Interview game redux

These are my answers to the five questions Amy posited to me.

(1) You have five bullets and a guarantee that you will never be prosecuted. Who gets the bullets, and why? (A single person is allowed multiple bullets, if necessary.)

Hmmm…If you're going to limit me to five, I'm going to have to be pretty judicious; I don't think I'm in danger of having to pump multiple bullets into the same person.
(1) Gallagher. I've always wondered if his head would explode like his melons.
(2) While we're at it, Carrot Top.
(3) And, what the hell, Pauly Shore, so we can finish off the ruling triumvirate of irritating "comedy."
(4) The Microsoft programmer responsible for Clippit, which if it were real would also get a bullet.
(5) My neighbor, who has apparently decided to form a thrash-metal band in his apartment and spent most of this afternoon letting the whole complex know about it.(2) We're both Netflix addicts, so I'm going to cheat and ask you the same question I asked Adam: If you were introducing someone to American movies for the first time, what movies would you have them see first? It can be as few as one or as many as you like. (Extra credit: a reason why you chose the ones you did.)

I think I'd have to pick out a selection, to demonstrate the various extremes of American cinema:

  • For the popcorn section, the most entertaining — although admittedly fairly mindless — big-budget studio moves, such as Silverado, Terminator 2 and Aliens. I’d also go with a lower-budget, but equally entertaining, choice like Pulp Fiction.
  • For the bizarre, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and a theatrical showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • For documentaries/non-fiction, Koyaanisqatsi and
  • For the best of independent cinema, Lone Star and Limbo (hell, pretty much the complete oeuvre of John Sayles, although we’ll start with those two), A Simple Plan, Happiness, and Requiem for a Dream.
  • For comedy, I’d go with both sharp, satirical, and/or black (Bob Roberts, In the Company of Men, Dr. Strangelove, War of the Roses, Waiting for Guffman, and perhaps American Psycho, although I’d recommend a reading of the book first) and lowbrow (Airplane!, Blazing Saddles, and A Fish Called Wanda).
  • (3) You did not have a television in your house when you were growing up, but your friends did. Did this choice in your house influence you in any way? If so, how?

    I think so. Probably most importantly, I read a whole hell of a lot more than I otherwise would have, and certainly more than most of my peers, although you could attribute part of that to the hegemony of ignorance in Arkansas and the concomitant, pervasive attitude that too much book-learnin’ is a dangerous thing. I think all of that reading helped to develop my grammar, writing, and vocabulary tremendously.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m not necessarily anti-television; I own one now, and I’m glad I do. But I realize that about 90% of what gets on the air is total shit, and I’m glad my parents made the choice not to have one in the house. If, through some horrible practical joke by the universe, I were to have kids, I think I would do the same thing.

    (4) Can you pinpoint when sarcasm became a lost art?

    Unlike, say, scrimshaw, I really don't think it has. It may have moved into a more rarefied circle, but, thankfully, I think it's still going strong, if my immediate circle of friends is any indication. Anyone who doesn’t realize that I’m being sarcastic just falls into his own version of The Most Dangerous Game, and I’m more than willing to participate.

    (5) Your parents are the only people I know whom I'd describe as "professional travelers.” How have their stories influenced you? What places would you like to visit, and which would you avoid, based on your own knowledge and their stories?

    Their stories have influenced me in a fairly general way — they always made me conscious that there was a world out there, which, as you know, isn’t always obvious when you’re in a small town in the South. It really broadened my horizons in many ways: culturally, intellectually, cuisine-ally, etc. Because of that, I never felt like I was trapped or limited in any way.

    As far as places I’d like to visit, I like my vacations to be restful and leisurely, so my first choices would be Hawaii and then either Ireland or New Zealand. Relaxing places. Places I could see on my own time, following my own itinerary. I detest the idea of “travel by checklist,” where you arrive in a new city or country with a list of things you simply must do, or you can’t say you’ve “done” the place (e.g., Alcatraz in San Francisco). I have friends who do that, who are convinced that if they don’t see the exact things laid out in the guidebook then they haven’t really experienced a place. Fuck that. Go off the beaten path, walk around, see what interests you, and follow your hunches.