A Pleasant Chat With Jim Goad
Jim: "What happened to her?"
Luke: "I believe she got married."
Jim: "I had letters from her. I wrote her that I had a pornographic dream about her that she was really homely but it didn't matter. I never heard from her after that.
"She used to go out with this really Frankenstinian character up here, Steve Schultz. He looks closer to the Frankenstein monster than any human being I've ever come across. He's an insufferable anarchist book-peddler."
Luke: "I was in Oregon in September 2001 for the first time in my life and I loved it."
Jim: "Every major calamity that has ever befallen me has happened here but it's still eminently livable."
Luke: "It's beautiful."
Jim: "Yeah. It's been the Bermuda Triangle for me but otherwise... I've lived in Oregon for nine years. Two years [in prison] in Salem and the rest in Portland."
Luke: "The state seems overwhelmingly white."
Jim: "Portland is the whitest metropolitan area in the United States."
Luke: "I hear it was voted the number one city in the country to raise kids."
Jim: "Well, raise white kids, I guess."
Luke: "I didn't see graffiti or filth."
Jim: "There's none of that. The place I worked was in the most urban part of Portland [and it was clean]... I'm a big aficionado of bad slums. There's nothing on the West Coast that compares to Portland. We're sheltered.
"I think the state was founded by the Ku Klux Klan shortly after the Civil War . It was an all-white state when it started.
"I was physically attacked by anti-Nazi skinheads for wearing an iron cross [German fascist symbol with ancient roots]. That's where the action is - the radical violent anti-racists. They're called SHARPs - Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice. They argue that the skinhead movement was founded in the late sixties in England by a black guy. I don't care whether it was or not. An asshole is an asshole. These guys attacked me and they wound up getting more than they bargained for."
Luke: "When was this?"
Jim: "I'm not going to get specific about it. I don't want to alert the authorities."
Luke: "Do you get in many fights still?"
Jim: "Not really. I have a reputation of being a loose cannon and a bit nuts and people don't want to disturb that. It's been years since I hit anyone first. I went to prison [for two years for beating his girlfriend Anne to a pulp while his wife Debbie was dying of cancer] for hitting back."
Luke: "Why were you wearing an iron cross?"
Jim: "Maybe it resonates with something in my genetic memory. I like the way it looks. When they said, 'What's with the iron cross?' I said, 'It's a white thing, why don't you hit me.'"
Luke: "Were they white guys?"
Jim: "Of course. The whitest of the white. Apparently they have one black member somewhere that they like to trot to parties to prove that they are not racist.
"It baffled me because I'm there bleeding and arguing with them about grammar. 'I don't know why you had to attack me. Why don't you debate me? I'll spot any of you 40 IQ points and still out-argue you.' They replied, 'Hey dumbass, 'out-argue' is not a word.' I screamed, 'It's a hyphenate,' with blood streaming down my face."
Luke: "Do you have other Nazi paraphernalia that you are into?"
Jim: "I wouldn't classify an iron cross as Nazi paraphernalia. Apparently it has a history like a swastika, which is an ancient Sanskrit symbol. I don't know much about [the iron cross] except that I like the way it looks and that it shows I suffer no guilt for being of European extraction."
Luke: "Would you ever insult someone simply on the basis of their race?"
Jim: "They give you so many reasons to insult them otherwise you never really have to get to that point. I tend not to hold accidents of birth against people. I am much more attuned to willful decisions people make than skin color or genitalia. How do they deal with you one on one? How ethical are they?
"I laugh at how prisoners scapegoat sex offenders, particularly child molesters. A significant proportion of those guys [convicted for sex crimes] have done nothing. I was with a guy in the kitchen, cutting carrots to prepare the veggie trays. He'd been there for nine years. He was a convicted child molester. He said he was going home after nine years. My ex-wife's sister finally came forward and said my ex-wife had made it all up to get back at me for a bitter divorce. The girl who put me in prison [Anne Ryan] accused me of rape three weeks before all this went down. She used to beg me to rape her. I'm the guy who did the rape issue of Answer Me. No one would've believed me. I could've gone away for eight years on that alone."
