BH Interview: Libertarian Humorist Julie Borowski Blends Comedy, Cogent Commentary: Part I
We all know the routine. You turn on the TV or radio to hear some comedy, and you might get a few laughs. Then the comedian turns to recent political events, and then he or she uses a few stereotypes or clichés about conservatives, how racist, sexist, homophobic they are, or just how un-kind they are.
Boy, those racist Tea Partiers! Those violent gun nuts! Then the comedian moves on to another subject. The political arguments are never really made, just hinted at. But the viewer gets the impression, backed up by mockery, laughs and applause, that it sure is un-cool to be conservative, and that it is only sensible, kind, neighborly and hip to be liberal.
Only recently has there been any attempt by conservatives to use humor to fight back. Unlike the leftist comedians, these conservatives, like Bill Whittle, Andrew Klavan, Kurt Schlichter and Steven Crowder, reason the arguments through, use facts, consider alternatives and anticipate results. The conservative keeps the viewer hooked by using visual props and comedy. And it works!
One such conservative, who says she is more of a libertarian than conservative, is Julie Borowski. Borowski’s blog-videos, entitled Token Libertarian Girl, can be found at YouTube and her personal blog.
While some of her videos can be serious, like when she discussed the Boston Marathon bombings, oftentimes Borowski dresses herself up, like when she discussed minimum wage arguments, or when she criticized make-up ads in women’s magazines.
Many of her videos are just so funny you watch them just for the humor, no matter what the message is. And that is where she advances conservative and libertarian causes, because she keeps viewers engaged and entertained. And persuaded. The viewer can watch both the Comedy Channel and Julie Borowski’s videos, and come away much more informed and persuaded by Borowski’s videos.
Borowski agreed to an e-mail interview, and below is the transcript of the first of a two-part interview.
Big Hollywood: Congratulations on the CPAC award for “Best Video Blogger.” Your YouTube videos are very entertaining and persuasive of conservative and libertarian ideas. What is your goal in producing these videos?
Borowski: Thank you very much. My goal is to spread the message of liberty to as many people as possible. No one wants to watch boring videos. I can get a little unpredictable and downright goofy at times. But hey, if that’s what it takes to get people to care about the decline of liberty in this nation… then I’ll gladly do it. I have fun thinking of new weird things to do.
Big Hollywood: Now that you are rich and famous, do you still make these videos by yourself at home? Who does the editing? Have you considered adding a laugh-track or sound effects?
Borowski: Since starting to make videos, I’ve moved out my parents’ house. So that’s pretty cool. Ha, yes, I still make all my videos by myself in my bedroom: writing, filming, changing costumes, editing, etc. I go to the Party Depot frequently for new costumes so the cashiers probably think I’m a big time party animal … nope. Just being weird at home. I am trying to learn new editing techniques like laugh tracks and sound effects. Just one step at a time though …
Big Hollywood: What else do you do? I noticed you work for Freedomworks, and there are a few columns of yours at Townhall.
Borowski: Yes. I do have a regular column at Townhall and my day job is working as a Policy Analyst for FreedomWorks. I’ve been there for over three years now. I just started making videos on the weekends, completely separate from my normal job.
Big Hollywood: Growing up, did you always want to be a video blogger/columnist/trouble-maker?
Borowski: When we were little, my older brother and I liked to make silly skit videos. I was the co-host of his Late Night TV show where he would interview guests such as Barney the dinosaur and Bob Dole. But it was just us dressed in crazy costumes. Somewhere there is a video of us doing a Cops parody show. My brother was the police officer and I was the drunken troublemaker resisting arrest. I was maybe 8 years old. I never thought I would be making a fool out of myself on camera when I became an adult, but here I am.
Big Hollywood: Where did you get your humor? Did you have any favorite comedy acts or movies when you grew up? How about nowadays? What humor do you enjoy?
Borowski: My family has a wacky sense of humor. I grew up watching Conan O’Brien, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell movies, skit shows like Saturday Night Live and All That on Nickelodeon. I always liked to make people laugh. I love stand-up comedy. I always keep my humor on my YouTube videos clean. I get messages from parents thanking me for keeping it PG since their kids like to watch my videos. I don’t want to lose their trust. I think it’s incredible that 10-year-olds watch my videos.
Big Hollywood: Where did you get that facial expression? It looks like a mix between genuine surprise and “I’m trying to look strange.” Maybe an homage to Jim Carrey?
Borowski: I spent a lot of time alone as a kid so I practiced ridiculous faces in the mirror.
Big Hollywood: Is that a southern accent you have? I thought you were raised in Maryland, land of no accents whatsoever. At least that is what it says on Maryland license plates.
Borowski: Do people from Maryland not have accents? I don’t live there anymore but it’s funny to see people guess in the comments where I am from. Some think Boston. Some think Alabama. Others think my “accent” is fake. Nope, it’s real. It’s probably because neither of my parents is from Maryland. My mom once said something like: “you have a Yankee Polish father and a southern mother, you weren’t meant to speak normally.”
Big Hollywood: Where did you get your political beliefs? Any family, school, work influences that led to your libertarian/conservative views?
Borowski: The Internet made me a libertarian. My grandfather also had a lot to do with it. He is the most libertarian member of our family. I listened to him speak about politics and how dumb politicians were at the holiday dinner table growing up so that had a big effect on me.
Big Hollywood: I read an April interview of you by Joseph Diedrich of the Washington Times, in which you mentioned toning down your political views in college so that you would get a good grade from your liberal professors. There is this guy I know who did that when he was in the political science program at UC Santa Barbara. Would you also advise today’s college-age conservatives to tone down their political beliefs to get decent grades?
Borowski: I don’t know if I’m the right person to give that kind of advice. But yeah, I played the game most of the time. It worked. I wrote papers that I disagreed with but that helped me to understand the other side of arguments and their weaknesses. There was one liberal political science professor that I had for public policy class who was really interested in my libertarian views. He would always call me out during class to give the libertarian perspective on everything. It just really depends.
To be continued …