"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 25 March 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CLXXI



Southern California activist,

former hippie, and

anti-Dreamworks hunger striker

Jerry Rubin has a new mission -

proving that Hooters, the famous

"cheerleader" restaurant, is not

the more-ventilated Fuddruckers

it pretends to be, but a sexist

organization that exploits men

as well as women. Toward

that end, he's getting the

message out in a community

debate to be held 10 April at

the new Santa Monica Hooters

(arrive at 8 a.m. for coffee and

refreshments). The loquacious

firebrand can (and does) expound

for hours on the company's

sordid hiring practices: "We've

got Take Our Daughters to Work

Day. Would you want a Take Your

Daughter to Hooters Day?" He can

debate the etymology of the

company name: "You wouldn't have

a restaurant called Tits, with

the Tit girls, with 'Tits'

written on their T-shirts. Why

is 'Hooters' any less obscene

than 'knockers' or 'tits' or

'boobs?'" He addresses the

question of an '80s pop band of

the same name: "I wasn't aware

of them. That's funny because

I'm from Philadelphia, but I

grew up with Jerry Lee Lewis and

Elvis Presley and Little

Richard. I used to dance on

American Bandstand." But he can

reach an impassioned peak when

discussing the fact that he is

most certainly not Jerry Rubin -

the legendary Yippie leader,

Chicago Seven defendant, and

fruit juice salesman who died in

a jaywalking incident in 1994.

We talked with the other Jerry

Rubin from his Venice,

California, home.


In his later career, Jerry Rubin

became a professional networker.

Do people ever accuse you of

selling out because of his



I feel bad about that. I have a

hard time with people thinking

I'm him; and if I'm at a party

and people find out I'm not him,

they'll say, "Nice meeting you,

see you later." But I feel now

how hard it must have been on

him to be unfairly criticized

like that.


Does being confused

with the legendary protester get

you any advantages as an



I don't know. Some good, some

bad. But that's always been my

name, so ... My dad thought I

was the original Jerry Rubin

during the [1968 Democratic

National Convention] riots in

Chicago. I was living in Venice

Beach and my dad sent me a

letter saying, "What the hell

are you doing in Chicago?" I had

to write back and say, "That's

some other guy."


What had you been doing?


I was busy being a heroin addict

on the Venice boardwalk. When my

dad sent that letter, I didn't

even know the Vietnam War was

going on. I took a wrong turn

when I came out to California.


Would your dad have been

relieved that you were doing

heroin rather than getting

beaten up in Chicago?


No, come on. My dad's a great

guy, and he's very glad that

I've been on a better road for

the past few decades. Unlike the

original Jerry Rubin, I wasn't

active in protesting the Vietnam

War, but I'm trying to make up

for it now.


Did your name have anything to

do with your deciding to become

an activist?


I don't think so. Maybe

subliminally, I don't know.

Since the '70s, I've been an

activist full time. I didn't

even take a break for my



Did the name help your career?


I don't know. You should be

active whatever your name is.

You shouldn't have to rely on

having the same name as

somebody. But I guess it's

helped more than it's hurt. I've

always been aware of having the

same name as Jerry Rubin. In

fact, I have the same birthday

as Tom Hayden - December 11th.


Do you think being a Sagitarius

had any impact on your career in



Well, that's the best sign,

because it's got the most

syllables. I don't know. Every

time I read the horoscope

forecast in the paper, I just

think, "What am I reading this

for? I don't believe in it."


What kind of activism are you

working on now?


I'm head of the LA Alliance for

Survival. And I'm working on a

book now called Do It Again. The

original Jerry Rubin wrote a

book called Do It. It's about

the importance of activism. This

one will show the continuing

importance of being an activist.


Are you expecting people to buy

the book thinking it's by him?


No, I've never tried to say I was

him. I might even say it's by

"The Other Jerry Rubin" on the

cover or something.


Did you see The Big Lebowski?


Yeah. That was good.


What did you think of the story

about the name?


Yeah ... I forget the exact ...

how that fit together exactly.