Jim Goad writes alt.recovery.catholicism 12/19/02: "Although I went to Catholic school for 12 years, I'm new to this group... I've been assigned a feature article for a national magazine [Hustler] on the subject of sexually abusive nuns. Any stories, comments, and leads would be greatly appreciated. If you don't want to post publicly, feel free to e-mail me."
Theresa Reed responds: " Hi, Jim. How nice of you to visit."
Jim replies: "You mean you're STILL recovering? Sheesh! Sorry about firing you from that writing gig. And sorry you never got that job at that national mag I'm writing for now."
Theresa responds: "Don't be [sorry]. Besides, I'm not sure canceling a column is the same as "firing" someone. Which job was that? Didn't realize I was ever trying to get a job with Hustler."
Luke: "Do you know about porn's trade magazine, Adult Video News?"
Jim: "I know about them. One of the writers in the stable that I inherited at Exotic Magazine writes video reviews for them and she's real proud of it."
Luke: "Sounds like Theresa Reed aka Darklady [who weighs about 250 pounds]."
Jim: "She casts a giant shadow wherever she walks. I toyed with all the writers I inherited and fired them one at a time and then wrote about firing them and why I fired them. She was the primary architect of this whole sex-positive literary movement up here. I've never understood why you have to be positive about sex. I think you're programmed to enjoy it. After I fired her, I wrote that I was not sex-negative, just negative about sex with Darklady.
"A local competitor hired her to write a response piece. I haven't seen that. I got some cordial emails from her recently, which baffled me. She's an obsessive type. If you slight her, she'll never forget about it. "Her claim to fame is that she once had lunch with Larry Flynt and that she was unbearable to deal with after that. That she was telling everybody how lucky they were to have her there when she could just go off and work for Flynt. Apparently he never offered her a job.
"Sex for cash is inherently dishonest. People have to pretend. Once you put money into it, the laws of natural attraction are gone. I understand that it exists for people who have no skills and they need a paycheck. It's all the window-dressing and the dummying it up with perfume that I find nauseating. "I'm speaking as the person who did the rape issue of [the zine] Answer Me and went to prison for domestic violence and has been blamed for White House shootings and neo-Nazi suicides, but I felt so much above [the sex industry] all that. It was just so tacky and dumb and shallow. After a certain point in adolescence, consuming pornography is really sad.
"It baffled me how people [in the sex industry] would come close to killing one another, then if they could find a common enemy, they'd patch up everything. I'd never seen that happen in any other kind of sub-community. I just wondered how they could sleep at night knowing that everyone around them could not be trusted. It takes a certain breed and I am not that breed.
"We had a guy, John Voge, who jumped ship for another clone stripclub guide that came into town with a lot of money. He was so cut out for the industry. He was insanely shallow, vain, and really thought Portland needed another queen of tattooed strippers every year. He had a lot of rock star pretensions. I wanted to call him John Bon Jovi."
Luke: "I've read you have a fetish for Jewish girls. What's up with that?"
Jim: "Oh yeah. This goes back to the seventies when I would salivate over Carol Kane [Andy Kaufman's bushy-haired wife on Taxi] or Madeline Kahn. I can't explain my fetish."
Luke: "How do you feel about Jews as a people?"
Jim: "You've got to love the Jews. As I said in The Redneck Manifesto, 'I'm no fan of white supremacy. Everyone knows the chinks and the Jews are superior.' You've got to love any tribe that consistently outpaces whitey by 15-points on standardized IQ tests."
Luke: "Normally people hate people who excel them."
Jim: "I try to let it rub off. Jealousy is one of the lowest things humans are capable of. I admire the Jews and the chinks. It trips people up because it's a racist notion but it's not a supremacist notion so they are not sure what to make of it. I don't believe in equality but I don't believe my group is the best."
Luke: "Do you believe in the book The Bell Curve and its intelligence rankings for different races?"
Jim: "I've never seen anything that adequately refutes it. From my experience, Asians and Jews are amazing. I did an article for Playboy about 13 years ago about Vietnamese gangs in Orange County. Wow. I knew that I would never be able to put a raft out of popsicle sticks together and go over there and have a Lexus within two years.
"It makes sense that leaders would foment the idea that people are equal because it quells unrest. If they just came out with genetic spreadsheets that quantify genetic inequities there'd be rioting in the streets.
