Jim Crotty has written about himself and America for three decades and through various media incarnations, from Frommer’s to Playboy to now Forbes, where he covers education. However, “Crotty” is best known as the co-founder/editor of Monk: the Mobile Magazine, which, from 1986-1998, he peripatetically published from the dashboard of his 26-foot “Monkmobile.” Via Monk Magazine and sundry travel books — including Mad Monks on the Road (Simon & Schuster), How to Talk American (Houghton Mifflin), the Mad Monks Guide to California (Macmillan) and the Mad Monks’ Guide to New York book (Macmillan) and CD-ROM (Voyager/Monk Media), Crotty and his fellow “Monk,” Michael Lane, pioneered “the mobile office” and “dashboard publishing,” and had more fun than Amish teens on Rumpspringa. Then, for reasons that only a good family therapist could uncover, in 2006 Crotty — a former Nebraska State Debate Champion — started coaching inner city kids in debate. His first two documentaries, Crotty’s Kids and Master Debaters, chronicle that oddly inspiring detour.
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