No-Holds Barr

Roseanne Barr’s third act as class warrior is a lot like her first act, as class warrior.

BY 

 

Roseanne Barr, Getty Images
Roseanne Barr, Getty Images

Roseanne Barr has been breaking barriers and pissing people off since before she was a household name, but she was a known quantity in my household, and our family wore a hole through the VHS tape of her 1987 HBO comedy special, then regularly watched her eponymous sitcom Roseanne (1988–1997) — which featured gay characters and the first televised lesbian kiss.

Born in Salt Lake City, Roseanne was raised — rather uniquely — as both Jewish and Mormon, and she has a gay brother and a lesbian sister. Though she’s as funny as ever and was recently in talks for a sitcom, Roseanne has become much more politically active, taking both right-wingers and Democrats to task on economics, whistle-blowing, and genetically modified foods. She ran for president on the Peace and Freedom ticket and came in sixth place with 67,448 votes in the general election. And she’s a force of nature on Twitter; the day I caught her she had just fired off this gem: “spam blocking all repiglican dim wits who suck brown bankster bungholes. #FUN”

Our July 23, 2013, conversation is reproduced here. It is abridged, but no spelling or grammar errors have been corrected. The full conversation is public and available on Twitter.

@matbreen Hi! Can I interview you over Twitter — on which you’re a rockstar — for The Advocate? I’m the editor-in-chief… and I’m from SLC

@TheRealRoseanne yay slc-we are taking over the world!

@TheRealRoseanne whenever I feel down, I think of SLC-where we all learned that we can change the world if we want to

@matbreen OK, this medium is great/peculiar, so apologies in advance for nature of short questions.

@matbreen Speaking of SLC, LDS are trying to shed antigay image. Would church really change it’s stripes on LGBTs? A revelation?

@TheRealRoseanne my sister saw mormon women marching for marriage equality in the sf pride parade! we do have influence, power 2 change minds.

@matbreen Yes, definitely progress. Think it’s possible at the institutional level too? Or is that too high a bar for LDS leaders?

@TheRealRoseanne actually- i believe the change came from inside the church-which has many gay priests in it-I give credit to @TroyWilliamsSLC

@TheRealRoseanne the church leaders realized they could no longer support the oppression of their own gay children-the word got out-we put it there

@TheRealRoseanne we put the word out that the Mormon church kicks it’s own gay children out on2 the streets-that hurt their “family friendly” image

@TheRealRoseanne I give power to the gay mormons who have made themselves known-who came forward-that’s how things change.

@TheRealRoseanne I also credit Marie Osmond-she has become a great activist w/i the church.

@matbreen You were 6th in prez election. Congrats! What did being a candidate teach you about the process, your most pressing issues?

@TheRealRoseanne I made a movie about american politics by running for office-what I learned: 2000 informed ppl who UNITE can change anything.

@TheRealRoseanne not out yet-still editing

@TheRealRoseanne I also learned that ppl think opposing something is more powerful than supporting something, and that is incorrect & backwards.

@matbreen What’s the status of new TV project? Your sitcom changed TV. Are any old struggles from making old show reappearing?

@TheRealRoseanne I’m doing porn now. It’s difficult, but I persist.

@TheRealRoseanne there’s NO way2 control ur writing-but,-the 10/90 seems 2 b the newest business strategy that could allow4 more artistic controls

@matbreen “Roseanne” was unique, and an exception historically. Are class issues and popular TV incompatible?

@TheRealRoseanne in some ways they r-but in other ways they aren’t-it all depends on who is writing & who watches-

@TheRealRoseanne to speak about class in america is to break the greatest taboo.

@matbreen Heard you talk about celebs in Hollywood who quietly thank you for speaking out on issues.

@TheRealRoseanne not quietly-covertly and with great trepidation.

@matbreen Can anything break thru Hollywood self-censorship?

@TheRealRoseanne it’s NOT self censorship-it’s corporate.

@matbreen What would it take to overcome corporate suppression?

@TheRealRoseanne changing a few minds

@matbreen Seems like merging of disparate progressive interests might be a solution. I see some evidence of that. Do you?

@TheRealRoseanne I keep trying to make that point, as Harvey Milk (my political idol) did-when progressives & labor join-it’s a done deal.

@matbreen You’ve said first to speak out is vilified. Do you feel you’ve been vilified, or blacklisted?

@matbreen I feel like you really rely on and relish your outsider perspective…

@TheRealRoseanne most definitely i do-it’s a continual thing-

@TheRealRoseanne I have no choice-it’s the way I am.

@matbreen And if you want to talk some trash, I’d love to know what you thought of the Geraldo nudie tweet.

@TheRealRoseanne he needs a head transplant-drunk old fucker

AddThis

READER COMMENTS ()

Quantcast