Part 1 Episode Notes

Uh, Paul Castellano signed this man's paycheck at one point in his endlessly intriguing life. What else is there to say?

Haha jk! There's a lot more to say, so just press play!

Part 2 Episode Notes

Part 2 has it all, folks. His successful suit against the CIA (!!!!!!!!!!) as a wee teen, how he clocked growing inequality as a worrisome issue waaaay back in the 80s, and a very bold political prediction.

Also, let's give it up for our boy for hooking your darling host up with some solid recording equipment, which is why I don't sound like I'm hiding in a basement during interviews anymore lol 😊

Part 1 Transcript

Janelle Jolley  0:10  
Welcome to What's Left To Do. I'm your host Janelle. This week's interview is with my main man, Matisse. We were in the trenches together during the 2020 primary, something serious. The big homie is one of the most interesting and thoughtful people you will ever meet. Don't believe me? Just listen. We're back with the esteemed man with the plan. Clipboard. Action. He helped me through my first several hosting of canvasses, where I didn't know what the fuck I was doing. And thank god he was there because maybe Bernie would not have won the Bayview. We got money man Matisse in the house. Or, backyard, I guess. Today. Say what's up, Matisse.

Matisse  1:01  

Janelle Jolley  1:05  
You want to say something other than, "Hello?"

Matisse  1:07  
Well, I'm not sure what to say at this point. Yeah, we met canvassing for Bernie in this last cycle.

Janelle Jolley  1:18  
Does that not feel like 800 years ago at this point?

Matisse  1:21  
Yeah, it's-

Janelle Jolley  1:23  
I feel like I've known you for exactly 800 years.

Matisse  1:26  
I can't even remember- so we'll get right into- there's a saying about time and how we experience it that a friend told me more than 30 years ago that has stuck with me that applies to this sort of thing. She said that it came from Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, but I've never found anything that directly attributed her to it. But my friend Ellen said that familiar marks in time and space lose their meaning in the light of spiritual illumination. And mind measures time-

Janelle Jolley  2:07  
My brother, that was deep.  

Matisse  2:08  
Wait, wait, there's more.

Janelle Jolley  2:09  

Matisse  2:09  
So they lose their meaning in the light of spiritual illumination, and mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded.

Janelle Jolley  2:20  
That's...that is...I'm snapping. We like that.

Matisse  2:24  
I think it's a true thing.

Janelle Jolley  2:25  
Yeah, no. I don't even know that I understand it but I feel like it is true.

Matisse  2:29  
Our experience of time isn't when something significant happens, when we have a significant experience. Our experience of time and space-

Janelle Jolley  2:38  

Matisse  2:39  
Isn't based on the familiar marks, the ticks on the clock-

Janelle Jolley  2:46  
Or the days on the calendar.

Matisse  2:47  
What street I was on, or whatever. But instead, we experience it based on what the actual emotional experience was.

Janelle Jolley  2:56  
Ah, yes. Yes. I 100% agree with that.

Matisse  2:58  
So how long ago we met? It depends on what ruler you're using, you know?

Janelle Jolley  3:03  
That's right. That's right. We don't do Western constructs of linear time here, okay?We're about to blow everyone's mind.

Matisse  3:09  
Well, you know, if I'm meeting you tomorrow for lunch? Then, yes. Yes, we do.

Janelle Jolley  3:13  
However, the coming together of comrades in the spirit in which it was done during that magical moment in 2020, right before everything went to shit. I can't express that in a time unit. So I'm with that.

Matisse  3:33  
I'm going to want to ask you a question about that particular time, too. And I don't know if now is a good time.

Janelle Jolley  3:40  
Whenever! Go ahead.  

Matisse  3:42  
So we were in Doreen's backyard.

Janelle Jolley  3:44  
That's right.

Matisse  3:44  
Right? And we were running the canvas, and the canvas we had- everybody had gone out and we were hanging out and we're waiting for people to come in, or call in with questions, and so on. And we're so we're talking about politics and how to fix the world and stuff.

Janelle Jolley  4:00  

Matisse  4:01  
And somewhere in there you were like, "If Bernie doesn't get the nomination, if Biden gets the nomination, I'm leaving the planet. There's no way-"

Janelle Jolley  4:12  
Please, I'm leaving the planet!

Matisse  4:13  
You made some, you know, you were like, "No way. I'm- absolutely not." And so you and I had a spirited conversation about it.

Janelle Jolley  4:20  
Yes we did. And I'm gonna click on that in a second. Go ahead. Cuz I know where you're going. Go ahead.

Matisse  4:23  
So I'm just wondering, like...reflect on that. That's all. I- you know.

Janelle Jolley  4:28  
First of all, just so we're super clear, I meant every goddamn word that I said. And did I vote for Joe Biden during the general election? Absolutely not. Absolutely- and there was not even a hesitation or question. Now, I will say, and this is what I'm double clicking on, I will say, when making that- considering that choice, the only two or three things that had me consider otherwise was what you were saying, because I remember what you were saying. I remember being in Dodo house, we was kicking it while our little foot soldiers was out traversing the neighborhood. You said some- I'm misquoting, but the general gist of what you said was something along the lines of like, "No," you know, if someone other than Bernie were to get the nomination, ie, Joe Biden, his brain doesn't even work. Like, "No, that's not perfect. But we have to survive long enough to fight again." You said something along those lines.

Matisse  5:32  

Janelle Jolley  5:32  
And you were- and I think you made, I think, you made made a reference to kind of like a fascistic, like, you're a Nazi Germany thing. And I took that, although I disagreed with you, and although I disagreed with you, I understood what you were saying. And I did consider it. Ultimately, I still decided to not vote for him. I threw my- top of the ticket, I threw my vote to the Greens, and I'll do it again. And I mean, I did the same thing in 2016.

Matisse  6:01  
Did you do anything in the general election to get people in other states than California to get out to vote or anything like that.

Janelle Jolley  6:08  
No, absolutely not.

Matisse  6:09  

Janelle Jolley  6:09  
My view-

Matisse  6:10  
Cuz what you did in California, frankly, is irrelevant.

Janelle Jolley  6:14  

Matisse  6:15  
So I'm more interested in the bigger picture. So you refrained from doing anything to get people to vote in the general election?

Janelle Jolley  6:25  

Matisse  6:25  

Janelle Jolley  6:25  
I did...yes. I did refrain cuz my- this- this year? Well, 2020. We're just a little bit in 2021. In 2020 my view...I used to be...I used to be fairly sanctimonious about voting, its purpose, the ritual, it's effect. I used to be just all into it. That changed in a huge way in 2020. So I don't take someone's well considered or ill considered, whatever, decision to not vote as a as...a sort of irredeemable act of irresponsibility because, in my view, from the way I synthesize all the dizzying events of 2020, like, voting doesn't hold...I think it's still important, I still do it, but I don't think it is the end all be all of one's articulation of a politic and how they want the world to be arranged, ordered, unordered, unsettled, etc. So I don't- I no longer get upset or exasperated if someone tells me they don't vote. Because oftentimes, they actually have a pretty clear articulation of why, and they're not wrong. Sometimes they don't, but that's okay too. Do I poopoo on people who do decide to vote? Absolutely not. Like, that is- if that's how- if that's a part of your analysis of how we, you know, quote, make change in the world or make our political institutions responsive to us? That's fine, too. But I didn't...I kept my powder very dry during the general election. 2020 kind of change that for me, so.

Matisse  8:14  
I get it. I get it. I agree with...very much with most of what you said. And probably with the rest, I have to think about it a little.

Janelle Jolley  8:21  
Sure, sure, sure.

Matisse  8:21  
But I think that all makes a lot of sense. The- you know, until I moved to California in 1987 I had never voted. And I was born in '62, so I was-

Janelle Jolley  8:37  
What's the math on that?

Matisse  8:38  
25 when I moved here.

Janelle Jolley  8:39  
Okay. Mid-twenties before you started voting.

Matisse  8:39  
And the first Bush was running for president against Walter Mondale.

Janelle Jolley  8:44  

Matisse  8:45  
And I voted in the '88 election for two reasons, for the first time. And basically, the shorthand, before that I was, you know, "Don't vote it just encourages them," and, "I don't really care who wins it won't make a difference to me." The policies of Carter and Reagan weren't different enough to me to believe that it mattered. By that time, by the '88 election, I really wanted to vote against Bush.

Janelle Jolley  9:19  

Matisse  9:19  
I was not thrilled with Walter Mondale, but I really wanted to vote against Bush. And there was a ballot measure, or maybe two, that...either one of them, or they're combined effect, I forget, was to have AIDS testing results be released. Be-

Janelle Jolley  9:40  
Like, publicly?

Matisse  9:41  
Not private.

Janelle Jolley  9:41  

Matisse  9:42  
Yes, yes.

Janelle Jolley  9:42  
No, no, no.

Matisse  9:43  
And I wanted to vote against that.

Janelle Jolley  9:44  
Of course.

Matisse  9:45  
And that measure was defeated and George HW Bush won. But that was- and I've voted in, I think every, election since then.

Janelle Jolley  9:55  

Matisse  9:56  
But that- I remember that changing because it was a moment where it was something that I had been consciously not doing that I did.

Janelle Jolley  10:06  
Okay, well, we're gonna...we're gonna- I want to get us back up to that point in why it was so important for you to change your behavior during that time. But I want to go back. Way back. I can't even do that voice right. To the very beginning of a young Matisse. I feel like I know 35% of this, because I was giving you the third degree on the way to Doreen's house during all these canvasses but, for posterity, let's get your story on the record. Where did it all start out for you and what was it like growing up?

Matisse  10:37  
Like, where was I born?

Janelle Jolley  10:38  

Matisse  10:39  
I was born in New York, which means Manhattan if you're from Manhattan-

Janelle Jolley  10:44  
You're such a snob.

Matisse  10:44  
You would say, New York. If you're from the Bronx- my mother is from Brooklyn.

Janelle Jolley  10:48  

Matisse  10:49  
Right? So I'm like half Brooklyn. My father was from upstate New York, Schenectady-

Janelle Jolley  10:55  
Oh! Yeah, yeah. I'm familiar.  

Matisse  10:57  
And, but I was born in Manhattan, and we lived there for, I guess, about three years. And around '65 we moved to Boston, to Cambridge, actually. My father was a journalist and he worked for the Boston Globe. And he was very interested in being a foreign correspondent. He was very interested in China, at that time.

Janelle Jolley  11:23  

Matisse  11:23  
And in 1967? Yes. He won a...I forget what it was called, but a thing with UPI.

Janelle Jolley  11:36  
Like a fellowship?

Matisse  11:37  
Yeah. To work at any UPI office in the world.

Janelle Jolley  11:42  
What is UPI?

Matisse  11:43  
Oh, United Press International. Sorry. They were- they used to be the big competitor to AP.

Janelle Jolley  11:47  

Matisse  11:48  
Right, it was AP, Reuters and UPI.

Janelle Jolley  11:50  

Matisse  11:51  
And UPI, I guess, doesn't exist anymore.

Janelle Jolley  11:53  
Oh, yeah. Okay.

Matisse  11:55  
But they were equally- they were in the same tier as Associated Press.

Janelle Jolley  11:59  
Gotchu. A wire service?

Matisse  12:01  
Well, yes. But a new service. Not just a...but, yes, also called a wire service. And so he chose Hong Kong, because that was as close as a US citizen could get to China in '67.

Janelle Jolley  12:14  

Matisse  12:14  
And so we moved there in late '67.

Janelle Jolley  12:18  

Matisse  12:18  
Or mid six- maybe not late, in 67. And my sister was born there in 67. They were pregnant when- my mother was pregnant when we went.

Janelle Jolley  12:27  

Matisse  12:29  
And were there for about a year.

Janelle Jolley  12:32  

Matisse  12:33  
And so I spent some time living in Hong Kong 50, more than 50, years ago. Spent some time in India, Switzerland, Israel. His father, my grandfather, was living and working in Haifa at the time at the Technion, which is Israel's MIT.

Janelle Jolley  12:57  

Matisse  12:57  
He was a public relations guy. And we came back to the US. By that time it was 1968.

Janelle Jolley  13:08  
Hey! Street's was hot.

Matisse  13:10  
Yes. And we lived at my mother's mother's, my grandmother's, house. Her father, my grandfather, died while we were there. He was sick already. He had cancer. And we came back and he died in that time.

Janelle Jolley  13:25  
Where were you- where was...

Matisse  13:26  
Brooklyn. This was in Brooklyn.

Janelle Jolley  13:27  
Ah, okay, okay.

Matisse  13:27  
Avenue M.

Janelle Jolley  13:29  

Matisse  13:29  
And 23rd Street. East 23rd Street, Flatbush. And let's see what I remember from that time. I uncle Steven told me about Muhammad Ali, who- I forget exactly what had happened at that time? Whether he had just been-

Janelle Jolley  13:50  
Barred from boxing?

Matisse  13:53  
Either just barred, or for something- something in that case had happened. But he- Stephen was a big admirer of Ali and he told me about- and Martin Luther King was assassinated during that time. And I remember...and then Bobby Kennedy, seeing that on television. I had never seen color television before, either.

Janelle Jolley  14:16  
And so you came back to the states?

Matisse  14:17  
Yes. When I was a really little kid, back in Cambridge, we didn't have- well, we had- I guess we had a TV at some point, but I remember my mother was very anti-television. And I remember I was allowed to watch Mr. Rogers, Julia Child-

Janelle Jolley  14:33  

Matisse  14:33  
And Dr. Science.

Janelle Jolley  14:34  

Matisse  14:35  
And I remember her telling me she had read some story in the newspaper, or something, about a woman who had come home and found her whole family watching television, and she lost it and picked the TV up and threw it out of the second story window.

Janelle Jolley  14:47  
TVs were heavy back then.

Matisse  14:48  
And- yeah. And I was horrified!

Janelle Jolley  14:51  
That's right. Right, like, "I do not want that happening to me. Please chill, Mom."

Matisse  14:55  
But my dad had stayed in Switzerland for a little while, seeing if he could get a job there. But anyway, he came back. And not long after that he was diagnosed with cancer, with brain cancer, and he died in 1970. And I was- by that time we were living in Manhattan. it was 1970, I lived there until the early '80s, or late '70s- no, no, no, sorry, around '78. When I was 16, I moved out and-

Janelle Jolley  15:28  
Moved out of your momma's house?

Matisse  15:29  
Yes. Yes.

Janelle Jolley  15:30  

Matisse  15:34  
That's a good question. A lot of answers. The proximate cause was that I was applying to college and needed help filling out the financial aid forms and she was too overwhelmed to help me do that and we got into a big fight and I left.

Janelle Jolley  15:58  
Oh, you just stormed out.

Matisse  15:59  
But- yes. But that...putting that down as know, it was more emotionally complicated than that.

Janelle Jolley  16:10  

Matisse  16:10  
Like, I think- I remember- some of it was the...I don't want to talk about my mother in this.

Janelle Jolley  16:17  
Sure, sure, sure.

Matisse  16:18  
So I'm trying to say this in a way that doesn't say much about her. But I was not in a place where I could deal with the place that she was in.

Janelle Jolley  16:25  
I gotcha. I gotcha.

Matisse  16:28  
And I, so I left. I, at the time, I was working at a radio station in New York called WBAI, which still exists. It's one of the Pacifica stations, so it's owned by the same place that owns KPFA.

Janelle Jolley  16:40  

Matisse  16:41  
Right. And I spent the first night at the station. And I got an apartment- or not an apartment. I shared, I slept on the couch, with somebody else who worked at the station and a friend of theirs.

Janelle Jolley  16:56  
Oh wow.

Matisse  16:57  
Up on 213th Street.

