JUNE 2011

1. Imagine you are the director of a high school and that due to budget cuts, you have to are forced to do without either the science dept, or the humanities dept. Which one would you save?

There is no way that someone with my personality and current knowledge of high school administration would succeed as a director of a high school. I would be a very different person if circumstances had brought me to that position. I can only imagine that were I to find myself there, I would have already some of the practical wisdom to deal with such situations. I also imagine it would involve looking at the details of that particular situation and making a “lesser of two evils” decision. Maybe my heart lies with the humanities, but that department is run by mediocre teachers? Or vice versa? It’s the curse of holding a position of power to have to make these kinds of decisions. And to have self-styled “thoughtful people” who don’t understand the complexity of such situations sit and make judgments about you from the safety of their weakness, based on empty abstractions.

2. At the same high school, there is a fire in the library and you just have time to save 3 books. Which ones would you pick?

I can’t imagine any of those books would be irreplaceable.  But I think you’re asking me a different question.  “What are 3 of your favorite books?”  My favorite books are the ones I read once and really loved, and now I’ll re-open them at random and read, and it’s like turning all the lights on in my brain, and I feel like myself again. Something about the book hit me at a particular time in my life when I was ready for it. The book itself might not be especially good, or a “classic,” but it suggests a new way of thinking, or a new world of storytelling, or possibilities for future work. Of course there have been many books like that for me, and if I were to pick three I’d be picking ones that weren’t embarrassing—safe choices that were impressive and sparkling and pretentious. You can find these books if you know where to look. I have a blog where my wife and I keep track of books I read and there’s a lot of recommendations on there. husbandversuswife.blogspot.

3. After the fire, you take some days of rest at home and you get a call from Jim Jarmusch, Todd Solonz and Terry Zwigoff offering you to adapt to cinema Glenn Ganges' stories. Which offer would you take?

I’m not a big movie buff, so I’m not that familiar with these directors.  I've seen a few Jarmusch movies and they seemed pretty good? I liked the Neil Young guitars in Dead Man. I did not like Ghost Dog, but I don’t know whose fault that is. As far as making a movie out of Glenn Ganges—I’m not sure I have any interest in that, if only because it sounds exhausting to have to talk to so many people. Making little web videos might be fun. Of course since the character is so internationally beloved and successful, it’s a surefire box office hit waiting to happen.

4. During those days, a friend suggests to go hunting. Another one, to go playing golf. Which one would you go with?

I’d go hunting, which I’ve never been, though I wouldn’t kill anything. I kill spiders but I'm trying to stop. I like the idea of hunting with cameras. I golfed a lot when I was younger. I might enjoy it now with the right people, but I get so mad at myself if I’m not playing well. If I play well it’s just boring. In general I think sports are boring and ridiculous.  When I was younger, however, I played a lot of sports because I was very athletic, and my dad was into sports, but I slowly realized I could do other things that I enjoyed much much more. If I never golf again for the rest of my life I’d be perfectly OK with that.

5. Finally, the Glenn Ganges film project moves forward and you have to choose someone to compose the soundtrack. Who would you choose?

Stereolab, to piss off my wife. In general I kind of hate pop music in movies, but when it works, it works… I guess it depends on the kind of movie we were out to make. I kind of like watching a dumb movie more than a brilliant one. I’m not often in the mood to be emotionally devastated or have my breath taken away. And if that happens I want to savor it for a month or so. I don’t always have the patience for movies. A Wes Anderson thing where the Who plays over Glenn Ganges making coffee in slow motion…or Tarantino thing or something like that? I don’t know. I listen to music all day. I tend to like quieter, “pretty” music, but my friends all seem to prefer loud, aggressive music.  My wife too. This year I’m trying to listen to more orchestral music—Mahler, Brahms—but I know very very little about “classical” music. In general I’d rather lie on the couch and listen to music than watch a movie. But of course I love watching movies or shows with my wife—we usually do that when we eat dinner.

6. The movie is premiered and it's a huge success. With all the money you get you spend it in all luxuries and build a mansion, but still you have so much money you don't know what to do with it and you decide it to give it for a social cause. Which association/cause would you give it to?

I’ve always been a fan of Doctors Without Borders. Since I was once a high school director I might consider giving back to education. I think you have to support something and stick with it. I like the idea of buying land and leaving it forever wild, but I understand how ecotourism has to be part of that. Maybe a good cause would be giving money to poor cartoonists! It’s easier to be creative when you don’t have nagging money problems taking up your mental energy.

7. As you still have so much money, you decide it would be a good idea to be a superhero, but you doubt between being Batman, Ironman or Swamp Thing ... which one would you prefer to be?

I hate superheroes more than I hate golf…  And I don’t know anything about Swamp Thing. He’s a plant? I imagine he’s a plant and protects the wetlands. I would chase people off of golf courses. Batman is clearly nuts and Ironman is a prick. They’re both rich guys who become vigilantes… Is Swamp Thing a rich guy with family issues who decides to become a plant and protect nature? I’m in. In general I think rich and powerful men are more of a danger to society than violent super-criminals.