Sunday, May 30, 2010

John Waters is less obnoxious than Deborah Solomon

I've mentioned before my abiding distaste for the Deborah Solomon's Sunday interviews in the New York Times. Her questions tend to be confrontational -- even rude -- to no great purpose.

So I was delighted to see today that she interviewed John Waters. Who would come off more tasteless -- the man who got Divine to eat dog feces on film? Or a New York Times reporter?

You already know the answer. Highlights:
It has been more than a generation since your films “Pink Flamingos” and “Polyester” established you as a champion of the trash-into-art aesthetic. But now that bad taste is so prevalent in America, does it still carryan artistic charge for you?
Bad taste per se does not, because today it’s reality television and gross-out, big-budget Hollywood comedies. Everything we export — it’s all about bad taste, so it’s not new anymore. You have to know the rules to break them with happiness, and thank God my mother taught me proper table manners.
It gets better:
We should mention that your career went mainstream in 1988, when you directed the film “Hairspray,” which subsequently opened as a musical on Broadway in 2002 and then was made into a second movie starring John Travolta. Has it made you vastly rich?
Last month, I got the very first profit check from the original movie.

How much was it for?
Don’t ask about money. That’s just plain rude.
And, speaking of Waters' new book:
There’s a chapter on Leslie Van Houten, one of the so-called Manson girls, who was convicted of murder in 1971, when she was 21, and who you argue should be released.
I do believe that. Today she is the woman she would have become if she had never met Charles Manson. Leslie is a good friend and someone who has taken full responsibility for the terrible crime she participated in.

What about the families of her victims, who don’t want her released?
They can never be wrong in their arguments, and I would never criticize their viewpoint.
There you have it: John Waters -- despite all he's done -- comes across as mannered, civilized, even a little elegant. Deborah Solomon comes across as ... being Deborah Solomon.

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