Jacquline Goss & Caleb Crain | Twilight Talks


>>THIS IS CUNY TV, THE TELEVISION STATION OF THE GREATEST URBAN UNIVERSITY IN THE WORLD. ♪>>AS THE SUN SETS AT THE END OF A NEW YORK WORKDAY, THE MIND TRANSITIONS FROM DAILY TASKS TO THE CLOUDIER, MORE PHILOSOPHICAL REGIONS OF SOCIAL ISSUES, CULTURE AND POLITICS. IN A DEMOCRACY, EVERY PERSPECTIVE ON THE WORLD IS IMPORTANT AND PEOPLE IN ART AND CULTURE HAVE SURPRISING BODIES OF KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN SHED FRESH LIGHT ON TODAY’S REALITY. ♪ THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION WITH FILMMAKER JACQUELINE GOSS AND WRITER CALEB CRAIN TOOK PLACE AT THAT TIME OF THE DAY.>>JACQUELINEGOSS IS A FILMMAKER BASED IN NEW YORK. HER FILMS EXAMINE SCIENTIFIC SYSTEMS AS BOTH EXPRESSIONS OF HUMAN INGENUITY AND FOLLY. HER TWO MORE’S RECENT FILMS, “HART’S LOCATION” AND “FAILING UP” ADDRESS THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM AS ABSURDIST THEATER. YOUR INTEREST IN SCIENCE, PRETTY MUCH A SUBJECT THAT COMES UP EVERY TIME.>>I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE A GOOD LINE FOR WHY THAT, I JUST HAVE AN INTEREST IN THESE –>>TECHNICAL THINGS?>>YEAH. OR PROJECTS OR SOMEONE’S RESEARCH, AND THEN I START DIGGING IN AND IT IS LIKE HERE WE ARE. THESE KIND OF WELL TRODDEN PATHS. IT IS MORE ABOUT FOLLY. I LIKE SCIENCE WHEN IT GOES AWRY — A SPECIAL COMBO.>>A LOT OF ARTISTS RIGHT NOW MAKING ART ABOUT FAILURE OR MAKING FUN OF THE SYSTEM OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT WHICH FEELS TO ME IN SOME CASES LIKE TREACHEROUS IN A MOMENT WHEN ALL OF IT ACTUALLY IS FALLING APART. I THINK THERE IS POETRY IN THE SUBJECTS YOU FIND IN LET’S SAY, “THE MEASURES.” IT IS A BEAUTIFUL STORY AND THERE IS AN ELEMENT IN IT THAT IT IS A MISSION. TWO MEN WORKING TOGETHER TO INVENT THE METRIC SYSTEM WHICH IS ALREADY A FOLLY IN TERMS OF A UNIVERSAL SOLUTION TO MEASUREMENT BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT EVEN ADOPTED IN THE U.S..>>FRANCE DIDN’T EVEN ADOPT IT AFTER THEY FINISHED IT.>>IT CAME LATER.>>AFTER NAPOLEON. NAPOLEON CHAMPIONED THE PROJECT AND THEN DID NOT FOLLOW THROUGH. EVENTUALLY THEY ADOPTED IT BUT IT WAS NOT THIS KIND OF MIRACULOUS MOMENT WHEN EVERYONE CAME TOGETHER.>>PROGRESS HAS NEVER BEEN LIKE A TRAIN TRACK. IT HAS ALWAYS KIND OF ZIGZAGGED.>>IT IS EVERYTHING YOU CAN ASK IN A NARRATIVE, THE WORLD INTERFERES INTO THIS MISSION OF THESE TWO MEN, THERE IS THIS GREAT TRANSFORMATION THAT HAPPENS AROUND BOTH OF THESE MEN PERSONALLY BUT ALSO POLITICALLY, WHERE — AND SCIENTIFICALLY WHERE THEY WERE ORIGINALLY POSITED AS SAVANTS. YOU KNOW, THEY SORT OF KNOW EVERYTHING. BY THE END OF THAT WHOLE ADVENTURE, EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.