No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Saturday, May 15, 1993

Interview: Pat Cadigan, May 1993

Interview with Pat Cadigan, May 1993

This interview first appeared in The Hardcore, 1993, and parts of it appeared online at Cyber Noodle Soup
It's way out of date now - I don't think she's in Kansas any more, Toto - but may be of historical interest ..

Pat Cadigan's got a cool taste in T-shirts from Kansas, where she now lives, and from her appearance I'd guess that she has made occasional guest appearances in her own work. It doesn't seem to have affected her, though. I spoke to her at Mexicon, a May Bank Holiday event in rainy Scarborough.
TB: Your last novel Fools started life as a novelette, 'Fool to Believe' in Asimov's, February 1990. What was it about 'Fool to Believe' that suggested there was a novel in there?
PC: Basically, although Gardner (the editor of Asimov's) was pushing for it to be finished, I just didn't want to stop when I'd started. I wanted to see it through to its conclusion because I knew it wasn't done.
TB: Fools explored a darker side to the Mindplayers world, the underside. Was this something that you felt had to be done?
PC: Well, in a way, yeah. I guess I appreciate balance. Mindplayers didn't really address a lot about the criminal element of this particular world. Everybody in the Mindplayers world couldn't possibly live like the few people that you saw. A lot of times, a culture almost seems to float on top of its own black market, and things from that filter up through the culture. I get the feeling that this law-abiding peaceful thing that I live in now is almost never-never land - to a certain extent it's not even really real. I spent a decade working for Hallmark cards, which is supposed to epitomise sweetness and light and good living and ethics and morals. But Hallmark, like many American manufacturers, has a lot of things like toys and ornaments manufactured in the Far East, by people in sweat-shops. These are children, old people, poor people, people who don't have enough to eat; we get these things so cheaply because we simply use these people and throw them away. This is what I mean about our culture, our never-never land, floating on top of our underworld.
TB: So you're examining the underworld of that Mindplayers world?
PC: I wanted to look at it - it's fantastic material, and I wanted to try to look at it in a realistic way - realistic meaning from the basis of real human behaviour and real human motivations, and at the same time I was screwing round a little with that too, because there isn't a reliable narrator in the book anywhere
TB: Relationships are important in your novels. In Fools you describe how Sovay found Brain Cop in Marva's head while he was looking for a 'certain Marva' and how his looking created her. Do we create the people we love?
PC: Absolutely. To a certain extent when we are attracted to someone - whether it's someone who's going to be a friend, or a lover, or a spouse or whatever - we tend to imbue them with a lot of characteristics and virtues that they may or may not have. The other thing that I had come across was, we tend to choose our friends based on our similarities and our lovers based on our differences. Consequently we end up hanging out with out friends talking about how our lovers don't understand us. We tend to load people with certain expectations - we don't permit them to be who they actually are, or what they actually are. Women do it to men, women do it to each other, men do it to women, men do it to each other; we do it to our friends, and our lovers. Parents do it to kids. We're all trying to find people to populate the world that we want to live in; if we can't find them, we'll make them.
TB: What's the relationship between the world of Fools and that of Synners? Synners and Mindplayers do not seem that similar but Fools has something of Synners''grittiness, and there is a passage that describes how wannabee parlours have gone out of fashion. Is the world of Mindplayers/Fools the future of Synners or are they parallel?
PC: When I wrote them I wasn't saying this is what's going to happen. What I was really thinking was, this is what might happen, this could happen. I think that the world of the future may have certain echoes or elements of things that I've described. There's a woman - I saw this story on one of these tabloid TV shows - who is having herself made over in the image of a Barbie doll. She's had surgery and hair dye and she's had her face totally reconstructed and her body has been taken care of, and she wants to look exactly like Barbie; that is her ideal. How long does she think she's going to look like a Barbie doll? How long is she going to maintain this? Is she actually going to try to maintain it past the point when anybody should? You think about the complete hard-core narcissism of such an act. It's almost like eating $55,000 - where did it go? It went into her body. Does that make 'Fools' so far-fetched? Franchised personalities and everything? Now granted, she didn't ask for Barbie's personality - but what is Barbie's personality? I'd say Barbie's personality is the type that is so narcissistic it would do anything to preserve its look.
TB: So I guess she's half way there already.
PC: Well no, I think she may be all the way there. I think she's been made over as Barbie inside herself. I've simply stated the same situation in a completely different way in Fools and to some extent in Mindplayers with the idea that, if you don't like who you are, be somebody else.
TB: You balance things like character and story quality with real science fictional ideas. Is this conscious or natural?
PC: To me there's no story unless the people in it are real people, because what I'm usually writing about are people like me, people that I have experience with. And it has been my experience that people are pretty much people. Whether you're on the underside of society or whether you're in the penthouse, there's a lot of things in common. You can't make a connection with some kind of fantastic science fictional idea unless there are people in the story to do it for you, to connect with. What makes an idea really attractive is the person who's talking about it. I feel that ideas by themselves are kind of bloodless; they need people to give them life. Electricity for example is like (yawns). I don't want to go read an electrical handbook, but the idea of the effect of electrical things on society - that's pretty interesting.
TB: In Synners there are all varieties of porn available; food porn, disaster porn etc ... many writers find this incomprehensible, but I've recently conceptualised porn as decontextualised ritually repeated information. Do you agree? and where does information or documentary shade off into porn or voyeurism?
PC: First of all, porn isn't necessarily a derogatory term. We have porn because people need it and quite often porn had been misidentified. Porn has been simply my objection to your sexuality. There are things that we wallow in for the purposes of our own gratification. The porn channels in Synners are basically pandering. There's a Time-Life book series about the supernatural. Time-Life has always been to me facts and reporting and suchlike, and this is really far from it. Rather than it being an examination of many beliefs about the supernatural, it's an espousal of a certain brand of supernatural. To me this is pandering. There's a porn angle to it. The thing I don't like about the Time-Life books is that they're dishonest in that way. There's a video series, I believe its from TIME-LIFE too, and it's ostensibly about animals in the wild - see them raising their young and so on. What you are actually going to see in these tapes are animals killing each other. It's extremely unpleasant but these things do happen. They've put all this information together on the tape and it's for people who like to watch animals killing each other. I don't personally see what's so great about this, for me its not material that I'm interested in and I find it extremely unpleasant. It makes me queasy. For someone out there its porn. The only way I can object to it is if it's forced on me, and it's not. I don't know what you'd call that - animal porn or violence porn or whatever.
TB: Do violent films have that same effect on you - films where there is realistic, gratuitous violence? Not comic book stuff like Terminator 2 ... Robocop is more unpleasant.
PC: The thing about Terminator 2 is that someone, somewhere is probably calling it porn right now. I got a big kick out of it - like, let's blow up a lot of very expensive machines. I think that what's so upsetting about Robocop is that RoboCop is so much a cyborg; the Terminator is ostensibly a cyborg, he's presented as cyborg, but he's really a robot with some organic material on him. Robocop is an altered person.
TB: So maybe that distinction between information and porn is just how you respond or react to it.
PC: Porn is really such a complex thing, and you can't say porn is good or bad because I don't believe in imbuing inanimate objects with virtues or vices. Ultimately that's what porn is - an inanimate object. I guess it is detextualised.
TB: You are comfortable with writing SF, horror and dark fantasy. Do you have to get yourself into different moods to work on different genres?
PC: Not really. The story tends to dictate, because I tend to think of the situation of the story, the idea, and then I know which it is. I like switching round just for variety. But at the same time, I tend to think like a genre writer, and I tend to always want to throw in the fantastic element. I don't want to write a simple account of an incident that happened.
TB: In your story 'It Was The Heat' you have the line 'she never lost her head and never gave it'. This is a reference to Lou Reed, isn't it? How influential is music in your writing?
PC: I was trying to make a joke about giving head in a very subtle way, and I ... it was not a deliberate reference to 'Walk on the Wild Side' but now, of course, I see it. I remember vividly the first time I ever heard that song. I was in college, and I'd gone to the hippest beauty parlour in town to get my hair cut. I went into this place and the song was on the radio and I was positively blown out by it, that I was hearing this incredible song sung by this incredible voice. It was basically just one more incredible song in my life - I'm not making it unimportant, but I had always been playing music in my head. My family was too poor to be able to afford a lot of records, so I would listen to the radio a lot, and whatever I could get off the radio, I would just really get into it. The Beatles were a big force in my life and then when I was in high school there was the counterculture and the really weird music that grew out of that - that squeaky-clean nice rock'n'roll just didn't say it, it wasn't enough.
TB: The dark underside again.
PC: Yes, the dark underside not just to our society but to all of us. We do not all go surfing in the sunshine all of the time. Even the people who go surfing in the sunshine every day don't do it all the time. Everything is not all right all the time, and even when it's all right out there sometimes it's not all right in here, inside you. So I found the stranger music saying the more objectionable things to be the more satisfying. I run on music a lot. I always have music on when I'm working. Music's really important - it has the same weight of influence as the things that I've read and the things that I've seen. It's a multimedia world out there and you've got to use all your senses.
TB: Tell us about your project 'Woman in Red' that you're doing with Mark Zeising.
PC: There's going to be a short delay on 'Woman in Red' while I finish my novel for Tor. I don't want to say too much about that because I'm still working on the rewrite for that, too. It's a horror novel, that's all I'll say about it, and it's quite old. I'm glad it didn't come out when I wrote about it because it has to be updated quite a bit because an awful lot has happened in the past 10 years - much more than happened in the previous 12 years. An awful lot about the society and other things have to be updated. It's a contemporary horror novel and it's progressing.
TB: I love the heightened language in Synners. You have the facility of coding up brilliant memes like 'if you can't fuck it and it doesn't dance, eat it or throw it away', 'change for the machines', 'the age of fast information'. When you're working with high-intensity ideas and hot prose can it get out of control?
PC: I hope not. Coming up with those ideas - well, 'if you can't fuck it and it doesn't dance eat it or throw it away' was something that a friend and I came up with years ago. We were talking to another friend and she was trying to describe the behaviour of some guys that she knew. Their whole lives were lived on the basis that everything was disposable, and if something didn't do what you wanted it to do, then you got rid of it. This extended to their relationships with women as well, and Cathy said, 'well, if you can't fuck it and it doesn't dance...' Somehow we both came up with 'eat it or throw it away'. We all laughed, and I thought, there's an awful lot to this, because a lot of people have reduced how they relate to the people in their lives down to very simple set of rules. Because we're all pressed for time, the people and the things tend to get used in the same way. They follow the same rules whether they're dealing with a person or a TV set or whatever. 'Are you gonna gratify me? No? Outa here'. It's just another way of saying something as crude as 'shit or get off the pot'. It was a surprise to me when I came up with some of the other things. I was as pleased as anybody, but I was trying to find ways to really give the feel of the culture. I could have picked a simpler way out; I could have just written about a rock band that gets high all the time, and throws up, and then eventually one of them disappears into the TV, The End. Instead I got involved with all these people and I had to come at their culture from several different angles. I was trying to convey the milieu they lived in and their reactions to it.
TB: How easy was that, to get the slang and the verbal tags that keep cropping up - like 'change for the machines'?
PC: Actually, 'change for the machines' was inspired by a cartoon I saw in a magazine, where this guy comes along and he's holding a dollar bill, he says 'change for a dollar?' meaning, 'do you have change for a dollar?' and the guy says 'yeah'. So, he changes into all these fantastic things and then he changes back, and leaves with the dollar. Is that cool, or what? Then, I was at work and going out to get a cup of coffee or something, and someone came up to me and said 'change for the machines?' I was thinking, 'Never! let the machines change for me!'. It was one of those things that you think off the top of your head, and I just made a mental note about it ... things just occur to me.
TB: The voices of the characters Marva and Marceline are so distinctive. Do they have real counterparts, are they composed of people you know, or are they pure constructs of imagination?
PC: If they are, it's so subliminal that I don't recognise it. I was trying to make them as different as possible. It was the product of many many rewrites - I just kept going back and trying to make sure that they were differentiated as people so that people would know, as soon as they started reading one after reading the other, they were reading someone different. I knew that to read a book with so many narrators in it would be very confusing. I figured that we were going to use the typeface solution, just to differentiate them by typeface, but I wanted it to be more than that, to be a real senses of 'you're with somebody else now' that you get when you stop talking to one person and talk to somebody else. I'm sure that they must have their basis in people that I know, or I've seen, but I didn't consciously base them on somebody. When you put somebody into a story, suddenly you are sucking the life out of them and turning them to stone - or trying to cut out a picture of someone, and saying 'there's the real person'. People cannot be quantified in that way. I don't think I could know so much in such great detail about someone that they would turn up in a story as identifiable. I would just rather invent them out of whole cloth and cannibalise various qualities to make up a regular person.
