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Roseanne Barr on Presidential Run: Two Major Parties Are a 'Bunch of Prostitutes Who Work for Big Money'

The irrepressible comic is trying to bring attention to electoral issues that are too often ignored.
 
 
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Roseanne Barr leveraged her comedic skills to become a household name. But while she's known for her biting humor, and some critically acclaimed acting in the film adaptation of Fay Weldon's novel, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil,  Barr's life experiences also left her with an appreciation of just how hard it is to climb the ladder today. It was reflected in her writing; in her standup routine and on her hit TV show, Roseanne was always most comfortable breathing life into the struggles of working-class families. An outspoken small “d” democrat, Roseanne is now running to head the Green Party's presidential ticket on a platform that stresses empowering the “little guy.”

A few weeks back, AlterNet interviewed Jill Stein, Barr's primary opponent in the race (you can read that interview here). This week, Barr appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour for some equal time. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole show here).

Joshua Holland: Roseanne, I want to say that I’m a big fan. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you kind of remind me of my mother.

Roseanne Barr: Oh, I don’t take that wrong. I take that as a great compliment.

JH: She’s outspoken and she has overcome a lot of adversity, and is a good liberal.

RB: How old is she?

JH: If I say her age in public I’m going to get into a lot of trouble.

RB: I just wonder if she’s my age?

JH: She’s your generation, let’s put it that way.

RB: I would say so many people of your generation are telling me I remind them of their mother. It’s pretty widespread, and I take that as a compliment.

JH: Before we get to your campaign, just a quick point about the Roseanne show – I was a huge fan. Since it went off the air I feel like you’ve become more vocal about your politics. And it strikes me that "Roseanne" was one of a very small number of shows on TV that had characters who were good people struggling to pay their bills. Maybe "Good Times" was another one. I’m hard pressed to think of any others. In a sense, you offered a class analysis that’s almost entirely absent from any TV entertainment. Why do you think that is?

RB: Well, because that’s what I wanted to do.

JH: But why don’t we see more of that? I mean, so many families are struggling you would think that our culture would reflect that once in a while.

RB: I know. Since the success I had on the Roseanne show I have not been able to replicate that success anywhere. It just fell out of popularity and at the same time being an outspoken women and all that stuff fell out of popularity right around the same time.

JH: It’s a shame for our culture I think that we don’t see regular people dealing with the issues that regular people actually deal with.

RB: I don’t think that would be in the interest of the people who control what goes on here. It wouldn’t be in their interests. They kind of narrowed the field so they would get approval of all content that was shown over the people’s airwaves. That’s been coming since when the FCC was deregulated. That’s what happened.

JH: That’s the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

RB: Yes, that’s exactly what happened. They took control of all content, all context and all message. They think that the plight of the 99 percent of Americans isn’t worthy of being discussed in any media.

 
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