Janelle Jolley  16:59  
That's way north.

Matisse  17:01  
So in Manhatt- 213th Street in Manhattan is one block long. It goes from 10th Avenue to Broadway. The island is pretty narrow up there.

Janelle Jolley  17:07  
That's right. That's Right.

Matisse  17:08  
And rent was, my share, was $75 a month.

Janelle Jolley  17:12  
Wow. And you could swing it working part time at the...

Matisse  17:16  
Working a- I was- I think it was technically a full time...

Janelle Jolley  17:19  
You weren't in school at 16?

Matisse  17:20  
Well, I was. I don't remember the details of it. It was- my job was funded through a CETA grant, Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. And this was the recession- there was a recession on, right?

Janelle Jolley  17:32  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  17:32  
And I think I was getting like $100 a week.

Janelle Jolley  17:37  
Oh, that's good money during, back then.

Matisse  17:38  
Right. So, minus taxes, which wasn't much.

Janelle Jolley  17:40  

Matisse  17:44  
So, yeah, so I could, yeah-

Janelle Jolley  17:45  
So you were working and going to school?

Matisse  17:48  

Janelle Jolley  17:49  
HIgh school?

Matisse  17:50  
I was going to City-As-School, which was a public alternative high school. I had gone to- I had gone to a private school. I'd gone to public school up until second grade and then I went to a private school from second grade through junior high school. And then I went to a public high school called Bronx High School of Science for less than a year, and I switched to City-As-School and I was accumulating credits at a faster rate than usual and applied to and was accepted for early admissions to a college.

Janelle Jolley  18:32  

Matisse  18:33  
And that's when that financial aid thing took place.

Janelle Jolley  18:36  
Yeah, I gotcha.  

Matisse  18:38  
And I was accepted and I deferred admission for a year. But this was all happening around that time when I'm 16.

Janelle Jolley  18:44  
I gotcha. Up until- so you were around eight when your father passed. At that time how did as you- at that time, how did you understand your life, your family life, as a child? Like, did you think everybody lived like you? Did you-

Matisse  18:59  
Did I think what?

Janelle Jolley  19:00  
Everyone lived like you? Like, did you think your upbringing at that time was, like-

Matisse  19:04  
No, no. I had, by that time, I had been exposed to a lot of different things, you know? I lived in different places. The trip sort of around the world had, you know, I had seen a water buffalo being butchered in an alley in Katmandu.

Janelle Jolley  19:22  
You say that so casually.

Matisse  19:24  
There was blood all over the place.

Janelle Jolley  19:26  

Matisse  19:27  
And I remember I wasn't horrified, but it was a very strong impression.

Janelle Jolley  19:32  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  19:33  
And, you know, I- we'd been to India, I'd seen, you know, people putting bodies into the Ganges and people who were so poor that they were collecting animal dung, and then putting it on the side of their houses to dry.

Janelle Jolley  19:49  
Wow, wow, wow.

Matisse  19:51  
And then using it as fuel. And, you know, and everything in between.

Janelle Jolley  19:57  
Yeah, sure.

Matisse  19:57  
And seeing great wealth, and stuff. So I- while we were living in Hong Kong, there were frequent protests and riots protesting British imperialism and British rule of Hong Kong, and like that. And I was told about all of this.

Janelle Jolley  20:13  

Matisse  20:14  
So, yeah, so I already mentally was in a complicated world.

Janelle Jolley  20:21  
Sure. But did you- how would you describe your childhood up until about eight, now as an adult? Were you middle class, upper middle class?

Matisse  20:31  
Everybody thinks they're middle class. We, you know, we always had a place to live, we always had food. There were family and friends around who were also similarly situated. So there was never any sense of-

Janelle Jolley  20:47  
Like, you didn't come home and the lights would be off-

Matisse  20:49  

Janelle Jolley  20:49  
And your parents had to make sense of that?

Matisse  20:50  

Janelle Jolley  20:51  
But summer also wasn't a verb in your house.

Matisse  20:54  
No, no. In fact, yeah, I've never even...I don't think I've ever known anybody who uses it as a verb. Summer in the Hamptons. I know what it is.

Janelle Jolley  21:03  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that wasn't you.

Matisse  21:08  
No. So we were...actual middle middle class, I would say. Which was better off then, then that would be now.

Janelle Jolley  21:23  
Of course. Cuz were you- were your- were your parents living off of one income?

Matisse  21:27  

Janelle Jolley  21:27  
Did your only- did only your father work and your mother did not?

Matisse  21:29  

Janelle Jolley  21:30  
Outside of the home, I mean.

Matisse  21:31  
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Janelle Jolley  21:33  
Okay. Okay.

Matisse  21:31  
And the apartment that we were in was a middle income co op. New York State had this program called Mitchell-Lama Co Ops where, basically, the taxpayers underwrote the loans that allowed these buildings to be built. And then they were co ops, right? Not condos or rentals. So you bought in for, let's say, $3,000 or something, and if you ever moved out and sold it, you got your $3,000 back.

Janelle Jolley  21:51  
Right, but no equity. Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  21:58  
30 years later, they got the laws changed.

Janelle Jolley  22:07  

Matisse  22:07  
So that people could sell their apartments at market rate, or the- and so on. But at that time, that was not the case. And you had to have- there were income limits to be able to buy in. My father was a journalist. He worked, had worked for the Boston Globe, for UPI, when we came back he was a freelance journalist. He did some work for the East Village Other earlier, but then for the Village Voice and the, I think the New York Herald Tribune, which was a paper at the time, newspaper. And at the time that he died, he was working on the staff of a New York State Senator, Ed Spino. And he interviewed for the job and was diagnosed with cancer during the same week.

Janelle Jolley  22:58  

Matisse  22:59  
And Spino made the date of his employment, the date of the interview.

Janelle Jolley  23:04  
Oh, so that he could get coverage.

Matisse  23:06  
He was covered with insurance.

Janelle Jolley  23:07  

Matisse  23:08  
Republican state senator.

Janelle Jolley  23:09  
Hm. But he saw the- I mean, he understood the need. Yeah. Okay. Wow.

Matisse  23:14  
1968 or '69, something like that, the New York City School System, five boroughs of New York, five counties, right? Was largely centrally controlled by, I'm going to grossly oversimplify this-

Janelle Jolley  23:35  

Matisse  23:35  
By white Jewish people.

Janelle Jolley  23:36  

Matisse  23:37  
And they-

Janelle Jolley  23:38  
He can say that because he's a white Jew.

Matisse  23:39  
And the Black families in certain communities had had enough.

Janelle Jolley  23:44  

Matisse  23:44  
And there were a lot- there was a lot of tension between how teachers were getting placed in different places. And it led to the teachers going on strike.

Janelle Jolley  23:58  
Huh. In all five boroughs, or?

Matisse  24:00  

Janelle Jolley  24:01  

Matisse  24:02  
And it started in Ocean Hill, the Ocean Hill Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn. And schools were closed down, parents were breaking into the schools to occupy the schools and take back schools.

Janelle Jolley  24:16  
Whoa, whoa, okay, so here's my question: Were the teachers who started the strike, were these predominantly Jewish teachers or black teachers? Do you remember?

Matisse  24:26  
It would have to have been white teachers. I don't know they're religious because there weren't that many black teachers.

Janelle Jolley  24:33  
Gotcha. So the teachers initiated this strike because?

Matisse  24:37  
They didn't want to be assigned to schools that they didn't want to work at.

Janelle Jolley  24:41  
Ah, white teachers are striking-

Matisse  24:42  
I'm grossly over simplifying.

Janelle Jolley  24:43  
No, no. That's fine. We do gross oversimplifications here. White teachers initiated this labor action because they did not want to...they did not want to be in a situation where they were placed at schools that they didn't want to work at, which were probably largely black and/or brown. Is that correct? Would that be- that's a gross overgeneralization of it.

Matisse  25:02  
Of one aspect of the story, but, yes. Yes.

Janelle Jolley  25:06  
Okay. So, and then the parents were breaking into these schools to occupy them. Were these parents white? Were these parents black? Puerto Rican?

Matisse  25:19  
I'm, you know, I'm not sure. I think it- I'm- this is- I'm gonna speculate because I know of one incident like, personally.

Janelle Jolley  25:26  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  25:26  
Which was in our neighborhood in Manhattan, where I'm gonna say it was a probably mostly white, but mixed race parents who just wanted the school to be open.

Janelle Jolley  25:40  

Matisse  25:40  

Janelle Jolley  25:41  

Matisse  25:41  
Although, many political desires contend in the night.

Janelle Jolley  25:47  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  25:47  
However, in other parts of the city, there may have been predominantly black parents who did it for the same reason, they wanted the school open, but maybe they wanted it run differently. And what came from this was the Community School Board controls became much stronger, right? As a consequence of this. But kids, like me, were out of school for a period of time during that.

Janelle Jolley  26:14  
Because of all the tumult?

Matisse  26:15  
Schools were closed.

Janelle Jolley  26:16  
The teachers were on strike, some schools were being occupied by parents-

Matisse  26:20  
They weren't, like, they didn't- they, as far as I know, there was no, like, days long occupations by parents.

Janelle Jolley  26:26  

Matisse  26:26  
These were- but there were attempts at things like that. They didn't actually set up alternative schools, but maybe they did. I have to go back and look at the history.

Janelle Jolley  26:35  

Matisse  26:35  
I don't know it, but I don't recall that actually happening. Although, so this is like 1969 or '70, or something. Maybe it's even '68, even still when this happens. And so the tradition of teach-ins and things like that was very much still in the popular memory.

Janelle Jolley  26:56  

Matisse  26:56  
So they might have done that. But I don't remember it as a thing.

Janelle Jolley  27:01  
Okay. But you do remember-

Matisse  27:03  
PS-84, you know, parents wanted it opened again.

Janelle Jolley  27:08  
Yeah, of course. Parents right now want schools open.

Matisse  27:11  
Yes, yes, yes.  

Janelle Jolley  27:12  
So that- so that's how- so the, what was the name of it? Something Brownsville?

Matisse  27:16  
Ocean Hill.

Janelle Jolley  27:17  
Ocean Hill Brownsville, what would you describe that as?

Matisse  27:20  
Well, there was all those things. There was a strike, but there were protests, there was a political movement for community control of schools. All of those things were happening at the same time.

Janelle Jolley  27:32  
Okay, so the Ocean Hill Brownsville moment was happening shortly after you got back to the States. The assassinations of King and Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy. What... as a child, try and go back and think about how you thought about these things? Like, what was your impression of these things? Did you have an impression of these things? Or was it just kind of like, "Ah, I don't know. I'm inside playing Legos, mom is making dinner." Or did you have an idea of how your family and/or your community was situated in these things?

Matisse  28:09  
I don't recall it...I mean, it made emotional impact on me. I remember one thing of watching television and people waiting at a train station for a train that was either bearing King's body, or something involved in that. Somebody was killed on the train tracks by accident, you know?

Janelle Jolley  28:32  
By the train, or?

Matisse  28:33  
Yes, yes. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  28:34  
Oh wow, wow.

Matisse  28:36  
Or by a train, maybe not by that train. But, and I remember, you know, how sad that was. I understood that it was a moment of great sadness. And a great loss had happened to the community, the whole community, and that there was this additional insult and tragedy on top of it. I already experienced the world as a place where protests and marches and, I mean, we had gone to anti-Vietnam War marches as a kid in Cambridge. My parents had been distributors in Cambridge for the East Village Other, which was a New York City alternative newspaper. And in Hong Kong, my father told me about, you know, the protests and riots and bombs that were going on there. And roughly what, you know, what the politics of it was. And I remember him telling me, his friend, Terry Wheeler, who was, I think, a photographer, of another journalist who had been in Vietnam recently. This was in '67. That when he had left and come to Vietnam, to Hong Kong, that the plane before his and after his were both hit by gunfire on the way out.

Janelle Jolley  29:50  
Wow, wow, wow, wow.

Matisse  29:52  
I don't think they were shot down. And so there were all kinds of things about stuff happening in the world that was...normal, if we could use that word, to me that my sense of what, of things that happened in the world included things that a lot of eight year olds don't think about. A lot do.

Janelle Jolley  30:11  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.  

Matisse  30:12  
But that, I would say, but...that most of the eight year olds around me at that time did not think of. So when I was in public school there in Brooklyn, in '68, I guess before the strike? There was a pledge of allegiance thing. I don't remember the details, but I didn't participate in it. You know, I wouldn't say the Pledge of Allegiance, or something where-

Janelle Jolley  30:46  
Huh. That's kind of like a badass move at the time.

Matisse  30:47  
Had some pushback against it.

Janelle Jolley  30:51  

Matisse  30:51  
And there was some, like, maybe a meeting with my parents, or whatever, but they were not- they were sympathetic.

Janelle Jolley  30:55  

Matisse  30:56  
Right? You know, and it was a reasoned opposition.

Janelle Jolley  31:00  

Matisse  31:00  
It's like that, I don't have an allegiance to the flag.

Janelle Jolley  31:03  

Matisse  31:04  
Right. It's, you know, I wonder if they'd ever had a pledge of allegiance to the Constitution? That would be an interesting, like, you know, many people take it as an oath when they become elected representatives, or enter the military. You know, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States to the best of my ability against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Janelle Jolley  31:24  
Foreign and domestic.

Matisse  31:25  
Right. We could have an interesting discussion about, like, should you have to make that pledge in order to vote?

Janelle Jolley  31:32  

Matisse  31:32  
I mean, I would say, "No, it's a bad idea."

Janelle Jolley  31:36  

Matisse  31:36  
But it'd be a very interesting argument to have

Janelle Jolley  31:38  
Sure, sure, sure. I mean, I wouldn't be arguing with you, I'm with you on that.

Matisse  31:41, I certainly had a sense of otherness from other kids, even before my father died.

Janelle Jolley  31:52  

Matisse  31:53  
And then I had a huge sense of otherness after that.

Janelle Jolley  31:55  
What- when you say you had a sense of otherness from other kids before your father passed, what do you mean by that?

Matisse  32:02  
Well, it wasn't a, the kind of, you know, sense that I could describe now with hindsight, right?

Janelle Jolley  32:10  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  32:10  
But I just didn't hear them talking about and reacting to things in the same way that I did.

Janelle Jolley  32:18  

Matisse  32:18  
And so there was...just a sense that...I was kind of seeing something that they weren't seeing. And I will say that I could see what I thought they were seeing. So I wasn't- it wasn't that I thought they were seeing illusions or something. But I was seeing additional things.

Janelle Jolley  32:46  

Matisse  32:47  
That weren't part of what they were seeing.

Janelle Jolley  32:52  
Hmm. Interesting. Did- an adult, looking back now, how would you describe your parents politically, or their approach to politics or their ideology? How would you describe that?

Matisse  33:07  
Their politics? I mean, you also you have to think of it in the context of that time.

Janelle Jolley  33:11  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  33:11  
So today's context...I don't even know how to separate it. It's-

Janelle Jolley  33:22  
Try and describe it.

Matisse  33:23  
We don't have politics like that anymore, right? It's a different world.

Janelle Jolley  33:26  
Tell me what you mean by that.

Matisse  33:28  
Well, I would say that they were like, you know, mainstream liberals. Right? But I don't know that mainstream liberals would go to an anti-Vietnam War march in 1965, now.

Janelle Jolley  33:45  

Matisse  33:45  
That today's mainstream liberals wouldn't.

Janelle Jolley  33:48  
You don't think so? I remember- well, and maybe these people wouldn't describe themselves as liberals, but all the protests during the Iraq invasion in the early aughts, I think a lot of those people were, quote, mainstream liberals. No? There weren't like millions of beatniks in the street, these were like regular, quote, regular.

