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ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH JAKE,
MOSH GESTAPO ZINE, 2-25-97
You have just entered room "Interview"
Tedrall: This is like deja vu all over again...
MnrThrt: twice even
Tedrall: So...wanna ask me the first question? I'm under time
Tedrall: constraints as usual.
MnrThrt: got it
MnrThrt: so, who are you?
Tedrall: C'mon...how am I supposed to answer that?
MnrThrt: you don't know?
MnrThrt: "I'm Ted Rall"
Tedrall: As Camus said, who really knows himself?
Tedrall: OK...I'm Ted Rall.
Tedrall: See, I'm very cooperative.
MnrThrt: right then!!
Tedrall: That's me.
MnrThrt: what was the first major pub. your work apperaed in?
Tedrall: The Kettering-Oakwood (OH) Times, a biweekly newspaper
Tedrall: in southwestern Ohio. I was in high school, and submitted
Tedrall: my work on a lark to the publisher. They liked it, so
Tedrall: that was my first break.
MnrThrt: when did you get syndicated?
Tedrall: There's actually a second part to the answer:
Tedrall: After I got syndicated (in 1991), my first major client was
Tedrall: the Philadelphia Daily News, followed by the LA Times.
Tedrall: My first syndicate was (San Francisco) Chronicle Features.
MnrThrt: how much do you get paid for each additional paper, is it
MnrThrt: a lump sum or by appearance?
Tedrall: Theoretically it's based on a newspaper's circulation--the
Tedrall: LA Times pays $125 a week, the Atlanta paper pays maybe
Tedrall: $25 a week for 3 cartoons.
Tedrall: The syndicate takes 50 percent of that, though.
Tedrall: There are weird exceptions, too...like the Washington Post
Tedrall: only pays $10 per cartoon. They get away with being cheap
MnrThrt: so are you able to be self-sufficient through your cartooning?
MnrThrt: (or do you still live at home?)
Tedrall: because everyone wants to be in there.
Tedrall: I'm 33 years old, and cartooning only became a full-time
Tedrall: job a little over a year ago, when I got fired from my
Tedrall: last day job.
MnrThrt: what was that?
Tedrall: Cartooning doesn't pay very well. I supplement my income
Tedrall: doing freelance illustrations, writing, etc. and by charging
Tedrall: exorbitant fees for zine interviews.
Tedrall: Don't forget my check.
Tedrall: The last job...
MnrThrt: especially double ones!!
Tedrall: No doubt!
Tedrall: I worked at a consulting firm in San Francisco as a financial
Tedrall: Which meant that I made charts and graphs all day on the
Tedrall: computer for bank reports.
MnrThrt: did you quit or get fired?
Tedrall: I got fired because I was the only guy in an all-female company.
MnrThrt: ah!! reverse discrimination!!
Tedrall: I've always gotten fired from my jobs. I'm not good working for
Tedrall: other people.
MnrThrt: I thought that didnt exist!
Tedrall: I don't like to work late, or come in early, or suck up.
MnrThrt: all that "work" stuff
Tedrall: Believe me, it does. One time I got canned for being white
Tedrall: ...and the guy who fired me was white.
Tedrall: I was tutoring gifted children from Harlem. The kids loved me,
Tedrall: but the white boss thought they needed a tutor who was a
Tedrall: black role model.
Tedrall: I notice he didn't quit, though.
Tedrall: The joke is, if he'd been black, it would have never have
Tedrall: occured to him.
Tedrall: I've never had a problem working for black people.
Tedrall: It's the guilty whites you have to look out for.
MnrThrt: what are your thoughts on the Peru thing?
Tedrall: Generally, I hesitate to comment on foreign politics, since
Tedrall: all the news we get is filtered through the US media and
Tedrall: it's hard to know what's really going on without being there.
MnrThrt: good answer
Tedrall: But I sympathize with the Tupac Amaru rebels, if nothing else
Tedrall: they have balls of steel.
