Thomas Jane was nominated for a Golden Globe last week, but don't expect him to go check out his competition. In fact, unless he's forced to, he doesn't even watch his own show, "Hung." Or, as he tells TheFix.com, any of the other "in depth brainwashing that's done by CNN or any news show or any television show."
The 42-year old actor is a different breed in Hollywood, one who favors meditation over partying and gets his news from word of mouth and an occasional caught web headline, not cable news and Google alerts about himself. In his new interview with The Fix's editor Anna David, the transcript of which The Huffington Post has obtained exclusively, Jane says that the corporate-driven media, liquor, the education system and the collusion of big business and the government have brainwashed Americans into complacency.
"People's reactions to the world around them, if you give them drugs and alcohol, they tend to not worry too much that you're ripping them off on the parking meters and you're putting people in office that don't know what the f*ck they're doing," the actor says. "We can go down to the bar and complain about it there instead of going down to f*cking Congress and complaining to the people who really f*cking need to hear it, you'll find yourself down at the corner bar, yelling at the f*cking bartender, who could give a f*ck, is just waiting to go home and turn on the goddamn TV.
"I find a nation of sleepers and slackers, and it's not our fault, we've been conditioned to stay asleep... We wake up briefly, but by then we're too tired and shell shocked and beaten down to do anything about it, because we realize half of our life is gone," Jane continues. "Generally, the easiest thing to do is to fall back asleep and just sort of nestle in and wait for a bit until we slough off the mortal coil and call it quits. That's the metaphor in our film of death."
Jane has battled his own addiction issues, giving him an insight into the liquor-soaked despair that he says pervades the nation. That film of death, "I Melt With You," a Mark Pellington-directed drama about four friends (including co-stars Jeremy Piven and Rob Lowe) who get together every year for a lost weekend of drugs and partying to relieve the monotony of their lives, reflects this condition and despair. But while substances create some of our problems, Jane says they're really just a symptom of a brainwashing that starts at a very early age.
"That's what school is, it's a prison for your mind, and it's a travesty that we do this to our children, it's an open letter that Rockefeller wrote to the President of the United States saying, 'We need workers,'" he says, noting that he does not send his own children to American public schools. "And that's why we have the school system that we have in our country, is that Rockefeller said we need workers, people who follow directions, who are able to stay in one place for about eight hours a day, and people who fear authority."
John D. Rockefeller is famous for having said, "I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers," the quote to which Jane is referring.
As he told The Huffington Post in November, Jane sees the world waking up far too late in life to reclaim what has been taken.
"Really? I'm 40 years old and still wearing the same goddamn uniform that I wore in my 20s? So what's the new uniform -- a suit?" he asked rhetorically. "Well, okay, everyone wears a f*cking suit. With that, you're just a suit, you're a zombie, there's no self-expression. There's no individuality within that. So it's either blend in and become a zombie, or revert to your 20s. We got nothing."
Jane, for his part, says he has transcended that despair, but it took a real wakeup call: the night that he was hit with a DUI in 2008, he had been pulled over four times, including one time while asleep behind the wheel.
"I had just lost the will to be a part of the planet. It was a tough time. My friend died suddenly, and it was just a hard time. I was driving home from the funeral and it was late at night and I had a couple of whiskeys in me, and it was a very nihilistic time," he says. Coincidentally, he tells David his own TV celebrity also saved his life, when a cop asked him for his autograph. That, he says, made him reevaluate everything.
As he told Stumped.com in 2004, he understood, even before the arrest and the subsequent end of his substance abuse, that finding happiness is a matter of negotiating society's expectations and its confliction with natural impulses.
"Conformity is painful. You know it's too tight. Conformity leads to rebellion. So a desire for happiness is in direct conflict with a desire for freedom. You want to please society, you want to be happy, you want to be well liked, you want to be held in high esteem and be respected. These are real things. You want respect from your peers, respect from your loved ones, you want to be looked up to for your achievements and your accomplishments," he told the site. "All of this requires conformity in some form or another. It requires you to conform to laws or social norms or to societal pressures that we all abide by to get what we want which is respect. On the other hand there's a yearning for freedom, freedom from constricting bonds, freedom of the spirit, animal lust for life which is a very strong, compelling life force to follow our impulses, to be free."
For more from Jane, click over to TheFix.com.