Aaron McGruder is interviewed in the Sunday Observer about his comic strip, his new TV show, that Nation dinner flap, and, of course the election.
Only just 30, McGruder seems very much the Hollywood player now – even a celebrity. His idealism is long established, but you get the impression that the muscles he has built most assiduously since moving to LA five years ago are his corporate-diplomatic biceps. As we decamp to a cafe for lunch, he talks over a chicken burger about how much he likes giving lectures, even though he’s a shy person. He always improvises his talks, he says, and enjoys the ability to control people’s emotions. One favourite rhetorical tool of his is to lie to the audience at some point and own up later, because, pace 9/11 and Iraq, ‘that’s what the authorities do’. Plus, ‘a little bit of notoriety’ has its own benefits. He performs a cheeky calculation: if 500 people attend a lecture and half are girls, say 1 per cent will be good looking, then chances are if those two girls are prepared to wait half an hour in a queue to let you sign their Boondocks book, then they’ll probably want to sleep with you.
The article is heavy on McGruder’s increasing commercialization, and whether, like Faustus, he may some day get more than what he bargained for. The Boston Globe pitches in, too, with talk about McGruder’s upcoming book, titled Birth Of A Nation. This feels more like an email interview, with questions not leading into one another in a seamless fashion the way an old-fashioned lunch chat might.