Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts

December 16, 2018

The New Yorker Interview with the Novelist Édouard Louis on the Gilets Jaunes Movement-France


The French writer Édouard Louis’s roman à clef “The End of Eddy” had an explosive effect in France.
Photograph by Ryan Pfluger for The New Yorker

In 2014, the French writer Édouard Louis published “The End of Eddy,” a roman à clef based on his childhood in Hallencourt, a small town in the north of France. The world that it describes is brutal, marked by violence, prejudice, and pain. Like much of the surrounding region, Louis’s town suffers from post-industrial malaise; the vast majority of its residents vote for the far-right Front National. The novel’s protagonist, called Eddy Bellegueule (Louis’s given name, which he later officially changed), is gay, and made to suffer habitual shame and abuse. When, as a teen-ager, he finally manages to escape for the nearby city of Amiens, it is as if a canary has somehow flown out of the coal mine.

Louis’s novel centers on an unsparing portrait of his family, whose ignorance and cruelty, especially when directed toward Eddy, can be nearly unbearable. (He has said that everything in the novel is true.) But Louis also sought to expose the way that poverty and neglect by the state had deformed the lives of those around him. When he considers his mother, he thinks of the women, “torn between an absolute submission to power and an enduring sense of revolt,” who stormed Versailles at the start of the French Revolution only to salute the King. In France, “The End of Eddy” was seen as a burning letter sent from a forgotten place, and its effect was culturally explosive. Within a year of its publication, it had sold three hundred thousand copies.

In recent weeks, France has been seized by the protests of the gilets jaunes, an amorphous, leaderless group that consists, in part, of people like Louis’s family and former neighbors, who are furious with a government they feel has both forgotten and exploited them. Recently, on Twitter, Louis, who is twenty-six and lives in Paris, expressed frustration that the grievances of the gilets jaunes had been met with sensationalism by the press and disdain by politicians. “Something about the extreme violence and class contempt that is being unleashed on this movement paralyzes me,” he wrote. Earlier this week, we spoke over FaceTime about the gilets jaunes; Louis’s family; the case of Adama Traoré, a young black man whose death while in police custody, in 2016, became a flashpoint in France for issues of race and police brutality; and the political elasticity of protest movements.

The interview has been edited and condensed, and translated, in certain places, from the French.

Tell me why you decided to be at the gilets jaunes protest last Saturday.

I decided to go because I saw pictures from the movement. I was in the United States, in Providence, Rhode Island, and in those pictures, I saw very poor people, people like my mother, people like my father, exhausted people, extremely poor people. I was able to read it on their faces because I know those people. I recognized, suddenly, a body, in the noblest sense of the term. A body that I’m not used to seeing in the media. And I felt that these images were crying out to me.

There was the emergence of the kind of body that we never see, and, along with it, the kinds of words that we never hear. People are saying, “I can’t manage to feed myself, or my family. Christmas is coming up, and I can’t buy presents for my kids.” And, for me, a sentence like that is so much more political, so much more powerful, than all of this discourse about “the Republic,” the “people,” “coexistence,” “democracy.” What does any of that mean? These grand concepts that don’t really reflect anything. Nothing really, nothing corporal, at least.

Can you describe the kinds of bodies that you’re talking about?

It’s the body of social exclusion. It’s the body of poverty. It’s the body of people who are living in precarity, people from the North of France, or from the South of France, who don’t have money, who come from the kinds of families that haven’t gotten an education in five generations—families like mine. I grew up in a family of seven, and we had to live on seven hundred euros a month. Five kids and two adults. Maybe you have to really come from that world to immediately identify it.

Actually, when I started to write books, it was because I had the impression that these kinds of bodies were never depicted. And, when I was a kid, my parents, and especially my mother, always said, “No one is talking about us. No one cares about us.” One of the most violent feelings we had was this feeling of not existing in the public discourse, in the eyes and voices of others. It was like an obsession. There was not one day where my mother didn’t say, “No one is talking about us. The whole world could care less.” And so, for example, elections were the moment when she tried to fight against that kind of invisibility. Voilà.

When did you come back to France?

