Guests on this program were: Slash Jonathan Katz Jamie Dettmer Linda Dano [ Cheers and applause ] Bill: Well, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. That's a very nice reception. I appreciate that. Listen, Ken Starr's in trouble, and that's always interesting news here. He has apparently been accused, and it looks like it actually happened, of leaking. And I don't mean Olestra. [ Laughter ] I mean, he admitted that he was talking to the press when he shouldn't have. And now it's interesting. The White House -- get this -- is calling for an independent counsel -- I'm not kidding -- to investigate the independent counsel. [ Laughter ] And -- that's the truth. That's not the joke. [ Applause ] And Ken Starr today fired back. He said, "I will not allow some witch-hunt by Clinton to interfere with my witch-hunt." [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Well, nasty business over in the Balkans. Some sabre rattling going on. NATO and the American warplanes buzzed Macedonia and Serbia today to show that we mean business, that they cannot start another bit of ethnic cleansing there in this Kosovo region. If you don't know what's going on there, it's mostly ethnic Albanians. They're Albanians but they're treated like second-class citizens by the Serbs. And the final straw was last week when the Serbs voted to end their bilingual education. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Now, here in this country, another horrible school shooting today. And last night President Clinton was in Oregon talking about this at the site of the last school shooting. And he put the blame partly on Hollywood for the school shootings. He said if it wasn't for Hollywood, Charlton Heston would just be another anonymous gun nut. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Oh, we kid, Mr. Heston. Also GM is on strike. That's a terrible thing. It's -- many people are out of work with this. And I don't know if this is just a ploy by the head of GM to get the people back to work, but today, the head of GM met with the head of Nike -- [ Laughter ] -- And asked him if he thought that 8-year-old Indonesian boys could put together a Chevy Tahoe. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] And finally, some good news, at least for one guy. Our astronaut -- I forget the man's name. I should know. Man, he spent four months up on the Russian space station mir. That's quite a tour of duty. Four months. Got home yesterday, and they say he's fine, his family says he looks good. He's just a little tired and he keeps peeing in a Ziploc bag. All right. Thanks for coming. It's all been satirized for your protection. [ Applause ] Panel Discussion Bill: All right. Let's meet your panel. An Emmy-winning actress and designer. She plays Felicia Gallant on "Another World." Her book is "Living Great." Linda Dano! Linda! [ Cheers and applause ] Hey, nice to see you. Thank you for coming. Appreciate it. Yeah, yeah. The senior editor of "Insight" magazine -- Jamie Dettmer! Jamie! [ Cheers and applause ] How are you, sir? Good to see you again. [ Applause ] He is the Emmy-winning star of "Dr. Katz: Professional therapist." His new season starts a week from today. Jonathan Katz! Yes, sir. [ Cheers and applause ] Jonathan: how are you, sir? Bill: How are you? Good to see you. And finally, a rock star from Guns 'n' Roses and Slash's Snake Pit. Our old buddy Slash is over there! [ Wild cheers and applause ] Hey, you. Been so long. How are ya? Good to see ya. All right. Well, I mentioned President Clinton today in the monologue there about talking that he was in Oregon yesterday, and he laid the blame for the school shootings. He said three things -- Hollywood, the violence that we see in the media, easy access to guns and lacks parental supervision. I think he's probably right on the money with that combination. It's a pretty lethal combination. But some people extend that. Now, there was a kid who killed himself last week because he said he left a suicide note saying, "Hey, if you want to know why I killed myself, watch 'South Park.'" Now, that's on Comedy Central, your network. Used to be our network right here. Jonathan: What you don't hear about, Bill, are all the kids who kill themselves because "Three's Company" wasn't very funny. [ Laughter and applause ] You know? Bill: And not just kids. Linda: No, a lot of adults. Jonathan: Producers. Linda: Mostly. Slash: I almost did it last night. I watched it last night. Bill: "Three's company"? Slash: Yeah, you can't sleep when "Three's Company's" on. It's like you're just about there. [ Laughter ] Jonathan: I was onto something. Bill: When the bands break up, it's not good. [ Laughter ] But what do you think about that? I mean, this kid put a -- 12 years old, and he put a plastic bag over his head. And if you've not seen this show "South Park," it is a cable phenomenon. It's got huge ratings. They never forget to remind me that it's got bigger ratings than we got when we were on Comedy Central. And it's a cartoon where the kids are very vulgar, and every week there's one character named Kenny who kills himself. Slash: No, he gets killed. Bill: He gets killed. Slash: I'm a big "South Park" fan. Bill: You are a big "South