Greatest Interviews of the 20th Century
September 20, 2007 1:50 PM   Subscribe

The Greatest Interviews of the 20th Century according to The Guardian. The interviews are with Princess Diana, John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Dennis Potter, Francis Bacon, Marilyn Monroe, Sex Pistols, Malcolm X, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro. You know who else is interviewed? That's right, Nixon. Oh, and there's a Hitler interview, too. Apparently he likes tea. So do I. Funny ol' world. [via Neil Gaiman]
posted by Kattullus (32 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the Hitler interview:
"Hitler today heads the largest party in Germany. Unless Hindenburg assumes dictatorial measures, or some unexpected development completely upsets all present calculations, Hitler's party will organise the Reichstag and dominate the government."
posted by ao4047 at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2007


What a fucking rotter.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:05 PM on September 20, 2007


"Hitler today heads the largest party in Germany. Unless Hindenburg assumes dictatorial measures, or some unexpected development completely upsets all present calculations, Hitler's party will organise the Reichstag and dominate the government."

I can't wait to see how this fine piece of political theater turns out.
posted by item at 2:13 PM on September 20, 2007


I don't get the inclusion of the Sex Pistols. I love the band, but it's a television interview that needs to be seen in that context. If the Guardian wanted to include a great punk rock interview, why not reprint something by the great Nick Kent?
posted by MrMerlot at 2:33 PM on September 20, 2007


Huh. I didn't read the others, but I found the interview with Hitler really interesting. It's so hard to understand how a whole dang country fell in love with that horrible little man, and it's hard to remember that there was a time when his name wasn't associated with millions of deaths. That interview gave some good perspective into what people thought Hitler represented before he had made his name for himself in history.
posted by Ms. Saint at 2:34 PM on September 20, 2007


Dennis Potter:
We all, we're the one animal that knows that we're going to die, and yet we carry on paying our mortgages, doing our jobs, moving about, behaving as though there's eternity in a sense...
posted by salvia at 2:39 PM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Speaking of the Sex Pistols, they're coming back.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:41 PM on September 20, 2007


Read the introduction to the Hitler interview and you'll see that a whole dang country didn't fall in love with such a horrible little man. The interview was written on the back of an electoral setback. Saying the whole of Germany loved Hitler is like saying the whole of the US loves Bush.
posted by MrMerlot at 2:50 PM on September 20, 2007


Capote on Brando (1957) is almost tabloid gushing - but lovely and fresh for all that.

(Though there's a terrific deadpan jab from Capote about the likely quality of Brando's current literary attempt:

"While he may not care to read fiction, he does desire to write it. The lacquer table was loaded with overfilled ashtrays and piled pages of his most recent creative effort, A Burst of Vermilion, a film script.")
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:57 PM on September 20, 2007


The interviews are with Princess Diana,

And that's where they lost me.
posted by signal at 3:30 PM on September 20, 2007


"Economic imperialism, like military imperialism, depends upon power. There can be no world trade on a large scale without world power. Our people have not learned to think in terms of world power and world trade. However, Germany cannot extend commercially or territorially until she regains what she has lost and until she finds herself."

"The political combinations upon which a united front [with another country] depend," Hitler remarked to me, "are too unstable. They render almost impossible a clearly defined policy. I see everywhere the zigzag course of compromise and concession. Our constructive forces are checked by the tyranny of numbers. We make the mistake of applying arithmetic and the mechanics of the economic world to the living state. We are threatened by ever increasing numbers and ever diminishing ideals. Mere numbers are unimportant."

"Our workers have two souls: one is German, the other is Marxian. We must arouse the German soul. We must uproot the canker of Marxism. Marxism and Germanism are antitheses."
He was pretty much right, you know. And he got it done. It just, um, results in millions of deaths and a world war, when you want to do things like that.

The American independent economic imperialism was humming along pretty well, too, until Cheney-Rumsfeld torpedoed the idea of a clearly defined policy. Or at least a clearly defined and articulated policy – they never tell anyone else what they're up to.

Nationalism is pretty popular even amongst the "good guys", though. Theodore Roosevelt in 1915: "Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance." Of course, someone's going to get all crazy about the fact that I'm comparing Roosevelt and Hitler – my point is that a discourse of "lazy commies" and nationalist fervor really can grab the attention of people anywhere. And hey, you only need 50% plus one and a couple of emergencies.