TB: 'Despatches From the Revolution' is breathtaking. Tell us about the research that went into it. What was going on politically for yourself during the period it extrapolates, the '60s?
PC: I wrote that story because Mike Resnick asked me to write an alternate president story, for an anthology called 'alternate presidents'. Brian Aldiss has pointed out the actual term should be alternative, not alternate. That's a period that's always fascinated me. I wasn't in on any of the late 60s stuff, but when I was in college in 1971 I went off with a bunch of my friends to Washington to demonstrate against the Vietnam war. We went down there the night before May Day which was when we were going to demonstrate. It was very crowded and very dirty and very uncomfortable. There was an all-night rock concert on and you couldn't find a spot to lay down, we were all so packed in there. We got up the next day and went over to the edge of the park. And down that road, as far as the eye could see, there were police in riot gear. We all got really scared; we were just a bunch of kids, 17 years old. They told us, 'You will all now leave the park or you will be arrested'. There was a group of people there from my college who, early on in the media revolution, had had video camera equipment. I don't know how they got it, because in 1971 it was almost impossible to get, but they were this loosely organised outfit that called themselves Roadart, collectively. They took all their video tape to Washington with them and later on we saw what had happened in the park. The cops waded in and teargassed everyone. So we went off, and the next day we went out to demonstrate against the war. We were completely disorganised. Nobody really knew what to do and at that point I was beginning to feel like my period of political activism was over now. A bunch of us were feeling the same way. We were standing on this corner, saying, 'You wanna go and see the Library of Congress or the Lincoln memorial or something?' While we were standing there, this busload of police in riot gear pulled up. They launched themselves out of the bus, and they just came at us. It was really frightening; we all panicked and started running. I staggered across this parking lot, and the rest of the cops had gone around and cut us off. They were coming through the parking lot, and it was one of the times in my life when I have been really terrified. I slowed up and I was trying to decide what to do and a cop behind me hit me on the head with his billy-club and knocked me down. My eyes crossed, but I didn't pass out. I thought, that's it, I'm just going to get arrested and just go home. I got up and cops had kids everywhere all over this parking lot and they were beating them, they had their clubs and they were just beating them into submission. I walked up to the nearest cop and said, 'Ok, I'll stop now, I just give up'. I didn't know I had blood pouring out of the back of my head because they'd split my scalp open. A head or face wound is very bloody because you have a lot of capillaries. So I was trying to get arrested, but I couldn't get arrested. The cops dragged everyone away and they threw them in the back of a big van and they wouldn't take me. So I went off and found my friends across the street and said, well, a cop hit me, I'm done. They sat me down and then I found out I was bleeding a lot, and this little old lady schoolteacher came along and said she'd take me to the hospital. Halfway to the hospital we had to get out and walk because demonstrators had blocked the streets and stopped traffic. It finally sunk into my 17-year-old mind, OK, the Vietnam war is very bad, but should we stop the entire city of Washington? What if people do have medical emergencies and can't get to the hospital? That's when I began to think things through a little better. But I stored all the experience up, I thought I'm going to use this some day, somehow.
Then Mike Resnick asked me to write the alternate president story, and he gave me election years to choose from, so I choose 1968. I had seen the riots on TV and I knew what had happened, but I used my own experience from some years later to colour it. I ended up having to do an awful lot of research because I wanted to make the changes, the alternative universe very subtle, because that's what it is a lot of times - there are a whole bunch of little things that happened or didn't happen - an event is or is not. When I was reading about the Chicago Democratic Convention it was like every radical in the world planned to go there, and somehow they started a rumour that Bob Dylan was going to show up and people were just convinced that he was going to show up. Well, Bob Dylan didn't show up and an awful lot of people didn't show up; they got maybe half the turnout they were expecting, if that. In my story Dylan doesn't show up but they get double the turnout they're expecting. Certain demonstrations that I described with Martin Luther King - one happened, but one didn't. I amped up the violence that had been occurring throughout the 60s on the Berkeley Campus and the Free Speech Movement. I made that a little more violent than it was - the cops didn't go in and shut down the campuses and teargas the students, but if Ronald Reagan was governor it could have happened that way. The stuff about Bobby Kennedy and George Wallace being head-to-head - that isn't made up, that's true. There was a fair amount of crossover because the bluecollar voter tended to perceive them in somewhat the same way at the time, someone who would speak for them. The name Kennedy in the US has always stood for human rights; at least in appearance, not always in fact.