I came back after the first demonstration. And so I saw that as soon as these voices emerged, as soon as these people emerged, a huge part of the political field and a huge part of the media was trying to shut them down. Immediately, there were several strategies. The first strategy and I saw it a lot in the U.S. because I read the papers in the U.S., was to say, “Ah, you know, they’re a lot of middle-class people.” The middle class in the French sense, so, not poor, not rich, but in between. I saw that on TV, among the journalists—people had a kind of pleasure in repeating that. For me, it was another strategy in order to not address the issue of poor people.
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Because to say “middle class” is to legitimatize the protesters by making them seem familiar, part of the usual protests in France?

Absolutely. It’s another way of not talking about extremely poor people, or about their suffering. And, in addition to that, “middle class” is a very complicated concept. You have some people who are really suffering, you have some situations with people making two thousand euros a month but having five kids, having a wife or a husband that they are divorced from, who live in the middle of nowhere and have to pay, like, hundreds of euros for gas every month. It’s very complicated, and for me, it was a way of not talking about it.

But the biggest argument to delegitimize the movement was to say, “Oh, this movement is racist, it’s homophobic, it’s anti-climate,” because people were protesting the gas tax. And what I saw was the mobilization of the bourgeoisie to try to silence this demonstration, this movement. It was, “Please, shut them up. They need to be shut up.”

That really struck me, on a personal level, because when I published my first two novels, “The End of Eddy” and “History of Violence,” which spoke about this milieu, which I grew up in—a milieu of extreme poverty, of people who have been socially dispossessed and geographically excluded—I spoke about racism and homophobia in that world. And when I published those books in France, people said, “Oh, Édouard Louis says that people in the working class are homophobic and racist, that’s not true!” And so I, who came from the working class, and who was trying to speak about it, was being told, “Shut up, it’s not true, they’re not racist, they’re not homophobic. The poor are bons vivants, they’re authentic.”

And why, do you think? 

For me, it was simply a mechanism to stop the popular class from speaking. And so a few years later, now that there’s a movement that actually consists of those people, all the same people who attacked me are suddenly saying, “Oh, no, these people are racist, these people are homophobic, so we’ve got to shut them up.”

The dominant class, the bourgeoisie, doesn’t care about contradicting itself. One day, the working class were “authentic,” almost “good savages.” And the day after they were racist, homophobic, horrible people.

What you’re describing is like a mask being ripped off of society.

They were forced to say what they were, what they deeply think. I saw how much this kind of classism is ingrained in our society.

And of course, I don’t deny that there have been some homophobic things in this movement, some racist discourse, some racist acts. I know that. I’ve written about this milieu. I’ve written about my family. So I don’t deny that. I’m a gay person. I don’t say that homophobia is not a problem. I don’t say that it’s a secondary issue. But it’s precise because there has been some homophobia and some racism in this movement that we have to change this movement.

There is all of this pain, all of this suffering, that is expressed through the gilets jaunes. And, the question is, are these people are going to say, “We suffer because of the migrants, we suffer because of women’s rights,” as the far right says, or, “We suffer because of the violence of the dominant class, because of the government, because of Macron and Édouard Philippe”? People are trying to dismiss this movement by saying, “There’s some racism, there’s some homophobia.” But this is precisely the reason why we have to be there because we have to struggle in order to build another vocabulary.

When I was a child—and I don’t say it in order to talk about me but just because it’s the reality that I know the best, and I have the impression that I am more honest in talking about my own past—people like my father, my mother, people around me in the village, very often hesitated, when it was time to vote, between voting for the far right or voting for the left. Never for the mainstream right-wing parties, because they were the symbol of the dominant bourgeoisie. But they were always hesitating between the far right and the left, which was a way of saying, “Who is going to support me? Who is going to make me visible? Who is going to fight for me?” And so, which vocabulary am I going to use? Am I going to say, “I am suffering because of migrants, or because of social inequalities and classism”?

We know that the same thing happened in the United States. We know that some people who would have voted for Bernie Sanders voted for Donald Trump. When you suffer from poverty, from exclusion, from constant humiliation, you are just trying to find a way to say, “I suffer.”

Of course, there were, in my childhood, and I think in general, some people who were deeply racist, who will never change. When I was a child, it was some guys who had a croix gammée on their car, you know, the Hitlerian cross, or who have them tattooed on their skin.

