July 7, 2005

I'm Not Jolly in the Morning

* Finally broke out and transfered to digital some old 45s. Here's an old family favorite:

old new york, by the silver jews

* From a 1976 interview of John Cheever by Annette Grant, published in the Paris Review

Grant: I was reading the confessions of a novelist on writing novels: 'If you want to be true to reality, start lying about it.' What do you think?

Cheever: Rubbish. For one thing, the words 'truth' and 'reality' have no meaning at all unless they are fixed in a comprehensible frame of reference. There are no stubborn truths. As for lying, it seems to me that falsehood is a critical element in fiction. Part of the thrill of being told a story is the chance at being hoodwinked or taken. Nabokov is a master at this. The telling of lies is a sort of slight of hand that displays our deepest feelings about life.

Grant: Can you give an example of a preposterous lie that tells a great deal about life?

Cheever: Indeed. The vows of holy matrimony.
Grant: Who are the people that you imagine or hope read your books?

Cheever: All sorts of pleasant and intelligent people read the books and write thoughtful letters about them. I don't know who they are, but they are marvelous and seem to live quite independantly of the prejudices of advertising, journalism, and the cranky academic world. Think of the books that have enjoyed independent lives. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Under the Volcano. Henderson the Rain King. A splendid book like Humbolt's Gift was received with confusion and dismay, but hundred of thousands of people went out and bought hardcover copies. The room where I work has a window looking into a wood, and I like to think that these earnest, lovable and mysterious readers are in there.
Grant: Have you ever written poetry?

Cheever: No. It seems to me that the discipline is very different...another language, another continent from that of fiction. In some cases short stories are more highly disciplined than a lot of the poetry that we have. Yet the disciplines are as different as shooting a twelve-gauge shotgun and swimming.
Grant: Do you feel drawn to experiment in fiction, to move toward bizarre things?

Cheever: Fiction is experimentation; when it ceases to be that, it ceases to be fiction. One never puts down a sentence without the feeling that it has never been put down before in such a way, and that perhaps even the substance of the sentence has never been felt. Every sentence is an innovation.

* Be glad you have not been asked to interview American Apparel CEO Dov Charney. [via] excerpt:

"...because Dov Charney likes to masturbate. A lot. In front of women. And female reporters. He also has no problem walking around nude or covered by just a small towel. He also likes taking pictures of his scantily clad models. Oh… and he’s slept with his employees. He’s pretty up front about his peculiar predilections - some of the articles reproduced on the American Apparel Web site reflect his unusual behavior. As far as I know, he’s never forced anyone to do anything they didn’t want to do. In interviews, his employees describe an employer who is somewhat unusual and a little manic but who is passionate about running an ethical AND successful business. Well ethical in so far as he treats his workers. Perhaps not so ethical with regards to potentially sticky sexual harassment situations.

"I bought the issue of Jane Magazine in question. Yes, Dov masturbated in front of reporter Claudine Ko. And he did other stuff. Here are the relevant passages, since Jane Magazine is not available on-line (nor has the article been reproduced on the American Apparel Press page):

"Ko goes to Charney’s pad late one evening for an interview session:

"Soon enough he loosens his Pierre Cardin belt.

"'Are you going to do it again?' I ask.
"'Can I?' he says adjusting himself in his chair.

"And thus begins another compulsive episode of what Dov likes to call 'self-pleasure,' during which we casually carry on our interview, discussing things like business models, hiring practices and the stupidity of focus groups.

"'Masturbation in front of women is underrated,' Dov explains to me later over the phone. 'It’s much easier on the woman. She gets to watch, it’s a sensual experience that doesn’t involve a man violating a woman, yet once the man has his release, it’s over and you can talk to the guy.'

"Ko claims that in the month she spent with Charney, she watched him pleasure himslef eight or so times. She ends the article by describing how she leaves Charney in New York, interview completed, and hails a cab. 'Then as I step into the depths of the backseat, I realize I don’t want this trip to end just yet.'"


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