Should Hillary Clinton be elected to the Oval Office in November, she’ll have the opportunity to right one of the wrongs that the State Department committed during her tenure as secretary of state. Forget Benghazi. Clinton would have the power to reappoint Andrew W.K., the self-described King of Partying, to the position that he was barred from taking in 2012 after the State Department deemed his image inappropriate for the role of cultural ambassador to Bahrain.
That foreign policy blunder hasn’t stopped Andrew WK from partying hard over the past few years outside the realm of politics — on his own accord, of course. In fact, Andrew W.K. will be doing his own kind of campaigning this fall. W.K. will refine his already-impressive oratorical skills for a trip around the country, billed as “The Power of Partying 50-State Speaking Tour,” to talk about this thing that we call life.
Salon caught up with Andrew W.K. by phone before he took his one-man show on the road to discuss how our current political climate affects his philosophy of partying, the origins of his speaking career and other ventures he’ll be involved with in the months and years ahead. The interview has been slightly edited for clarity.
You started your own “nonpolitical political party” called the Party Party. Now that the presidential campaigns are in full swing, are you paying attention to politics more these days?
Well, in regards to the Party Party and my speaking tour and my music work in general, I don’t pay attention to it at all. But in regards to myself as an individual and as a citizen, I pay a great deal of attention to it.
The other day, I was asking my lawyer how we’re supposed to go about our of daily life when there are so many issues, situations and circumstances vying for our attention — not just on a national and global level, but also on an immediate personal level — in our own day-to-day life.
And then even beyond the global, national and immediate daily concerns, we each have our own inner life, which is arguably even more complex and enough to consume nearly all of one’s energy and attention without one even having to be a selfish or overly self-involved person. What are we to do? There seems to be a wrestling match between wanting to be as attentive and responsible and involved in the world as we can, but also the rather disillusioning realization that no one really has the absolute obligation to do anything much at all.
So I was asking him about this and he said, “If you’re participating in civilization — on all levels — the level of a town, neighborhood, country or the globe, you do have some sort of obligation to be aware of that civilization, of that globe, of that community.” It doesn’t mean you always have the answers or even always have opinions about every single facet of reality.
And it doesn’t mean you have to understand the complexity of every aspect of every issue. But it does mean that you make a rigorous effort to be thoughtful, conscientious and committed to your membership in this organization called humanity. You’re essentially trying to be a good neighbor on both micro and macro levels. You’re deciding to care.