Tag Archives: Dick Cavett

Something to say

Let the Devil Speak: Articles, Essays, and Incitements is now out and ready for purchase in both paperback and Kindle ebook editions.

Well, I’m excited, anyway.

Learn how a segregationist governor’s appearance on The Dick Cavett Show inspired one of the greatest concept albums of the Seventies!  Savor the result of a collaboration between one of jazz music’s greatest composers and the man behind A Christmas Story! Ponder what the author of the noir thriller The Big Clock has to tell us about the newspaper industry!  See what happened when an anti-war group joined a Memorial Day parade and looked Red State America right in the face! Learn how a generation of underappreciated American writers got screwed out of credit for inspiring one of the biggest film franchises of all time!

Above all, find out why historian Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge, says I “wield a straight-razor for a pen.” Find out why Michael Gray, author of acclaimed books about Blind Willie McTell and Bob Dylan, calls me “an exemplary cultural critic.” And take a stroll through the area where politics, culture, and history overlap — and ignite.  

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Podcast alert

Former television talk show host Dick Cavett sits down for a chat with current Internet talkfest The Bat Segundo Show.

James McPherson on Abraham Lincoln, Fintan O’Toole on Flann O’Brien, Freeman Dyson on amateur scientists, and J.M. Coetzee reading from his imminent novel. All here.

A talk with former U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur.

In which the meaning of “booth barnacle” is made clear.

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Friday finds

Today would have been film critic Pauline Kael’s 90th birthday, and to mark the occasion film blogger Jason Bellamy has turned his site The Cooler into a clearing house for arguments about all things Kael. The clip above is from a four-part 1982 interview on the occasion of her book 5001 Nights at the Movies, and if you like it you can watch parts two, three and four.  

Pauline Kael. She’s never said a good thing about me yet. That dirty old broad. But she’s probably the most qualified critic in the world. Cause she cares about film and those who are involved in it. I wish I could really rap her. But I can’t. Cause she’s very very competent. She’s knows what she’s talking about.”

Of trains, Secaucus Junction, William Carlos Williams and Paterson, N.J.

What did you do for Bloomsday?

Time to catch up on John O’Hara.

Call me crazy, but the time to stop your boss from trying to murder your only son with electric bolts is before he starts, not several minutes in when your kid is smoking like a grill full of baby back ribs.”

Learn more about Anna Julia Cooper and why she belongs on that stamp.

A chat with Michael Moorcock.

What were people reading during the Depression? Take a stroll through back issues of Publishers Weekly to learn who was “the best paid author in the world” in 1933, and to find ads for Mein Kampf (a “stirring autobiography [in which] you will find Hitler’s own story of his meteoric rise from obscurity to world-wide fame”).

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Writer talk

I paid a visit to the Paley Center for Media recently to watch a Seventies-vintage broadcast of The Dick Cavett Show, and I was struck by how much spontaneity and surprise — how much sheer interest — went down the drain as late-night talk shows hardened into the rigidly choreographed showbiz showcases we now get.

Cavett is now a blogger at the Gray Lady, which kindly allowed him to post the entire clip of his 1981 chat with two of the heaviest hitters in mid-20th century American lit. It’s pretty amazing to think of a network talk show nowadays devoting an evening to one writer, let alone two.

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