Charlie Anders & Annalee Newitz (BSS #104)

Charlie Anders and Annalee Newitz are the co-editors of She’s Such a Geek.

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Authors: Charlie Anders and Annalee Newitz

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Rethinking his views on women.

Subjects Discussed: The gender divide in science and technology, whether empirical accounts can raise public awareness, present historical perceptions of gender in relation to past perceptions, female stereotypes, positive cultural portrayals of women, Trinity from The Matrix, Scarlett Thomas, the relationship between underground and mainstream culture, prognosticating gender roles, macho sentiment in the workplace, geek answer syndrome, sexual roles, jiggly breasts and video games, Ghost Rider, gender presentation vs. work performance, dress code, the “lawyer situation,” unisex possibilities, responding to Olivia Boler’s review, and the nature of geek.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Anders: Part of the problem is the stereotype that Larry Summers famously perpetuated a couple of years ago, the stereotype that women are naturally less adept at science and math. I blog surf all the time and web surf for the book’s blog, and I see lots of people say, “Well, but women just don’t have the spatial sense. Women can’t rotate five-dimensional objects in their sleep the way men can.”

Categories: Ideas, People

Ron Jeremy (BSS #103)

Ron Jeremy is the author of The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz.

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Author: Ron Jeremy

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Filled with gushing admiration.

Subjects Discussed: On being “the hardest working man in show business,” being covered by the New York Times Book Review, Eric Spitznagel as ghost writer, celebrity stories, Parkinson’s disease, Al Goldstein, on being a “walking publicity sheet,” The Boondock Saints, on being a “blithering idiot” when it comes to technology, the details and taxonomy of Ron Jeremy’s black book, on hooking up with girls, on whether Jeremy considers himself an artist, John Frankenheimer, being a mainstream character actor, Sam Kinison, 1970s porn vs. contemporary porn, cinematographers who have worked in porn and mainstream, being a workaholic, travel mathematics, declining virility, Viagra, on being overweight, responding at length to Susan Faludi’s 1995 New Yorker profile, the effect of bad publicity upon career, Tammy Faye and Jessica Hahn, the future of porn, and remaining in demand.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Jeremy: If I want to speak to a girl here in San Francisco, without that phone book, I can’t call her up and tell her I’m in town. Now you just saw me on the phone calling a girl, who called me last week or so, wants to see me. Her number’s in that book. Now it would be in my cell phone if she called me today. But by now, her number’s long gone from my cell phone. I don’t program numbers into my cell phone. I have a few. But I’d go nuts, because every time I change cell phones, I’d kill myself. That book is permanent, and I have numbers in there that are very, very important and some not that important. But to answer your question, why do I carry that book, it’s because it’s my phone numbers! Without that book, I couldn’t call anyone in San Francisco.

Categories: Film, People

Jane Ganahl (BSS #102)

Jane Ganahl is most recently the author of Naked on the Page.

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Author: Jane Ganahl

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Contemplating older women.

Subjects Discussed: Newsweek‘s controversial article about older women and marriage, the interrelationship between the “Single Minded” columns and Naked on the Page, why Ganahl left the Chronicle, how the book represented an effort to revisit the columns, on writing without instant reader feedback, on being “always right” as a journalist, the difference between writing for newspapers and writing a book, Mary Gaitskill in a punk rock t-shirt, debating the hook-up possibilities of literary events, confessional writing, writing as therapy, raising a ruckus among readers, Phil Bronstein, the future of women columnists, divorce, the institution of marriage, the current state of memoirs after James Frey, the San Francisco literary scene, name dropping, and shifting happiness.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Ganahl: I would write a column. I would think I was right. Because, you know, I did my research and everything, and I would get these torpedoes from people saying, “You’re so full of crap,” and I was really indignant. And, at first, I would dismiss it out of hand. Well, you know, I am not good at taking criticism. I’m really not. And that was a very new experience for me being a columnist, because, you know, I did pop music criticism. And when you do that, you also get some hate mail, but nothing like when you talk about your own personal feelings on things. It just took some time to learn. I still think I’m right. So obviously I haven’t learned it very well.

Categories: People

Martin Amis (BSS #101)

Martin Amis is most recently the author of House of Meetings.

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Author: Martin Amis

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Inveighing against Stalinistic safeguards.

