The Best Thing I Read This Week Is …

… from a Paper Magazine interview of the brilliant Fran Lebowitz:

On Money and Politics

I object to people who are rich in politics. I don’t think they should be allowed to be in politics. It is bad that rich people are in politics, it is bad for everybody but rich people, and rich people don’t need any more help. Whenever people say, “Oh he earned his money himself,” I always say the same thing: “No one earns a billion dollars. People earn $10 an hour, people steal a billion dollars.”

On Tourists

Tourism as a number-one industry is a terrible, terrible idea for any city, especially New York. If you were going to turn a city, which is a place where people live, into a tourist attraction, you’re going to have to make it a place that people who don’t live here, like. So I object to living in a place for people who don’t live here.


And I would like to see fewer and fewer tourists and I’m tired of hearing about how much money they bring to the city because the kind of jobs the tourists bring to the city are the worst jobs. They’re hotel maid jobs, they’re jobs that have no future to them.

On Hotels

Everywhere that they put up a hotel, they did not put up an apartment building. Hence the housing shortage. Hotels are like anti-housing. To me, they’re not only the opposite of housing; they are opposed to housing. They displace housing, and no one ever says this. Block after block, hotel after hotel after hotel. I remember Bloomberg, in one of his last acts that I recall as mayor, announcing at some opening of some hotel in Queens: “Who would’ve thought there’d be one million hotels in Queens?” No one, and you know what? There shouldn’t be any.

On Migrants

I think that at the same moment the country is at one of its high points of concern about migration, it is at a very low concern about tourists, and I would do the opposite. I would like to stand at the border — I would volunteer — and say, “You can come here, but you have to live here. If you’re coming here for four days, you can’t come. Sorry, let me give you a list of other boring franlebowitzplaces to go that you might enjoy.”

On Going to the Movies

People don’t like to go to the movies anymore, including me. I don’t like to go to the movie theater because I cannot bear my fellow man. It’s not that movies are bad; there are some great movies. I just can’t stand the way people behave at the movies: they act like they’re at home. I don’t want them eating three-course meals, or talking. People used to be quiet at the movies. To me, the experience of being at the movies was that there was a giant screen.

On Gay Marriage

The idea that those words are together is so hilarious to me. As I’ve said numerous times, I know that people wanted it, now they can do it in New York. I say “they” not because I’m not gay, but because I’m not getting married. In a million years I never would have thought of this. People always say, “You were always fighting for this, right?” No, I wasn’t. I wasn’t that kind of political activist. I never even imagined that anyone was even thinking about this, which I don’t think they were in 1971. To me, this goes more along with the other ways in which this culture is how it was in the 1950s. For me, if you want to get married, get married, I don’t care. I frankly don’t understand why people get married. When I was young, nobody did. It seems to me so confined.

On Modern Times

This is an era of immense originality and innovation in machinery. Which is very sad to a person like me, because I don’t care. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s not interesting to me. These things weren’t imaginable when I was young. It’s almost as if all of humanity is concentrated on this, and we’re being used for the transmission of these things; that’s what bothers me. You’re 25. Do something that angers me, or surprises me. Don’t keep rediscovering things. Now the culture is made of old things, it’s a collage. Art made out of art is not art. You’re supposed to make art out of life. You go into studios and you see these mood boards or whatever? You think you saw that at Saint Laurent’s studio? It’s other people’s art. I call that stealing.

I agree with her.  On everything, except that making art out of art is stealing.  If you have a billion dollars, you are stealing.



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