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John Waters is an American filmmaker, writer, and artist who rose to fame in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films, which have earned him the titles "pope of[…]

The filmmaker liked how the GOP rioted after Congress passed the health care bill, even though he thinks it’s an “odd” thing to riot over. Why didn’t Democrats do the same during the Bush era?

Question: Do you vote?

John Waters: Sure, I mean I sometimes vote a couple of times in elections.  I haven’t done that in a while, but I have done it.  For Shirley Chisholm I did it a couple of times in California a long time ago, before picture ID ruined everything.

What inspires you to vote multiple times?

John Waters: Well a passion for a character.  Shirley Chisholm was a great black woman that wore crazy hats and I just loved her campaign.  It was just her picture and it just said, “Outrageous.”  This was in like, the 1970’s or something, a really long time ago.  So I just borrowed everybody’s ID that said they weren’t going to vote that sort of looked like me because they didn’t have picture then, and you just go to their polling place.  I figure if you care that much, it makes up for the apathy of some of your neighbors.  I don’t think it’s so wrong, really.

What’s wrong with politics in this country?

John Waters: Well, it’s funny because right now, it’s 50/50.  The people... people hate Obama as much as we hated Bush.  It’s just switched, and it might go back, unfortunately.  It’s just going to be back and forth like that that forever.  It’s right down the middle, it’s half-and-half.  I think Obama’s doing a good job, you know, he inherited the exact opposite and hadn’t had that much time.  

But I was just at hateful about Bush as people are about him.  So I... and they at least the Republicans rioted, which I gave them respect for when they passed the... but because they passed a health law, that was the oddest thing to riot about.  That poor people could have health care, that made people break windows?  It seems to me... but I’m happy they broke windows.  Why didn’t we do that when Bush was President?  Why didn’t we riot?  So, I think you can learn from Republicans.  

I’m friends with Republicans.  One of my assistants is a Republican.  Liberals can get on my nerves a little bit when they never imagine that anyone they ever meet could be a Republican.  I don’t talk about politics a lot with my assistant, 'cause we’re not going to argue about it.  She has every right to be a Republican.  But at the same time, there are some liberals that never imagine anyone else could not think like them.  And I don’t like to watch TV where the commentators are completely on my side or completely against.  And I can’t find a show where they are... they’re just regular because I don’t know how they feel anymore.  I don’t read opinion pieces.  I have faith in my own opinion.  I know I’m right.  I don’t want to read what someone else ahs to say.  Although I do read the really well-written think pieces in the Wall Street Journal, even though they are usually the exact opposite of how I feel, but I think that’s the smartest thing is to find out how people who don’t believe in anything you believe in, the smart ones, how they write because then you can learn how to fight that. 

Recorded September 10, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller