Hostile Questions: Anne Elizabeth Moore

Typically I start these things by listing a few accomplishments of the so-called “author.” Y’know, like: Anne Elizabeth Moore was co-editor and publisher of Punk Planet, founding editor of The Best American Comics, and is the author of Cambodian Grrrl. But, really, do you think I have all day for typing and hotlinking and whatnot? Just trust me that she’s behind this thing here and probably this thing there and sweet lord this thing too and is maybe even responsible for these weird things. OK? Enough? Could I have one teeny tiny second for myself?

Thank you. OK. Now I’m ready to be rude.

The ever humble Anne Elizabeth Moore, ladies and gentlemen.

Just who do you think you are?

I’m reasonably sure I’m Anne Elizabeth Moore, three-time winner of the Anne Elizabeth Moore Award for Excellence in Awesomeness, not to be confused with Anne Moore, the other Chicago-based reporter who at some point covered the exciting world of women’s shoes for the local press and subsequently became upset when our opposite career paths—I was getting thrown out of American Girl Place at the time, and writing about that—netted her some undeserved letters of concern. And definitely not to be confused with Ann Elizabeth Moore, the first body discovered at Jonestown, Guyana, in November 1978. (I’ll also state for the record that in November 1978, I was super busy doing something else really far away, and 8, so you can’t pin that one on me, Kraus.) There was also an Anne Moore who died about a year and a half ago, and I don’t think I’m her, but I have been really tired lately.

Where do you get off?

Wow, OK. Well, I have been single for a little while, so this is a question that comes up sometimes. As a queer woman who travels a lot, I admit it can be tricky, but healthy sexuality is a really important part of freedom. So I pick up a decent bottle of wine, light some candles, put on the Cats soundtrack … OH MY GOD WAIT. You said WHERE Do You Get Off and not HOW Do You Get Off, didn’t you. Geez this is embarrassing.

What’s the big idea?

The current big idea—and I’ll admit it’s probably ill-conceived—is that I can pass myself off as “a photographer.” Now, I do have a degree in photography, but you’ll want to note that a few days after I received it, my camera was stolen, and out of frustration I did not replace it for about a decade until I started traveling regularly to Cambodia. Still, somehow, I have created enough emotionally affecting images of the economic development underway there, the nightlife that is emerging because of it, and the organizations doing social justice work on the ground in response to the unequal distribution of wealth. The essay included is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, sort of a lyrical response to a post-conflict nation that holds big public dance parties in its capital city, combining ancient Cambodian ballet moves with hip-hop jankiness. Hip Hop Apsara: Ghosts Past and Present comes out in August 2012.

What is your problem, man?

My problem is that people keep trying to silence others, all over the world, on the basis of gender and race and economic class, through governmental oppression, poverty, and flat-out censorship. That shit is soooooooo lame. They do it in Asia, they do it in the U.S., they do it via marketing, via not hiring women reporters, via attacking trans people online. In comics, a creator pool of only 54% male artists get approximately 90% of the gigs at the top comics publishers (despite that female creators submit work at equal rates). For every dollar men earn from comics, women can expect to earn 27 cents, which is at least better than trans, gender-queer or non-binary gender folk, who will only earn about 5 cents on that dollar. I have a problem with that. (About which you can read in great detail here.)

In Cambodia, a governor straight-up shot three protesting garment workers this spring, then tried to buy their silence by offering their families new motorbikes. I have a pretty big problem with that, too. I’m currently looking for funding to return to Cambodia to interview them, and write up how their story fits into our completely insane international garment trade.  Which reminds me that I also have a problem with all clothing manufacturers. Which is why I have been conducting this interview entirely naked. I am cold. My air conditioner is super good.

Haven’t you done enough?

In all seriousness, I would like to think so, yes. In addition to reporting on the international garment trade and related matters, teaching participatory research-based classes in a real art school, and making up my own ridiculous grad school to explore gender, race, and class in cultural production, I write these books and have a surprisingly healthy conceptual art career. And TWO WHOLE CATS. But you know, people keep oppressing each other, so I still have critical essays to write, bodies of research to conduct, interventions to stage, pedagogical experiments to put in place, and jokes to make about the whole thing. Next up, for example? New Girl Law, the follow up to Cambodian Grrrl, and an open-ended participatory research project about Milton Friedman’s obsession with the pencil as a metaphor for globalization.

You know what, though? I just realized: I don’t like your tone. This interview is OVER.

[Gets up. Steps on cat. Cat hisses. Storms out. Slams door. Realizes is in closet. Ponders options.]

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus, senior editor at Booklist is the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award.

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