>>IT IS SOMETHING I THINK ABOUT AS A HISTORIAN, HOW DO YOU PROJECT YOURSELF ONTO HISTORY? HISTORY IS A USEFUL TOOL SET FOR UNDERSTANDING HOW WE GOT HERE AND WHAT IS GOING ON AND IF YOU CAN FIND CERTAIN STORIES FROM THE PAST AND RESURRECT THEM OR — THEY CAN REALLY INFORM THE PRESENT.>>WHAT STORIES SHOULD WE BE PAYING ATTENTION TO?>>– THERE ARE MORE POETIC OR OBSCURE PERSONAL STORIES, THINGS THAT DON’T INVOLVE CONQUERING NATIONS OR INVENTING MEASURES. I THINK THERE IS GREAT VALUE IN THESE MORE, DARE I SAY TRIVIAL STORIES, TRIVIAL TO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED THOSE STORIES.>>IT IS INTERESTING TO THINK ABOUT THAT, ALSO IN THE CONTEXT OF SCIENCE WHERE WE CAN PROBABLY USE SOME GOOD SOLUTIONS FOR SOME THINGS RIGHT NOW. LOOKING FOR THEM POLITICALLY, AND HOPING FOR THEM TO HAPPEN SCIENTIFICALLY YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. MY PARTNER, MICHAEL’S DAD WAS A DOCTOR IN WORLD WAR II AND AT ONE POINT, MICHAEL ASKED HIM, WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE GREATEST THING, GREATEST INVENTION THAT HAPPENED DURING YOUR LIFETIME, AND I THINK HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE SOMETHING LIKE –>>THE POLIO VACCINE.>>IT WAS ANTIBIOTICS. HE SAID THAT TRANSFORMED EVERYTHING AND IT SEEMS SO COMMON IN A WAY BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THERE MAY BE SOMETHING LOOMING.>>PEOPLE EXPIRED IN THE 19TH CENTURY OVER STUPID THINGS. WE DON’T THINK OF MODERN LIFE AS BEING THIS ROUGH, BUT WE ARE SO PRIVILEGED TO LIVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD. THERE ARE PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD WHO HAVE KNOWN HORRORS WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE. “THE OBSERVERS” IS A MORE RECENT FILM. IT SEEMS TO ME IT IS ALSO ABOUT SCIENCE AND SORT OF — WHAT ARE THEY DOING?>>THAT IS ACTUALLY MY FAVORITE FILM, PARTIALLY BECAUSE THIS MOUNTAIN IS VERY FAMILIAR TO ME. IT IS THE MOUNTAIN I LOOKED AT ALL THE TIME WHEN I WAS A KID. WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT ARE REENACTMENTS OF THE GESTURES OF THE REAL OBSERVERS. IT IS TRUE TO IT IN THE SENSE THAT THE OBSERVERS GO OUT EVERY HOUR, EVERY DAY AND NIGHT AND MEASURE THE TEMPERATURE, THE VISIBILITY, THE HUMIDITY, PRECIPITATION. THERE WERE THREE OBSERVERS SHIFTING TWO WEEKS ON AND TWO WEEKS OFF AND THE OTHER TEAM ALTERNATES WITH THEM. THERE IS AN INTERESTING FACTOR OF THE THREE. TWO ARE DOING THE DAYTIME SHIFT AND ONE IS DOING THE NIGHTTIME SHIFT. THAT PERSON HARDLY SEES ANYONE. IT IS REALLY INTENSE. IT WAS REALLY SURPRISING. A CHALLENGE AND A DELIGHT TO FILM THERE. WE LEARNED HOW TO WAIT FOR THE WEATHER TO GIVE US SOMETHING. LET’S KEEP SHOOTING BECAUSE SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN.>>MOUNTAIN WEATHER IS ALWAYS CHANGING. IT CAN BE VERY DRAMATIC. FOR YOU WITH ALL OF THESE FILMS, IT IS A NICE PLACE TO VISIT. WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE THERE?>>THAT IS A GOOD QUESTION. WOULD I WANT TO LIVE THERE?