A friend went to a lecture with Q&A that she gave at our local university...apparently Miss Didion replied only with "No" when asked questions and sighed dismissively, then ran off. My friend said she was seriously weird.
A friend went to a lecture with Q&A that she gave at our local university...apparently Miss Didion replied only with "No" when asked questions and sighed dismissively, then ran off. My friend said she was seriously weird.
|by Anonymous||reply 135||10/26/2014|
She's old. And she lost both her husband and her daughter in one year. Give her a break.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||12/08/2012|
Oh yeah? Well, how long is she planning on riding that?
|by Anonymous||reply 2||12/08/2012|
You were expected to intuit her answers through the power of magical thinking. Sheesh.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||12/08/2012|
She seems incredibly cold and aloof. It comes through in her writing, too. She's a cool customer. This makes it difficult for me to enjoy her more personal writing -- because she comes off as a clinical robot.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||12/08/2012|
Just her name has always seemed snooty to me.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||12/08/2012|
Well, it is a snooty name.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||12/08/2012|
It's not just the tragic loss of her husband and nutcase daughter. She's always been this way. Cold, cold, cold. Socially inept. Too convinced of her own brilliance to speak to the lowly fools who buy her books, much less answer their questions.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||12/08/2012|
And this surprises you, OP?
|by Anonymous||reply 8||12/08/2012|
I bet she's just terribly shy and insecure along with being very intelligent. Taking her aloofness personally would be a mistake.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||12/08/2012|
Back when it was socially permissible Ms Didion always used to sneak little acid bolts of homophobia into her work. Her he-man dead husband did the same.
Maybe your friend has gayvoice.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||12/08/2012|
Sometimes I think she is snooty, but then I remember her story of trying to float orchids in the pool and making a mess.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||12/08/2012|
Caitlin Flanagan wrote an article published in the Atlantic (linked) earlier this year about Didion that drove her worshippers wild, if the comments are any judge. She more or less suggests -- and I agree -- that "Blue Nights" isn't quite as wonderful as the things she produced in her youth. And she speculates--maybe this is over the top?--about possible reasons for Didion's daughter's alleged unhappiness.
The central part focuses on a visit by Didion to the Berkeley campus after she had started to gain fame. Flanagan, then a very young girl, was the daughter of a member of the English department, and met her at a dinner party given by her parents:
[quote]I can tell you this for certain: anything you have ever read by Didion about the shyness that plagued her in her youth, and about her inarticulateness in those days, in the face of even the most banal questions, was not a writer’s exaggeration of a minor character trait for literary effect. The contemporary diagnosis for the young woman at our dinner table would be profound—crippling—social-anxiety disorder.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||12/08/2012|
Everyone already knows she's a bitch...tell us something we don't know.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||12/08/2012|
All Didion fans should read this essay. I remein a fan, but one with open eyes.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||12/08/2012|
Anyone familiar with her work knows she is shy to the point of pathology. And she's very old and old people are cranky. Grow up. She's a great writer and you aren't.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||12/08/2012|
Annie Dillard is a much better essayist than that cold Didion bitch.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||12/08/2012|
Many writers become screw balls in their old age. Phillip Roth for one. Some are reclusive and seldom make appearances or sign books like Cormac McCarthy.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||12/08/2012|
As expected. DLers cannot talk about successful women without throwing the c-word around.
You disgust me.
The *Atlantic* piece about Didion's last book is badly written, which is too bad, because the book is a failure, and no one has interestingly said why.
As for the other piece on Didion linked above, I don't know why people think it's a shocking revelation to say that a writer's "real subject is in fact nothing more than her own sensibility." Well, duh. That's self-evident.
It is true that Didion is an awful snob, and that she has been an icky homophobe, at times. But her work spans 50 years, and her politics have changed over time, as have her sympathies. People who want to trash her usually focus on her earlier work, but her political essays from the 80s and 90s don 't get their due. Read her more carefully.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||12/08/2012|
[quote]You disgust me.
