Getting Your Goad: 5 Easy Pieces w/Jim Goad
Five questions, not a single one about the schtick for which they are known. That's the deal.
The set up couldn’t have been simpler and you could see VICE’s one time man, Gavin McInnes, working the plan through in his pre-Proud Boys head: he wanted Jim Goad and I to work on an article together. Or a series. Or something.
The turn would be that, no matter how McInnes shook it, there was bound to be fireworks.
Or at least this is somewhat of what Goad told me when he called. But I always attach to the person, not the rhetoric. I hadn’t known much about Goad outside of Answer Me! magazine. But it was darkly misanthropic and oddly amusing. Not despite the misanthropy, but because of it. So it found a home with me.
Then Goad hit with The Redneck Manifesto, and later, some broadsides on race that compelled McInnes to think, as do people who insist that seeing me drunk is going to be “fun”, that Goad and I would have at each other. Like snakes and mongooses. Cats and dogs. Whites and Blacks. Just good ol’ cheap seat fun.
But that never happened. Running through the various approaches to this cage match we decided we both hated other humans too much to get very exercised about getting them exercised. We talked about other things. What other things? Every other thing.
Goad at this point sort of makes rent by talking about race and I, at this point, sort of make rent by talking about me, but though we’ve never met face to face what’s emerged between us over the years is a certain collegiality that has nothing to do with the hot button topics that made you start reading this in the first place.
Besides that, there were questions that I had always wanted to ask him that no one ever seemed to ask him. So here we are. One of the harder FIVE EASY PIECES to do because if someone’s field of play is ideas, how do you talk about something other than ideas? No matter, the song remains the same: five questions, five answers.
Have at it.
[ONE] Some would find our connection amusing and/or confusing. What were
the circumstances under which we came to know each other, and if called
on to explain it to anyone, how would you do so?
JIM: The first time I encountered your writing was a piece you’d done for
VICE about steroids, and I thought, “Wow, this cat is brutal and funny
at the same time!” Apparently the first time we interacted has been
consigned to the anal canals of history, because I scanned old emails,
and in 2011 when I was trying to get you to write for Taki’s Magazine
about drug legalization, you said it had been a long time since we’d
spoken. I recall thumbing through a copy of MaximumRockNRoll down at
Zipperhead on South Street in Philly sometime in the early ‘80s and
seeing a picture of you in Whipping Boy and thinking it was interesting
to see a black dude in a hardcore punk band.
Yes, I was aware of Bad Brains, but I never saw anything redeeming about them musically. Then again, I hate punk rock in general, and the fact that all of The Ramones are dead while four of the five original Rolling Stones are still
kicking should serve as a warning bell to anyone who’s considering
heading down that dead-end two-chord musical path. Punk rock, as I
understood it in its original mid-’70s incarnation, was iconoclastic and
designed to kill rock ’n’ roll—and nostalgia in general—but has morphed
into the most pathetic and long-lasting rock ’n’ roll nostalgia act of
[T]he problem with thinking as an individual is that you always wind up outnumbered.
Regarding why we don’t hate each other, if 30 years of writing has
taught me anything, it’s that people are as dumb as tree stumps. The
fact that many people see me as this 2D Hate Puppet speaks much more to
their cognitive and emotional deficiencies than it does to my abilities
as a communicator. The fact that I see far more humanity in any of my
idiot critics than they are capable of seeing in me confirms every word
I’ve ever written. When one ponders how shallow, conformist, and easily
led most people are—especially when moving in packs—it cements my
long-held suspicions that there’s nothing ignoble about being a
I just see you as a funny guy who’s never been a dick to me, and that’s
all it’s ever taken for me not to be a dick in return to someone.
Superficial things such as DNA ancestry and ideology have never stood in
the way of me being cool to someone so long as they’re cool to me. In
that sense, I think I’m far ahead of most of humanity, who still think
in lynch-mob terms, which is only exacerbated by social media.
[TWO] Are either of your parents still alive and if so, how'd you ever
square yourself with the paternal brutality once you got old
enough/large enough to exact revenge if you had wanted to?
JIM: Dad died in 1982, and my mom died in late 1998. Mom stopped hitting me
when I was about 12 and I smacked her glasses off her face as she
was chasing me down the hallway of some beach rental in Wildwood, NJ.
She never hit me again.
