Even though girls inevitably move on— whether to Harlequins or Anna Quindlen or Don DeLillo—for many of them, their first favorite author, the one who taught them what to want and what to envy, is likely to have been a ghostwriter hired by a team to distill the essence of middle-of-the-road idealized teenage life.
Like Salinger’s retreat from fame, Chappelle’s departure demanded an explanation: how could any human being have the willpower, the chutzpah, the determination to refuse the amount of money rumored to be Chappelle’s next paycheck: fifty million dollars.
Without knowing his history, Dave Chappelle’s decision to figuratively toss his gold medal into the Ohio River does seem like a bizarre, illogical act that abbreviated a successful career on its ascent. But was it illogical? Hardly. Revolutionary? Possibly. To turn his back on Hollywood, to walk away from the spotlight because it was turning him into a man he didn’t want to be—a man without dignity—was a move that was, in a way, Chappelle’s birthright
I have an abundance of dryer lint in all different shades of grays and whites. I usually fashion baby wigs with the stuff. Can you suggest other creative uses for my fuzzy matter?
I cannot. However, I would caution you to remember it’s not the destination but the journey where dryer lint, like so many things in life, is concerned.
America has always been able to countenance beggars, short-con men, and nine-to-fivers who just can’t get ahead, but we’ve never known what to do with the type of person who could have been really big but chose not to make the concessions required.
The Believer takes a look at the paradox of Nelson Algren.
I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.
Rebel girl, you are the queen of my world.
An excerpt from Brian Joseph Davis’ forthcoming Believer interview with Mark Leyner, whose third novel, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack will be published in March
THE BELIEVER: You killed the character of “Mark Leyner” at the end of The Tetherballs of Bougainville and in the new novel there is no Leyner character. Despite a 14-years-long gap, it seems like you had a consistent plan with where your writing was going.
MARK LEYNER: I know it seems like I made some great religious repudiation of fiction writing. I wish! I should. But it’s a very easy thing to explain. In terms of the work I did feel like I should stop for a while. I thought at the time, looking at I Smell Esther Williams throughThe Tetherballs of Bougainville: here’s a full demonstration of these postulates; here it is, to the extent that I’m able to do this and show how this might be done and okay; that’s good for a while. I also remember trying to resist this as a career. It is my life. The most deeply felt, most profoundly felt thing that I do is this work, but I was trying to resist this idea of having a new book every couple of years so you could renew your membership.
BLVR: It’s easy to have that panic though.
ML: It is. And when I had my daughter and started thinking about money in a certain way some opportunities to write scripts came up and I saw script writing as a tangential adventure, a more lucrative version of journalism or teaching. The idea of me doing that seemed much more outlandish than script writing—I’m not a good teacher.
This adventure isn’t over, I’m still working on some projects but something interesting happened to me, and it’s a great deus ex machina. I got hit by a car in L.A. when we were doing postproduction on War Inc., which completely fucked my knee up. I flew back and I couldn’t walk for a while and just started reading in a different way. It was an enormously galvanizing experience to me and I decided: it’s time. Enough time had passed and I had ideas on how to proceed without just redoing something I’d already done. I was making progress on the novel—it was due sometime—and I had at least a hundred pages of notes for what I was feeling was the last third of the book [The Sugar Frosted Nutsack]. Then I got an incredible case of the flu, or maybe I’m just being vain about it. But this is my version of the flu and I’m lying in bed, and I can be very dramatic when I’m sick. I moan and thrash and ask people to bring me things. I’m hot then cold. I couldn’t eat anything. My wife brought me food from McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts and I couldn’t even eat that. I had a complete, universal revulsion about everything, including my book. Not what I had already but all my plans for it. It was an enormous problem and I decided on a radical upheaval in the book, which turned out to be the perfect thing. I can’t imagine what the book would have been like if I hadn’t done that. It involved inventing two characters. One of those that had been very peripheral but became very important is Meir Poznak. I needed a character to come and dramatize or express my revulsion at a long, well crafted dénouement. It was sickening me that I would fall prey to that! The book is fated from the beginning and I was very clear about this. I wanted the reader to feel as if everyone knows this story as it’s an epic based on a myth.
While we are stoked on Davis (of Joyland and The Composites) and Leyner’s discussion, the video that accompanies this preview is wonderful too, in part for the opportunity it provides the viewer to witness Charlie Rose saying the word ‘corndog’ twice in a short succession.