GG: You used to be a liberal. What happened?
BG: What happened? Liberals happened. I want to make a distinction between your run-of-the-mill liberals and the cultural elite liberals, who really speak for liberalism in America today. Most liberals obviously are decent people. They go to work every day, they care about their families, maybe they give money to charity. Fine. I have no problem whatsoever with anybody in that group. But the people who are speaking for liberals in the world of politics, the chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean; or the cultural liberals, like Michael Moore; the Hollywood elites who confuse intelligence with celebritythey think because theyíre famous, theyíre also smart. I listen to them and I say, I donít want to be part of that group anymore. Even when I agree with them, which is more often than you would think, I no longer want to be seen as being part of that group. It isnít because of their politics, which I think are misguided; itís because they come off as snobby and elitest. I think they look down their nose at ordinary Americans.
GG: How did you compile your list?
BG: I really think that there are a lot of people out there, liberals as well as conservatives, Democrats as well as Republicans, who say that this country has just gotten too angry in recent years, too nasty and certainly too vulgar. Thereís this tendency to believe that this stuff just happens in societiessocieties just evolve; nobodyís to blame. I donít believe that. I think people are to blame. These arenít the 100 worst people in America; theyíre 100 people who in my view are screwing things up. And some of the names are there for fun. I mean, Courtney Love...
GG: You called her a ďhoĒ! Thatís serious.
BG: I called her a ďho.Ē
GG: Whatís a ďhoĒ as opposed to a whore?
BG: Thereís a world of difference. You know the stuff that sheís done. I figured one word for Courtney Love ought to take care of it.
GG: Somehow, Iím not amazed that Howard Stern is on your list.
BG: The reason heís on the list because heís supposed to be a shock jock. Hereís the bad news: he doesnít shock anybody anymore. Thanks to Howard...this kind of sludge just washes over us. And thatís the danger. Thatís the serious part of the book. Iím not the Church Lady. I donít care what people say in private; I donít care what they do in private. But weíre talking about the public arena.
GG: But when you say that weíve come a long way from ďFrankly my dear, I donít give a damnĒ causing a big ruckus, that a lot of us miss that America, arenít you causing the problem, too, with your own ranting at people?
BG: Ranting is your word. I would say this: I donít call anybody a Nazi. I donít call anybody a fascist. I donít drop the F bomb on anybody. But I can give you a list as long as your arm of my friends on the left who do that all the time.
GG: You inveigh against rap music, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton. Donít you worry about being called a racist?
BG: Iím glad youíre bringing that up. I write about race in this book with a great deal of sadness. When I was in high school and college in the Ď60s, the civil rights movement was the most important movement and the most moral movement of my time, and of the 20th century, for that matter. Martin Luther King, in my opinion, was one of the five most important, decent Americans since our founding as a nation. What happens after Martin Luther King gets assassinated? We get Jesse Jackson, we get Al Sharpton. If the implication is that you canít write about Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton without worrying about being called a racist, well, weíve got a big problem in this country.
GG: What if somebody said to you, are you feigning outrage to sell books?
BG: The answer is no. Anybody who knows me knows that Iím incapableand I mean, like physically incapableof writing stuff I donít believe. My fingers wonít hit the keys.