The Great White Power Shark:
An Interview with Jim Goad
Long-time Counter-Currents contributor Ondrej Mann recently conducted an interview with our most prolific writer, Jim Goad.
Ondrej Mann: Do you believe in astrology and astrological signs? Do you have any experience with it? I was telling my girlfriend about you, your work, your interests, and your books, and she immediately said, typical Gemini. And then when I looked at your birth date, June 12 . . .
Jim Goad: Ah, yes, June 12, the same day that Anne Frank, George H. W. Bush, Jordan Peterson, and Jim “Gomer Pyle” Nabors were born. And we’re all so amazingly alike in every conceivable way! The idea that everyone born under the same month-long period has the same predictable personality traits is the second-dumbest I’ve ever heard next to the idea that everyone born during the same generation has the same personality traits.
You’re a born contrarian. A lot of your literature revolves around taboos and breaking taboos. Are there any taboos for Jim Goad?
I’m not too keen on the concept of “contrarian,” because to me it implies someone who disagrees with mainstream narratives just to be an obstinate prick. It also suggests insincerity. The fact that I disagree with what most people believe is just that — a fact, and it’s utterly sincere. I think the word “taboo” is merely a polite way of saying “a truth that society isn’t equipped to handle.” Personal taboos? Yeah, lying. It’s blasphemy against reality.
What convinced you to write for Counter-Currents?
After more than ten years of gritting my teeth at the fact that Taki’s daughter, who was the nominal editor at Taki’s Mag, was not only clueless about editorial matters but also a rude and graceless nepotism baby who thought far more of herself than anyone who had to deal with her seemed to think of her, Greg offered me the chance to jump ship, and so I accepted. I’d reckon that Greg’s IQ is at least 50 points higher than Taki’s daughter’s is, and neither does he bear the suffocating mien of someone who’s been spoiled into charmlessness their whole lives.
Do you have any favorite writers on Counter-Currents? How is it that professional writers, professors of literature, philosophy, etc. write for Counter-Currents, but your articles are the most read?
I haven’t seen any stats for at least a year on whose articles are “most read,” so I can’t comment on that. And even if my articles happen to be the most read, there’s no way of speculating about why that is without sounding like more of a dick than I already sound like. If I mention my favorite writers at CC, it will have a cascading effect of having the unmentioned writers feeling left out, leading to bloodshed and mutiny. As far as the idea of “professional writers” go, I’ve made a living for the past 30 years writing, so I think that technically qualifies me as a professional.
How did you come up with the idea to write The Worst Week Yet series? Have you written a literary series before? Personally, I think a continuing series, if it has a good theme, will get more readers than individual articles.
I’d been writing “The Week That Perished” for years and years at Taki’s, and then Taki’s daughter decided to fix what wasn’t broken and demanded she choose half of the topics for each week. My final year there, she demanded to choose all of the topics, so it became an absolutely joyless experience. After I left, David Cole asked me if he could assume the reins of the column with the same title — which I’d coined — intact. I said he could, and then I stopped hearing from him, even though I’d known him since the early 1990s. During my time there, he seemed absolutely terrified of Taki’s daughter, so it’s possibly related to that. He and I were both canceled back in the 90s, and I know he was very anxious about losing a gig at the only place that, at least at the time, would pay him to continue to write.
You’re a good singer. You sang the reader’s choice songs for last year’s Counter-Currents fundraiser for $100 per song. Are you planning any similar innovations?
Thank you. I enjoy singing, but not as much as I enjoy confusing people by singing. No plans at the moment, but I think CC should do more streams and incorporate more multimedia.
You released an album with Boyd Rice called Hatesville! Do you have any personal memories of that?
Around 1995 or so, Boyd asked me, Adam Parfrey, and Shaun Partridge to submit spoken-word tracks for a concept album. My track, “Let’s Hear It for Violence Toward Women!“, sticks out like a sore thumb because I hadn’t been informed that the album’s general style was more of a groovy beatnik cocktail jazz vibe. I think the most interesting thing about my track is that the backing “music” was comprised of a handful of old sound files from America Online in its fledgling days: a slamming door, whale sounds, a penny melting through dry ice, and a woman screaming.
You published some of your books with Feral House. Do you have any personal memories of Feral House and Adam Parfrey? His book Apocalypse Culture strikes me as similar to your magazine ANSWER Me! You certainly had a lot of common themes and interests.
I hadn’t seen any of Parfrey’s work until after I published the first issue of ANSWER Me!, although I had been warned while working at the LA Reader in the late 1980s that he was a “fascist.” I met him one night in 1992 over at Nick Bougas’ house and said with a smirk, “So . . . I hear that you’re a fascist.” Adam winked and said, “As long as they’re talking.” I think he should have written more books himself and published fewer books by other people. Apparently there’s an oral history of Adam in the works. Toward the end of his life he seemed to have undergone a radical personality change. Sure, many people change their philosophies, but Adam got so shrill and self-righteous, it was as if he’d become a completely different person. I believe the change was neurological in nature, because he’d suffered a head injury years earlier that seemed to have finally caught up with him.
How did you meet the artist Nick Bougas? He illustrated some books for you. Did you have any interesting experiences with him?
