Is your work political?
Historically, I would not say that I’ve been a particularly political writer in terms of being an activist or someone who consistently advocates for change. Lately, however, it seems impossible to avoid political engagement in one’s work. The times demand that we choose our alliances, that we take a stand and speak our truths loudly. There is simply no room in this moment for hiding or remaining “neutral.”
What is the place of literature in politics?
I think that influential books can shape people’s opinions and change their minds, and in so doing, exert a political impact.
What is your favorite political work?
This is going to be a weird answer because it’s not my favorite work by any means, in fact watching it was quite traumatizing and unpleasant. But Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark” did me the huge favor of making me see why the death penalty is wrong. I used to be in favor of it for incorrigible serial killers and mass murderers, but the movie made me see that humans can’t be trusted with such a decision under any circumstances. It had a deep and lasting impact, and for that I have to thank you Lars, you sadistic weirdo you.
Do you feel voting is important?
What are your hopes for this election?
What do you think? Not only do I want Biden/Harris to win, I want to flip the Senate and end the careers of lifelong scumbags like McConnell and Graham. Then I want the Democratic Party to finally grow some balls and honor RBG’s last wish by PACKING THAT MOTHERFUCKING SUPREME COURT. Also, I would like every circuit court judge appointed by McConnell to be fired, I would like every piece of legislation passed by the Trump team to be annulled, and I would like the entire Trump team and cabinet to be publicly executed and their remains left out in the public square for birds to peck at for eternity. Then, just like when Arya Stark killed the Night King, I would like all of Trump’s disgusting zombie supporters to instantly evaporate and disappear from the planet forever. Is that too much to ask?
Carol Cheh is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Her writings on art can currently be seen at KCET Southland Sessions. Her performance art blog, Another Righteous Transfer! chronicled five years of the Los Angeles performance art scene, from 2009 to 2014. She is also the founder of Word is a Virus, an Art21 column exploring the intersection between words and visual art.
Public Intellectuals is a magazine that analyzes politics, economics, race, labor, socioeconomic class, popular culture, and literature. We publish daily.