OPINION

Pop Culture Warriors with Lisa De Pasquale

Pop culture word cloud concept

This week’s guest: Kurt Schlichter

This is the first of an interview column dedicated to the significant work of freedom lovers who chose the path of more resistance. Not only are these pop culture warriors fighting the predominant groupthink in entertainment, but also the predominant groupthink on the right side of politics that entertainment doesn’t matter or that the pop culture war is lost. The purpose of this column is to highlight their projects and contributions to expand freedom in new, exciting, and counterculture ways.

You may know Kurt Schlichter from his epic tweets or TV and radio interviews. I know him from an epic karaoke night in which he sang “Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?” from Revenge of Nerds. And, yes, I have video. That’s the great thing about Gen Xers like us – no matter where we grew up or when we became friends, we all share many of the same experiences through movies.

Kurt first started the Kelly Turnball book series in 2016. The sixth book in the series, The Split, came out in July 2021. Good storytelling is powerful and Kurt’s success with novels shows that people are hungry for it.

What do you think Andrew Breitbart meant by “politics is downstream from culture”? 

Andrew meant that kind of culture we have will inform the kind of political system we have. It’s not just pop culture either, though that was his focus. Everyone is in the culture, even creepy shut-ins. But most prefer to avoid what they call politics. I never got that, since politics is how we decide society’s issues. When someone says about a politician “Oh, he’s just playing politics” I wonder what he’s supposed to be playing. Cribbage? 

Anyway, Andrew knew that pop culture was a powerful tool to shape perceptions (the best pop culture reflects the culture rather than presents some now notion of what the culture should be), so he wanted us in the game too. Conservatives used to look down on pop culture, and that’s one reason we are largely nowhere to be found in it. The left had this powerful asset to itself.

Who inspires you?

That’s a weird question. I sort of do what I decide I want. Some people show me how to do that. I had lots of military role models and borrowed elements from all to create my own command style. In the conservative world, Andrew certainly did. Folks like Hugh Hewitt and Larry O’Connor model what a conservative activist/pundit/whatever can be. The Bulwark sissies, though, provides a powerful cautionary example of what not to be.

What was your childhood pop culture obsession?

Godzilla. Loved Godzilla and all monster movies as a kid. I still think reptiles are cool.

Later, I got into the great pop culture action films like Dirty Harry Road WarriorDirty DozenGuns of Navarone48 HoursHeat. If you read my books, you see the influence.

What was your first concert and how did you get there?

I don’t remember! I do vividly remember turning down a chance to see The Clash open for the Who in the early 80s. What a dummy.

I was never a huge concert guy, oddly. I did see The Replacements and Hüsker Dü live, which is why people owe me awe. My buddy and I beered up, threw on Hawaiian shirts, and went to see The Jesus & Mary Chain on its first tour in a school cafeteria at UCSD. We were literally the only people there wearing colors. All the artsy-farty snobs hated us. I remember the opening act was “Community FK” and the lead singer would open each tune with an intro like “This song is called ‘Hate.’” Awful. We left and got more beers. When the Chain showed they played an ultra-distorted mess in place of any songs for just 20 minutes and refused to face the audience. It was glorious.

Tell us about the last movie, TV show, book you consumed for entertainment.

A lot of crap is woke. I am not interested in “_________ Struggles Against Oppression” shows. I find shows where cute 110 pound girls outfight 300 pound men because Grrrrrl Powerrrr! Tiring. I have not watched a broadcast network entertainment show in years. Apparently, there are 20 different NCIS shows. Who knew?

I was trying to watch Ozark when my mom had to go to the hospital again. It’s okay, I guess, but I’m tirng of the cynical, violent type of shows that we often see. Maybe I’m bored. I don’t mind violence or cynicism. My favorite ones take you into a new world. The Godfather taught you how the mafia (maybe) worked. Casino and Goodfellas taught you about their worlds.

What would you say to readers who say they’ve opted out of the pop culture war?

That they have opted-out of the war period. You don’t necessarily get to pick your battlespace. Where the enemy is you need to attack.

 What can readers do to support you and your projects?

Easy – buy my books. Many already have. I’ve sold well into six-figures with the Kelly Turnbull conservative action novels about America splitting into red and blue. The sixth, The Split, is now out, and the others are People’s RepublicIndian CountryWildfire, Collapse, and Crisis!

I would love to get them made into shows or movies – if you read them you’ll notice that’s how I see things, because I write cinematically. Now, if we can only find some rich conservative billionaire to not waste his $30 million donating to the Eagle Forum for Families, America, and Eagles and make People’s Republic: The Movie instead.

Lisa De Pasquale is the author of several books, including the political parody, The Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials, and Generation Z, and the novel, I Wish I Might. She has been a frequent pop culture commentator on the Political Punks Podcast, Fox News, and Fox Business and was Director of CPAC from 2006-2011. She is a recovering east-coaster and now lives in the free state of Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @LisaDeP and on Instagram at @Lisa_DeP.