Zooey Deschanel: ‘I always thought the world would get less bigoted, less racist’

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Zooey Deschanel’s thing is that she has those huge blue eyes, and a lot of magazines make the most of it by using some of her particularly “wide eyed” expressions in their editorials. But I have to think that the choice of this photo for Cosmopolitan’s cover was some kind of mistake? She doesn’t look “surprised,” she looks mad. Anyway, Zooey chats with Cosmo’s November issue because she’s promoting Trolls, the animated film. But the most interesting quotes are about humanity, social media and maternity leave.

On having to record a rap verse for a remix of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” for her new animated film, Trolls: “They were like, are you ready to rap? I was like, uhhh… Justin Timberlake was producing it. He was there, and obviously, I have great admiration for the man. I didn’t want to screw it up, but the one thing I can’t do is that. It was really scary, but Justin was a great coach.”

On her maternity leave from New Girl: “We live in a country that doesn’t give paid maternity leave. I felt very lucky to have an employer who was understanding and let me have, like, four months with my baby before I had to go back to work.”

On taking a break from social media: “A lot of very strange, tragic, sad, unfathomable things have happened… to the point where you’re like, no amount of thoughts and prayers can make this better. It makes me more reflective. I took a social-media break because everyone feels the need to comment on everything immediately. Sometimes, we need to be thoughtful about what we say.”

On humanity: “When I was growing up, I always thought the world would get less bigoted, less racist, and people would be more open-minded. For a while, I thought that was happening, but it’s been very scary the last few years. I really, truly believe that people are basically good in nature, and in the end, that prevails.”

[From Cosmopolitan]

“A lot of very strange, tragic, sad, unfathomable things have happened… to the point where you’re like, no amount of thoughts and prayers can make this better.” I think she’s talking about the inundation of violence, police shootings, mass shootings, etc? And I feel the same way – on social media, there’s the weird undercurrent of, like, grief-policing. You’re supposed to say “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and then people yell because you’re not being political enough and then if you are political, people yell at you for that. And I agree with her about the bigots and lunatics taking over the asylum – it has been “very scary” the past few years especially.

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Photos courtesy of Cosmopolitan.

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22 Responses to “Zooey Deschanel: ‘I always thought the world would get less bigoted, less racist’”

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  1. Juluho says:

    The world is getting less bigoted, less racist. I hope (I think) what we are seeing is the very vocal ending of a certain type of mentality.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      Great observation. I’m going to choose to think of it that way, otherwise the sense of doom is too overwhelming.

    • QueenB says:

      could be. it could also be we simply are more aware because of social media and the 24/7 newscycle.

      like the world has gotten safer but through media we perceived it as more dangerous because of course still unimaginable amounts of crime happens.

    • sanders says:

      I often think that too Juluho, that it’s the last gasps of an outmoded thinking. In 2042, whites will be a minority in America. This is a huge demographic and cultural shift and it’s making some people uncomfortable. There is no other way to go but figure out how to get along with each other.
      I love this sketch from Hari Kondabolu.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85fr6nbiMT4

      • Juluho says:

        That’s a great video, thanks for sharing!

      • sanders says:

        Isn’t it? He has lot more funny stuff on youtube .

      • Nn says:

        White people will not be a minority in America. Whenever birth rates for whites drop, the government simply expands the category to include others. This happened with the irish,Jews,Italians etc and it is happening now with hispanics.
        If you are specifically talking about anglo whites, power contrary to popular belief, does not come with a majority. Remember 4 people own 99% of our media.

    • Clare says:

      I hope you are correct, but I don’t think this is true. There has been a massive resurgence of the far right in Western Europe, so its not just the orange buffoon and his followers that should worry us.

      I think things WERE getting better, until the fears of the majority were stoked by opportunistic a-holes, and we have collectively taken a massive step back.

      • Juluho says:

        Things are getting better, I don’t think 10 years ago we would have the Supreme Court finally put gay marriage debate to rest, 10 years ago I think Target would have backed down. Not to mention we are finally addressing the confederate flag, police are finally (if not equally) being held responsible if they abuse their power. Obama was the first black president, Hillary will be the first female president. The laws that have been put in place in the last few years are huge, and people hate change. So they are very very very vocally dying. And I get you, I’m scared too but those vocal people don’t represent everyone, and I can tell you for certain that a kinder gentler generation is coming of age.

