Posts Tagged ‘Lorin Stein’
April 15, 2013 | by John Hodgman
Every year, at our Spring Revel, we give three honors: the Hadada Prize, the Plimpton Prize, and the Terry Southern Prize. This year, John Hodgman of the New York Times Magazine, the Daily Show, and those Mac ads presented the Southern Prize to J. D. Daniels.
Like the other two honors, the Southern Prize is chosen by our board. Unlike those, it recognizes writing in both The Paris Review and The Paris Review Daily. Click here to see Daniels’s latest piece from the magazine and here for his Web archive.
My name is John Hodgman. It’s my pleasure tonight to hand over this B-52 model airplane, which represents the Terry Southern Prize, awarded each year along with $5,000 to honor work from The Paris Review that embodies the qualities of humor, wit, and sprezzatura, which sounds like a word Lorin Stein made up and put into the Wikipedia to describe himself—an artful nonchalant, carrying himself with a a cared-for carelessness.
They’re dispatches, and they feel that way, dashed off travelogues from corners of globe and memory, full of crafty rambling and quick jumps from his current home in the fancy eastern edge of Massachusetts to his first home in Kentucky, where J. D. counts out the strip malls and storefront churches and ghosts of bars lovingly like animals climbing aboard a blighted ark, to the vomit-slicked deck of an actual boat at sea, a pilgrimage he takes to leave both homes behind to fight it out while he watches Ibiza burn up in a wildfire.
And it may seem that in all this sprezzatura that his work is a little nonchalant; you don’t know what all these little flash narratives add up to, but then you’ll get one moment: a memory, say, of Daniels being strangled by his own father, whom he still loves, and the running from and returning to that moment, which he’s done ever since; you see a narrative flash like lightning, spreading quick blue light for a moment over the whole shadowy, tortured territory.
It doesn’t sound very funny, and it’s not very funny. Unless you count the part where J. D. Daniels gets strangled by his own father, which is hilarious; we know this from The Simpsons. And if you’re wondering why he’s getting the Terry Southern Prize for Humor it is because, like Southern, his work is sly, and wicked, and playful, and, most of all, it’s true.
People ask me why is the Daily Show funny and I usually say it’s because of the jokes. Because explaining humor is neither funny, fun, nor possible. But some jokes always work because they break taboos. That’s why dirty jokes work, as Albert Brooks discovered opening for Richie Havens; there’s one word you can say into a microphone that will always win over one thousand drunk Texan Richie Havens fans who hate you, and that word is a miracle word, and that word is shit. But when it comes to the Daily Show, and J. D. Daniels too, the greatest taboo-breaking is simply to say what is true, plainly, and without apology. That joke always works, even when it’s no joke. J. D. Daniels’s letters know intimately that space between the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves when we’re sitting on a bar, and the queasy, daylit truth that awaits us once we are kicked outside into the afternoon sun.
In a recent posting to The Paris Review Daily he wrote, “We know what comedy is: life is increased. Think of Rodney Dangerfield addressing the crowd at the end of Caddyshack: ‘Hey, everybody, we’re all gonna get laid!’” [Dirty joke.] And we know what tragedy is: isolation increases. I used to think that life was about winning everything, Mike Tyson once said, but now I know that life is about losing everything.”
So J. D. Daniels is a plain good writer, but not like every good writer, he is clear, he is also a very funny guy. And when he doesn’t make you laugh, it’s on purpose, and when he does, that’s on purpose, too. What better definition of humor is there?
So it’s my pleasure to offer the Terry Southern Prize to J. D. Daniels of Kentucky, Massachusetts, and the world. Congratulations, to him and to us all.
We’re all going to get laid.
March 8, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Here is the youngest resident of the Hotel Duncan taking a “sensitivity break” from his senior thesis, on the fin-de-siècle poet Trumbull Stickney, 1995: “But that I know these places are my own / I’d ask how came such wretchedness to cumber / The earth, and I to people it alone. // It rains across the country I remember.” —Lorin Stein
Remember! Whether you had a Romantic phase, a Beat fixation, an Aesthetic idyll, send us your picture of yourself at your most self-seriously bookish and you could win a Frank Clegg English Briefcase. Send your picture, along with a brief description of your influences of the time, to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be in by Monday, March 11. (Luckily for you, staff is ineligible; this is hard to top!)
December 14, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
This Saturday, December 15, join Housing Works for the third annual A Christmas Carol marathon reading. Readers include John Hodgman, Eileen Myles, David Wayne, our own dear Lorin Stein, and many other terrific people. See you there!
November 26, 2012 | by Lorin Stein
As we have now and then had occasion to point out, Daily editor Sadie Stein and I are not married. Nor is either one of us a parent. But that won’t stop us from competing for your love. Tomorrow at seven:
Join Sadie and Doree Shafrir at KGB Bar for an evening of true-life storytelling.
Join me at 192 Books for a live interview with the poet and novelist Ben Lerner, author of Leaving the Atocha Station.
You can’t do both, but we hope you’ll do one!
November 8, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
This Sunday, join filmmakers Tom Bean and Luke Poling, along with Paris Review editor Lorin Stein and publishing luminary Terry McDonell, for a special screening of Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself at the School of Visual Arts Theatre, hosted by the documentary film festival DOC NYC.
November 6, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
Writer, thinker, bon vivant, sportsman, actor, participatory journalist extraordinaire, and editor of this magazine: George Plimpton was a figure to be reckoned with. In a new documentary, Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, the great man gets his due.
On Sunday, November 11, Plimpton! comes to DOC NYC. Join the filmmakersTom Bean and Luke Poling, along with Paris Review editor Lorin Stein, and Terry McDonell, for a special screening of the film. (Also showing Wednesday, November 14.) Get your tickets here.