You pretty much lost any credibility right there.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||12/08/2012|
[quote]Back when it was socially permissible Ms Didion always used to sneak little acid bolts of homophobia into her work
She's also written dismissively about lesbians (excerpt from "The White Album"):
[quote]One is constantly struck, in the accounts of lesbian relationships which appear from time to time in movement literature, by the emphasis on the superior “tenderness” of the relationship, the “gentleness” of the sexual connection, as if the participants were wounded birds. The derogation of assertiveness as “machismo” has achieved such currency that one imagines several million women too delicate to deal at any level with an overtly heterosexual man. Just as one had gotten the unintended but inescapable suggestion, when told about the “terror and revulsion” experienced by women in the vicinity of construction sites, of creatures too “tender” for the abrasiveness of daily life, too fragile for the streets, so now one was getting, in the later literature of the movement, the impression of women too “sensitive” for the difficulties of adult life, women unequipped for reality and grasping at the movement as a rationale for denying that reality.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||12/08/2012|
[quote]So far I have spoken of the obvious. Now I want to move on to Didion's more subtle and covertly political messages, to a place where Ayn Rand's characters Howard Roark and John Galt -- both rugged individualists whose religion is laissez-faire capitalism -- would find themselves at home. In a nicely written and apparently harmless essay, "Many Mansions,' Didion expounds (and she does it well) on the sterility of the Governor's mansion in California -- an enlarged version of a tract house that Jerry Brown, with a rare show of good sense, has chosen not to inhabit. Didion expresses a preference for the old deserted Victorian mansion in Sacramento, with its secret rooms and hiding places, its gingerbread and grace. And its marble pastry table. Didion, if we are to believe her, alone among all the visitors to the Sacramento mansion understands about marble pastry tables: "There is no way to say this without getting into touchy and evanescent and finally inadmissible questions of taste, and ultimately of class." Oh, come on! Does one have to be upper class to understand about marble pastry tables? My grandmother, who came from Calabria, understood about marble pastry tables; so do I, and I live in Brooklyn in a cosmetically renovated tenement. Julia Child talks about marble pastry tables in McCall's, for heaven's sake. Is Didion the only classy lady around? Why does she ruin a perfectly good essay with a gratuitous comment on class and the philistinism of the bourgeoisie?
|by Anonymous||reply 22||12/08/2012|
I believe the word is "brittle."
|by Anonymous||reply 23||12/08/2012|
Didion lived in California during its period of intense suburbanization. The horror se feels for tract housing was not unique to her - Levittown was a joke/horror to many people throughout the 60s and 70s. That's what the song "Little Boxes" is about: "and they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same." Lots of people shared Didion's horror. And she was right, in a sense: the US surrendered itself to the crass consumerism that suburbia represents.
It is fair to call her a classist. But try not to be so simplistic in the way you judge her.
I confess that I have a hard time letting her get away with her anti-gay and anti-lesbian nonsense,
|by Anonymous||reply 24||12/08/2012|
"She's a great writer and you aren't."
Please. That's very debatable.
She's a passive agressive cipher who catered to her egotistical tyrant of a husband. That poor kid went through a lot of shit at the hands of John Dunne, yet Didion dared not to intefere, because he was so great.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||12/08/2012|
Joan's brother in law Dominick Dunne was gay as a goose. I wonder how she felt about him?
|by Anonymous||reply 26||12/08/2012|
Blue Nights was evasive and vague about its subject -her dead daughter Quintana. I still don't know what Quintana was really like, if she was an alcoholic, if she was mentally ill, etc. I got the feeling Joan wrote this book so someone else would not.
In two of Didion's works, Plat It As It Lays and Panic in Needle Park, the main female characters have unpleasant abortions. I wonder if Joan adopted Quintana out of personal guilt about abortion.
An RN friend saw Didion being interviewed and instantly pegged her as being alcoholic.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||12/08/2012|
[R19] You can see how you are treated when you ask this, [R20] When you ask they will say "didn't you have a mother?". I don't get it either. It is the equivalent of fag, homo and queer. You get what you give. My mother wasn't a cunt nor was my sister, aunts or grandmothers. This will set them off, their use of the word is obviously self hatred. Next you are a troll and they will follow you around to accuse you of trolling and hit the troll button. Go figure
|by Anonymous||reply 28||12/08/2012|
[quote]An RN friend saw Didion being interviewed and instantly pegged her as being alcoholic.
The first place they went to, cradle and all, after adopting Q was some bar in Santa Monica where they posed for photos.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||12/08/2012|
Anyone here read her California memoir, "Where I Was From"?
|by Anonymous||reply 30||12/08/2012|
R25, do you have inside info about Dunne and Quintana? Because rhere's very little in Didion's book that gives any sense of, well, anything.
Didion is a vastly more talented writer than Dunne, and I wonder how that played out between them.