But most of these people who voted for the far right were right-wing because the left hasn’t cared about them for so long. In the eighties, in the nineties, in the early two-thousands, the left-wing parties stopped talking about poverty, they stopped talking about pain at work, they stopped talking about precariousness. It’s the same throughout the world. So, the poor people, the working class, had the impression that no one cared about them anymore, and they started to vote for the far right.

How, with the gilets jaunes, do you imagine that the language around this movement could be reinvented? What would that require, or look like?

I think that what is important was for the left to be there, to be present. It’s already what started to happen with the gilets jaunes. At the beginning, you had a lot of right-wing people, some of the far-right—politicians or celebrities—who were supporting this movement. And then the movement started to become more left-wing because at the beginning they were talking only about gas, and now they are talking about social justice, equality.

I was there, last Saturday, as a part of the Comité Adama, which was created after Adama Traoré was killed by the police, two years ago. Several gendarmes stopped him—he wasn’t doing anything, he just didn’t have his I.D., and in France you can arrest someone if that person doesn’t have her or his I.D. but, obviously, they only do it against black people, people of color. It never happened to me. So, they arrested Adama Traoré. He didn’t want to be arrested, so he ran. It was his birthday, and he wanted to celebrate, he didn’t want to spend his night in jail just because he didn’t have his I.D. They stopped him, and three or four gendarmes put pressure on his body, asphyxiated him, and he died. Afterward, his sister, Assa Traoré, created the Comité Adama, which is now the most important organization that fights against racism in France, against police violence.

So, since the beginning, I have been part of this movement with Assa Traoré, and we’ve been there demonstrating together the last couple of weeks. At first, when some people from the media, from the bourgeoisie, were trying to dismiss the gilets jaunes movement, Assa Traoré said, “We will be there.” Many others did, too, and it challenged the vocabulary of this movement because it changes the face of who is seen to represent it. Our group marching looks different from the popular imagination of who the gilets jaunes are. I was walking with Assa Traoré, she’s a black woman. I’m a queer guy, I’m not very masculine. And we were part of the movement. We didn’t feel any violence from other people, except the police.

Now the thing that they are talking about is this violence—a car burnt, or the Arc de Triomphe being attacked. But, as many people have already said, what is this violence compared to the extreme violence of social domination, of poverty? My father is fifty years old. He has trouble walking. He cannot breathe at night without an apparatus so his heart doesn’t stop. And my father is young. The state of his body is due to social violence because he was a factory worker. At thirty-five, his back was destroyed in the factory. The French state, Nicolas Sarkozy, said, if you don’t go back to work, you will lose your welfare. And so now he’s fifty years old, he cannot walk anymore. What is a tag on the Arc de Triomphe compared to that? What is a car burning in comparison to that?

There’s been a lot of discussion of violence at gilets jaunes protests. We often see this word “casseur.” They’re vandals who show up at protests to break stuff, smash store windows, and things like that. Are they actually a part of the movement?

You have some casseurs who come to every single demonstration to break things. But there are also people who feel how unfair the world is, and they want to break everything because their lives have been broken, or because they saw broken lives around them. Some of them come from privilege, but you can come from a privileged milieu and think that all this violence around us is unbearable. So I wouldn’t dismiss it so easily. The question we should ask is not “Why are there some people breaking?” but “Why are there not more people breaking?”

My little sister was selling burgers at McDonald’s. She stopped school at sixteen, like my mother, like my father, like my grandmother, like everybody in my family. She was humiliated, she was insulted, she was treated so badly there. My little brother is an homme de menage, he is cleaning offices. People there don’t say hello, he doesn’t make any money. Why don’t people break more often? I don’t think that it’s my ideal. But, in terms of truthful social analysis, we should ask the question this way.

  • Alexandra Schwartz is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

July 24, 2017

Interview with NY Sen.Gillibrand: on Trump, "I Would Fire Him"

America did not get its first female president in 2016, but that doesn’t mean women have stopped flexing their political muscle. High on that list of power politicos is U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who, talking with Katie Couric on Saturday, leaned into the discussion of the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump. If he fires special counsel Robert Mueller, that would “reach a whole other level of ridiculousness that I think stops everything,” the New York Democrat said, speaking before a home state crowd at OZY Fest in Central Park.

