Financial Times’s November 18 interview with Baltimore native John Waters (available ungated at Slate) is a great read for a couple of reasons: First, because Waters — the cult film director who made a career out of transgressive quirk and camp — is now working on a one-man Christmas show; and second, because Waters has a singularly refreshing perspective on Occupy Wall Street and anti-capitalism.
After complaining about pressures to make movies for nothing (“I can’t be faux underground”) and slamming “liberal censors” for rating his last film NC-17, Waters starts talking about young people today:
“I think young people are still having fun. I never think my time was better. I think they’re having the same amount of fun because it’s something new to them. They’re down at the Stop the Wall Street thing, which is, to me, hilarious.”
Long before Occupy Wall Street, Waters was fond of protesting. “Riots are fun. I hate to say that, but in the Sixties I went to all of them. I was a Yippie. I was a Weathermen hag.” One of his youthful protests was a “Burn the Bank of America” rally, but now he banks with his former target. “I recognise the irony of it,” he admits.
He now believes in capitalism, he says, “because the more success I have, the more people I have to hire,” and he is embarrassed to think that he marched against the construction of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco (“Now when I look at it, it’s the most gorgeous architecture”).
As the Occupy Movement continues to annoy non-protestors at “occupied” cities, it’s a great comfort to think that among the rioters, there are likely future capitalists like John Waters in the making.