I think it's tricky to call her an alcoholic. My guess is that she drank the way people in my parents' generation drank: always a cocktail hour before dinner, and then wine with dinner, nearly every night. Never alcohol during the day, never when they were working. No socializing without alcohol. That whole generation is probably a gang of functional alcoholics. But they were not necessarily "addicts " in the cliched out of control way you see in movies.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||12/08/2012|
Californians think they're special. There is no doubt about that. The first thing a native will tell you upon introduction is how many generations their family has been here. They don't do that in Boston -- where old families know they're old families and don't really give a damn if you know it or not. They don't do that in DC, New York or Toronto. But they do it in California. Those who have been here awhile will tell you exactly how many generations a long while is.
Didion's book is filled with that brand of smugness - the one-upmanship of who's been here longer.
Personally, I don't care.
I don't mean to be too harsh on the book, though, for on another level this is a story not of geography or genealogy but of a generation - the generation born in the mid-to-late 1930s - too young to remember the Depression but old enough to remember the way America "used to be."
My parents are from that same generation, and Didion bears a resemblence to a cousin. My grandparents are of the same generation as Didion's parents. Like them, we also have a family graveyard (ours is still in the family, still accepting members). And my father was an aerospace worker who lamented how things changed in his 42 years on the job, happy to now be retired.
I mention all this because "Where I Was From" had its greatest impact on me not as a depiction of the changes in the Golden State, but as a depiction of how a family ages, of how the older generations pass over the Great Break of the grave and the Great Divide of death. While it may feel true that the land is yours only after you bury your dead in it, underlying much of this book is a sadness that this may not be enough, that not even the graves of the elders shall be respected with the passage of time - that graveyards will be sold, driven over, dug up. That progress will efface all markers.
In retrospect there appears to have been no redemption for passing over the Great Plains. Perhaps there will be or will not be a redemption after passing through the grave. There is here an acceptance of the possibility that all is meaningless; and I was left with the impression that the title is facing the wrong direction. Perhaps it is not so much "Where I Was From" but "Where I Was Going." The promised land of the Golden State may prove to be nothing other than a hustler's illusion, there for the masses to devour only to enrich those who in turn will become the Disillusioned.
Geography, Genealogy, Generations and the Great Divide, January 16, 2004
|by Anonymous||reply 32||12/08/2012|
R31 There was an article done on Joan done for a magazine (I think it was NEW YORK) a couple of years back where it discussed her daughter.
The impression it gave of Joan was that she was a very distant woman who always put John ahead of everyone else, including herself. And Dunne came off as a complete asshole.
There was one story where Quintana had written a report and on the way to school her father saw it and threw it out the car window, saying it was garbage. All because she didn't ask him for his input.
Even when she was at school and would talk to Joan, it would be like pulling teeth.
All three needed therapy.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||12/08/2012|
The daughter was truly a victim of two self-serving assholes. Who needs 'em?
There are far better writers in the world with more relevance and I hate that Dunne and Didion were thrust on the public so hard.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||12/08/2012|
You know, easy to judge her life, but what we have is her writing. The paradox about Didion is that she is seen as such a personal writer, but in fact her writing is often least successful when she writes directly about herself. She is self-regarding, but she is not especially self-reflective.R32, thanks for your comments.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||12/08/2012|
Many so-called successful writers are in reality completely useless as human beings.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||12/08/2012|
And many firefighters are useless human beings, and many dentists, and many cops. Etc. Why should writers be so different from everyone else?
|by Anonymous||reply 37||12/08/2012|
Firefighter, dentists, and cops are highly trained, skilled people with real-life abilities.
They are useful citizens. To hold mediocre writers in that same league is ridiculous.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||12/08/2012|
What does their level of training have to do with their character and qualities as human beings, R38? Read the posts again.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||12/08/2012|
[quote]They are useful citizens.
At a price.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||12/08/2012|
[quote]And many firefighters are useless human beings, and many dentists, and many cops. Etc. Why should writers be so different from everyone else?
I think a better question would be: Why do we have higher expectations of writers (and other public figures) than we do of everyone else?
I enjoy Didion's writing and I don't care what she's like as a person. To ask someone who has been described by herself and multiple other sources as pathologically shy to get up on a podium for a Q&A session seems a bit insane.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||12/08/2012|
R39, I didn't say character and qualities, I said usefulness.
