Presidential Cockfight

BY Margaret Cho

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It’s such a bizarre and weird time in the world.

This presidential race has become the biggest dick contest in history. “Your dick is indecisive!” “Your dick started an unnecessary war!” “Your dick didn’t get injured enough in Vietnam!” “Your dick didn’t even go to Vietnam!” “Your dick is soft on terrorism!” Has this kind of dick waggling happened before outside of a pro-wrestling context?

It is embarrassing, because you want to believe that our leaders would have some decorum or gentility in the debate to win the most powerful position in the world. It literally is the battle over who gets to be the king of the planet. I want someone with a bit of self control in that position.

Of course, the Republicans started it, so you can’t fault Kerry for joining in. After all, the Democrats could stand to do a little mud-slinging. A lot of mud-slinging would be needed just to catch up.

Then there is the Bush administration trying to keep us in a state of panic all the time, like raising the Terror Alert so that we’re not at ease but always on edge. And it’s always the most ridiculous stuff like, “An ATM was targeted in Midtown Manhattan!”

But I’m so used to raised terror alerts, I’m unaffected. I’m like, “It’s orange. Does that mean I have to take off my shoes?” Meanwhile, clog sales have gone through the roof. People think that it’s Halliburton that’s benefiting from all this; no it’s Birkenstock. It’s a huge clog/mule cartel conspiring. Slip-on shoes are the future.

I would feel a little bit better if George W. Bush could say the word “nuclear” correctly. You’d think that somebody would have said something by now, that Condoleezza Rice would have gotten up in his face, “Fool! It’s ‘nu-clear’. I’m gonna have to write it down for you, make you some flash cards.”

And I’m very worried about the troops, but I’m also worried that my reproductive rights might be taken away from me. And I’m as scared of terrorism as every one else, but I’m also scared that people over here are getting arrested by the F.B.I. and the I.N.S. for having the wrong last name. And I’m so, so sorry that there’s so much starvation in Iraq and so much starvation all over the world, but I am also so, so sorry that there are young girls here starving themselves to death so that they can look like the actresses on TV.

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During this election, gay and lesbian activist groups are buckling under the pressure to remain silent about their existence. They haven’t talked about gay marriage and they’re not going to. I accept the fact that John Kerry cannot endorse gay marriage until the election. At this point, I don’t give a shit. Anybody but Bush. Anybody. And when we do get Kerry into office, then we really go for it. Hit ’em where they live. Get all the wedding planners to go on strike.

All the busy-body “Christian” people—when they’re not preparing for the Rapture—are trying to make gay people miserable. I don’t see why our lives affect theirs in the least. They point to us as evidence of Satan in the world. Don’t they realize that Satan is intolerance, that every time they practice injustice, another demon gets his wings?

The Pope recently castigated the media for making gays look normal. Yeah, he’s a real good judge of normal. With the gold dress, and the matching gold hat, living up in the Vatican with 500 men, surrounded by the finest antiques in the world. You go, girl!

But it is the religious right who are fucking scary, because they’re out of control. Even the Satanists are saying, “Wow, you guys are being really mean.”

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There is also a war against women, against women’s rights. I was at the March for Women’s Lives in Washington. It was huge. I got there on Friday—the march was on Sunday—and women were already protesting in the streets. I was worried they were going to shoot their wad. But then I remembered that women can protest multiple times. There were lots of people, and great speakers. Gloria Steinem spoke, and Susan Sarandon spoke, and Paris Hilton spoke—“No more wire hangers! Wire hangers make those weird creases in your sweaters!”

I saw Ann Coulter the other day on a show called “Scarborough Country.” I don’t know why Joe Scaraborough is not on Fox. It seems as if he escaped from Fox News and is on a rampage on MSNBC. I guess FOX News started to send out spores and grow shows on other networks. It’s all very conservative, very angry stuff.

So Ann Coulter is on talking about how USA Today fired her because, when covering the Democratic Convention, she wrote, “Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags.” I’m such a feminist, but every time I looked at Ann I got so angry. I’m like, “You know that’s why women shouldn’t work.”

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Another one of my issues is the death penalty. I’m opposed to it, so I write a lot of governors’ letters asking for stays of execution. The other day I had to write, “Dear Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.” And that felt so embarrassing, so frightening. The only thing he’s done so far in office is, let’s see, well, he called Democrats “girly men,” and then he shortened the stay for animals in an animal shelter from six days to three days. That’s so mean! “The kitty must die after three days. The kitty will be terminated after 72 hours. Hasta la vista, kitty.” Of course, the animal activists heard about it and slammed him. Then he was all, “The kitty may live, I’m sorry.” Animal activists are fierce. They are the most terrifying people. I just wish they would start working for human rights. We need them. Desperately. You don’t fuck with vegans. They are mean. They are scary. They are hungry.

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When somebody insults me and says I’m fat, or ugly, or not funny, or stupid, or whatever, I can argue with them. But when somebody says something about my race, I feel it, because that’s who I am. And when somebody attacks your sexuality it hurts, because that’s who you are. You can’t change that. Sexuality and race are those central parts of ourselves that we can’t remove or control.

When something hurts me I have to say something. If I don’t it will just burn me up. Living in America as a minority feels like dying of a thousand paper cuts, and I ain’t going out like that.

My favorite activist group was from the ’80s, ACT UP. They had a great slogan, “Silence Equals Death,” which meant that if we don’t talk about AIDS we will die of AIDS. I’ve got a similar slogan for me: “Silence equals nonexistence.”

That makes me a problem dinner guest. At some point during the evening someone will say, “Don’t go there.” Well, I live there. I bought a house there. I’m going to take you there.

I used to feel so weirdly paranoid talking and saying anything negative about the war or George Bush. But I got over it. I was doing a benefit for MoveOn.org in New York, and this was the week that the crazy right-wing conservatives were all angry because MoveOn had been running an ad that compared Bush with Hitler. And I said, “You know, George Bush is not Hitler. He would be if he applied himself, but he’s just lazy!”

I was deluged with hate mail, from the Freerepublic.com site. It wasn’t about political discourse. None of it was: “Ms. Cho, I believe you are being unfair to our administration. Please look again at our foreign policy.” It was: “You Mongolian chink dyke. Four more years! Go back to your country, pig fucker. Jesus Saves! Four more years!”

So since I wholeheartedly believe in free speech, I took all of their e-mails and I posted them on my Web site and included their return e-mail addresses. And these people who really like George W. Bush, they’re not that smart. They had e-mailed me from work. Well, I found out there are people out there who really like me, and who are pissed off to begin with. And they just need that much of a reason to go off. So when I had posted all these e-mails, I inadvertenly activated al Gayda. That’s one sleeper cell you do not want to wake up. These queens get up on the wrong side of the bed. They started an al Gayda training camp where they offer Pilates. Soon, the apology emails began flooding in. “I’m sorry! You’re an American. You’re entitled to your opinion. I’m sorry I called you a Mongolian cunt. Please make these gay people leave me alone! I’m afraid! Oh god, hurry, I think Cirque du Soleil is warming up on my lawn!”

This fall comedian Margaret Cho has been visiting swing states on a “State of Emergency Tour”. On October 29 she will perform in Jacksonville, Florida, and on October 30 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her latest video, Cho Revolution, was released in August. Read an In These Times interview with Cho.

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