By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Do you believe in the devil?
Oh well, I don’t know, sure I do, I believe in evil. I believe in the power and the importance of the imagination, whether or not I actually believe in the devil I can’t say, I’m an agnostic. No, I absolutely believe in a category of evil; it’s a mistake to dismiss it. I know that Saddam Hussein is an evil man and that George W. Bush is an evil man, whatever sort of lip service in their nefarious careers they’ve given to sham compassion or devotion to their people. I don’t believe that, on some fundamental level, either is capable of understanding how important a single human life is. While we know about the crimes of Hussein, what do you say about the man, legitimately or not, the president of the United States, about a man who is about to send thousands of children to war against other children, who pumps his fist into the air and says, “Feel good!” Bush’s machismo may give Peggy Noonan an orgasm, but most people are now a little bit creeped out by it.
This is a really deeply flawed, fucked-up human being, surrounded by people who are similarly lacking, someone like Condoleezza Rice, who can take the legacy of civil rights and use it for the invasion of Iraq. These are bad people, because they promote a lethal kind of chaos, and they are transparently cynical and self-serving. These are people who will do anything to grab power. That’s a through line from McCarthy to Richard Nixon. McCarthy fucked up, he was first denounced by a Republican senator — that would never happen today. There’s a direct line between McCarthy and Iran-Contra, redistricting, the stealing of the presidential election and this ridiculous recall in California.
Have we reached a point of no return?
No, by no means, I don’t think Bush is going to win the 2004 election. I’m not particularly prescient, but I think he’s going to lose. I don’t think we’re in any sense beyond hope. We’re in a lot of danger. I’ve been saying this for a while now. It’s an absolute moral imperative for individuals to find a way to become actively involved in the electoral process. It’s time for the left to abandon its infantile obsession with anarchist utopia, and a third party — there’s absolutely no room in the political process for a third party.
So there’s reason to feel reassured.
Oh, no, I don’t think we should feel reassured. Hope is not a balm, it’s a bomb. It’s a force in the world, a manifestation of fury, because of revolution and outrage and civil disobedience. Hope is not a reassurance, reassurance is sometimes a kind of despair. When one says one has hope, it means one is full of fire. As Brecht said, “The support of the oppressed for the oppressed is the world’s one hope.” That’s a lesson we keep failing to learn. Now we’re in the 21st century, it’s really time to get it. There are several reasons that Bush is in the White House: judicial malfeasance on the part of the Supreme Court; criminal behavior in Florida on the part of Katherine Harris; Al Gore is the most untalented politician in the world; and Ralph Nader ran for president. If you keep going back in time, invariably when you see a promising political movement die, at the termination point you see a failure of solidarity on the part of the progressives. It’s easier for the Republicans because they’re dealing with crazy people. It’s easier to manipulate them. These people follow Robertson and Falwell. If they don’t know they’re following clowns, it’s clear they don’t have anything on the ball. If you don’t vote for the next Democrat, whoever it is, even if it’s, God forbid, even if it’s Joe Lieberman, if you vote for a third-party candidate, you are handing the world over to these people.
There’s something I was meaning to ask you . . .
[Lips curling into a slight smile.] Is it true I’m really gay?
Congratulations on your wedding [to Mark Harris, earlier this year].
Does being married make you feel more settled? Or, rather, how does it touch upon your anger at homophobia? How does being married change that?
I met somebody who I love very much and we’ve been together for five and a half years and I feel this is the person I want to spend my life with, and he feels the same . . . But, of course, a week after our wedding, that fuckhead [Senator Rick] Santorum [R-Pa.] makes his pronouncement about gay weddings, and it’s always been clear that the two beachheads for gays were going to be marriage and military service. What we really need, obviously, are two things: a federal law against discrimination on the basis of gender/sexual orientation and transgender issues that just clobbers all state ordinances against gay people teaching, getting married, whatever. I think the other thing that’s important on a constitutional level is that the court finally give us recognition as a class protected by the 14th Amendment, and then all this ends then and there.