In August 2012, the UCD newspaper College Tribune interviewed John Waters for an article on gay marriage. The interview was conducted by the paper’s then editor James Grannell.
“Quotes from this interview have been widely circulated on social media in the last week, by Paul Murphy MEP in the European Parliament and by Senator David Norris on Friday’s Late Late Show. I am sending this because the publication of further details from this particular interview is in the public interest, irrespective of whatever side of the debate any individual falls on. Of particular interest, perhaps, are previously unpublished sections around the 30-33 minute mark.”
We have transcribed the full audio [below] however some parts of the conversation were impossible to discern due to poor sound quality. We are happy to correct any mistakes.
John Waters: “Sometimes I speak to classes of foreign students in a certain language school. In this particular class I noticed recently,they had all Googled me. And they had kind of, you know, a few of them were kind of waiting for me.
Now I think under the kind of instruction of their tutor more than anything, it is not the kind of thing a class would do spontaneously. And, yeah there were certain headings: abortion, gay marriage…and they were kind of like, exactly as you say, they all held the same views, and they were all kind of convinced that I was some kind of backward, kind of, reactionary redneck and they were going to make a joke of me. So I just said okay, em, gay marriage, what do you want to know? So ‘why are you opposed to gay marriage?’ I said, well, in a certain sense I said, you know, it’s not even gay marriage that I’m opposed to: it’s the idea of gay adoption. Because marriage is fundamentally societies way of organizing the the nurturing of children into the next generation. Marriage is the crucible in which children… and we had all that semantic, pedantic, argument that goes on in the whole country, some people blah, blah, blah, bullshit.
And, but I said, you know, where are the children going to come from for gay couples to adopt? Presumably these children are going to have other parents, real parents, fathers and mothers. What is your position on that? Do you have a position? Because I can tell you that the people who advocate gay marriage have nothing to say on this spectrum at all.”
James Grannell: I found that in my interview…
Grannell: “…they are…”
Waters: “They’re not interested in the words like (inaudible)
Grannell: “No. And it doesn’t really come into their conversation.”
Waters: “Well I would go further and say that actually it is obviously an obstacle (inaudible) the parents. supply of children for the gay couples to adopt…you know, about adoption initially being to create conditions in which the child who had been deprived of his parents or her parents for whatever reasons: death, incapacity, whatever, to have the same chances as other children by having society replicate, in so far as possible, the conditions of a normative family for that child. Now we have inverted this…”
Waters: “…into the idea that the child has become the product, the commodity, that is supplied to different , differently defined alternative families. This is not what adoption is and then I said that, there was this guy who was being particularly vociferous in the front row, and I said to him, you know, supposing you get your girlfriend pregnant?
I don’t know, he might have been from France, but in Ireland, if this happened to a young man. You would find that you had actually zero rights. You have a right to be consulted, which means they’ll tell you – maybe, if they can find you – if the mother says where you are, and they’ll tell you that the child is going to be adopted.
But I can tell you one thing, you do not have the right to adopt your own child. You do not have the right to say that you were child should not be adopted, you know, you have the right to apply for guardianship to the court, which may or may not be granted and if it isn’t granted well then you can forget about it. Do you care about that? Do you care about your own human rights?
So, what I’m saying is that there are lots of arguments that you obviously haven’t heard about this. Don’t think that this is something you can just jump on to become a fashionable person – to become a person with the right opinion. If you’re going to have opinions, by all means, whatever opinions you want, arrive at them on the basis of reason, and logic, and the facts. But don’t be coming to me thinking you’re superior to me because you actually happen to have a different – you know, a certain opinion which you picked up from your fashionable teacher or your fashionable friends. So this is not limited to abortion, which is even more interesting and I go into that in the article in the Irish Catholic. So. And that’s really the general experience. And you find that with politicians as well. Politicians see this as an opportunity to advertise their liberal credentials.”
Grannell: “Do you think that is a big part of it? These people are talking . I know that David Quinn has mentioned it to me and I was talking to Brendan O’Neill in London. And some people have been saying that, at a time when politicians don’t have much moral weight with people, this is something they can latch on to and show that they’re liberal and that they’re all for equality. Do you think that it’s been latched on to by them?”
