The author on Lolita, his work habits, and what he expected from his literary afterlife.
Recounting an appearance on Letterman.
Close up, he looked depressingly young. At most, 35. He congratulated me on the series' renewal, the Emmy nomination, and said my network had handled my unexpected pregnancy well on the show's third year, arranging to have me seen only behind waist-high visual impediments for 13 straight episodes.
"That was fun," I said sarcastically. I laughed dryly.
"Big, big fun," Letterman said, and the audience laughed.
A profile of the NFL quarterback gone bust.
“Ebert: Sometimes we do really dislike each other.
Siskel: And sometimes we don’t.”
A profile of the D.O.C., the rapper’s rapper, who ghostwrote for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Chasing the embers of hedonism in Morocco and Tunisia, as Salafi mobs and new regimes wash over the brothels, beaches, and nightclubs of what used to be the Arab world’s most liberal cities.
A conversation with a 29-year-old approaching his apex.
How Bert Schneider, a well-heeled Hollywood producer with a coke problem and a soft spot for radical politics, smuggled Huey Newton, the leader of the Black Panthers who was awaiting trial on a murder charge, into Cuba in 1974.
“If I had been a straight-A student my whole life and had rapped about Jesus coming back to save us all, I wouldn’t get no media. The motherfuckers wouldn’t give a fuck about me. But since I’m telling the truth, and been through what I’m stressing and know what I’m talking about, I’m a threat.”
“It’s the American view that everything has to keep climbing: productivity, profits, even comedy. No time for reflection. No time to contract before another expansion. No time to grow up. No time to fuck up. No time to learn from your mistakes. But that notion goes against nature, which is cyclical.”
The author attempts to interview Grigori Perelman, a reclusive mathematical genius.
On the mid-sixties birth of America’s underground newspaper movement and the rise of The Realist, East Village Other, Berkeley Barb, and more.
The story of Brandon Teena, a 21-year-old transgender man who was beaten, raped and murdered by two friends after they discovered he was anatomically female.
Steve Jobs, age 29.
"It’s often the same with any new, revolutionary thing. People get stuck as they get older. Our minds are sort of electrochemical computers. Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them. It’s a rare person who etches grooves that are other than a specific way of looking at things, a specific way of questioning things. It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing. Of course, there are some people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their awe of life, but they’re rare."
At age 22, the author went undercover at his old high school. An excerpt of the book that became the film.
This is a litany to those of us in this field. “What more will the Negro want?” “What will it take to make these demonstrations end?” Well, I would like to reply with another rhetorical question: Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Negro is sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to him those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America? I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the Negro for his freedom.
FRANCO: “Straight” and “gay” are fairly recent phenomena. One of the things the great book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay World, 1890–1940 is about is the way those labels have changed behavior. Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine. Whether you were considered a “fairy” or a “queer” back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior.
Today, in the electronic age of instantaneous communication, I believe that our survival, and at the very least our comfort and happiness, is predicated on understanding the nature of our new environment, because unlike previous environmental changes, the electric media constitute a total and near-instantaneous transformation of culture, values and attitudes.
An interview with James “Jimmy” Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters which had recently been described by Attorney General Robert Kennedy as “the most powerful institution in this country—aside from the United States Government itself.”
Six months after playing an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival, a rambling Dylan holds forth on style, songwriting, and fame. “People have one great blessing—obscurity—and not really too many people are thankful for it.”