By all means, be a writer, but learn useful skills as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||12/08/2012|
This is why I come to DL still and put up with woman-haters and tinhats. Solid discussion on writer who elicits interesting reactions from different points of view. Thank you.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||12/08/2012|
R42, are you saying Didion should have learned to be a hairdresser? Maybe she would have been a great construction worker, so she had something to do on the side.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||12/08/2012|
"I think a better question would be: Why do we have higher expectations of writers (and other public figures) than we do of everyone else?"
Because they touch us very deeply and say what we are feeling. We identify with them. Movie stars do too although it is a different kind of identification.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||12/08/2012|
[R43] The discussion is about her personal life rather than her writing.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||12/08/2012|
R44, Well, maybe if Didion had become a hairdresser she wouldn't hate gay men so much.
And if she had had some experience in construction the bitch wouldn't consider lesbians to be weak, helpless sad-sacks who can't cope in the real world.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||12/08/2012|
Thank you for linking that takedown by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, R14. She looks like a really interesting writer. Another for the wish list, starting with her memoir of growing up in the Jehovah's Witnesses.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||12/08/2012|
Excellent evisceration by Grizzuti Harrison. Mimics Didion's incantatory yet fussy and self-centered style perfectly!
|by Anonymous||reply 49||12/08/2012|
She's easy to criticize, but some of her writing is wonderful.
And John Gregory Dunne wrote many things I enjoy: there was a long profile in the NYR of Books on OJ Simpson that explained a lot about the psychology of a gifted, pampered athlete; also, a piece on Gavin Lambert's biography of Natalie Wood that he wrote for the same publication. His "Monster," which details how he and JD wrote the screenplay of "Up Close and Personal" is a lot of fun to read.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||12/08/2012|
She has always been a snooty bitch, OP. Have you been living under a rock?
|by Anonymous||reply 51||12/08/2012|
[quote]I confess that I have a hard time letting her get away with her anti-gay and anti-lesbian nonsense,
Somehow I bet you manage to do just that R24.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||12/08/2012|
Welcome to Datalounge, where in terms of discussions of American high culture it's always the year 1970.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||12/08/2012|
Fine r53 -- start a thread and tell us WHET Miranda July?
|by Anonymous||reply 54||12/08/2012|
I personally loved "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and "The White Album," but she left me puzzled and cold when just about threw the word "faggot" 20 or 30 times in "Play it as it lays."
|by Anonymous||reply 55||12/08/2012|
Yeah, R1. And don't forget to remind us about her sadly rushing to remarry and write a best seller about all that "grief" of hers.
Inauthentic, smug old cunt.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||12/08/2012|
Is her work widely known/read/studied now? These days it seems like DL is one of the few places her work is even discussed anymore.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||12/08/2012|
R56, I think with the rushing to remarry bit, you're thinking about her other contemporary female J writer, Joyce Carol Oates.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||12/08/2012|
Did anyone see Vanessa Redgrave in "The Year of Magical Thinking" on Broadway? It's hard for me to imagine Vanessa as Didion, although I know they are friends and share the bond of having lost daughters.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||12/08/2012|
Well, maybe it was off-Broadway, but in New York.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||12/08/2012|
R55, the "faggot" stuff and mocking of lesbians in PLAY IT AS IT LAYS is bullshit, truly, though not inconsistent with the way people like Maria Wyeth and her pals think. Hollywood homophobia, circa 1970. Sadly not so different from 2012 vintage. Some of that homophobia is of course Didion's, and at her worst she is a merely clever and icily shallow writer, particularly in her fiction. I should add that her homophobia is just the 70s version of a long tradition of homo-hating that almost defines the American novel from Hemingway to David Foster Wallace, and that is equally prevalent in the novels of "openly" gay writer like James Baldwin and Gore Vidsl.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||12/08/2012|
Why wasn't she writing about gay rights in PLAY IT AS IT LAYS!?!?!?
She could have included an entire chapter based on a visit to a gay rights parade after Maria had her abortion, couldn't she? BUT NO!!!!!!!
|by Anonymous||reply 62||12/08/2012|
I met her once in real life at a book party in the West Village that was more or less open to the public, maybe 20 years ago, and she was tiny and flirtatious, and she was wearing a green wool skirt and dark blouse and this sort of length of diaphanous sea green tulle all wrapped around her, and she indeed seemed terribly quiet and shy, but also sort of high-school-girl giggly, which really surprised me.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||12/08/2012|
Can no one keep up?
|by Anonymous||reply 66||12/08/2012|
Why can't you keep up?
|by Anonymous||reply 67||12/08/2012|
|by Anonymous||reply 68||12/08/2012|
I heart the Joan Didion Troll.
