Jonathan Lethem Talks Down To 'Jane'

Our preferred Brooklyn Jonathan author chatted live with the ladies of the Jane magazine messageboards yesterday to promote his forthcoming book, You Don't Love Me Yet. His answers to their questions revealed a lot—about how dumb the questioners are. But it's okay! According to Jonathan, you don't have to go to college to be smart!

We begin with a softball so soft that it does not really even connect with the bat: "I've always loved your short stories ... Are you still publishing them? And if so, where? Thanks." Jonathan very sweetly does not call this lady an idiot for apparently never having heard of a magazine called the New Yorker, where one of his stories ran this week.

On to the next batch of questions! The gist of them is: Jonathan, we no likey read words on page. Movie? Jonathan replies that several adaptations of his books and stories are at some stage of production, including one by "Josh Marston, who made a movie called MARIA FULL OF GRACE." We feel that this is sort of like, but obviously not quite as bad as, saying "I went to a college called Yale."

Later in the forum, a questioner asks whether Jonathan finds living in the "creative community" of Boerum Hill stimulating. He do! "But that has more to do with seeing my old neighbors around, people who never left the place, than it has to do with the recent presence of loads of other writers and other creative people around here. Not that I find their company anything less than lovely." Riiiiight.

After some awkward flirting comes the inevitable 'do I have to get an MFA' part of the Q&A. Jonathan's answer is that you don't have to go to school at all. In fact, he dropped out of college, and so did his Moms. "My mother also dropped out of college and she was one of the smartest people I've known, so the way of the autodidact is an honorable one as far as I'm concerned — I hope I'd be supportive if my child chose that path too!"

The conversation closes with one forum participant's heartwarming takeaway. "Thank you! You've inspired me to dust off my own Fleetwood Mac records tonight."

Chat With Author Jonathan Lethem
[Jane]