T & A & Q & A
There's more to the SuicideGirls website than just the pierced and tattooed nudity of pale young ladies. The site also has interviews with such notables as Jonathan Ames, David Cross, Fountains of Wayne, Bobcat Goldthwait, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Natasha Lyonne, Bob Odenkirk, Liz Phair, Roman Polanski, Sarah Polley, Parker Posey, Jonathan Schwartzman, Harry Shearer, They Might Be Giants, and many others.
Here's an excerpt from the Terry Jones interview:
Daniel Robert Epstein: I read you're doing things to honor Peter Cook?
Terry Jones: Yeah, of course, I've been doing a few things with Peter Cook Foundation. Unfortunately, I was close to doing something last Tuesday I think it was, and I was ill, I got a virus so I was just totally laid out. I wasn't able to make it.
DRE: How aware does that make [you] of your own immortality?
TJ: I guess not many days go by that I don't think about that in some way. I started to think about my mortality about a week ago when I had that virus. It's a bit like being slightly dead, you know? You finally come back into the world, you sort of feel like life has been given back to you. I feel very grateful to be alive again.
DRE: Is it pleasing that you and your work will be remembered?
TJ: Well, not really. It's more like you're constantly thinking about well, will this next thing work? Or how will I make this work? How to get this going? That's kind of what interests me. I always have liked making things. It's that attraction when you've actually done something. It goes pretty quickly, when you're at work.
DRE: I read they're making [a] biopic of Graham Chapman.
TJ: Oh, really?
DRE: Who would you want to play you?
TJ: Oh, I think, oh my dear. What's the name of the woman who plays in "The Mask"? And she does a singing routine in "The Mask".
DRE: Cameron Diaz.
TJ: Yeah I'd like Cameron Diaz to play me.
DRE: You've written a bit about George Bush in the last year.
TJ: And Tony Blair, let me say.
DRE: What's your opinion in the New Year?
TJ: Well, I think it's a bit of a disaster. I really think you have [a] pretty evil lot of people in power in the States at the moment. A lot of the freedoms that we boast of in the West are being curtailed and a lot of the freedom of speech is disappearing too. It's not a very attractive period that the US is going through, or that the UK is going through. I mean, at least I can understand George Bush; I can see where he comes from. He's not George Bush, he's Cheney Rumsfeld and Bechtel. You can see where they come from and what their motives are. Which are no different from many people who wanted to pursue war in the Middle Ages. The Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Warrick were both against Richard II pursuing peace with France. The reason they were against it is because they made money out of war. So I don't think people change very much. However what's so pathetic about Blair is that he supinely supports this extremely right wing, redneck, ghastly government that are the lot of people that you've got running your country. And why Blair should be doing that, and giving them a sort of fig leaf of respectability, I have no idea whatsoever.
DRE: Is your opinion the majority attitude in the UK?
TJ: It's difficult to say, actually. I think an informed opinion, yeah. I really wouldn't want to say whether my attitude is typical over here. It's probably a minority attitude. Because again the press is so supine and doesn't really report what's going on. I keep banging on about the Project for the New American Century; I don't know whether you ever looked at their website. It's really a think tank set up by Cheney, Rumsfeld and all that lot. It was set up in I think 1997. It's all there, about what they intend to do. Attacking Saddam Hussein was there, not as an option, but as an objective, long before September 11th and long before Bush got into power. You can actually read up on the Project for a New American Century website, there's one bit where they say that the whole motive really is to increase the American spending on defense from 3.4 percent of the Gross National Product to 3.8. They were saying that the regime of Saddam Hussein may provide the justification but we should never lose sight of the fact that the main objective is to establish a military force presence in the Gulf. That's the reason for deposing him. They put it there in black and white. It is a whole attitude; America is now the most powerful, unchallenged country in the world, so America can actually impose a Pax Americana by force. They say it, without any blushing there. It's not a secret. They say, well this is going to be difficult to sell to the American people unless there is some cataclysmic event like a new Pearl Harbor. Not to say that, you know, they invented September 11th, but the whole thing about why they didn't react quicker to it. It could just be that they said, "Hey, this is the cataclysmic event we actually wanted!"
DRE: If Monty Python's Flying Circus had a point of view, what was it?
TJ: I hope when you're doing stuff that some sort of attitude does come through. But if you write with a point of view, from the beginning, then it sort of tends to be a bit preachy. But I would hope that when you do a body of work that actually some attitude comes through, whatever that attitude is, I don't think it's a sort of single attitude, but maybe it's just a questioning attitude, maybe think for yourself.