The Zürich Interviews - Sean McCarthy: 7th Gen Potato Famine Victim
Is it OK to be Irish? Did JFK really kill himself? Can the right and left fuck the centre? Why is Colin Quinn God?
Internet Shithead. Marxist. Racist. Slur Supremacist. Anti-Marxist sell-out. Barely Literate Bog Creature.
These are just some of the descriptions of Sean that his family emailed me while I researched him in preparation for our interview here at the Gates of the Swiss Alps. Co-host of the Grubstakers Podcast, Standup Comic on the NYC Circuit, and notorious Twitter asshole, Sean has carved out a niche for himself even though he doesn’t even know what ‘niche’ means. Today he reveals whether it’s okay to be Irish, why anti-centrist politics in the USA require reaching out across the aisle, and why JFK’s assassination is the key to understanding the Deep State. We also discuss the state of Standup Comedy in an era where laughs are costly and people are rather shitty.
You are Irish yet you interact with people all the time. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be human like one of them? I always have.
Yesterday I went to the Bronx Zoo and children were pointing at me and staring. Some of the employees saw that I was mingling with people outside of my cage and started screaming, trying to evacuate the spectators. I was tranquilized and woke up in a playpen with a tire swing and a copy of Ulysses. Brandon Wardell made a meme about me.
One of your uncles was in NORAID and ran guns for the IRA. Another one was a Westie in Hells Kitchen, and his life was immortalized in the brilliant movie, STATE OF GRACE starring Gary Oldman and Sean Penn.
My dad was telling me his great uncle was doing IRA ambushes outside Limerick in the Irish war of independence. Sorta like: lay down in the fields for hours and wait for some convoy to roll by and kill all the WW1 poets inside. He got some medal from the original IRA that he would wear when he went out. My dad and his brothers took him to a pub and everybody was buying him drinks because of the medal. It might have been a gay bar and my dad made up the story of the medal, not really sure.
Yet you’re in the USA. What is the difference between Five Boroughs Irish and those in Southie?
The difference is all Irish people in Southie know that Ben Affleck will be done robbing Brink’s trucks after this one last job while in the five boroughs we’re not so sure.
Have you ever been called a Plastic Paddy? Have you ever wanted to make Aliyah to Eire? Angela Nagle wrote a brilliant piece about how the US Empire and its soft power are going to turn the Emerald Isle into a shitty outpost of the USA, stripped of its unique character. Is it already too late?
I am called plastic paddy all the time on twitter by people who refuse to acknowledge the truth of Irish slavery or IBM’s role in the Irish Holocaust. My father is actual Irish, he grew up on a farm in Limerick with no electricity or running water. I’ve visited a few times with him and it is striking how much has changed. Ireland is now like a flower that grew out of the nutrients in the shit Google took at a rest stop on their way to paying no income tax. As Nagle points out there’s an actual tradition of nationalism within the Irish left so I don’t think it’s too late. Neoliberalism is the conquest of the nation state by the multinational corporation and the first step for reversing it is to support the reemergence of the independent nation state, which is why everybody is psyopped to scream “no, no, very bad Nazbol!” at you if you suggest mixing a little patriotism with your socialism.
Brendan "Darkie" Hughes is the Provisional IRA member that I tend to identify with the most. Fierce and fanatical, he very much had a sense of social justice (not in the SJW way), that led him to criticize both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness shortly before his death. Ultimately, class politics rose its ugly head. If you've seen THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, you would have seen where Ken Loach brings this up even in that conflict. What do you think of the role of class in The Troubles and Hughes' criticism of Adams and McGuinness?
I liked it when they bombed London that was pretty cool.
Sean and I Engage in Serious Discussion
You have a social conscience that permeates through your writing in places like Twitter. From where did this originate?
After college I spent a few years working a variety of just above minimum wage day jobs in grocery stores as I tried to do stand up in the evenings. The jobs sucked but the actual experience of meeting the people who work them was quite humbling. I met a girl working at whole foods who spoke 5 languages and was doing 20 hours of school on top of 40 hours of work a week. A guy at Zabars on the Upper West Side who commutes four hours per day six days a week while also raising a family. And then you meet lots of affluent white female liberals among the customers. One lady got a coworker from the Bronx fired by reporting her to the manager because she “didn’t smile” during their interaction. You notice the class dynamics of all this.