The rest of us keep failing him because we aren't expert enough regarding his tiny little world to suit him.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||12/08/2012|
You put that last prepositional phrase in the wrong place in the sentence, R69. I'd've put it elsewhere, for greater impact.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||12/08/2012|
I don't give a shit what Didion is like in person. To the extent I care about her, it is for her writing, and it is there where I think she falls short. As a writer, she is wildly overrated -- very pretentious, cold, and solipsistic.
A couple of other things worth noting:
1. It's not surprising that she has a history of homophobia, because at the beginning of career and for a long time after, her politics were right-wing. She got her start as a writer at William F. Buckley's National Review and wrote famous pieces in the 60s and 70s trashing the women's movement and the anti-war movement. So the fag-bashing fits right in there.
To be fair, her politics do seem to have shifted a lot since then, and I don't think she can properly be called a conservative anymore. But I wouldn't exactly say's a liberal or left-wing, either.
2. I found memoir about the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking, to be cold and maddeningly evasive. I had no desire to read the follow-up book about the death of her daughter because I assumed it would be more of same.
Indeed, some reviewers took her to task for her lack of openness about her daughter's problems and what caused her death. The article I'm linking to below argues that the daughter, Quintana, was an alcoholic and that Didion was in denial about that fact. For instance, Quintana died of acute pancreatitis, and according to the article, 70% of cases of acute pancreatitis are linked to alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Also, in an earlier health crisis, Quintana fell and hit her head, leading to a cerebral hemorrhage. There are good reasons to suspect she may have been drunk when she fell.
Writing publicly about your personal life can be terribly painful. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be done unless you are prepared to be rigorously honest about yourself and those you write about. Measured by these standards, Didion's memoiristic writing is severely lacking. I don't see the great depths others see in it. Mostly I just see self-absorption and a fatal lack of insight.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||12/08/2012|
Good God, what an incredibly lacerating comeback, r70!
|by Anonymous||reply 72||12/08/2012|
[quote]She got her start as a writer at William F. Buckley's National Review and wrote famous pieces in the 60s and 70s trashing the women's movement and the anti-war movement.
Actually, she got her start at Vogue. Most of her famous early pieces were published in the Saturday Evening Post. I've never read these famous articles she wrote trashing the women's movement and the anti-war movement.
You might provide some titles/dates,etc.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||12/08/2012|
In her screenplay for Panic in Needle Park she throws in a pointless scene of some vicious queens ripping into her junkie waitress protagonist and making her cry. It's like she's saying "See how depraved and rotten these people are?"
The anti-women's movement piece has already been cited here. Don't know an anti-war piece, but I am certain Ms Didion would be totally above what she would see as young peoples' fretting and naivete about war. Especially as she revered he-men and the military in her From Here to Eternity essay.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||12/08/2012|
She grew up a Western US Republican in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Her politics have evolved over many years. Read her piece about the screenwriters strike,. She was no fan of the Reagans. Many powerful and successful women of her generation were impatient with the women's movement.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||12/08/2012|
Her political dispatches from Washington for the New York Review of Books were arch, meandering and not very savvy about the political process. She always ragged on people who don't understand Hollywood, but her Washington critiques were pretty beside the point and clueless. She was very indignant about the bad behavior of DC people although she and her husband spent a lot of time kissing butt to H'wood d-bags like Don Simpson and Ray Stark.
I was drawn to the bleakness and stoicism of Joan Didion as a moody teenager but have shaken off the spell. They've reissued Nora Ephron's Crazy Salad, which is a kooky and deiightful pop look at the 70s. Much better than her movies and comes off very modern -- I recommend it highly as a more plugged-in, empathetic and real antidote to Joan.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||12/08/2012|
She and her husband were hipsters before the word came into vogue.
They were and are PRETENTIOUS as fuck!
|by Anonymous||reply 77||12/08/2012|
Wtf do you want, R73, a doctoral dissertation? A reminder: this is a gossip site! Also, it's really not very hard to research this stuff on the internet.
