Imagine my delight when I picked up the Summer issue of bitch magazine today, and found an interview by Keely Savoie with Diane DiMassa--my hero. If Hothead Paisan is not singlehandedly responsible for having gotten you through a tough period or two in your life, you might check out some of DiMassa's work (and "crapola") on her website, or better yet, at the 2005 Womyn's Music Festival where (can you believe this?) there will be a musical of Hothead Herself!
Since I last saw Hothead in about 1996 or 7, I was interested to see DiMassa taking a more overtly political stance in her interview:
Savoie: When Hothead was first published, in the early '90s, there were very active, in-your-face groups like ACT UP and the Lesbian Avengers--anger was the emotion du jour of the queer movement. Is Hothead going to change now that anger is no longer such a dominant emotion?
DiMassa: I wonder what is, then. Television? [Susan, DiMassa's girlfriend, interjects: I don't think television counts as an emotion, honey.] Well, it does for a lot of people! But you know, I was never doing it to be chic. I was doing it for therapy. And I think on a personal level, people are angry every day. I mean, c'mon! Look what Bush is doing and look at everything that's going on! People are fucking angry! It might not always be around queer issues, but that wasn't always my main focus, either. It was just kind of the world at large and the imbalance, and where the power is, and how we get treated. As far as I know, that hasn't all been solved. People just like to lampoon that shit. Hothead has been a release valve for a lot of people. You know, "My god! Thank god somebody else thinks this stuff!" "My god, this happened to me the other day. Hahahaha!"
I never really felt like I had a responsibility as an artist. I never really understood what that meant, especially becuase all this stuff always feels so personal to me. But maybe that's it--just to share what I have so somebody else knows they're not alone.
I think you can get anybody riled up if you bring up the right subject at any time. It's nuts. I think we've really the point of absurdity.
Savoie: In what sense?
DiMassa: Oh! Bush and the administration and their fuckin' lies! I mean, if it wasn't so scary and dangerous, it would be funny, but it's quite series. I mean, how many people don't have healthcare? And in the Middle East I think they're going to trip the Armageddon wire soon, and--everything is just really crazy.
Savoie: One of Hothead's attributes was that she was apolitical--outraged by everything in general but nothing in particular. Are you thinking of taking a more political direction this time?
DiMassa: I didn't get specific in the comics on purpose, because it felt like I really didn't need to. It didn't feel necessary to really date it, although it's dated in many other ways, now that I look back on it.
I think all through history you're going to find the same sorts of situations. But yeah, I'm definitely feeling a lot more specific about it because I hate Bush so much.
I still don't know if I'll talk about him specifically when I do more comics, because I think Tom Tomorrow is absolutely the top-of-the-heap brilliant political cartoonist. And he and a couple of others are doing the bulk of chronicling what's going on on a weekly basis.
But I feel very dedicated to speaking out against the stuff that I don't believe in, the stuff that I think is wrong. I find it very scary that it seems like the majority thinks everything is okay. It keeps me alive to find my common people, and so by doing what I do, I find them.
Amen, sister. Thanks for the good work.