By Honey D. Hallock
STILLWATER, OK. – This election season, renowned rock-star and philosopher of partying, Andrew W. K. is coming to the Opolis in Norman Oct. 21 as a part of his “The Power of Partying” 50 state speaking tour.
This “Nationwide Rally for the Human Spirit,” is presented by the newly formed Party Party, a self-proclaimed “all-inclusive alternative to the traditional two party model.”
“It’s a rally about partying with the political elements set aside,” said W. K.
It’s hard to know if this is serious or satire, especially coming from an artist with so many facets to his work. Andrew W. K. is famous for his 2001 hit single “Party Hard,” which features his trademark bloody nose and lots of head banging. He is also a columnist for the Village Voice and has lectured at respectable places like Oxford, Yale and NYU.
Thankfully, Andrew W.K. called to answer my questions and explain what the Party Party is all about.
Honey D: You have said that the Party Party is ‘real,’ and you’ve filed paperwork with the Secretary of State, but, is paperwork what makes a political party ‘real’?
Andrew: No! The reality of it is in the passion of its message and in the devotion of those who embody that message. The spirit of partying, in that way, is as real as anything could ever be.
And if we can take that spirit and apply it to, not just to the political realm, but to all the areas of our daily life, I think that’s as real as anything would ever need to be. It might even be better that it’s not real because then we’re not constrained by the limitations of our government or anything else.
Honey D: The Party Party website says once you have the required signatures, you can begin your “formal journey into traditional politics,” but are traditional politics compatible with your “eternal mission to defend and promote human joy”?
Andrew: Well, you’d think that would be at the core of almost every endeavor that we make as a civilization. Otherwise, what are we trying to survive for? Every effort we make, whether it’s to earn money or to build infrastructure is to serve something. And what are we serving except the opportunity for each human to become themselves and to contribute to the ability for others to become themselves?
It can’t all just be a means with no end. And that end should be the most noble end we can think of, which isn’t empty, hollow pleasure, but is the most truly pleasurable experience of them all, which is living for a purpose, growing and becoming stronger.
So, I think the human spirit is inseparable from those qualities and everything we do, sometimes even our less noble efforts, ultimately should result in that because then it makes the hard times and the suffering and the difficulty and the challenges even more bearable if we know it’s devoted toward some type of ideal like the human spirit flourishing.
Honey D: Is it possible to make change at an official level without participating in what you have called a “broken system”? And how do you participate in that system without perpetuating it?
Andrew: I was thinking about that last night. It’s a very hard question, and I just don’t know because I haven’t yet been deep enough on the inside to really see what I would be dealing with or what I would be up against. On one hand it seems almost insurmountable: In order to enact change, you have to participate in the very mechanism that seems unable to enact change.
That’s why I was thinking that maybe we can do it from the ground up. With government, it’s supposed to be from the ground up, from the people on up, or from the people on out, or from the people on in, but somehow it’s gotten all turned around where it’s from the government on down; the people are the last in line in the power structure.
So, maybe we each need to be in charge of our own selves, and never think that anyone else has the ability to really improve our lives as much as we do. That’s not to say that people in power don’t have the ability to make decisions that impact us, but we still ultimately hold that final key to the doorway of liberty: That’s your mind.
Just like the prisoner who’s been put away for a crime that he or she did not commit, the one thing they could never lock up is their spirit, so if we fully embrace that idea, we could each be our own presidents in a way, we could each sort of run the politics of our own individual lives, also our shared endeavor, the culture and the social interactions – that really is what politics is about- it’s not about government.
Government is there to facilitate our ability to do these things on our own as best we can. When they start to convince us that the only way we can actually live a full life is with their permission or with their guidance or their power and faith, that’s when we should grow rightfully suspicious. We don’t need them; they need us.
Honey D: At the same time that you are launching this political movement, you are authoring a book called “The Party Bible.” The separation of church and state is a perennial issue here in Oklahoma. Do you think that political ideology and religious or spiritual ideology can mix, or do we need to keep these separate in our minds to foster a democratic separation of church and state?
Andrew: I think that the core principles of most truly religious ideals are compatible in a way that doesn’t require a formal recognition of a religious creed or dogma. For example, the Ten Commandments: They enter into a realm that exceeds the limitations that a particular religious structure might want to put around them.
We can say that most ethics and morals exists within, but also without, a particular religious structure for the same reason that someone can be a good person and not follow any particular religion that we would formally recognize. Whether it’s a religion that they made up or a religion that is very small and particular or someone whose completely areligious, there are still principles that guide human interaction and behavior that are bound up in everything we do.
These institutions like government and churches and things like that, are often built up on those same principles, but none of them own those principles and can lay claim to them. And the ones that try to should be looked and questioned heavily. These are human rights, and these institutions should work to support them but not to lay claim to them.
Honey D: What should we expect at the show?
Andrew: Well, it’s not a show, I would like to say in the traditional sense it’s not a concert or a performance. It is a lecture. Of course it involves me being there and talking from some kind of stage I imagine. But it’s really a motivational speech, a pep-rally for the human spirit, it’s a discussion of a mindset that I have done my best to describe as partying. And we’ll talk about that and everything else we want to talk about that anyone has. It’s an open Q&A as well.
It’s really a time for us to be in a room together and to try and remind each other of the most important things, which I am sure we already all know, and encourage those best thoughts and best aspirations that each of us have and to cheer each other up and cheer each other on so we can leave that room and go back into our individual lives with a renewed sense of optimism and a renewed senses of dedication to the rigorous pursuit of trying to be the best person you can be.
I am very excited about this tour, just to do 50 states all in a row. I’ve never a done a tour where I’ve gone to every single state all in one unbroken block like this. It’s gonna be quite an adventure and I’m very thankful to have the chance to do it.