Park" fan. Linda: By another kid? He gets killed by another kid? Slash: By whoever. Just somebody kills him. Linda: But every week? Slash: But, Kenny's dead, you know. Bill: Kenny's dead. Slash: "They killed Kenny!" Jamie: Hollywood always tries to spend a -- a great amount of time explaining how they don't influence what people do. But they spend a lot of money, hundreds of millions of dollars, for example, trying to sell their product, as well -- Linda: Well, they want to get your attention. Jamie: -- with advertising companies. And the next minute they're saying, "Well, people don't believe what they read or see." I mean, popular culture does actually influence what we do. Linda: But they do. Jamie: And that doesn't get away from personal responsibility, but Joseph Goebbels knew that in the 1930s. If you dominate broadcasting and you keep sending a message out, it influences people. Slash: Right. When, say, Guns 'n' Roses was the pinnacle of focus, in the rock 'n' roll business, at least, at that time we were -- the only thing that really -- it wasn't even how good of musicians we were or anything, it was about how extreme we were, you know? And everybody was following us around to see if we got drunk and beat up somebody, or if somebody got naked at a show, or whatever. And we were on the cover of every tabloid, you know, basically having no real artistic validity whatsoever. It was all about -- [ Laughter ] It's true. [ Applause ] Linda: And did you feel responsible? Did you feel responsible? Slash: Well, we had a lot -- what I was going to get to is we had a lot of incidents happen at concerts where people actually committed suicide in groups, where we had four people jump off the rafters in South America. Jonathan: It had more to do with the sound system, I'm sure. You know, you pay good money for tickets, and you can't hear. Slash: What I was told -- [ Laughter ] What I was told was there was a certain bridge that was coming along, and they waited for it and waited for it, and they all swan-dived. That's some 300 feet. And so, I mean, as far as I'm concerned, we have artistic license to say whatever it is that we want to say, but at the same time how we influence the way people think, I know that -- Bill: Right. I mean, "Helter Skelter" was the song that Charles Manson said inspired him, but you'd hardly blame the Beatles. Slash: Well, you know, I mean, everybody did, though. A lot of people did. Linda: A lot of people did. [ All talking at once ] Bill: But the Beatles didn't even know they were writing it for him. Linda: They weren't, of course. [ Laughter ] Slash: I mean, I don't think John Lennon expected to be shot because of some crack he made about Jesus, either. But people do, they believe everything they read and they see in the media, you know. Jamie: Well, I mean, one of the problems is we don't have that many other controls. You got various churches which are now into moral relativism. Or they go to the other extreme and try to be true traditional, like the Southern Baptists are now saying, you know, the wife should obey the husband, when it should be an equal partnership, obviously. At the same time, you've got parents who are not looking after their kids, either. Who are not guarding them. Linda: But doesn't it start with the family? I mean, doesn't it begin there? Isn't all of our problems sort of about the fact that there's complete chaos in families, and everybody kind of does what they want? [ Applause ] It is easy to say, but, God, you got to start somewhere. Jonathan: I was going to say, that's how easy it is. You beat me to it. But when I was a kid, watching Superman as a kid, many kids my age, I was 9 years old, 10 years old, went up on the roofs of their houses, put towels around their neck and jumped to their death. Does that mean that these kids should not have access to towels? [ Laughter ] Or something funnier. Bill: Yes, I know what you're talking about. Superman jumped off buildings. Right. Slash: At some point you've got to take responsibility for yourself. Jamie: There's a difference between Superman and, let's say, "Natural Born Killers" or "Reservoir Dogs." I mean, I find them totally different. And if kids can get, you know, to late-night TV, their parents aren't around, they can watch -- Linda: Exactly. That's what I'm saying. Bill: Well, if they can get to late-night TV, I certainly hope they get to this show first. We have to take a commercial. We'll be right back. ************ Bill: All right. We're talking about media responsibility, and so forth. Now, last week there was an incident at the White House. There was a state dinner for the head of state of South Korea, who was here. And so, they invited some Korean Americans. One of them is a video artist named Nan Joon Pac. Okay. This man is in a wheelchair, he's disabled. And he got up to shake the President's hand, and his pants fell down. [ Laughter ] I'm not kidding. Slash: I thought he did it on purpose. Bill: No, he did not do it on purpose. Linda: Supposedly he's not been well, and he lost so much weight that his pants fell. But he didn't have underwear on. Bill: He did not have underwear on. [ Laughter ] And there was a full ten seconds -- and to be naked in front