Waters: “And interestingly it is the more conservative – quote, unquote – who are most vulnerable to that because they’re looking for brownie points. They think it doesn’t matter, they don’t really care, fundamentally, it’s not an economic issue in an obvious way. It’s not something that their careers will live or die on and so it’s an opportunity to buy credit, you know, in Ireland, with the Irish Times. Oh he’s a liberal, on that issue at least he’s on the right side, so we’ll cut him some slack somewhere else, you know. If you’re in Fianna Fail, you need some slack right now. That’s why Fianna Fail in its recent Ard Fheis had a whole movement which swept the board pushing gay marriage when in fact there there is no discussion at all, none, no discussion. And I actually spoke, I was actually at the Ard Fheis, and I actually raised this question and I said hang on, don’t get carried away with this have a discussion about it because there is lots of issues which you should be looking at here and which you won’t get another chance to look at.”
Grannell: “Do you think there is a danger there because in UCD, there is really isn’t any discussion ongoing? Do you think there is danger on a national level as well, that without proper debate, proper discussion, and people actually looking at both sides of the argument, that something that could be cast into law which will prove two or three years down the line perhaps to cause huge issues…”
Waters: “Oh I have no doubt about it and I think it is going to happen and I don’t think there is any way back from it now, because the way that this is being set up, where there is almost a blackmail clause involved, you know, whereby if you don’t support it you are a homophobe and this bullying is actually silencing people and it is preventing any kind of open discussion people are actually afraid to go out now and march on this issue and you are smeared at and ridiculed and particularly at a time of the internet and the way that they use the internet to bully and harass people and demonise people and I think that it is having this effect. So it is eventually going to happen, and of course the consequences will flow and among the consequences I predict will be the whole, this is really a kind of a satire on marriage, that is being conducted by the gay lobby. It is not that they want to get married it is that they want to destroy the institution of marriage because they are envious of it and they see it as a, really, as an affront to their equality.
“It doesn’t mean much, it doesn’t really mean much, this is the interesting thing, when they were fighting for civil unions, and I raised this question that what they really were wanting was marriage, what they what they were really wanting was adoption. They all denied it, oh no no no, that’s completely paranoia we have no interest in marriage at all, this is about our civil rights. Fine, I have no problem with your civil rights, so that’s fine, you’ve got that but the next day they got out of bed and started to campaign for marriage which is purely an attempt to discredit an institution, a normative institution, on which society, on which human civilization, is founded, and inevitably if you do that there will be consequences, and among those will be be that marriage will become really a nothing in our culture, in time.”
Grannell: “And also, if same sex marriage is passed, it will almost automatically lead to adoption by same sex couples…”
Waters: “Also, it could lead to quotas for adoption for same sex couples, do you know what I mean? I agree with the question, what happens then if some young lad, imagine somebody eighteen years of age, gets his girlfriend pregnant and nobody tells him that his child is put up for adoption and then they subsequently find out that their child is being adopted by the gay couple across the road. If they as much as try to smile at their child they could be arrested.”
Grannell: “Yeah, they are legally like a stranger to them completely…”
Waters: “And this is where we are going, that this will be an absolute disaster socially, morally and legally in our culture.”
Grannell: “And do you think there is a certain hypocrisy there, that the government, the Labour party anyway in government have come out quite adamantly in support of marriage equality, the partiy is pushing this, when since like you say, fathers rights really aren’t anything in Ireland…”
Waters: “Let’s dispose straight away of the idea that the Labour party is interested in anybody’s civil rights per say or their human rights. They are interested ideologically in pursuing the human rights, quote unquote or civil rights, quote unquote, of certain named categories or favoured victim groups. That is all. They are not interested in human rights or civil rights at at all.They are interested in pushing an ideological agenda which is based on certain listed victims no more.
Not alone will I say that they have no interest but they have been actively antagonistic to the issue of fathers rights in the years I have been campaigning. Not one person from within the Labour party, not one, has raised a voice on this issue in a credible way.
