Jonathan Lethem on the Magic of Writing About the Talking Heads

Interviews with people who shape our culture.
Sept. 27 2013 5:25 PM

What Do You Do When an Album Haunts You?

Jonathan Lethem on why he authored an entire book about a Talking Heads album.

Jonathan Lethem’s cultural criticism has at times sparked even livelier conversations than his novels. Perhaps the best example is Fear of Music, his book about the namesake Talking Heads album that ran as part of the “33 1/3” series of short nonfiction. In the final part of his sit-down with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, Lethem says he felt compelled to write about the record because it continued to shake him in ways he didn’t understand.

Part 1 of the interview focused on Lethem’s scathing look at leftists in his new novel, Dissident Gardens, while Part 2 concerned the book’s purported shift in tone from his earlier work. In Part 3, Lethem, a college dropout, explained why he is now a college professor.

Videos curated by Slate staff.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.