Dad stopped hitting me when I was about 16 and knocked him on his ass
with one left hook, cracking his dental plate in half. Interestingly, he
never hit me again after that, either.
When I was in jail facing 25 years, the woman who introduced me to my
first wife told SPIN magazine, “Some parents hit their kids because they
can’t help themselves. I think his parents had a willful desire to
destroy him as a person.” I immediately began bawling upon reading that,
because I knew it was true—and it was the only time I cried during
nearly two-and-a-half years of incarceration.
I was an accident who came along 12 years after my nearest sibling, and
my parents never failed to remind me that they resented my very
existence. It’s only very recently that I’ve learned to stop resenting
them and to stop arguing with people who subliminally remind me of their
gaslighting and dishonesty.
It certainly didn’t make me religious, because when I temporarily “died,” all I saw was nothingness.
[THREE] How has being a father yourself changed how you see your father?
[JIM] It hasn’t changed my estimation of his character one iota. The only
exception is that I realize how hard he had to work just to keep a roof
over our heads. He died when I was 19, but the entire time I was coming
up, he worked 80 hours a week—40 as a freelance plumber and 40 as a
foreman at Gulf Oil in southwest Philly.
Being a freelance writer with unacceptable ideas has seen me working
seven days a week since June of 2010, so I have some empathy for Ol’ Al
Goad in that respect. However, he drowned his sorrows in a full bottle
of Scotch or whisky every day, while I haven’t had a sip of alcohol
since 1982. I’ve done just about every drug imaginable, but the only
substances that were persistent habits were weed and caffeine, and I
don’t even do those anymore. I’m cleaner than a Hare Krishna at this
point because spite is the best drug of all.
The one thing I make certain to do is absolutely shower my son with the
affection I never got. That’s a side of me that only those who are very
close to me get to see—a friend calls me the “Iron Marshmallow,” and
only a select few get to see the marshmallow side with all the nicknames
and silly songs I make up. It’s truly nauseating.
[FOUR] Have your recent brushes with death put you in a different frame of
mind about anything at all? Or is it steady as she goes?
[JIM] I wrote a piece in my book The Bomb Inside My Brain called “Why You’re
Dead to Me,” and it detailed that after I turned blue and stopped
breathing due to a plum-sized brain tumor in 2008—one that had been
growing for 15-20 years and would have absolved me of all criminal
charges back in 1998 if I’d only been aware of its existence—it made me
acutely aware of my mortality and how I wasted way too much time
tolerating nitwits. It certainly didn’t make me religious, because when
I temporarily “died,” all I saw was nothingness. It merely made me
realize how horrifyingly short life is and that I should strangle every
last drop of pleasure and happiness out of my existence before the
inevitable end. I’ve also long suspected that scientists will uncover
the secret to immortality about five minutes after I perish.
[FIVE] Tribe or caste?
JIM: As far as society goes, both. Where the modern left absolutely dropped
the ball is they’ve almost entirely abandoned economic class in a myopic
quest to eradicate “racism”—which, as far as I’ve been able to discern,
was a concept that didn’t even exist 100 years ago, because it was
assumed that all people are naturally tribal—which blows up in their
faces because its end effect is to have everyone entirely fixated on
Then again, automation has rendered Marxism entirely obsolete—fuck you
with your hammers and sickles, thank you very much, we’ll just have
robots do the heavy lifting. When I wrote The Redneck Manifesto in 1996,
I believed that economic elites manufactured ethnic conflict entirely
out of thin air; the only slight shift in my thinking since then is that
I’ve come to realize that tribal instincts are innate.
What’s being proposed now is tribalism for everyone except whites, which is a recipe
for disaster rather than harmony. Either everyone should be permitted to bask in their tribal identity, or the very idea of basking in tribal identity should be stigmatized for all groups the way it currently is for whites. I’d be fine with either option, but the egregious double standard is the main reason we’re in this current mess.
As far as I go, I choose neither tribe nor caste. I come from a working-class background and it’s definitely shaped my temperament, but most of the people in my old neighborhood are knuckle-headed idiots with whom I share little in common besides having to work myself to death.
And I wouldn’t give a fuck about being white if whites weren’t the latest target in the ancient art of scapegoating and demonization. People fail to realize that I’m not pro-white as much as I am anti-scapegoating. But the problem with thinking as an individual is that you always wind up outnumbered.