and the
names of innocent dupes. Who in his right mind would believe that Leroy
Colbert wrote the article attributed to him in the latest blast against us ?
What could be lower or more detestable ? Weider is suppose to be worth two
million dollars at present. I was told that 20 years ago he was washing dishes
in Montreal. That's quite a financial success. By advertising York barbells
in his first magazine for several years, we aided in getting him underway in
this business. But all of you will have to admit that a man has to be quite a
genius with figures to make two million dollars in the face of today's high
taxes. I often wonder what anyone else in the Weider organization has made.
Charlie Smith could barely make ends meet on what he was paid, and when he
could no longer tolerate the stench, he left. Horvath, when he came to
Virginia Beach and served his master by making up a story filled with the Big
Lie technique, was driving a car so desperately old that I don't see how he got
it back to Union City. Horvath has also been jetisoned. In contrast, after
publishing Strength & Health for 25 years, I am not as well off
financially as I was when I started. The company I sold out when I decided to
make the muscle game my life's work now has more than 700 employees. It does a
vast business with the patents and equipment we sold the new owners. I could
have made millions in that line had I chose to remain.
All of the men whos names I have mentioned previously and a great many
others have benefitted considerably from this magazine and barbell business.
They have nice homes, good cars, a fair amount of money saved for a rainy day.
Judge for yourself -- would these men have remained with me and worked for me
for an average of 20 years if I were hard to work with or did not deal fairly
with them ? on the other hand, I wonder if Weider has even one man on his
staff who was with him even three years ago ?
Experience has proved that the Big Lie technique does sell magazines.
Weider knows that people will read his magazines to see what new (or usually
time-worn and oft repeated) diatribe he has to offer. Personally I would not
insult my eyes by reading even one of his magazines to see what he has to say
about me or any member of our staff. When one considers the source, how or why
could one worry about it ? What does hurt though is the harm Weider is causing
to our iron game with his publications. He is apparently trying to discredit
everyone connected with the sport except himself. At the last convention fo
the National A.A.U. there was considerable discussion about the blatant attacks
upon the A.A.U. and its officials by the Weider publications. Officials of the
organization are planning to bring legal action against Weider, for when he
endlessly accuses the judges of the big physique contests of being dishonest,
imcompetent, and unfair he is hurting the 70-year-old A.A.U. by making a
laughing stock of our amateur athletic organization abroad, and in so doing
causing our beloved nation incalculable harm and loss of prestige.
When you read Weider's magazines, friend reader, whether it is to see the
pictures, to see what he has to say in general, or just to see how the dog
fight is progressing, you are helping him buy his next Cadillac or take his
next trip to Paris. This brings back to mind the Virginia Beach Mr. Universe
contest. Weeks before it took place we announced that the second place man
would be sent to London at our expense to compete in the English version of the
contest bearing that name. To have sent the winner, Mr. Universe, to compete
for a title he already held would have been utterly ridiculous. So we sent Ray
Schaefer. In London Weider invited him to a rip snorting all-expense trip to
"Gay Paree." Schafer went, then signed with Weider, and now Weider owns him,
body and soul, can claim him as a pupil, say anything he wants to about
Schaefer's training or his use of Weider food supplements. He tried to do the
same thing in 1957 when we sent Ron Lacy over to compete in the Mr. Universe
event. But Lacy is a man, a real man. He told Weider and he told the world
that he is a York man, that he owes his success largely to York Barbells,
Strength & Health, and Bob Hoffman, and that furthermore, he is
sticking with York. Schaefer is not our kind of bird, Lacy is. Klisanin,
Farbotnik, Hilligen, Perl, Frank Leight, Grimek, Stanko, and Bacon, all Mr.
America winners, are our kind of birds. They stick with York because they are
honest, because they cannot be bought. Others who began as York men and who
reached the top as York men, sold their souls for a few pieces of silver, sold
their honesty and their integrity for a mess of potage. What causes a man to
do that ? Avariciousness ? Egotism ? A desire to see his pictures
constanttly in the magazines ? The opposition has a number of magazines, we
have only one -- and so he has much more room to tell of the exploits of his
stooges and promulgate his lies.