I mean yeah, Michael D. Higgins when he saw me at a press conference during his presidential campaign he suddenly followed me and then goes off on a tangent to talk about fathers’ rights and the importance thereof. The first time in my life I ever heard of him speak on these issues. That is about the size of it.”
Grannell: You have campaigned for fathers’ rights, I suppose in Ireland you are perhaps one of the most prominent campaigners, have you received any support from political parties or from the political class in Ireland?
Waters: No, not in the political class. The only thing I would say is that there have been certain people within different parties, from time to time, maybe half a dozen of them, in pretty much all the parties, I would say Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, apart from Labour, not Labour. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats who came to me and said ‘yeah we would lobby it’. I dont understand why this can’t move somewhere, and then they would go off and they would disappear.
Grannell: They don’t usually follow up on it then afterwards…
Waters: “…Yeah, because they would find exactly why it didn’t go anywhere, because of the opposition, the resistance that exists within the culture, or within the system to any move on this, because if you give fathers rights, you turn the tap off on gay adoption. It does not arise any more, because fathers can just bring their children home. There are no children for gays to adopt.”
Grannell: “And do you think that also..I know the Labour party, and most of the Labour party members who have been supporting this over the last few years and a lot of the gay lobby in Ireland they would be very secular, and very much for creating a secular Ireland, and also want to completely rid anything that has a hint of religion out of society or anything that harks back to even tradition. And it isn’t the attack on marriage it’s coming from that..very secular like…”
Waters: “Yeah, it’s well essentially they have an entirely different view of the human species. It’s a completely untried view and as far as it has been tried we have seen … they believe for example that the idea of these sort of given roles for men and women are essentially a social construct and can be moved around at will. I mean OK I won’t be around to see the consequences of their madcap schemes …. and neither will they…I predict that within 50, 60, 70 years these ideas will have brought disaster on this society and others, but unfortunately when you speak against them, you know you are deemed to be a reactionary, they have set the discussion up, shake the discussion up, you know the term right wing, conservative is a meaningless terms …that’s the battering ram to defeat any attempt to put forward a reasonable argument..,
And of course the fact that they take control of the main organs of opinion now, in Ireland on RTE, Newstalk, Irish Times, Irish Independent are now pretty much no-go areas for the alternative views of human reality, which is, you know, the religious views, the Christian views, it’s unacceptable now, it’s like we have moved past that,it has become the smart, the clever for these ideas. Well let’s see, let’s wait and see how clever we really are because were we are going with these ideas is disastrous I don’t know about you but if was 17/18 and my child was stolen and they give him to two gay people I would make my own arrangements…
Grannell: “But there is also a problem there in like in the abortion issue, where if I was to get a girl pregnant from Ireland, there is no way for me to turn around, she wouldn’t have to name me as a father, she could go to England at the moment where abortion were legalised, she could abort my child and that is something that terrorised me.”
Waters: “That’s very interesting because thats another issue that is brought up with these students, there was this guy and he was very vociferous and they were only kneejerk opinions and I said to him well hold on, wait a minut, you’re 18, okay, and you get your girlfriend pregnant and this is what happens. You know, her parents say, look, this is what it’s going to be like, she’s going to have to have an abortion – lovely stuff – she’s probably going to have an abortion. By the way you don’t have any opinion, you understand, you don’t have any right to speak about this at all. It may be your child if it lives but as you’ll be his father and you will be responsible and all the rest of it but as for now you have no opinion, you understand, so you be quiet.
But, hang on, in this situation, I said, maybe there’s a little hesitation, maybe they’re not entirely sure about an abortion so there’s a parallel window here in which the child may live or it may not live, you understand? Your child may live or it may not live. But you still don’t have any opinions okay? I’m just telling you what’s going to happen. Now, there we are with the situation, you’re 18 years of age and what your society is saying to you through this situation is the following: that if your child lives this society expects you to love that child for the rest of your life, to provide for that child for the rest of your life, to show devotion, duty, responsibility, all these qualities, right, you’re going to have those on standby okay? While you’re saying nothing, okay? But if your child dies you can just forget about the whole lot, okay, do you understand that? So there will come a moment when a decision will be made that has nothing to do and on that moment will hinge whether or not these qualities of love, responsibility, duty, and so on, will be called into play.