Matisse  34:08  
My parents were squarer than that.

Janelle Jolley  34:10  
What do you mean squarer? There were square, white moms in Portland this summer showing down the police, so why...are you saying your parents weren't, like, loud, brash- like, your parents wouldn't be on Facebook fuckin' posting their balls off today about blah, blah, blah?

Matisse  34:27  
Absolutely not. Right, right.  

Janelle Jolley  34:27  
Okay. So it's an aesthetic thing, I think is what you're- the difference?

Matisse  34:31  
Well, I think...and some of this is things that I maybe learned later. But I think my father, certainly who was very engaged with thinking about the world politically because of his work and soforth, and his interest, believed in working within the system as a formal thought. And my mother, I don't know what she thought politically at that time and in that kind of analysis. I don't know if she had that kind of political analysis at that time.

Janelle Jolley  35:02  
If you were to describe, not necessarily label, but describe your parents politically or ideology now as an adult, what would it be? Like, we are anti-war and fiscally conservative?

Matisse  35:16  
They were pro-decency.

Janelle Jolley  35:18  
What does that mean?

Matisse  35:19  
You know, you just try to treat other people like a human being, like the way you would treat yourself. And that any insult to decency is an insult to maybe the most important parts of ourselves.

Janelle Jolley  35:37  
And did that have- did that have a material articulation in your parents? In their politic? Meaning, like, were they-

Matisse  35:45  
Well my father's desire to understand China, and to...was wrapped up in that sort of thing. My mother was a painter. My father was also, but he kind of stopped doing that to some extent, and she was doing more of it then, I think. But I don't think that her artistic work was politically motivated or thought of, at all.

Janelle Jolley  36:14  
Yeah, she just liked to paint. Yeah.

Matisse  36:17  
And they were both doing abstract stuff. Really, I would say, it was just like, you know, the Dalai Lama said, you know, "Kindness is my religion."

Janelle Jolley  36:28  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  36:29  
I would say, like, kindness or decency were their politics. And so instead of measuring anything in terms of a political program, they would tend to measure things in terms of just whether it was like, you were being a nice person.

Janelle Jolley  36:46  
So it was more like a gut check of like, "This feels good. This feels right." Or this feels nice?

Matisse  36:52  
Well it, you know, feels like the way I would want to be treated.

Janelle Jolley  37:00  

Matisse  37:00  
Right? That's- it's not-

Janelle Jolley  37:01  
Golden rule-y.

Matisse  37:02  
Yes, golden rule-y. Yes. And I guess I probably still am that way, in many ways. That- and from that, one may support or oppose a particular policy or particular implementation, and so on and so forth. But the core of it, I think, was just that we're all here together and should just treat each other decently. My father used to tell me stories of the Community House, the animals in the north woods, who built the Community House, and there's a whole- I could tell you the stories, but they were about this diverse group of people, David Bad, and Marvin Moose, and so, you know, who got together and made a community. And I think it was an expression of, you know, what he believed.

Janelle Jolley  37:59  

Matisse  37:59  
Right. Does that answer your question?

Janelle Jolley  38:06  
I think so. I think, I think so. And your- what do you think drove your dad to go work for a republican state senator? He was-

Matisse  38:16  
I don't know. But it was, specifically but I know that that Spino was, I think ran the committee that was doing- the specific project that he worked on was a study of transportation, the future of transportation in the tri state area, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. And airports, trains, planes, automobiles, big deal. And they were looking at infrastructure over the next 20 years. What should we do? And I imagined that he saw it as a worthy endeavor to be part of, and he needed a job.

Janelle Jolley  38:54  

Matisse  38:55  
And it was a different time then, you know, where a republican state senator doing that wouldn't have been trying to privatize every-

Janelle Jolley  39:03  
Yeah. That's right. He hadn't been infested by neoliberalism.

Matisse  39:07  
Shut down the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or something like that.

Janelle Jolley  39:09  
That's right, that's right. Did your mom start working after your dad passed?

Matisse  39:15  
She did. She got a master's degree in education from Bank Street. And she worked in the New York City public school system as a art therapist and counselor-

Janelle Jolley  39:27  
Oh, right on.  

Matisse  39:28  
For many years and took an early retirement.

Janelle Jolley  39:31  
Did her politics or ideology change, do you think, looking back now after your dad's passing? Or she was still strident?

Matisse  39:39  
Not from that. During working in the Board of Ed for many years, her attitudes about some things changed, and she's still alive and I don't want to speak for her.

Janelle Jolley  39:52  
Sure. Sure, sure.

Matisse  39:54  
But certainly, I mean, I was in the New York City public school system and it is a poster child for bureaucracy. And public education in general is something that I am very in favor of.

Janelle Jolley  40:11  

Matisse  40:12  
I think we should have taxpayer funded college education across the country.

Janelle Jolley  40:16  

Matisse  40:17  
That I also recognize, though, that it's often incredibly inefficient and bad teachers and administrators are allowed to remain in position long past their sell by date because of unfortunate consequences of political compromises and negotiations that have happened. It's a mess.

Janelle Jolley  40:44  
Describe yourself, describe your life at that point. Like, your late teens, you're not quite a numerical adult, but you are living independently. What was your life like and how did you kind of see things? What were you into?

Matisse  40:58  
Well, I was very independent. And I was in contact with a lot of adults who had alternative lives. The people who worked at the radio station, all were not...they were all marginal in various ways.

Janelle Jolley  41:19  
Tell me what oyu mean by that.

Matisse  41:21  
You know, there was a guy who I was friends with who was a public school teacher who had a radio program there, who I did part of my City-As- City-As-School was like a work study high school. You got all of your credit, almost all the credits, were for not classroom stuff. And so I worked in the junior high school that Paul was a teacher, and as his lab assistant, he was a science teacher. And he also was a poly morphic drug user.

Janelle Jolley  41:55  
What does that mean?

Matisse  41:56  
He used everything.

Janelle Jolley  41:57  
Like, LSD?

Matisse  41:59  

Janelle Jolley  41:59  
Okay, did everything.

Matisse  42:00  
Everything. And he had at one time, before I knew him, I think, been a long term heroin addict.

Janelle Jolley  42:08  

Matisse  42:09  
But he was, by the time I knew him, he was no longer using heroin.

Janelle Jolley  42:14  
But everything else?

Matisse  42:15  
But, yes. But he would, I remember a situation where he, you know, was using dilaudid.

Janelle Jolley  42:20  

Matisse  42:20  
Recreationally. There wasn't, like- he didn't- when the supply was gone he got something else.

Janelle Jolley  42:25  
Okay. But he was functional?

Matisse  42:27  
Yes. He was a high functioning multi drug addict or user. Now, but he died in around 2000. And I am told that he had completely cleaned up by then, including quitting smoking, which is really hard.

Janelle Jolley  42:47  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  42:48  
And he had heart problems by then and died. But this was- we're talking about now in the...the late '70s. He ended up in the hospital because he nodded out on quaaludes with a candle on a plastic milk crate in his apartment and set the apartment on fire. And he woke up to the fire department-

Janelle Jolley  43:13  

Matisse  43:14  
You know, rescuing him.

Janelle Jolley  43:16  
Was that who you were staying with when you were-

Matisse  43:17  
No, no, no.

Janelle Jolley  43:18  
Okay, okay. That's just you- you worked- you did the work study thing.

Matisse  43:20  
He was someone who was at the radio station.

Janelle Jolley  43:21  
Gotcha, gotcha.

Matisse  43:22  
Who was a really nice guy, right?

Janelle Jolley  43:24  
Sure, sure, sure. Was you gettin' down?

Matisse  43:26  

Janelle Jolley  43:31  
During this time, was you getting down? Was you wild out here, experimentin' with different-

Matisse  43:35  
Was I using drugs?

Janelle Jolley  43:36  

Matisse  43:37  
There were drugs I used.

Janelle Jolley  43:38  
Okay. "There were drugs I used."

Matisse  43:39  
I didn't use the range that Paul did.

Janelle Jolley  43:43  
Okay. Alright.

Matisse  43:45  
You know?

Janelle Jolley  43:46  
Oh my gosh.

Matisse  43:47  
And later on, years later, I went to a week long thing at SLN that Timothy Leary led. And I read his autobiography, which is a good one. You know, he describes a story of...he, Richard Alpert, Ram Dass, and Allen Ginsberg, and Peter Orlovsky, who was Ginsburg's partner, right?

Janelle Jolley  43:50  

Matisse  43:55  
I think it's just, it was just them, are discussing what to do with psychedelics that they have learned about, and so forth. And one of them says, "Well, you know, Aldous Huxley has told us that we should give it to artists, musicians and painters, and the enlightened rich- they will turn on the enlightened rich, and it will spread into culture and society that way." And Leary said- oh, and they're all tripping while this is going on, right?

Janelle Jolley  44:47  
Yes. Of course.

Matisse  44:47  
And Leary says, "No, no. It's got to be like baseball and apple pie. It's got to be like everybody's got to have access to it." And that idea sort of took hold, and thereby hangs the tale.

Janelle Jolley  45:05  
Ah. Huh.

Matisse  45:05  
Tim and others around him sort of evangelized psychedelics as a tool for-

Janelle Jolley  45:12  

Matisse  45:13  
For living, yes. For understanding ourselves, and so on. And, you know, they were scientists.

Janelle Jolley  45:17  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  45:17  
They wanted to go about it in a scientific way. But they wanted it to be something that everybody could study and do.

Janelle Jolley  45:25  

Matisse  45:25  
And that, you know, it would destroy the system.

Janelle Jolley  45:29  

Matisse  45:29  
I was surrounded by these adults who were, in various ways, very creative and very marginal.

Janelle Jolley  45:35  
Marginal, meaning, like, they were kind of society's misfits? Like, they don't fit the typical mold?

Matisse  45:40  

Janelle Jolley  45:41  
And being around that at that age, did you aspire to kind of be a marginal or a misfit, or?

Matisse  45:46  

Janelle Jolley  45:47  
No, okay.

Matisse  45:47  
No, I, you know, I aspire to-

Janelle Jolley  45:49  

Matisse  45:48  
I aspire to not suffer from the fit that can hurt you. I didn't want to fit just to fit. But I didn't want to hurt by misfitting for the sake of misfitting.

Janelle Jolley  46:09  
You're gonna have to say that in English another way because you lost me.

Matisse  46:12  
So I didn't aspire to be a misfit for its own sake, to reject the fit.

Janelle Jolley  46:18  

Matisse  46:18  
But there were things about what one might call "fitting" that I disagreed with or didn't want.

Janelle Jolley  46:24  
Like what?

Matisse  46:27  
Well, the sort of rigidity and lack of...of active curiosity that I saw in public education at the time.

Janelle Jolley  46:39  

Matisse  46:39  
Like, at Bronx Science, right? I experienced the overall culture there as one that wasn't terribly questioning.

Janelle Jolley  46:55  

Matisse  46:58  
I'm hesitating because, of course, there were many individual people who were in various stages of questioning, so.

Janelle Jolley  47:04  

Matisse  47:04  
But the the overall environment wasn't.

Janelle Jolley  47:12  
It was incurious.

Matisse  47:13  
Yes. So, individuals- so, I can think of a couple of teachers who were definitely individually curious.

Janelle Jolley  47:19  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  47:20  
But the system, if you will, systemically, it was incurious.

Janelle Jolley  47:25  
And you- and that turns you off?

Matisse  47:27  

Janelle Jolley  47:27  
Fitting in society, or fitting a particular mold in society, is that that- was that at the time not appealing to you because you wanted to not be constrained by, kind of, bounded thought, or thoughts on, you know, the right way to behave, the right way to go about-

Matisse  47:48  
I don't know. I'll tell you what I remember. You know, this is, we're talking about now, 1978.

Janelle Jolley  47:56  

Matisse  47:56  
Right? And I knew about the Vietnam War.

Janelle Jolley  48:00  

Matisse  48:00  
Right? Which had just ended three years before.

Janelle Jolley  48:03  

Matisse  48:03  
Right? And we weren't studying it. There were no lessons. You know, the United States just been involved in this war that had gone on for a decade, more than a decade.

Janelle Jolley  48:14  
Yeah, that's right.

Matisse  48:15  
55/56,000 Americans had died in it. And a million Vietnamese?

Janelle Jolley  48:21  

Matisse  48:23  
And it wasn't subject matter.

Janelle Jolley  48:27  
Huh. At that time?

Matisse  48:28  

Janelle Jolley  48:28  

Matisse  48:29  
I had my social studies class, and the kids in the class, you know, couldn't find Vietnam on a map.

Janelle Jolley  48:36  

Matisse  48:36  
And I, you know, today I might be saying, you know, doing the old man shaking the fist thing about can kids today find Afghanistan on a map? Right? That, you know, what countries border Afghanistan? I took afront at that, you know? And I remember talking to the social studies teacher about it, Mr. Krespy, who was a good guy. And I'm paraphrasing him, but he basically said, you know, "Matisse, we got to meet people where they are." And he said- he was basically pointing out my privilege. He said, "You know, you went to this private school for all these years with people from all over the world." The school that I went to was very multinational. "And you've been to Hong Kong and Thailand," like that, or, "Siam," as it was then. "You know, the people in this building, haven't had all those experiences."

Janelle Jolley  49:30  
Okay, but I call bullshit ,Mr. Krespy, because the people in this building also turn on the CBS News every evening and there were embedded correspondents in Vietnam, so...

Matisse  49:37  
Yeah, I miss Walter Cronkite, I gotta tell ya.

Janelle Jolley  49:41  
Right. Huh. Interesting. So you- did what did you- at that time, did you have an idea of what you wanted to do with your life? Or did you just have an idea of what you did not want to do?

Matisse  49:53  
I was forming it. You know, by the time I had applied to that college, to Antioch University. I was accepted there, right? I intended to do- they had a five years master's degree program in applied policy science, where you'd get a master's in five years, right? And I thought that I would do that and that I would do a minor in organic chemistry so that I could make and sell drugs to make a living because being a political organizer wasn't going to pay anything.

Janelle Jolley  50:22  
That's right.

Matisse  50:22  
That was my- that was the plan.

Janelle Jolley  50:23  
I need to be somebody's pusher, as well.

Matisse  50:26  
No, no, no, I'll be a dealer. You know, the dealer, you know, will sell you a lot of sweet dreams for a nickel. The pusher, you know, will take your body and leave your mind to scream.

Janelle Jolley  50:37  
That's fair, okay.

Matisse  50:37  
Right? That's what the song says.

Janelle Jolley  50:39  
Yes, that's, yes, you are...So you were forming your idea of what you wanted to be. What were the ideas that were percolating in your mind? Like, what were you knocking around in your head?

Matisse  50:54  
I, you know, I was involved- so, when I...there was a point somewhere in there, I forget the exact time, I dropped out of school.

Janelle Jolley  51:01  
Antioch or high school?

Matisse  51:02  
No, I never went to Antioch. So I was at high school, I applied to Antioch, was accepted and deferred admissions.

Janelle Jolley  51:08  

Matisse  51:09  
And during that year, which would have been around '79, I decided not to go.

Janelle Jolley  51:18  

Matisse  51:18  
The daunting prospect of being $50,000 in debt, which was a lot of money then. I know now that doesn't seem like much. But it was, I mean, you know, the minimum wage was like $2.85 an hour, or something.

Janelle Jolley  51:34  
And you would have had to pay your own way?

Matisse  51:35  
And I had become very disillusioned with the system, if you will.

Janelle Jolley  51:39  

Matisse  51:40  
Even though I had visited Antioch and saw them as being quite a bit outside of the norm of that, a combination of those things, and I was strained from my mother at that time. Nobody was- there were no adults who were really supporting me to go to college. And I had good arguments for not doing it.

