Recently, we received an e-mail from Julie Kelsea. She asked, “I wanted to know if you had an interview that I can't find. It was with Francesca Hetfield.”

Well, in a word, no. But it did set us to thinking about other interviews we had published over the years. So we spent a few hours dredging up ten of the best from the last fourteen years, which we offer herewith.

I Am That
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Questioner: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?

Maharaj: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hundreds, feed thousands.

Questioner: Is it not a desire?

Maharaj: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily, halfheartedly. He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous among men and gods.

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L. L. Doctorow
Quoting Freud, who said "America is a mistake, a gigantic mistake," I think it's funny to speak of anything that gigantic as 'a mistake."

Or there's the moment when he says to the pesky questioner from Heidelberg,

    You think because I'm wearing a coat and tie, that I'm normal and middle-class? --- Actually, I am an actor employed by Doctorow to represent him.

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Seth Glickenhaus on
Russia, China, and
President Bush
"This administration is unaware that the Third World War has begun ... It is a war that is fragmented in many different countries, fought by people working independently, and distinguished by poverty in every case, and often by fundamentalist religious fanatics fighting the establishment. "

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Paul McCarthy
"Dyslexia is a boring subject. A more interesting subject is the fourth grade. One of my earliest memories of a drawing by a fellow artist was a pair of glasses rendered on the top of my desk at Woodstock Elementary School, fourth grade, second floor, middle of the room. I don't know who did the drawing --- a pencil drawing etched into the wood.

"I have no interest in conventional language, only when it is an appropriation to illustrate something else. Language is architecture as an institution for repression. I/we can't talk seriously. It's a grid of snakes. A tic-tac-toe grid. Verbal tic-tac-toe. Who has the janitor by his toe? Marvin Marick had a huge hose."

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Terence McKenna on
Death and Dying
"Death is the black hole of biology. It's an event horizon, and once you go over that event horizon, no information can be passed back out of the hole. So people can stand around the edge of the hole and say, Well it was this or that, but in fact, it represents some kind of limit case in the thermodynamics of information. You just can't hand messages back over that threshold. So get yourself pointed right, do not your mantras bungle, and that's about it. When you're actually dead, all bets are off. The best answer I've gotten yet out of this is from Don Delillo's Underworld, where the nun discovers that when you die you become your website."
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David Richards
Q: Bring this back to your point that our power in the world is diminishing?

A: The power diminishes because of this huge growth over the next 10-to-20 years of Asia. Also, our unilateral policies are angering the world, and it isn't unreasonable to consider Western Europe joining with the Russians and creating a huge power bloc against us.

Q: Describe your overall portfolio. Are you more long than short?

A: I'm more long than short. I'm net long about 15% to 20%. The shorts are mostly Standard & Poor's 500 futures, probably two-thirds of them, and some QQQs [Nasdaq 100 Tracking Stock]. The S&P is very heavily oriented toward retailing, finance and drugs. The oil sector, which I am long, is only 7% or 8% of the S&P. I am basically shorting the U.S. consumer.

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S. J. Perelman
Q: How many drafts of a story do you do?

A: Thirty-seven. I once tried doing thirty-three, but something was lacking, a certain --- how shall I say? --- je ne sais quoi. On another occasion, I tried forty-two versions, but the final effect was too lapidary --- you know what I mean, Jack?

The closest analogy I can draw to describe Hollywood is that it strikingly resembled the Sargasso Sea --- an immense, turgidly revolving whirlpool in which literary hulks encrusted with verdigris moldered until they sank.

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Zen Master Darlene Cohen
Q: Can you share some of the benefits of chronic pain that you've discovered in your twenty-five years of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis?

A: Nobody begrudges you even your most politically incorrect pleasures; conventional standards of social courtesy may be violated indiscriminately; you begin to be intensely grateful for the invention of things like spoons, foot-stools, and electric toothbrushes; and with minimum exertion, you can make able-bodied people who park in handicapped spots wish their parents had never met.

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The Automobile
Is a Wheelchair
(Pedro Reyes)
"One new group therapy happened near Tlatelolco, in a market in Mexico City where punks, goths, headbangers and other rock-related tribes meet every Saturday to trade records, all dressed up for the occasion. I fabricated a series of sculptures in the shape of electric guitars, then I had a sound system and a color background that I changed according to the style of the volunteer-performer. They were able to choose the song and guitar most tuned with their style.

"The principle is similar to karaoke, but here you perform by playing the prop guitar and closing with the cathartic ritual of smashing it. I consider this 'group therapy' as an answer to the need for spaces of violence in our lives. Violence can become an exercise of style; violence can be a space for creativity. The cathartic ritual of smashing a rock guitar is also part of an universal language."

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Jay Haley
"He was scary. Everyone was scared of Milton Erickson, because they never knew what he was doing to influence you. He was so agile of the mind that he got bored doing any one thing, so he was always doing two or three things at once. As you're chatting with him about a case, he was trying to get you to move a hand on a table, or turn the other way. I remember one time, we had dinner in San Francisco, and John [Bateson] reached out for his glass of water and his hand stopped. He said, 'Milton, I can't reach for that glass of water and I think you have something to do with it.' Erickson said, 'Would you like to have the water?' John said, 'Yes.' Erickson said, 'Well, you can have it.' And John reached over and took the glass of water and drank it. How he did that I don't know. It was something he might spend twenty minutes to a half-hour setting up while he was talking about other things."
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