Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More from the Mook, and Please Remember to Be an Army of One Today

Because I love this beautiful man,
and because I love my children
and I want their future to be in the hands of others
who believe, as I do,
that it's wrong to bully anyone for any reason,
but especially for perceived sexual orientation;
that it's wrong to be fired from your job
because you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered;
that it's wrong to be denied the right to marry
the person whom you love;
and that it's wrong to have to live a lie
or play let's pretend in order to serve in the military,
I will be voting today.
And even if your politics disagree with mine,
please, please go vote.
Because that's the beauty of it:
Here in America, we all have a voice.
Raise yours today by casting a vote
in accordance with your beliefs.
And be an Army of One.

Back to the Future: Today we present the conclusion of the gentle and sensitive interview of Johnny in the Mook Book by gifted sports journalist Akiko Tamura. In the fascinating final section of this three-part series, Johnny discusses how his parents got it right, his reaction to his Olympic scores, and how he really feels about his fans.

With many thanks to our translator, the fabulous Akiko Nakata, here is Part 3 of this series from the Mook.

From the "Special Interview with Johnny Weir," by Akiko Tamura, conducted in NYC, April 2010, pp. 26-29 of the Mook.

Johnny answered my questions during breaks between shooting the photos for this book in collaboration with M.A.C.

"Advancing Is My Life"

Though you finished sixth at the Olympics, you have received a lot of offers for various projects. Why do you think so many offers have come your way?
I think it's because a lot of people support not only my performance, but also my opinions and behaviors. Freedom of expression is considered important, especially in the US, so there must be many fans who found me interesting in that sense, too. Olympians who finish sixth don't usually receive as much attention as I have. I think it's wonderful to have a lot of opportunities to express myself, as I'm doing now.

How was this personality of yours created?
My parents never told me, "Don't do this." They gave me a lot of freedom, and I tried many things I chose for myself. I fell down and got hurt, so in my way I learned many things.

Did you fall many times?
Innumerably. Even now I often fall. But advancing like this is my life. I can't stay in the same place forever. If you reviewed your life when you were 85 years old and thought, "I have lived a peaceful life without much trouble with others," wouldn't it be so boring? It is silly to spend your life always being concerned about what other people think about you.

Johnny waves
to the crowd
as he leaves the
ice after
his free-skate
scores were
You chose figure skating as a way to express yourself. However, as long as you compete as an amateur, others' evaluation of you decides your place. How can you accommodate or reconcile your self-expression with this reality?
I don't think I will be able to reach an accommodation. Ever.

There will always be some people who regard figure skating as unified, and who insist, "You shouldn't do this," "You shouldn't say that." I have no idea how many generations will be necessary from here until the point that skaters can express themselves freely. I never try to hurt anyone, but many people are afraid of me, imagining what I will say next or what I will do next. As an athlete, naturally, I don't want to lose to anyone. I had trained not to place sixth at the Olympics, but to get a medal. It was really difficult for me to accept the result, especially since I didn't fall. But a great many fans said that I should have gotten a medal. Not only bronze. Some people said I deserved the gold medal, and I was very honored. I think I was able to continue skating because such fans supported me.

I don't think I should try to reconstruct my relationship with the USFSA or the judges to become their favorite. I can never pretend to be a person from a cookie cutter just so I can be liked by someone.

At the Olympics, you seemed to react to the result very calmly.
With many TV cameras pointed at me and tens of thousands of fans watching me, I had to keep my mind tough and behave with dignity. But when I went to the back, I cried behind the curtain for 35 or 40 minutes, and then I had a doping test. After returning to the Olympic Village, I cried in the shower for an hour. But while the audience and the cameras were facing me, I thought, "I can't lose my cool right now." That's why I could behave calmly then.

"My Fans Are Almost My Family"

Johnny enjoys meeting fans in China in August 2010.
Special thanks to Agentress Tara for the photo!

I feel that you are closer to your fans than most skaters are with their fans. Do you think so?
Yes, I do. For me, my fans are almost my family. There are many skaters who have no personal relationship with their fans. But I always hope my fans know how grateful I am to them for supporting me, and I always hope to know those who are supporting me.

