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Thursday, September 14, 2006

What a Big Dog Is Good For

Posted by on September 14 at 14:39 PM

As Bradley Steinbacher attempted to interview James Ellroy last week about the release of the big-screen version of his book The Black Dahlia, this nugget floated to the top:

ELLROY: One of the things I’ve come to realize is you’ve got to get a woman with a dog. I got divorced recently, and I had a deep, dark, obsessive thing with a woman in San Francisco. But I want the new woman, whoever she is, to have a dog.

STEINBACHER: Any type of dog in particular?

ELLROY: A big-ass, good-looking dog. Like an Akita or a pit bull, so when the woman’s out of the bed you can curl up with the dog, talk to the dog about the woman.

STEINBACHER Not one of those tiny dogs people carry around?

ELLROY: No. I want a pit. A pit that uses some nigger voice. Says, “Hey Ellroy, let’s get some bitches.” A big dog.

The conversation was somewhat surreal—Steinbacher couldn’t keep Ellroy on topic—and the interview didn’t make it into the paper, but it’s online here.

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That's awesome.
If you've read Ellroy's books, you know he's a master at generating aggressive rapid-fire male voices. He's a genius at Alpha-types tearing into each other. Sounds like those voices occupy a large part of his psyche as well as his novels.

The N-Bomb with a hard R? So edgy it's mindblowing. I simply must read the rest of this interview and buy every book this guy writes.

The conspiracist in me wonders if Ellroy did this on purpose because he didn't want to get published in some alt-weekly rag.

Honestly, Ellroy is a phenomenon. If you like hard-boiled crime thrillers, you can't go wrong getting any of his books. L.A. Confidential is his best known, and American Tabloid kicks some serious ass. But I just freakin' LOVE 'The Cold Six Thousand,' which is a deeply twisted novelistic riff on the connection between the Kennedy Assassination, right wing nut jobs, and the Las Vegas gambling industry. If you like that twisted Alpha-male high adrenaline language, read that one.

Hats off, Mr. Steinbacher. I was beginning to think Ellroy was going to to stick to the pat answers I've read in every other recent interview with him, but you managed to veer into some surreal fucked-up territory...which I think he appreciated. I don't think he gets to do that as much as he obviously loves to and gets off on doing. His ex sure nailed him to a tee, but I suppose that's what they're good for.

Why didn't the interview make the paper?

Did anyone else attend the discussion panel at Bumbershoot, oh, nine or ten years ago with James Ellroy, Dorothy Allison, Curtis Hansen, and Michael Ondattje talking about books made into films. I'd never heard anyone curse so prolifically and creatively as James Ellroy in my life. It inspired me to read L.A. Confidential (all ten thousand pages of it).

Day late and a dollar short here...
But I have to agree with the sentiment here:
Why not run this in the paper? (of course if anyone was going to read this they probably did already)
James Ellroy is a great author. He has a way of using very bad words in an almost endearing way. I can't explain it.
I saw him speak at the UW many years ago and wasn't sure if he was going to give a talk or shoot everyone with a snub-nose .38.

No reason we didn't put it in the paper, except there wasn't room with all of the other movies opening this week. (Just to give you a sense: Al Gore was online-only for AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, as was Miranda July for ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW. And James Ellroy wrote a book; he didn't make a movie.) We almost never put interviews in the paper, but they're always online for the whole world to see.

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