Saturday, July 10, 2010

Charlie Rose and David Foster Wallace

March 27, 1997: Charlie Rose interviewed David Foster Wallace. These thirty-two minutes (edited from who-knows-how-many-more) appear to have been, to borrow a Wallace phrase, “hellaciously unfun.” Samples:

Rose: I want to talk about David Lynch, who after I read your piece in Esquire — was it Esquire? — no, Premiere, Premiere — I interviewed David Lynch. You never got to interview David Lynch.
More discussion of movies:
Rose: English Patient.

Wallace: You’re seriously asking me for my view on English Patient?


Rose: How about Shine? I’m going to go down [a list of] three, David.

Wallace: This is — a lot of this is going to get cut out, right?

Rose: Perhaps. But I’ll make the decision as to what’s cut out.
The best exchange:
Rose: Quit worrying about how you’re gonna look and just be.

Wallace: I’ve got news for you: coming on a television show stimulates your what-am-I-gonna-look-like gland like no other experience.
I’ve never been a fan of Charlie Rose, who often seems more interested in laying claim to authority and expertise than in listening to what his interviewee has to say. (Is it an interview, or is it a competition?) If you watch this interview, you’ll see that the David Lynch bit interrupts Wallace’s patient taking-apart of Rose’s out-of-nowhere assertion that respect is very important to Wallace.

Note too Wallace’s comment about his knowledge of “elementary arithmetic” (he knows that many people praising Infinite Jest could not have had time enough to read it) and his observations about belligerent questions coming out of nowhere after readings.

Me, I finished reading Infinite Jest last night. That’s all I can say right now.

Charlie Rose interviews David Foster Wallace (March 27, 1997)
Charlie Rose talks with David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Mark Leyner (May 17, 1996)

[“Hellaciously unfun”: from the 1996 conversation, Wallace’s characterization of contemporary avant-garde fiction.]

comments: 2

Unknown said...

I agree with you on Rose- although I do like him. Still waiting on my copy of Infinite Jest from the library- guess they don't have him readily available, Oh, and Happy Marcel's birthday.

Michael Leddy said...

Happy Marcel’s birthday to you too, Mari. I was thinking “July 17” — I should’ve checked.

(I still have Paris Requiem to read, not forgotten.)