Christmas in May: A Janeane Garofalo interview

Christmas in May: A Janeane Garofalo interview
: Oh boy, oh boy, I go to Alternet and what do I find but a Janeane Garofalo interview with the Progressive that was done just as war started. A few crunchy nuggets:

Q: What’s your opinion on the current state of the mainstream media?

Garofalo: The mainstream media has, in my opinion, been so grossly negligent, so disturbingly devoid of authentic debate, and actual dissemination of information….

The parents of the troops who die and the parents of Iraqi civilians who die should have the right to slap a lot of these media outlets with a suit of criminal negligence. Military parents would have a legitimate case, especially against Fox and the New York Post for cheerleading this thing the whole way, for waving the flag, and using knee-jerk, sycophantic, pseudo-patriotism as a tool to galvanize public opinion.

Say what? Sue on what basis? Opinion? You’re the one complaining that people are daring to disagree with your opinion and now you want people to sue others over their opinions? That’s every bit as stupid as it sounds.

Q: Do you think it’s possible to have a liberal media network?

Garofalo: It is possible. What’s not possible is to penetrate the wall of opposition. The myth is it can’t work. Phil Donahue was working, but MSNBC took it off for their own rightwing agenda.

Phil Donahue was working? Compared to what? If Phil Donahue is the best video provocateur (we) liberals can come up with, it’s a sad and sorry state.

Q: Do you have plans to tour again?

Garofalo: No…. I have no plans to travel at this point, in part because nothing’s funny to me.

Q: Why is that?

Garofalo: There’s been such an assault on democracy here, and the mainstream media is complicit in it. We are living in neo-McCarthy, post-democratic times. Democracy is being criminalized. Democracy is being ignored….

I never imagined that I would never care about dumb things anymore. I never imagined I’d be a person who could transcend that kind of nonsense. But beyond that, I never imagined I would be penalized for speaking out in favor of social justice. I never thought that anyone who spoke out for peace, and diplomacy, and social justice would be pilloried.

I’m frequently depressed, just have a general malaise. And I don’t mean a malaise of indifference, I mean a malaise of sadness and fear. I’ve always been alarmed by some of the things that the mainstream media does and by what the government does, no matter who’s in office, but the broken heart is new.

So, once again, it’s all about Janeane: Janeane the transcender of nonsense, Janeane the pilloried spokesperson for peace, Janeane who just doesn’t care about dumb things, Janeane the queen of ennui.

You can never, never underestimate the ego of a star, even a small one.

Janeane: Democracy is far from dead. Disagreement is what democracy is all about.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the spotlight!

  • Richard Webster

    Jeff – Brilliant!!
    The only thing I can find to disagree with you on is the implication that Garofalo is a star. I had to sit through the movie “Scooby-doo” with my son and realized with delight at one point that the actress playing thelma/zelma/selma(?) was doing a Garofalo imitation. Now that’s something Janeane should be sad about.

  • It’s not that her ego is small…anything but; the problem is her brain is small to non-existent!

  • “Nothing’s funny to me.” At least she admits it. Personally, that’s my only real beef with her, her absolute humorlessness. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t use to be so funny. Look at somebody like David Cross. He’s been saying many of the same things, but he makes you WANT to listen.

  • Ehsan

    I don’t know her that much and I don’t care. But You say: democracy is about disagreement. True, but how much real disagreement have you seen on the American mainstream media since the begining of these war? Since 9/11? How much genuine debates have you witnessed regarding US foreign policy during the pas decade? Here many topics are simply not ‘patriotic’ to be discussed. You need a case for comparison? Compare with Canadian media. Even easier, compare with BBC’s coverage of the war, the company almost belonged to the British goverment.
    Most of the US mainstream media is tighed to capitalism and corporate America rather than democratic institutions.
    Democracy is about disagreement, yes. But we can keep discussing our disagreement forever while the ‘pragmatic’ US president bombs far coubntries and the media keep shaping our opinions.

  • Deb

    Seems to me that the thing that all of these folks seem to be forgetting is that democracy doesn’t mean that you get everything you want. Sometimes your point of view is the unpopular one. I imagine part of the reason some celebrities scream so loud is that they are utterly unused to being so far out of the mainstream. But no matter who you are, the painful bit about democracy is that sometimes your side loses the argument. And it’s the argument that makes democracy great.

