Last week, The Onion's The A.V. Club put out an open call asking its readers to pose punk rock icon Henry Rollins some questions about politics. This week, Rollins is back with answers to the 15 they selected. A couple of excerpts follow:
Q: What's up with your country? I mean really, enough is enough. Just asking. — canada fella
Henry Rollins: My neighbor to the north, I understand your frustration. But to be fair, there are a lot of us who are pushing for something different than what's happening now, and little by little, I think we're making some impact/progress. I know that many aspects of the American way may seem lethal and just downright insane, but there are some good people and good things we have done. Give us another century — if we're still here, you may just congratulate us for turning the whole thing around before it was too late. Be patient.
Q: Okay, you've been all over the world. What country do you think has the most messed-up political system? — blackgoatofhades
Henry Rollins: The most messed-up political systems are the ones supported by those who say their system is the fairest and the best, to the point where they feel the need to spread that system to other countries without asking said countries what they think. These are the ones who seem to have no problem ignoring the hypocrisy and shortcomings of their system, but demand that others use it anyway. It's like only selling damaged goods to people, then robbing them of the cost if they don't want to buy the product. If you dare to point out the parts of the product that could be improved upon, you are told that you hate the product. That is pretty messed-up.
Q: Do you give credit to George W. in any area, or do you feel (as most in this A.V. Club demographic seem to) that every single thing he has done in seven years has been sinister, self-serving, and/or stupid? — Pete Deeble
Henry Rollins: I think the Bush administration has done almost, if not all, the things they set out to do, and in record time. I am sure they are well impressed with themselves. I think that all the peace and prosperity we enjoy now, our surplus of cash, and good standing in the world is a testament to… Oh, wait, that was the other guy. Yes, I guess that I am one of those people who would probably be going with that whole "sinister and stupid" thing. I guess I am part of that "A.V. Club demographic," the one that comprises more than 60 percent of America. It's strange to be in the majority, I'm not used to it.
Q: How do you feel about celebrities who say things that are distinctly anti-military and/or government, then follow it up with "But I support the troops"? Being one of said troops, I can tell you that it sure doesn't feel that way to me or most of my friends. However, aren't a lot of these Hollywood types doing the same thing, oddly enough, by saying the opposite? What the fuck does Sean Penn know about the military and war? I realize he was in "The Thin Red Line", but some of us actually walk that line for real. When did Charlie Sheen become an expert in the engineering of the largest buildings in NYC? Did that clown Rosie actually say, "Fire has never melted steel?" I'm pretty sure steel doesn't come into existence shaped as a girder. Do we shape them using ice? I'm confused. Many of these people are your counterparts, and I just want to know what you think about them, and why more celebrities who have opposing, more pro-military viewpoints don't come out and say something. — Sailor E
Henry Rollins: I don't know if I agree that these people are "anti-military and/or government" at all. Have you ever heard any of these people say they hope the troops get killed? I have not. So you are saying that to be "pro-troop" would be to be glad soldiers are in Iraq getting their legs blown off? It seems like they are saying the opposite.
What does Sean Penn know about the military? I don't know. Do you ask the same question of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Ann Coulter as well? They fly in corporate jets all the time. Talk about fancy! Those guys are not only fancy, they are fancy-schmancy. When did any of these people become experts on stem-cell research? I only ask because they seem to know more than the doctors they bring on their shows. I have always admired a well-rounded person, I must say. Rosie O'Donnell got a fact wrong? Probably listening to Rush Limbaugh too much, and some rubbed off. I hope you call him out on his errors as well as you no doubt got back to Rosie, unless you know that you are pulling what she said out of context and think no one will call you on it. Ahoy! It is time to grow up.
Sailor E, I hope you have the courage and intellectual fortitude to engage the real questions instead of hiding behind the silliness of saying that people are "anti-military" because they see through the workings of the Bush administration's move to Iraq, because that's just not the real issue. Besides, no one is falling for it any more. You said you were confused, and that's obvious, but I think you will pull through and not do too much harm until that time. Also, I must say how much I enjoyed spending time with members of the Navy at the Lemonier Base in Djibouti recently, and I wanted to thank you for utilizing the Marines for force protection, because their presence at the base made myself and everyone else feel really safe. Thanks for your service, and all you do and when the president says, "Oceans no longer protect us," don't take it personally.
Read the entire question-and-answer session at this location.