The steamy adulation of New York women writers for Joan Didion, q. The women of Lakewood, for example. I wonder what she is doing here in the Panhandle, trying to make friends with a city girl who is snubbing her, but I do not wonder long, because she is homely and awkward, and I think of her going all the way through the consolidated union high school out there where she comes from and nobody ever asking her to go into Reno on Saturday night for a drive-in movie and a beer on the riverbank, so she runs.
Right across the Bay in Berkeley just three years earlier, in , twenty-two-year-old Mario Savio had spoken these words on the steps of Sproul Hall. Think about this for a second. If Top Writers like Didion had written about the legitimate concerns of Mario Savio, the Free Speech Movement or SDS , the lastingly valuable and influential aspects of Sixties youth culture, rather than getting off on themselves by talking with an allegedly tripping toddler, who knows where we might have gone, instead of where we find ourselves now. But no writing is apolitical. Didion and her cohort wanted a society where people like themselves could keep comfortably chronicling the interesting inferiorities of those in the classes below their own.
The depressing truth is that Didion and co. Better people, better writers, would have connected with the youth movement and the working class to protect and expand democracy—say, by putting their bodies upon the gears, and upon the wheels of the machine. Instead, they kept it running. And maybe they got to where they kind of knew it.
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In The Year of Magical Thinking, a memoir concerning the sudden death in of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, Didion describes Dunne as having been very low in the weeks before his death. Feeling his mortality. We were not having any fun, he had recently begun pointing out.
He meant doing things not because we were expected to do them or had always done them or should do them but because we wanted to do them. He meant wanting. He meant living. Joe Black had retired from the Rockefeller Foundation and come to teach political science at the Indonesian university where the two couples met. He had wanted to be Joe and Gertrude Black. So had I. Was that what he thought we had done? The answer is yes. Just like everyone who is still ordering a steak and planning a European vacation and somehow hoping for the best in this best of all possible worlds.
The moment when the neuraesthenic-in-the-cashmere-turtleneck routine fell away. Her deranged fans are so obsessed with what she wore, to do her reporting. Good or bad. But you had Rebecca Mead defending that response in the New Yorker , because it meant that Didion was the Real Thing, unflinching, a truth teller, a real journalist.
Come on, man. If you see that some idiot has given acid to a five-year-old child you have to drop everything and call the police, an ambulance. As a human being, you have to do that. For the love of Betsy. Didion was supposed to be a Law and Order guy, I thought. What would John Wayne have made of that. Just being, rather than putting on some kind of performance on behalf of I guess your biographers? Which is a little square, okay.
But El Dorado Park is really pretty, with huge old trees, and on the weekend there are a lot of families having picnics. The sea is very near by. Each comment or response costs a tiny ETH fee of 0. This system helps protect Popula conversations from trolls, fakers, Cambridges Analytica and other malign influences. Just visit metamask.
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California and Joan Didion
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- Hollywood: Having Fun | by Joan Didion | The New York Review of Books;
- How New Films on Arthur Miller and Joan Didion Confront Their Subjects | IndieWire.
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- Joan Didion's "Goodbye To All That" Has Been Optioned For The Hollywood Treatment.
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Joan Didion's "Goodbye To All That" Has Been Optioned For The Hollywood Treatment
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