Not so far from the

organ-grinder antics of this

year's Oscars, the 14th annual

Independent Spirit Awards kept

it real on Saturday. While too

circumspect to bill itself as an

anti-Oscar ceremony, the ISA

still demonstrates a degree of

self-satisfaction that does

Hollywood proud. Defiance is the

standard tone for acceptance

speeches, jabs at Bob and Harvey

(the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

of the indie set) are met with

cheers, and the tastefully

low-rent statuette looks like a

prank item the Joker would leave

for Batman. But frankly, the

high ratio of double-dutying

Players in the crowd just

indicates what a pointless

pursuit "independence" really

is. And since the ceremony

presenters lack the Academy's

money, power, and

satellite-guided air supremacy,

they're forced to name all their

corporate sponsorships (The

Movado Someone to Watch Award)

with a show of shillmanship that

would make Jack Valenti wince.

If we're going to vent our catty

inner bitches, we want

ball gowns, not stars slumming at

a penny-ante Lions Club banquet.

Toward that end, we've

instituted the Macromedia Suck

Don't Go There™ Awards. And

this year's Macromedia Suck

Don't Go There™ prize goes

to that pain-in-the-ass little

girl from the IFC and Pepsi




Madcap Libyan leader Muammar

Qaddafi is talking about

restoring relations with the

United States and building ties

of friendship with the American

people; but in his slow hurry to

make nice, the philosopher-king

of the desert missed the chance

to make some real friends among

the US rank and file. As

Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones

(apparently trading on name

confusion with the deceased

Rolling Stone) made their

balloon-race victory lap, the

usually troublesome Libyan air

force allowed the hot-air heroes

to pass unscathed. Thus, the

agonizingly fun


sideshow is finally over, and

Bransonesque daredevil

billionaires must now find some

new far horizon to conquer. A

three-legged relay in the Sudan

or the cross-Kosovo grape race

might be in order.



Isn't it creepy the way David

Strickland's eyes look really

small and cloudy in that

Suddenly Susan group shot? Authorities are

still scratching their heads in

an effort to find out what,

other than an adventurous

impulse, might have driven the

29-year-old TV actor to hang

himself in a red-light Vegas

hotel (named, with Dan Tanna

precision, The Oasis). Spurring

him on might have been "Jo Jo

Dancer, aka the Gay Rapper," the

pseudonymous author of a

photocopied diatribe against

rock critics. The Gay Rapper's

rap names names and was

delivered to various music

magazines over the past few

weeks. Ancient golden boy Robert

Christgau called Jo Jo's screed

"moderately witty," New York

Times musicologist Neil Strauss

refused to comment, and Rolling

Stone Music Editor Joe Levy

mentioned "poor reasoning." But

we suspect Strickland, who, on

the show, played a rock critic

named Todd (which means "Death"

in German), really took the

insult to heart. So to all those

alias-protected, thumbs-down

hacks out there, we say - If you

don't have anything nice to say,

don't say anything at all.



Schmich Watch: Last summer

we predicted, on the

strength of her unwitting

role in the Vonnegut MIT speech

hoax and the "Rat Sludge"

publicity splash she'd made for

her comic Brenda Starr, Chicago

Tribune columnist Mary Schmich

would soon be recognized as the

Evil Genius of American popular

culture. Now Schmich has

extended her brand into movies

(loose inspiration for a part in

the Kevin Costner/Robin Wright

Penn romance Message in a

Bottle), books (the 64-page impulse

buy Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for

Real Life), and music

("Everybody's Free to Wear

Sunscreen" - a Baz

Luhrmann-produced dance mix of

her legendary column, featuring

a vaguely Vonnegutish narrator

on the soundtrack). Still our

warnings of Schmich's inexorable

rise go unheeded, and her

attitude of wide-eyed innocence

fools media watchdogs everywhere

into overlooking her

consolidation of power. This

isn't the first time we've been

cultural Cassandras. We've seen

the future, and it's Mary


courtesy of the Sucksters


[Purchase the Suck Book here]