The context of this little talk is War, Inc., a film that stars Cusack and has as its subject of fury the man (or men) who stole the election in 2000.

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Why this movie, Cusack? What you were you thinking?

It was kind of an act of will and desperation. I think the statue [of Saddam] had fallen and it really looked like, for the time being, they were going to get away with it. My playwriting partners and I were looking and thinking, There’s nobody calling these people out for the things that they’re doing. We watched the occupation in Iraq unfold and some of the great journalists who reported from there chronicled pretty clearly what happened when our government basically tried to divvy up the entire country for their corporate friends to basically own. So, Iraq was not only a murder site but the site of an armed robbery. It was pretty stunning in its lawlessness and greed. And then I remember people from the Bush administration getting up and saying, people better watch what they say. And I said, My God, the balls!

These guys took over an entire country and had 26-year-olds from the Heritage Foundation going over to open up the Baghdad stock exchange. These people are fucking nuts. So the movie started in that place, out of outrage, and we tried to be as experimental and punk rock as we could because we knew we weren’t going to get a lot of money to do it. But then we had all these wonderful actors come onboard.

Your movie reminded me of Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory on the medieval carnival. He argued that they turned the order of society upside-down, and the poor became the rich and the rich the poor. The purpose of this transformation was to mock the rich.

There’s a long tradition of ridiculing the aristocracy. In the modern world, the kings and the queens are in corporate rooms. They go into government to help create a shadow state for the very government they want to run. The government is creating an optimal feeding frenzy for corporations. When you have a war, it’s the best thing of all. You don’t have to worry about anything. You’re Jehovah. You can create the market with war and then you can go make the money by rebuilding it. You can let the people work there and all the while you’re taking all their shit. Then you preach and be evangelical about free markets.

War, Inc. draws a lot from leftist journalism.

I read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Naomi Klein’s work and I have a lot of friends who reported on that stuff, and you see that stuff in the movie.

The state of America today?

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In America, we treat war like the weather and weather like the war. A tsunami can happen and everyone’s outraged. We say: What can we do? We need to do something. Let’s band together to fight the weather. A war happens and they go, Well, that’s just the way it is. Wars come and they go. No, they don’t.

Another thing about this movie is, I think, a lot of people are hoping it’ll just go away. If people go see it, we have the possibility of keeping it going. It’s pretty fun. If we can pull it, I think we can piss off the right people. I think that would be good.