of the President for ten seconds is a long time. Slash: His old lady does it. Bill: Unless, you know, you're a chick, but -- [ Laughter ] Jonathan: Everybody wants to be in showbiz. I mean, you know that. That's part of the issue. Bill: But wait a second. Now C-SPAN covered it but edited this thing, and then they expressed some regret that they hadn't shown this. And my question is, why show this at all? Is this news? Does anyone need to know this? Linda: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. First of all, the man was in a wheelchair and he -- I mean, this wasn't like a bit that he did. He wasn't trying to get a date with Clinton. [ Laughter ] Although -- Bill: There are easier ways. Linda: Yeah, there are easier ways. [ Laughter ] A lot easier ways. Though, you know, I think it would have been in bad taste. You don't agree with me, Jonathan, I know you don't. Jonathan: No, I'm just -- Linda: Did you want to see it? Bill: No I didn't. Linda: Did any of you want to see it? [ Laughter and light applause ] No, you didn't. No, you didn't. Bill: Of course people want to see a lot of things, but that doesn't mean they have a right to see them. Slash: It should have been a political blooper and he'd done it on purpose. That would have been funny. But all things considered -- [ All talking at once ] Bill: You mean a performance art statement? [ Laughter ] Slash: We've all done it. Bill: We've all done it? [ Laughter ] We've all dropped trou in front of the President? No. Slash: If I'd thought that, you know, had I got the chance to meet the President and thought -- Linda: You would have dropped your pants? No, he wouldn't. Jamie: No, but the trouble is if you who -- if it had been done as performance art and you had shown it, it probably would have been -- Slash: Basically what I'm saying is when it comes down to it is no, I think you have a choice to what you're going to air and what you're not going to air as far as the news is concerned. And I probably would have left that out. Bill: Yes, I don't know why the public has a right. There is no right of curiosity, nor should there be. Jamie: The public does have a right to know. On that particular issue, no. But I mean, if you're talking about private lives, we have this nondebate about privacy and politicians and all the rest of it. And we seem now to be in a situation where it's an almost noblesse oblige. We're not meant actually to look at the private lives of politicians. Linda: But we do. Jamie: But with the magazines -- well, I think we should. I mean, are we going to go to China -- Linda: We do really? I know more about Clinton than I ever need to know. [ Laughter and applause ] Jamie: Yeah, but we did a story recently at "Insight" magazine which got us some criticism about the governor of Colorado. Linda: I remember. Jamie: And the reason we ran the story -- we didn't look for it, it came to us -- is because the governor had saw two successive elections, denied having a long-term romance -- Linda: Did you pay for that story? Jamie: No, it just came to us. We didn't look for it. We had a long editorial debate about whether we wanted to run that story. In the end we did, because it was a matter of public trust. Bill: It was a matter of selling. Jamie: No -- Bill: Come on. What does it matter? Oh, please. [ Applause ] Stop it with that long public -- yeah, I've heard that before from magazines. "We debated. The editorial integrity of our magazine's to report that someone did something" -- Jamie: Yeah, because we knew we were going to get a huge amount of criticism. We did. It didn't put up our sales at all. Linda: Did you sell more magazines? Jamie: No, we didn't. If you've got a politician who claims -- you know, who's setting himself up as an ethical paradigm and preaching to everyone else how we should behave, it is the role of the press -- Bill: Well, he's not doing that. Jamie: He was. He came as an ethical paradigm into the Democratic National Committee. He ran on a strong ethics line and family values line in Colorado. He lied in two successive elections about it. Are we not meant to then write about it? Of course we are. One of the fundamental roles of the press is to strip away hypocrisy. Slash: I was just going to say maybe he's that politically sexually charismatic t hat it's just everybody's drawn to that angle. Linda: Oh, no, I hate that. I hate that. Slash: I'm kidding. Come on. Linda: Okay. Slash: He's like the first rock star President that I've seen so far. Linda: Are you planning to run? Slash: No. Talk about, you know -- no. Linda: No. [ Laughter ] Slash: Would you want me -- ? It's close. He plays saxophone pretty good though. Jamie: You weren't born here anyway, were you? Slash: I wasn't born here, yeah. Linda: Did anybody show that in the press, the photo of the man in the wheelchair? Bill: Not that I saw. Linda: Not that I saw either. Slash: Real quick, before I forget though -- and this isn't politics, but the simple fact that they showed the guy that shot himself on the freeway, and then they ran it. Bill: Same deal. Slash: I mean, they had enough time to think whether this was savory or not savory, I think. I mean, I don't know if it was -- Bill: They did. They had plenty