Is the American model of the work week at all humane?
When I was a kid there was this show hosted by Walter Cronkite called The 21st Century–this was back in the late 60’s–and the only episode I remember was “The Four-Day Week,” about how advances in technology would free the worker from the tyranny of the punch clock and open up all this leisure time. It was all about happy and productive workers. I remember images of people in funny jumpsuits strolling through art galleries, and of families–in funny jumpsuits–picnicking and BBQing in the sun. Today–in the 21st century–a search on Froogle turns up 100 pages of listings for punch clocks and punch clock accessories.
Have you ever read Personal Days?
Nope. Heard good things about it, but never read it, alas.
Three dystopian achievements we will make in the next ten years…
1. Winter in July!
2. Water becomes a tradable commodity, I think.
3. Daddy, what’s a “book”?
Eight books that you’d like everyone to read in order to understand you better:
A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Connor
The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
Bartlett’s Roget’s Thesaurus (Little, Brown)
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
Miami Blues by Charles Willeford
Eight books that no one should read, ever:
Anything with the word “zombie” in the title
Any (auto)biography of any pro wrestler
Describe the mystery of self-confidence.
Never trust self-confidence. I’m a believer in the wisdom of insecurity.
Name someone from history who you wish had less self-confidence.
As a politician and public speaker: Hitler. I wish he’d stuck to painting.
Someone you wish had more self-confidence.
As a painter: Hitler.
If you could completely steal the plot of a novel and rework it only slightly, what plot would you choose and how would you fuck with it? (i.e. I’ve always liked the thought of Gatsby with Nick as a gay best friend–or an insurance salesman)
I’d take Henry James’ “The Jolly Corner” (OK, a story not a novel) and set it on the spaceship from the movie Alien. I think spaceships on interstellar journeys would be great venues for James’ interior, claustrophobic narrations.
Describe W.C. Fields as if he was a fictional character:
Ahab patrolled his quarter-deck, taking regular turns at either limit, binnacle to mainmast. “Water?” he cried, lifting his splintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl’s forehead of heaven. “Never touch the stuff! Fish fuck in it!”