Friday, November 16, 2007

My Rolling Stone Interview

Before the seven of you reading this get super excited for your favourite blogger, understand that the good people at Rolling Stone haven't come knocking, nor have I secured Jann S. Wenner to sit down and answer some of my mundane questions.

Today's installment comes as a result of my purchasing the 40th Anniversary issue of Rolling Stone. The whole thing - at least the meat of it - is a collection of interviews with "important people" like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Dave Matthews, Tom Hanks and a handful of others with different writers asking questions about what the future holds on various fronts, including politics, technology, music and what the most pressing issues are for the coming generations. And this inspired me to conduct my own version of the interview.

Questions by Rolling Stone. Answers by E. Spencer Kyte. Enjoy.

In general, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
Neither, I'm realistic. Things aren't going to change overnight and that means that the immediate future will most likely be a lot like the present and the present kind of sucks. I mean, sure there are scattered positives, but on a whole, on a global scale, the world sucks. Our troops are in a war that we really should have nothing to do with, no one seems to be willing to do anything about real crises like Darfur and there is this little thing about the environment that has Al Gore all up in arms. And best of all, our politicians would much rather just tell you all the stuff the other guy didn't do than actually do something positive themselves.

On the topic of religion, do you see people getting more or less rational in the coming years?
Hopefully more rational, but I know religion is a very divisive topic so that is just optimism. To me, organized religion is a sham and I don't say that to disrespect anyone. But for me, it simply becomes another reason people fight, which is unnecessary. There are much bigger issues to take than someone believing in a different god than you. And then there is the whole "God's Law" side of the debate where people do things and refuse to do things in the name of God instead of acting and living like rational human beings.

Has your career unfolded the way you expected?
I'm just getting started and so far, I'm pleased. I was just saying earlier today that I look forward to being able to tell my children that anything is possible and be a real-life example of that for them. I only decided to do this (writing) a couple years ago and in the last year I have signed on with two sports websites, am a regular contributor to an outstanding magazine and have started this bad boy right here. Plus, I have a couple other projects in the works that have me more excited than anything else.

How could Canada make an difference in Darfur?
Right now, any form of action would be a starting point. Too much time is spent debating the issues and talking about finding a solution and putting an end to the atrocities and that goes for me too. It's easy for me to say, "I'm appalled by the situation in Darfur" and then do nothing about it. From my position, one of the foremost things I can do is present the issue and talk about it, as well as seek action in government. As for Canada, maybe they would like to think about where our troops are allocated. I mean, an entire culture of people are being eradicated in Darfur, yet we're in Iraq trying to bring democracy to a country that obviously doesn't want it.

Do you believe free speech is truly in danger?
100% I do and that really sucks for someone like me. I think there are still outlets where free speech is encouraged and welcomed, but as the global community become more and more of a multinational corporation and media outlets continue to dictate what you see and hear, those avenues will eventually be shut down or muted as best as they can be. It's not as bad here in Canada as it is in the US - yet - and the yet is what scares me.

Are there public figures who you think are inspiring as we move into the future?
Barack Obama gives me hope. I honestly wish he was a Canadian citizen or decided to become one so we could have someone like him leading our country. He is so different from the current regime on so many levels that, whether he wins the Democratic Nomination or not, knowing he will be a very visible and involved government figure makes me very pleased. Besides him, I'm waiting for the next great Canadian to step up in that role. We haven't had anyone who inspired us since Trudeau and that was before my time. Since I can remember we've had Mulroney, Kim Campbell briefly, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and now Stephen Harper. Someone has to step to the forefront and be willing to be that person that champions Canada as the incredible nation that it is and unites our country, instead of dividing it. Not that everyone will agree on everything, but right now, all we keep electing are minority governments, which means everyone is split every which way and nothing greatly productive or impressive or groundbreaking gets done in Parliament because everyone is too afraid of losing what little bits of power they have.

How would you describe the state of pop culture?
Fucking train wreck. Seriously. I like to think of myself as a bit of a Pop Culture guy and it's sad the state of affairs right now. Even shittier is that it might just keep getting worse and worse. I mean, Dina Lohan has her own reality show and she's using it to promote her next daughter. Meanwhile, daughter #1 Lindsay is a total fucking mess who can't stay out of rehab and off the blow. Worse yet, Britney Spears has a number one single and a number one album. Tell me how in the world does this happen? Shouldn't someone have stood up and said, "We're not making your album until you get your shit straight?" It's not about your fifteen minutes of fame anymore. Now it's down to fifteen seconds, thanks to YouTube, Us Weekly and TMZ. People are missing the bigger picture of pop culture and what it can be. Instead, the focus is on dirt - tabloid bullshit - and that is really troubling.

Are you worried about the predicted disappearance of books and magazines and newspapers?
Not one bit. As much as technology has advanced and more types of media are available online and in different forms, nothing will ever beat the real thing. There is something about sitting in the park or a coffee shop or your living room reading a book or the newspaper that you just don't get from flipping through the virtual version. If anything, I think the Internet helps strengthen things because it is another avenue for getting your name and your work out to people. That wasn't available before. Some of those new people might just find the online version of your work, but there are still thousands of people who buy books, have magazine and newspaper subscriptions and do things the old fashioned way. That will never disappear.

What songs do you want played at your funeral?
The only one I know for sure is "Change" by Blind Melon. There is a lyric from that song that has been my quote for as long as I can remember. It's at the top of this blog actually. Other than that, I'd want something, not upbeat, but uplifting. I don't want my funeral to be a big sad bastard festival. I want to be celebrated and remembered. There would probably have to be some Kanye...

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