Subjects Discussed: The relationship between Koba the Dread and House of Meetings, the Soviet experiment, the original format of House of Meetings, the critical reception of Yellow Dog, the effect of reviews upon Amis’s confidence, Time’s Arrow vs. House of Meetings, writing about the gulag in the splendor of Uruguay, comparisons between Soviet Russia and post-9/11 Western life, the unnamed protagonist in House of Meetings, parallels between Yakov Dzhugashvili and the protagonist, Joseph Conrad as model for House of Meetings, writing dialogue without quotes, social realism vs. the Martin Amis stylistic imprint, making light of Stalinism, second generation Soviet novels, responding to M. John Harrison’s observations about “the long way round to avoid a cliché,” settling upon a Russian patois, poetic references in House of Meetings, mythological references, the hangover metaphor, the protagonist’s uncannily resilient memory, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, the period of despair after Yellow Dog, and how Amis stocks up for future comic novels.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Amis: There were several very good reviews, but the bulk of them weren’t. And it wasn’t just the reviews. I mean, anyone who could hold a pen was queuing up to write some exultant piece about, you know, “Crawl away and die,” saying, “All we can do now is pity him” and all this and so over. Nice to have your pity, mate. I particularly value your pity. To feel such dislike centered on you and centered on your book. I mean, I’d been written about far from sympathetically for quite some time, but it was alright when they were just having a go at me and my character and my activities. But when they attack your book, in those terms, it’s much more painful. It’s like watching your child being scragged in the schoolyard. So, yeah, I think it wouldn’t have been human to have not felt that and felt it as a blow to your confidence, which is what it really is intended to be. I think Baudelaire said, if you’re a writer, all you have is your opinion of yourself and your talent and your reputation. And that puts food on the table. That’s your livelihood — it’s your opinion of yourself. So, yeah, I think my confidence was affected by it.

Categories: Fiction

David Lynch (BSS #100)

David Lynch is most recently the author of Catching the Big Fish.

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Author: David Lynch

Condition of Mr. Segundo: In absentia, terrified of meditation.

Subjects Discussed: Transcendental Meditation, true happiness, contending with stress, fear and anxiety, anger, the relationship between filmmaking and TM, inner happiness, walking vs. TM, Knut Hamsun, Einstein’s Theory of Everything, Dostoevsky’s 1866 publishing deal, on coming up with ideas, the art life vs. the business life, Frank Silva’s unexpected casting as Bob in Twin Peaks, and whether Lynch understands his own films.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Lynch: Let’s talk about suffering. Like in movies, people die. Well, you say, you don’t have to die to show a death. And there’s all kind of suffering and torment and all these things in a story. And, for me, those things come from ideas. Now when you catch an idea, you see the thing. You hear the thing. You feel and see and hear the mood of it. And you see the character. You almost see what the character wears. And you see what the character says and how they say it. That it’s an idea that comes all at once. And you know that idea.

Categories: Film, People

Tayari Jones (BSS #99)

Tayari Jones is most recently the author of Leaving Atlanta.

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Author: Tayari Jones

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Caught in the act of untelling.

Subjects Discussed: Drawing from personal experience, Atlanta, accessible metaphors, writing and throwing away many pages, conversational vs. literary tone, “This is not what Dr. King died for,” the West End neighborhood and half-gentrified neighborhood, class segregation, Aria’s naivety, antediluvian word processing machines, the racial divide in bookstores and literary readings, labeling in the publishing industry, achieving literary respectability while being labeled, The Bigamist’s Daughters, and omniscient narration.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Jones: No one ever believes my position on this. I think actually, as strange as it’s going to sound, the bookstores that tend to have the African-American section tend to carry more African-American titles than bookstores that don’t have these sections. For example, there’s a bookstore in DC, Kramer Books. You know, they pride themselves on shelving everything together. And they have hardly any books by people of color there. And with no section. There’s no way of keeping them honest. They don’t know what they have. And though they can feel very progressive about their shelving, my book isn’t in there.

Categories: Fiction

Charlie Huston (BSS #98)

Charlie Huston is most recently the author of No Dominion.

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Author: Charlie Huston

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Contemplating the socialist qualities of the sun.

Subjects Discussed: Dialogue vs. description, the influence of acting upon fiction writing, Raymond Chandler, dashes vs. quotation marks, Huston house style, Cormac McCarthy, one-word-one-period dialogue, indicative gestures, drinking and smoking, setting the vampire rules, unintentionally ripping off Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, the beginnings of the Joe Pitt series, verisimilitude vs. heightened reality, the book reviewing climate, critical opposition to genre and series novels, Stephen King, parallels between Moon Knight and Joe Pitt, cruelty to animals, and getting New York details right while living in Los Angeles.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Huston: When I was writing my first novel, Caught Stealing, I was writing it without any expectation or drive toward getting it published. It was while I was still an actor, but not employed. And I needed to stay busy creatively. And so I started writing something that I thought would be a short story, and it grew and grew and grew. But I wasn’t thinking about anyone else reading it, let alone having it published. I didn’t care about form. I didn’t care about format. Which is why a lot of the style has evolved through the books.

Categories: Fiction