Now I know that the average reader of Strength & Health is not
interested in the private life of Hoffman any more than he is of the life of
Weider. Our readers want interesting, instructive reading dealing with
training methods, muscle building methods, health hints, weightlifting news. I
dislike intensely having to use a single page to comment on what my friends
tell me Weider has been saying about me and my associates. The same friends
have urged me to retaliate in kind against Weider. We now have a professional
investigator on our staff whos skills could be put to use chronicling Weider's
history from his original dirty diaper days right up to the present, and no
doubt plenty of soiled linen would come to light as a result of any efforts
along that line. But Strength & Health is a physical fitness
journal, not an expose magazine. If expose material is what you want, you will
have to buy and read some other magazine.
No one is perfect, but I try to lead as near a perfect life as I can. My
entire time is spent endeavoring to help others, to help the readers of this
magazine be stronger, healthier, wealthier, happier, more successful, to help
them live longer and live more fully. I believe in and try to follow the
Golden Rule in all my tranactions. This is not a profitable business for me.
Other means and other interests provide my living expenses. In contrast,
Weider is money mad. His only desire is to make money for himself. He feels
that by attacking us he will hurt our business and increase his own income.
Nothing would make him happier than to put us out of business. The amusing --
and gratifying to us -- part of the whole matter is that our receipts have
never been better. Business has actually increased since the advent of the
latest series of smear articles against us in the Weider publications !
In my 60 years of life I have accomplished much, and I consider myself to be
a success. Only twice in all those years have I been in minor trouble. Once I
was accused of hitting a man. Any objective person who knows the details of
that incident would tell you that that man asked for trouble and that he got
only what he was looking for. At present we are involved in a case with the
Internal Revenue people of the federal government. In a nutshell, the
government is trying to charge me tax on the hundreds of thousands of dollars I
have spent to foster weightlifting. They now claim I owe taxes on the money
that was spent to send American teams to world championships in Holland,
France, Germany, Sweden, on money that bought tickets to send John Davis, Stan
Stanczyk and many others to national championships year after year. They also
want me to pay tax on my donations to the A.A.U., the Y.M.C.A, the Y.W.C.A.,
and the Olympic Fund. The way my bookkeepers, auditors tax advisors, and
myself look at it, these expenditures are tax free, and I will continue to
believe this until a judge or a jury decide otherwise.
It is truly a shame that a man who uses tactics like Weider has entered and
hurt the game we love so well. At the A.A.U. and Olympic meetings last
November we spent five days with Peary Rader, the publisher-editor of Iron Man
magazine. We have know Peary for a long, long time. Occasionally he writes
something we disagree with, and more than once he has taken exception of
opinions or statements I have made, but after all, it is a free country. The
point is that neither Peary nor myself let personalities enter into our
differences of opinion. We are friends, and both of us are working for the
good of the game. People with a sincere interest in a cause, those in kindred
occupations, should get together and see what they can do to help the whole.
How nice it would be if such a spirit existed universally in this field.
When you get right down to brass tacks, you, the buyers of the magazines,
actually control the situation. If youdo not buy Strength &
Health, we can always give up and engage in some other business. If you
approve of Weider's methos and tactics, his are the magazines you should
purchase. But if you buy his publications only to see the pictures, do without
the pictures for a few months, refrain from buying his magazines. Maybe then
he'll try to act a little more like a human being.
Strength & Health is a big magazine. You can't hide it in an
inner pocket. We hope you will carry Strength & Health in the
open for all to see. If you carry the opposition's magazines, we will know
that you have taken sides against us, that you are a bird of a different
feather, that you are not one of our friends. Now is the time to count our
friends. Are you with us ? If so, let us hear from you , for as the colonial
patriot said, we must all hang together or we will hang separately. We have
worked for 35 years to build this game of weightlifting and bodybuilding. Are
we going to stand by and let it be torn down now ?