People have told me that the future this is told from is pretty far-fetched, but at the time, from 1968-72, a lot of us didn't think that was so very far-fetched. We could see very easily where the totalitarian regime could come in. Whether this was a realistic perception or not is something else.
TB: That was the way things were going.
PC: It appeared that way to a lot of people. I just decided to go with that.
TB: OK, lets talk about the C word. A lot of the original writers are distancing themselves. Shirley doesn't seem to write SF any more, Lewis Shiner has become an apostate and Gibson can't say the word. You've never been one of the Austin writers proper but you don't seem to be bothered that you're identified with Cyberpunk. Is that so?
PC: A lot of other people are more bothered by this than I am. I think when you label yourself you freeze yourself. You suck all the life out of something, and it's in the nature of a living thing to grow and change. I don't necessarily want to be pigeonholed, in that when Cyberpunk is passe I don't want to be perceived as passe. When you're technical about it, I'm not a cyberpunk. I write about cyberpunk things but I don't write about them because they're cyberpunk. I write about the things that are interesting to me. I have absolutely no control over what other people call it.
Lew Shiner has his feelings and I'm extremely sympathetic to them. Certainly he should be the kind of writer that he wants to be. I don't know if it's really true that Bill Gibson cannot say the word. In some ways Bill has probably been almost as much a victim as a proponent of cyberpunk - it's almost like he can't move without someone saying, look, there's Cyberpunk Bill Gibson. When he and Bruce wrote The Difference Engine together, they got a blurb from Ridley Scott on the front, and he calls it 'heavy metal artificial reality'; he makes it sound like it's a hi-tech punk book, and it's not. If it didn't have Gibson and Sterling on the by-line, it would be 'The Difference Engine - a historical romance'. That's the only thing that bothers me about labels.
A lot of people who don't like cyberpunk, don't like it for really stupid reasons. They don't like it because, for example, they read something and didn't like it, so they don't like cyberpunk. If you presented them with the same book, with 'hard science adventure' on it, which is what it is, they'd take to it. People attach a lot of emotional baggage to labels that doesn't belong there and it's always in terms of themselves. I've taken a neutral view - I don't care - to the cyberpunk label, because everyone seems to want to put it on me for reasons that don't always have very much to do with me and what I write. So basically I don't care any more, you can call it what it is, or you can call it what it isn't, but basically it isn't going to change what it really is.
TB: How far would you say that female characters in cyberpunk are enabled, or invaded, by technology?
PC: Women have been invaded by technology for ever, like birth control, and it's up to us. Sterilisation, who do you sterilise? We get spayed! We've always been the ultimate end users of technology. There weren't always a lot of very believable women characters in Science fiction who were doing stuff. Originally there were plucky scientists' daughters and love interests. Of course I was glad to see this change. This is one of the things I really loved about the first two Aliens movies; there were plot holes you could drive trucks through, but there's one virtue that those movies have that almost no other movie has, which is that men and women actually behave like they are true peers. Women don't get rescued all the time, men don't do all the rescuing all the time. The condescension isn't there that women often experience, or the deference or whatever. It took me a long time to understand why I liked these characters and movies so much; I should be picking the science apart, what's wrong with me? You can pick the science apart, but often the errors in science are not as grievous as the errors in human behaviour. Men writers who can't write women characters, women characters who can't write men characters - or what's really pathetic, women writers who can't write women, men who can't write men. Maybe they've created too many and not met enough.
Women characters in fiction and women writers are two totally different subjects, and yet many times when I've been at conventions and been on a panel where people want to talk about women in science fiction, I find it amazing that they mean the women characters in the stories. Usually someone will mention Molly right away, in Neuromancer, and Molly is a very rich character and there's a lot to her and what's the problem?
TB: I've heard people say that she's been invaded by the technology.
PC: But so have the men. It'd be an interesting society where the women were all invaded by technology and the men were completely untouched. That would be an extremely complex, stylized world to live in, because the division between the sexes would be so sharp. I don't think that's true in any of the cyberpunk science fiction - everyone has been invaded by technology, we're all overrun with it. Technology, unless it is specifically engineered to be so, is not dependant on sex. When we all get invaded by technology, we will probably all have our different needs, but that is almost as much a reflection of us as individuals as it is of our gender differences. I don't like to jump at shadows. I can think of plenty of sexist things that I've experienced, in the field and out of it, every day, but that isn't it.