Are you considerate of others that way by nature?
Yes, I don't just pretend that. For example, when I went to Japan for the first time, I was surprised to see my fans waiting for me at the hotel lobby. It is the supreme devotion to wait for such a long time just to meet for a minute, say hello, and shake hands. I hope to perform well for my fans, and I can continue skating for as long as my fans support me. I think it is my duty to open myself to my fans and to spend as much time with them as possible.

Don't you feel it's difficult sometimes?
Rarely. Only just after a long flight or when I'm exhausted, or, as in Vancouver, when I am depressed. Then it takes an effort for me to keep smiling and talking. However, my biggest problem is that I want more time to be with as many fans as possible. I have never been bothered by meeting my fans. To meet my fans is my duty, and my honor as well.

I would be nothing without my fans supporting me. It is usually difficult to be invited to a show if you place sixth at the Olympics and have only one World medal. As my fans are, I am--and I never forget that.

Programming note: Hey! During the Dancing With the Stars results tonight, there's supposed to be an announcement about the cast of ABC's new six-episode show, Skating With the Stars, which premieres Monday, November 22. While I can't stand DWTS (unless, of course, Johnny is on it someday, in which case it will become my new all-time favorite program), I am going to flip channels from intense watching of election coverage (please holy mother of Gaga and with apologies to any readers who might disagree: Christine O'Donnell? No. Just ... no) because I'm dying of curiosity about this show ...!

Designer T. Rains and Johnny have teamed up to raise money and awareness for The Trevor Project! This organization is "determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources." Proceeds from the "Army of One" t-shirt sales will go to The Trevor Project foundation. Order yours today! Your support is greatly appreciated!
For more information, please visit www.thetrevorproject.org.

Yes! You can own a fine art print of Johnny
perfect for any/every room in the house!
Prints of artist Peter Jurik's "Showtime!"
are available for purchase from his website.
More info here!

Please remember to register to receive
the JW Art Project's email newsletter!
They have great tidbits to offer,
and you get a special sneak peek at an exclusive photo
from the Artbook when you sign up!

Special holiday offer!
In exchange for a donation to Toys for Tots,
Trish Aaron-Misiura will send you one handmade,
Johnny-inspired Christmas ornament! More info here!

Please vote for Johnny as "Must-Follow Personality"
in the Fourth Annual Mashable Awards!
To vote, enter "@JohnnyGWeir" in the box after "I nominate,"
and then choose "Must-Follow Personality"
from the pull-down menu.
You can vote once a day until Monday, November 29!
The top five in each category will advance
to the finalists' round, which begins December 1.

copyright 2010 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


Debora Walsh said...

Another wonderful post Binky!...and thank you Akiko for translating!
My heart breaks for him every time I think about those Olympic results, and to know how he suffered makes it all the worse. But I think his success will be the best revenge (so to speak), and that's why I hope we can all stick by him...

It only takes one meeting to know what Johnny says about his fans is completely true. I've seen him come over to speak to fans on his own, without being called over or pulled in. And he leaves only when he is actually guided away. I think most of us have witnessed him standing and posing tirelessly for pictures with and without fans.
"Johnny, can I get a picture?", "Stay There!", "One more", "The flash didn't go off", "Did you get it?", "Wait, there's too much glare", "How does this work", "Do you feet hurt?", "Look this way!", "You have to turn it", "It's that button", "Did you get it?", "Were my eyes closed?", "Can I get one more?" ...
Never once have I seen him ever roll his eyes, lose his cool, or be anything less than accommodating. Johnny is always calm, warm, friendly and makes you feel comfortable enough to just casually converse with him on a totally normal personal level.

Recently I had shots taken with him at Eric's Halloween party. The camera flashes twice to reduce red-eye, but the person graciously taking the picture for me didn't know that, so of course once the first flash fired the camera got lowered and the actual pictures were of varying levels of our torsos, crotches and feet. Johnny was actually laughing, because he could see it happening and said try again until we finally got a nice shot. The crotch shot is actually one of my faves...not because of what it is, but because I remember his good humor when I see it.

As an aside: I also share your apprehension and hope this election day. Every cycle I convince myself that we are finally moving forward into the future as a society, and although it seems daunting this day, I have to hope we all call upon our better angels in those booths and do what is right. Whatever your leanings, please everyone, exercise your ability to vote and go do it!

