Wednesday March 31st, 2010

No Accounting for Taste

thatcherMark Athitakis recently posted an interview with David Lipsky, whose book, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, will be published in two weeks. Lipsky had been assigned by Rolling Stone to interview Wallace just after Infinite Jest had cannonballed into the cultural pool, and the two Davids spent five days together. The original piece never ran. Lipsky recounts to Athitakis some of the most entertaining, productive, and disappointing moments of the weeklong interview. In this funny (and, depending on your politics, disturbing or very disturbing) section, Lipsky talks about Wallace’s feelings for a certain Prime Minister:

And he was very funny about music (“I have the musical tastes of a thirteen year-old girl… I am a bonehead who listens to the radio”) and sharp about movies (“Tarantino is such a schmuck 90 percent of the time, but ten percent of the time, I’ve seen genius shining off the guy”), even about a pop star like Alanis Morissette: “She’s pretty, but she’s pretty in a sloppy, very human way. A lot of women in magazines are pretty in a way that isn’t erotic because they don’t look like anybody you know. You can’t imagine them putting a quarter in a parking meter or eating a bologna sandwich.”

And then the music talk led to this ministerial surprise. “The Alanis Morissette obsession followed the Melanie Griffith obsession. It was preceded by something that I will tell you that I got teased a lot for, which was a terrible Margaret Thatcher obsession. All through college: posters of Margaret Thatcher, and ruminations on Margaret Thatcher.” I asked if it was sexual. “Sensuous, perhaps. It more involved—having tea with Margaret Thatcher. Having her really enjoy something I said, lean forward, and cover my hand with hers.” It was such an extraordinary conversation I was happy to follow anyplace he wanted to go.