So I said listen, listen, if you put your hand in your shirt in there, right, you’ll find there’s a tap in there, okay? You can turn it on and off. That’s there provided by society so you can turn off the love and the responsibility and the duty and all the rest of it, you understand? Look, put your hand in, can you find it? And he just stared at me, and somebody says ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. And a girl behind him says, ‘no, I know what he’s talking about’.
So this is a discussion that our society never has, about all these questions. And this is fundamentally, you know, people talk about religion, right-wing opinion, there’s none of this – it’s bullshit. There’s no distinction between the religious view and the commonsensical view when you actually deal with all the facts – when you deal with what nature is, you deal with what love is, you deal with what all these qualities are, then you come to the conclusion that is, as it happens, the religious view, but what would religion be anyway other than the total view of reality. But this is inadmissible now because they have reduced religion to a, really, a marginal, tribal sentiment.
Grannell: There seems to be a public sentiment at the moment, and definitely in the university kind of world, that if you’re religious, say I’m a Methodist myself…
Waters: “Really, yeah?”
Grannell: “…and practising and would hold a strong faith and there is a perception, and I’ve encountered it myself with a lot, if you have any sort of religious faith, that you’re an idiot. Automatically, your opinion on anything, is down to…”
Waters: “When people actually, every day I get an email from people saying ‘I don’t normally agree with you but or, like, it’s absolutely forbidden that you would actually think that if anybody with a religious outlook on reality be other than a complete looper. And if you say something that you happen to agree with on accident, okay, you’ll admit it, you’ll say I agree with him but maybe I need to get some medical or psychiatric assistance because I find I agree with John Waters on that issue. That’s the mentality. And they think that’s clever. So, you know.
Grannell: “It seems strange because if you defend your whole view of the world and the whole perception of reality, like you said that, but, like for instance, Christianity, like, and the Baptists, 2,000 years of scholarly research and tradition, and to just sweep that aside, seems like such a radical thing to do.”
Waters:“You see, the Pope [Benedict] spoke recently, actually about the bunker created and it’s like we have created this box in which we live, which is coherent, logical, but it explains almost everything, it excludes the mystery of reality, it excludes s the mystery of myself. And it assumes that I’m some kind of wind-up, clockwork toy, that moves around reality, on it’s own, by it’s own volition. That I wound myself up and that I let myself out which is reality. The fact that I came from somewhere that I don’t understand, and I mean, you know, Darwin, literally, yeah, but it didn’t explain to me the mystery that I can actually speak to you now, and call myself John Waters, and have this voice that belongs to me, but it isn’t mine, I didn’t make it, all of these questions are completely obliterated from our culture…so and this is another example once you obliterate then you get bunker mentality and gay marriage is a product of bunker mentality. You know, you warp language, you manipulate words, you say oh there’s an inequality. There’s no inequality, I say to them you know there’s no inequality, yeah there is we can’t get married, oh yeah, you can get married, of course, you’re a man, you can get married, but you must marry a women. That’s what marriage is.”
Grannell: “And of course the fact that the side who are advocating for gay marriage, they say, they literally use words, it’s now called marriage equality, it’s not called gay marriage, it’s the term marriage equality is been clung onto and the Tánaiste came out and said it’s a civil rights issue, that’s very emotive language like for people.”
Waters: “And have you noticed as well, James, that a very interesting thing, that the Irish Times is an exception because the Irish Times has up to now anyway, although it’s beginning to unravel, it has had a very rigid style guide so at least that has protected us from it, but all the other newspapers, from the very moment that civil union was made legal, the other newspapers began to talk about gay marriage, whenever there’d be a civil union they would describe it as a marriage, they used these words ‘wedding’, ‘wed’, ‘they wed’, so, you know, there’s this kind of inexorable campaign by people who really have no particular stake in it other than they they want to destroy what exists. They want to, as I keep saying, they want to walk into the big top with a chainsaw and they want to say ‘that pole in the middle is in the way’. They want to cut it. And they start cutting. And that’s what they’re doing. But it’s going to happen – because we don’t have any intellectual basis in this society any more to fight it.