      • Clare says:

        Juluho – I agree with you on many of those points. In some ways, we, as humanity are moving forward. But globally, I don’t think so. Wish I had your optimistic outlook, and more power to you!

      • Justjj says:

        I think any time a disenfranchised group starts to reclaim power the powers that be will have a problem. The days of the opportunistic, isolated, (probably white) male plutocrat who can silently make shady investments, buy elections, profit from war and privatized medicine or prisons, and exploit people indefinitely without consequence or scrutiny, all without paying taxes, are numbered. People are simply more aware than they were in the past. Women are reclaiming their power: as world leaders, demanding equal pay no longer just in Scandinavia, earning a greater number of college and graduate degrees than men, etc; and the Internet allows us all to be more vocal about our personal stories and experiences. People of color are reclaiming their power too by publicly standing up to dysfunctional and discriminatory practices in criminal justice, in the ways social issues are discussed, etc. Half the world’s population is either Indian or Chinese. White people are already a minority, globally speaking. Also I think it will be sooner that 2042 that that’s true of the US. Those countries are seeing a huge proliferation of industry, commerce, and opportunity despite lots of problems but anyway the democratizing of information by way of social media and cell phones, has sped up the process of getting to know one another on a more global scale. I think a less bigoted and racist time is coming but it will still be a long time. In the mean time, I think it will continue to be a fight that we all need to participate in. People in power don’t like to lose. It’s utopian but may be closer to being a reality within 100 years or so. It’s a loooong ways away I think but at least conversations are happening on a national and global scale. Meanwhile. Zooey is pretty extra a lot of the time but I always have to admit she’s super cute. I think she looks pretty on the cover despite the angry face?

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I think it all moves in cycles. History does not suggest that we learn much about these things or that we evolve. Things always calm down or seem to move in that direction after catastophic events like WWII but in the end, we forget and go back to hate and violence until it escalates again and we are shocked into getting our sh*t together for another few decades. If we’re lucky.

  2. Lucy says:

    Say what you will about Zooey, but she has always known her sh*t. I don’t remember ever hearing her say ignorant stuff about social issues (I could be wrong, of course, but she’s no Dunham).

  3. Regina.Phalange says:

    Yes horrible atrocities have been occurring through history. The 1900s had many mass genocides (tens of millions of people in individual genocides)…. 8 million here, 10 million there, and all across the century. And before the 1900s through our history. We are becoming more globally aware, and now with social media experiencing the first hand accounts of what people are going through. Not to minimize the atrocities of now (Syria and more), but factually things are improving. And with social media, bad people are showing themselves, and here in America I don’t think a lot of us realized how many backwards ass awful people there are. But they are being exposed. More and more people are becoming aware, and in seeing these atrocities and hate are becoming more compassionate and loving, and this gives me hope. This is what I see and believe.

  4. whirldly says:

    It’s hard to imagine how people must have felt about the state of the world during and after WW2. (After because of how much more people learned of the holocaust and because of peacetime giving them the opportunity to reflect.)
    So the spectre of Trump throwing open those gates of unfathomable greed and racism – identifying people by race and/or religion, scooping them up and imprisoning or throwing them away… the suspicion and hatred he has for other races and the pure contempt he has for women…
    All of this makes me afraid for a return to the (bizarrely recent) past of monstrous fascists attempting to change the world itself.
    I too used to think time and evolution would lead to a better, kinder world. But no matter the leaps in technology and scientific knowledge, it’s clear hate and fear remain stubbornly lizard-brained.
    How are we supposed to image the future now with what appears to be such a failure of character evolution?

