Recently FishbowlDC, a website about DC reporters and writers, included Breitbart.com’s John Nolte (@NolteNC) in its list of “10 Journos You Don’t Want to Fight with on Twitter.” I have to say I was pretty pleased to see the list included several De Pasquale’s Dozen interviewees, including Dana Loesch and Richard Grenell.
Nolte regularly skewers the media as editor of Breitbart’s Big Hollywood and on The Conversation, a blog of various Breitbart contributors that I also contribute to (almost) every day. Nolte has had his eyes on Hollywood for many years. In 2008, he wrote and directed a film called Beautiful Loser that received accolades from several film festivals. He then began writing for a conservative film website, eventually being recruited by Andrew Breitbart to be the editor of Big Hollywood, Breitbart.com’s first breakout site.
Author Andrew Klaven wrote on PJ Media, “[Nolte’s] takedowns of the mainstream media throughout this political season have been brilliant, devastating — Breitbartian is the only word I can think of to describe them.”
The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. What one thing would you do as President "just because you could"?
Easy, I would pinpoint the 20 worst public schools districts in America -- places that probably wouldn't even come close to voting for me -- and for the first month of my presidency, go to each and hold massive townhall meetings with local residents. There I would make the moral, political, economic, and educational case for local school choice.
School choice is the civil rights issue of our time, and the GOP's reluctance to make it a high-profile crusade, in part, helps to explain the shape they/we are in.
School choice should be OUR immigration reform and gay marriage -- a cultural issue we can win. But I guess the Republican party would prefer to stay on defense and commit political suicide.
2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
I would have to say that this was my priest in Los Angeles; the man who baptized me into the Catholic Church back in 2009.
He was one of the most decent men I have ever known; a complicated guy who left the priesthood a couple of years ago after three decades. But I spent three years in his RCIA class -- one year as a student and the next two helping out. These sessions were made up of six-plus months of study for adults wishing to be baptized into the church.
He truly loved God and Jesus, was politically and socially liberal (except on abortion and same-sex marriage), and loved to debate my politics. In the best way, he never stopped challenging my political beliefs -- sometimes directly, sometimes by example.
I won't bore you with the details, but that experience was spiritually and intellectually helpful to me in ways I can't begin to articulate. I am still learning from him, even though I haven't seen him in over three years.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
While I love what I'm doing, someday I would like to see how I would handle just being a cashier somewhere. Not Walmart, where you have to stand all day; but some out-of-the-way place like a gas station. You know, where you get a stool to sit on.
Do your shift of making coffee and mopping the bathroom; work alone, go home. No pressure, no surprises, nothing intense, zero stress…
As I get older I begin to understand better why Kevin Spacey's character in "American Beauty" remembered his high school job at a burger joint as the best job he ever had.
I have a friend who is almost eighty and spent his whole life in a high pressure, high income job. Now he just sits behind a register ringing up candy bars and lottery tickets. Yep, best job he ever had.
4. What's one of your favorite movies that most people haven't seen?
I've been meaning to put this together for you at The Conversation, but just haven't had time. Also, my DVD collection is stored away while I remodel my basement, so I can't peruse it to pick out titles. So, off the top of my head and in no particular order, here are ten…
Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979)
Saving Silverman (2001)
The Stone Killer (1973)
The Super Cops (1974)
Deep Rising (1998)
Beautiful Girls (1996)
Bachelor Bait (1934)
The 27th Day (1957)
Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
Anything Dana Andrews starred in for 20th-Century Fox…
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
I love 70's sitcoms. Ever since "Seinfeld" and "Married with Children" were canceled some 15 years ago, I've given up on the genre. As long as it isn't the gross-out sexual kind, I love outrageous humor driven by larger-than-life characters, but the censorship that comes with political correctness has killed the modern sitcom. They are all safe now. You can only make fun of men, whites, Christians, conservatives, and sex. It's all so dull and predictable -- especially the sex jokes, which are just tiring.
Seventies sitcoms weren't faced with this censorship. Norman Lear might be liberal, but he was no leftist, and with "All In the Family" he changed everything for the better. NOTHING was off-limits and nothing was mean-spirited. It was about being able to laugh honestly at ourselves and our society. Very healthy stuff. it was provocative, sure, but not offensive.
So even though they aren't as slickly produced or as "sophisticated" as today's sitcoms, I am always watching "All in the Family" (the first five seasons), "Good Times," "Sanford and Son," " The Jeffersons," "Barney Miller…"
These shows represent American sitcom humor at its height; in-between the censorship that came before and the censorship of political correctness that came after.
Those shows still shock, provoke, and put me on the floor.
6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
My Six-Million Dollar Man doll -- I mean, "action figure."
7. What’s the best present you ever gave?
Last Christmas I gave my mother a Keurig coffee maker. She still raves about it.
8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?
Actually it was my stepfather. In 1993, I had gotten a lucrative job offer at a collection agency with a turnover rate of about 90%. Most people just couldn't live up to their standards, but if you did, it was the best paying gig in the profession. But I would have to move 800 miles away and give up a low-paying but steady job. It terrified me.
My stepfather told me, "You never regret what you try."
So I took the job, did very well, and have used that advice many times since. It took me to Hollywood and into the ground floor of Andrew Breitbart's empire.
I'm sure it is advice I will use and need again.
9. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?
I would love to see Jon Stewart and Bill Maher on Gutfeld's turf.
10. What books are on your summer reading list?
I just finished Patrick McGilligan's superb biography of Alfred Hitchcock, which led me to McGilligan's biography of Nicholas Ray, the director of "Rebel Without a Cause" and "In a Lonely Place." I am reading that now.
I just ordered a used copy of McGilligan's biography of Fritz Lang, so that will probably be next.
Somewhere in there I will squeeze in Eric Metaxas' biography of William Wilberforce.
Real people are so much more interesting than anything anyone can fictionalize.
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?
"American Civil Disobedience Kills ObamaCare"
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to be more vocal about your political beliefs.
I have always been vocal, even as a liberal through my mid-20s.
It was the 2004 election, though, that made me want to be an activist (which is what I consider myself today). Watching the left in the worlds of media, politics, and Hollywood put every ounce of their frightening power into ensuring we lost the Iraq War, literally terrified me.
Motivated only by a seething hatred of Bush, these institutions were willing to see 25 million innocent Iraqis -- people we had promised to help and who came out to vote for self-determination in droves under threat of death -- abandoned and fed into the meat grinder of terrorists and death squads.
They all exposed themselves as capable of pure evil.
This was when I realized I could no longer sit on the sidelines.