"Apparently blacks in America have a higher standard of living than blacks anywhere on the planet, which doesn't bode well for any argument that they are kept down here."
Luke: "Do you think the average black is as intelligent as the average white?"
Jim: "No. I'm sure there are exceptions. I'm sure there are blacks who are smarter than I am. I think there's mountains of anecdotal and quasi-scientific evidence out there that would bolster that view."
Luke: "How do you feel about the horde of Mexicans crossing the border?"
Jim laughs. "A horde of Mexicans? You can approach that from a number of angles. Do they have aboriginal rights to most of the South West [United States]? Probably if you believe in aboriginal rights. I'm sure employers of unskilled labor are happy about it. I think the United States is becoming increasingly balkanized and I doubt there will be a United States in 50 years.
"Nations tend to come together and stay together based on ideas and the ideas are almost always farcical, but they need strong ideas to keep them together. I don't think America has an identity at this point. I think increased percentages of nonwhite Europeans, or of populations that weren't here 50 years ago, is going to complicate matters. I can't see how it would help. A lot of people who champion such things live in all-white neighborhoods and don't have to deal with the underside of such a phenomenon.
"I noted in The Redneck Manifesto that the neighborhood I lived in Portland, which is the white-trashiest neighborhood in the entire city, is the only place you will see whites and blacks together in bars. "I said in an interview that I used to dislike Mexicans but in prison I came to respect their solidarity and views on women. That's always the biggest joke - when the white male gets nailed for misogyny, do you have any working knowledge of any other culture on the planet? Name one that is less misogynic than white males. The Asians, blacks, Hispanics are atrocious if you find such things atrocious."
Luke: "Do you think different ethnic groups can ever live together in peace?"
Jim: "Did they in [ancient] Rome? One of the reasons I split with leftism. They encouraged us not to deny sexual instincts, which I agree with. But to my dismay, leftists deny that people are tribal. That's hard-wired into them. Even at the height of my PCness, and I'd be watching a basketball game, and feel a surge when the white guy made a basket, in spite of my better wishes. I think everyone is that way. A lot of the problems these days are because whites are denied any identity except a guilt rap.
"I remember being in Berlin in 1985 at a youth hostel and seeing this painting on a wall of Dresden. There were two women. One was starting a 'Sieg Heil' [Nazi salute] and the other one was rushing over to stop her. I wondered what the painter was trying to say with that. From what I gather, Germany was humiliated after World War I and denied any identity and along came Hitler. I'm concerned what will happen when white people in America decide they don't really need to feel guilty any more. I think the sort of identity that will come will be frightening.
"More than any one incident, it was interviewing Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance in the late eighties, when I was as pro-black as they come... I said to him, 'You're not big on equality.' He said, 'No, and neither is anyone in power. When they say all men are created equal, I laugh, because no one in power believes that.' That shifted everything. Someone who I did not expect to be enlightened about anything completely altered my view of reality.
"If you look at who's spreading racial tolerance, it's the Ford Foundation, all these billionaires. They feel superior to everyone. What vested interest would they have? To keep a placid cooperative workpool?
"Asians and Jews tend to be the most exclusive and to frown the most on intermarriage. They don't seem to be floundering.
"Probably my next big project is an encyclopedia of race. I may have entirely different views after I research everything I'm curious about."
Luke: "Are you still shut out of mainstream journalism opportunities?"
Jim: "I don't know. I guess. I've never really aspired for that kind of acceptance. The Redneck Manifesto got published by accident. A black guy, Darius James, was a fan of mine who heard I was writing an essay, 'White Niggers Have Feelings Too'. He encouraged me to turn it into a book proposal, which I did. I did had a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster and walked away from the second book.
"The contract said the first book would be Redneck Manifesto and the second book would be a graphics-intensive encyclopedia of white trash. When I gave them my outline for Redneck Manifesto, the last chapter was about going into the backwoods for a few weeks and getting oral testimony from all the bubbas and unsung peckerwoods. My editor said he liked that idea enough to make it into the second book. So I poured all my white trash research into the first one. Then the time came around to talk about the second book. They wanted the encyclopedia. I said I'd said everything I wanted to say about white trash in the first book. I proposed a racial encyclopedia, which they shot down. I proposed a novel about a cop in Beaverton, Oregon, who's driven insane by the fact that there's no crime there. They shot that down. So I walked.