Ahem. Anyway. Good interviews, good post.
posted by blacklite at 4:08 PM on September 20, 2007


Dammit - I was collecting them. :-(
posted by Sparx at 4:12 PM on September 20, 2007


Thanks for the link. The Marilyn Monroe interview was well worth the time spent reading.
posted by Voivod at 4:38 PM on September 20, 2007


...you'll see that a whole dang country didn't fall in love with such a horrible little man.

Who is the "you" here that thought they did?
posted by DU at 5:08 PM on September 20, 2007


DU writes "Who is the 'you' here that thought they did?"

Ms. Saint seemed to be expressing this sentiment.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:32 PM on September 20, 2007


Awesome, the Sex Pistols were #8 on the list.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:38 PM on September 20, 2007


Mae West was fascinating. And F. Scott Fitzgerald:

"Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering - this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutory daytime advice for every one. But at three o'clock in the morning ... the cure doesn't work - and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day."
posted by misha at 6:58 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is there such thing as too attracted to Marylin Monroe?
posted by Alex404 at 7:30 PM on September 20, 2007


At least Hitler never expectorated on his fans.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:43 PM on September 20, 2007


I don't get the inclusion of the Sex Pistols. I love the band, but it's a television interview that needs to be seen in that context. If the Guardian wanted to include a great punk rock interview, why not reprint something by the great Nick Kent?

It happens to be one of the most famous TV interviews in British history. At the time it defined them.
posted by vbfg at 12:14 AM on September 21, 2007


Not that it's a great interview btw. That's pretty much universally acknowledged.
posted by vbfg at 12:16 AM on September 21, 2007


I guess Godwin's right out on this thread.
posted by hypersloth at 1:10 AM on September 21, 2007


re: nationalism, IMO, in the US, this has been, in the past, a means to unite the various states. These days, it's just the same old flag-waving bullshit used to monger up some war.
posted by Goofyy at 3:52 AM on September 21, 2007


(thankyou for this)
posted by hadjiboy at 4:12 AM on September 21, 2007


many thanks. youve officially killed whatever spare time i might have had left for my weekend.
oh, and kudos for any that i can listen to instead of read because im on a tight knittingforawedding (tm) deadline. heh.
thanks.
posted by stackmonster at 6:13 AM on September 21, 2007


If anyone's in too much of a hurry here are the diamonds:

Brando (a great piece of writing, done entirely from memory. Brando is already going a bit nuts.)

F. Scott (a great man staring into the abyss.)

Castro (more like an adventure story than an interview. It's amazing how far he took his vision)

Hitler (because you rarely hear Hitler in his own words)

Lennon (I don't even like the Beatles but this is great. He tears apart their legacy in a very bitchy way.)
posted by Geezum Crowe at 7:13 AM on September 21, 2007


Castro

That's my favourite so far. Just incredible to compare then to now
posted by Myeral at 7:27 AM on September 21, 2007


God, that F. Scott Fitzgerald interview is amazing. Great post.
posted by mckenney at 7:39 AM on September 21, 2007


F Scott Fitzgerald really needed a hug, didn't he?
posted by vbfg at 8:35 AM on September 21, 2007


Mae West: Do you know my idea of a wonderful time? Sex and chop suey.
interviewer:Together?
Mae West:No. The chop suey tastes better after.

They just don't make 'em like Mae any more...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:25 AM on September 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love Mae West so very much.

Mae on soft skin: "I always use baby oil. But the secret is it has to be warm, and you have to have a man put it on you - all over."


Mae on sex with and without love: Honey, sex with love is the greatest thing in life. But sex without love - that's not so bad either.


The first time I ever saw her play Diamond Lil, I swore that one day, I'd grow up and have that swagger, charm and wit. I'm not sure I ever made it, but damn...it's been fun trying. Heh. She really was an incredibly powerful woman to have an an idol. She knew what she wanted, and she reached out and took it. Bless her heart, I just love her.
posted by dejah420 at 1:04 PM on September 21, 2007


Very nice. I'm a huge Dennis Potter fan. The Singing Detective remains on of my favourite productions ever.

From Dennis Potter:

I call my cancer, the main one, the pancreas one, I call it Rupert, so I can get close to it, because the man Murdoch is the one who, if I had the time - in fact I've got too much writing to do and I haven't got the energy - but I would shoot the bugger if I could. There is no one person more responsible for the pollution of what was already a fairly polluted press, and the pollution of the British press is an important part of the pollution of British political life.


Not much has changed.
posted by juiceCake at 6:57 PM on September 21, 2007


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