Breslin’s Detour

“Well, I was supposed to receive a journalism award in Syracuse that evening, but I got a tip [from the NYPD] that I should go up to Harlem to see Malcolm X speak. I sat way in the back smoking a Pall Mall cigarette…” - Jimmy Breslin interview with Toby Rogers in 'The Ganja Godfather: The Untold Story of NYC's Weed Kingpin' (2005)

Establishing for a certainty whether or not the widely-acclaimed Jimmy Breslin was scheduled to receive a journalism award in Syracuse, New York on the wintry afternoon of 21st February 1965 (as he has claimed) is of cardinal importance. For it would make his fateful ‘detour’ to the Audubon Ballroom that same day all the more noteworthy.

And if it be true that Breslin’s Detour came about as a result of a tip-off he received from the NYPD that Malcolm X was likely to face harm that afternoon and Breslin, rather than notifying Malcolm’s security guards of the danger that loomed (and potentially saving a life in the process), instead opted to sit himself “well-back” from the ‘kill zone’ and, while pulling on his Pall Mall cigarette, elected to gleefully await his ‘exclusive’ then Breslin will go down as the single most despicable figure in the history of American Letters and a man who had reserved for himself a special place in Hell.

For such an act as his is the kind for which human souls earn for themselves Eternal Damnation.