A Voice From Within
Comic, radio host and author Jimmy Dore uses humor to inspire people to activism
By Carl Kozlowski 08/21/2014
There are lots of things about this country that annoy comedian Jimmy Dore. One is how fat cats always get richer and pay fewer taxes while leaving regular folks holding the bag. Another is how the government pleads poverty when the time comes to repair America’s infrastructure, yet can bail out Wall Street bankers to the tune of $2 billion a week.
But most of Dore’s contempt is for the media. While he is best known as a nationally headlining club comedian with two acclaimed Comedy Central specials, Dore has earned the right to criticize the media because now he is part of it.
As the host of “The Jimmy Dore Show” each week on KPFK-FM and Pacifica radio stations nationwide, and as a member of the highly popular Web-based political commentary series “The Young Turks,” Dore has shown that he has a freewheeling political instinct that owes loyalty to nothing but the truth. He’s now collected his views into a bitingly funny book called “Your Country Is Just Not That Into You,” which the Pasadena resident will discuss and sign at 7 p.m. next Thursday at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.
“The media used to be the watchdogs, but they’ve been bought by the people they’re supposed to be investigating,” says Dore. “NBC didn’t give you the facts about Iraq because they’re owned by defense contractors. You’ll never get the truth, just false equivalency, saying there are two sides to every story like global warming. I say there are not two sides to the truth. Don’t give us talking points. Give us the truth.”
Dore grew up as the youngest of 12 children in Chicago and went through 12 years of Catholic school. This resulted in him abandoning the faith as an adult, although he now has decided that it is more honest to be an agnostic than to be an atheist, “because no one should absolutely presume to know either way.”
“The book makes fun of religion and I do like to get high and watch faith healers like [televangelist] Benny Hinn,” laughs Dore. “He heals people left and right, yet he has the most wicked comb-over in television. If you could heal people, wouldn’t you take five minutes to heal and straighten out your hair? You never hear about a healer going to a hospital to heal people. So fucking lazy!”
The funnyman doesn’t believe that either party is willing to help people, because, in his opinion, “Democrats have become Republicans.” A fervent and proud progressive, Dore has loudly expressed disappointment that President Obama has not gone far enough to the left to solve the nation’s problems, pointing out that the Republicans have given up criticizing Obama’s banking and war plans because he feels they are essentially the same as their own.
“I will say I voted for Nader in 2000 instead of Al Gore,” says Dore. “The Democrats are proving Al Gore right, that there is not enough difference between the two parties. An example is that people get mad with immigrants and teachers when the economy goes south. If Wall Street crashes, we blame teachers. These fat-cat teachers are sneaking sacks of money into their Tercels. Worst of all, Obama wants to tie teacher pay to their performance, even though we put our hopped-up kids on the bus at 6 in the morning and basically wish them good luck.”
And yet, despite all his frustrations and his belief that the country’s fundamental economics have not improved since the financial meltdown of 2008, Dore holds out some hope for America. He knows that the corporations and the banks are still making bad financial decisions and “treating our savings accounts like an Indian casino,” and he believes that the recently completed World Cup soccer matches were just an extended excuse to distract people worldwide from very serious problems.
“But we do have the Constitution, which is a great thing,” says Dore. “We have a history of standing up for freedom, liberty and an even playing field. That’s what I like about America: there’s a hope of equality, rewarding hard work and judging by their character and not the color of skin. [NSA whistleblower] Edward Snowden was willing to give up life and liberty to help save our country, and that leaves us hope. I say thanks to him.”
Jimmy Dore discusses and signs his book “Your Country is Just Not That Into You” at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Aug. 28, at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Admission is free. Call (626) 449-5320 or visit vromans.com