 Then again, the UCLA-trained lawyer already thinks there’s a case for obstruction of justice after Trump canned James Comey, in part for his handling of the Russian investigation. For that, “I’d fire him,” Gillibrand said of Trump, although she admitted it would be up to Mueller to prove obstruction of justice. That was just one of the points made in Couric’s wide-ranging interview with Gillibrand, who, coming from a town hall in the Bronx, said the concerns of her constituents were fresh in her mind. “Not surprisingly, they are really worried about this health care bill,” she said, adding that so-called Trumpcare has been delayed only because of grassroots pressure. “The message is: Don’t stop!” 
“We built Obamacare on the for-profit system. If you really want to get prices down, you need a single payer,” Gillibrand said when Couric asked how to improve the Affordable Care Act without scrapping it. “No,” she responded unequivocally when asked if Republicans in Congress would back off recent, unpopular proposals on such issues as health care and immigration without external pressure, adding that only constituents and advocates could “give them courage.” And when Couric noted that Emily’s List has counted at least 11,000 women who have expressed interest in running for elected office since Trump became president, Gillibrand said that women shouldn’t be afraid of being unqualified for the task. “I felt the same way — not smart enough, not tough enough, not experienced. It’s not about you. It’s about what you want to fix.”
That doesn’t mean it will be easy for women going forward. When Couric asked if misogyny still exists significantly on Capitol Hill, Gillibrand quipped: “Is the sky blue?” It was an issue Gillibrand tackled in her book, Off the Sidelines, in which she documented comments made to her about her weight and appearance while walking the halls of Congress.
In addition to leading the passage of a health care bill for 9/11 first responders and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policies, Gillibrand has been an ardent advocate of creating more accountability around sexual assaults in the armed forces — a cause that hasn’t gone far enough yet, she admits. She compared it to other attempts to reform what she calls “closed institutions,” such as the NFL dealing with athletes who engage in domestic abuse or the Catholic Church trying to weed out pedophile priests. “It takes all that much more effort to speak truth to power, get the stories out, but also create the consensus and move the mountain of actually getting laws changed,” she says. The rate of retaliation against women and men who report sexual assaults in the military is still 59 percent, Gillibrand said, while only 2 in 10 assaults are reported as crimes. The conviction rate in such cases is even more dismal. 
The question of the Democratic Party’s future hovered in the air, in part because many forecast Gillibrand as one of the party’s standard-bearers in 2020. While she refused to talk about a potential presidential run, she did push back against the idea that progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were steering the party in an untenable direction. “President Trump ran on the [platform that] the system is rigged, which is Liz Warren’s message, and no bad trade deals, which was Bernie Sanders’ message,” she argued.
Continuing the populist theme, Gillibrand talked about education reform. “Why shouldn’t all federal student loans be refinanced at 4 percent?” she asked. And while her mentor Hillary Clinton didn’t become Madam President in November, the losing candidate has inspired the next generation of politicians. “She’s put the fire in the belly in so many women to come after her, to run, to win,” Gillibrand said. “I feel like we are so poised to fight harder than we ever have before.”
  • Nick Fouriezos, OZY Author

September 15, 2014

Interview with Andrew Scott (Moriarty) and His Next Movie“Pride” See him in pictures can get you…

   I am posting(adamfoxie) an interview with Andrew Scott, who plays Moriarty in the hit TV series “Sherlock,” (openly gay) and b  (Posted by Word Press)      
Kevin Li ( get the following  background before the questions on the interview:
 According to Mirror, he has said that his sexual preference did not affect his working life in a negative way. He is currently busy promoting his latest comedy film,  ride," where he plays Gethin, a gay bookshop owner.
 gay younger times

Pride is about the miners' strike in 1984. The movie is based on a true story about the unlikely alliance that happened between a group of gay and lesbian activists from London and a Welsh mining community. In order to help the miners during their yearlong strike, the gay rights activists raised thousands of pounds for the Dulai Valley mining community. Andrew Scott said that it was an extraordinary story that is not known by many people.
Andrew Scott, as part of his promotion for the film, took part in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) segment on Reddit. However, reviewers were not very impressed by his answers and comments. Taking part in a Reddit AMA is supposed to be a good way to build online camaraderie, but Andrew Scott more or less somehow failed at it.