"I realize I sound self-righteous. It's one of those character-traits that I wish I didn't have. But there's this retarded obeying-the-muse thing that seems to do me more harm than good. I can't really write something that I am not sincere about."
Luke: "Have you ever taken psychotherapy?"
Jim: "They threw shrinks at me from early on. I think a lot of therapists get into it for kinky reasons. They like the power they have over their patients. I'm definitely morally opposed to psycho-pharmaceuticals. I tend to agree with [Unabomber] Ted Kazinski that they make you tolerate situations that billions of years of evolution have wired you to be intolerant of.
"I've rarely found a therapist who I thought was as bright as I am. It bears all the trapping of a folk religion. They are priests. I'm suspicious of placing that much power into someone else's hands. I found one or two that were insightful but either I beat up my landlord and had to move out of New York or some other situation where I stopped seeing them.
"Instinctually, a child seeks to please his parents. By being self-destructive, I took a lot of heat off my parents. They didn't know what to do with me. I was a lot smarter than they were. Dad was a plumber and Mom was a housewife. If I had risen above that, it would've shamed them."
Luke: "Have you soured on marriage?"
Jim: "Debbie [Jim's late wife] was the girl I loved. Seeing her dying devastated me. Part of my mind cracked and plunged head long into sick behavior. I've been with a Jewish girl the past nine months that I'm fond of. She's eleven years younger. They're all younger.
"When I first got out of prison, I started raiding this bitter divorcee' bar in Portland because I figured nobody would know who I was, and I pretended to be Jim Stockton from Salem, a paper salesman just passing through, and have one-night stands. You realize the face goes first. A lot of 50-year-olds have intact bodies and tend to be warmer than younger chicks. Older women don't tend to be afflicted with the borderline personality disorders and the psychological pitfalls that befall a lot of younger women these days.
"I can't tell you how many women wanted to explain to me upon my release how not all women are the way my ex was. A lot of them tended to be turned on that I never apologized [for beating his girlfriend Anne] and that I was entirely justified in what I did and the injustice was in having to go away for it. I saved that girl from going to jail so many times [by not reporting her to the police for violating a restraining order]. In the scheme of things, I don't think getting beaten-up is as bad as getting put away."
Luke: "Did you figure out why you got into such a self-destructive relationship with Anne?"
Jim: "I remember reading an article that Spin did when I was in jail... The woman who introduced me to my wife said "a lot of parents beat their kids because they can't help it, but I think his parents had a conscious desire to destroy him as a person." My parents had a miserable marriage. They were Catholic. I came along 13 years after my nearest sibling. I insured that they'd be around for at least another 18-years together. I bore a lot of the brunt of their misery. Somewhere along the line, my ideas of love and destruction were fused."
Luke: "Do you believe in God?"
Jim: "I believe there has to be something. I'm a megalomaniac but not so bad that I think I have a pipeline to the divine. I tend to think that God is sadistic and that he puts us here for his own amusement.
"My ideas about what is ethical and how they differ from society at large come from comparing Mom against Dad, who was raging and violent and a drunk but he didn't try to hide it. After Dad died, Mom didn't have another man for ten years until she married his brother. I used to tell my aunt all the shit my parents would pull and she'd say I was hallucinating. Then my Mom bragged to my aunt that when her new husband was showering, he fell down and cracked his pelvis. He was pulling himself by his elbows across the floor, screaming for her help, and she bragged to my aunt that she pretended she was asleep. That sort of detached aggression troubles me.
"That's how I justify myself vis-à-vis the girl who sent me to prison. She was openly violent and aggressive but she could also conscience calling the cops and putting someone away that she claimed to love when she knew that she was a willing combatant.
"The reason rats are all hated in prison is that rats are all guilty of something. Convicts don't hate the old granny who's robbed and calls the cops. They hate the petty drug-user who turns his dealer in or the crime partner who turns against his partner."
Luke: "Do you hate rats?"
Jim: "I hate anyone who tries to force his guilt on someone else. Guilt projection and slaying of the scapegoat tends to be the way of the world. That's the ultimate in immorality as I define it."