>>YOU ARE DRAWN TO EXTREME SITUATIONS.>>I LIKE THE PORTRAITS OF SOLITUDE AND THESE NATURALLY EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS. THEY ARE VERY CAPTIVATING TO ME.>>ANYONE WHO ACCOMPLISHES ANYTHING CREATIVE SPENDS A LOT OF TIME ALONE, UNLESS YOU ARE MATTHEW BARNEY WITH A BIG STUDIO.>>I BET HE SPENDS A LOT OF TIME ALONE.>>YOU HAVE TO, IN A WAY. EVEN JUST DRIVING, YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME IDEAS.>>I REMEMBER THERE IS SOME QUOTE THAT MARY BOONE SAID, SHE DID NOT WANT TO BE AN ARTIST BECAUSE SHE DID NOT WANT TO BE ALONE THAT MUCH.>>YEAH. THAT’S WHY ARTISTS HAVE DOGS TOO. ONTO THE POLITICAL STUFF. YOU FILMED IN MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE WHERE THERE WAS A PRIMARY IN 2016. THERE WAS NO CLEAR ANSWER TO WHO THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE WAS GOING TO BE.>>WE TALK ABOUT FOLLY AND FAILURE AND ORIGINALLY I HAD AN IDEA TO MAKE A FILM IN HART’S LOCATION, A TOWN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE THAT THERE ARE ONLY EIGHT REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE WHOLE TOWN. THEY COME AT MIDNIGHT ON PRIMARY DAY AND VOTE WITHIN FIVE MINUTES. THEY COUNT THE BALLOTS AND CAN ANNOUNCE TO THE WORLD WHO WON THE FIRST PRIMARY OF THE FIRST STATE. THERE ARE TWO TOWNS THAT DO THAT. FOR A YEAR I THOUGHT I WANTED TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT THAT LOCATION AND I DID GO UP THERE AND IN 2008 WHEN I WAS EIGHT AND HALF MONTHS PREGNANT, WE SHOT THERE. IT WAS KIND OF BORING AND PREDICTABLE. I KIND OF ABANDONED THAT PROJECT AND THEN A WEEK BEFORE THE PRIMARY, MY FRIEND CHRIS WHO IS IN THE MOVIE AND IS FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE SAID THEY WERE EITHER GOING TO VOTE FOR TRUMP OR SANDERS.>>THESE WERE THE REVOLUTIONARY CANDIDATES. BOTH EXTREMES.>>ALL OF THE MENFOLK THAT I KNEW IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, THIS WAS KIND OF SYMPTOMATIC OF SOMETHING ABOUT MASCULINITY. WORKING-CLASS MASCULINITY IN THE NORTHEAST. A LOT OF IT IS ALSO ABOUT MY DAD WHO EVERY WINTER JUST STARTS BARRICADING HIMSELF. IT IS ALL ABOUT INSULATING THE HOUSE.>>A LOT OF WEATHERSTRIPPING GOING ALONG.>>BLOCKING OFF THE WINDOWS AND CLOSING THE DUCTS OVER THE STOVE TO SAVE MONEY ON HEAT. THIS IS KIND OF A PERFECT METAPHOR FOR WHAT IS HAPPENING.>>YOU WENT TO THE TRUMP RALLY. KIND OF A TERRIFYING SITUATION.>>WE WENT TO FOUR TRUMP RALLIES. WE WENT TO ONE IN PLYMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE RIGHT BEFORE THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY. THERE WERE NOT THAT MANY PEOPLE THERE. THEY HAD IT IN A SCHOOL GYMNASIUM AND THEY BLOCKED OFF PART OF IT SO THAT THE CROWD WOULD LOOK MORE COMPACT.>>THE PEOPLE IN THE FRONT ROW SAID IT WAS THE MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE.>>AT A CERTAIN POINT I REALIZED ALL OF THE INTERESTING THINGS HAPPENING ON THE FLOOR. KIDS WERE SITTING ON THE FLOOR BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS BROUGHT THEM. IT WAS A HARD BUT GOOD EXPERIENCE FOR HIM. HE WAS PROUD OF IT, HE FELT LIKE HE SAW HIMSELF IN THIS NEW WAY.>>WHO DID HE VOTE FOR?>>HE VOTED FOR CLINTON.>>DID YOU TALK HIM INTO IT?>>NOT AT ALL. IT IS COMPLICATED. I DON’T EVEN FEEL LIKE IT’S RESOLVED YET.>>IT IS A SENSITIVE TREATMENT TO WHAT DO YOU DO POLITICALLY. THE LAST MOST RECENT FILM — IS IT YOUR MOST RECENT FILM, “FAILING UP?” THERE IS A SOUNDTRACK THAT IS VERY PARTICULAR AND I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THAT IS.>>IT IS SEVEN AND A HALF MINUTES FROM NEAR THE END OF HOME ALONE TWO. DONALD TRUMP WAS IN HOME ALONE TWO AS A CAMEO. I’M NOT SURE HOW THIS CAME TO BE BUT IT ALL KIND OF ALIGNS. I HAVE A DEEP APPRECIATION FOR THE SOUND DESIGN IN THOSE HOME ALONE MOVIES, WHERE THERE IS A LOT OF MICKEY MOUSE-ING WHERE THE MUSIC SCORE PLAYS OFF OF THE FOLEY SCORE AND SOUND EFFECTS. IT IS VERY MASTERFUL.>>AND THE INEPT VILLAINS, FALLING OFF THINGS, GETTING HURT.>>YEAH.>>MEANWHILE IN THIS FILM — SKYSCRAPERS –>>THEY ARE ALL HIS HOLDINGS IN MANHATTAN. IT FELT CATHARTIC TO MAKE IT.>>PEOPLE DIDN’T THINK IT WAS GOING TO BE A BIG DEAL, BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL FILMING IT WORSHIPFULLY –>>MAYBE A LITTLE BIT LIKE THE RALLY PEOPLE. YOU KIND OF DEVELOP THE TAXONOMY YOU UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE ACT AT A CERTAIN LOCATION, GESTURES THAT ARE REPEATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.>>AND YOU TRY TO FIT IN A LITTLE BIT?>>NO. I LOOK KIND OF CRAZY. I’VE GOT THIS CAMERA AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS FROM THE 19TH CENTURY. LITERALLY LYING ON THE SIDEWALK SOMETIMES. IT WAS REALLY FUN, THIS KINETIC WAY OF SHOOTING.>>TO ME, IT FELT A LITTLE BIT LIKE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S DAILY CHARADE. LIKE THIS SLAPSTICK PERFORMANCE. IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY, REAL ESTATE. ATTENTION-GETTING DEVICES.>>NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, YOU END UP ON TOP WHICH IS SO MADDENING.>>LIKE SOME REVERSE GRAVITY SITUATION.>>EXACTLY. YUP. THAT’S IT. ♪>>JACQUELINE GOSS WAS A 2008 TRIBECA MEDIA ARTISTS FELLOW, AND THE 2007 RECIPIENT OF THE HERB ALPERT AWARD IN FILM AND VIDEO. HER PASTEL DRAWINGS OF ICEBERGS RELATED TO AN UPCOMING FILM ON SCURVY WILL APPEAR IN THE WINTER ISSUE OF FENCE MAGAZINE. ♪>>CALEB CRAIN IS A WRITER WHOSE WORK HAS APPEARED IN MAGAZINES SUCH AS THE NEW YORKER AND THE NATION. HIS FIRST NOVEL “NECESSARY ERRORS” CHARTED THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GROUP OF FRIENDS IN POST-COMMUNIST PRAGUE. HIS NEW NOVEL “OVERTHROW” EXPLORES SIMILAR THEMES YET TOWARD A DARKER END.