Allison Kilkenny describes herself as “a political humorist, a fancy way of saying writer, who makes shitty world news funny.” She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, The Beast, Alternet.org’s Wiretap Magazine, and Timothy McSweeney’s. Her work has appeared on The Nation and SIRIUS radio.
Here’s Allison Kilkenny…
What’s some recent shitty news that you’ve made funny these days? And what part of the political spectrum would you describe your humor?
A lot of people say I’m liberal, which I don’t agree with. Democrats piss me off as much as, if not more, than Conservatives, though Republicans can be assholes, too. But you can find kind, compassionate, intelligent people on both sides of the political spectrum, just like you can find douchebags in all D.C. corners. I can’t call myself Libertarian either because I believe there is a place for large government programs, and I believe regulation is essential in the global marketplace. I’d have to categorize myself as “Other.”
I recently wrote a piece called “Spies R’ Us” about Google working with the CIA by handing over their client records, just as AT&T did during the NSA drama, and just like Yahoo did at the whim of the Chinese government. I talk about how corporations used to serve the public, but now they have betrayed the people’s trust, essentially spying on them for our tyrannical government.
How did you get into political humor? And who was your first paid audience? Where did your political cartoons first appear?
I started writing for blogs, but I didn’t get paid until I started writing investigative journalism pieces, i.e. something more substantial than my godless rantings. I posted my cartoons online, though I haven’t drawn any in a while.
What does your family think about your humor?
My mom and dad have no idea what’s going on. Actually, that’s not true. They think I’m funny, but I think I’m a bit extreme for them. They get nervous whenever I start to get worked up about something political.
What do you think about the mainstream media’s coverage of the Democratic run for president? And do you think the mainstream media covers McCain’s run for president differently?
The problem is no one is covering McCain, and when they do cover him, they believe whatever he says because he’s shielded himself with this “Straight Talk” nonsense. I just finished reading Myth of a Maverick by Matt Welch. It’s a great book about how McCain has presented himself as this libertarian every-man, when in fact he’s an expansionist elitist who wants to increase military spending and colonize the planet. He’s a scary dude, mostly because he’s so damn likable in interviews. He’s learned the trick of media over-saturation, where he just floods the media with interviews, answers, and documents, and the media gets bored, and leaves him alone. It’s really very brilliant.
The Obama-Clinton horse race is pretty boring. There’s not a great deal of difference between them, and they’re both saying pretty scary stuff, like about NOT bringing home military contractors along with the troops. The Democrats are behaving like a bunch of outraged hens, pecking and clawing at one another, and dividing the party earlier than ever. So, I guess it’s great they’ve grown more efficient in their ineptitude.
What do you think about mainstream media’s coverage of Rev. Wright and Geraldine Ferraro’s comments? Do you think Barack or Hillary should have done anything differently?
Matt Taibbi wrote this great article about the Wright scandal, and how he thinks it’s interesting that the predominately “white media” declared unacceptable Wright’s form of protest. Other forms of protest, like MLK and Obama’s recent race speech are acceptable because the information is presented with velvet edges, beige words, and other forms of communication familiar to middle-class, white families. It’s actually pretty racist for the media to say Wright’s beliefs are unacceptable. Unacceptable to whom? To people overwhelmed by white guilt and white fear?
This guilt-by-association shit is ridiculous, as if Clinton and Obama should have to tag along with their supporters and make sure no one slips up and says something controversial. This is exactly why politics has turned so monotonous, uninformative, and universally “bleh.” Politicians are terrified of being sound-bited, so they deliver their poll-tested stump speeches, and sprint off-stage before anything unsavory happens.
Ferraro, Powers, and Wright made fringe statements, but the media-led witch hunts were uncalled for. Just stupid people talking about stupid things, distracting us from the real issues.
How do you think things will unfold for the ’08 election? What are you hoping will unfold?
The DNC (Democratic National Convention) in Denver will be interesting, especially if Clinton tries to lead a party coup because I think they’ll be tremendous outrage in Obama’s camp. They’ll see Clinton’s people as the old order trying to usurp the nomination in some kind of insane power grab. It could be loads of fun, though, like some terrifically violent Benny Hill skit.
As for a national election, I think John McCain is very dangerous. He’s charming, funny, and the press kisses his ass. He could very easily win in a head-to-head debate setting.
What do you think about some feminists feeling that women should vote for Hillary to get the first woman in office? And what do you think about some liberals saying they’re voting for Barack because they think racism is a bigger problem than sexism?
It’s bullshit. You have to examine the TYPE of woman and TYPE of black man running for office. And isn’t it just as racist to say, “I’m voting for the black guy because of his race”? I recognize that it’s a tremendous achievement for Clinton and Obama to have come this far, and it’s a wonderful moment for our country, but c’mon…it’s grown-up time now. We need to objectively examine them as candidates. That’s when we’ll truly have reached equality…when I can criticize Clinton and Obama without having someone accuse me of being a self-hating woman or racist.
If you could say anything to George W. Bush on his last day of office, as he’s walking to his goodbye secret service car, what would you say?
Where can readers see or read you next?
I have a blog at: http://allisonkilkenny.blogspot.com and I post on my myspace: myspace.com/modernbeats. Also, I regularly post on Huffington Post.