Janelle Jolley  52:02  

Matisse  52:02  
And I was marginally financially independent. I was getting Social Security survivor's benefits for my dad's death. So that, combined with those work that I had, I could live on it. And I then got, I had a job selling fruit and nuts on the street.

Janelle Jolley  52:25  
Yep. You told me about that. $40 bucks a day.

Matisse  52:27  
Yeah, cash.

Janelle Jolley  52:27  
And that was good money.

Matisse  52:29  
Yeah, that was good money. In some ways, it was the best job I ever had. Right? You know, I was feeding people.

Janelle Jolley  52:36  

Matisse  52:36  
It was simple.

Janelle Jolley  52:37  

Matisse  52:37  
Right? And so, I wanted to make things better, right? I got involved in anti-nuclear politics and organizing, and wanted to continue with- there was a point where I applied for a job at the War Resisters League, which I was quite involved with at that time. And somebody took me into a room privately and explained that there was no way they were going to hire a white male for this position.

Janelle Jolley  53:14  
Really? Back then?

Matisse  53:15  

Janelle Jolley  53:15  
Oh, wow. Okay.

Matisse  53:16  
And I said, "Well, what about someone who's younger than anybody else? Doesn't that count?" And the guy was like, "Yeah, I know. But right now, the white male thing is-"

Janelle Jolley  53:26  
It's not a good time for y'all.

Matisse  53:27  
Now, the person that they were going to hire, who they did, Nora Lomely, I knew and liked, and she was more qualified for the job than I was. So I didn't resent it on that level at all.

Janelle Jolley  53:36  
Sure, sure.  

Matisse  53:37  
But I did recognize and accept and resent, you know, how that was playing out.

Janelle Jolley  53:43  

Matisse  53:43  
Right? But had I gotten a job as a political organizer then, my life could have gone in quite a different direction.

Janelle Jolley  53:51  
What do you think it would have- how would your life have ended up?

Matisse  53:53  
I don't know. I don't know. But the absence of that, I think I probably already had the job selling fruit and nuts and so forth. Somewhere in this in this period, I became a union carpenter, is the short version.

Janelle Jolley  54:09  
Wait, what?

Matisse  54:09  
I forget exactly when this-

Janelle Jolley  54:11  
Okay, hold on. Hold on, hold on. You're working at the radio station as a newly liberated-

Matisse  54:19  
The seed grant ran out. I got laid off. I was getting unemployment, which was half of the $100 a week

Janelle Jolley  54:25  
Right. Plus your survivors benefits because you weren't eighteen yet.

Matisse  54:28  
By the time I was 18 that ran out, so that would have been 1980. A friend's mother told me that the carpenters union was opening up its apprenticeship program. And we went down to the carpenters union central place and you stood on line and a plot- got a letter. And the way it worked down was that you got this letter, you were provisionally in the program, and then you had to go and find the first job yourself.

Janelle Jolley  55:00  

Matisse  55:01  
That was it, they gave you a letter.

Janelle Jolley  55:01  
After they gave you the approval-

Matisse  55:03  
Well, the approval was just like, "What's your name and your address?"

Janelle Jolley  55:07  
Sure. But after you got that certification, then it's like, it's on you to actually find the work?

Matisse  55:11  
Right. So the way they, at least then, the way the carpenters union worked, was that you had to hustle your first job as an apprentice yourself. So often you knew somebody.

Janelle Jolley  55:18  

Matisse  55:19  
Right? But we didn't.

Janelle Jolley  55:20  
Sure. So what was your first apprentice job as a carpenter?

Matisse  55:22  
My first one was working on the project that put subway tunnels under the East River at 60th street, or something. The actual work under the river was only done by the sandhogs union. But on either side of the river, there was a large shaft that intersected the tunnel. So the tunnels were going to have two tracks in each direction, above each other. There were two levels of tracks and the bottom one was about 150 feet below street level. And the- there was 150 foot by 150 foot by 150 foot deep hole in the ground that was decked over, and inside that various support structures and stuff were being built to have a light maintenance station where they could just pull trains right off the tracks up, you know, a couple levels. So, like, levels five and four were train tracks running through, tunnels running through. In levels three, two and one were other things. And so the carpenters union and the electricians union and the laborers union, all the traditional construction trades, did work in that area, along with the sandhogs. The sandhogs were the only ones who worked in the overhead environment, under the- and they would do blasting and, they did everything. They would run all the stuff under there.

Janelle Jolley  56:54  
Was your view of being in the carpenters union at that time, was it political? Or was it more practical? Just like, "Hey, I need a job-"

Matisse  57:01  
Well, it started practical. It started completely practical, but I came to appreciate the political aspects of it. The contractor in that case, right, was a joint venture between the Schiavone Construction Company, of whom Ray Donovan had been the president, he was at that time the Secretary of Labor under Reagan, and a Italian company. And I was very happy to have the union in between them and me.

Janelle Jolley  57:32  

Matisse  57:33  
You know?

Janelle Jolley  57:34  

Matisse  57:34  
They came quickly to appreciate, you know, the physical danger of the job. A guy died on that job while I was working there. And all of the things that unions had fought for and obtained, I certainly appreciate and could see how- and I had worked non union construction before that on a much, much, much smaller scale. And, but I could see how in that kind of an environment, I was very glad that the union was there.

Janelle Jolley  58:08  
Gotcha. Did you- how long were you in the union as a carpenter?

Matisse  58:11  
Well, I remained in the union until...years after I had moved to California and wasn't doing that work actively. I kept paying dues. But I worked actively for five years? Something like that?

Janelle Jolley  58:27  
So until, like, '85?

Matisse  58:29  
Yeah, I went- I got into an architecture school and stopped working full time. But in the winter break, or whatever- when I had left that last job, the way that hiring worked in those days, and may still, I don't know, was that on each job, the carpenters union contract specified that the union would pick half of the people who would work on that job and the contractor would pick the other half. And this allowed the contractor to take people who they worked with together from job to job.

Janelle Jolley  59:05  
Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Matisse  59:05  
Right? And then wherever the job happened to be located, because there were- New York City is big enough that there are multiple local unions.

Janelle Jolley  59:11  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  59:12  
The local haul for that location would pick the other half. By that time, I had become one of the people that the contractor was taking from job to job.

Janelle Jolley  59:21  

Matisse  59:22  
Right? And so Walter, who was the superintendent, this was S & A Concrete. So...and my checks were signed by...Paul Castellano.

Janelle Jolley  59:34  
Whoa! You were in with the mob.

Matisse  59:37  
Yeah, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  59:39  
You have lived, like, a million lifetimes.

Matisse  59:44  
Yeah, while I was working in that job, that underground job, the head of our union was supposed to testify in a influenced buying scam.

Janelle Jolley  59:52  
Hell no, he kept his mouth shut, didn't he?

Matisse  59:54  
He did because he disappeared. And they found his wallet floating in shallow water near their Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:00  

Matisse  1:00:00  
And so our union cards, you would get one every quarter when you paid your dues. The place where his signature was printed just had a big black box over it until they got a new president after six months, or something.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:00  
Wow. Wow.

Matisse  1:00:00  

Janelle Jolley  1:00:17  
Did you, like, did you- were you aware of the mob and their hand in, you know...

Matisse  1:00:17  
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:17  
And you just kept your-

Matisse  1:00:18  
There were various times...on one job I worked on, which was an awful job that I actually quit. It was the only one that I ever actually quit, and there's stories to tell there. But I'm outside the job, like on lunch break, which was a half an hour. And a limousine is parked outside the job, and somebody is visiting. And the driver is hanging out smoking a cigarette and starts talking with me. He's young guy, not much older than me, and it comes up in the conversation that there's a guy on the job who's giving me a really hard time who's like a little crazy and has it in for me. And he says, "You know, we could you know, we could take care of that."

Janelle Jolley  1:01:05  
Whoa! Listen.

Matisse  1:01:06  
And I was like, "Oh, look at the time!"

Janelle Jolley  1:01:08  
"Look at- I've gotta go! I am not gonna be an accessory to murder, hello no!"

Matisse  1:01:12  
They wouldn't have murdered him. No, no. They would have just-

Janelle Jolley  1:01:14  
What, you just roughed him up a little bit?

Matisse  1:01:16  
Yeah, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:16  
Put the screws to him a little bit to chill out?

Matisse  1:01:18  

Janelle Jolley  1:01:19  
Was the play at that time just, like, keep your head down, keep your nose- like, don't be asking too many questions about this, just do your job, go home, and hope that-

Matisse  1:01:29  
Well, I think...I'll say that, you know, the play is know, don't be stupid.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:36  
Yeah. Yeah.

Matisse  1:01:37  
Right? If you're going to do something, it should have a reasonable chance of success.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:44  
But did you- so at the time, did you want to- did you want to remain a laborer? Like a...did you want to remain a laborer like in unionized labor for like all of your life? Or, it was, like, it was a bridge?

Matisse  1:01:55  
Well, I always liked making things and building things. Even when I was into political organizing, it was still about building something.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:03  

Matisse  1:02:03  
And my first job, when I was still in high school, was working at a company that designed games. I definitely didn't think of myself as "Oh, I'm, you know, my career is going to be as a union carpenter," or any kind of carpenter. But I didn't think in terms of careers. I still don't.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:29  
Really? Okay. I here ya.

Matisse  1:02:30  
Yeah, I mean, I'm aware of them. I can describe my life as a career. But I never planned it that way or thought of it. It was, I was always trying to make myself or the world or both be the shape that I thought it should be. I remember telling Walter, the superintendent, that the buildings that we were building were evil. That they were built, you know, as a result of investors who never saw the building or the site, wanting to, you know, have a bunch of condos over there, which were going to give some rate of return. That it was all, like, evil. It wasn't- and he had been in construction for 30 years, or something, at that point.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:31  

Matisse  1:03:16  
I remember him saying, "Well, you know, I don't know, Matisse, if the people- if the buildings are evil," he said, "Maybe the people behind it." And, you know, he was not a radical at all. Walter was a very mainstream guy. But he was very thoughtful.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:32  

Matisse  1:03:32  
And I remember him, you know, he wasn't ready to agree with me that the buildings themselves could be called evil. That was to, like, metaphysical or woowoo.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:39  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  1:03:40  
But he was willing to stipulate that the people behind were.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:44  
Sure. Right, he got eyes and ears just like you.

Matisse  1:03:47  
I didn't want to participate that, I wanted to make things better. So I was gonna go to architecture school and I was going to make the world a better place, literally.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:04  
I'm still trippin on Paul Castellano signing his checks from when he was a union man. Anyway, we continue with the most interesting man in the world, tomorrow. See you soon.

Part 2 Transcript

Janelle Jolley  0:10  
We are back. This is What's Left To Do and I'm your host, Janelle. Let's dive back in with Matisse, his never ending life full of fascination, and some bold political predictions. You felt like that was a worthy transition after being a union carpenter. Like, "Okay now want to learn how to build things and not build, quote, evil buildings. I want to- my desire to build things will take form, or take shape, with my education in architecture. And that'll be the next endeavor of my, not career, but endeavor."

Matisse  0:55  
Yeah. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  0:56  
Okay, okay. What was that like?

Matisse  0:57  
I met some people who I'm still friends with to this day.

Janelle Jolley  1:01  
Mm-hmm. Wait, where did you go to architecture school?

Matisse  1:03  
Cooper Union.

Janelle Jolley  1:04  
Oh! In the city?

Matisse  1:05  

Janelle Jolley  1:05  
Yeah, I know somebody who went there. Okay.

Matisse  1:07  

Janelle Jolley  1:08  
It was free?

Matisse  1:09  
Yes. If you got- not anymore. But-

Janelle Jolley  1:11  
They changed that in the aughts, right?

Matisse  1:14  
Yeah. They built this student housing thing and they made a really big- they own the land that the Chrysler Building is on.

Janelle Jolley  1:22  

Matisse  1:23  
And they made- anyway, they- that's a whole other story. They fucked up. And a... Peter Cooper funded it to be a place for working people to get a first class education. When the school opened, it was only night classes because it was for working people.

Janelle Jolley  1:39  

Matisse  1:39  
They had, at that time, a view of what architecture was, that I didn't really appreciate 'til I went there, that I vehemently disagreed with. Its what I would call abstract formalism. They were concerned with architecture as a study and practice of form in a very abstract sense. And we're not interested in thinking about, much less discussing, what it actually means to the lived experience of anybody. It was just about ideas, and ideas divorced from the actual consequences in the world. Cooper Union is in a certain location in New York, near, in between the Lower East Side and the West Village. It's right, literally, between them. And at that time, the city was broke, there were a lot of abandoned buildings. I had been living in one at one time, that's another story. They had no engagement in the community. They had an art school, an engineering school, and an architecture school. And why they didn't have five storefront art galleries in that neighborhood.

Janelle Jolley  2:59  

Matisse  3:00  
Where students were doing whatever they were doing. In the gallery right there, is the easiest indictment I can make of them.

Janelle Jolley  3:09  
Politically, artistically, they they still managed to make themselves kind of an ivory tower.

Matisse  3:13  
Exactly. Yes.

Janelle Jolley  3:15  
I see.  

Matisse  3:15  
I was waiting for one of us to use that phrase.

Janelle Jolley  3:20  
You're ridiculous.

Matisse  3:21  
There was another student, Gabby, Gabriella Salazar, who I really liked. Her father from Argentina was an architect and came to visit. She was living with her mother in New York, but I think her parents were divorced. But he came to visit and I met him and got along with him. And I had told him- this happened during this exact day or two days, or whatever. I told him of this experience. And I guess he went to say goodbye to me when he was leaving, and I wasn't there, and he left a note on my desk. And he said that, I forget the exact words, but it was to the effect of like, people who have, you know, who aren't trying to answer existential questions have given up, or are not really living. He was very supportive of my thinking. So I was at Cooper Union, trying to answer existential questions.

Janelle Jolley  4:18  

Matisse  4:19  
And it wasn't helping.

Janelle Jolley  4:20  
Being at Cooper Union was not helping?

Matisse  4:22  
It wasn't helping.

Janelle Jolley  4:23  
What existential questions were you looking to answer? Or-

Matisse  4:27  
How do we make this better?

Janelle Jolley  4:29  
"This" being?

Matisse  4:30  
The whole catastrophe.

Janelle Jolley  4:35  
Okay. The whole catastrophe of New York?

Matisse  4:37  
No, no, no.

Janelle Jolley  4:38  
Or the world, or the United States? The galaxy, the cosmos?

Matisse  4:40  
Anything within our can.

Janelle Jolley  4:43  
Oh, okay.

Matisse  4:44  
So...I had been interested in architecture because of the work of a particular architect named Christopher Alexander and his team at the Center for Environmental Structure in Berkeley. They had written a book called A Pattern Language, which I had read about in the Whole Earth catalog in, like, 1980. And, to shorten the story somewhat, I ended up moving to California to work for Christopher Alexander as an intern. While I was at Cooper, I went to the dean, John Haydock at the time, and said, "Look, there's this architect whose work I'm really interested in. Could you recommend someone on staff that I could talk?" And he said, "Oh yeah, sure. Who is it?" And I said, "Christopher Alexander." And he said, "Go to California." I said, "Excuse me?" He said, "He has a different idea than we do."

Janelle Jolley  5:34  

Matisse  5:35  
I was like, "Huh?" And this was in my first year, early there, and I...and he was not mean about it. And he was right, you know? I wish he had explained it to me more deeply, because I went through a bunch of suffering trying to circle the square of being there, and so on, and so forth. But I did- I moved to California to pursue architecture in that form. It was made easy because my uncle Steven, the Double Rainbow, was living in San Francisco and had a room in his house that I could live in.

