215 FEST: We are proud and pleased to announce that the festival starts off this year with an arched, eyeglass-vaulting eyebrow on TONIGHT, when the one and only Mr. John Hodgman, the mild-countenanced, somewhat disturbed author of /The Areas of My Expertise/, and /More Information Than You Needed to Know/, and world-renowned expert on the little-known history of mole men gambols upon the hallowed, tastefully weathered boards of the Latvian Society. Mr. Hodgman will be joined by his friends, among them the incomparable *David Rees,* creator of the famed clip-art comic /Get Your War On/, and the world’s first blogger to use a beige color scheme. All true! Afterwards, intrepid *DJ Ian F. Svenonius* takes the vinyl helm downstairs, laying a course to Chocolate City, fabled bastion of love, dance, and vintage ankleboots. MORE INFO
PHAWKER: So just to be up front, your new book, More Information Than You Require, just showed up this morning, so I have barely even skimmed it. But my favorite endorsement is from Justin Long, the guy who plays the Mac dude in your Apple commercials, who says “I love this book so much I almost read it!” But seeing as how I am completely unprepared to discuss your book, we will have to do this on the honor system. Is your book any good?
PHAWKER: What is the one fatal flaw, that if people knew, they would never buy the book in a million years? Please be honest.
JOHN HODGMAN: When talking about Buffy The Vampire Slayer I refer to episode # 232. Well, it turns out there is no episode #232. They only made 144 episodes of Buffy. I am embarrassed to be hoisted by my own petard. In all seriousness, it really, really bugs me that I never bothered to check that.
PHAWKER: As a lifelong dispenser of dubious knowledge, do you ever get tired of being wrong?
JOHN HODGMAN: [chuckles] No.
PHAWKER: Last I heard there were still some tickets available for your appearance tonight at the 215 Festival. [UPDATE: It now appears this event is SOLD OUT] Give people a reason to come out tonight.
JOHN HODGMAN: There will be a Ouji Board demonstration and I will be breakdancing.
PHAWKER: I am assuming you are voting for Obama, so my question for you is: Why do you hate America so much?
JOHN HODGMAN: I realize you are kidding, but I cannot even answer that as a joke. The idea of there being varying levels of true American-ness, that some in this country are authentic Americans and some are not, is so enraging. It offends me deeply.
PHAWKER: I hear ya, dawg.
MAKIN’ BACON WITH THE WAR PIGS: Q&A With Get Your War On’s David Rees
BY JONATHAN VALANIA Somebody important once said that irony is the only rational response to an irrational world. Maybe we did. Who can tell in this crazy, mixed-up Internet world where nothing is true and everything is permitted. As you may recall, in the days after of 9/11 Vanity Fair poohbah Graydon Carter famously declared the sudden “death of irony,” as if they kept it in the World Trade Center or something. Well, assuming for a moment that was even remotely true or possible, David Rees CPR’d that fucker back to life and gave it a job: Speak the unspeakable; say what everybody is thinking but nobody will say out loud. And make it funny, bitch, or we’re all gonna wind up in Gitmo. This took balls the size of canteloupes. Remember, this was at a time when then-Whitehouse spokesman Ari Fleischer warned that Americans better “watch what they say, and furthermore the First Amendment can blow me.” Just ask Bill Maher.
With little more than a folder of cubicle worker clip art, an uncanny grasp of high-fivin’-whiteguy patois and the righteous indignation of a nation slowly realizing it was being buggered in the prison showers of truth, Rees began dropping his comic-strip-as-protest-anthem down the air shafts of the alternative media with smart-bomb precision. He didn’t do it for the nookie. He did it for you and he did it for me. He did it for anyone who’s ever stood up for thinking out loud. But mostly he did it for anyone who has ever had the distinct misfortune of being called collateral damage. Seven years later, the War On Terror stinks like a dead dog locked in a hot car. And god bless him, Rees is still asking: You smell that? Just to be clear, Phawker has a great deal of respect for Rees’ work and the courage of his convictions, but for comedic purposes none of that is reflected in the following interview…
Phawker: Why do you hate America?
David Rees: I spent most of my life loving America until one day I decided “You know, maybe I should try something new.” So I started hating America. It’s basically the same emotional state– it’s like jogging around a track clockwise instead of counterclockwise.
