Friday, July 17, 2009

Blog Bits: interview with Kate Smurthwaite

Kate Smurthwaite is a brilliant stand up comic who writes over at Cruella blog, among other numerous places. She's even been on breakfast TV roasting some sexist creep - wooo!

In the fourth in my short series of interviews with fellow bloggers we discuss Michael Jackson (his first mention on this blog), grammar and how much money Germaine Greer has cost her.

  • What are the highs and lows of blogging for you?
The biggest high is always when I blog about someone in the public eye and they notice and respond. I've had that from MPs, authors and also newspaper columnists. If they agree with my points great but even more satisfying when I can tell I've really gotten under their skin. For instance a Sunday Times columnist (who shall remain nameless) who wrote on her own blog that I was "probably too intellectual to brush her own hair".

The only low really, aside from days when I don't feel like blogging, is when someone who is supposed to be (in my head) a good guy/gal suddenly turns to the dark side. Robin Ince (super left-wing comic) agreed to appear in FHM recently and I cried. If "good" people behave like that what hope is there for "bad" people?
  • How does blogging fit into your politics, comedy and life generally?
I blog about all of the above. I blog my opinions, I find out about others experiences through my blog, I publicise my comedy and political activism on my blog and I use it to tell stories from my own life. I also understand politics in the context of my own life and tell stories from my own life in my comedy.

My comedy is very political and my political campaigning is full of comedy. Scientists have shown that jokes affect political opinion more than serious statements do. The revolution starts here.
  • How long does it take you to write a post?
Longer than I think. I assume it will take ten minutes (like this interview) and then once I've started writing I end up taking hours and being late for whatever else I'm supposed to be doing.
  • How does writing a Cruella blog post compare to writing elsewhere?
When I write for my blog I write about whatever I feel like writing. Anywhere else I write they're going to have pre-emptively pigeon-holed me (and maybe themselves) so I'll already be there as an expert on whatever they think I should be an expert on.

I write much more about "mainstream" politics and rationalism on my blog but when I go elsewhere the first consideration is usually "has a vagina, is only entitled to write about sex or issues specifically affecting only women". But hell, I'll take the work, at least I'm getting work. Also I don't really bother double-checking spelling and grammar on my blog, my readers are smart enough to figure it out.
  • If you could imagine a perfect blog - what would it look like?
It would look like a newspaper that divided coverage up based on a strict set of rules - so one sentence per person killed, etc. So several pages a week about Iraq and Afghanistan, several pages about male violence against women every week and then a single line "Popular singer Michael Jackson died this week at his home."

And proposed law changes would be discussed based on rational scientific basis of lives saved or dramatically ameliorated. If I had time I would write this myself but I never will, it would take a big team.
Quick fire round:
  1. Jo Brand or Shappi Khorsandi? Both - how could you choose?

  2. History or economics? History. Economics is a bunch of theories and most of them don't work.

  3. Fourth Plinth - hot or not? It's hot. I'm still watching.

  4. Guardian online or hard copy? Online, I buy The Independent in paper copy.

  5. Afghanistan - troops out now? Of course - our prescence so far has boosted Taliban numbers to the point where they're now capable of invading parts of Pakistan. Why continue driving people to them?

  6. Action movie or comedy? Comedy. Good one though, there's a lot of rubbish on the market these days.

  7. Coffee or beer? I don't drink coffee.

  8. Opera or Oprah? Opera

  9. Greer or Dworkin? Dworkin. I don't even consider Greer a feminist any more plus she publically said women weren't funny and it's affecting my income. Dworkin was great.

  10. There's a free ticket on the next space shuttle - do you go or do you send your enemies? I'm on it. I think humans should have started colonising space decades ago. Not instead of solving problems here but instead of causing them (see above under Afghanistan).

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