Anonymous said...

"However, my biggest problem is that I want more time to be with as many fans as possible. I have never been bothered by meeting my fans. To meet my fans is my duty, and my honor as well."

Oh God, Johnny, lemme help you out with that! You can come to my house, anytime, stay as long as you like, I promise we can spend LOTS of time together. :-)

How many times can you fall in love, he is too adorable for words!


aaaack said...

Thanks, Akiko and Misfit Mimes, for sharing your time and talent. You put your fingers on the pulse of Johnny.

I'm voting for progressives today. The top 5-10% are the only ones who have seen economic gains in the last decade. We need to preserve the middle class by preserving unions, rejecting tax breaks for billionaires and CEOs who don't need them, rejecting the Republicans and corporatist Democrats who try to preserve tax breaks for offshoring American jobs, ensure that health care insurers spend less than 20% on overhead (government-run Medicare only spends 3% on overhead), keep banks from profiteering from government-guaranteed student loans (my kid received 30 loan solicitations from banks! eeek!), etc.

Anonymous said...

Binky, thank you so much - I absolutely LOVE this interview!! ♥♥♥

Love Johnnys words! "a lot of people support not only my performance, but also my opinions and behaviors." Yes we do Johnny! I am so glad you know how much you are loved and supported by your fans.

heres another amazing Johnny quote:
If you reviewed your life when you were 85 years old and thought, "I have lived a peaceful life without much trouble with others," wouldn't it be so boring? It is silly to spend your life always being concerned about what other people think about you.
-what if we were all brought up with this idea? what the world could be like? imagine...


Beth-twitter Bsontwit

julie98 said...

Wonderful. I love how he loves his fans. Sad this is the last part of the Mook inteviews.

O'Donnell will not win; she is way behind in the polls. Sharon Angle is the worry; she is in a dead heat with Harry Reid.
And Marc Rubio looks to win in Florida and while not a Tea Partyer, he is *very* conservative.
I am just hoping with their slight lead that Brown and especially Boxer win in CA.
Sorry, elections get me VERY excited!

WheresMyKoppy said...

I voted! I voted early as I have every election for some time now. Voting by mail early is the best! I'm a little disappointed in some of the early results because I think we are moving backwards instead of forwards, but all you can do at that point is try to move forward again...

Thank you so much Akiko Tamura for conducting such a wonderful series of interviews, thank you Akiko Nakata for translating, thank you John and Patti Weir for being such great parents, thank you JOhnny Weir for being who you are, and thank you MM for writing such brilliant blogs on a regular basis!

Princess Johnny-Love ♥ said...

yay! a new post! i was getting a bit anxious there . . . i needed my Binky fix! once a day is barely enough. :-)

i voted - and i checked that each candidate supported gay rights before i gave them my glittering vote of love.

thank you very much to Akiko and Misfit for making these interviews available in English. yay! so happy i got to read them!

reading about Johnny crying backstage was heartbreaking . . . *sniff sniff* . . . i'm still so mad at those judges! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

waiting anxiously for the official word on Johnny being a judge on that new skating show!



Anonymous said...

Bink, once again I thank you and Akiko Nakata *so much* for working on getting these translations for us. They've all been a wonderful read, and I have no illusions about the extent of the work that Akiko had to put into carefully translating them. We owe you a debt! xo

akiko said...

I'm so happy to be able to share Tamura-san's great interview with you all. Thank you, Binky, for your beautiful blogs!

This part of the interview always fills my eyes with tears (and makes my blood boil).

Especially at the ending, Johnny impresses me with his humility and gratitude for his fans.

"I would be nothing without my fans supporting me. It is usually difficult to be invited to a show if you place sixth at the Olympics and have only one World medal. As my fans are, I am--and I never forget that."

Show organizers tend to be interested in only the medalists, but all the gold medalists are not invited to the big shows held abroad so often as Johnny (as we know well). The fact proves what kind of skater Johnny is and what he really deserves. And even if he was a gold medalist at both the Olympics and the Worlds, his attitude toward his fans wouldn't change at all. These are the reasons why he has huge fandom all over the world!!

Thanks again, Binky! Now the super-strong Porno Robot illusion rarely bothers me.