When somebody writes a really mean article, I always just let it go because who are you to say it isn't the truth? The worst, most cruel review of me that I ever read was the Time magazine review of me getting shot.
I've found that almost all interviews are preordained. They know what they want to write about you and they know what they think about you before they ever talk to you, so they're just looking for words and details from here and there to back up what they've already decided they're going to say. If you go into an interview blind, there is absolutely no way of guessing what kind of article the person you're talking to is going to write. The nicest, laughingest people can write the meanest articles, and the people you think are hating you can write the funniest, nicest articles. It's harder to tell with journalists than with politicians.
People used to say that I tried to 'put on' the media when I would give one autobiography to one newspaper and another autobiography to another newspaper. I used to like to give different information to different magazines because it was like putting a tracer on where people get their information. That way I could always tell when I met people what newspapers and magazines they were reading by the things they would tell me I had said. Sometimes funny pieces of information come back to you years and years later when an interviewer says, 'You once said that Lefrak City was the most beautiful place in the world', and then you know what they've read what you once told Architectural Forum.
I'm always interested in talk-show hosts. A person I know told me he can look at people who do interviews on television and know where they're from, what kind of schools they went to, what religion they are, just by seeing what kind of guests they have on their show and by hearing what kind of questions they ask their guests. I'd love to be able to know everything about a person from watching them on television - to be able to tell what their problem is. Can you imagine watching a talk show and knowing immediately things like.....
'This one's problem is HE WANTS TO BE A BEAUTY.'
'This one's problem is HE HATES RICH PEOPLE.'
'This one's problem is HE CAN'T GET IT UP.'
'This one's problem is HE WANTS TO BE MISERABLE.'
'This one's problem is HE WANTS TO BE INTELLIGENT.'
And maybe you'd also be able to figure out.....
'Why Dinah Shore DOESN'T HAVE A PROBLEM.'
Certain people have TV magic: they fall completely apart off-camera but they are completely together on-camera. They shake and sweat before they go on, they shake and sweat during commercials, they shake and sweat when it's all over; but while the camera is filming them, they're poised and confident-looking. The camera turns them on and off.
I never fall apart because I never fall together. I just sit there saying 'I'm going to faint. I'm going to faint.' When I'm on television I can't think about anything they're going to ask me, I can't think about anything that's going to come out of my mouth - all I can think is, 'Is this a live show? It is? Well then forget it, I'm going to faint. I'm waiting for a faint'' That's my live television appearance stream-of-consciousness. Taped is different.
Nutty people are always writing me. I always think I must be on some nutty mailing list.
I always worry that when nutty people do something, they'll do the same thing again a few years later without ever remembering that they've done it before - and they'll think it's a whole new thing they're doing. I was shot in 1968, so that was the 1968 version. But then I have to think, 'Will someone want to do a 1970s remake of shooting me?' So that's another kind of fan.
I guess everybody has their own time and place when they turn themselves on.
Where do I turn on?
I turn on when I turn off and go to bed. That's my big moment that I'm always waiting for.
Uit: From A to B and Back Again,
The Philosophy of