MnrThrt: and a great name
Tedrall: And President Fujimori is obviously oppressive.
MnrThrt: you knew he would live on somehow
Tedrall: True--great name!
Tedrall: The foreign policy thing brings up a good point.
Tedrall: I used to go out with a woman from South Africa...and after
Tedrall: talking to her for years, I became convinced that it's a lot
Tedrall: more complicated to discuss foreign politics than the simple
Tedrall: minded "Apartheid sucks" stuff most media here were putting
Tedrall: out. I mean, apartheid did suck.
Tedrall: But there's a lot of other issues, too.
MnrThrt: like what?
Tedrall: You can see that when you read foreign coverage of the US.
Tedrall: Like, I read French newspapers and they don't even understand
Tedrall: how our system works. They think Congress is like their
Tedrall: Chamber of Deputies, and it isn't.
Tedrall: They thought Reagan was a God.
MnrThrt: ha ha---so did 80's punk bands
MnrThrt: sort of
Tedrall: That's why I do so much domestic stuff instead.
Tedrall: Hey, Reagan Youth was a good name.
MnrThrt: "we are the sons of reagan"
Tedrall: I definitely am. That guy really changed my life.
MnrThrt: what are some of your favorite publications
Tedrall: Elle, Mademoiselle, Guns & Ammo.
MnrThrt: Deer Hunter
Tedrall: No, wait...
MnrThrt: Modern mercenary
Tedrall: I meant, Might magazine, The Nation, the Progressive, Monthly
Tedrall: Review, Editor & Publisher, the NY Times, LA Times, NY Post.
Tedrall: I also read NY Press (an alternative weekly).
MnrThrt: have you read Z magazine?--I just saw it in the library
MnrThrt: yesterday. it seemed interesting
Tedrall: I used to be in there, but I don't know why they stopped
Tedrall: running me. It's pretty good.
MnrThrt: I thought so too
MnrThrt: maybe you got too big
MnrThrt: being in MRR and all!
Tedrall: Yeah, right...actually, I think my syndicate dropped the ball
Tedrall: when I switched. I'll have to follow up on that.
MnrThrt: what do you think about punk, as a "movement" etc--
MnrThrt: possibilities of social change etc?
Tedrall: Well, it has certainly changed my life for the better...it
Tedrall: demonstrated to me that you don't need official approval
Tedrall: to create, that thinking for yourself is what counts...
Tedrall: I think that punk's biggest effect so far has been to change
Tedrall: the way its fans think about themselves.
MnrThrt: so you look at it as more personal than macro?
Tedrall: I don't think it's going to send people to the barricades to
Tedrall: string up CEOs or anything. Unfortunately.
MnrThrt: no punks rising up and anarchist revolutions?
Tedrall: Yeah, definitely, it's a personal thing. It's not a mass
Tedrall: movement, anyway...not enough people listen to punk.
MnrThrt: straight edge on the other hand...
Tedrall: It would be nice if it happened.
Tedrall: What I think is that at some point there will be a
Tedrall: revolutionary uprising. At that time a lot of people will
Tedrall: come together to fight, and many of them will be people
Tedrall: influenced by punk ideology. That's why they won't have
Tedrall: bought into the system.
MnrThrt: how about the idea of a race war in the US?--most punks
MnrThrt: will be out of luck!
Tedrall: A race war would be bad news, especially since I'd want to side
Tedrall: with the non-whites...and they'd want to kill me!
MnrThrt: I'd just have to hide out
Tedrall: But I think race, gender and other politics of division are
Tedrall: mere distractions from class differences.
MnrThrt: it's all economic?
Tedrall: In the end, the only difference between people is whether or
Tedrall: not they have money.
MnrThrt: I would hope the "war" breaks up like that..
MnrThrt: but i wouldnt count on it
Tedrall: Right now, the economy's booming, so there's no danger of
Tedrall: a crisis. Well, neither would I, but one can hope.