Grannell: “And that’s actually interesting because I read an article a while ago and it was someone from the gay lobby group, and they were saying that, it was about Ireland, and it was saying that they need to be careful to not push this too soon. That the best thing to do was to wait and to let the civil partnership that’s in place now, let people start talking about marriage more, and refer to it as marriage, and a few years down the line it’ll seem like such a non-issue to people to suddenly have marriage.”
Waters: “That’s already happening.”
Grannell: It’s very calculated kind of..
Waters: The lobby is split on that, you know, there’s a more cunning element, in the lobby, but remember also there’s another element in this campaign, which wants the victory, the victory in which they can advertise that ‘we’ve overcome the forces of opposition, the forces of darkness’, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff, you know, so, and they will, but you know, but they can live with the consequences, that’s what I say, because the consequences will be horrific, in due course.
Grannell: And do you think there’s like a media bias on it? It seems to be..
Waters: Oh yeah, like, I was defending, recently, talking about these issues, on Newstalk, [inaudibe] programme, and he said ‘oh come on, there’s lot of people who are prepared to fight’, and I said this,there’s almost universal pro-gay marriage, pro-children’s rights, pro-referendum, pro-abortion, and ‘oh come on’, he said, and he listed four people: myself, David Quinn, Breda O’Brien, maybe Ronan Mullen maybe not Ronan Mullen, and I said, yeah, but you’ve just now listed 100% of the 1% who actually stick against this, so, you call that balance? You call that… And you think there isn’t an issue?” But, look, unfortunately, the media is a write-off. The media is so corrupt now in this culture – culturally corrupt – that, you know, it’s pointless really talking about it.
Grannell: “But it has such a huge impact on people’s opinions, I mean like, if you turn on, say, RTÉ News in the evening or something and they’re covering like these, the wonderful advances of the civil rights or equality issues going on in Ireland; you open up your newspapers and you’re reading articles from people who are like ‘how important it is to give gay couples the right to marry and the right to adopt; it starts to shape public opinion.
Waters: “But you won’t see any programmes about the rights of the father to… in relation to . It shows us that they’re not sincere in any sense about human rights.”
Grannell: “And then it’s not true about equality either.”
Waters: “No, it’s not. Equality but we’ve identified that, we’ve established that a long way back actually, that in this context, the word equality doesn’t mean equality. It is a particular, it’s really, how would I define? I would define it as it’s the prize that will arise from the defeat of certain forces who are perceived or presented as having dominated in the past. Therefore, if you are white male, straight, you’re the enemy.
So you can, not alone will you not have any equality, but you will have your equality taken away from you to give to somebody else. That’s really what it amounts to. That’s long established like in the context of the equality authority so called where they actually had the provision on their website, or their annual report to say, ok, what’s the role of equality in relation to women, well it’s to give women what they want well it’s to give women completely what they want. What’s the role of equality in relation to men, it’s to [inaudible] that women should be given what they want.”
Waters: “That’s it.”
Grennell: T”here does seem to be, when it comes to debates like this, there does seem to be a certain triumphalism that takes over, like you said earlier, it needs to like to have that triumphalism destroying something.”
Grannell: “Of taking over, and almost you can turn around and say ‘see now?’
Waters: Yeah, yeah, it’s a form of, it’s a deliberate sabotage of the culture and a relishing of the destruction that is wreaked as a result….Gay marriage is really a satire on marriage.
Waters: “The idea of two men in shiny suits, there, standing on the church steps that’s satire of our civilisation, that’s what it is. And that’s what it’s intended to be.”
Grannell: “Do you think that there’s actually a danger, I know, and I know it happened in Denmark but Denmark has a different set-up with the Lutheran church than Ireland has with any church. Do you think that there’s a danger there if gay marriage were passed that, down the line, a lobby might develop, demanding gay couples to be married in churches?”
