Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke by Brigitte Lacombe
Linklater I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like Jesse and Celine are alive in some parallel universe at all times.
Hawke I feel that way, too.
Delpy You guys are so New Age.
—Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy* Discuss ‘Before Midnight” (SPOILER ALERT)
*Richard Linklater is also part of the discussion; I don’t know why the title left him out.
After reading numerous interviews and profiles of the three of them (as a group and separately), you would, too, know how the questions tend to follow one another and what the answers are. But the cool thing about group interviews is that even though they might be saying the same things or variations on a theme over and over, their dynamics is like a well-rehearsed improv. Hawke is often the goofy romantic like Jesse, but you can tell Delpy is not Celine (her snark is like balsamic vinegar in a salad). And it reflects in the films (and in the interviews) that her trajectory ends up being about trying to fight off this patriarchal narrative of romance, career, and marriage.
Delpy and Hawke’s performance in the films is sometimes mistaken as improv, while in reality, the more “painless” a scene comes off—the kind of acting that does not get recognized at awards—the harder they had to work on it. Aren’t our best relationships sometimes like well-rehearsed improvs? Deciding how you want to make it work, if you want to make it work, is the hard part. The rest can be rhetoric.
04:19 AM • 16 May 2013
Rilke was probably here:
Rilke was probably not here:
04:47 AM • 30 April 2013
Jane Austen, Game Theorist
1. Emma has arguably the most opaque web of characters in Austen’s novels. As with life, the central paradox is like that of a chess game: the more detached you are from the game, the more clearly you would be able to see its rules and patterns. Very few succeeds at being both spectator and player at the same time. It’s a detective story: Which characters understand this? Which don’t? At the risk of what consequence? What is clarity worth?
1.1. In this light, with Emma, Austen also challenges reading novels as an empathetic activity. (Austen has also said Emma would be a character no one likes but herself.)
2. As Kate Zambreno has observed, the conversation in the nineteenth-century marriage plot is how do women survive in the world. Lots of strategizing involved there. Big surprise.
3. Who said Jane Austen wrote “romantic comedies” again?
4. There is obviously also a lot of strategizing in modern romantic comedies and modern marriage plots. There is often some kind of “plan” or “steps” involved (and a sidekick who either advances or destroys the plot.) But these are often material or existential strategies—a superficial makeover of appearance and manners, or of character. Austen’s makeovers are more of makeovers of human networks: the plans of who to know, what to know about whom.
4.1. Jane Austen might also have invented friendzoning.
5. ‘“Anyone interested in human behavior should read Austen because her research program has results.”’
6. If there is a book like Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, there should a book called Jane Austen For Boys.
6.1. The answer to why that hasn’t existed yet is not “because I haven’t written it.”
7. Unsurprisingly, the Times managed to take an angle that makes me angry even about an article like this, asking a professor who has a diagonally opposite approach to literary studies, who has not even read the book, to comment: ‘“These ostensibly interdisciplinary efforts are sometimes seen as attempts to validate the humanities by attaching them to more empirical disciplines.”’—Jane Austen does not need your validation.
8. Why do we keep seeing the study of Humanities as something that needs to be justified? (Chicken-and-egg?)
8.1. Other than the fact that we are usually the most useless and obsolete species of society.
9. Pop criticism is at least relevant because it is concurrent. I am still trying to find a comfortable outlet for these two voices in my head—my ambitious but ineffectual academic writing, and my more direct but reactionary minute observations.
10. Forever wanting it both ways.
10.1. Which makes Dear Television and Kate Zambreno(’s Heroines) heroes of sort.
P.S. Coincidentally, a year ago I tweeted, “I feel useless all the time. It doesn’t stop me from doing more useless things.” And here, today, I am guilt-ridden about the privilege of being useless.
11:53 AM • 24 April 2013