But for anyone who is just dying to know more . . . the link below verifies that at the beginning of her career, Didion was indeed a contributor to Buckley's racist, right-wing rag, The National Review. She trashed feminism in, among other places, The New York Times, in a 1972 essay called "The Women's Movement" (it's available online). She hated hippies and ridiculed the anti-war movement; she showed this animus repeatedly in her writings about ths 60s, such as her essay "Where the Kissing Never Stops," which appeared in her book, Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Also, she adored John Wayne -- she wrote about this, also in Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
This is all a matter of public record. I don't understand why anyone would challenge it, unless they're totally ignorant about it.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||12/08/2012|
I work in a library. I can't remember which recent Joan Didion book features her in all her crypt keeper glory on the front cover, but as a joke, I waited until my co-worker turned around to face me one day and then held up the cover making the noise from "Psycho" when Norman Bates kills Janet Leigh in the shower, while waving the book in and out of her view. Good for a scare, I tell ya.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||12/08/2012|
R78, don't be reductive
Nora Ephron! Are you fucking kidding me? The definition of "hack."
|by Anonymous||reply 80||12/08/2012|
This is the beauty of datalounge: a thread discussing Joan Didion cheek and jowl with "Analyze This Ass (pics inside)."
R61, I'm curious to hear more about D. F. Wallace's anti-gay sentiments.
Leslie Fiedler wrote that the homosexual interracial couple was the master trope behind American fiction. So Joan Didion can suck on that, I guess.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||12/08/2012|
Didn't D.F. Wallace commit suicide recently?
I"ve seen him in person speak and was struck by his handsome looks and easy sexuality.
I'm sorry he was anti-gay because he could have at least like to watch two hot lesbians.
|by Anonymous||reply 82||12/08/2012|
It is Nora Ephron when she was starting out -- like I said, better than the movies. Critic James Wolcott also recommends this book as a witty counterpoint to Didion's migraines and gloom.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||12/08/2012|
For the poster who asked about the play...
It was just Venassa Redgrave talking for close to two hours with no set or backdrop. Whatever lighting was used was so subtle I don't remember it. Just that Redrave was in some kind of beige raw silk loose outfit One of those simple things that look very expensive.
It felt like Redgrave was telling you her own story. It didn't feel scripted or artificial, but Redgrave must have been speaking how Diodion writes (I think they're called freight train sentences).
Redgrave did not have a noticeably English or American accent.
But really it worked because Redgrave can hold your attention without apprearing to make much of an effort.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||12/08/2012|
Joan Didion was Nature's antidote to Ayn Rand.
Nora Ephron was Nature's antidote for Joan.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||12/08/2012|
Didn't Redgrave's daughter die before that show opened?
|by Anonymous||reply 86||12/08/2012|
Thanks [R84]. Proof of Redgrave's powerful stage presence that she could so inhabit the story.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||12/09/2012|
You are right, [R86]. The play was in 2007 and Richardson died in 2009.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||12/09/2012|
[quote]A friend went to a lecture with Q&A that she gave at our local university...apparently Miss Didion replied only with "No" when asked questions and sighed dismissively, then ran off. My friend said she was seriously weird.
To be fair, there is nothing more boring than having to field audience questions. That is why venues have to pay artists to do it (or put it in their contract that they will perform at these events).
Jackie Sussan is at fault for this -- she wanted to drum up publicity and buzz for Valley of the Dolls so insisted on doing these sorts of Q and A evenings, but they have been the bane of most ever since.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||12/09/2012|
R19 - thanks to your snooty little post, I don't intend to read her at all...
Life is really too short...
|by Anonymous||reply 90||12/09/2012|
She was very friendly with, Tony Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave's first husband, who was mostly gay and died of AIDS.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||12/09/2012|
[quote] It's not surprising that she has a history of homophobia, because at the beginning of career and for a long time after, her politics were right-wing. She got her start as a writer at William F. Buckley's National Review
Gary Wills wrote for the National Review at around the same time. So did John Leonard, Renata Adler, Arlene Croce, etc. It wasn't the same sort of magazine that it is today.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||12/09/2012|
Here's the guy who scared Joan Didion:
Barry Berkus dies at 77; architect of mass-market housing
Berkus built a portfolio of 600,000 dwellings encompassing about 10,000 designs in developments across the U.S. He favored high ceilings, natural light and open spaces.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||12/09/2012|
Breaking News: Water is Wet!
Joan Didion is a Grade-A cunt, and I'm not sure she's ever even pretended to be a decent human being. I'm not so sure why OP is so shocked to learn what a snooty little shit she can be...guess ol' Rip van Winkle is slowly making his way through 20 years' worth of gossip.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||12/09/2012|
r94 -- cite examples!!! mmm
|by Anonymous||reply 95||12/09/2012|
My friend Julie says Joan Didion is a bigger cunt than she is, R95.
|by Anonymous||reply 96||12/09/2012|
Why don't some of you disturbed adolescent misogynists get help?
