Ever since I quit working as an investigative journalist and foreign correspondent at Darik Radio I’ve also been more or less avoiding politics as much as possible. I replaced reports on politicians with art features and election campaigns with posh press trips and came to realize that I’ve just been trying to avoid the inevitable.

I  came to that realization more than a week ago when the big Chick Fil-A discussion was in its highest point. I watched this video that someone shared on facebook which was then topped with a link to a video by a really cute guy with glasses talking about the bigotry that surrounds the whole debate around the chicken sandwich company. One thing led to another and I found myself speaking to Jim on facebook and via email. I instantly knew that I want to share what he has to say with you, especially his views on LGBT politics.

Jim Morrison is a liberal-leaning pundit not afraid to challenge convention. He is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and holds a law degree from Columbia University, with an emphasis on Constitutional Law and Civil Rights. Jim ran for the New Jersey State Senate and successfully litigated the first sexual orientation discrimination case against a high school student. Additionally, he was a finalist on the first season of the reality series The Mole and was, subsequently, the first openly gay man to be placed on People magazine’s “Most Eligible Bachelor” list. He also won the most beautiful penis contest not long ago.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jim Morrison.

Hi Jim, where are you right now? 

Im in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Greenpoint is just North of Williamsburg and is still very, very Polish. In fact you still hear as much Polish spoken on the street as English. I like that. I’ve lived here for 12 years now. Last year I had to move out of the huge live-work loft I had for over 10 years. I fought the landlord’s attempt to make me leave and, in the end they had to buy me out. Very only-in-New-York story.  Anyway. I took that money and found this building in my neighborhood. Greenpoint, like Williamsburg is being quickly developed. I didnt want to buy an apartment: I wanted an old building that had never been renovated. Well I found one eventually. My dream was to save her from the developers who always ruin buildings like this. So I bought it.

You started shooting the new season of For&Against. Tell me how the idea started and how it’s going to develop during this season? 

For&Against is born out of the idea that too many LGBT people……especially gay men….arent as informed as they should be about politics. It behooves us all, gay or straight to at least be aware of the candidates running for office, the political issues and debates that are being conducted in our name and for our benefit.  Without sounding to nationalistic…and honestly, I’m not. We’re all members of one community, ultimately….America is a special place, politically speaking. There is an element of “opting-in,” of literally choosing to become part of this civil society and thereby become an American. This is unlike so many other places: for example someone can never really “become” French or German or Italian. (My ethnicity is German. My family comes from a small town outside of Bremen. Ja Ich kann wenige Deutsch. But I’m American by birth and also by choice.) So because of that volitional aspect to American civic life it becomes all the more important that each and every one of us participates as best and as informed as we can. That’s the only way we’ll ever succeed.  So For&Against, at least for starters is an attempt to do that in the LGBT community. This is a big year for LGBT issues, so the time is right.

HereTV approached me with the idea of doing an in-house political show and I was sold before they finished the sentence.

Do you have difficulties inviting guests you really want to talk to? what are the most frequent excuses not to attend your show?

It’s always hard to book guests on a new show. You don’t have a lot of clips to show potential guests and, certainly, you’re not well-known enough that they know you or know what to expect.  And even the early episodes I talk about not letting people get away with the hate, lies, and hypocrisy they spout on gay and lesbian issues. So, I hope that doesnt come back to haunt me in the form of guests not coming on the show. So far, we’ve been getting pretty good guests for a new show. I just interviewed Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential candidate. Pretty amazing woman. We’re doing an episode on 3rd parties. As you know the US is a de facto two-party system. And while it has served us well for much of our history, the  role of “3rd” parties has been incredibly significant. And many people, including me, think the two party system is no longer serving us well….at all. So it was a great interview.

It’s going to be an intense political season. What do you think are going to be biggest challenges for journalists during the until the elections? 

I think it’s so important that journalists don’t take the bait of soft-reporting candidates and their positions….to not take the bait that parties and campaigns throw out there to report on the meaningless parts of candidates lives as opposed to the critical issues and positions that really do affect the people they are seeking to represent. For example: Mitt Romney has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan as his running-mate. The media loves to talk about Ryan’s being a true conservative, intellectual conservative. But Ryan is really kind of a big phony. Here’s why: Paul Ryan loves to talk about his affinity to Ayn Rand and her political philosophy…. a hatred of so called “big government” and social welfare programs.  He also talks about how important religion is to him, and he claims, this country. These two positions are mutually exclusive. Ayn Rand despised the very values that Christianity was based on, charity, caring for our brothers and sisters, a “we’re all in this together spirit”… and values that most modern societies (including America, especially post-New Deal) are built on.   What I’m saying is this: The media needs to be far more critical of these glaring inconsistencies and hypocrisies of politicians. It is literally the ROLE of the media in this country to do just that. Anything less and they just become echo-chambers, or even megaphones, for the message the candidates want to put out. Those messages need to be challenged in our name over and over again.