of time. Slash: I didn't actually see if it was live. Bill: All they really needed to say was, "Traffic is backed up." [ Laughter ] Slash: Yeah, exactly. Bill: All right, I got to take a commercial. We'll be back. [ Applause ] Bill: All right. I want to talk about airlines here for a minute, because I have always been an advocate that the government should only get involved with what they absolutely have to. But for some reason they are having testimony heard in house committees this week and last week on airlines -- which is wrong to me, but okay. Among the things that they're hearing testimony on are carry-on luggage. This is our government, our tax dollars at work. What? Slash: I'm guilty for that one. We always come in with four guitar cases and walk up to the door. You know, you get up to the plane and go, "Can we store these somewhere up here? And we have to, they're expensive guitars." Jamie: You're the guy that makes me about an hour late. Slash: Exactly. I'm sorry. When I first saw the stuff on the news about they were going to control the luggage situation -- Bill: They want to -- Slash: I was like, "I'm so guilty of that." Jamie: There are other things they should address, like stopping the nonrunning commentaries by the pilot who wants to be, you know, the host of the Bill Maher show. You know, as you're flying across, they're going, "Well, if there wasn't a cloud down, there you could see the Grand Canyon." Bill: I hate that. Shut up and drive. I always want to say that. Linda: I hate that, too. Bill: I'm not on a guide bus. Linda: I hate that. Slash: I've never once looked, actually. Jonathan: Nobody wants a pilot with a sense of humor. During some turbulence my pilot said, "There's no reason to panic, unless, of course, you haven't done everything you've ever wanted to do." [ Laughter ] Bill: But if I may get to the issue -- not that this airline material isn't funny. [ Laughter ] Jonathan: Oh, it's wonderful stuff. Bill, I've tried this in the clubs. Bill: Jon, I know you have. But they also heard testimony about the problem of dangerous, unruly passengers. [ Laughter ] Jamie: That's you again, isn't it? Bill: This question isn't for anyone in particular. No, I'm sure you haven't -- Jamie: What about dangerous, unruly stewardesses, who won't allow you -- when the pilot won't switch off the seat belt sign for like an hour into the flight, you're dying to go to the bathroom, and they won't allow you? These unruly stewardesses -- Bill: Just go. Linda: What airline do you fly? Jamie: All of them. All of them. Linda: Aren't they talking about liquor mostly? Bill: Yes. There's one -- Linda: And sex? Bill: Sex? Linda: Sex. [ Laughter ] Truly. That people drank -- Jamie: And what airline are you talking about? Linda: Well, I've rode all of them, too. That they drink on board and sexual things are happening in the seats. Slash: Flying is like a contained environment to test -- to test everybody on the plane to see what you can get away with. Linda: With respect to the families -- Jonathan: Bill, have you posed a question yet, because I have an answer. You should get there. [ Laughter ] [ All talking at once ] Bill: I didn't realize -- Linda: What do you want? Say it. Bill: Okay. Linda: All right. Bill: They're now floating this idea that they are going to ban alcohol on flights because they had so many unruly, dangerous passengers. Slash: I have been on enough flights. It's not that many. Bill: No. [ Laughter ] Exactly. 921 last year, they said they had incidents of dangerous, unruly -- Jonathan: How many airlines? How many airlines? Bill: Of all the flights, exactly. Linda: 921 is workable. Bill: Exactly. There's many airlines, many flights. Jamie: The question is how many unruly passengers will there be who are so nervous of flying that if they don't get any alcohol, they're gonna go berserk? [ Laughter and applause ] Slash: Also -- just plain boredom will do it. You fly from here to Australia, if they don't give you a drink, they're dead. [ Laughter ] I tried to jump out of a plane once. Bill: You tried to jump out of a plane. That would be considered unruly. Slash: I've been cool ever since then. They tied me down, I was like, "Okay." Linda: he's part of the 921. [ Laughter ] Jamie: Most alcoholic flights I've been on haven't been in the U.S. It's the planes that are taking British workers from Britain to their six-month tour out of Saudi Arabia. And they come out of those planes -- Jonathan: You know, I don't mind giving up my air time to this gentleman, but you are less dynamic than me, and I refuse -- [ Laughter ] -- To be cowled by you. [ Applause ] I will not -- Bill: All right. We'll take a break and then we will come back. [ Applause ] Bill: All right. We were talking during the break about youth smoking, and Linda and I, both ex-smokers. [ All talking at once ] Jamie: What kind of therapist is this? Linda: He's not smoking. Jonathan: I just snapped. I'm a perfect gentleman. Jamie: You're just jealous I've got smaller glasses than you have, I do. Linda: I think they're bonding now. Yes, they're making up. Bill: Well, I was gonna say -- Jonathan: But if they take us very high up in the sky, they should make rules. That's my point. I rest my case.