Well, today I spent most of the day editing with Tony. This is very enjoyable. I mean, I have to say I really, really love it. The film is coming together and even though there will be a few possibly jarring cuts from this to that – necessitated by my own flubbing a line, or a camera operator’s camera becoming momentarily out of focus (mostly my fault since I often jump up and move without notice) I think the film is going to be professional and representative and maybe, even possibly GOOD. I am relieved. I will be proud… I think. I mean, I still haven’t finished the editing and I still haven’t mixed the sound and music and there’s so far to go before it’s really what it needs to be. But I am optimistic. My jaw line may not be as sharp as it once was, but this film will be as sharp as – well as is possible under the circumstances, and that is good enough for me.
I don’t have much to say tonight except I wanted to respond to a post by a Mule Skinner on my blogspot. (I copy my blog onto the blogspot and the forum and I read every single response.) Anyway, Mule Skinner is not a fan of mine, and that is TOTALLY FINE. I am happy this person wrote. She/he or whoever wrote rather nastily. Later, another poster noted that this person did not really identify himself or herself and chastised them for it. Personally I think it’s good that someone can write to me without identifying themselves. That makes it more honest, I think. Anyway, I just wanted to respond. But first let me repost what Mule says and answer as I see fit.
Anyway, he mule skinner said...
I saw "God said Ha!" live, in Los Angeles, in 1996. In that, Julia makes several loving references to a nun for whom she reserves no small amount of admiration, and says lots of nasty things about Pope John Paul II as well as the Catholic Church._
My response: I do, in that monologue, make a few references to Sister Antonella, a nun who taught me at Mary Cliff High School and who taught English Literature. I liked her a lot and she became a sort of friend. I mention her in “Letting Go of God” as well. I don’t say a lot of nasty things about Pope John Paul II as I recall. I do say I didn’t like him and that when I bought his book I was embarrassed and felt I had to get a book to put on top of it and underneath it when I was buying it, as if it were pornography. I say (in that monologue) that I need to keep up on what the Pope is saying so I can refute him. My thoughts about this now are: who would have thought that John Paul II was going to be the liberal Pope compared with who followed him!!!?!!! Ha. That makes me laugh. Cardinal Ratzinger is SO much worse, in my opinion than John Paul II. I don’t remember saying lots of nasty things about the Catholic Church in that monologue. I have a lot more nasty things to say now. But I do remember telling the story of going to see “Nunsense” and being offended at how nuns were portrayed like cartoons in that show. And that this is not my experience of nuns. I don’t know, I think that’s defending Catholicism. But maybe for you, Mule, defending nuns does not equal defending Catholicism. In any case, it’s all moot because I have so many more beefs with the Catholic church now than I had then. Anyhoo – let’s read Mule’s post further:
The essential problem with this schtick is the fact that God looms large in the life of every atheist. God means more to Julia than to the average believer, and is constantly on her mind._
Yes, this may be true. And that – as I believe another poster pointed out, is because I was hoodwinked for so many years. When you take on a worldview the way religion has you believe it, and then discard it, it’s hard NOT to have it dominate your thoughts for some time. And that is true for me. Also, even if this wasn’t the case, because our current President is so religious and so much has been legislated and done in the name of religion in the last six or seven years, it makes me livid as a citizen. I wouldn’t say that God looms large, but me seeing the negative effects of belief in God looms large for me. It’s impossible for it not to. On the other hand, I feel I am over God. If I weren’t doing this show and I weren’t living in a country where religion dominates and contributes to so much catastrophe and stupidity, I don’t think I would be thinking about God at all.
_Another problem is the fact that it is just not funny. God Said Ha! wasn't funny. Pat wasn't funny. It was excrutiating.__
My response: Well, humor is definitely in the mind of the beholder. I don’t know how to respond to that except to say that enough people were laughing to keep the show open and ticket sales were steady enough that it encouraged me to keep doing it. On the other hand – it’s true, in a city as big as Los Angeles, if there were a monologue about cat mutilation, there might be enough people around who wanted to see that, and it may have a long run. So, a long run is probably not a good indicator of funny. In any case, I accept that you didn’t think my shows were funny. In the case of the Pat movie, you have a large group of people on your side. I thought Pat was funny, but the movie was a big bomb. So, touché.
Mule writes: All of the 'jokes' are crafted to appeal to a microscopic segment of America, that being the Hyperion Avenue, 90026, 90027 zip codes. And no one else. __
My response: Wow! Why didn’t I open my show in that zip code? I had no idea! I don’t even know those zip codes, but I feel should be advertising my film there.
Without politicking this demographic, Julia would likely still be stealing money from the bar she was working at, rather than from network television.__Like "It's Pat!" this latest effort wil fall as flat as a tarantula on a baby's face.
My response: Well, I seriously doubt I would still be bartending like I was twenty five years ago, but… I don’t know. Wait, so what you are saying is that I have been politicking this demographic for success? Does that include SNL? What about the other TV work? Voice overs? If you are talking about a larger city indie-type demographic, I have earned diddly from that. Most of the money I’ve earned has come from much more mainstream endeavors that you, Mule, would probably approve of. And as far as stealing money from the bar goes, Mule is speaking of a story I told on This American Life where I talked about skimming money from the bar when I was 22 and 23. I regret doing that. It was completely wrong. I told the story because I was interested in how I, as a person who considered myself to be very upstanding and moral, could have let myself justify such behavior. It’s embarrassing and still embarrasses me. But that’s why I wanted to talk about it. Not only that, in that time of my life, the Catholic church played a small part in it. I do not blame my Catholicism for this behavior, I assure you. But I had a twisted view of what opportunity meant – as I discuss in more detail in the This American Life episode. So you could say that Catholicism, in a way, was a character in that story. This is a longer discussion, but I do not think I would still be skimming dollars off at a bar 25 years later. I really don’t.
And now for Mule’s analogy that my film’s reception will be like that of a tarantula falling flat on a baby’s face. Where did you get that? I have not heard this before. Did you make that up? It’s kind of good. Is my film the tarantula? Is the movie-consuming public the baby’s face? I don’t see that this means: bomb.
But aside from that. Yes, maybe this film will fall flat. I have no idea. I feel just so glad that it’s finally a film at all, after all this time. And now I can begin to stop performing it, because I am getting so tired.
And on that note, I retire for the night….