What do you fear most in case Mitt Romney gets elected? Do you think there is a big chance for that to happen?

First of all. No way. I dont think Romney has a chance. it’s not even going to be close. Especially now with the Paul Ryan choice. He wants to end Medicare and replace it with a more privatized system (Medicare is the single payer healthcare system for Americans over 65) Americans do not want this to happen. And this will be clearly articulated by the Obama campaign: The difference between the two tickets couldnt be more stark.

Many Americans are not as informed on issues as they should be. In a way we’re a victim of our own success: the system has kind of run on it’s on pretty stably for over 200 yrs… so people are busy making ends meet and living their lives in our weird American wild west fend-for yourself system (like paying for our own health insurance) and don’t stay informed on political issues. But I think Americans are actually quite good in one area: bullshit detection. Americans pride themselves on being able to see right through phonies. Is this guy the kind of guy you’d want over to your BBQ? Even if he’s not like you at all, at least he’s real, he’s not a phony. Mitt Romney is a total phony. He’s a chameleon and every American can see it. In the end Americans hate phonies. So for that reason alone I think he will lose. Just my gut prediction.

Biggest fear if he wins? Thats easy: The 2-4 ultra conservative Justices he’s very likely appoint to the Supreme Court. That could set civil rights, especially LGBT civil rights, back 30-40 years. That’s major.

Very close friends of mine are forced to return to the US because the green card status of one of them is in jeopardy if they stay in Europe for longer and their marriage is not recognized on federal level. Do you think DOMA will be de-legalized? What has to happen until then? 

DOMA’s (The Defense of Marriage Act) days are numbered. Several courts have already declared it unconstitutional and the Obama administration is no longer defending it in court. It’s only a matter of time now. I’d say DOMA will be history within the next year and there will be full federal recognition of same sex marriages. The Democratic Party platform has language stating the party opposed DOMA and language about bi-national LGBT families. And in the meantime, the Obama administration is taking a more liberal stance in issues of immigration and bi-national couples until the DOMA issue is finally settled.

Is it easy to reach an audience that is usually known to be more superficial? E.g., true story, I myself was first attracted to your looks when I saw your Chick Fil-A video on Facebook and then to what you were saying. 

Haha. Well there are certainly better looking people out there than me. I really try to be myself and at the same time be professional…. so i dont wear a suit but i’ll wear a shirt and tie that fits my style. And oh,  I also have an award-winning pretty penis. 

It’s hard to say gay people are more superficial. I mean we joke about it all the time that we’re image conscious, body conscious, shallow etc etc.

Sure. But there are idiotic shallow gay people and idiotic shallow gay people.

I think gays are better in touch with their desires to just have sex… So it makes sense that they more quickly zero in on those visual cues that are turn ons and pay attention. We’re good at cutting through the extraneous and getting down to business. So maybe that sadly carries over into realms where it shouldn’t.

Also being gay means you generally grew up learning how to hide, how to lie, how to put on a facade. So maybe the by product of that is often a certain superficiality … I’m already forced to hide, so maybe it starts to be part of how you see the world and evaluate it

Do you think the media representation of homosexuals paints them as “gay clowns” or is it their own fault that society perceives them that way? 

I think this has definitely been true for the past several decades. Look at shows like Will and Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy…. Gay people were pretty much depicted as harmless clowns, characatures.  And to some extent we allowed it, by taking whatever bones we were thrown, whatever access we were getting was better than nothing. But as more and more LGBT people are just being themselves that tide is turning and it’s becoming impossible to so easily box us into those descriptions. I was on a reality show in 2001. It was on ABC and was a big deal…. I made of point of being out from the first episode…. and just being myself. It had a huge impact on lots of young people…who wrote me and told me so. Just being ourselves and saying fuck you to someone else’s definition of who you are is sometimes all it takes.

And on a random note, what do you do when yo don’t have to work, how do you enjoy NYC?

Well I work on my T-shirt company dangerous breed. I work on my old Mercedes diesel station wagon. I also am a licensed helicopter pilot….but dont get to do that anymore because it’s so expensive; I wish I could. Mostly these days it’s working on my house and having drinks with friends. Besides, I’m literally reading a book, the newpaper, or a political website at every other moment when I’m not having a drink with friends or trying to meet cute, smart guys.


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