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The butterfly crusher: The Scott Fitzgerald’s Interview

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Michel Mok’s interview with Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most famous hatchet jobs of all time. Or at least, that’s how I remembered it, and that’s how Fitzgerald’s biographers usually characterize it – I just went back and looked at some of them. I can’t think of another interview of a literary figure that has featured so prominently in his own legend. And yet on rereading, it comes across as a more nuanced and sensitive portrait than I remember; if indeed I ever actually read it, as opposed to reading about it. I don’t know, maybe the full-frontal tabloid journalism of our era has blunted my own sensibility …

Mok is remembered as one of the villains of the Fitzgerald story, one of the history’s cloddish butterfly crushers. And while it’s true this interview did tremendous damage to Fitzgerald’s reputation (and there is a rumour that Fitzgerald tried to commit suicide having seen the piece), it can also be read as the mass-market version of his own “Crack-Up” essays – a vivid filling-in of the portrait of mental and emotional collapse that he limned somewhat abstractly in a series of autobiographical essays in Esquire that same year.

In September 1936, when the interview was published, America was still recovering from the Great Depression, and the 1920s seemed to many like the gaudy binge that had produced the terrible morning after. Fitzgerald was the spokesman for the flamboyant generation that emerged after the first world war, a representative figure who not only chronicled the era but who seemed to embody it. “For just a moment, before it was demonstrated that I was unable to play the role,” he wrote in a collection of essays, My Lost City, “I was pushed into the position not only of spokesman for the time but of the typical product of that same moment.” He and his beautiful wife Zelda provided at least one of the indelible images of the era when they jumped into the fountain of New York’s Plaza Hotel in evening dress after a night on the town. The Fitzgeralds were “flaming youth” personified, and for a few years they seemed to relish the role, during the years that Fitzgerald produced a significant body of work including one of the greatest artefacts of the jazz age, The Great Gatsby.

In retrospect, Gatsby reads like an epitaph for that era; it is, among many other things, a prescient forecast of the end of the party, a subtle critique of the glossy materialism of the era – although Gatsby sold far fewer copies at the time than This Side of Paradise, the novel that gave birth to the flapper era and made its author a star.

If being a spokesman for a generation is a fleeting occupation, being a symbol of an era is downright dangerous for anyone who has the bad luck to outlive it. In the next few years the expatriate Fitzgerald continued to publish stories about flappers and giddy undergraduates in the Saturday Evening Post even as he struggled with alcohol and Zelda’s increasingly unstable mental state. Travelling with Zelda in North Africa in 1930, he wrote about hearing “a dull distant crash which echoed to the farthest wastes of the desert”. When he returned to the States in 1931 he found a very different country from the one he had written about. By the time he published Tender is the Night in 1934, the privileged characters who populated his work were thoroughly out of fashion. The critic Philip Rahv, in his negative review in the Daily Worker, scolded: “You can’t hide from a hurricane under a beach umbrella.” The hurricane being the Depression, and, perhaps, the will of the proletariat.

For those who didn’t read the Daily Worker, or the New York Times Book Review, Mok’s interview provided a morally satisfying answer to the question, what happened to that guy who wrote about flappers and bathtub gin? His portrait of the artist as a broken-down failure was almost as indelible as the earlier stereotype of the gin-swilling golden boy. Having ceased to be a spokesman for his generation, Fitzgerald again became a symbol, this time of its flameout, like the apocryphal stockbroker jumping out of the window.

Mok’s portrait is unseemly, but it’s not unfair, and one of the things that makes it so poignant is Fitzgerald’s collaboration in his own depantsing. What possessed him, you can’t help wondering, to expose himself this way? It’s as if he has determined to be a representative figure once again, even at the expense of humiliating himself, to reaffirm his significance as a generational totem by portraying himself as an exemplary victim of its faults. What makes this document even more poignant, almost unbearably so, is that Fitzgerald seems to have undervalued the literary achievement that would one day resurrect his reputation, even as it would always remain intertwined with the tragic myth of his life.

