Maddow and Kushner at Joe's pub, talk, be awesome, etc.10:11 am - 12/05/2012
Photograph by Steve Shevett.
MADDOW + KUSHNER = ADOPT ME
Admit it: you want Rachel Maddow and Tony Kushner to be your gay lefty adoptive parents. Or at least your aunt and uncle you can talk with about the military-industrial complex over Thanksgiving dinner. One’s the giddy, sarcastic lady making fun of Mitt Romney on your television every night; the other wrote that movie about Lincoln that you know you have to see before the Oscars. Put them in a room and you’ve got more liberal fairy dust than the time Newt Gingrich was glitter-bombed.
And so it was for the two hundred or so New Yorkers at Joe’s Pub last night, where Maddow and Kushner teamed up for the Public Theatre’s “Duets” series. Toe-to-toe in comfy-looking armchairs, they both wore black shirts, dark jeans, glasses, and sensible shoes. It was like Communist-chic Thing One and Thing Two.
Over the ninety-minute discussion, they covered everything from Pat Buchanan and Mary Todd Lincoln to video games (Maddow’s latest side interest) and needlepoint (Kushner’s). Below, some highlights:
Maddow on the word “progressive”: “The right calls liberals ‘progressives’ now as an epithet, because they think it’s a Woodrow Wilsonian conspiracy to destroy the country from within. It’s a Glenn Beck thing. They’ve decided that progressive is scary, so when they swear at me on Twitter in all caps they use the word ‘progressive.’ Like, ‘I’ve unmasked you, progressive!’ I think progressive is the name of an insurance company.”
Kushner on the Republican Party: “If they get rid of the theocratic part, because that’s not bringing them very much anymore, and they get rid of the libertarian part, and they saw how well it worked to come out of the closet as just plutocrats who were out to get everyone’s money and stuff it into their pockets—it didn’t work very well for Romney—what are they?”
Maddow on Mitt Romney getting forty-seven per cent of the vote: “God is a numerologist. And kind of a dick.”
Kushner on Republicans who praise “Lincoln”: “It’s been a very interesting thing to have written something that suddenly Newt Gingrich, Rupert Murdoch, David Brooks, and Ross Douthat like.”
Maddow on bartending after the White House Correspondents Dinner: “Scott Brown won’t talk to me, but I know what he drinks. I gave Sarah Palin a Diet Coke!”
Kushner on theatre and politics: “There’s a kind of a fundamental irresponsibility in playwriting, and the strength of playwriting comes from that irresponsibility.”
Maddow on liberal infighting: “The criticism of Obama from the left that I can’t take, that I find enraging—I think of it as the Nader stuff. ‘Oh, they’re all the same. The parties are a two-headed Hydra.’ No, not true! They’re very, very different, and therefore we need to demand and expect the best of this guy in the White House and his Administration. This is pretty much as good as it gets, so let’s make it work.”
Kushner on Lindsey Graham: “He gets gayer and gayer every day. Any day now he’s going to say, ‘Aw, The hell with it! I want you to meet mah husband.’ ” (Maddow: “Now definitely no Republicans are going to talk to me.”)
Maddow’s question for Kushner: “Do you listen to music when you write?” (Answer: no.)
Kushner’s question for Maddow: “Do you feel that you’re playing a character?” (Answer: “It’s not a fake me, but it is a slice of me. Like, I am a person who has depression, and I don’t let depressed Rachel on television.”)
What Maddow would want to ask Abraham Lincoln: “I would want advice about the thing that I think is the defining feature of twenty-first century America, which is that we are warlike.”
What Kushner would want Maddow to ask Abraham Lincoln: “How did you like Steven Spielberg’s movie?”