>>”OVERTHROW” IS A SORT OF CYBER LEGAL THRILLER. IT IS A HISTORICAL NOVEL SET NOT VERY LONG AGO BUT I THINK IT IS MORE ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE OR THIS KIND OF DISRUPTION OF COMMUNICATION THAT THE INTERNET HAS CAUSED.>>THE BOOK IS ABOUT A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS WHO MEET AROUND THE TIME OF THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT. IT STARTS WITH A PICKUP, AN OLDER CHARACTER IN THE GROUP NAMED MATTHEW PICKS UP A YOUNG MAN WHO MAY BE 24. MATTHEW GETS BROUGHT INTO THE WORLD, PEOPLE INVOLVED IN OCCUPY. SOME OF THEM HAVE THIS IDEA THAT MAYBE THEY CAN — IT IS EASIER THAN MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO ADMIT TO KNOW WHAT OTHERS ARE THINKING. WHETHER THAT IS TELEPATHY OR NOT I DON’T SAY. THERE IS A CHARACTER NAMED CHRIS WHO IS WORKING-CLASS. JULIA COMES FROM A WEALTHY FAMILY. IT IS MEANT TO BE THE KIND OF SPONTANEOUS GROUP THAT DID FORM DURING THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT.>>– IS THE VISIONARY, THE LEADER. NOT BECAUSE HE HAS THE MOST MACHISMO BUT BECAUSE HE IS THE ONE THEY THINK IS THE MOST SENSITIVE.>>HE IS THE ONE THEY BELIEVE, IF ANYBODY HAS THIS POWER, THIS FACULTY, HE DOES. HE IS SORT OF CHARMING AND CHARISMATIC AND ENIGMATIC. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE NARRATIVE MOVES AROUND HIM AND HE IS ONE OF THE FEW CHARACTERS I DON’T HAVE THE CONSCIOUSNESS MOVE CLOSE TO.>>I THINK WRITING DIALOGUE MUST BE THE HARDEST THING TO DO. YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN EAR FOR IT. THERE WAS THIS INTENTIONAL VAGUE COVERAGE.>>I THINK I WANTED TO BE SOMETHING THEY WERE ALL REACTING TO AND FELT THE PRESENCE OF AND THEY THOUGHT THERE WAS SOMETHING GOING ON BUT DIFFERENT MEMBERS OF THE GROUP HAD DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS. MAYBE IT IS MORE EFFECTIVE IF IT IS NOT EVER SETTLED ON EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THAT IS HAPPENING.>>THIS IS 2011. THIS IS A HISTORICAL NOVEL BUT IT IS PRETTY RECENT. HOW THE WORLD HAS CHANGED AND IT FEELS THAT MAYBE THE THINGS THAT WE UNDERSTAND A LITTLE BIT BETTER NOW, FACING CONSEQUENCES WITH THESE CHARACTERS, THIS SETTING IS A PLACE TO SEE THAT STUFF BUBBLING TO THE SURFACE AND SEE WHY PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT.>>I WAS KIND OF PLAYING A DOUBLE OR TRIPLE GAME IN THAT THERE WAS THE TELEPATHY THING. THEY ARE NOT ENTIRELY AGREED ON WHAT IT IS. THERE IS ALSO OCCUPY WHICH HAD THIS UTOPIAN SPIRIT BUT THERE WAS A LOT OF DISSENSION ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANT AND WHAT THAT WAS. THEN THERE IS THE INTERNET WHICH ALSO LOOKED PROMISING AND PEOPLE WERE NOT SURE WHAT IT WAS AT FIRST. I WAS SETTING UP THESE THREE UNDEFINABLE BETWEEN SPACES THAT WERE ALL IN THE AIR AT THAT TIME AND TELEPATHY IS MY SCIENCE FICTION TYPE THING.>>THERE IS A RESURGENCE OF INTEREST IN THE OCCULT AND THINGS LIKE THAT.