MnrThrt: have you travelled much?
Tedrall: Yeah, my wife forces me to. I've been to Thailand, Myamnar,
Tedrall: Japan, Hong Kong, France, Belgium, Italy, the UK, Mexico,
Tedrall: Belize. Not to mention five cross-country road trips.
MnrThrt: is there any where you'd rather live than the good ole U S of A?
Tedrall: So far, no...although people in other countries are much more
Tedrall: friendly and civilized, I am an American and I love the trash
MnrThrt: ha ha
MnrThrt: but thats all socialized!!
Tedrall: culture, the crappy food and the cheesy movies.
MnrThrt: you can break free!!
Tedrall: True, I admit it. I love the Ramones, Elvis, diners,
Tedrall: bacon and eggs, the Dictators, girls girls girls and everything
Tedrall: about this incredibly conservative, fucked-up place.
Tedrall: It's so damn interesting to live here.
MnrThrt: how about the internet--a future tool for social control?
Tedrall: Besides, don't you feel like this society is falling apart?
MnrThrt: or cyber-mack?
Tedrall: Collapsing civilizations make for great commentary.
MnrThrt: yes I do and I want to watch!
MnrThrt: decline of the american empire
Tedrall: The Internet is frightening in many ways. For instance,
Tedrall: you know THEY are recording this interview.
Tedrall: You pay the groceries with an ATM card and they know what
MnrThrt: yep--me too this time
Tedrall: you like to eat. Your credit card bills tell them what
Tedrall: magazines you read, what parties you contribute to, where you go.
MnrThrt: that electrode in my neck tells them where i am..
Tedrall: Here in NYC, they have a new tunnel toll collection system that
Tedrall: tells them everytime you cross the Triborough Bridge to visit
Tedrall: your mistress in Queens.
Tedrall: Plus there's that electrode thing.
MnrThrt: ha ha---do you have a mistress in queens?!?!
MnrThrt: I found the dirt!!
Tedrall: Um, no...no comment.
Tedrall: Hee, hee!
MnrThrt: will your wife see this interview??
Tedrall: Attention Judy--ignore above portion of interview. Nothing
Tedrall: worth reading. Start here.
MnrThrt: how long have you been married?
Tedrall: Almost 3 years.
MnrThrt: is the honeymoon over?
MnrThrt: so to speak
Tedrall: No, definitely not....marriage really suits me.
MnrThrt: right on
Tedrall: I've had countless girlfriends, and they were all great, but
Tedrall: Judy is the best match I've ever had. She doesn't put up with
Tedrall: my shit.
MnrThrt: did you see Simpsons on Monday--it was the hair growth one?
Tedrall: Plus she's terrifically attractive.
Tedrall: That one was hilarious.
MnrThrt: "let the fools have their tar tar sauce"
Tedrall: Hee, hee!
Tedrall: Did you see the gay steelworker one two Sundays ago?
MnrThrt: the corporate exploring was fun
MnrThrt: no, was it new?
Tedrall: "And I took Bart to the steel mill...and they were ALL gay!"
Tedrall: Yup, new.
Tedrall: It's really a classic.
MnrThrt: carl was a great character
MnrThrt: slapping homer on the butt
Tedrall: Carl? Which one was he?
MnrThrt: in the hair growth---with the gravel voice
Tedrall: Oh, yeah.
MnrThrt: homers personal assistant
MnrThrt: and confidant
Tedrall: Very droll.
MnrThrt: and motivational
Tedrall: I have news for you since my last interview that YOU LOST!
MnrThrt: whats that?
Tedrall: m working on an animation deal for a 30-minute series.
MnrThrt: for who!!
Tedrall: It came in a few days after we talked. HBO.
Tedrall: It's not definite yet, but it looks really good.
MnrThrt: explain the concept again please, for our new readers...
