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PhD: Now let's play psychologist for a minute. As you know I invited you down to that meeting in San Diego and you were spaced out by all these psychology types going, as you say, "Click click click" in their brains trying to figure out why is this nice boy doing all this stuff? In your years growing up did you ever get the feeling that you were inadequate in some way and that you needed to test yourself or needed to prove that you were strong?
AM: I don't think so. Maybe I saw a lot of people saying one thing but acting in another way.
PhD: So you saw hypocrisy.
AM: Yeah, maybe. And that annoyed me when I saw it in others, so I wouldn't want to do it myself. But I can't think of any strong instances where I sat there going, "My God, the hypocrisy is just unbearable."
PhD: I think I remember you mentioning that you had a stepfather, so what happened to your genetic father?
AM: Well, he's around, I see him about once a year; I saw him a lot more when I was little. He's kind of a rambler -- he worked washing buses for awhile, but then he got fired, and now I don't even know if he's working. He might just be getting unemployment checks or something. Once every few months he moves.
PhD: Doesn't sound like a very responsible kind of guy.
AM: Well, not in the classic notion of responsibility.
PhD: How about in your definition of responsibility?
AM: Well, I don't know him that well. All I know is that moving a lot isn't so irresponsible: it's just kind of different. He got fired because he said these people are working us like niggers, and that's a very un-PC thing to say, but in talking to him I think he really didn't mean to put down black people. He meant that they're treating us like we're slaves. He had held that job for 10 years or whatever, so he was fairly responsible, although he gets into fights a lot. He was telling me recently he got hard...
PhD: He got what?
AM: Hard. Like, it's kind of a lower-class thing, like, tough, like calloused to emotions? Willing to "fuck shit up" if you need to.
PhD: I see. So how old were you when he went out of your life?
AM: My parents got divorced when I was two.
PhD: You said to me, earlier, that your Mom was the one who spent most of the time raising you, not your stepfather. And that your mother was a very honest woman; she didn't let you get away with telling a lie or anything like that.
AM: Oh, yeah, she pushed honesty pretty strongly.
PhD: Did you have a tendency to lie when you were a kid?
PhD: I mean, all kids do to some extent.
AM: I don't think so.
PhD: You don't think so more than any normal kids?
AM: No. She started raising me that way so much that lying wasn't really even an option. Occasionally I lied by omission -- telling her I'd stay overnight at a friend's house without mentioning that his mom and dad weren't home.
PhD: Who does your hair?
AM: I do. I have the shaver, and I shave it all off. It's just to save money; I don't have to go to the barber shop and pay 8 bucks a month.
PhD: So it's utilitarian: you shave your head for the same reason why you walk around with your clothes off.
AM: Yeah, I guess so.
PhD: Some people think that when you're nude, you're defenseless. Do you feel defenseless when you're nude?
AM: A little. It's a weird twist: on the one hand you can be very defensive when you're nude, especially if it's involuntary, like if the police strip you naked, and your holes are all exposed, and your genitals are exposed to be ripped out or pried with -- there is more vulnerability. But there's also a sense of extreme strength and power because you've removed all the labels.
PhD: You mean Polo, or Levi's?
AM: Partly. If I wear one kind of clothes it's like college student clothes. Or if I go out at night, it's like rave clothes, or hip-hop clothes, or stoner clothes, hippie clothes, all with their little social symbols attached? So if you take off your clothes, there's nothing they can label you with? You're just there? And you're just human? And so in a sense that's a power: the power of not being labeled.
PhD: It's interesting: the press had to give you a label anyway -- "The Naked Guy."
PhD: Have you noticed that your nudity gives you power over people? Obviously, it gives you the power to make Berkeley very upset. Do you notice that there are women who are attracted to you in some sense because you're naked?
AM: I don't think so. A lot of people last night at the rave would come up and congratulate me, tell me I was doing a good job. When I'm walking around, just doing my thing, people start thinking, "Well, shit, can I do that? Why can't I do that?" It's almost a machismo thing, seeing how open you are? There's the power of making people feel that they're not being mentally strong because they wear clothes.
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