Didion is in fact known for being an excellent cook and for having lots of fiends, both in the film world and in the publishing world. She and Dunne supported themselves mostly by writing screenplays, not all of which got produced, and for not all of which they got credit. I don't think their screenwriting work is especially good, though it's hard to know how much of their stuff actually ended up onscreen. They had the original idea for Streisand's *Star Is Born*. As Dunne reports it, he turned to Didion one day and said, out of the blue, "Carly Simon and James Taylor in a rock music version of *A Star Is Born*," and they went out on the road for like a month with some bands and did some research and wrote the script and. . . The rest is history!
Dunne has written enjoyably about it. It's fun to think of Didion and Streisand having a scotch together.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||12/09/2012|
[quote]Didion is in fact known for being an excellent cook and for having lots of fiends, both in the film world and in the publishing world.
Isn't it misogynistic to extoll on a woman's COOKING skills? Of all the things to praise a woman for, by all means, focus on her cooking. And I'm sure she does have "fiends" in the film and publishing worlds. It's understandable that she'd have to outsource in her dotage.
|by Anonymous||reply 98||12/09/2012|
R96, your comment is unworthy of thoughtful response.
As for homophobia: One of my frustrations with Didion is her obliviousness, as for instance in the book about her husband's death, where she makes a point of saying basically that it never occurred to her that the would lose anything, and yet -her daughter was pals with Natasha Richardson, and Didion and Dunne were pals with Tony Richardson, and he died of AIDS, of course, which Didion never mentions, and she and Dunne worked in the film industry, for god's sake, in the '80s and '90s, when lots of people they must have known were dying, and she never mentions any of this in her work, and so when she is all, "It never crossed my mind that my husband would ever die," I'm a little suspicious.
I love her, though. She can write sentences like no one else. My frustrations with her are in the context of my thinking she's one of the greatest prose stylists writing in English at the end if the 20th century.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||12/09/2012|
[quote]Didion is in fact known for being an excellent cook and for having lots of fiends,
Are you one of her fiends?
|by Anonymous||reply 100||12/09/2012|
[quote]It's fun to think of Didion and Streisand having a scotch together.
|by Anonymous||reply 101||12/09/2012|
[quote]To be fair, there is nothing more boring than having to field audience questions.
When you're paid to do a job (such as to make a public appearance at a university or college, which involves taking questions), you'd better do it. That's a better illustration of what "being fair" means.
Stop making excuses for her.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||12/09/2012|
Hey you Oh Mary queen, are you DETERMINED to act out every known cliche of what gay men are like? Sometimes this site is happening entirely in 1969.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||12/09/2012|
You're a confessed huge Joan Didion fan, and you're whining OTHER gay men are stuck in the year 1969???
|by Anonymous||reply 104||12/09/2012|
Didion's continues to publish, and her recent work exists in the real world, , unlike the minds of some DLers.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||12/09/2012|
IVe never read a word that this woman has written, but I DON'T LIEK HER!!!
ONCE I was walking by a bookstore and saw her picture on a book. I spoke to her and she DIDNT ANSWER.
I THINK SHE IS A RIGHTWINIGER TOO because she liked JOHN WAINE.
And She wrote a book called the WHITE album???? RACIST??!?!?!?
|by Anonymous||reply 106||12/09/2012|
Someone should send her a link to this thread. What would she make of this website?
|by Anonymous||reply 107||12/09/2012|
Joan Didion bashing is a DL tradition. This thread is no cuntier than previous threads (or Joan)....
|by Anonymous||reply 108||12/09/2012|
In the thread at the link, Joan was deemed a [quote]bona fide DL villain
Although villainESS would've been more appropriate.
|by Anonymous||reply 109||12/09/2012|
In one of her works she confesses that she WIPES BACK TO FRONT
|by Anonymous||reply 110||12/09/2012|
Joan Didion threatens gaylings. That is the only reason she isnt liked here. Since they dont read, they dont appreciate good writing. And they are terrified that a conversation that takes a direction that is not about Starbucks, some club in the east village, or Taylor lautner will unmask the fact that most of them were too poor or too stupid to go go college. It's that simple.
|by Anonymous||reply 111||12/09/2012|
And in this thread (see link), Joan Didion receives the faintest of praise when a poster opines that she looks like [quote]John Hurt in a fright wig.
|by Anonymous||reply 112||12/09/2012|
[quote]They had the original idea for Streisand's *Star Is Born*.