· Jay McInerney is a novelist and the author of Bright Lights, Big City.

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Top 10 Quotes From Elon Musk’s Genius

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Regardless of whether we’re discussing on the web instalments, science, innovation or space travel, the name Elon Musk should fly up in your psyche.

Alluded to as the Nikola Tesla of our age, Elon Musk is a business person, business head honcho, speculator, designer, and innovator. This person unquestionably knows his way with cash. He turned into a multimillionaire in his late 20s when he sold his first new business, Zip2.

The founder of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX trusts in humankind and needs to change the world, and this isn’t merely pie in the sky considering. The man is really taking a shot at lessening an unnatural weather change and building up a human settlement on Mars to forestall human elimination. What more verification do you have to trust that all that you decided is conceivable?

Here are 11 Elon Musk quotes to influence you to begin taking a shot at your fantasies, regardless of how unimaginable they may appear to be at present.

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

It is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.

The first step is to establish that something is possible then probability will occur.

Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.

I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.

Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.

If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.

Life is too short for long-term grudges.

I take the position that I’m always to some degree wrong, and the aspiration is to be less wrong.

People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.

For more such quotes and talks, subscribe to Talk Column today!

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from the web. No copyright infringement intended.

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Top 5 Things We Picked From Cristiano Ronaldo’s Interview

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Cristiano Ronaldo has opened up about his life in his most cosy meeting to date with The Players’ Tribune.

The Real Madrid forward talks about everything from his first football memory, to his most significant minute in the game, and each inclination he had in the middle.

He additionally discusses his family, the two his folks who helped him achieve the highest point of the diversion, and his child, who helped him value the most important things throughout everyday life.

Underneath we have select five intriguing applies from the long meeting – 5 things you’ll certainly be intrigued to find out about the Portuguese.

Ronaldo played football on the roads… among cars.

Each adolescent has a type of memory of playing on concrete, regardless of whether it’s merely booting a ball against a check.

In any case, as indicated by future four-time Ballon d’Or champ Ronaldo, he used to play in the street, while autos were driving past. Thank the ruler there were no mishaps, eh?

He wasn’t prepared to leave home and battled at Sporting Lisbon.

Ronaldo appears to be the most satisfied person on the planet, yet at 11 years old he didn’t feel prepared to leave home for the Portuguese capital.

As per the man himself he battled at the Sporting Lisbon institute and was exceptionally achy to visit the family, just observing his folks once like clockwork. Luckily he stuck it out, and things showed signs of improvement.

He understood he was unique at the Academy.

It likely didn’t come as a lot of disclosure, considering the reality he would go ahead to end up the best player on the planet. However, Ronaldo can pinpoint the minute he knew he was extraordinary.

He’d show signs of improvement of his partners in preparing and was regularly lauded for his capacity. So, he conceded he was worried about being too little.

Turning into a father at Real Madrid made his chance at club additional exceptional.

It must be truly unique to advance out onto the pitch wearing the all-white Real Madrid strip and having the capacity to tell the world you’re a Los Blancos player.

Be that as it may, as indicated by Ronaldo, this has all been made additional unique by the reality he fathered his child while at the club, which he concedes changed his point of view.

Holding hands and strolling with child is his most memorable moment

Strolling as an inseparable unit with his child in Cardiff is his most loved memory.

All through the meeting, Ronaldo talks gladly about every one of the trophies he has won in his profession, however, concedes they implied more to him when he was more youthful.

Today he views his most loving memory as strolling around the pitch at Cardiff clasping hands with his young child after winning the Champions League. Favour.

We bet you found this amazing. For more such interviews and talks, subscribe to Talk Column today!

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from the web. No copyright infringement intended.

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DAVID BAILEY SAYS: “HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CROSS THE ROAD?”

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Mr. Bailey, would you swear in front of the Queen?

