This Taco Break is brought to you by this interview in which Hunter S. Thompson is utterly flummoxed by his emotional involvement in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility:
(To Answering Machine) I had an interview scheduled with Hunter Thompson–
(Explosion of music over the telephone.)
Hey hey hey hi. Sorry, this thing is just dragging on longer than I thought. I’ll call you, I’d imagine, in like ten minutes.
(TWENTY MINUTES LATER.) Hello?
I got caught up in some goddamn weird old English romance of some kind.
Was it something you were writing, or reading?
I was watching a movie. (Yelling to someone in the room.) Sense and Sensibility, I think. I couldn’t believe it, I was wrapped up in this ancient goddamned thing.
Jane Austen, right?
Yes, it is.
I’ve never seen it, I think I’ve read the book, though.
Goddamn, I must be in a unique mood of some kind because I got completely into it.
Really. I wouldn’t think you’d like that.
I wouldn’t either. I’ve never been into Jane Austen, particularly. But that was well done. A nicely done movie.
OK, then. What is the state of the American dream today?
Oh, god. That’s a pretty pre-thought out, written-on-a-list kind of question. Not very good. Yeah, I would say not.
I’m unfailingly interested in hearing artists talk about what they love, and it can be especially interesting when the object of their admiration isn’t within their wheelhouse, when their affections don’t overlap with their skills or even their creative interests. Even to stay with Jane Austen, I’ve always appreciated this quote from Sir Walter Scott:
That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me.
I would say your tastes should always be larger than your talents: the ability to admire what isn’t, and can’t be, yours is crucial to the whole business of being human. So who are your favorite unlikely fans, and what do they love that doesn’t fit their own public image? Alternately, what is the state of the American Dream today?