TB: Media is an occasional fascination of yours; 'Pretty Boy Crossover', Synners, etc. Are you influenced by McLuhan at all?
PC: I read him while I was in college, but ... no. I'm fascinated by the media because it is so all-pervasive, and it is so much of an influence on us that we don't even realise when we're being influenced by it. It's not McLuhan, it's the media itself.
TB: Another of your fascinations is vampirism of various kinds. 'Dirty Work', 'The Power and the Passion' ... are relationships inherently vampiric?
PC: Certainly the bad ones are. If you understand the nature of relationships really well, you have to understand that there are times when it's an uneven relationship. There's always someone who is giving more than the other person. Sometimes you carry the other person, sometimes the other person carries you. There are a lot of people out there who use other people, and use them happily, dispassionately, and throw them away. It's very easy to get used up by other people; it's very easy to get used up by your society. Society makes such demands on us, we have so many demands for bills - so you have to get a job to support that. Depending on how dedicated you are to your job, your job can use you up. Sometimes it seems to me like the nature of life is just to be fighting off vampires all the time - the vampire of the job, the vampire of the necessity of making a living, the vampire of the Power Department wanting you to pay for the electricity. And then of course the story of the vampire is simply the story of us working out our anxieties about our sexuality, and that's a subject matter that will never ever run dry, if you'll pardon the expression. We will always be able to write stories working out our anxieties about our sexuality; there will always be things to be anxious about.
TB: Can you see yourself returning to the worlds of Synners or Mindplayers, or their themes?
PC: Not in the foreseeable future, and that's because I don't want to get stuck writing the same stories over and over again. I like to write as many different kinds of things as possible, and unless there's some kind of groundswell demand for more books set in the Mindplayers universe, I think I'm probably done there. The Synners story is over with; I destroyed the culture and it's being rebuilt. I don't think the story is in the rebuilding; I shouldn't say that it wouldn't be interesting to rebuild it, but I told the story that I wanted to tell.
The book that I'm writing now is also set in the near future, but it's something completely different. The main concentration of this one is not the media, or commerce in personalities or anything like that. This time around I'm writing a book about aliens.
TB: What hopes have you got for the Clinton presidency?
PC: My hopes are tempered; plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. When they were looking for an Attorney General, and they were questioning different people, they wanted a woman for Attorney general and they found out that their prize candidate had hired help that was an illegal alien to care for her kids. Now I'm sure that if every man was questioned about their hired help - 'Did you ever hire an illegal alien to babysit your kids, Mr. So-and-so ?'
TB: 'I don't know, ask my wife'
PC: Exactly. So I tend to view that with a jaded eye - Billy, you're trying, but we ain't there yet. If you're going to ask the women, ask the men. The women took the heat - here we go again, we've got kids, we've got to raise them, we've got to be out there in the world, and you've got to have someone to watch the kids. If she had an illegal alien she probably didn't have that much choice. I voted for Bill Clinton and I believed that he could make a big difference. I was certainly ready for something other than four more years of George Bush and that whole Reagan mindset. On the other hand, Bill Clinton is a politician. He's much more in touch, not just with people, but with what it's like to live in the world these days. The classic example of that is that Clinton used TV to win the election. Clinton is my generation. He grew up with TV, he understands it completely, understands how to use it, understands that MTV is not just something to throw off and laugh at. But like I said, he's a politician, and no matter how much he understands about what it's like to live in 1993, he doesn't have to do it my way. Politicians are, by nature, wealthy. That's a completely different life from the life that I live, and that most people live. I'm hoping that because he understands how the world's changed and what it's like, that he will be able to do better kinds of things.
TB: Working in Hallmark must have been great training for a memetic engineer.
PC: The memes in Hallmark are all on computer now, and they have been coded with 4 digit numbers. What the point is, is economy - get your point across in as few words as possible, make it as non-threatening and harmless as possible. You cannot get intimate in a greeting card. You cannot write an intimate message that's going to appear on 5 million pieces of paper.
TB: Tell me, what do people in Kansas say when things get weird? They can't say 'I guess this isn't Kansas any more'?
PC: I don't know exactly what people say; 'Shit, I thought this was Kansas!' Things don't really get weird in Kansas, much. Well, maybe sometimes...
TB: Thank you for the interview. Have a good time in England.

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