This month Russ Carr marks his fifth year as a columnist here at Intrepid Media. I sat down with him recently to milk his brain of every creamy opinion.
Intrepid Media: So hey, good afternoon.
Russ Carr: Thanks. Always glad to take one for the team.
IM: Good, good. Whatcha drinking there?
RC: Absolut Ruby Red and tonic. The new drink of choice. It's summer, y'know, gotta think light. Refreshing. Tangy.
IM: I'll have to get some.
RC: Do. You'll thank me. And I got two bucks in for plugging Absolut. So, what's new?
IM: I think I'm supposed to be asking the questions.
RC: Yeah, well, get cracking, slacker. The writer doesn't interview himself. I don't have time for that.
IM: Actually, I believe you've got all kinds of time these days.
RC: Ah, yeah. Funny. Yes, I am unemployed. Thanks. Nothing like being reminded of one of the most emasculating experiences of my life. But you wanna know something? I'm busier than ever.
RC: Doing...? Is that a question? Look, I'm interviewing you again!
IM: What are you doing to keep yourself busy?
RC: Oh, thank you for asking! Reviewing insurance brochures. Wrestling with the moral complexities of what constitutes an honest representation of my worth to an employer. And watching The Weather Channel.
IM: The Weather Channel?
RC: That's a question, again, or are you hard of hearing?
IM: Yes. A question.
RC: (shaking his head) Did you go to journalism school? Wait, don't answer that; I'm not interviewing you. Okay, yes, The Weather Channel.
IM: How come?
RC: Honestly? Weather on the 8s. Pretty much every break for local weather, the music that plays while you watch the forecast, it's some Latin guitar version of "Fragile" -- that old song by Sting. Only now it sounds like it's being played by Esteban. It's awesome.
IM: So you just watch to hear the song?
RC: Of course not. But it gives me a chance to say "Esteban" in this interview. I love saying the name. Drawing it out slowly. "Ess-TEH-bahn." Like the old pimp in Kill Bill Volume 2.
IM: Ah, movies. Movies are a big deal for you, aren't they?
RC: Not so much anymore. The movies that used to matter the most to me, I hadn't even seen. I made good coin not seeing movies. Now they want me to see movies, but the movies that I do see...meh...they don't linger so much anymore. I'm Jay whatsisface, The Critic: "It stinks!"
IM: So what does it take to make a movie linger?
RC: Show me something I haven't seen before. Give me a reason to talk about it. And think about it.
IM: Do you have a favorite actor, or actress?
RC: Not really. There are guys I like to see in movies. Sean Bean. Liev Schreiber. I'm big on supporting actors.
IM: What about television?
RC: I hate it, mostly. Mostly. That was a movie joke, by the way.
IM: I know.
RC: Do you? Did you? Good for you. No, I really hate TV. Once "Battlestar Galactica" ends next year, there won't be a thing worth watching on a regular basis. They ruin everything so fast these days, they don't get rid of it soon enough. They ruined "The X-Files" before they got rid of it. And "Buffy." And "Veronica Mars." And "Homicide." They pulled "Firefly" before I even had time to figure out I liked it, but I'm sure given the time, they'd've ruined that, too. No, I don't need it. I've got better things to do with my time.
IM: But what about The Weather Channel? Esteban?
RC: "You don't need a weather chart to tell which way the wind blows." Or a Latin guitarist. Move along.
IM: Uh, okay. So it's your fifth anniversary as an Intrepid staff writer. What's that like?
RC: The anniversary, or the staff writer job?
IM: Either. Both.
RC: The anniversary doesn't mean a thing to me, really. I mean, it's not like we get a gift certificate to Red Lobster. Besides, I only write alternate months now. I'm semi-regular staff. It's a good gig. I've gotten hate mail, so I know I must be doing something right.
RC: Well, that shut you right up. Are we done?
IM: No, no. I mean, I've got some...questions...that were solicited. Do you want those?
RC: Hey, I'm not Angelina Jolie; I won't tell you what you can't ask.
IM: Okay, then. Um...okay, first question: "What liquid would you most like to dip your balls in?"
RC: I take it back; you can't ask that. And who the hell did you solicit for these questions?
IM: Just people.
IM: Your colleagues.
RC: I'm going to need another drink, excuse me.
Carr walks over to a small retro-look fridge, pulls a frost-covered bottle of vodka from the freezer, and twists the cap off a fresh bottle of tonic water.
"Want one?" he calls back, and I shake my head no. After a couple of glugs from the bottle and an ear-splitting screeee! as he slides the vodka back into its ice-encrusted cave, he returns.
RC: So, the question...
IM: "What liquid would..."
RC: Yeah. Absolut Ruby Red.
RC: Absolut-ly. Hey, that's a dollar each.
IM: So glad to be helping your slush fund. Next question: "Are you the kind of man who would put the poison into his own goblet, or his enemy's?"