Critics said that his appearance was one of the worst AMA's of all time because the actor was only able to answer about two dozen questions while writing very few words. There were also several instances when he did not even answer the questions thrown at him.
The whole event has left people wondering what truly happened, although no answers are forthcoming. It would seem that someone from Andrew Scott's camp thought that an appearance on Reddit was a good idea. Perhaps the actor was overwhelmed because when celebrities come for an AMA, someone from Reddit typically helps to them type the answers. The overall verdict was that the AMA did more harm than good.
Here are some of the questions and Andrew's responses: 
Q: What was it like (almost) kissing Benedict Cumberbatch?
A: Ben is my friend and my colleague. 
Q: Hey, what is your opinion of all the creepy fandoms on Tumblr?
A: Most people are really lovely. 
Q: What do you think youth around the world can do to stop hate crimes against the LBGTQ community?
A: Be kind to people. Everybody is going through something. 
Q: Hi Andrew. As an Irishman, what do you think is Ireland’s most significant contribution to television/film?
A: Its writers I would say.
Q: I remember you once mentioned that you play tennis, do you play with a one-handed or two-handed backhand?
A: Two handed.
Q: Are you a guy who has pineapple on pizza?
A: I am a guy who has pineapple on pizza, but not every time. You gotta shake things up.
Q: What are you working on after pride? Any plans for on stage?
A: I’m gonna take a bit of rest for a bit.
Q: The story of how gay & lesbian activists came out in support of the miners isn’t that well known in the UK. Was it exciting to be able to rectify that and what was it like working with such an incredible cast?
A: It’s an unbelievable story that will make you laugh and cry and be a bit nicer to people and I’m so proud to be part of it. It’s the most extraordinary cast too; they’ll blow your mind.
Q: Hi Andrew! I was lucky enough to see you in Birdland twice this spring and you were absolutely incredible. I’m a huge fan of yours and Simon Stephen’s work and wondered if you had any thoughts on what makes him such a great playwright? xx
A: He writes dialogue like no other, and he’s courageous as anything, and he’s a brilliant human being.
Q: Is Pride a film for all ages? I was planning on taking my whole family to see it :) x
A: Do it bring them all you won’t regret it i promise you x
Q: What was it like (almost) kissing Benedict Cumberbatch?
A: Ben is my friend and my colleague.
Q: Do you ship Sheriarty?
A: No
Q: Hey, what is your opinion of all the creepy fandoms on Tumblr?
A: Most people are really lovely.
Q: Hi Andrew, I was fortunate enough to catch a pre-screening of Pride in London, and thought it was one of the most courageous, self-aware and powerful pieces of film-making I’ve seen.
Your performance was spectacular, and some scenes were heartbreakingly raw – dressing gowns and socks outside Gay’s the Word was a particular favourite.
I understand that the directors chose to ‘blend’ the stories of your character and Jonathan’s real-life partner, which I think comes off very well. To what extent were you able to work with the film’s real-life counterparts/their journals of the time, and to what extent were you left to interpret the role for yourself?
A: Thanks so much that means a lot. I was left to interpret it myself. But it was brilliant to have the real guys around.
Q: How come you and me have never taken a hot air balloon ride together?
A: It is weird.
Q: What color are your socks today?
A: Kinda stripey
Q: Andrew, I’ve always wanted to know what inspired you to get into acting? You have been such a huge influence in my pursuit of theater and film, and your portrayal of Moriarty was just brilliant. Thank you so much for everything!
A: That’s very nice of you.
Q: Oreos?
A: Positive
Q: Hi Andrew! If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
A: Right where i am
Q: Would you say PRIDE is a comedy, or will it make us cry, or perhaps both? Thanks, Andrew!
A: Both!
Q: What do you think youth around the world can do to stop hate crimes against the LBGTQ community?
A: Be kind to people. Everybody is going through something.
Q: What is everyone like behind the scenes?
A: Well they’re not all exactly the same.
Q: What are your current favorite songs?
A: Anything by Kate Bush.
Q: Are you secretly a spice girl?
A: Very nineties question.
Q: Andrew my friend Amira is at school right now but her birthday is really close and she looks up to you a lot you are her idol and I was wondering if you could say happy birthday to her? It would mean a lot xx
A: Happy birthday Amira xx
Q: 70s, 80s or 90s???
A: Now
Andrew: Thanks everybody. Lots of love xx