Janelle Jolley  6:11  
Okay. All right.

Matisse  6:12  

Janelle Jolley  6:13  
And you-

Matisse  6:13  
So having an unpaid architectural internship was made easier.

Janelle Jolley  6:16  
Right, because you had a place to lay your head at night.

Matisse  6:19  

Janelle Jolley  6:19  
Okay. What were your aspirations in coming out here? You wanted to be an intern, but-

Matisse  6:22  
I was gonna become a licensed architect.

Janelle Jolley  6:26  
And that would help you answer the, what existential questions? Or change things in what way?

Matisse  6:31  
You answer existential questions by living. By doing stuff, right?

Janelle Jolley  6:35  
Church. Yes. Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Matisse  6:37  
So it would help me do, right? I could...I would have gained understanding and skills and experience in how to shape the built world. I understood a lot about construction and carpentry and things like that.

Janelle Jolley  6:53  

Matisse  6:54  
But there's other aspects to it, which architecture justly covers. And beyond that, kind of the work of being a contractor, or a developer, or whatever, all of the interactions- you know, if you want to...let's say you want to build affordable housing.

Janelle Jolley  7:11  

Matisse  7:11  
Well, what does it take to build affordable housing?

Janelle Jolley  7:14  

Matisse  7:16  
A lot of things. A long answer, right?

Janelle Jolley  7:19  

Matisse  7:19  
I wanted to be able to help all of, you know, do all of things like that. And it requires more than just knowing how to lay out a stair stringer.

Janelle Jolley  7:29  

Matisse  7:29  

Janelle Jolley  7:30  
It requires more than literally putting together the components to put a structure together.

Matisse  7:34  

Janelle Jolley  7:35  
Gotcha. What was the biggest difference between California and New York, that you remember?

Matisse  7:39  
I had spent a summer here in '83, living with Steven and managing the construction of one of the Double Rainbow stores. And so, that biggest difference, I had already experienced. Which, the immediate biggest difference was the light. There was just so much more of it, and it just felt different.

Janelle Jolley  7:59  
You said you started to vote for the first time after moving out here.

Matisse  8:02  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  8:03  
Okay. But what- like, how, at that point, how did- what was your understanding of the world and your place in it?

Matisse  8:09  
I have very little affinity for ideologies as such. I can discuss them.

Janelle Jolley  8:17  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  8:17  
Right? But to actually have an affinity for an ideology is kind of foreign to me.

Janelle Jolley  8:22  

Matisse  8:22  
There was a time when I was 15, something like that, that I joined the Young Socialist Alliance.

Janelle Jolley  8:29  

Matisse  8:29  
Which was the Socialist Workers party's youth branch.

Janelle Jolley  8:32  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  8:32  
In New York.

Janelle Jolley  8:33  

Matisse  8:33  
And after a short- there was a point where we're gonna have a national- it was a national convention was coming up. And our little chapter had, like, five people in it, or something? And there was some thing that we were voting on about a position to take at the national convention. And there was a very heated debate on it. And then we voted and it was, like, three to two to do it one way. And I was in the two that lost, right?

Janelle Jolley  8:58  

Matisse  8:58  
And I was like, "Well, we should at least represent the minority opinion," because it was such a thing. And they were like, "No, that's it."

Janelle Jolley  9:05  

Matisse  9:05  
End of it, right?

Janelle Jolley  9:05  

Matisse  9:06  
I was out of there.

Janelle Jolley  9:09  
You're like, "Well, this isn't what I thought it was gonna be."

Matisse  9:11  
I knew, then, I don't know if I would have articulated it, I might have, that democracy does not mean that 51 people get to vote to execute the other 49.

Janelle Jolley  9:22  
That's correct.  

Matisse  9:23  
Right? That it's all about how we maintain a balance between the majority and the minorities, and how we allow ourselves to shift from being in the majority to the minority, and so on, and so forth.

Janelle Jolley  9:41  
And that was your understanding, even at that time, because of that incident as a youth?

Matisse  9:46  
Well, it was not so much because of that incident, but because of that understanding, I did not accept that.

Janelle Jolley  9:51  
I see.

Matisse  9:51  
Right? You know, it was as Winston Churchill said about split infinitives, "There are some things up with which we shall not put."

Janelle Jolley  9:59  

Matisse  9:59  
So I, like, I'm very pro-union.

Janelle Jolley  10:02  

Matisse  10:03  

Janelle Jolley  10:03  

Matisse  10:03  
I also recognize what a terrible fucking bureaucracy they can be and how the way many, not all, but many unions acted towards non-white people in the '60s, and it was disgraceful, and was sort of the end of unions' moral authority, in many ways.

Janelle Jolley  10:21  

Matisse  10:22  
Right? Where the, "Don't bite the war that feeds you," thing, you know? At that same time, I probably still wouldn't cross a picket line.

Janelle Jolley  10:31  

Matisse  10:32  

Janelle Jolley  10:32  

Matisse  10:34  
There's some things, I guess they're deeply ingrained and that- you know, I'm a big proponent of public education, you know? I don't have kids. I want to help pay for other people's kids to get an education, right?

Janelle Jolley  10:48  

Matisse  10:49  
Over the past 30-something years, I have changed my position on firearms.

Janelle Jolley  10:59  
From what to what?

Matisse  11:00  
Allowing the general public to own firearms was unimportant, had no, had very little weight. And now, and over that time, and now, I no longer believe that. I think that it is not trivial and unimportant to allow the general public to own firearms.

Janelle Jolley  11:02  
Mm. Why? What-

Matisse  11:06  
It's a very complicated conversation.

Janelle Jolley  11:25  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  11:26  
But that- my opinion changed there.

Janelle Jolley  11:29  
What do you think was the- what was the impetus for change there?

Matisse  11:34  
Familiarity. So, my father was a Boy Scout.

Janelle Jolley  11:39  

Matisse  11:39  
He was an Eagle Scout, right? And he, I think...I think when I was born, I think he had a 22 rifle in the house. I remember him telling me how he had made it safe in a certain way by moving the bolt and stuff. But there was a point where he bought an air rifle. And I remember him showing me how to shoot an air rifle. And so he was not gun phobic, right? That was this background where I wasn't automatically gun phobic. But I saw it as part of a right wing culture. And I didn't see any other value to it. And I forget exactly how it happened, but there was a point where my friend Bill and I went to a shooting range in South San Francisco, and where you could rent firearms. And I remember learning like this, I was like, "You mean, I go and I give you my driver's license, and I'll be back in an hour?" "No, no, no, you have to shoot them here."

Janelle Jolley  12:36  

Matisse  12:36  
You know, "With our ammunition."

Janelle Jolley  12:37  
Yeah. "In our facility."

Matisse  12:41  
Yes. But Bill bought a pistol, I bought a rifle, and started going to a public shooting range in the East Bay Regional Parks, like Chabot, which was there- it got closed down. The gun grabbers closed it down a few years ago.

Janelle Jolley  12:56  

Matisse  12:56  
But it was purpose built as a public shooting range in the '60s. It was there for 50 years. Was therefore exposed to people who were shooting guns all the time. These are Northern California people who were shooting.

Janelle Jolley  13:08  

Matisse  13:08  
But they were still people who were shooting. And, you know, not everybody was a Klan member, right?

Janelle Jolley  13:16  
Sure. Sure, sure.

Matisse  13:17  
And on and on, and on. And now today I'm a member of the Liberal Gun Club, whose name I really dislike, because all these labels liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, I find them almost more harmful than useful. But I understand why the club is called that and blah, blah, blah. But any form of power-

Janelle Jolley  13:42  

Matisse  13:43  
Is self increasing, or tends to be self increasing. And since you have, I gather, you know, some kind of background in sciences and maths and things like that with software and stuff like that. If you imagine a membrane, like a sheet of rubber stretched, like on a drum head?

Janelle Jolley  14:04  

Matisse  14:05  
And you put a billiard ball in the middle of it. What happens, right? It sags down in a certain shape, right?

Janelle Jolley  14:11  

Matisse  14:12  
Well, if there's stuff lying around on that, that stuff will tend to roll into the saggy place.

Janelle Jolley  14:19  

Matisse  14:20  
Making that place heavier.

Janelle Jolley  14:21  

Matisse  14:22  
So it sags more.

Janelle Jolley  14:24  

Matisse  14:24  
And that process will continue until there is no more stuff to roll down, or the membrane breaks.

Janelle Jolley  14:30  
Ah! Mm-hm, mm-hm.

Matisse  14:30  
Right? And power has like a gravitational pull like that.

Janelle Jolley  14:36  

Matisse  14:36  
And in a capitalist system, where capital is privileged, is given privilege over labor, for example, right? Like, we tax labor at a higher rate than capital and so on.

Janelle Jolley  14:47  

Matisse  14:48  
If you have a chunk of capital, on average, you will accumulate more of it.

Janelle Jolley  14:55  

Matisse  14:55  
And you get to a point where it's no longer randomly distributed people accumulating capital, but you start having a few, fewer and fewer, bigger and bigger lumps of capital controlling and accumulating more and more.

Janelle Jolley  15:13  

Matisse  15:13  
And that's sort of inherent in any system that allows power to accrue to itself.

Janelle Jolley  15:20  

Matisse  15:20  
Right? Unless there's something that systemically is opposing tha, that's what will just naturally happen.

Janelle Jolley  15:28  
In your analysis does capital equal power? Or is power an abstract concept, separate from capital?

Matisse  15:35  
Well, there's all kinds of power. Power is the ability to make something happen.

Janelle Jolley  15:38  

Matisse  15:38  
Right? So, but capital certainly take- comes with a lot of potential energy, if you will, right? Right?

Janelle Jolley  15:51  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  15:52 won't help you do some things in and of itself. But doesn't help you understand something, for example, by itself.

Janelle Jolley  16:03  

Matisse  16:03  
It might enable you to pay somebody or to do something else, which would enable your understanding. But, it enables a lot of things.

Janelle Jolley  16:10  

Matisse  16:11  
Right? And I could see in the '80s that the gulf between people who have and people who have less and less and less and less, was tending to get greater.

Janelle Jolley  16:28  
In the '80s?

Matisse  16:29  
Yes. I remember very clearly having this conversation with my friend Nick in a hallway of that apartment in the abandoned building. And he wasn't necessarily disagreeing with me, he just didn't see it.

Janelle Jolley  16:46  
Sure. Why did you see that in the '80s? What were you seeing in the '80s that led you to that conclusion?

Matisse  16:50  
A general sense of experience and perspectives that I had of seeing power, mostly on a small scale, but sometimes on a large scale, and how it worked. That... it's gonna, this is gonna sound, like, trite, or condescending sounding. But it was sort of obvious that if you have power or strength or control over something, and the thing that gives you power is connected to that, in the absence of other forces, you will tend to get more of it.

Janelle Jolley  17:31  

Matisse  17:31  
If you acquire a certain amount of capital, and you have the countervailing force of being a compulsive gambler, you won't keep accumulating capital.

Janelle Jolley  17:40  

Matisse  17:40  

Janelle Jolley  17:40  
Because you're gonna shit it away.

Matisse  17:42  
That could balance it out, right?

Janelle Jolley  17:43  

Matisse  17:44  
Or if you have a strong countervailing force of philanthropy, and every time you get another $1,000, you give it away, that would counter balance. But most of us don't have that.

Janelle Jolley  17:54  
Sure. Sure, sure, sure.

Matisse  17:55  
And the structures of our society, of our economic system, are set up in... to tend in this direction.

Janelle Jolley  18:04  
How would you describe the degree or magnitude of economic inequality in 2016 versus 1980? Like, orders of magnitude different? Or, basically about the same?

Matisse  18:19  
Jobs at the low end of the pay scale were paying a smaller fraction of the cost of living in 2016 than they were paying in 1980. Right?

Janelle Jolley  18:32  
Ah-ha, okay, that's one way to measure. Mm-hm.

Matisse  18:34  
One of- a common metric that I use in my head for things, how much does that thing cost? Is what multiple of minimum wage-

Janelle Jolley  18:43  
Is that?

Matisse  18:43  
Is that thing?

Janelle Jolley  18:44  
That's right, that's right.  

Matisse  18:45  
You know? Or, you know, if you're talking about something that was a long time ago, when there was no minimum wage, you know, for an hour of unskilled labor, you know, how many hours did you need to do to get one of those things? Right? Or that service, or whatever. So that got- that ratio got worse. Right? The...I remember in 19... when would this have been? When was the first Gulf War?

Janelle Jolley  19:12  

Matisse  19:12  

Janelle Jolley  19:13  

Matisse  19:14  
So it was around that time, I was living a few blocks from here in house I rented with two other people. And I was a licensed general contractor. There was a recession on and I was living on credit cards. And I was talking to my mother who was living in New York at the time, and I was saying, you know, how old am I? I was, like, 29, or something, or 28 or 29. And, like, "I don't know how I'm supposed to make this work," kind of thing. You know, my father and his brothers were all like, married with kids and careers, you know, when they were my age. And she said, "Well, you know, Matisse, it was a different time. They had a lot of that handed to them." And, you know, it's true.

Janelle Jolley  20:06  

Matisse  20:07  
Right? And by the time I know, when I was a teenager, New York City went broke.

Janelle Jolley  20:14  
Mm-hm. Bankrupt.

Matisse  20:14  
Right? That famous Ford to City: Drop Dead.

Janelle Jolley  20:17  

Matisse  20:17  
Right? By the time I was...watching Bernie run for president in 2016, the fraction of people who had health care in this country had gone down. And I- it's in my head, I might have this wrong, but I think we had actually started to see life expectancies go down by then.

Janelle Jolley  20:36  
We absolutely did.

Matisse  20:38  
Around that time.

Janelle Jolley  20:39  

Matisse  20:40  
Right? So yeah, a lot of ways to measure it, but things were worse.

Janelle Jolley  20:43  
Okay. And-

Matisse  20:44  
And I saw it, you know, not getting better. And I saw a moment where it looked like a lot of people were willing to put some energy into changing that.

Janelle Jolley  20:59  
And you wanted to be a part of that?

Matisse  21:02  
Yes. And I felt I had the opportunity to do that.

Janelle Jolley  21:07  
Did you- had you felt that in past election cycles with other candidates? Like, were there other-

Matisse  21:14  

Janelle Jolley  21:14  
No? Really? Never? Not once? Not with Edwards, not with Clinton?

Matisse  21:18  

Janelle Jolley  21:18  
Not with Gore?

Matisse  21:20  
Clinton...I don't think I had as many illusions about him, perhaps, as other lefty type people might have. Same with Obama. I remember when Obama was running-

Janelle Jolley  21:35  
Completely forgot about him.  

Matisse  21:35  
Running the first time and he had the nomination, but he was in the general election. And I was at a shooting range in the East Bay, and I was talking to my fellow shooters, and they were like, you know, "Obama's gonna take our guns." And I'm like-

Janelle Jolley  21:49  
"No, he's not, dude."

Matisse  21:50  
"Dude, no. This guy is a moderate."

Janelle Jolley  21:53  
Yeah, that's right.

Matisse  21:54  
The problem I was concerned about is...has huge structural components. Therefore, it requires structural change.

Janelle Jolley  22:04  
Sure, sure. Sure.

Matisse  22:05  

Janelle Jolley  22:06  
But so you weren't even, not even for a second, were you even- you weren't even, like... Hillary didn't tickle your fancy at all in 2016?

Matisse  22:14  
No, I certainly wanted her over almost any of the Republican candidates who were-  there were, like, 16 or 17? You know.  

Janelle Jolley  22:22  
It was a clown car.

Matisse  22:22  
Right. So this may be, come back to this conversation we had in Doreen's yard.