  5. poppy says:

    it is better. as the haters group dwindles and the more tolerant group grows, the haters gonna hate harder louder and with more vengeance.
    the US had a mixed race president for 2 terms and we are set to have a female next. growing up i was told that would NEVER happen in my lifetime and here we are!
    baby steps.

    it is better and can keep getting better if we all keep hold of ourselves and not be manipulated into the conspiracy of “the others” being 100% evil and scary and whatever they want to falsely lead us into believing to control us.
    every one needs to stay strong and remember ALL groups deserve freedom equal rights and protection under the law, even groups you personally don’t accept or understand. because what is done to the least is only a step away from happening to you and yours.
    there is a bad group of people (the elite, the corporations, et al) controlling our government, they have all the power and spend a lot of time and energy trying to divide America so they can keep themselves in the catbird seat. 99% of us just want to live and let live. we want to flourish but don’t feel this possibility comes at the expense that others can’t or shouldn’t. but there are some greedy mofos out there that want to enslave us all and to keep us from snatching back our liberty which means they have to divide us with fear and hate.
    that’s one reason abortion comes up every damn election despite the supreme court putting it to rest over 30 years ago. just one of the many diversion tactics they use to keep us all from seeing how easily manipulated our elected officials are and how we are loosing more rights and dignity with each passing year. they want us divided and distracted so they can keep the chaos and keep control. we can’t fix the problems if we are distracted and told incorrectly what the problems are.
    those that are voting for trump can easily ignore his awfulness because they feel the government has failed, which it has. they are so sick of politicians being kept by those that aren’t interested in the well being of our country but only their personal selfish pursuits. so trump supporters let their chosen media deflext his nastiness and spoon feed them the BS to believe trump isn’t so bad because he’s no career politician -despite his belonging to the group that gets all the rights and privileges at everyone else’s expense. and what they’re being feed comes with a hefty dose of denial intolerance fear and hate. and they are lost in misinformation and hopeless that any progress can be made in the giant stinking mess the elite have made for the rest of us.
    although i am voting for hilary (supreme court issues for me personally) i do believe she should be be watched with extreme scrutiny (they all do) because politicians are bought and sold so easily by the 1% leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves.
    Ok this ranting needs to stop apologies if you read it all.

  6. grabbyhands says:

    That’s because in normal species, they evolve in order to survive. Humans unfortunately, seem more determined on self immolation because they never seem to figure out that they’re repeating the same horrible mistakes. Worse, if they do realize it, they’re entirely okay with it because it gives them power over someone else.

    I want to be more optimistic about humankind, but I can’t. If this whole ugly election cycle has shown us anything, it’s that a sizeable number of people are more than happy to return to an era of hatred, inequality and fear. There is no waiting for them to die out, or we wouldn’t be seeing the ugliness (ugliness that people are PROUD to show) we are now.

  7. Angela says:

    I agree with her. Racism is much worse then four years ago. I see society going backwards with women’s issues , racism and violence . It is so awful and makes me quite scared. I am fifty now and 15 years ago women in society were treated with much more respect . I can tell a huge difference. And well as racism I used to talk with anyone regardless if race – now I don’t . People just hate different races so much. The global economy now means that most Americans will never own a home. Violence is just increasing – Chicago is an example of this . Multiple murders every week. World Religions are growing more conservative and trying to enforce their beliefs on others . Personally I think in 20 years the states will implode and be ruled by those who want ultimate power (who knows what race/religion that will be) and poverty will be rampant , and no order or law much like Africa and South America just my rant.

  8. detritus says:

    I do not believe people are naturally good.
    I think people are naturally selfish. The more I dig into psychology, the more I learn of the heuristics required to make a brain work. Those short cuts tend to lead to in-group out-group bias, so racism, sexism, classism etc.
    I think being kind and good takes work. Work and education.

  9. India Andrews says:

    There are billions of people on the planet. Those are a lot of minds to change.

    Silence doesn’t mean someone agrees. Silence means they are making a judgement that it is unsafe to speak their mind and they don’t want to deal with the blow back from speaking out. A lot of folks like Zooey confused silence with agreement. Until Trump showed up and didn’t give a flip what anyone called him, which gave the silent the courage to speak their mind. That is why the ugliness has flown into the public sphere in the way it has during this election cycle.

    Sorry to see someone have their bubble burst but there it is Zooey. The racism never went away. It went underground.

  10. Dids says:

    This cover of Cosmo has me puzzled… What the hell is “gym anxiety”?