Luke: "How do you feel about cops?"
Jim: "For the most part, they're dumb-asses doing their job. I marveled in prison at the guards. Their people-skills were incredible. All the lying and pestering they would have to deal with. There's no way I could've done as good a job. I always argued with anarchists about cops. Cops are just hired dogs, they're not pulling any strings."
Luke: "Where do you get your moral code from?"
Jim: "From what harmed me and what didn't. I know what it is like to be beaten up. I also know what it is like to be locked up. Nobody gets outraged about that. If anyone had known what a moral dilemma I had at the time - a crazy woman dying of cancer [Debbie] and a crazy stripper [Anne Ryan]. I didn't want anyone to die. My social skills are abysmal. I didn't handle it well. As far as intent, I probably had better intentions than either of them. I couldn't send that girl [Anne] to prison. I considered that immoral. I could lose my temper and hit someone, but to put them away, no."
Debbie died in August 2000 after more than three years of cancer.
Luke: "So what are your plans for the next few years?"
Jim: "I'm doing a lot of freelance [writing] right now but I hope to find something I can do aside from write. I've always hated to write. I'd rather do radio or something easier and more rewarding. I did a show here for 13 weeks with a guy I met in prison. He was a member of SHARP and then had a change of heart when he went to prison when he realized that no one respects a non-racist in prison. Radio is the easiest thing on earth. I don't know how anyone with a radio job could find a reason to complain about anything. It was KGUY - guy talk with guys talking about guy things. Sports Nuts and Greaseman [syndicated shows].
"We did an episode called 'Celebrating the Jew' right before we got canned. The station went country and told us that was the reason they were letting us go. But they didn't go country on weekends.
"We were apologizing for the Holocaust. We learned in prison that those sort of decisions were called thinking errors. We came to the conclusion that Hitler was afflicted with a whole series of thinking errors that led up to his catastrophic acts and maybe if he had taken one of these six-week 'cage your rage' classes they forced us to take, world history might have been significantly altered."
Luke: "How do you think society should deal with the Jews?"
Jim laughs: "One of my favorite articles was called, 'Judge Orders Hitler To Undergo Therapy After Crazed Fuhrer Goes Berserk In Court.' I said that when Hitler first moved to Portland, he got into trouble immediately with a local newspaper for saying that the Jews run everything. And the city's Jewish mayor, Jewish chief of police and Jewish head of the Chamber of Commerce demanded an apology. "How do you deal with the Jews? You learn from them, I suppose. I would think there's nothing but a wealth of information there."
Luke: "Don't you think they're too pushy?"
Jim laughs: "No. The Jews I run across, self pity tends to be a prominent character component. Carrying the weight of the world. My wife was one of them."
Luke: "Did you ever contemplate converting to Judaism?"
Jim: "As a stunt. I was going to do a fifth issue of Answer Me about race, and I was going to convert to Judaism, in the way that Seinfeld did so he could tell jokes.
"Any monotheistic religion is years behind any religion the East came up with. Apparently monotheism is one the building blocks of modern society. I think the Hindus, Buddhists and Dhaoists are all light years ahead of Western religion."
Luke: "If they are light years ahead of us, why don't you go live with them?"
Jim: "They probably wouldn't accept me. I've got a big nose and I smell more than they do. They probably don't want any white people in their neighborhood. Moving costs are always a consideration.
"One main objection I have with Asian culture is that they don't tend to be big on individuality. A personality-type such as me would do even worse over there."
Luke: "What should we do about the Saracen menace?"
Jim chuckles: "I think conversion [to Islam] is the only option. They are ahead of us on the gender curve. They know how to deal with the female problem. The most visited page on my site is the 'Muslim Girls Turn Me On' article. One of my favorite lines was, 'I was looking for a sultry Saudi siren, or a classy Pakistani lassy with a sassy chassis.'"
Luke: "What about the Muslim terrorists assaulting our country on 9/11?"
Jim: "I'm pissed at them for taking the focus off of domestic terrorism, which was very exciting. I remember when the Oklahoma City bombing happened, everyone immediately thought it was at the hands of Arabs. Wait a second. There are Americans so disgruntled that they blow things up? That was an exciting idea."