Grannell: “Do you think that this may happen in Ireland?”
Waters: “I do, and that, and not alone that but I think within the Catholic Church, such is the, the, the, the, the drift of thinking within certain sections of the Vatican Catholic clergy that they will be actually trying to make that available.”
Waters: “I’ve no doubt about it, within a very short time. I mean you can actually see, alliances are now being forged between certain elements of the Catholic Church clergy in Ireland and the liberal forces of the Left because that’s, they hate the Pope [Benedict], they hate Rome, they hate the power, so that’s the way of actually, you know, really. So they would participate in this satire, as a way of getting back at the Vatican. No, no, I’ve no doubt about that.”
Grannell: “Because it was something that had, something that made me very uneasy a while ago, I was having a conversation with two of my friends and they were talking about gay marriage. One of them is a gay lad and the other girl, like, she’s straight, she’s going out with her boyfriend, another friend of mine. But both of them they really argued adamantly that churches should be made to marry gay couples. And I kind of stood there like, well as a Christian, a church-going Christian, I kind of stood there and I was like, no, like, now that’s against civil rights, like…”
Waters: “We already have that issue with in relation to the registrar XXXX register, XXXXXX…
Waters: “…who are not allowed walk out on the basis of their religious beliefs, that has been withdrawn from. We had the issue in the UK where adoption agencies had to close down because they refused to give adoption, to allow gays to adopt children, so all that’s gonna happen. Whether that will come, whether that can be forced on the church, as in Germany… but remember this though, we’re in a very strange, anomalous situation with regard to the church, particularly the Catholic Church and the State in Ireland, whereby to get a marriage annulment,just an ordinary marriage annulled. You know, a man and woman stand at the altar rail before a priest, who marries them for life, then they go back to the sacristy and the same priest presides over a civil ceremony where they get married until they both feel like it.”
Waters: “Now, you know, already there’s kind of issues that the church has not dealt with in relation to this so I don’t know how it’s going ya know and I think that sentiment that is coming from the left ranks of the church to feminist nuns, to you know, really liberal priests who kind of, probably, no longer want to be priests…”
Waters: “They don’t see any way out of where they are and they’re conducting a campaign, as if the most important thing to do with human reality was sexual freedom. That’s kind of the bottom line. You see what they talk about is celibacy, married priests, and now we will have gay adoption…”
Grannell: “Gay marriage.”
Waters: “…Gay marriage, as being issues which have become the bellweathers of their, quote unquote, Christian outlook.”
Waters: “So they’ve mangled Christianity, just as the word fidelity has been mangled, just as the word marriage has been mangled. So I don’t know, I, I, I mean I would be very pessimistic on that score to be honest.”
Grannell: “Do you think that that’s something that’s happening in society as a whole as well, that there’s a sort of an over sexualisation, like, for instance, when I was talking about it to David Quinn, I found it very interesting he pointed out, well, if you’re going to give these rights…he’s in favour of co-habitation rights, and rights for people who are in like relationships together, but he said, well equally that kind of right should be given to, for instance, two sisters who live alone or people like that who are dependent on one another.”
Grannell: “So, because of the sexualisation of society, we only seem to perceive things in that kind of note where if you’re in a sexual relationship you should have the right.”
Waters: “Well you know if two brothers applied to adopt a child, they’d be laughed out of court but the fact that they’re buggering each other would make a difference, would it?”
Grannell: Yeah. Hold on a sec that’s what I was wondering, in the context like.
Waters: “Yeah, it’s mad. And utterly in [Inaudible] I mean what I think, the bigger point that you’ve touched on there is really interesting because I think actually, part of that larger ideological shift, whereby the religious perception of reality is being marginalised culturally, because fundamentally, this obsessive focus on sexuality, you know, it’s bizarre…”
Grannell: “It is. It seems a very strange thing.”.