The fainting couch attitude towards humor and language that is so prevalent on today’s left is the societal attitude of the lady who did the firing, not the people I worked with. There’s a real sociopathy behind the liberal insistence that using correct language makes them virtuous while they give you a 1 star rating on your slavery app if you bring them their soup cold. My coworkers on the other hand might call each other gay but they’d buy you dinner or beer even if they were dead broke and tell you the best way to steal when the boss wasn’t looking. I just couldn’t help but notice how striking it was reading Lindy West and all the Jezebel garbage that was popular in liberal spaces at the time and thinking: ‘the people I work with live in public housing and none of them give a shit about any of this. I’m not even sure how I would explain it to them.’ I mean, all those people who claimed to be on the right side of history were sharing articles about how Daniel Tosh was a threat to women in the middle of the foreclosure crisis.
For contrast one of my Whole Foods coworkers was a real 1980s Miami Cuban who loved Andrew Dice Clay and told me a bunch of street jokes one of which I remember goes like:
‘So this Indian Squaw had never fucked a white woman and so one day for his birthday he goes to this cat’s house and picks out a white girl for himself. A real beautiful blonde white lady with huge tits. And she takes him back to her room but she realizes that he’s kind of nervous and doesn’t really know what he’s doing so she says “hey, you’ve never been with a white girl before have you? There’s a tree out back with a hole in it. Why don’t you go out there and practice for a bit and then come back?” So the squaw goes and practices on the tree. And then he comes back and again he takes her back to the room. And there’s silence for a bit but then suddenly the brothel owner hears screams coming from the room. He runs in and sees the squaw just wailing on the white lady with a stick.
And he yells “What the fuck are you doing?!”
And the squaw says “I’m checking for bees.”
Those jobs were rough, the pay was shit and the work was hard. I had a college degee so I eventually found work in an office but what I want is for life to be better for the people still working those jobs and for politics not to be focused on affluent liberal-left culture wars that they don’t give a fuck about. I’d follow whatever course takes us there.
You are also known to engage right wingers like myself. Is a synthesis possible between disaffected left wingers and disenchanted right wingers in the USA? If so, how?
My politics could be called reactionary in that I want to turn the US back to 1938. I want industrial planning, a Senate that passes the 30 hour work week, a civilian conservation corp, a 90% top income tax, and regulations that say the guy who gives you a mortgage loan has to live within walking distance of your neighborhood so he actually cares if you pay it back. What you’ll notice is that everything I’ve laid out could be described as “social democratic” or “national conservative” or “populist” or “socialist” so there’s plenty of room for synthesis among people who are described with these labels. To be honest if the New Deal happened today what it would really be called is fascism, as it was at the time by CPUSA.
The entire Bernie Sanders theory of change, and it’s one I agree with, is that the structural barriers to change in the US are so high that the only way anything will actually happen is through a mass popular movement that gets 60-70% of the population on one side. Every leftist and socialist agrees with this in theory but they don’t think about the second order implications and the kinds of compromises necessary to achieve it. The United States is a country where Medicare for All, police officers, and the military all have a 70% approval rating. The actual coalition that changes things here is going to include a lot of Trump voters and a lot of people the media currently tells us are fascists.
In terms of what this synthesis might look like one party needs to win elections by the margins FDR was winning them by. It’s more than possible. If it happens it’s probably going to be some national conservative version of the Republican party. Woke identity politics has locked the working class out of the Democratic Party and its various “socialist” appendages. The workers are expected to give their votes and receive no representation…..that’s not tenable forever. In contrast Tucker Carlson is the only person on television who will say that class is the real dividing line in America. Not race, not gender, not sexuality, class. His critics make a mistake in that it doesn’t matter if he means it or not or how sincere he is. As long as this self-evidently true statement is considered too controversial on “the left” he’s won and his politics will be the future of America.
I need to ask you the inevitable question: What went wrong with Bernie? Was it a matter of him being captured by the PMCs who incorrectly reoriented his campaign in 2020? What's the way forward for the labour left?