Ai đã từng nhìn thấy giao diện của trang Reddit thì chắc cũng hiểu nó khó xem như thế nào, ngồi theo dõi được câu hỏi và câu trả lời thôi đã rối mắt lắm rồi. Nhưng hầu như mỗi khi có dàn cast của Sherlock tham gia Reddit AMA thì mình đều ngồi save lại từng câu hỏi vào một bài cho dễ đọc. Khá tốn thời gian và nhức mắt nhưng thường thì các bài Q&A trên Reddit đều làm mình ‘thỏa mãn’, riêng AMA của Andrew lần này làm mình thấy hơi buồn. Không biết là do bị xếp lịch chồng chéo hay bên agent quản lý và Reddit tổ chức event này ko tốt, hay vì Andrew có chuyện gì gấp mà AMA lần này của anh câu hỏi được trả lời rất ít, mà câu trả lời cũng cụt lủn, điều quan trọng nhất là ko hiểu sao cứ có cảm giác là ko phải Andrew trực tiếp trả lời toàn bộ các câu hỏi vậy. Số lượng câu hỏi lớn và thời lượng ít thì đôi khi cũng có người của trang Reddit giúp các khách mời typing, và mình có cảm giác cứ như họ cắt bớt câu trả lời ý -_- . Đọc #AskAndrew trên Twitter và xem nhiều phỏng vấn đều thấy phong cách nói chuyện của Andrew khác lắm.
Pictures above: adamfoxie blog

By :
Ben Schnetzer, Joseph Gilgun, Andrew Scott and Dominic West in Pride
Given the, shall we say, inglorious Tory record on gay rights in that era, does he find it at all ironic that it’s under Cameron’s government that gay marriage has finally been voted through? “I think that’s pretty cool, actually! It’s preposterous to me – sometimes I think people talk about different types of sexuality as if they were invented in 1973. You know, it’s been going on since the dawn of humanity, and will continue until the end of humanity, whenever that may be.”
He throws down a napkin theatrically and does a cross-legged leap back in his seat. “I don’t believe people are intrinsically homophobic. I think they’re ignorant, and they need to be exposed to things. There’s something very relieving about the idea of attributes of compassion and heroism and a belief in everybody. So it’s not a film for just gay people or miners. Just because you’re not a woman, doesn’t mean you don’t believe in women’s rights!”
I don’t want to use the term “game-changer” about Scott’s Moriarty, but luckily he uses it for me, invisible quotation marks and all. There’s no doubt it has boosted his profile – he says he has to get “a bit fighty” to avoid being asked to repeat himself, still finding his own independent avenues. And he’s glad fame didn’t come too soon: “Nor do I want it now,” he adds.
You can understand why. Thanks to Sherlock, he has an almost scarily devoted fan base who watch his every move. There’s YouTube footage of him being mobbed at the stage door after a performance of Birdland, uncomfortably pressed into a brief telephone chat with someone’s sister in Spain. “It can get a bit crazy. You have to escape via an alternative exit. But then you’ll walk down the street unrecognised to Prêt à Manger.”
He must see what it’s like for his friend Benedict Cumberbatch and recoil even further. “He copes with it really well.” The Sherlock stars, from the sound of it, are all adjusting to the new audience they bring along. “Birdland was sold out, and Martin [Freeman]’s play [Richard III at Trafalgar Studios] was sold out, and… I believe Benedict’s play [Hamlet at the Barbican] is doing OK?! I sent him a text the other day, saying I’d pay up to three grand for a ticket, book me in.”
Scott hasn’t forgotten the tabloid rumours of overexcited Freeman fans disrupting performances of Richard III. “But it’s brilliant that young people get excited,” he says. “I feel very strongly that the theatre isn’t just for white, middle-class people. Someone’s phone might go off, but for the most part they’re extremely respectful, they know the rules. I don’t think it’s fair to sensationalise and say they’re throwing cake at each other. It’s fear-mongering and it’s wrong. A little bit like Pride, that idea of us and them, I really abhor that. I hate it.”
If there’s a surprising dearth of any one thing on Scott’s résumé, it’s Shakespeare. I’ve always thought he could be one hell of a Dane, with that aching, soul-sick charisma of his. Will it be his turn soon? “Well, erm. I’m really looking forward to seeing Benedict. But there are, erm… what’s the thing to say? It’s in the ether.”
Pride is out now

August 15, 2012

As Adam Levine is Interviewed He Sexualy Sparks!