  • I doubt anyone could sue the mainstream media for their coverage of the war (then again you never know – courts have decided to hear some pretty strange things) however it would be nice to see some honest debate about the slant it was given. There was no doubt about the positions of CNN & MSNBC – they gave the public exactly what the U.S. Administration wanted them to.

  • um, Ehsan, is that supposed to be a joke?
    BBC *does* belong to the british government, and capitalism and democracy go 100% hand in hand.
    And corporations are democratic institutions, being run by an elected(!) representative board of directors.
    And, for that matter, it was the congress that voted to bomb Iraq, even with a majority of senate democrats voting for it. But they were all definitely coerced.
    Back on-topic, I like jean garaerorofooloolo or however you spell that. I just don’t like people that whine so much. “True debate” doesn’t mean using only buzzwords and insults; it means more than just throwing eggs at the other side. You need to bring something to the argument or nobody is going to listen to you.
    Don’t want the war? Don’t just jump up and shout “War’s wrong! Bush is just doing because his daddy wants him to…Oh! and Ashcroft is a Nazi!” Pretty soon, people will stop listening.
    The left is important; we need it in order to keep the right in check, and inject a little bit of conscience into our national and foreign policies. They really need to get some intelligent people (like Big Jeff here) to stand up and speak.

  • Ehsan:
    “Most of the US mainstream media is tighed to capitalism and corporate America rather than democratic institutions.”
    Nothing, but nothing, is more democratic than the dollar vote in an economically free society. Learn the difference between economic power and political power.

  • Richard Webster

    One of the most important components to democracy is the loyal opposition. Ideas and positions which are contrary to the current administration are openly presented to spur debate and encourage inclusion through compromise. No one political denomination can possibly have all the answers or be right all the time. This obviously is absent from a great deal of the nations of the world. Particularly in cultural traditions which hold that their community can never agree in error. Meaning that if the whole country believes it – it’s true. This is a tenent of Islam.
    In America, we know this not to be the case – look at racism. A really wasteful, foolish, emotion-laden mistake, but it held popular currency for generations.
    We need both ends of the political spectrum to keep us moving on the right track. But like Deb says – sometimes you don’t get your way. Adults may not like not getting their way, being told they’re wrong, but they have the emotional equipment to handle it. Ms Garofalo on the other hand …

  • Hilarious work, Jeff. I’m happy to link it.

  • Jack Tanner

    JG ‘I’ve always been alarmed by some of the things that the mainstream media does’
    Me too! Like when I see her in a show or in a movie I lunge for the remote.

  • Charlie

    Janeane, one word: Prozac.

  • One thing that really bothers me about statements like hers–which I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere–is this: since when is the media supposed to present us with “debate?”
    I thought debate was something people did amongst themselves, and what is supposed to go on in the legislatures in democratic countries, but apparently it’s supposed to be presented to us by the media as a balanced, engineered product. (Garofalo doesn’t actually want balance, but that’s beside the point for now). I would prefer “debate” to be a real-life thing that normal people do to hash out new ideas and re-evaluate old ones, not something that is packaged and presented for a mostly-brain-dead public to pick sides based on who looks/sounds better on TV.
    I guess that’s why I like blogs. Although I’m not one who thinks blogs will single-handedly democratize the world, I’d like to think they aren’t hurting the cause.

  • Rachel Cohen

    Here in the People’s Republic of Janeane, 65% of our tax dollars go to her production company. That’s democracy!
    Personally, I think she never got over having to be in a movie with Uma Thruman. Don’t you love Uma–she looks great and we never hear from her.

  • Ted

    “Nothing’s funny to me.”
    And there it is right there. I totally agree with Treach. I bought the new cd by Janeane’s old pal David Cross. I agree with very few of David Cross’s political statements, but HE hasn’t forgotten that he is a comedian, and comedians are supposed to be funny. And Cross is damn funny. Same goes for the posthumously-revered Bill Hicks. Janeane’s sentiments aren’t any different from those of Cross and Hicks, but they never forgot the importance of WIT.
    If anyone wants to remember the old, funny, drunk, thin Janeane, rent last year’s “Wet Hot American Summer.” It’s brilliant.