Phawker: Don’t try and trick me with your circular metaphor logic Comicbook Boy, if you didn’t hate America why would I bother asking you. So… why do you hate America so much?
David Rees: I hate America “so much” because when I applied to start hating America, they said “We already have a lot of people hating America ‘just a little’; how would you feel about hating America ’so much?’” I said, “Shit, it’s all the same to me– just as long as I get to hate America.”
Phawker: So much hate, so much anger. OK smart guy, what would you do in Iraq? Boom, you’re the President, you’re the Decider, whatever you say goes, what’s your plan? Cut and run? Or run and cut?
David Rees: I cut and run [as fast as possible] from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from everywhere. In fact, I cut and run all the way to the goddamn moon. That is to say, I literally “cut” a fart and then “run” to the moon. (Yes, I hold my breath and jog through space, deal with it.) I govern America from the back-up White House on the dark side of the moon, where no poor people or minorities can find me.
Phawker: You’re one of those ‘peace creeps’ aren’t you?
David Rees: Yes, I am a peace creep. I am a diehard pacifist up until the moment someone’s actions inconvenience me in the slightest. At that point I “bookmark” my pacifism in my “favorites” folder and redirect my browser to www.nowIstartkickingyourass.com.
Phawker: Explain this ‘adopt a minefield program’ you area a part of. But let me remind you the American taxpayers paid a lot of money to put those mines there. They are intended to kill and maim people. And yet you guys are removing them, it just seems like a classic tax-and-spend/special rights for homosexuals/bleeding heart liberal waste of taxpayer money. Need I remind you that the landmines don’t work if you take them out of the ground. I mean, it totally defeats the purpose.
David Rees: LOL, are there still readers out there who actually think I donated my author royalties to land mine removal? Yeah, right! I have drugs to stick up my nose here, people! Can I just say: Thanks for all the “powder!” This “ski bunny” has been “hitting the slopes” for years, thanks to you suckers. You might as well call me “Frosty the snowman.” It’s like I have a permanent “ski lift” installed in my nostril. Plus, get ready for “the next ice age.” And by the way, “no two snowflakes are alike.” That is say, I spent all the money on cocaine. To learn more about my club kid lifestyle, visit www.landmines.org.
Phawker: You are SO busted, and not only that I’m telling your mom. How would you describe your politics? Shi’ite militia or Sunni Insurgent? American-Taliban? Al-Qaeda-In-Iowa?
David Rees: I don’t like to put myself into a box politically. I think my political ideology combines the best of both worlds: the idealism of the Shi’ite death squads and the tenacity of the Sunni insurgents – with a little twist of Working Families Party thrown in to keep things fresh.
Phawker: What do you think of the new head of the UN, Marky Moon or whatever his name is. As Trent Lott says, “They all look alike to me.”
David Rees: Marky Moon is the right choice for the new head of the UN.
Phawker: How do you feel about giving the Terrorists aid and comfort with your smart-aleckness? You’re practically the Tokyo Rose of the Internet.
David Rees: You know how you can check to see which web sites are referring visitors to your homepage? Well, I checked last week and the #1 referrer to www.getyourwaron.com was www.al-qaeda-headquarters.obl. In fact I’m thinking about buying some google ads that will bring up my web site whenever someone searches for “how do I” + “overthrow infidel regimes” + “because I hate freedom.” Or maybe, “Peter Beinart” + “tighty whities.”
Phawker: You make people that work in cubicles look stupid. I’ve met some people that work in cubicles and they weren’t that stupid.
David Rees: Those weren’t cubicles. Those were display boxes. Those people were SPAWN dolls. Do NOT take them out of their boxes; it reduces their value.
Phawker: You’re probably against the NSA tapping everyone’s phone and reading our email even though the president assures us it’s all legal and necessary. It’s like you WANT the terrorists to win.
David Rees: Not only do I want the terrorists to win, I have my life savings riding on it. I wagered everything on al-Qaeda invading and occupying Washington DC and taking away all my freedoms. Needless to say I am very frustrated by the slow pace of the imminent al-Qaeda invasion and occupation. It’s almost like they’re not capable of pulling it off.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview first appeared on Oct. 16th 2006. It was Phawker’s 2nd post. That was 12,952 posts ago!