No, if you’re going to accept the Queen you have to accept the tradition. You know, I’ve got nothing against the monarchy. I think there are too many hangers-on, but that’s also a cliché thing to say. I doubt she’d be too shocked. She’s been around; she’s not stupid.

You recently took the official photo for her 88th birthday.

Yes and I think she looks incredible for 88. I had never photographed her before.

Why not?

I wouldn’t photograph anybody if they only give you five minutes. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if God phoned me up and said, “I want a picture, I’ve only got five minutes.” I’d say, “Well, work some of your magic and make it longer!” Even though I’m actually quicker than most and I usually get bored before they get bored.

What kind of people are the most difficult to photograph?

Lots of politicians are so full of themselves. Sports people too a bit. But actors are the most difficult because you never know who you’re photographing. They could be Hamlet or Lassie. But the fewer people they come with, the more interesting they usually are. Johnny Depp came with nobody so I knew it was going to be all right. Jack Nicholson never came with anybody, but Jack’s different because I’ve known him for so long.

You once said Jack Nicholson is the smartest actor because he knows something nobody else does. What is it that he knows?

I don’t fucking know. If I knew, I’d be as smart as him. (Laughs)

One of the things that fascinated me when I met him was his grin and the sparkle in his eye when he talked about women.

Yeah, with Viagra. He’s the first person that told me about Viagra.

When was that?

Oh, years ago. Before everyone knew about it! (Laughs)

“Actors are the most difficult because you never know who you’re photographing. They could be Hamlet or Lassie.”

When you know someone very well like you do Jack Nicholson is it easier to take a great portrait of them?

It depends. It’s one of those abstract things. We had a difficult bloke this week, what was he called? Van Morris or somebody… He was so grumpy. But I loved him being grumpy because I could use his grumpiness. I got a great grumpy picture out of him. If I see another picture of a rock ‘n’ roller against some graffiti… It drives you mad, the same old picture! Can’t they ever think of something different to do? So I don’t mind people that are difficult. I quite like that. It amuses me because there is always a way around it. I mean, no one could be more difficult than Van whatever he’s called, Van Morrison.

It seems pointless to have your picture taken if you’re not going to cooperate though.

Well he left really happy, Van Morrison. But it is kind of pointless to come here if you’re not going to help me. They might not like the picture, but one day they will. One day that’s what they’re going to look like – whether they look like that or not. Medici said to Michelangelo, “That sculpture doesn’t look like me.” Michelangelo said, “Listen, you’ll be dead in 20 years, but this will be around for 2,000 years. So, that’s what you look like!” You could say that a bit with photography.

Does it often happen that people aren’t happy with their portrait, but then years later change their mind?

Yeah. 10 years later usually. We had one recently, I won’t mention his name, I shot him 30 years ago and he said, “I hate the picture.” But his wife bought one for him as a birthday present recently. (Laughs) 30 years later and come get the picture.

Are celebrities more difficult nowadays than they were 30 or 40 years ago?

Well, I avoid celebrities. I’m not really interested in people that come with PR. That’s probably why I can’t work in America, because I don’t take all that bullshit. I don’t know how people like Bruce Weber manage, because it would drive me mad. All these silly people who don’t know anything that come with celebrities and try to tell you what to do. It’s madness! They brought it on themselves, the magazines. They should have been stricter. They should have said, “No, we’re not showing you. We’re doing the interview and that’s that.” But instead they pander to them and in the end they end up owning you. Those magazines are owned by the celebrities, really.

You don’t strike me as the type to pander to anyone.

I never really read what people write about me, but the comments people made when doing this exhibition recently at the National Portrait Gallery are so stupid. “Oh, Bailey panders to these people.” I don’t pander to anybody. I just do the picture I do. I don’t care who it is. And I won’t do pictures if people want approval. It has always seemed stupid to me that they ask you to do something and then want to sort of tell you how to do it. What madness!

Source: The Talk

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