Janelle Jolley  22:30  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  22:30  
So you know, if you' France in 1941 and you're a lefty, do you like Charles de Gaulle? The answer is no.

Janelle Jolley  22:44  

Matisse  22:44  
You do not like Charles de Gaulle, right? He does not like you either.

Janelle Jolley  22:48  
Right, correct.

Matisse  22:48  

Janelle Jolley  22:49  

Matisse  22:49  
Do you like Marshall Petain?

Janelle Jolley  22:51  

Matisse  22:51  
Do you know who Marshall Petain was? He's the guy that Nazis put in charge. He was a World War I hero general.

Janelle Jolley  22:58  

Matisse  22:58  
And he ran the Vichy government.

Janelle Jolley  23:00  

Matisse  23:00  
Right? Right? So his posters, "Strength, fraternity and order," or something, "Father, land and order," were all over the place, right? You don't de Gaulle, he doesn't like you. You don't like Petain, he wants to put you in a concentration camp.

Janelle Jolley  23:14  

Matisse  23:14  
So, you know, what do you do?

Janelle Jolley  23:16  

Matisse  23:16  
Hillary was like de Gaulle.

Janelle Jolley  23:18  
Sure. Sure. Sure. Yeah. Uh-huh. And it's just like, "Fine, because these are my options right now."

Matisse  23:25  

Janelle Jolley  23:26  

Matisse  23:26  
You know, I do not see voting as primarily a form of artistic self expression. I see it primarily as a way in which individuals participate in a democratic election. That's it. Because the other ways all get into like influencing other people to vote or not vote, right? You don't do voter suppression as an act of artistic self expression. Maybe somebody does. But that's not the reason why people are willing to put a lot of money and effort into suppressing the vote, right? It's because they want to influence the outcome of the election.

Janelle Jolley  24:06  
But I'm saying, yes, you made the case while you're canvassing during the primary. But the primary ended, you know, the bullshit of the Democratic Party was on full display. Hillary got the nomination. In the lead up to the general, were you honestly nervous about her losing to Trump?

Matisse  24:23  

Janelle Jolley  24:24  
Oh, okay. You didn't take it as a given that she would absolutely-

Matisse  24:28  

Janelle Jolley  24:28  

Matisse  24:28  
I didn't take it as a given that he would win, but I was afraid both ways.

Janelle Jolley  24:33  
Ah! Why? What did you see or understand that made you afr-

Matisse  24:38  
Well, I understood why a lot of...Trump voters were either voting against Hillary or voting for Trump, but I did not see her meeting the moment.

Janelle Jolley  24:52  
Hm! Because?

Matisse  24:53  
There's a significant portion, and I don't mean a majority, but a significant in that it would tip the election-

Janelle Jolley  24:59  

Matisse  25:00  
Portion of folks who voted for Trump in 2016, who voted for obama twice.

Janelle Jolley  25:07  
Yeah, that's right.

Matisse  25:08  

Janelle Jolley  25:08  
Over 200 counties.

Matisse  25:09  

Janelle Jolley  25:09  

Matisse  25:11  
She wasn't effectively reaching out to the white voters who were afraid of losing their position, right? But weren't threatened by her being black, because she wasn't, right? And who had actually been willing to give Obama a chance because it was a black guy who didn't seem like Malcolm X, right? So they were-

Janelle Jolley  25:36  
So she, so-

Matisse  25:37  
She didn't address them. And she didn't address the very real economic degradation-

Janelle Jolley  25:43  

Matisse  25:44  
That had taken place-

Janelle Jolley  25:45  
In these communities.  

Matisse  25:46  
Roughly since the '70s.

Janelle Jolley  25:47  

Matisse  25:47  
Right? That whole economic inequality thing we were talking abouta, there's structural aspects of that, right?

Janelle Jolley  25:53  

Matisse  25:54  
You know, if she wasn't going to say free college education, which, you know, not free, taxpayer funded college education, everywhere that we have taxpayer funded high school, you know? If she wasn't willing to say that, okay, but can she address why that is good, right and necessary and what it does for your kids?

Janelle Jolley  26:13  

Matisse  26:14  
And I did not feel that she did that well enough.

Janelle Jolley  26:16  
She didn't do it at all!

Matisse  26:17  
I think you could find-

Janelle Jolley  26:18  
She started deriding people! Like, "Oh, they want ponies... like, they want all these things." She made it sound fantastical and like it had no bearing in reality, as if there was no capacity to do that here or anywhere else on earth. And then you look up-

Matisse  26:33  
She peed on your dreams.

Janelle Jolley  26:35  
Yeah, she- yeah, she pissed on you and told you it was raining! Fuck that lady.

Matisse  26:39  
She was not inspiring in that way.

Janelle Jolley  26:41  

Matisse  26:41  
Now she would probably say, "Well, I'm just being realistic."

Janelle Jolley  26:45  
No, but then that-

Matisse  26:46  
And I think that that's...that is a false choice.

Janelle Jolley  26:51  
That's not only- that's not only a false choice, but presenting- presenting being realistic, or realism, as some some neutral entity is also, like, not-

Matisse  27:04  
Yeah, I don't think at first...I would start by saying, number one, I don't think that's just being realistic.

Janelle Jolley  27:11  

Matisse  27:11  
Saying that it is not- you're just saying that it's realistic, because you don't think there's the political will to do it.

Janelle Jolley  27:16  
No, no, no, you're saying it's not realistic because you don't want to do it.

Matisse  27:20  
Not because there's not enough money.

Janelle Jolley  27:20  
And you don't think it's worthy of being done.

Matisse  27:22  
Well, I don't know...what- I don't know that I agree with you on that. I don't know neces- I don't know that Hillary Clinton doesn't want everybody who can go to college to go to college.

Janelle Jolley  27:33  
I abso- she absolutely doesn't. What do you- what about her makes you think that she, she's-

Matisse  27:37  
I haven't seen her express something that, to me, reads that way. So I'm not arguing that I can prove you wrong.

Janelle Jolley  27:45  

Matisse  27:45  
I'm arguing that I haven't seen it prove you right.  

Janelle Jolley  27:48  
You're not sure. Okay. Okay. That's fair.  

Matisse  27:50  
So I'm open to you, to you showing me.

Janelle Jolley  27:52  
I'm inferring that that is not what she believes because during the primary campaign, from what I remember, and I wasn't as keyed into the 2016 primary as I was the 2020 primary, but you saw this groundswell of support from young people for Sanders in favor of free college tuition, and she didn't even partially give that lip service. So I'm saying, I'm inferring from her opposition to him and his platform that, no, she doesn't think that people should have the right to tax funder-

Matisse  28:27  
I don't think you can legitimately draw that inference.

Janelle Jolley  28:30  
Okay. Tell me why.

Matisse  28:31  
I'm not saying that it's, we can prove that it's not true, but I think I can make a case where she's coming from a place of saying, "Well, look, we don't have the votes. We're not going to get that. And so to argue for it in the campaign, is to alienate the people who don't want to fund that. And I think we need those people's votes in order to win." Now, I can't prove that that was her line of thinking, but I don't think you can prove that her line of thinking was that we don't want people to get a taxpayer funded education.

Janelle Jolley  29:13  
Okay. I see what you're saying. I don't like it, but I see what you're saying. Okay. That's fair. That's fair.

Matisse  29:21  
I will say that I think- I will offer that my view is a more interesting one.

Janelle Jolley  29:28  
Huh! Okay.

Matisse  29:29  
Let's say that she was right, just as a thought experiment.

Janelle Jolley  29:32  
Right about what?

Matisse  29:33  
That there was insufficient votes to support taxpayer funded college tuition.

Janelle Jolley  29:41  

Matisse  29:42  
All right. Let's say, you know, you know that you're in the minority for the thing that you want to do.

Janelle Jolley  29:48  

Matisse  29:48  
So what then do you do, politically in the small p political sense of, "We're trying to negotiate resources," right? So do you, as Bernie would do and did, say this is a moral imperative. This is- you make a rhetorical, emotional argument for why it is a good thing, and that we should try to do it. And even if people oppose us, we should try to convince them that it is the right thing.

Janelle Jolley  30:23  

Matisse  30:23  
Or do you not take up as much time with that exhortation, and instead pick something else that you think is closer to immediate possibility?

Janelle Jolley  30:37  
Well, I think that goes back to your original thesis of her not meeting the moment because if you take it as a given that, using the example of taxpayer funded college. If you take that example and say, "We don't have the votes right now. We don't," and they didn't. That's fine. But to accept that as static forever and to eliminate the possibility of building political power for that in service of something that's maybe a little bit more expeditious, but not- doesn't have the same, you know, overwhelming redistributive impact, I think is a part of her not meeting that moment, because-

Matisse  31:23  
I agree. I think that is a very good way of saying one way in which I think she did not meet the moment. Yes.

Janelle Jolley  31:29  
Sure, sure. Okay. Because- and, I mean, this isn't the same, because this is not-

Matisse  31:34  
What the moment wanted, in my, our, opinion-

Janelle Jolley  31:37  

Matisse  31:37  
Was somebody who would make an emotional connection with people around the issue-

Janelle Jolley  31:44  
Around a bold agenda.

Matisse  31:46  
Of what is right. And Donald Trump did do that.

Janelle Jolley  31:48  
Yeah, I- you know I know that .

Matisse  31:50  
He made an emotional connection with people around a bold agenda.

Janelle Jolley  31:53  
That's right.

Matisse  31:53  

Janelle Jolley  31:54  
He didn't mean it.

Matisse  31:54  
It was a fucked up agenda.

Janelle Jolley  31:55  
That's right.

Matisse  31:56  
Right? But there it is.

Janelle Jolley  31:58  
Right. That's right.

Matisse  31:59  
In California, there's a 1% wealth tax on real estate. Right? Every year, all real estate is taxed at 1% of what it last sold for, right? And that's a whole other...there's no reassessment and blah, blah, blah, right? But what if there was a 1% tax on all assets? Or all liquid assets? Or, you know, or some category of financial instruments? Would I be paying more than I'm paying now? Yes. I'd be fine with that. Right? Now, would I be out there with everybody else arguing over how efficiently or corruptly the money was being spent? You bet your ass I would.

Janelle Jolley  32:38  

Matisse  32:38  
Right? But that's an argument that we're having together.

Janelle Jolley  32:42  

Matisse  32:42  
If you will.

Janelle Jolley  32:42  
Yeah. Out in the open.

Matisse  32:44  
You know, if we're all trying to push the bus up the hill, I don't mind participating.

Janelle Jolley  32:50  

Matisse  32:51  
If it's just me trying to push the bus up the hill,  I'm not as, you know, I'm not as interested in it.

Janelle Jolley  32:57  
Well, what would you say to someone who, you know, got to know you? You know, see how you livin', you good. Like, you don' you really mean it? Like, do you really want- do you really want things to be better for other people? Like, why do you feel- like, why not just- why not just decide to take your ball and run off and-

Matisse  33:14  
It doesn't feel good.

Janelle Jolley  33:15  
What do you mean?

Matisse  33:16  
Cuz I live with all these other people.

Janelle Jolley  33:18  

Matisse  33:18  
Right? Davey, this homeless guy who hangs out in this block all the time, you know, I see him all the time. And I help him out a little bit, and I think about what, you know, would it take to really help him? And it's, like, beyond anything I can easily think of because he's not completely mentally there, right? And that requires all of us to do it.

Janelle Jolley  33:41  
Yeah. Collective.

Matisse  33:41  
And just, you know, euthanizing him or something is not something I'm, you know, I believe is good.

Janelle Jolley  33:48  

Matisse  33:49  
So, yeah, the reason I'm in favor of-

Janelle Jolley  33:52  
Structural change.

Matisse  33:54  
I'm a tax and spend, whatever the hell I am-

Janelle Jolley  33:57  

Matisse  33:57  
Is because I think it's good for all of us. And, believe me, we can get- you know, I can tell you how badly I think government does at this, that, and the other thing. One of the great mechanisms of this degradation that we've had in the last 40 years or so, has been this very conscious effort, very effective, as casting government as the enemy.

Janelle Jolley  34:24  

Matisse  34:25  
In ways in which it shouldn't be.

Janelle Jolley  34:26  

Matisse  34:27  
But I don't believe that. I sued the CIA once, right? So-

Janelle Jolley  34:31  
What are you saying, Matisse? What do you mean you sued the CIA?

Matisse  34:32  
When I was in high school, I got social studies credit for my lawsuit against the CIA.

Janelle Jolley  34:40  
What was the substance of your lawsuit?

Matisse  34:43  
Freedom of Information Act.

Janelle Jolley  34:44  

Matisse  34:44  
The agency exceeded the time period allowed and did not provide a statutory, legally acceptable reason for their refusal to release information.

Janelle Jolley  34:56  
What were you trying to get released?

Matisse  34:58  
I asked for information that they had on WBAI and the Pacifica Foundation.

Janelle Jolley  35:02  
Ah! Cuz they were-

Matisse  35:04  
They had done domestic spying, which was against the law.

Janelle Jolley  35:06  

Matisse  35:06  

Janelle Jolley  35:07  
At that time.

Matisse  35:08  
And the COINTELPRO, or MK-Ultra. COINTELPRO was the FBI, MK-Ultra was the CIA. And, anyway, I ended up- there's a side story here, you can edit it into something else or in the right place, but- so during the lawsuit, so I was 14, right? There's a point where there's a pre trial conference in the judge's chambers, right? This is in the Southern District of New York. And I show up and the Assistant United States District Attorney for the Southern District who's, you know, probably the youngest, lowest tadpole in the USDA's office at that time, is sent to go to this pretrial. And the judge's office, which is, you know, a six by 10 room filled with papers and stuff. I think it was Judge Robert W. Sweet, if I remember correctly. And the US Attorney sees that I'm a 14 year old kid, and he was pretty young, he was in his 20s. And he starts disparaging me in front of the judge, and not taking it seriously. Now, I don't know how much you've been involved with the American judicial legal system-

Janelle Jolley  36:23  
Not much at all.

Matisse  36:23  
But, like, when you get arrested at the local police station and you go to the county court, that's one thing. But the federal court is a different thing. And I could see at that moment that I had won the case.

Janelle Jolley  36:37  

Matisse  36:37  
All I had to do was keep my fucking mouth shut.

Janelle Jolley  36:41  
Because this guy's making an ass out of himself.

Matisse  36:42  
Right. He had disrespected the process.

Janelle Jolley  36:45  
Oh, I see.

Matisse  36:46  
And the judge, right? The judge did not care that I was a 14 year old kid.

Janelle Jolley  36:51  

Matisse  36:51  
Right? Probably, you know, a bright kid because he did this lawsuit and you could see he typed it himself.

Janelle Jolley  36:56  

Matisse  36:56  
Right? And, in those days, you had to make the little box around the title thing by putting x's and equal signs in the right spot. Anyway. But, you know, they set the trial date. And then the trial comes around, and I go into the court, and we're waiting while the case head of ours is being heard. And there's no talking in the courtroom, right? If you go to traffic court or whatever, you know, it's not like that. This is like the floors are clean.

Janelle Jolley  37:32  

Matisse  37:32  
Right? The windows are clean, and there is no talking in the crowd. And you can tell that the judge is reading a paperback book while the lawyer is making his arguments.  

Janelle Jolley  37:45  
Oh, like he's not even paying attention.

Matisse  37:47  
And the lawyer lets something change in his tone of voice. Because he's annoyed. And the judge is unhappy!

Janelle Jolley  37:55  
On his ass. Yeah.

Matisse  37:56  
"You ever do that again, in my courtroom!" He was paying attention to every word.

Janelle Jolley  38:04  
Wow, wow, wow.

