John Waters Manages to Get Older And Cooler Somehow

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Although he exists in many people’s imaginations as a provocative young upstart, John Waters is 65 and owns three houses. He’s made a lucrative living from shocking people like his parents, which puts him in an interesting position these days:  the rebel who’s become canonical. But somehow he’s managed to inhabit that contradiction with style and self-awareness; he may be mellowing out, but he might also be getting cooler. He recently spoke with the Wall-Street Journal about rap music, plastic surgery, scheduling hangovers in advance, and being a six-year old who “played car accident all day.” Some select quotes below:

“Routine is not the enemy of creativity. I’m very organized. I go out to get the paper within 20 seconds of the same time each day; my hangovers are scheduled a year in advance. I don’t have time to be nuts. If I was retired, I might be completely out of my mind, because I’d have time to give in to neurotic thinking. Now I just have to work it into a schedule. That neurotic behavior has to produce.”

“When I was a kid, my parents were a little uptight because the things I was interested in weren’t the proper things for a six-year-old. It wasn’t, ‘Isn’t that nice that he wants an encyclopedia?’ I wanted to look up heroin addiction. Did it say in the Dr. Spock book what to do if your child played car accident all day? I don’t think so. It wasn’t easy to find out what to do with me.”

“When I was young there were beatniks. Hippies. Punks. Gangsters. Now you’re a hacktivist. Which I would probably be if I was 20. Shuttin’ down MasterCard. But there’s no look to that lifestyle! Besides just wearing a bad outfit with bad posture. Has WikiLeaks caused a look? No! I’m mad about that. If your kid comes out of the bedroom and says he just shut down the government, it seems to me he should at least have an outfit for that. Get a look! I’m not judging what they do; I hope they don’t shut me down.”

“I believe that tomorrow is always going to be better—I don’t believe my time was better. We saw things nobody will ever see again. But half my friends are dead, too, so there are two sides to that. I don’t hide my age. I think it’s like heroin. Once you start, you can’t stop. That’s my fear—getting touch-ups with needles from quack doctors in L.A. who you meet in the airport hotel between flights.”

“I like rap music. But bragging about being rich to poor people is really offensive. I want to hear a gangsta rap song about buying a Cy Twombly painting or dating a museum curator. I want to hear about that kind of rich. Of course, the worst is having a convertible if you’re over 20 years old. If you’re 50, please, buy a painting.”

“A 65-year-old man who’s angry is a loser. A 20-year-old angry man is a sexy leader. Nothing makes me angry anymore.”



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