This interview was done by Pride Source
Supermodel girlfriends, rumored spats with Christina Aguilera and the engine that has kept Maroon 5 running for 10 years - there's still so much more to Adam Levine. The adored frontman of one of the biggest pop bands, who recently told MTV that if he were president his first mission would be to legalize gay marriage, is also a straight ambassador for the gay community.
With lots going on - judging this fall's third season of "The Voice," making his acting debut on Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story" and touring with Maroon 5 - it's no wonder the band's latest album is called "Overexposed" (A&M/Octone Records).
In this exclusive chat with the pop star, Levine talks how fighting for gay rights has little to do with him having a gay brother, what he really thinks of people who don't believe in marriage equality and if we'll see him, ahem, overexposed on "American Horror Story."
Of all the things you could've said, why did you tell MTV that you'd legalize gay marriage first if you were president?
It's just so silly and it doesn't make any sense to me that you wouldn't be able to marry whomever you want to marry. It's not our business. I don't know why we're obsessed with making everything in this country our business, all the time. It seems we're a little behind on that, and we just need to make it legal and stop caring so much. It doesn't matter. And it shouldn't matter.
What would you say to other straight people who don't agree with you on the marriage issue?
Listen, I'm always willing to hear all sides of all arguments. Anyone who doesn't agree with it is essentially putting themselves above other people. That's what they're doing. And that's not OK with me.
People have their personal preferences as to what they want to do with their own lives, and they have every right to do that - just like a gay couple has every right to do that. It's just not anyone's business except the people involved. That's all I would say: "What makes you better than these people?"
People have a million different justifications and reasons why they don't want (gay marriage) allowed, but it doesn't check out. Whenever I hear people's reasoning behind it, I think to myself: First of all, marriage isn't always successful anyway. Look at the divorce rate and all the things that go wrong with marriage. Whether it's gay or straight, there are issues with it. Clearly people have a hard time staying together, and that's just a sad truth about marriage in our society. People should be allowed to succeed and fail at marriage as they so desire.
Has having a gay brother influenced how outspoken you've become for the gay community?
I don't think that having a gay brother has affected the way I feel about it, because I would feel the same way regardless. I happen to have a gay brother, but that doesn't mean I'm more of an advocate for equal human rights. That shouldn't change anything about the way that I feel.
But he's your brother, so certainly some of your passion for gay rights is an extension of that relationship, right?
Of course! That contributes on some level to the way that I feel. But I don't know - I don't think I would feel any differently if he happened to be straight. The relationships that I have with people - whether it's my brother or a friend, gay or straight - that shouldn't really ever come into play. Someone's sexual preference is their sexual preference. Let's move on.
When I'm talking about dating a girl and they're talking about dating a guy - big fucking deal. That's the thing; that's what's so bizarre about it: It doesn't faze me. Obviously I was brought up to believe that everybody is on a level playing field and we're all crazy, cool and all that fun stuff - and I don't pay much mind to it, because who am I to judge people? I judge people based on the things that they do. I judge people based on their character. If you have a friend who decides to do certain things in their own private time - even if they're straight - whatever the fuck they're into, fine. It doesn't matter. That's the biggest problem: It just simply doesn't affect the way I view a person. It's so arbitrary.
How big of a role do you think the gay community has had in Maroon 5's career?
The music that we make is for people to enjoy, and as far as all communities are concerned, the band's mission statement is that we make music for everybody and that we love everyone who appreciates it and we appreciate everyone who appreciates it. There's every type of person at our shows. And I love that. The more diverse our crowds get over time, the happier we get as a band.
What's been the best part of shooting "American Horror Story" so far?
It's so much fun. I'm having a blast and obviously Ryan (Murphy) is amazing and so passionate and so cool, and I thank him for giving me this opportunity. It's a really special show to be a part of, and it's been really fun and I'm very excited to see the results.
I've never really seen myself do any of this before, so I'm a little wigged out about that - actually watching myself. It's all new and it's all fun and it's a fresh experience. I've gotten super into it and hope there are more cool things like that to come. And I've got a lot of blood on me!

