Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Oh, the Gore!

Via Mickey Kaus, we have a link to this amazing exchange between an LA Times blogger and Gore Vidal:
At the "Jarhead" post-party, I approached the respected author/playwright and all-round éminence grise, who publicists said would be amenable to speak with me for the awards site, The Envelope, about the film he'd just seen.

"It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Vidal. May I ask what you thought of 'Jarhead'?"

"What are you paying?"

"Excuse me?"

"You work for the L.A. Times and they have a lot of money. And I get paid for criticism."

"I'm sorry. I really can't pay you. Does that mean you don't want to talk about the film?"

Long pause.

"Well, do you have a dollar?"


Anonymous said...

we have already established what you are, now we are haggling over the price.

Jay D. Homnick said...

As a guy who writes for a living (and makes one), I understand this perfectly.

It works like this:

1) You never work for free. Bad precedent.

2) You always want to be able to refer back to "when I was engaged by the Los Angeles Times to comment..." without lying.

This may sound petty and to an extent it is, but it's part of the etiquette of this game.

Here's the flip side: Sharon Stone told me that Norman Mailer was once introduced to her in a restaurant, they exchanged a pleasantry or two, then he published an extensive interview with her that he concocted from whole cloth. Naturally, he cited that restaurant as the venue of their colloquy.

Anonymous said...

So sharing an offhand comment about a movie you've just seen is considered "work" for a writer.

And while the following stipulates that Sharon Stone was telling the truth, what does Mailer's misrepresentation have to do with Vidal's venality? It's not clear how paying Vidal a buck would insure against the type of fraud Mailer is alleged to have committed.

Brian Moore

Jay D. Homnick said...

I mentioned the Mailer story as an abuse by a writer of the "When I met So-and-so at Morton's..." kernel of truth.

Vidal, however, would be well within his rights to say "When the Los Angeles Times engaged to review Jarhead...", as long as he got that buck.

Any free-lance writer would do that in those circumstances; it is marginally misleading at worst.