Luke: "Did you get anything out of those cage your rage things?"
Jim: "They guided us through brain neurology and this idea that no matter how impulsive your acts seem, there's always this split-second window of decision making and you should try to extend the split-second as long as possible. I used to go on the net and post like a maniac whenever anyone would slight me. I self-imposed a 24-hour rule. If I was still upset after 24 hours, then go ahead. But I was never upset after 24 hours.
"At Oregon State Penitentiary, a burly guy with a long gray ponytail and a long gray beard walks in and says, 'Hello, my name is Bob. I'm from Canada and I like to kill people. And I'll be your guide for this anger management class.' Maybe you know a little something about anger, Bob. He was a murderer with no fondness for the system but I think they realized that he could be more persuasive than some sheltered woman from Beaverton, Oregon telling us about anger."
Luke: "What did you mean when you said people who aren't racists aren't respected in the penitentiary?"
Jim: "The first few days in jail, I was puzzled at the sight of white power guys playing cards with blacks. You don't see these guys outside of prison. You don't see guys with '100% peckerwood' tattooed on their throat down at the mall. You don't see 'white' on one tricep and 'pride' on the other at the gas station. Every black guy who was in my cell said he respected nazis and no one else because they presume everyone is tribal and everyone is a racist. They know where they stand with the nazis. They're not going to stab them in the back. They will stab them while looking at them, which is preferable. Oregon is a strange case because it is so white. The peckerwoods run the prisons. They're about 60% of the prison population, with the rest Mexicans, blacks and the occasional lapsed Asian and Jew. If it was any closer, there probably would be more trouble but because of the overwhelming white quotient, a weird peace was attained."
Luke: "What's a peckerwood?"
Jim: "A Southern pejorative term for a low-class white that's been reclaimed by hardcore white convicts. 'He's a solid peckerwood' is about as high a compliment as you are going to get in prison. That means there is a white guy who does his own time and doesn't get anyone else in trouble for what he does and someone you can probably count on to have your back in a fight.
"The peckerwoods took to me for some reason. I was this weird writer-guy and I expected a lot of hassles. There was one guy who looked like Otto von Bismark. Chiseled out of granite. In his fifties. Busted for something speed related, which all the white guys were in for except me. I got in a fight in the minimal security and they rolled both of us up. I told [Otto] I was gone. He kissed me on the head like the godfather. There was a guy named Snake, who'd done 15 years in California. He had '100% Peckerwood' on his throat. He was the most charismatic individual I've ever run across in my life. Everyone, black and white, respected him and he could probably do damage to anyone who didn't. He could sniff out people's bullshit faster than anyone I know and then either make you laugh about it or walk away with your tail between your legs. Snake took to me. We would walk the yard. He said people are afraid of me because I figured out their game but they are more afraid of you because you can put it on paper. I'm a paranoid obsessive type as it is. I was always worried about something. I'd talk to Snake and he would usually calm me down.
"I had the same scenario in county jail with a Blood [gang member] named Marquise. We had great conversations. You have the greatest conversations of your life in there because there's nothing else to do.
"The US is incarcerating ten times as many people as ten years ago, which results in a dilution of the hardcore convict pool. They will give you new criminal charges for crimes you commit in prison. If you assault somebody, you might face a felony charge. Plus, many of these guys are really doped up on state-sponsored medication. Most of them are in there on drug charges and then the state virtually crams drugs down their throat.
"For two months in county jail, I tried the only psycho-tropic medication I ever will try - Paxil. That was horrifying. I awoke in the middle of the night to the sounds of screams, only to realize they were inside my head. I've never had auditory hallucinations before or since, despite a long pedigree of drug use."
Luke: "How have you learned to handle your critics?"
Jim: "Opinions don't bother me but, like anybody, I'm bothered if they're wrong about facts or my alleged motives. I was called mercenary. You've got to be kidding. I never make any wise financial or career decisions. Money is obviously not my motivation. I find that people who will take potshots like that rarely, if ever, like to be confronted about it. That was one thing that impressed me about Darklady. She was willing to talk about a few things via email, which is rare. That's been the biggest frustration for me throughout every scandal I've been involved with.
