Fran Lebowitz Is Never Leaving New York
April 10, 2020 5:00 PM   Subscribe

The writer on growing old, life in quarantine, and the sadness of seeing her city shut down. Interview by Michael Schulman for The New Yorker.
posted by valkane (19 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
This was so good. I identify so hard with feeling like "the designated New Yorker."
posted by ferret branca at 6:29 PM on April 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

She has always been so delightfully grumpy. Thanks for sharing this!
posted by kimberussell at 6:32 PM on April 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

These big New York art galleries, they’re so rich. I’m not worried that they’re going to close, and, if they did, so what? There will be art galleries. There aren’t very many small ones anymore, and that was caused by contagious unfettered capitalism, not a virus.

Depends on how you actually define "virus", honestly.
posted by hippybear at 6:38 PM on April 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Lebowitz is one of my small handful of NYC celebrity sightings. Note: it's actually hard to discreetly murmur her name to your companion, on account of the "tz" sound.
posted by praemunire at 6:41 PM on April 10, 2020

Like, honestly, can we get Fran to do something regular during this whole thing? I'm laughing myself to tears ("Every single thing that could be wrong with a human being is wrong with him."). I hadn't realized how much I needed a dose of Lebowitz right now, and how much I love her voice and her sentiments and how much I miss when she was around more frequently in print or on talk shows.
posted by hippybear at 6:48 PM on April 10, 2020 [11 favorites]

I saw a guy on the news the other night explaining how to open a package. First of all, he’s standing in a suburban kitchen the size of Grand Central Station. “Put this stuff over there.” Oh, no problem. “Leave it outside in your yard.” Oh, O.K.

My God I love Fran Lebowitz so much. All this and a Studio 54 joke!
posted by kalimac at 6:48 PM on April 10, 2020 [8 favorites]

Back in the '90s, I used to take Leibowitz room service when she stayed in the hotel I worked in—pretty frequently. She was cool to all us service folks.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:07 PM on April 10, 2020 [18 favorites]

I always enjoyed it when Fran Lebowitz was a guest on David Letterman's show, but I hadn't thought about her in years. I enjoyed that interview, I would have read the whole thing even if it had been 10 times as long, and still wish for more.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:10 PM on April 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

That was a great read. Fucking cathartic and hilarious. God I miss the East.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:23 PM on April 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

She seems cool. This is a really good primer on the mechanics of cognitive dissonance inside the mind of the American voter.
posted by klanawa at 6:43 AM on April 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been passing this interview around among friends and I think that "Last night, I was peeling a cucumber and I was infuriated" has become one of my favorite ever sentences in print - encapsulating my loathing of kitchen drudgery in one succinct take. If you're craving more Fran, The Paris Review has recently republished a 1993 interview with her.
posted by rdnnyc at 7:54 AM on April 11, 2020 [14 favorites]

As an aside, as a print subscriber, I can't easily tell what is online-only content; I want to save any good articles until I have them in my hand, and I have mostly ignored all the online-only stuff, because I can't figure out how to manage it, or organize my reading of it separately. Sorry if this makes sense to nobody else, but if you do have an organizing scheme, I'm here for it.
posted by stevil at 8:32 AM on April 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”

I could quote her all day long.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:13 AM on April 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

(Note: given a choice I also prefer reading the print version from my mailbox to online (and sometimes have to wait a while til after the discussion thread) but in this case I'm pretty sure that it's online only because this interview is in Q&A format, which they don't often do in print.)

Fran is a procrastinatin' genius. I also like that Paris Review link.
posted by ovvl at 3:14 PM on April 11, 2020

This is the best interview I've ever read.
posted by Mavri at 5:36 PM on April 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes, I loved nearly every sentence she spoke (or wrote or whatever). If you are on the fence about reading it, this article is worth it. The bits about hugging and Elizabeth Warren are very much 'I feel seen', the rest of the stuff was just a joy to read. So good.
posted by librarylis at 9:24 PM on April 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I also enjoyed this interview. But it really bugs me that we let people say things like
"the single most dangerous thing about Donald Trump is how unbelievably stupid he is"
and then five sentences later
"I think of the word “algebra,” because I don’t know what algebra is. I took Algebra 1 four times, because I failed it four times, and I still don’t know what algebra even means"
Maybe this is a derail but it bugs me that we unthinkingly accept this idea that one can be an intellectual and also be innumerate. I don't think the reverse is true: I don't think you can say "I'm really good at math but I've never read a book" and still be considered an intellectual.
posted by secretseasons at 6:52 PM on April 12, 2020

Show of hands - who considers "bad at algebra" and "innumerate" to be completely overlapping Venn curves? Oh wait, I'm Not Good At This "Algebra" Thing so I guess there's no way I can tally up the scores....
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:38 PM on April 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, that was a bracing tonic, and very much needed after the slew of pandemic optimization strategies I've seen posted. I have no desire to perform cheerfulness in the face of this overwhelming Suck, and resonated with Lebowitz's insight: "You know, Fran, you could go away and you could be in a very beautiful place with a cook, but then you’d have to be a good guest. I would much rather stay here and be a bad guest. And, believe me, I am being a bad guest."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:16 AM on April 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

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