08 March 2012

Shit Franzens say

I was sorry that while Jonathan Franzen and I overlapped a little in New Orleans, I had left by the time he hunkered down on Tuesday night at Tulane to give a talk about why he hates everything and Edith Wharton isn't pretty enough. Just kidding! It was part of the school's "Great Writers" lecture series.

Jami Attenberg was, and from her report here are my three favorite quotes:

  • "I am committed to endings…I can no longer be mistaken for a post-modern author."
  • "Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose."
  • "I was taught to be nice to people, which is my credo even though I seem to have some small gift for offending people without intending to."

Sadly I missed the ensuing #jonathanfranzenhates series of jokes (in short, everything). According to the Tulane report he also said "Writing a novel is an experience. The process is more important than the product," which I'm definitely not sure I agree with. But Jonathan Franzen surely hates when we speculate on his process, and the best way to get us not to is to drop hints like this constantly and submit to major magazine profiles. Obviously.


D.H. Sayer said...

Franzen is the Lars von Trier of the literary world. I can't stand to hear either of them talk, but I think their work is very good.

Wade Garrett said...

I don't understand the uproar over Franzen's most recent article. His comments -- that she would probably be more widely read today if she was more attractive -- is impossible to prove, but it is probably accurate. A major theme of that essay was about how we, as readers, take authors' biographies into account when analyzing their books, and that both Wharton's looks and her enormously inherited wealth effect how we read her stories. I thought that, if Franzen's comments had been made by another author, they would not have been as controversial.