Register Thursday | July 2 | 2020


"I interviewed Claire Danes the other day, over the phone."

I interviewed Claire Danes the other day, over the phone. I think it was my first real non-local, A-list celebrity interview, and it was weird.

I remember Adam Nayman from eye magazine telling me about interviewing Jennifer Aniston in a hotel room while her bodyguard sat next to her on the couch. Obviously, this was a phone interview, so there were no bodyguards around, but her publicist warned me beforehand not to ask any questions about her personal life.

Which makes sense, because her personal life is all snarled up in this movie she's promoting right now (Stage Beauty - with Billy Crudup - surprisingly raunchy and fun). But for some reason when I was interviewing her I felt very careful, like I was probing a sprained ankle. Like her fame was something kind of swollen and tender that I didn't want to handle too much. That's probably a terrible attitude to go into an interview with - not shy; my tape recorder continues to render me fearless - but delicate.

But I feel like there's something so barbaric about fame; no, not barbaric, pagan. I guess this isn't original or nothing, but I just realized right now how exactly the way people talk about celebrities is like the way the ancient Greeks talked about the gods. All the sex and scandal and power and intrigue, blown up huge.

So okay, reading Us Weekly isn't caused by a malaise peculiar to our times; it's probably the product of some flickering cluster of dendrites deep in our lizard-brains, some entrenched electrochemical propensity to worship, to fetishize - to reify - to abstract people into a kind of narrative currency, like animated, reproducing baseball cards.

And if all the celebrities went away, the gods would come back, presumably, or the saints or the knights of the round table or - what would it be? Spacemen? Archie comics?
Anyway, Ms. Danes has a very slow, insinuating voice, and she's funny. I liked her (but then, I like everybody).


In other news, my apartment normally smells like some more or less pleasant combination of laundry detergent, garlic and dust. The other day, it had an unfortunate fridgy undertone due to some long-forgotten bean sprouts, but now it's more like very slightly overripe apples, which is acceptable.