Waters: “But again they can’t stop talking about transsexuals and transsexual nuns and transsexual gays, you know, I mean, you know, we’re moving towards gay abortion, you know, how can we actually further, keep moving this? And really what that is, that’s very much tied up with the misunderstanding of human desire, that has arisen in the kind of post religion, post Christian era. Because intrinsic to Christianity, and I don’t think it’s in most other religions, is the idea that human desire is focused on something beyond. Now if you actually remove that from culture, then you have only what is the human being, and sexuality seems to be do, sexuality and money and obviously the money thing isn’t going so well.
Grannell: “No. Not at the moment.”
Waters: “So, you have this, that’s what obsession is. It’s quite grotesque really.”
Grannell: “It is it’s very bizarre.”
Waters: “It is surreal. It is really strange. When you stand back from it you know.. a bishop from the Anglican church, does it matter what he does with his mickey in the middle of the night. Jesus. Hello? Like the fact that he’s gay, why is this a matter for discussion for the, the, the, what do you call it?”
Grannell: “The synod?”
Waters: “The synod. Why is it a matter for discussion at all?”
Waters: “So what, is my opinion. If he wants to keep it private, why do we have to make it an issue that he’s a gay bishop.”
Grannell: “And it equally comes in, in a way, in Catholicism where, I find it fascinating like being outside the box that there seems to be a plethora of lapsed Catholics who have very strong opinions on clerical celibacy and I always find it really strange as I look at it thinking well, why do you care?
Waters: “Well I wrote that recently on what you said on how you play golf. But I wrote articles every week in the Irish Times giving out about the rules of golf saying you know I don’t agree with the one about having to drop your ball if it ends up in pine needles, what do you do there? I mean I don’t take the golfing authorities to task on foot of my disapproval of this or that rule. Why should I care? Similarly, if you’re a lapsed Catholic, say ‘Bye!’.
Grannell: It’s like [inaudible], it’s like fine.
Waters: “Yeah, why are you still around?”
Grannell: “They seem to take quite a big interest in the running of the Church [inaudible].”
Waters: “I don’t know. Virtually all of the religious correspondents in this town are Catholic. People who write about religion.”
Grannell: “It’s very strange.”
Waters: “It’s mad.”
Grannell: “It’s very strange for me looking at it.”
Waters: “In fact, one of them once told me that he went for interview and it was brought up the fact that he was an atheist and he said that the way that he actually dealt with the question was to say to the interviewer was to say that he was an atheist and he said the way that he actually dealt with the question was to say to the interviewer ‘Well you know if I was looking for a job as a political correspondent and i had a loyalty to a particular party being that Fianna Fail, Labour or whatever, he would regard that as a point in my good favour. Why do you think it would be a point against me if I don’t have any affiliation in those context?”
Grannell: “Atheism has become evangelical in today’s world like it, almost.”
Waters: “Well apart from anything else I mean there is a way at looking at the world which is religion and if you don’t actually share that view how can you possibly write on the subject?
Grannell: “Yeah, definitely.”
Waters: “It’s not like politics at all.”
Grannell: “And do you think that there is at the moment there is this kind of like, we had a series of things that happened when the Celtic Tiger came all of a sudden and people in Ireland were rich and it promoted a certain selfishness in a lot of people and then the crash happened, suddenly we all walk around moaning about like what happened during the Celtic Tiger. Most of us interestingly, never looked at we done during those years [inaudible] and then you had a series as well in Ireland in the reports of clerical sex abuse. Do you think that there has been a reaction to all of those things combined that leading where people are throwing the baby out with bath water and leading to it seems to be a breakdown of social fabric in many ways?”
Waters: “I don’t like the phrase ‘baby and the bathwater’ because you know it’s such a [inaudible] but I can see the point you make. But yeah you see people have been hypnotised by this idea of progress that there is almost like this open road before us with no ending and under a different heading, financial, money, sex, pleasure, satisfaction, [inaudible]. But experience tells me it doesn’t work like that. You know my desire which is something far greater than any of the things that it seeks by way of satisfaction. I can exhaust them very easily, you know whatever they might be and they exhaust me. As Augustine says you know, “everything ends in disgust”. And but society doesn’t seem to be able to see this collectively, society is not the sum of its brains, you know it seems to the lowest common denominator so the collective brain is about the stupidest person in the group.
