More From the Kinky Friedman Tapes: On Heroes and Politics

Categories: Interviews
Larry D. Moore
Kinky Friedman, the original Texas Jew Boy and salty king of the one-liners, makes a rare appearance in St. Louis tonight at Off Broadway. We're celebrating with a week of wisdom nuggets from our interview with the Kinkster; read them here and here, and get the lowdown on the legendary songwriter and detective novelist's new book Heroes of a Texas Childhood and the end of his political career below.

Roy Kasten: In the new book you focus on some early role models.

Twenty three heroes of mine when I was a kid. Two of them are still alive. I'll be signing books after the show. I'll sign anything but bad legislation. The salient point that came across as I was writing the book, was the obstacles these people had to overcome and the tragedies and failures of their lives. Like Willie says, if you fail at something long enough you become a legend. The other shocker for me is that recent college graduates in Texas don't know who these people are they. They don't know who Audie Murphy was or Barbara Jordan or Molly Ivins. They don't know on whose shoulders they stand.

Davy Crockett [on of the heroes in the book] realized that politics is a fundamentally dishonest profession. He was an outspoken guy and very bad as a politician. I would think that he would be the kind of person you'd want in office. Today what we have is a bunch of former hall monitors. That's why I've called for term limits: One in office and one in prison.

Are you really done with running for political office?

I think so. Age shouldn't be an issue. Sam Houston our first governor in Texas was 71 the last time he ran, as an independent. The only other independent to make a run was me, 160 years later. I think that's going to be it. Of course, there's a nice legacy to it. Young people all over the place, people who were living outside of the state. So I won everywhere but Texas. I actually got 600,000 votes, which would be enough in most states, but not in Texas. And only 26% of the people voted, and that just about guarantees that a Republican or Democrat is going to win. The political parties are so entrenched; hence my definition of politics: Poli meaning more than one and ticks are blood-sucking parasites.

One of the things I like about your writing is just the language, the vernacular. You seem to have a memory for the way people speak. Or are you just inventing that language?

A great actor once said about actors or authors that they memorize what their friends and associates say. If you hear someone saying something you write it down. That's how you develop good dialogue. But fiction is a strange thing. I've often said that there's a fine line between fiction and non-fiction and Jimmy Buffet and I snorted it in 1976. But fiction is the better place of truth.

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