"In the obscenity trial [of two Seattle bookstores that sold the rape issue of Jim's zine, Answer Me], both the defense and the prosecution were way off the mark trying to figure out what it was I wanted to say. I was not allowed to explain myself because [the defense] didn't think it would reflect too well."
Luke: "Which people who've written about you have infuriated you the most?"
Jim: "That was way back in the zine days. I was not above threatening to kill people for a negative review. Usually it takes the form of accusing me of insincerity or mercenary motivations or something so off the mark that I'm astonished. What I do now is passive-aggressively email them grammatical corrections, just to make them scratch their heads. 'Well, he's a woman-beating maniac but he knows Strunk & White's Elements of Style better than I do.' That completely upends their world."
Luke: "How have you liked becoming a media figure?"
Jim: "I'm not somebody who patronizes pop media much. I've seen few Hollywood movies. I relished the attention for a while during zinedom's golden era.
"I think we all know what is wrong with us. The question is - Do you have the bravery to confront it?
"My mother hated my father while he was alive and then he died and he became a saint. If you invest 40 years in something, you better not come clean and admit it was all a waste or you will have a psychological breakdown."
Luke: "Does growing older scare you?"
Jim: "Hell yes. I said in Shit Magnet that the only obscenity is my own mortality. Everything else is fair game. It's horrible. Give me $2000, it's going straight to plastic surgery. I had hair transplants and a nose job when I was in my early twenties."
Luke: "Do you think that's manly?"
Jim chuckles: "I guess it's not considered manly to be obsessed with your looks. I guess not. In the animal kingdom, male creatures are extraordinarily vain."
Jim has no kids. "The way I fawn over animals is embarrassing to everyone but me. I suppose I have the instincts to take care of something small and cute."
Luke: "Is that because relationships with animals are tension free?"
Jim: "Probably. And they don't understand what you're saying. Part of being human is having guilt. That's one of the things I tried to figure out in Shit Magnet. Does guilt make you better or worse than animals? Animals live without guilt and they all seem innocent. Doesn't the Eden myth say that the knowledge of good and evil is what caused problems? To live on the sociopathic plane, the amoral, that seems the purest way to live. The world that animals inhabit. What's wrong is what gets in the way of their food supply.
"Fundamentally, I think that's how humans define right and wrong too. Whatever threatens you is evil and whatever validates your idea of who you are is going to be considered good. It's laughably relative. I don't think there are any universals there."
Luke: "If your favorite pet and a stranger were drowning, who would you save first?"
Jim breaks in. "Definitely the pet because I know the stranger is guilty of something. The suffering of other humans is neither here nor there for me. Schopenhauer said that every tear we cry is really for ourselves. Empathy is our way of projecting ourselves into a person's plight and feeling bad for ourselves. There are few selfless acts."
Luke: "What is it you most want?"
Jim: "It's a fatal flaw, but to be understood. I doubt it will ever happen. I'd like three or four people I could explain myself to without having them walk away scratching their heads. That's my idea of nirvana."
Luke: "You want other people to understand that you are not a bad guy?"
Jim: "It has nothing to do with bad. I wish I was what they think I am - an unfeeling monster. That sounds like a treat. You don't have to deal with misery or self-doubt. The agony I dealt with during my whole prison situation was, 'Jesus Christ, I could've put her away.' I didn't do it, I still couldn't do it, and this is what happens. Where I'm coming from is much more complex. "I don't want races to be unequal. I don't want women to be skilled at the art of manipulation. I want everyone to get along but it's just not that way. I write about it out of some Tourettes-like compulsion to speak what I think is the truth, no matter what the consequences."
Luke: "Tell me about your friends?"
Jim: "I don't think they can be categorized. I've found an initial dislike or altercation tends to pave the way for a good long friendship. I've had a lot of friendships with males I got into fist fights with. There's no male-bonding experience like a fist fight."
Luke: "How would your closest friends describe you?"
Jim: "Intense, uncompromising, honest to my own detriment, paranoid, obsessive. The guy (Shawn Tejaratchi) who did my cover for Shit Magnet and handled my affairs while I was in prison says I'm the most sensitive guy he's ever met."
Luke: "What are the most common things your friends say to you?"
