Oh man, that’s depressing.
[Laughs.] Well, that’s why you have press agents. That’s why lawyers tell you, “don’t say anything.”
That’s why you have this whole professional class of liars.
Exactly. Spin doctors and public relations and every goddamn thing, absolutely. Because people will use the truth, if you’re truthful and honest they’ll use it against you. [Groth sighs.] Nobody’s a saint, you know — when you do the kind of fringe stuff that I’ve done in my work, I’m not sure what the fuck I’m doing. That’s why I said in that article, if I’m confronted by some angry child-abuse group I have no defense, I don’t know what to say. I just throw up my hands and say, “I dunno. Maybe I should be locked up, I have no idea.” [Laughter.] People are willing to print my work and disseminate it, and they get away with it.
But then they'll ask, “Don’t you feel any responsibility to the audience?”
And I say, “Of course I do, but the question of the effect on the audience is not answered, the verdict’s not in.”
In the ’80s they had the Meese Commission to suppress pornography under Reagan. They came out with these phony studies that showed how rapists and people like that had been influenced by pornography. It was completely fraudulent. Playboy did a long series of articles trying to oppose that and show that it was spurious. There were studies done showing there was no relation to pornography and rape or child abuse or anything. Some rapists looked at pornography, some didn’t. Some were actually very repressed, like Christian types, or came from extremely repressive religious families, so no conclusion’s ever been come to about that. The verdict’s not in on it.
No, the Meese Report was entirely rigged.
Yeah, completely spurious. What a sleazy character — Edwin Meese!
[Laughs.] I wonder where he is today.
Yeah, I think he might’ve died.
He might be dead, yeah. [Ed. He is not, alas.]
But I can’t get into an argument like that. Am I nuts? Am I psycho? Like I said, what, I’m supposed to deny. “No I’m not psycho, I’m as normal and sane as you. Perhaps more so”??
On some profound level don’t you believe that’s true?
I don’t know what to believe. I have come to no conclusions. I don’t know anything. I'm less sure of what I believe now than I was 30 years ago.
Why is that, do you think? Is it because you know more and you know more of what you don’t know?
That’s right. I think the wisdom of age is mostly negative wisdom. You come to realize, well, that certainly is not true. Or that’s a big lie. Or that’s a bunch of bullshit. But what the real truth is, you just see more and more the complexity of life.
Truth becomes more and more elusive.
Yeah, I used to be such a strong believer in communism and socialism and stuff.
And even that’s fallen by the wayside?
Well, not entirely, but human nature being what it is, somebody once said, “socialism: great idea, wrong species.” [Laughter.] And you think of the Pharaohs getting the entire population of Egypt to build those pyramids just to their fucking glory. That's the kind of race we are. [Laughter.] We haven’t come all that far since then. We haven’t come that far since Hitler, and the concentration camps, and the gas chambers, Stalin and Mao, all the people they had killed or sent off to Siberia or whatever. You can go on and on.
I was thinking just last night, that politically, the entire situation just seems completely hopeless.
[Laughs.] A fucking mess.
I mean, perhaps even more so than 20 or 30 years ago. You know what’s going on over here in terms of the Republican candidates, right?
I follow it a little bit. There’s that “Pacman” woman, what’s her name, Bachman?
Yeah there’s her, and then there’s that guy from Texas, I don’t know what he’s like.
Rick Perry, right. Every single Republican candidate, with the hedging exception of Romney and possibly Huntsman, who don’t stand a chance anyway, does not believe that there’s such a thing as global warming. Which is terrifying.
Well, in the case of global warming, OK, I don’t trust the scientific consensus myself, because there’s too many other areas where scientific consensus is also a put-up job. Nothing is on the level is the problem. I would say in the case of global warming that the precautionary principle should be urgently applied. [Laughs.]
Even if they’re wrong.
Yeah, even if there’s the slightest possibility that they’re right. And seeing the way we squander resources and gorge the atmosphere 24 hours a day, seven days a week with carbons, it could be having a dire effect, [but] scientists don’t know that much. There’s certainly plenty of evidence. It’s just all the money in those kinds of situations. The global warming deniers, that’s mostly based on money, and the threat to industries, and having to retool and everything like that costs a lot of money. And what money interest is there for the people who believe in global warming, the scientists and all them? What possible money interests — OK, maybe some minor thing, perhaps an alternative energy source is a minor possible way to make money.
There’s no substantial economic incentive to push that agenda.
Certainly not huge ones: there are huge economic incentives to deny global warming. When you compare the two and weigh the balance any levelheaded person would tend to trust the people yelling about global warming being a danger [rather] than the ones who are saying, “no, no, it’s not.”
It’s like a “who would you buy a used car from” type of principle there. [Laughs.]
Have you seen a documentary called Collapse?
No, I haven’t seen that one.
You watch that and you want to slit your wrists.
Did you see Gasland?
Oh you’ve gotta watch that one. Oh my God. It’s about the fracking thing.
Oh right, right, right, which they’re doing in Canada a lot, right?
All over North America: They’re doing a lot of it in the United States, there’s hundreds of thousands of these gas wells. You’ve gotta check out Gasland, absolutely. There’s a big fight in France now, they’re trying to stop them from putting in these natural gas wells. They basically inject chemicals down into these, what do you call them, veins of gas under the ground and break up the shale, the rock, so the gas escapes and then they can mine the gas that way. But in the process they completely fuck up the groundwater, and they’ve done this all over America. This guy did this documentary went around and talked to these ranchers — it’s mostly in rural areas where they can get away with it. These ranchers have been tricked into letting them put these gas wells on their property, and their water supplies are completely fucked up.
Did you see Food Incorporated?
Oh, another documentary you gotta watch. That’s really well done.
You know I have my big argument. I’ve been, in the last five, 10 years doing a lot of reading, investigating about medical science and there’s so much fraud in the whole research establishment now, and lying and covering up and pharmaceutical interests. It’s just endless layers of evil. [Laughs.]
And it all comes down to: Follow the money.
Yeah. I got into obsessively keeping a file of investigations. A lot of it comes off the Internet. You can become a connoisseur of that stuff, you can start to perceive which is the most cogent and intelligently done investigation, and which are nutty, which are just kind of paranoid lunacy. You get to be a pretty good judge of that and you can start to detect PR, phony stuff even in books, and in articles about medical discoveries that are just strictly a sales pitch: complete sales pitch. And doctors are almost all taken in, they can’t perceive this, it’s incredible how naïve they are.
Or don’t want to perceive it, yeah.
Well, yeah, they’ve been programmed, they’ve been brainwashed for years and years through their whole career; the whole medical system is based on money.
Has doing this research made you feel paranoid?
Yeah, just a tad. [Laughter.] But as the saying goes, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”
That’s right. [Crumb laughs.]