>>I AM NOT SURE WHERE I HAD THE IDEA, MAYBE PEOPLE WHO WRITE NOVELS TRYING TO IMAGINE THIS IDEA OF WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE INSIDE SOMEONE ELSE’S HEAD. AND MAYBE ALSO GAY PEOPLE ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO IT AS WELL. YOU ARE IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE AROUND YOU IS OFTEN NOT LIKE YOU AND YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS IMAGINATIVE LEAP TO IMAGINE WHAT THEY ARE THINKING OF YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE THE OUTGROUP AND THEY ARE THE IN GROUP AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE DOING THE WORK OF IMAGINING WHAT YOU ARE THINKING OF THEM.>>THAT IS THE KIND OF SENSE I WAS TALKING ABOUT. [LAUGHING] THIS KIND OF LANGUAGE, THIS KIND OF CODED LANGUAGE BETWEEN PEOPLE AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE IS IN THE GROUP, THIS SENSE OF SELF PROTECTION AND A KIND OF DEFENSIVENESS AGAINST THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ESPECIALLY ONCE THIS LEGAL PROBLEM TAKES OFF. ALL OF THE CHARACTERS ARE LIMITED IN TALKING TO EACH OTHER AND ANYONE ELSE AND BECOMES LIKE A COMMUNIST SCENARIO WHERE EVERYONE IS REGARDED. THEY FIND A KIND OF LIBERATION IN THAT AND SUDDENLY YOU CAN’T JUST COMMUNICATE THE OLD WAY AND YOU HAVE TO GO TO SEE SOMEONE FACE-TO-FACE AND BE A LITTLE MORE EXPLICIT.>>MY FIRST NOVEL TOOK PLACE 25 YEARS AGO IN A WORLD BEFORE CELL PHONES. THIS ONE IS DEFINITELY IN THE WORLD OF CELL PHONES, BUT I WAS KIND OF INTERESTED IN HAVING IT BREAK DOWN FOR SOME OF THEM. UNDER COURT ORDER THEY CANNOT USE A COMPUTER OF ANY KIND. WHEN YOU ARE IN A LEGAL SITUATION LIKE THAT AND SUDDENLY YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK TO CERTAIN PEOPLE, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK TO THE PEOPLE YOU WERE CLOSE TO BECAUSE YOU WERE DOING CRIMES TOGETHER, BUT THE INTERNET IS LIKE THAT TOO AND OFFERS THIS RADICAL TRANSPARENCY. YOU COULD TALK TO ANYONE AT ANY MOMENT BUT IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE YOU SHOULD NOT TALK TO. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE FINDING THAT OUT THE HARD WAY.>>THERE IS THE OLD SYSTEM OF INFORMATION EXCHANGE, THE PRESS AND THE NEW SYSTEM, WHICH IS TO CHAT OR GO ONLINE. THE PRESS IS LOVING THE STORY BECAUSE IT IS SCANDALOUS AND WEIRD BUT THE ONLINE CONTINGENT, THEY ARE MUCH MORE SYMPATHETIC. THEY SEE IT AS A MORE RADICAL THING, MAYBE RELATED TO THE OCCUPY INTENTION.>>YEAH. I WAS TRYING TO IMAGINE WHAT THE ONLINE WORLD MIGHT THINK IF THIS WERE TO HAPPEN.>>HOW DID YOU RESEARCH THIS STUFF? THERE IS A LOT OF TECHNICAL STUFF IN IT THAT SEEMS LIKE IT WAS FAR FROM 16TH CENTURY ENGLISH LITERATURE.