David Remnick on Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and reactions to profiles

The best quotes from Tumblr’s interview with New Yorker editor David Remnick:

— “Speaking to the subject is the most overrated thing in journalism. I’ve written profiles where you never even meet the person. Janet Flanner wrote an amazing profile of Adolf Hitler. I don’t think there was a lot of Hitler access!”

— “When I hear a writer say that they ‘put in a call,’ I want to pull my hair out.”

— On Bruce Springsteen: “I found him very genuine. As someone who’s covered a lot of politics, I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a great wind of bullshit.”

— “If a subject really loves the piece, you question whether you were discerning enough in your reporting and your writing. If the opposite happens, and they’re hysterically angry at you, you might question whether you went the other direction. I prefer not to know. I’m not writing for the subject.”

— “I used to think that I wanted to profile Bob Dylan, and I think now that would be a terrible mistake. First of all, there’s enough written about Bob Dylan to last us twenty-seven lifetimes, and I think he would be the most elusive of subjects, and I’ve seen everyone else do it and I think it would be a disaster.”

* The art of the profile with New Yorker editor David Remnick (tumblr.com)
* The New Yorker is clearly screwing with us now (Gawker)

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