Jim: "They think I obsess about right and wrong. The writer I identified with in prison was Dostoevsky. Like me, he was diagnosed as mildly epileptic. Someone wrote to me in prison that one of the classic diagnoses for epileptics is an obsession with guilt. Reading Dosoevsky's 'Notes From The Underground', I was amazed how his thought patterns mirrored mine. On one page he was saying the most sociopathic things you could imagine and the next page he was in church praying for redemption. I wish I was this monstrous asshole. More often than not, I'm frustrated and outraged that people don't see the bigger picture. As I say in Redneck Manifesto - If you say you're ethnically sensitive, why is every other word out of your mouth, 'hillbilly, cracker, white trash'? If racism is wrong because it is wrong to feel better than other people, then why are you shitting on these West Virginian coal miners who statistically are more likely to die than soldiers on the battlefield.
"With Shit Magnet, a lot of it was about gender. I grew up having the shit kicked out of me by nuns and then came into a cultural climate that has a presumption of female innocence about everything. The article I am doing for Hustler is about sexually abusive nuns. There have been many of them, far more egregious than what priests are alleged to have done. Raping kids with sticks to get the devil out of them and forcing them to eat shit. Apparently these charges have credence because the Church settled a bunch of these cases.
"I see a bigger picture. You are not better because you are a black woman. You're a human being. You are just as bad as I am. That's egalitarian. These people who claim to be anti-sexist and anti-racist are sexist and racist. I don't see equality in intellectual aptitude but everybody is prone to be an asshole. That's the only equality I know of."
Luke: "Why are you obsessed with right and wrong if you don't believe in right and wrong?"
Jim: "That's a good question. There have been times in my life when I've been able to live like an animal. If I could pinpoint something, it's probably faulty neurological wiring. There's probably a pharmaceutical out there that would nip [Jim's guilt] in the bud."
Luke: "What's your favorite movie?"
Jim: "Five Easy Pieces about chronic underachiever Jack Nicholson.
"When I was a kid in Clifton Heights, a Philadelphia suburb, they were grooming me to be president. When I was in first grade, they were calling me up to answer questions that sixth graders couldn't answer. They had incredibly high expectations for me and I found a way to spike them."
Luke: "Who's they?"
Jim: "The nuns and priests and my parents. I was in Roman Catholic school through twelfth grade, then I studied journalism at Temple University. I probably got a better education at Catholic school than I would've at public school but I learned to distrust people in authority telling me what was good. These were the same people who were knocking me around. I doubt that any of them are aware that I write books.
"I remember once bitching about my childhood to my aunt. She brought up a couple of things that put me in check. Maybe I didn't have it that bad?
"My first mainstream journalistic assignment was a feature for Playboy in 1989. I called up somebody who taunted me in high school and told him to go down to the 7-11 and pick up Playboy, and while he's jerking off to one of the naked chicks, I hope he accidentally turns the page and sees my picture. Because I'm in Playboy and he's still in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. I think he just hung up.
"The day the AP story about sellers of my zine being prosecuted for obscenity, I had 55 messages on my voicemail from all kinds of media people wanting to talk to me about it. I didn't talk to anybody because it wasn't me being prosecuted. It was these milquetoast newsstand owners up in Washington. I was entirely ignorant of obscenity law. I've got a big mouth. I could've said something that seemed fine to me and it could've hurt them.
"I told this local journalist Jim Redden (son of a judge) that, and recorded it, and he went in his biweekly paper and said I didn't care what happened to them, I was only trying to save my own ass, which was diametrically opposite of what I'd told him. We planned to go down there with a gun, but we didn't bring the gun. We went down just to intimidate him. I finally saw Jim Redden and he's this hunched-over little George Carlin-lookalike washup. My shoulders slumped. I thought, Jesus Christ, man, you're getting upset about him?
"When I took my plea bargain, he wrote an article called 'Goad wimps out.' As if years in prison were penile inches and if I had taken it to trial and gone for 15, instead of the two that I plea bargained... He mangled a few of the things that I told him. When I had the radio show, it was called Let's Fight. The premise was that I was going to call up anyone who'd ever said anything stupid about me and fight with them on the air. He declined.
"Nothing that humans do surprises me but the way they tend to cover it up is what repels me."