RC: My enemy's of course. Then I'd shoot him. Don't you know the Carr clan motto? Fide clavo -- "Make sure, with a nail."
IM: I thought it was sero sed serio -- "Late, but in earnest."
RC: Do you want me to shoot you now, or later, but earnestly?
IM: Moving on..."Have you ever streaked across a college campus naked?"
RC: That was my uncle. University of Florida. I think it was 1974; the Ford Administration, at least.
IM: "Would you be appropriate existential company on a road trip?"
RC: Ooooh. It's taken an hour, but you finally asked a good question. Y'know, I'd like to think so. I haven't taken a "real" road trip in ages. You know how depressing it is when you're driving and everyone else in the car goes to sleep and there's no one to talk to and you don't want to play the stereo for fear of waking the kids and you're dying for a caffeine fix or a sausage biscuit or something but you don't dare stop because the worst thing in the world at that moment would be risking another 200 miles of incessant nattering from the back seats? No? Let me tell you, it's hell. I would like to take that legendary road trip some day, particularly down in the desert southwest, where everything freaky seems to creep in from the edges. Living off burgers and beer in roadside bars and laying back on the hood at midnight staring up at the galaxy, waiting to see if the aliens are gonna put in a cameo that night. Yeah, I'd like to think so. I hope I'm not past that in my life. I think I've got one or two more big scores in there, just waiting for the right opportunity and the right company.
IM: That was pretty profound.
RC: It's the vodka, probably. What else you got in there?
IM: Hey, I'm asking the questions.
RC: You're learning, kiddo.
IM: "What does love taste like?"
RC: Pie crust.
IM: That's it?
RC: Yep. Next.
IM: "What, if anything, prepared you for marriage and then later on fatherhood?"
RC: My parents. (rolling his eyes) I know, I know. But if they hadn't made me who I was ten years ago, I wouldn't have the marriage I do now, or the kids I've had since. Also, the rest of the world. Because I see all the fools and idiots out there, and they encourage me to run contrary to them all. I can't change the idiots, but by God I can refuse to be one, and I can make sure my kids don't grow up to be idiots, either. That's the best gift I can give the world: my rage against its stupidity. It may sound twisted, but it makes me a better husband and father.
IM: "Have you ever seriously contemplated what action you would take in the event of a zombie apocalypse?"
RC: No, I haven't. I suppose I'd need to get a cricket bat. Maybe a can or two of Raid Zom-B-Gon.
IM: "If there's a cartoon character you've ever fancied, what did you want to do with him/her/it?"
RC: I want to blow raspberries on Kim Possible's perpetually bare midriff.
IM: "What's in there?"
RC: Is this a Joe Jackson song? Next. And let's wrap this up soon, please. No one's going to read this far anyway.
IM: "If you became president, what is the first thing you would change?"
RC: I'd pull every last man, woman and bullet in our armed forces inside our own national borders, and see how the world likes it when we're not out there cleaning up everyone else's mess. That's unrealistic, I know, but I'm tired of hearing the rest of the world whining about us being where they don't want us, or that we're not where they think we ought to be. Alternatively I'd privatize NASA and Amtrak.
IM: "Lightning strikes you. You miraculously survive with a whole new super power. What is it?"
RC: Telepathy. The world would be a much better place if I could tell people what to think. I'd start on Capitol Hill and work my way west.
IM: "Do you believe in global warming?"
RC: No, but I believe in entropy, which is worse. All systems decay. We should have a care to not accelerate the process needlessly. But if the earth really is getting hotter, I think more companies need to re-examine their dress codes. Corporate America could cut back on its energy consumption in summertime if it'd just allow shorts. And halter tops for ladies.
IM: Okay, last question: "Early-season Willow (from "Buffy") or Dark Willow?"
RC: Early-season Willow. So much unexplored potential for fun, far smaller chance of being "accidentally" disemboweled. Plus I love the geek girls. How's that? Enough?
IM: I think so. Thanks for your time.
RC: See you in five years.
If the media is the eye on the world, Russ Carr is the finger in that eye. Tune in each month to see him dispersing the smoke and smashing the mirrors of modern mass communication. The world lost Russ on 2/7/12, but he lives on.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
6.25.07 @ 12:38a
Russ, you would so be kickass existential company on a road trip. (I love you for answering my smartie-pants queries!)
6.25.07 @ 7:55a
That was fun!
I believe you were lamenting the nattering vs. total silence just yesterday. Sorry I got your pants wet - hope they dried during the drive! :)
6.25.07 @ 1:19p
That was hysterical and really well done. Also, mmmm, vodka...
6.26.07 @ 9:20a
Lucious! Just lucious!
6.28.07 @ 11:19a
Good stuff. Of course, anything with a mention of Willow, Kim Possible, and Battlestar Galactica is automatically cool. But still, good stuff even without the automatic points.
4.17.08 @ 5:17p
somehow I missed this. this is really funny. the fact that I've been on a road trip (of sorts) with you makes it even funnier