There is nothing original about remaking a movie that was already remade. It barely even qualifies as an Idea. It was a thought.
Putting the two words together "original idea" and then labeling it on the Dunne's is typical of how much greatness people would bestow on those two medium talents.
|by Anonymous||reply 113||12/09/2012|
Christmas Day Didion bump
|by Anonymous||reply 114||12/25/2012|
I doubt she received a single card or dinner invite. She's sitting in her cold apartment, sipping wine and staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.
|by Anonymous||reply 115||12/25/2012|
PR/agent and event-booking types should be more aware of this. I've been to several events like this where the author/speaker clearly did not want to do a Q&A at all. It benefits no one when this happens! The speaker should be given freedom to decline and it should be ascertained whether or not the speaker actually enjoys Q&A.
In the case of older speakers in particular, it gets harder for them to (a) hear the questions accurately and (b) think on their feet with a good response. There are exceptions but the default should be, don't make them try!
|by Anonymous||reply 116||12/25/2012|
Joan is probably water-skiing in the South Pacific while most of DL is pondering the cold remains of a TV Dinner and a just-about-empty bottle of Blue Nun.
|by Anonymous||reply 117||12/25/2012|
Her memoirs OOZE entitlement.
|by Anonymous||reply 118||12/25/2012|
She probably is at least little snooty but so what. So are most of us in one way or another.
I just like her (more recent) writing. I don't care that she isn't a perfect human being.
|by Anonymous||reply 119||01/02/2013|
Florence King wrote that Americans like their women artists/power figures to be sickly. Robust women with great intellectual capacity are too threatening.
Didion's psychic headaches and Hillary's blood clot prove quite a boon.
|by Anonymous||reply 120||01/02/2013|
I had to read a lot of her work in college. Kudos to her for being successful--really. But I don't quite see what makes her such an alleged hero.
|by Anonymous||reply 121||01/16/2013|
For $2,500 You Can Now Own Joan Didion’s Sunglasses:
|by Anonymous||reply 122||10/24/2014|
Joan Didion as style icon to Anna Wintour.
|by Anonymous||reply 123||10/24/2014|
Is always sure to mention that her brother belongs to the California Club
|by Anonymous||reply 124||10/25/2014|
Her writing bores me. It's trying too hard to not try too hard.
|by Anonymous||reply 125||10/25/2014|
[r16] At her best, Dillard wrote better than any of her contemporaries. She's not the nicest person though. I knew her relatively well.
|by Anonymous||reply 126||10/25/2014|
R5, I couldn't agree with you more.
|by Anonymous||reply 127||10/26/2014|
We're sure that makes sense to you, R125.
|by Anonymous||reply 128||10/26/2014|
Her books don't have any pictures in them and they don't come with crayons.
|by Anonymous||reply 129||10/26/2014|
Too sterile, too boring...and I really want to like her.
|by Anonymous||reply 130||10/26/2014|
I absolutely loved Play It As It Lays. I read The Year of Magical Thinking and thought it was boring. I don't give a shit if she's a bitch.
|by Anonymous||reply 131||10/26/2014|
The Joan Didion Documentary Kickstarter Raised $80K in 1 Day:
As of today, Joan Didion can cross “crowd-funding” off her bucket list. The laconic 79-year-old essayist — who vivisected the '60s, became half of a Hollywood power couple, and more recently wrote two best-sellers about losing her husband and daughter suddenly — will be the subject of a documentary titled (aptly, if unoriginally) We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live. Her nephew, the actor Griffin Dunne, who will co-direct it with documentary veteran Susanne Rostock, put the project up on Kickstarter yesterday. It reached its goal of $80,000 at 10:30, roughly 24 hours later.
|by Anonymous||reply 132||10/26/2014|
"became half of a Hollywood power couple,"
???? Low power, maybe.
|by Anonymous||reply 133||10/26/2014|
The movie she wrote with her husband, "True Confessions", starring DeNiro and Duvall, is very underrated. Of the "Chinatown" and "LA Confidential" varietal.
|by Anonymous||reply 134||10/26/2014|
That bitch costed me a fortune in bath oils!
|by Anonymous||reply 135||10/26/2014|