It was a pretty similar story to Jeremy Corbyn in the UK. Both initially ran campaigns that did not win but made impressive showings among workers without college degrees. Both allowed their subsequent campaigns to become jobs programs for professional leftists with degrees and their messages to be reoriented towards the interests of those groups (stop brexit, open the borders, college debt forgiveness, we’re sorry for being white and male, danauld trump is thuh most racist president of hour lifetime, etc). Unsurprisingly they both got finished off by the same workers without degrees that had once been their base.
Neoliberal globalization has been bad all around but domestically it has really destroyed those who didn’t finish college, which describes 2/3rds of the US population. Their real wages are down from 12-24% since 1979 and that’s before this coronavirus pandemic. As such workers without degrees have to be the senior partner in any coalition with degreed workers (the professional class). The priorities of the “uneducated” need to come first and workers with degrees just have to lump it and accept. Instead we have a situation where the professional class pushes woke language and progressive stack and vampire castles and the constantly shifting 10,000 page manuals on how to behave and all of it solely to gatekeep out the largest section of the working class and to ensure that professionals will always be in the leadership positions in orgs like DSA, making them useless for the people they claim to speak for.
I naively expected the Bernie and Corbyn losses to cause some soul searching about the woke stuff but there’s that old Upton Sinclair quote “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Too many left allies and democratic party functionaries have media careers, academic jobs, HR positions, and anti-racism training sinecures pushing this completely fake anti-working class worldview for it to be reconsidered. There’s no labour-left future in any organization which doesn’t reject it completely and explicitly.
From the outset of the Trump Presidency, it was obvious to myself (and to many others) that the entirely now-discredited Trump/Russia Conspiracy was the work of the Deep State to at least neutralize, and at most remove, him from office. The USA is now in a position where its intelligence services, mainstream media, and Big Tech are aligned behind the elites and against the people. How can this tri-headed beast be disassembled?
Practice, practice, practice. There are actually positive signs in that there has been total mainstream narrative breakdown. They lied to people about the trade deals not hurting US jobs, about the New Deal regulations being out of date, about the WMDs being in Iraq, about Russia hacking the election, about fucking everything! And now nobody believes them about anything! It’s not all good news because it leads to people with submachine guns looking under pizza restaurants for tunnels but it’s their own fucking fault and at least we know that whatever smears and slanders they roll out for the next threat to neoliberalism will be mostly tuned out.
The fact that narrative control is collapsing is of course leading to the current panic about “disinformation” and all the serious thinkers making demands that Silicon Valley censor it. In practice this will just mean banning every single person who questions why a white house economic advisor was hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein or what the national security necessity of using predator drones to blow up pine nut farmers is. I think the genie is already out of the bottle for restoring trust in official sources but that’s only the first step and the ruling class can just switch over to explicit force or demoralization even if people no longer believe a word they say.
Irish Eyes Are Still Crying - The JFK Assassination
You have urged Trump to declassify the remaining JFK files. I think we both know that he won't do this no matter how fucking hilarious it would be. Why do you think it isn't going to happen?
It does seem weird because even if you get the smoking gun proof that the CIA killed JFK it’s not like anything would fundamentally change. Everybody involved is dead and the CIA would just do the “that was the old CIA” line they do every decade. I think they are so resistant partly because of institutional inertia but more importantly because if they admitted elements of the US security state were capable of assassinating the President and then covering it up people might ask some uncomfortable follow up questions that are more relevant to today. What else are they capable of? Who was behind those anthrax attacks again? Uh, how exactly did the CIA “lose track” of two of the hijackers? I think it’s really about 9/11.
My brother makes a strong case that JFK committed suicide in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Please explain where he is wrong and tell us what actually happened.
JFK began a long tradition of people who investigate the CIA committing suicide through multiple self inflicted gun shot wounds to the head. They get very sad with what they find out the CIA is bad and don’t want to go on living.
In terms of what actually happened I’m too dumb to follow all the physics debates and whether it was 3 shots or 4 or if he got sprayed by six teams in pillboxes with MG-42s. I just look at the CIA connections to Oswald and Jack Ruby, both of which are undeniable and both of which the CIA lied to the warren commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations about. George De Morenschultz, David Atlee Phillips/Maurice Bishop, Jolly West, Oswald’s Mexico trip, etc. They were all involved with the CIA in some capacity and the fact that the government is keeping thousands of pages related to this classified to this day makes you ask the question ‘why even bother if you didn’t whack the guy?’ Also Cord Meyer using the JFK assassination as a chance to have his ex-wife clipped was a real dudes rock moment. Just another example of dudes finding innovative solutions to alimony.