What does that taste like?
It tastes like gross corn syrup crap.
Dylan McDermott is known for getting naked a lot on the show. Should we expect you to get naked as well?
(Laughs) I don't think I'll be getting naked on the show. There's no nudity for me. But you'll see: It's definitely interesting.
Who's the bigger diva on "The Voice": You or Christina Aguilera?
Probably me. (Laughs) You know, it's cool because at this point, we finally hit our stride as friends - all four of us. Anytime you get four people together who don't know each other very well, at first certain people gravitate toward others and alliances are formed and friendships are formed. But what's great now is that all four of us are very close and having the best time because we're the most connected we've ever been.
Blake Shelton seems very connected to you. So connected, in fact, he has said that he wants to kiss you. Is there a bromance going on that you want to tell us about?
(Laughs) I'm pretty sure all that is in good humor. I'm sure he doesn't really want to kiss me. He's married; he's taken.
When was the moment that you felt like Maroon 5 had become overexposed?
(Laughs) (The album title) is more just a humorous take on the fact that the band is everywhere, which is a wonderful thing. It's kind of nice to put a spin on it and make fun of it and be silly about it rather than turn it into a bad thing. Because it's amazing.
We've been lucky enough to withstand over a decade of, I guess, what you call relevance, and we're really excited about that: continuing to have songs on the radio, playing big concerts and having this wonderful career. But we're everywhere, so I do believe there is some truth to that statement - and it's funny to poke a little bit of fun at it.
A lot has changed in the business since you started 10 years ago. We have Chely Wright, an out gay country artist, and now the first major out hip-hop artist: Frank Ocean. How do you think these people, and the music business as a whole, can be influential in changing people's mind regarding gay politics?
It's a great platform for that. We've made a lot of strides in a lot of ways as far as acceptance is concerned. What's funny is everyone is always talking about the world being so fucked and such a disaster, but when you really look at it, there's an argument in there that the world's become a better place.
Look at the strides. It's really easy to look at all the things that are wrong with the world and say, "Oh my god, we're all going to hell in a hand basket." But I think what's cool to say is, "Look at the wonderful things that we have been able to achieve and look at how much more equally people are treated now as opposed to the past."
I think we have a lot of really big strides to make: For some reason, someone being homophobic is still somewhat acceptable in our society, which I don't like. That's what I hate so much, but I think that we've made strides there, too. It's going to be a long battle. People make fun of people for being gay too much; it's too culturally accepted still, but it's better.
You used to watch a movie and people used to say - I won't say it - but F-A-G all the time. And that doesn't happen anymore. You have to look at that and say, "That's a good thing, man." It's not this derogatory thing that's widely acceptable. You look back to the '70s and '80s and you're like, "Whoa, I can't believe that's in this movie or on this television show, or that it was casually thrown around a lot." It's become a bad word, and that's a good thing. There's always going to be a lot wrong with the world, but I do think it's becoming a better place in that regard.
What about the music business itself: Do you see the music business evolving faster than the rest of the world?
That would be a nice idea. You do tend to find that a lot of people who are involved in music don't care about whether someone is gay or not, or gay themselves. Who knows why that's the case. Maybe that particular part of entertainment is evolving or has always been that way.
Most of the people that I know, it's just not an issue. Most people in the music industry don't necessarily judge people for that kind of thing and it doesn't really come into play; it doesn't matter. People, especially musicians and artists, were more guarded a while ago. Now it seems like it doesn't seem to bother anybody very much, which is great.
Listen, the forward movement with this whole thing is good, and getting it all out there and having discussions and debates only helps us advance, so I'm all about discussing it with someone. I'm still very interested in getting to the bottom of why people don't understand that in saying certain people aren't allowed to marry - what leg do you have to stand on there? Unless you can admit that you're putting yourself above them, then there's no argument. Otherwise you would say, "Everyone has the right to marry." That's a hard pill to swallow because, like I said, I'm always ready to play the other side and to try to appreciate the other side for what it's worth, and you can't really argue unless you can start to understand where that side comes from. But I still don't quite get it. It still baffles me.
by Chris Azzopardi who is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at http//

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