Tedrall: Of the show?
Tedrall: Concept of what?
MnrThrt: yeah--the show--sorry
Tedrall: Hey, no urination breaks online.
MnrThrt: i was saving and that little"stay online" thing came up
MnrThrt: ha ha
Tedrall: Well, it's based on this daily strip I came up with in '93-'94
Tedrall: called "The Dingles" which featured three roomies living
Tedrall: in inner-city squalor at high rent and their girlfriends (and
Tedrall: boyfriend, in one case) and families and coworkers.
MnrThrt: would you do all the voices yourself?
Tedrall: The theme was that no matter how bad anything was, it would
Tedrall: always get worse, continuously.
MnrThrt: ala judge?
Tedrall: The idea was to see whether you could devolve rather than
Tedrall: evolve in a
MnrThrt: sounds fun
MnrThrt: I bet you could
Tedrall: I'm convinced you can.
MnrThrt: prove it!!
MnrThrt: I hope
Tedrall: The HBO thing moves them to Washington from New York
Tedrall: and makes it more political.
MnrThrt: WA state?
Tedrall: I want other people to do the voices...I'm not a master of
MnrThrt: is there a hippie?
Tedrall: I'd write most of the scripts and all of the plots.
Tedrall: There's a pothead, so he counts as the hippie.
Tedrall: He's based on my old roommate.
MnrThrt: ha ha--what are the other ones?
Tedrall: My favorite story about Chris...
Tedrall: One time a relative sent him a wheel of cheese as a gift.
Tedrall: Who knows why? Anyway, he owed me $25 so he hit upon
Tedrall: the idea of selling it to get the money to pay me back.
Tedrall: So he goes up to Broadway and 111th Street with the cheese to
Tedrall: sell it on the street. (Yum...floor cheese!)
MnrThrt: ha ha
Tedrall: Anyway, he comes back two hours later, out of breath. He
Tedrall: claims that he was attacked en route by a mugger, but he
Tedrall: fended the guy off by smashing him in the head with the
MnrThrt: ha ha
Tedrall: But he comes home sans cheese and sans $25...
Tedrall: so I'm like, what's up?
MnrThrt: did you box him?
Tedrall: He claims that the cheese had "rolled into the sewer."
MnrThrt: he probably got hungry
MnrThrt: what are the other characters?
Tedrall: There's a black yuppie guy (based on another roomie)
Tedrall: who believes in working "within the system." You guess
Tedrall: the rest.
Tedrall: There's also a guy who waits tables, drives a cab and has
Tedrall: every imaginable stupid job.
Tedrall: That was based on me.
Tedrall: I just plucked characters out of my experience.
MnrThrt: are any of you former girlfriends going to notice thenselves?
Tedrall: Definitely. Hell, I already wrote a huge piece about my
Tedrall: ex-girlfriends for POV magazine...there's no way they didn't see it.
MnrThrt: ha ha!!
Tedrall: They're used to it. That's what they deserve for going out with me.
Tedrall: No, actually, it was avery sweet piece, about how each one
Tedrall: was great in her own way, and how each one changed me in some way.
Tedrall: hee, hee...
Tedrall: But it's true, really.
MnrThrt: any last thoughts on life or punk or Danny Q?
Tedrall: I just really like women. They're better than men.
Tedrall: Whatever you do, don't ever buy a new car. Old cars are much
Tedrall: cooler, and they're environmentally friendlier.
Tedrall: And never talk to a Republican.
MnrThrt: I'm going to use that last part from before too
Tedrall: And punk means doing what you want, not wearing the right clothes.
MnrThrt: just hit them and run
MnrThrt: or wearing clothes at all!!
Tedrall: And piercing is stupid unless you can give a good reason for
Tedrall: doing it.
MnrThrt: like what?
Tedrall: I can't think of one. But I'm not wanting to get pierced.
Tedrall: Hurts too much.
