We recently published E. Kristin Anderson’s clever “Ted Cruz Injures His Hand at a Party at the Governor’s Mansion.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
2) You manage the great trick of making the character relatable, yet detestable. How hard is it to pull off that balancing act, to make someone so hated/hateful come across as sympathetic?
I feel like what makes this work is how the Ted Cruz that you see on TV is very much all there is to Ted Cruz. Like I sort of assumed that this was true, but after a couple of these pieces hit the web, I learned that a friend of a friend of a friend apparently was his college room mate and was like yeah the dude is really that weird and evil. So I think the actual absurdity of Ted Cruz’ personality and beliefs and actions feed right into what makes the mundane bullshit that I’m writing somehow entertaining. Like I never wrote the Stevie Nicks piece from the original text I sent myself. I ended up writing about him being in a feud with a possum and tripping over his kid’s science project and having gross, wet socks after stepping in a huge puddle because it’s so plausible. And enjoyable. I should say that the last thing I want is to humanize Ted Cruz. He’s a 100% revolting human being who is too gross for even Satan to claim. He has an actual history of DOING MIME! That is real! I didn’t make that up! And former Speaker of the House and purported nice guy John Boehner—yes, a republican—once said, “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” So basically Teddy is so incredibly unlikeable and ridiculous that the only way to make him interesting is to give readers a reason to maybe feel bad for him. But not that bad. That pity/schadenfreude balance only works because the human filth vortex that is my junior senator is next-level uncharming. So for me, having him be a completely insecure menace to his own personal wellbeing is more interesting and believable than the Stevie Nicks thing. Anyway, I know way too many things about Ted Cruz now, even for a constituent. Like he’s a Sagittarius. And as a Sag myself, I really need to know his time of birth so I can do his full chart. For democracy. Or art. Whichever.