Money, on the other hand, is about more than just surfaces…


Poser watch: A.S. Hamrah sends in this chewy morsel from the August 2005 issue of The Believer, an exchange between Britlit sensation Zadie Smith and Britlit supersensation Ian McEwan:

McEwan: [O]ne of the great values of fiction [is] exactly this process of being able to enter other people's minds. Which is why I think cinema is a very inferior, unsophisticated medium.

Smith: Absolutely. Because you get surfaces only.

McEwan: Right.

Strong words coming from the man who played Magneto. For the record, McEwan has 14 writing screen credits, fully ten of which are adaptations of his written works. Smith's highly acclaimed novel White Teeth became a miniseries starring the great Om Puri, and she earned a credit as a creative consultant on that adaptation.

This exchange is wrong in so many ways (On the desert island, would you rather have Ernst Lubitsch's worst movie or John Dos Passos' best novel?), pathetic in so many others (At this late date, with the movies themselves dying out, can anybody still say stuff like this and keep a straight face?), and ill-informed in so many more (Have I been misinterpreting all those flashbacks, expository background scenes, and voice-over narrations all these years?), that I'll just repeat some words of wisdom I heard from a guy in a bar a few weeks ago: "The novel is a form that doesn't have any hold on public attention anymore, so creative people with talent are putting their energies into other media. So with a novel you know going in that the author is a loser." Not only that, but a loser who, as Smith and McEwan prove through their actions (rather than their words) a loser who still dreams of being in the movies.