Matisse  38:07  
While this is going on, there's the guy next to me who's like the assistant DA for my case, elbows me and points to somebody else, and points to the door. So we go outside into the hallway. And he says, you know, "Mr. Enzer this is Mr. Jones from the CIA. He came up on the train from Washington this morning." And, yeah, and I'm thinking, "Oh, man," you know, like, "The taxpayers pay to send this guy to New York, from Washington." Like, "I'm in this courtroom, this is serious." And they said, you know, "What do you want?" I said, "Well, I want more information."

Janelle Jolley  38:54  

Matisse  38:54  
Right? You know, I'm not, you know, just what I said in the lawsuit, I want more information. And they had already released some more information during a process called discovery.

Janelle Jolley  39:05  

Matisse  39:06  
And they had released something they weren't supposed to release during that process. But, anyway. And they said, "Well, look, if we give you more information, will you drop the suit?" I said, "Well, how do I know that you're going to do this?" And he said, "Look, you've seen this place. If we tell the judge that we have a deal, we have to do it."

Janelle Jolley  39:25  
Abide by it.

Matisse  39:25  
And I believed them because of that context.

Janelle Jolley  39:28  

Matisse  39:29  
And that is, in fact, what happened. We went back in, they said we reached an agreement, and they did, in fact, release more information. But what I would tell my 14 year old self now if I could be there is, politely decline their offer and insist on- there was this thing that I knew that I could ask for, which is where the judge looks at the disputed material, and they decide. The Freedom of Information Act provides what's called in camera review, where the judge looks at the stuff and decides whether or not the agency is properly witholding it or not, right? And I should have asked for that. But I was too overwhelmed as a 14 year old kid by this whole thing, and I didn't do that.

Janelle Jolley  40:15  
Sure. Interesting. You sued the CIA. That was certainly not on my bingo card when I came over here today.

Matisse  40:22  
Anyway, so I know that the government isn't always right.

Janelle Jolley  40:25  
No, of course- c'mon.  

Matisse  40:26  
And isn't always the best way to run things, etc, etc., right? The way the fucking vaccination rollout is happening in San Francisco.

Janelle Jolley  40:26  
Yeah, that's right.

Matisse  40:32  
Right? Has been less than stellar.

Janelle Jolley  40:35  
Yeah, that's right. That's right.  

Matisse  40:36  

Janelle Jolley  40:36  
They're not my enemy.

Matisse  40:37  
We should raise taxes.

Janelle Jolley  40:39  

Matisse  40:39  
And spend more money on social programs.

Janelle Jolley  40:41  
That's right.

Matisse  40:41  
That's my policy.

Janelle Jolley  40:43  

Matisse  40:43  

Janelle Jolley  40:44  
But let's say so, in light of that, light of that, nodding to the name of this podcast, what's left to do? Like, what are- for people who are at a place where they have...for people who have arrived-

Matisse  41:05  
Well right- so right now, very immediately, I'd say 2022.

Janelle Jolley  41:12  

Matisse  41:12  
Right? The entire house of representatives is up for reelection.

Janelle Jolley  41:15  

Matisse  41:15  
Right? Every two years.

Janelle Jolley  41:16  

Matisse  41:17  
And a third of the Senate.

Janelle Jolley  41:18  

Matisse  41:19 right now making sure that the fascists don't take power, is an immediate concern. And the somewhat larger context I would put that in is that I think it's going to take another 10 or 15 years for demographic shifts in the country to let us reach some kind of new equilibrium.

Janelle Jolley  41:50  
I call bullshit.

Matisse  41:52  
You think that it-

Janelle Jolley  41:53  
I don't think demographics are destiny.

Matisse  41:54  

Janelle Jolley  41:56  
Demographics are not destiny.

Matisse  41:58  
That- are not going to help?

Janelle Jolley  41:59  

Matisse  42:00  
Okay, I'm open to hearing that.

Janelle Jolley  42:04  
Sure, sure, sure. So-

Matisse  42:04  
I think that the people who were first able to vote in the last two, in the last five years, right? And the people coming after them, are generally less authoritarian than the people before them.

Janelle Jolley  42:25  

Matisse  42:26  
And there are more of them. And they are participating in voting at a higher rate. Not high enough for Sanders to have won in 2020, but higher, right? And...but I'm open to you- I'm predictin, so I can't prove that what I'm saying is true. Why do you think that that's not gonna happen?

Janelle Jolley  42:47  
Demographics aren't destiny because ascriptive identities that are...are kind of encircled and fetishized by liberals don't really tell us much in the way of-

Matisse  43:01  
When I say demographics, I don't mean...brown people will be a bigger percentage of the population, and therefore we win. That's not what I mean.

Janelle Jolley  43:10  
What do you mean?

Matisse  43:10  
I mean that...cultural demographics, people who see universal health care as something that a reasonable society should provide.

Janelle Jolley  43:23  
That's right now,

Matisse  43:24  
Right. There isn't enough of them who are willing to vote on that right now. But that is increasing.

Janelle Jolley  43:28  
75% of people in the country. I'm talking, not across- not all ?

Matisse  43:34  
75% of the people say, "Do you think we should have universal health care?" Yes.

Janelle Jolley  43:37  

Matisse  43:38  
If you say, do 75% of the people say, "I'm willing to change- to give up my current health insurance and change it for that?" It's different. Right? Do 75% of the people say, "I'm going to vote for this person for congress if they push that?" No. In some districts, they might.

Janelle Jolley  43:58  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  43:59  
Right? Eight years ago in no districts-

Janelle Jolley  44:02  

Matisse  44:02  
Would they have.

Janelle Jolley  44:03  

Matisse  44:03  
Right? So I- maybe we're just disagreeing to a matter of degree, but I don't think that the 2022 House of Representatives election is going to see a majority elected to the House who are going to pass a universal health care bill, right? I do think that-

Janelle Jolley  44:21  
Those were the gains this time. More people-

Matisse  44:24  
Do you think there's a majority in the House today who will-

Janelle Jolley  44:26  
No, no no. No, no, no. There is not a majority in the House today. No, no. You're exactly correct.  

Matisse  44:30  
What I'm saying, 10 or 15- within 15 years, there will be.

Janelle Jolley  44:33  
You think so?

Matisse  44:33  

Janelle Jolley  44:34  
You think the forces of capital on the side of big pharma, health insurance, are gonna- they're gonna loosen their group?

Matisse  44:39  
Are any other- are there capitalist countries in the world besides the United States?

Janelle Jolley  44:44  

Matisse  44:45  
Name three.

Janelle Jolley  44:48  
France, Great Britain, Taiwan.

Matisse  44:53  
Do any of them have universal health care?

Janelle Jolley  44:57  
All of them.

Matisse  44:58  
Somehow it seems compatible with capitalism to have universal health care. In fact, the United States is the only major capitalist that doesn't have it. So I don't think that holding up the forces of capital as a reason why we won't have universal health care is a sufficient argument. It is in the interests of a lot of capitalists to have universal health care. The reasons we don't have universal health care isn't because it is automatically not in the interest of cap- Nixon tried to pass it.

Janelle Jolley  45:28  
Yeah. And he got beat down. Hillary got beat down in the '90s with CHIP. I mean, come- I mean, you know, Dean when- before he lost his mind, like, he was a universal healthcare-

Matisse  45:38  
There's a reason why Amazon and Walmart are looking at trying to maybe start some kind of health care system. Right? They're not, like, necessarily the friend of every worker, right?

Janelle Jolley  45:50  

Matisse  45:50  
But the- how...whether we have universal health care or not, I am predicting, and I could- I definitely could be wrong, but what I believe is likely to happen is that the forces of capital are actually going to realign around that, and some other things, as being a more, a reasonable baseline to have. And that the culture war arguments for why we don't have it are less important to them.

Janelle Jolley  46:21  
I don't think that- I don't think that this is a function of culture war, I think this is a function of their ability to voraciously accrue capital. I don't think culture has anything to do with it. This is all financial.

Matisse  46:34  
You think much less money do they make if- so, right now, about 1/6 of all the money spent in the United States is spent on health care, right?

Janelle Jolley  46:43  
Yeah. Trillion dollar industry.

Matisse  46:45  
Right., there's two things here, and I'm conflating them, and I wish I wasn't, but I'm going to. So, there's universal coverage.

Janelle Jolley  46:54  

Matisse  46:55  
And there's how much we pay for it.

Janelle Jolley  46:56  

Matisse  46:57  
We would like to spend more like 10% instead of 17%.

Janelle Jolley  47:00  

Matisse  47:01  
Right? Maybe even less than that, but let's just say 10%. If we did that, someone is not going to get the seven cents.

Janelle Jolley  47:08  

Matisse  47:09  
Right? Those people are, have a pretty strong interest to argue for keep doing it the way it is right now, right?  

Janelle Jolley  47:15  
Yeah, absolutely.

Matisse  47:17  
However, everybody else-

Janelle Jolley  47:20  

Matisse  47:20  
Right? Have a reason to argue to redistribute that 7%.

Janelle Jolley  47:25  

Matisse  47:25  
The biggest forces of capital in this country are not that 7%. There's an overlap there-

Janelle Jolley  47:33  

Matisse  47:34  
But those are- the insurance company- a short way of putting this is everybody fucking hates the insurance companies except the insurance companies.

Janelle Jolley  47:40  
Yes, of course!

Matisse  47:41  
And so all the other big companies, all the other big sources of capital-

Janelle Jolley  47:45  

Matisse  47:45  
Would be okay with taking them apart and eating them.

Janelle Jolley  47:48  
In theory, but if people were empowered, or had a political or electoral system that delivered on that-

Matisse  47:55  
It might ask for other things that they don't want.

Janelle Jolley  47:56  
Yeah, that's right, then the gun is turned on them.

Matisse  47:58  
So your argument is, they don't want to give the peasants health care, because if they ask for health care they're going to ask for-

Janelle Jolley  48:03  
That's one of the arguments.

Matisse  48:05  
For all the other things.

Janelle Jolley  48:06  
That's one of the arguments, but-

Matisse  48:08  
I think that there has been more force behind that in the past, but there is less now.

Janelle Jolley  48:15  
Matisse, square that circle for me because we're in a pandemic and in the former president elect, now President, still is- said he would veto Medicare for All if it came across his desk. So tell me how you're squaring that with the knowledge that they are-

Matisse  48:30  
That fits into the culture war thing, I think. The art- when I talk to people who are more Republicany right wing-

Janelle Jolley  48:35  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  48:36  
About Medicare for All, and things like that, the arguments I get from them- it's not that it'll cost too much, it's that...people who don't deserve it-

Janelle Jolley  48:46  

Matisse  48:47  
Will be getting some of my money.

Janelle Jolley  48:49  

Matisse  48:50  

Janelle Jolley  48:52  

Matisse  48:52  
And that their-  they don't trust government to be the arbiter of who deserves to get this.

Janelle Jolley  49:01  

Matisse  49:01  
And that government will redistribute their money. They agree that getting health care is good.

Janelle Jolley  49:06  

Matisse  49:06  
And their girlfriend got laid off from her job and went, had to go through Covered California and doesn't like what was available because of that-

Janelle Jolley  49:17  

Matisse  49:17  
But is glad that they could get it.

Janelle Jolley  49:19  

Matisse  49:19  
Right? And that's all fucked up.

Janelle Jolley  49:21  

Matisse  49:21  
Right? But they remain concerned that having the government run it will result in people who worked hard and deserve something, losing something so that someone who didn't work hard gets it instead of them. Right?

Janelle Jolley  49:39  
But that's a, but-

Matisse  49:40  
And that's a cultural argu- I'm calling that a cultural argument. And that-

Janelle Jolley  49:45  
But who seeds that? We can call it a cultural argument, but who seeds that?

Matisse  49:49  
That's what i'm saying is changing, is that that cultural argument doesn't have the currency that it did. And I am arguing that over the next 5, 10, 15 years will have even less, and that the people who were seeding it- you even have the Koch brothers saying they fucking made a mistake in writing. Right?

Janelle Jolley  50:09  
I missed that.

Matisse  50:10  
I'm not saying that they suddenly became, you know, Mother Teresa.

Janelle Jolley  50:13  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  50:13  
Right? But this wasn't what they wanted.

Janelle Jolley  50:16  
Sure, sure, sure.

Matisse  50:17  
Right? And so, in that issue, and there's other issues where I think I might agree with you more, by the way, but but this issue of universal health care, I think that the system is willing, over time, and by that I'm saying over the next 15 years, to realign itself so that it, you know, we're the same as Switzerland. So that we have the vast economic equality that Great Britain has. Maybe not so much. Right, right? But they do have the National Health Service. So if you want to do something effective in politics, you have have to address what is true.

Janelle Jolley  50:58  

Matisse  50:58  
As well as what is possible.

Janelle Jolley  51:03  

Matisse  51:03  
If you do only what is true and you never talk about what is possible, that's bad, because you just stick with the way things- you never change.

Janelle Jolley  51:09  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  51:10  
Right? And if you talk only about what is possible, but don't confront what is true, you also won't change because you can't make it happen. You need some reality to actually move anything. Again, we're spending 17 cents of every dollar in this country on healthcare. Right? It's plausible that we could get that down to 10. Maybe somebody could argue that we could get it down to eight, or something, right? But assume that we're equally smart to all the other rich countries in the world, get it down to maybe 10.

Janelle Jolley  51:38  

Matisse  51:38  
Or something like that, right? You know, Switzerland has private insurance, but it's- they have universal coverage because of how they manage it. There's- Medicare for All is one way of getting universal coverage.

Janelle Jolley  51:48  

Matisse  51:49  
It doesn't, by itself, reduce that 17%.

Janelle Jolley  51:52  

Matisse  51:53  
Right? There's a whole other bunch of factors in that.

Janelle Jolley  51:55  

Matisse  51:57  
The entire economy is dragged by that, let's say the 7% that we're arguing about, right? So the big companies and the big concentrations of power, right? This is what I said earlier, most of them are not getting that 7%. The insurance companies and stuff are getting that.

Janelle Jolley  52:16  

Matisse  52:16  
But most of them don't give a fuck about the insurance companies. Their bottom line would go up. Their ability to attract and retain workers, and their hassle and all that other stuff, would be better if there was lower cost health care available to everybody.

Janelle Jolley  52:32  

Matisse  52:33  
One of the big arguments for Medicare for All is that, yes, your taxes will go up, but...

Janelle Jolley  52:41  
Net, you're spending less.

Matisse  52:43  
But the money that your employer is contributing on your behalf, they will give to you instead. Which is like-

Janelle Jolley  52:48  
Yeah, maybe.

Matisse  52:49  

Janelle Jolley  52:50  

Matisse  52:50  
Right? But, I mean, you could mandate it, there's things, but that's the argument, right? And mathematically it's correct. It's the same pot of money, right?

Janelle Jolley  53:01  

Matisse  53:02  
And then we argue about, well, how do we get it from 17 cents down to 10 cents? And that's where we say, well, we put the insurance companies out of business. Right? And the, under one version of it, you basically can't have private insurance anymore.

Janelle Jolley  53:18  
Right. Right.

Matisse  53:18  
Right? I have Kaiser, right? What happens to me and Kaiser under Medicare for All? I'm honestly not sure.

Janelle Jolley  53:25  

Matisse  53:26  
Right? Because Kaiser is both the insurer-

Janelle Jolley  53:28  

Matisse  53:28  
And the health care provider.

Janelle Jolley  53:29  

Matisse  53:30  
Right? I don't know. I'd still vote for it.

Janelle Jolley  53:34  

Matisse  53:34  
That...most big companies, I think, are ready to see that happen.

Janelle Jolley  53:40  
I hope you're right. Do you think is likely that Dems will defend their gains in the House and the Senate in 2022?