I was given Nick’s phone number by Anton Lavey, who recommended Nick when I asked him where I could get photos to illustrate my Lavey interview that came out in ANSWER Me! #2. Ever since meeting Nick, his breadth of knowledge about everything weird and arcane, and his nobility as a human being never fail to amaze me. The only time there’s ever been static between us is when I’ve tried to pick up the tab at restaurants. He has this tendency that I’ve only seen in Greeks: astoundingly generous, but they’ll adamantly refuse to let you reciprocate their generosity.
Why did you end up publishing ANSWER Me!?
I earned a BA in journalism, but in every one of my early experiences working for editors, they had an uncanny tendency to zero in on my favorite passages and delete them. After one too many of such experiences, I decided to go it alone and produce a magazine of everything that all the other editors had consigned to the dustbin.
Your book Shit Magnet is about your time in prison. What was your most shocking prison experience?
The most startling thing was how nice and respectful all the inmates were. It goes against everything you’ve ever seen in the movies, but it does make a great deal of sense — you’re all wearing the same uniform, you all have the same enemies (the “system” and the guards), and it’s bad enough being confined and treated like a dog. So you were in there with the only people on the planet who could empathize with your plight. Troublemakers were dealt with quickly, because it was unpleasant enough being confined, and no one needed nor wanted any extra agony. The atmosphere was almost monastic.
Were you something like a celebrity in prison?
To a tiny degree. Anyone who had any kind of notoriety on the “outs” (outside of prison) was treated like a star. I figured I was just this oddball writer guy and would have a lot of trouble in there. But I remember one of the most hardcore peckerwood (white) convicts asking me, “Do you have any idea how respected you are in here, brother?” Another white con whose handle was “Snake” once told me as we walked the track and he pointed at the rifle-toting guards in the tower above us, “They hate me because I’ve figured out their game. They hate you even more because you can put it on paper.”
You’re pretty fascinated with trucker culture. Have you ever worked as a trucker? Do you have any funny stories about truckers? Where did you get the inspiration for your book Trucker Fags in Denial?
I drove a Yellow Cab to put myself through college, and I’ve owned the same 1999 Dodge Ram pickup truck for the past 11 years, but I have no experience driving the big rigs. The interest in trucker lore came about around 1993 when a friend named Phil Irwin sent me a cassette tape of old trucker songs recorded in the 1960s. I was immediately amused and captivated. All of these singers such as Dave Dudley, Red Sovine, Red Simpson, and Dick Curless seemed to compete with one another about whose voice was deeper and whose truck was bigger and faster. It was almost like a dick-sizing contest, a white form of hip-hop. I got the idea for Trucker Fags in Denial after being amused at the fact that in prison, I never even heard of one rape happening, and homo sex was almost nonexistent except for a tiny cluster of guys ruled by a legendary convict called Angel, who was a former Golden Gloves boxer who grew his hair long and decided he was a woman one day. I’d even heard of Angel back in county jail. Everyone respected him, and everyone referred to him as a “she.” What fascinated me was the fact that, despite the lack of open faggotry, people constantly called one another fags. The characters of Butch and Petey were based on two fat older convicts who worked in the chow hall.
What kind of art appeals to you? What type of art do you prefer?
If by “art” you mean illustration, that’s something that hardly appeals to me at all, unlike literature, music, and movies. It may be related to the fact that I am entirely inept at drawing. I could try to draw a stick figure, but most people wouldn’t even be able to identify it as a stick figure. But I realize the value of visual art, which is why I’ve depended on gifted artists such as Jim Blanchard and Nick Bougas, as well as the immensely talented graphic designer Sean Tejaratchi, to provide art for my books.
Do you think Peter Sotos will become a highly respected artist and writer in the future? Sort of like the Marquis de Sade in the present.
I think Pete is already halfway there. I also think that like me, he’s not concerned very much about how he’s perceived. If by the “future” you mean after he’s dead, I think it’s silly to worry about such things, because you won’t get to either enjoy or be tormented by how you’re remembered, because, well, you’ll be dead.
Do you have an original idea that you haven’t managed to realize yet?
I’ve already written almost 20 extremely short stories (average word count around 1,000 to 1,500 words) with titles such as “The Boy Who Was Born With His Head Up His Ass,” “The Girl Who Got a Nosebleed Every Time Someone Said Something Dumb,” and “The Woman Who Gave Birth Every Time She Went to the Bathroom.” They all revolve around the idea of someone’s internal state manifesting itself physically. I have ideas for about 15 more stories such as this, and I’d like to release that as my first fiction book. Otherwise, I don’t read fiction at all, because it just can’t compete with how weird reality is. Otherwise, I’ve had a ton of screenplay ideas such as The Great White Power Shark, which is about a shark who only attacks black people.
Do you plan to write a scholarly or sociological book again, something like the The Redneck Manifesto and Gigantic Book of Sex?
I’m not sure either one of those books qualify as “scholarly,” but I think my best writing is the personal stuff, especially “Ode to Bucky Goad,” which was written about my deaf brother who got murdered in Paris in 1969. When I finally get around to writing a book about my son, that will be my magnum opus.
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