David Sedaris on Trump, Selfies, and "Heteronormative" Polar Bears
We kick off 2016 with the hilarious Guest Judge and best-selling author
Book of the Month, David Sedaris
As a best-selling author, playwright, and performer, David Sedaris makes for an entertaining January Guest Judge. He answered our most pressing questions."
Your Book of the Month, 'Ghettoside,' details the case of a murdered black teenager in South LA, and the law enforcement personnel who are charged with policing this area. Was your selection driven by recent instances of police brutality throughout the country?
No, though it is timely. In this book the police are respectful and diligent. They really put their backs into solving these crimes. If it was fiction you'd likely criticize it for being unrealistic. That's part of why I like it so much.
You've written about your passion for American politics. Which literary character does Donald Trump most remind you of?
Does The Hamburglar count as a literary character?
What's a story you've written about that you're most surprised readers have latched on to?
I suppose it's that Santaland thing. I'll never understand why it's so popular.
[Editor's Note: David read his essay, "The Santaland Diaries", on Morning Edition in 1992, which became a huge hit with fans and is now read on NPR each holiday season.]
Are there any stories you've written that you regret?
I wrote a story called "Me Talk Pretty One Day" that was about the French teacher I had in Paris. She did throw chalk at people and mock us to our faces, but I should have mentioned that, despite all that, we adored her.
You grew up in a household where reading was prevalent. How much did this shape your career as a writer?
I wouldn't say reading was all that prevalent in my household. We knew how to do it, sure, but the TV usually won. I discovered books by babysitting. We had some neighbors whose interests extended beyond golf, and on their shelves, after the children were asleep, I found everything from 'Catcher In The Rye' to 'The Story Of O.'
You've said you write in your journal each morning. Can you tell us this morning's entry?
I had dinner last night with a writer who'd attended a lecture at an Ivy League university a while ago. She thought it was excellent, and was surprised when the audience had a different reaction. During the question and answer segment, the speaker, a naturalist, was condemned for her "heteronormative" representation of polar bears. That's gold as far as I'm concerned. Does it get any crazier?
Your story "The Santaland Diaries" depicted your time working as an elf at Macy's. Clearly you're a hard worker. Our November Guest Judge, Joel Stein, wrote of the Millennials being the most narcissistic and lazy generation yet. Do you agree?
I think my generation is pretty lazy and narcissistic. We just didn't have the energy to attach a camera to a stick.
What are you reading now?
I'm currently enjoying a non-fiction book by Larissa MacFarquhar called 'Strangers Drowning.' It's about people with what I would call generosity disorders, and it's fascinating.
What's next for David Sedaris? Do you have any ideas for future book titles?
My next book is a collection of diary entries titled, I think, 'Theft By Finding.'