Q&A: A talk with one of the "Grouchy Historians"
The book is described on Amazon as something that “reclaims the Constitution from the right-wingers who think that they and only they know how to interpret it.” Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger released the book in October 2017. The Daily Wildcat Arts & Life Editor Pascal Albright talked with Asner about his book and the message behind it.
Daily Wildcat: What motivated you to write “The Grouchy Historian?”
Ed Asner: Well, Ed. Weinberger and I were complaining to each other about the state of affairs and the fact that we can’t get together — there is no compromising that goes on now as did in the old days. So out of that sprang the “Grouchy Historian” and what transpires today in terms of what people accept and what they don’t accept. The Second Amendment, of course, was a big part of that, but [the book] occupies all areas of life, all areas of our thought. We decided that for far too long, the Republican side — the right side — has taken the Constitution as belonging to them, and we are the interlopers. Now we decided to write something that contested that.
DW: How much research went into the book?
EA: Ed. Weinberger did most of the research and most of the writing. We always agreed on what we had to say. It took about a year. Ed. Weinberger may contest that by saying he has been working on it for years, but my introduction into the combat took about a year.
DW: Where did the title “The Grouchy Historian” come from?
EA: Well, I tend to be seen as a grouch by most people, so you don’t have to look too far. Both of us are fascinated in and sucked in by history, and we can’t get enough of it. I think it’s primarily why I am an actor, because of my love of history. I think Ed. W. feels the same way.
DW: What does your ideal audience for the book look like, and why should people read it?
EA: Well, we revolve around the liberals contesting the claim by the right wing that the Constitution belongs to them, so we wanted to prove that the Constitution belongs to every one of us. I think it’s going to be very interesting that if Mueller doesn’t come up with something for Trump, to bail his ass, the world will be looking at Trump in 2020 and we are going to be arguing the same positions all over again: Whoever the Democrats choose and His “Majesty” Trump. So we will be dealing out these questions and suggesting answers in 2020, just as we are now.
DW: What are you looking forward to when visiting Tucson?
EA: I love Tucson. I did El Dorado there and brought my family and we discovered Old Tucson. We were out there constantly, and I love Tucson. I love the fact that Tucson is more liberal than Phoenix. It’s a fine university town as well.
DW: Why Tucson Festival of Books?
EA: Why? Because a problem exists. We are tired of the NRA dictating to the right of our elections and what is God’s word, and we decided to contest all of that. A well-armed militia is what was intended, not a well-armed citizenry.
DW: Do you have any advice for younger readers or actors?
EA: Well, there are two sides to every question, and unfortunately one has to shout out and speak out in the terms of one’s position nowadays, or he will be overridden by the enemy and the opposition. I consider myself a liberal, as does Ed. W. I believe in limitations to riches and more benefits to the poor. To younger actors, you have to find the truth in the statement and find your passion.
DW: Are you looking forward to anything while at the Tucson Festival of Books?
EA: The nicest thing is that it’s great and nice to be invited to be there. But the nicest part about attending the festival is I get to go back to Tucson. Keep the weather that way, or when I get there, I will be looking for your ass.
Follow Pascal Albright on Twitter