Matisse  53:47  
Yes. Do I-

Janelle Jolley  53:49  
What would it take for them to defend and/or pick up seats?

Matisse  53:53  
I don't know right now. My answers are more general than I wish they were. I might ask you our opinion. But an acquaintance of mine makes an argument for a shift to a more populist, leftist populism, is what would be necessary.

Janelle Jolley  54:14  
Okay, my man, how did we meet? And that got utterly destroyed! So I'm saying, how likely is that, given that Nancy goddamn Pelosi is still like, you know, the third most powerful Democrat in the country?

Matisse  54:27  
I don't think she'll be the speaker after the 2022 election.

Janelle Jolley  54:30  
Then how's it gonna get mopped in 2022?

Matisse  54:33  
Even if the dems win, I don't think she's gonna be the speaker. I think she's done.

Janelle Jolley  54:38  
You think so?

Matisse  54:38  
Part of the problem there is, who is going to replace her?

Janelle Jolley  54:43  
Any- dog, you! You! You could be a speaker of the House! I would be much happier with you as speaker of the House.

Matisse  54:49  
Being a speaker of the House means you got to have the support of the majority of the votes in the House.

Janelle Jolley  54:55  
Yeah, and- I didn't literally mean you.

Matisse  54:55  
And they're not gonna vote for me.

Janelle Jolley  54:55  
No, they would not vote for you.

Matisse  55:01  
You're saying, if I magically got installed by-

Janelle Jolley  55:02  
No, I'm saying I cannot stand her so much that I think a dog catcher could do a better job at being speaker than she.

Matisse  55:09  

Janelle Jolley  55:09  
That's because I hate her, but go ahead.

Matisse  55:10  
Alright, but that, as they say, that is as may be.

Janelle Jolley  55:14  
That's right.

Matisse  55:15  
But the question of how to prevent Josh Hawley from becoming the speaker of the House.

Janelle Jolley  55:21  
He's a sentatoe.

Matisse  55:22  
Oh, he's the Senate. Sorry. McCarthy.

Janelle Jolley  55:24  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  55:25  
How to prevent Kevin McCarthy from being the speaker of the House is a more worthy discussion.

Janelle Jolley  55:31  
Sure. Sure.

Matisse  55:33  
I think that there are strong fascist tendencies in the country. And this is not the first time, you know, we saw, before World War II, we saw openly fascist supporting organizations in the US.

Janelle Jolley  55:49  

Matisse  55:49  
It's not a new thing.

Janelle Jolley  55:51  
What is the environment that makes fascism...that are conducive to it's taking root and growth?

Matisse  55:58  
A lot of things. As a shorthand, I think a lot of it is described well in what's his name's book? Stranger In Their Own Land. The...over our current time, there's been a concerted effort over the last several decades to argue that people who don't deserve it are getting some of yours.

Janelle Jolley  56:27  

Matisse  56:29  
And the government is helping them.

Janelle Jolley  56:31  

Matisse  56:32  
That pitch is, I think, been the largest antecedent, or fertile ground. It's not the only one.

Janelle Jolley  56:42  

Matisse  56:42  
But it's the largest one in the last, you know, 40 years.

Janelle Jolley  56:47  
But can we can we dig a little deeper on that? When that pitch is made, what are the conditions that the people who are most susceptible to that pitch, what are they- describe their conditions that make that pitch attractive.

Matisse  57:00  
Oh, I think it varies. It's like, you know, when people will say that Trump supporters were all, like, you know, lower middle class, poor white people.

Janelle Jolley  57:10  
Hillbillies. Yeah.  

Matisse  57:10  
But it's actually not true.

Janelle Jolley  57:12  
Of course.

Matisse  57:12  
There's quite a lot of-

Janelle Jolley  57:13  
Small business owners.  

Matisse  57:14  
Better off people.

Janelle Jolley  57:15  
Yeah, that's right.  

Matisse  57:16  
Right? So for them, there's just the racism part is enough, right? Or the-

Janelle Jolley  57:24  
Or the positive, the affirmative, economic gains they rightly thought that they would get under him. Tax cuts.

Matisse  57:30  
Yes, yes. In order for them to sign on for all those things to happen, they also had to feel insecure even before then.

Janelle Jolley  57:39  
I don't think-

Matisse  57:40  
I think- I have met people where I think that they're...they were brought up to believe in a world that had a certain kind of order and stability to it.

Janelle Jolley  57:48  

Matisse  57:51  
And as they came into contact with the world, outside of the more insular community that they were in-

Janelle Jolley  57:57  

Matisse  57:57  
They experienced things that didn't fit that narrative. Right?

Janelle Jolley  58:02  
Keep going.

Matisse  58:02  
And I'm not talking about economic insecurity, I'm just talking about their broader view of where order-

Janelle Jolley  58:11  
But order has to-

Matisse  58:12  
Or even if the world is ordered. This- in fact, I'll even pick on this one in particular, the idea that things are predictable. And that if they left an environment in which things were kind of predictable, then went into an environment where things weren't, they began to look for reasons why-

Janelle Jolley  58:32  

Matisse  58:32  
They weren't pretty.

Janelle Jolley  58:33  

Matisse  58:34  
And in many cases, I will argue, that it's because the world just isn't predictable. It was never- it was never true.

Janelle Jolley  58:41  
How is the world not predictable?

Matisse  58:45  
You know, my dad died of cancer when I was eight.

Janelle Jolley  58:47  

Matisse  58:47  
I would not have predicted that when I was six.

Janelle Jolley  58:50  
Sure, of course. Of course.

Matisse  58:51  
I don't think it was because of the economic policies of anybody.

Janelle Jolley  58:55  

Matisse  58:55  

Janelle Jolley  58:55  
Not in the case of your dad, no.

Matisse  58:57  
And that's unpredictable, right?

Janelle Jolley  58:59  

Matisse  59:00  
So, as a consequence of that, I had a deeply felt experience of the unpredictability of the world. And so to some degree, to a greater degree than some people, not everybody, but some people, I simply experience the world as unpredictable.

Janelle Jolley  59:15  

Matisse  59:15  
Right? And I can see, maybe really, or maybe I'm projecting it, I see lack of predictability in places where somebody else may expect predictability. Progressive politics, or social justice politics, also offers-

Janelle Jolley  59:30  

Matisse  59:30  
A fantasy of a certain kind of life.

Janelle Jolley  59:32  

Matisse  59:32  
And so on. But it's grounded in valuing...relationship more than order.

Janelle Jolley  59:43  
If you were to have an audience with Joe Biden and Kamala, what would be the things that you would heavily stress to them in order to stem this potential fascist tide? Like, what are the things they need to get serious about so that 2020-

Matisse  1:00:05  
Beyond getting COVID- dealing with COVID-

Janelle Jolley  1:00:07  
Yeah, beyond the-

Matisse  1:00:08  
The immediate crisis.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:09  
Beyond the immediate crisis, what are the things that they need to-

Matisse  1:00:12  
Universal healthcare...

Janelle Jolley  1:00:13  
What are the things they need to do to not get mopped in 2022 and 2024?

Matisse  1:00:17  
I would argue to go to your non-metro counties with, you know, left wing populism. You know, health care and jobs and-

Janelle Jolley  1:00:29  
And the DCCC will fund them?

Matisse  1:00:30  
And ammunition.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:32  

Matisse  1:00:33  
You know, taxpayer funded shooting ranges.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:36  

Matisse  1:00:36  
Right? And you can, you know, you get free health care and dental.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:41  

Matisse  1:00:42  
That's my policy.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:43  
That's the playbook for 2022?

Matisse  1:00:44  
For the non-metros.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:46  
Yeah, yeah.

Matisse  1:00:46  

Janelle Jolley  1:00:47  

Matisse  1:00:47  
That would be my sound bite.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:48  
So focus, not on the blue archipelagos, but the, you know, the rural, or exurban?

Matisse  1:00:56  
Well, in the urban ones, I don't think that we're in his weakest state there, so I'm not as concerned about trying to fine tune it. Right? Like, I don't think the republicans are gonna win a lot of urban House districts.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:09  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  1:01:09  
In 2022.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:10  

Matisse  1:01:10  
Right? It's the other ones-

Janelle Jolley  1:01:13  
Although they're now in control of redistricting on a state level, because they're-

Matisse  1:01:18  

Janelle Jolley  1:01:19  
Fucking everywhere!

Matisse  1:01:20  
Well, not everywhere.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:21  
Almost everywhe- in most places. In most places they're in control of redistricting now.

Matisse  1:01:26  
But in general, I would say that in the non-urban districts, put in people who are going to get your kids health care and dental, you know, and take them to the shooting range.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:39  
Okay. All right. So...and that's it?

Matisse  1:01:43  
If we keep McCarthy and Hawley and Cruz from taking over in 2022, to me, that's a victory.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:53  

Matisse  1:01:54  
Right? We should have a Supreme Court seat swap somewhere in there.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:00  

Matisse  1:02:00  
New person, not necessarily pick up a seat, but-

Janelle Jolley  1:02:02  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matisse  1:02:04  
There'll be an appointment-

Janelle Jolley  1:02:06  

Matisse  1:02:07  
Somewhere in there. One thing that keeps me up at night is, like, who could succeed Nancy Pelosi? You know, if she- I don't think that she's going to be Speaker in 2022, even if they win. But if she isn't a serious candidate for it, and there isn't a good replacement, there's, you know, hungry dogs fighting over-

Janelle Jolley  1:02:34  

Matisse  1:02:35  
And it's bad.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:36  

Matisse  1:02:38  
The- picking up some Senate seats would be-

Janelle Jolley  1:02:41  
Which ones you think are ripe for pick up?

Matisse  1:02:42  

Janelle Jolley  1:02:43  
Which ones do you think are ripe for pick up?

Matisse  1:02:44  
I don't have the list right now. But I know that the map is not great for the Republicans in 2022. It's worse for them than it is for the Democrats. They have more seats up.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:57  
Mm-hm. Okay.

Matisse  1:02:59 know, we might get somebody better than Feinstein.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:03  
What you mean might? We must!

Matisse  1:03:06  
Well, you're expressing desire, I'm- which I share. But the-

Janelle Jolley  1:03:12  
You don't think anyone's gonna step up to challenge her?

Matisse  1:03:15  
I think that she's gonna- she may...leave before her term is up and-

Janelle Jolley  1:03:20  
She just got her- her campaign just filed paperwork for the next run.

Matisse  1:03:23  
Yeah, well, we'll see. Right? And that Gavin might appoint someone who is not better. That's-

Janelle Jolley  1:03:28  
Oh, I see what you'e saying. Okay, okay, okay. Hm. What was your- what were your thoughts-

Matisse  1:03:33  
And I don't know who would be someone good to run against her. You know who I would, just for the drama of it, I would enjoy, would be a Schwarzenegger ran for the seat.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:43  
Oh, goddammit.

Matisse  1:03:44  
He could win it. He won statewide office once before.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:49  
But weren't you guys trippin' your balls off at that point? Like, everyone was just, like, high and dumb when he won?

Matisse  1:03:57  
Well, the incumbent Democrat that he replaced was very weak. Right?

Janelle Jolley  1:04:03  
Sure. But wasn't he snuck because of the-

Matisse  1:04:09  
Arnold has burnished his anti-Trump credentials. He's done a couple of really good statements. Very effective, heartfelt.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:19  
That will be dramatic. And I will be so sad if Arnold is the one that-

Matisse  1:04:25  
Didn't I preface it by saying I would enjoy the drama of it?

Janelle Jolley  1:04:27  
The drama, yes. Okay, yes, that would be...

Matisse  1:04:29  
It would be fun to watch.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:30  
So you're- so 2024 you're not- who are you- what are you nervous about in 2024?

Matisse  1:04:34  
Basically, in general, I'm worried about, you know, the rise of authoritarianism and fascism.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:39  

Matisse  1:04:39  
That's what I'm basically worried about.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:40  
Worst case scenario: In 2022, Dems lose control of the House. Then, what are you worried about in 2024? Who are you worried about on 2024?

Matisse  1:04:49  
And the Senate, right? If the Dems lose the House and the Senate in 2022...

Janelle Jolley  1:04:53  
Which, they might.

Matisse  1:04:54  
I'd be worried about Ted Cruz becoming president, I guess.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:58  
Come on. Ted Cruz?

Matisse  1:05:00  
He's a very intelligent lizard fucker.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:06  
I won't argue with that. You're not more worried about Cotton or Hawley? Or Tucker Carlson, either? I think he might be a dark horse. Or, if they do not convict in the Senate, Trump coming back in 2024.

Matisse  1:05:18  
I hope that Trump starts a political party.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:22  
That would be interesting. Let's just say Dems just lose the House, but they...

Matisse  1:05:28  
Keep the Senate.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:29  
Keep the Senate. Or, vice versa, they lose one of the houses of Congress.

Matisse  1:05:34  
I mean, what I'm worried about is the fascist and the feudalists uniting in a competent fashion.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:44  
But isn't that inevitable if this crisis is not handled handily?

Matisse  1:05:50  
It's- I don't know if it's inevitable, then, but, certainly, that would make it much more likely. The world around you is in better shape than it was 200 years ago.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:03  

Matisse  1:06:04  
Or 400 years ago, or 1000 years ago.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:07  

Matisse  1:06:08  
And that the ability of people to work together for a common good, has been gradually getting better throughout all of human history.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:24  

Matisse  1:06:24  
It sort of his human history.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:27  

Matisse  1:06:28  
Well, you know, it's never going to get done, right? Not in our lifetimes, ever. It won't ever get done. And you're participating in that. You are a participant in that.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:38  

Matisse  1:06:39  
And that what you're doing contributes to that, you know. To people being- to us humans getting better at working together, collaborating, being together with each other with the universe, if you want to be more metaphysical about it-

Janelle Jolley  1:06:59  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  1:06:59  
But just, you're participating and making it better. And that-

Janelle Jolley  1:07:04  
Even though it doesn't... it doesn't always seem that way?

Matisse  1:07:08  
Yeah, even though it isn't always that way.

Janelle Jolley  1:07:11  
Ah, okay.

Matisse  1:07:11  
Right, right? The- there's this, you know, this, the author, William Gibson? Sort of invented cyberpunk?

Janelle Jolley  1:07:18  
Oh, no.

Matisse  1:07:20  
He said, once, you know, "That the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed."

Janelle Jolley  1:07:25  

Matisse  1:07:26  
Right? So, even while good things are happening over there, a bad thing is happening, you know, 50 feet to the left of it, or on the- even while, you know, good things may be happening here in this neighborhood, or in San Francisco, somebody might be getting murdered, right now, right?

Janelle Jolley  1:07:46  

Matisse  1:07:46  
So, it's all happening. What you are doing with your life is contributing to that evolution of human capacity for togetherness. And the particular things that you're doing right now, at this point in your life, with exploring other people's stories and trying to understand your own story in the context of theirs, and so on, seems to me to be a very, you know, reasonable and intelligent and useful thing to go about. That, you know, so keep doing it. Finish it, whatever that means to you. Things finish in different ways, you know?

Janelle Jolley  1:08:34  
Sure, sure.

Matisse  1:08:36  
But find some way of feeling that you have actually- that you've done it. So that when you evolve to something else, or you stop doing it, or whatever, you can say, "Well, yeah, I did really do it. I did that."

Janelle Jolley  1:09:00  
Okay, quick rundown. Paul Castellano used to sign us checks. He sued the CIA and won as a teenager. Hillary Clinton was a de Gaulle. And we're gonna get single payer inanother 10 to 15 years. Did I get it all? Anyway, please subscribe and share if you enjoy this wild ass little podcast. Your humble host would really appreciate it. Thank you very much. See you next week.

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