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jimgoad.net :: an interview with jim goad (by jim goad)
An Interview With Jim Goad
By Jim Goad
(I conducted this interview with myself in 2002. I may have slightly altered some of my opinions since then, and I plan on asking myself about it.)
Jim Goad has always been one of my favorite writers. Few authors are able to blend the humorous and the harrowing...often in the same sentence...the way Goad does in everything he writes. In the decade since he published the first issue of ANSWER Me!, he has produced a canon of work that has varied in tone, theme, and style, but all of which bears the indelible Goadian sense of cynical outrage and bitter humor.
Unfortunately, the mainstream press has tended to focus on the more sensational aspects of Goad’s private life rather than on his literary output. They have been less than kind to him...oftentimes, one might even call them cruel to him...and I always find myself walking away from a Jim Goad interview scratching my head and wondering why the reporter failed to get it right.
As fate would have it, Jim Goad and I share some mutual friends. One of them recently contacted me and said that Jim has heard a lot about me and would like to meet me. Our mutual friend said that Jim, too, was complaining about his unfair treatment at the media’s hands and thought that I might be a suitable candidate to conduct a fair, balanced interview of him.
I jumped at the chance. Since we’re both heavy coffee drinkers, we agreed to meet at the Brazen Bean coffeehouse in NW Portland. I arrived a half-hour early and sat on a comfy chair way in the back. When Jim finally arrived, he was greasier and more handsome than I’d expected.
JIM GOAD: Let’s start with the obviouswhy did you want me to interview you, Jim Goad? JIM GOAD: Because, unlike almost all other writers, I felt that you understood me. Unlike the others, you seem familiar with the twists and turns of my philosophical journey, as well as my emotional motivations for writing. You aren’t constrained by current cultural prejudices, and you don’t have to bow to editors or advertisers. Plus, I think you’re pretty hot. If I was a homo, you’d be the first guy I’d blow.
What is it that most people don’t understand about you? More than anything, I think they entirely miss my sincerity. For better or worse, misguided or not, I’m sincerely looking for answers to questions that most people seem genuinely afraid to ask. Questions such as: What if we aren’t the good guys? What if there are no good guys? What if all ideas of “right and wrong” are entirely subjective and related directly to one’s place in the world? What if the idea of equality is entirely fictional? What if the communists were just as bad as the Nazis...or worse? What if Christianity is really no worse than any other religion, and so we should all feel free to defame Judaism and Islam, too? Why weren’t the so-called “oppressed” peoples of the planet able to develop adequate organizational skills and self-defense technologies to fend off the evil imperialists? What if, despite the fact that we tell ourselves we’re making progress, the world around us is actually getting worseand for reasons which seem too unpleasant to consider? These are all questions that deserve answers, and I’ve never found a detractor of mine who is able to adequately answer any of them.
A lot of people seem to hate you, even though they’ve never met you. I don't knowyou seem OK to me. Yeah. In fact, you’re the only reporter who hasn’t expressed surprise that I’m quite reasonable and cordial in the flesh. That’s because they mistake me for all those repressed demons inhabiting the imaginary pantheon inside their skulls. It winds up getting complicated, because I consider their simple minds beyond redemption, and so I don’t try to convince them that I’m not a demon, which is, of course, taken as an admission of guilt. So you really can’t win with the dummies. They wind up fucking up your life whether you try explaining yourself to them or not. Stupidity is a very powerful thing...much more powerful than intelligence, and much stronger in its ability to replicate itself.
Is the stuff you write serious, or is it all a joke? Some of it’s serious, some of it’s a joke, and some of it’s both.
Are you a racist? That’s a very broad question, and it’s a tricky one. It all depends on how one defines a “racist.” I can tell you that I don’t believe in equality, which is a silly myth constructed by the overlords in order to keep the underlings happy. There is no supremacist doctrine on earth that is more ludicrous and untenable than the impossibilities which the idea of equality proposes. If anyone can tell me with a straight face that black males aren’t really better than everyone else at basketball, or that Asians and Jews really don’t consistently score higher than everyone else on IQ tests...and that none of it really has anything to do with genetics...that person is either stupid or lying. We are all part of a very real evolutionary process, one which has encoded us with different temperaments and aptitudes.
I don’t hate myself for being white, nor do I feel the merest guilt for what other white people have done historically, just as blacks shouldn’t feel guilty for what African dictators have done historically, and just as American Jews shouldn’t feel guilty for what’s being done to Palestinians. I think part of being a human is an innate corruptibility and potential for destructive behavior. I don’t think such negative traits are exclusive to white males, and I believe that any honest appraisal of history would prove that. I have plenty of my own guilt to manage, thank you very much, and I’m not about to shoulder the burden of someone else’s guilt. If that makes me a racist, I guess I am.
One of my favorite lines from The Redneck Manifesto was, “I’m no fan of white supremacyeveryone knows the Jews and Chinks are superior.” Although the line was engineered to draw a laugh, I tend to actually feel that way. In my experience, and I always clarify that it’s a limited experience, I’ve found Jews and Asians to be more intelligent than all other human breeds, and I value intelligence. I’m not for white supremacyI’m for bright supremacy, a dictatorship of the intelligent.
Because I don’t think people are equal, does it follow that I think the, uh, “less equal” among us should be tortured or exterminated? No, I think nature takes care of itself in the end. The trouble usually arises when people try to figure out what should be DONE about the fact that we’re not all equal. Do you try to repair or somehow uplift the defective people? Do you eliminate them? And who gets to decide? That’s where the discussion should be centered, because the idea of equality is laughably implausible.
Although I think about racial issues constantly, I can honestly state I’ve never hated anyone based on their ethnic heritage. All right...maybe a couple of times. But most people, just by the way they think and act, have always given me countless reasons to hate them without ever having to consider hating them for innocent accidents of birth. I’m not obsessed with race nearly so much as I am with taboos, and race is currently Taboo Numero Uno. I find myself constantly amused with the way people will sacrifice logic and science in order to appease their personal taboos.
The biggest joke is that I probably get along better with black people than most of the spindly white folks who’d consider me a racist. Black people tend to understand my sense of humor better than white people.
Do you hate women? Again, that’s a very broad question, pun intended. Haw! I hate particular women, that’s for sure. And I hate certain character tendencies that seem to be more the domain of women than men...things such as an overreaching tendency to view oneself as a victim regardless of how maliciously and destructively one has acted...the sense that one’s self is so utterly sacred, so inviolable, that any perceived slight should be repaid with retribution far beyond the original offense...and the way the dumb cows all turn to God at the end.
In my life, I’ve known more than one woman to have been violent and underhanded.
I’ve known more than one who has lied and been malicious and self-justifying in ways my conscience would never allow me to manage.
I remember seeing a bumper sticker in Portland that said, “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people.” In most of its manifestations, I’ve found that feminism is something else entirelyit’s a quasi-reactionary religious idea that women are innocent. If feminism really believed that women are people just like everyone else, it would preach that women have the potential for malice, deceit, violence, and weakness, all of which are part of the human condition. Instead, it preaches that “we’re the good ones, they’re the bad ones,” and in this respect it’s no better than any other group-based philosophy.
This doesn’t mean that I feel a bond with most men, because I don’t. They’re infected with a whole different set of problems, but in this culture, guys are fair game for criticism. One isn’t demonized and called all manner of nasty names for pointing out that men are flawednot like you are when you dis the ladies.
Are you a violent person? These days, I only hit back. Then again, that’s what sent me to prison.
Are you a nice guy? If by saying “yes,” it means I have to hang out with you and listen to your problems, then no, I’m not a nice guy.