MnrThrt: oh, ok
MnrThrt: it really doesnt hurt at all
Tedrall: But there could be a good reason...I just don't know.
Tedrall: Really? Where are you pierced?
MnrThrt: to get on the road to cyborgdom
Tedrall: I know a guy who got his penis done, through the urethra...
MnrThrt: ears, lip, tongue
Tedrall: now he has to piss sitting down.
MnrThrt: me too---he bled for days
Tedrall: So much for the main advantage of being male.
MnrThrt: ha ha
Tedrall: Wow...why'd you do the tongue?
MnrThrt: sexually it feels better, i 've been told
Tedrall: I've heard there are certain oral-sex advantages...
MnrThrt: and I get to play with it all the time
MnrThrt: ha ha
MnrThrt: back fire!!
Tedrall: Well, then it's a very selfless act.
Tedrall: So I admire you for it.
MnrThrt: I'm just like Jesus
Tedrall: What about the lip?
Tedrall: Don't push it.
MnrThrt: it looks cute
Tedrall: Lookin' good, feelin' good, feelin' 7-Up.
Tedrall: Ever see "Repo Man"?
MnrThrt: healls yeah
Tedrall: "Stop signing that song. I said to fucking stop it!"
MnrThrt: hey--try to scroll back up--it doesnt work on mine
MnrThrt: ha ha
Tedrall: I have no problem. Want me to save this thing and
Tedrall: e-mail it to you?
MnrThrt: sure--I ve been saving avery few minutes too
Tedrall: If so, can you read Word for Mac 5.1?
MnrThrt: this one s acompaq--I dunno
Tedrall: I can save it as whatever you have.
Tedrall: Is it DOS?
MnrThrt: of course PC!!
Tedrall: What word processing program do you use?
MnrThrt: I think
Tedrall: Cool...I'll send you PC Word file. Did you get my bio before?
MnrThrt: my roomate is asleep
Tedrall: That might help you write an intro.
MnrThrt: or nope even
Tedrall: I'll send you one. Also, feel free to reprint a cartoon or two
MnrThrt: as long as its PC
Tedrall: if you want.
MnrThrt: I will
Tedrall: Do you have any of my books?
MnrThrt: radicool------not yet
Tedrall: Well, get the cartoons out of there. Here's the list:
Tedrall: "Waking Up In America" (St. Martin's Press, 1992), $6.95
Tedrall: You can get it by ordering it from any book store.
Tedrall: "All The Rules Have Changed" (Rip Off Press, 1995), $9.95
MnrThrt: it's been fun again
Tedrall: (Order it from 1-800-468-2669)
Tedrall: hold on...one more...
Tedrall: "Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done!"
Tedrall: (NBM Publishing, 1996), $8.95 Order it from any COMICS shop.
Tedrall: Upcoming from Workman Publishing this fall:
MnrThrt: I never shuda burned that flag!!
Tedrall: 1998 Page-a-Day Calendar:' "Is there life before death?"
Tedrall: "America: A User's Guide" (Workman, 1997), $24.95 hardback
Tedrall: collection of essays and cartoons.
Tedrall: Ok, that's it.
MnrThrt: did you see when someone came in here?
Tedrall: So...I'll send you this thing right away. Let me know when
Tedrall: you get it and send me a copy of the zine when it comes out.
Tedrall: It was definitely fun.
MnrThrt: it might be called Mosh Gestapo
Tedrall: PO Box 2092, Times Square Station, New York NY 10108.
MnrThrt: or something like that
Tedrall: Send a copy to MRR to review.
MnrThrt: we will
MnrThrt: of course
Tedrall: Alrightee, then, ciao!
MnrThrt: and you can plug it in your column?!?!?!
MnrThrt: hint hint
Tedrall: OK, I will.
MnrThrt: rad--later on
Manhattan Spirit Interview
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Editor & Publisher Interview
Comics Journal Interview
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