And then when you actually find that, that..excuse me…what…so you know it’s like you think there’s no end to all the progress but I mean the financial story which is true and as a metaphor that’s powerful, it should be. But there actually finding all kinds of ways of disguising the message by blaming people and by scapegoating people, putting people on trial, throwing people in jail and all of the rest of it, which will prolong addiction that actually ‘ah everything would have been fine ah that if these people hadn’t done the dirty’. And it’s same thing you know with drugs and sex and everything else it’s like oh you just didn’t do it right. You know if you had done it right you would’ve got all of the things that you were promised.
And so this [inaudible] it’s part of the material part of society, it’s very hard to talk around it because it’s the logic of everything is controlled within the model you know it’s obvious that you would aspire to all of these things. This is what freedom is, isn’t it? And of course, it isn’t. I mean fundamentally freedom as we discovered in life is something completely different moving inexorably around some task towards some destination that we quite don’t understand but we intuit by some force that we know exists but we can’t define it and so on which is all religious ideas. Ah, so there is this clash between the two freedoms, the freedom that the instinct what man tells them [inaudible] which always fails to and the freedom which promises them something if he can somehow transcend and transcend the basic desire and that is the problem itself. Em..this is the real struggle of man and this is what is going on and all these questions, gay marriage, you know there will always be something to distract people into this paradox and of course we know you might as well be banging your head on the wall trying to bring people [inaudible] it has been. All these questions have been defined as reactionary, [inaudible] and obsolescent. So doesn’t mean we stop talking about it but we have to find new words to keep ahead of the posse. What happens then is that they don’t even have the balls to talk about it. Yeah, because it’s too confusing, they’re standup reactionary you know to fit in with their dramas, which are the discredited past versus the all [inaudible] future.
Grannell: “Yeah. I just want to ask as well, I asked the other people as well regards gay marriage, what kind of reaction have you had from the public when you speak against like legislation for gay marriage like?”
Waters: “Oh well I mean the first thing you get that full frontal false venom from the lobby and then you get a kind of a timid response,. I would describe it as timidity, a sense of maybe you’re right but I’m not gonna agree with you. Ya know, maybe you’re right but ya know. It’s like as if people don’t see what’s at stake and therefore don’t think it’s an issue they can necessarily commit themselves or should commit themselves or forced to [inaudible] being demonised.
So that just shows that the bullying is very effective and this has been very effective within the media. Eh I don’t know how effective they need it to be. I think the mentality of the media tends to be prone to making elaborate shows of enlightenment anyway ah..so it probably wasn’t all that necessary but in any event where we are is that the bullying has more or less prepared the ground now and that there is almost nobody left to speak against gay marriage or any reasonable debate. We’re easily disposed of by…’oh well John Waters would say that wouldn’t he?’.
Grannell: “Yeah. It does seem to be that way the groups who are lobbying for gay marriage they often would parody people who oppose it and in a way then they’re making the public perception is that those people’s arguments are like just a joke like, not to be taken seriously, they don’t have any real basis for their..
Waters: “…which would be…which wouldn’t be as disquieting as it is were it not for the fact that the national broadcaster that tends to share that view.”
Grannell: “Yeah they think that they can get get off under the same issue. It is kind of scary.”
Waters: “It is scary, yeah it is. But I don’t know, normally in these matters I think James you know if there’s nothing we can do other than to do what we are doing then we just do it and we wait and watch and we see what happens then because sometimes you have to allow things to happen for the consequences to become obvious. Maybe it’ll be too late but at least we’ll have some clarity then. It’ll take some time. It may take years for people to see and already we can see the consequences of that in different ways in our society. Ya know we take that a step further we can expect those consequences to multiply. So…you can’t really..ah…where we are now..there was a massive flood there last year, why? Because they tried to divert the river to build a shopping centre, right? The gay lobby are trying to divert human nature. The same consequences will ensue.”