Category: Journalism

9 Questions for Errol Morris: The Nation 4/17

Jon Wiener: Donald Rumsfeld grins a lot in your movie “The Unknown Known.”  The most memorable thing about this film is his grin. What do you make of it?
Errol Morris: Supreme self-satisfaction. Cluelessness. Inability to deal with the reality of what he’s done.
continued at The Nation, HERE or HERE

Gore Vidal: At 10, I Wanted to Be Mickey Rooney: TheNation 4/7

Mickey Rooney, who died April 6, had many fans, including 10-year-old Gore Vidal. “What I really wanted to be,” Vidal wrote in his memoir Point to Point Navigation, “was a movie star: specifically, I wanted to be Mickey Rooney.” The inspiration? Not the “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” musicals Rooney made for MGM with Judy Garland—it was his role as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Max Reinhardt and released in 1935, when Rooney was 14. “I wanted to play Puck, as he had,” Vidal recalled.
. . . continued at HERE

When Peter Matthiessen Was Silenced by his Publisher: The Nation 4/7

Peter Matthiessen, the legendary writer who died April 5, had one of his most important books withdrawn from publication for seven years as a result of attacks by government officials and the cowardice of his publisher, Viking Penguin.

It’s a story overlooked in many of the obits. Published in 1983, In The Spirit of Crazy Horse provided a passionate and solidly documented account of the events that culminated in a 1975 gun battle on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota between FBI agents and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) that left two agents and one Indian dead. . . . continued at, HERE.

Q&A with Edmund White: The Nation 3/27

Jon Wiener: A lot of what you’ve written celebrates “the golden age of promiscuity” in 1970s New York. That seems at odds with the gay marriage movement today.
Edmund White:
First, I was opposed to gay marriage because it seemed like one more way that gays were wanting to assimilate. When I realized the Christian right was so opposed to it, as well as tyrannical governments in Africa and Russia, I thought, “It must be a good thing to fight for.” Now I have a confession to make: I got married in November to my friend Michael Carroll, whom I’ve been with for nineteen years. At least we didn’t rush into it.
continued at

I Hate Genre: Q&A with John Banville/Benjamin Black: LA Review of Books 3/15

Q. There have been something like 14 John Banville novels, books that go in the “literary fiction” section of the bookstore and that win the Man Booker Prize; and as Benjamin Black you have now written eight books, and they go into the “mystery” section. So we have high and low, art and craft, poetry and plot; is that an okay way to talk about Banville and Benjamin Black?
A. No. I hate it. I wish they didn’t do that. . . .
. . .continued at LA Review of Books, HERE

The Talibanization of Hindu History: TheNation 2/14

When Penguin Books announced on Feb. 11 that it would withdraw from India and pulp The Hindus: An Alternative History in response to a lawsuit claiming the book “has hurt the religious feelings of millions of Hindus,” it was only the latest in a series of surrenders by distinguished publishers in the face of militant Hindu fundamentalism….
…more at HERE

7 Questions for Rachel Kushner: The Nation, 2/13

JW: you’ve said there are disadvantages to the paperback.
Yes, I said this softer edition is less useful for protecting yourself against the blows of an officer. I was kidding around, remembering the episodes at UC schools in California where people at demonstrations used books to protect themselves from riot police.
. . . continued at  The Nation, HERE.

Pete Seeger’s Biggest Day: The Nation, 1/28

November 15, 1969—“Vietnam Moratorium Day”—nearly half a million people gathered on the mall in Washington DC, to protest the war, and Pete Seeger was on the stage. “I guess I faced the biggest audience I’ve ever faced in my life,” he told me in an 1981 interview. “Hundreds of thousands, how many I don’t know. They stretched as far as the eye could see up the hillside and over the hill.”  The song he sang was “Give Peace a Chance” . . .
. . . continued at, HERE.

When Nixon asked Haldeman about Philip Roth. . . . L.A. Review of Books 1/25

RICHARD NIXON didn’t talk much about American writers. On the White House tapes, which recorded his conversations from February 1971 to July 1973, there’s no mention of Norman Mailer, John Updike, or Gore Vidal. There’s no mention of best-selling authors of the era like William Peter Blatty of The Exorcist or Frederick Forsyth of The Day of the Jackal. But Nixon did talk about Philip Roth.
NIXON: What if anything do you know about the Roth book?
HALDEMAN: Oh, a fair amount
. . . continued at LA Review of Books, HERE.

Gary Shteyngart Q&A: The Nation 1/23

JW: You spent your first seven years in the Soviet Union—what was your 7-year-old understanding of communism, of Lenin himself?

GS: Let’s start with Lenin. One of the biggest statues of Lenin was in Leningrad right outside our window. I loved Lenin so much that I would wake up every morning and hug his pedestal. When I was 5, I wrote a book called Lenin and His Magical Goose, in which Lenin and a talking goose conquer Finland and make it a socialist country. I very much wanted to become a soldier in the Red Army, or a cosmonaut. I wanted to try to launch an attack against the United States and make it safe for socialism.
– – – continued at The Nation, HERE.