Did Oliver Stone's JFK set back those seeking 'the truth' about the assassination? Or did it help put it back in the public consciousness and lead people to question the elites and their actions for the first time since Watergate?
I think Oliver Stone deserves immense credit for getting the JFK records act passed through the public attention his movie brought, which led us to the hilarious spectacle of the Secret Service illegally destroying documents in 1995 in violation of the act. Yeah, they’re definitely breaking the law to shred records 30 years later because of Occam’s razor incompetence. Clearly, elements of Stone’s movie were wrong but he made a strong impression on people about the national security state and forced the CIA to do 9/11 to win back public trust.
Deep Inside the Boiled Potato
I am of the Gen X race and you are a Millennial, which means that you are most likely a fag. Why is Dave Attell so criminally underrated and why is Colin Quinn the greatest? I don't know any comedians from your generation so it's important that you answer this one.
Sorry my internet cut out I missed the first part of that question. Colin Quinn is one of those rare exceptions to “don’t meet your heroes.” When I was just an anorexic misogynist with a bowl cut doing open mics in Seattle (now I’m an anorexic misogynist with a bowl cut doing open mics in New York) I would listen to every single YouTube clip I could find of his Opie and Anthony appearances. Just the funniest radio I’ve ever heard and Tough Crowd was great too. He workshopped several of his stand up specials at the Creek and Cave in Long Island City and I would always go and I got the chance to speak with him on a few occasions. Very kind, generous with his time, signed a poster for me. Complete opposite of my other hero Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Standup Comedy is almost impossible today. Is there anyone doing it now that can compare to 15 or 20 years ago? Is there an audience for edgy comedy?
One of the advantages of living in New York City before operation Chinese Dark Winter was going out most nights and seeing, without question, the funniest live stand up I’ve ever seen. I met Nick Mullen before he started Cum Town and was just blown away with how sharp the guy was. He’s maybe the only person I know who is truly funny in every medium. Nick Vatterott is a force of nature on stage, no stand up makes me laugh more than him. Sarah Tollemache, Mike Recine, Dina Hashem and Daniel Simonsen are also all brilliant to name just a few. I think people get a bad impression because most of the comedy on TV is garbage, but to me there’s still no art form that compares to stand up and I encourage everyone to risk their lives to go to a live show.
You’re a member of the Podcaster Race. Is it a labour of love? What made you get into podcasting and what is the future of the medium?
When I started podcasting I just wanted to put content on the internet to get a following to do stand up. We were doing a news and current events podcast for a while and eventually my co-host Yogi wisely pulled the plug on it because he realized everybody he knew was also doing a news and current events podcast. We spent some time thinking about the next project and I noticed that it was basically impossible to find non-sycophantic information on billionaires in one place. I was just curious to learn more about them from a source that wasn’t their official PR shop and that’s how we came up with the idea for Grubstakers. It was something that didn’t exist that I personally wanted to hear, which I think is a good philosophy for any creative pursuit.
Podcasts caught on because anybody can buy an XLR mic and suddenly they don’t need some pedophile at Viacom to vet them before they’re allowed to connect with people. Media concentration made television unfunny and cut out most every innovative and with an original perspective so people went to podcasts to find where the actual funny and interesting people were. I can’t see that changing in the near future unless the media oligarchy is opened up.
There is nothing more mysterious than blood. Paracelsus considered it a condensation of light. I believe that the Aryan, Hyperborean blood is that – but not the light of the Golden Sun, not of a galactic sun, but of the light of the Black Sun, of the Green Ray.
I read that Himmler paid a schizophrenic guy a bunch of money and made him a Colonel of the SS to go search Germany for the lost city of Atlantis. He went around and collected evidence of the ice giants that lived in Germany hundreds of thousands of years ago and did battle with the ancient Aryans. I’m sure German taxpayers would have been furious if they found out. Fox News should do a segment on this kind of pork barrel spending.
What does Mel Gibson mean to Sean McCarthy?
I like Apocalypto and I think those voicemails he left for his wife make a good sequel to What Women Want.
Thank you kindly, Sean.