>>SO, THERE IS ONE CHARACTER WRITING A DISSERTATION ON 16TH CENTURY ENGLISH LITERATURE. I READ A LOT OF 16TH-CENTURY POETRY AND A LITTLE CRITICISM. I AM FASCINATED BY THE INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY. I AM ALWAYS READING THE NEW STUFF. I DID READ A LITTLE STACK OF BOOKS ABOUT THE HACKER COLLECTIVE ANONYMOUS. IT WAS WHILE I WAS WRITING THE BOOK THAT THE EDWARD SNOWDEN STUFF CAME OUT AND I READ ABOUT HIM. I READ ABOUT THE STATUTES. THERE WERE A LOT OF DEFENSE LAWYERS LOOKING FOR CLIENTS, SO THEY WRITE THESE REALLY GREAT DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE INDICTED. THEY DO THIS BECAUSE I THINK — YOUR HUSBAND HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT AND YOU ARE THE WIFE AND YOU ARE HOME FRANTICALLY GOOGLING AND YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND YOU WILL BE THE ONE THAT CHOOSES THE LAWYER.>>BUT ALSO, IT IS LIKE A FRONTIER IN SOME WAYS. MAYBE LAW IS LIKE THIS BUT IT FEELS LIKE THERE IS SOME KIND OF DOLT-ISH LEGAL SYSTEM TRYING TO CATCH UP WITH THE RENEGADE BUSINESS INTEREST THAT IS GOING ON. THERE IS A LAG IN THE MONITORING OF THAT AND EVEN ONE OF THE CHARACTERS, JOE –>>HE IS JUST LEVERAGING THE LAG BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS. IF GOVERNMENT SUFFICIENTLY CATCHES UP TO BUSINESS –>>GOVERNMENT WILL WANT IN ON IT.>>BUT RIGHT NOW, YEAH, GOVERNMENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THE THINGS THAT BUSINESS CAN DO.>>AT ONE POINT YOU ARE WRITING THIS, AND THEN TRUMP IS ELECTED AND YOU SEE MORE OF AN AVALANCHE, FOR THE AVERAGE VOTER, FOR THE AVERAGE FAIRLY WELL-INFORMED CITIZEN, THERE WERE A LOT OF REVELATIONS IN TERMS OF MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGNS AND FACEBOOK IS REALLY A TOOL NOW FOR THROWING ELECTIONS. DID THIS ALTER THE COURSE OF WHAT YOU ARE WRITING?>>I STARTED IN 2012 AND MAPPED IT ALL OUT EARLY BUT I AM A SLOW WRITER. ONE OF MY FEARS AS I WAS WRITING IT WAS THAT — I HAD TWO FEARS, ONE INVOLVED ISSUES WHERE IT WOULD BE INTERESTING, WHERE IF WE SOLVED IT ALL AND THERE WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE WITH PRIVACY OR INTERNET OR AUTONOMY OF THE SELF IN THE POST LITERATE WORLD. THAT DID NOT TURN OUT TO BE A PROBLEM. BY SECOND ANXIETY WAS THAT THE THINGS I WROTE IN THE BOOK AS FICTION WOULD BECOME TRUE. LIKE WHEN THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTIC STORY BROKE, I WAS JUST LIKE, THIS IS UNFAIR BECAUSE I HAVE ALREADY HANDED IN MY BOOK.>>IT SEEMS LIKE YOU PRETTY WELL SPELL OUT THAT YOU ARE WRITING THIS IN 2011. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN VISIONARY. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SEEMS TO DEVELOP IS THIS LOSS OF BELIEF IN THE EXISTING SYSTEMS OF FRIENDSHIP AND COMMUNICATION. STRUGGLING TO STAY TOGETHER. IT IS A PRETTY GRIM TOPIC WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.>>WHEN I WAS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT, SEVEN YEARS AGO WHAT TO WRITE NEXT, I HAD THIS IDEA IN MY HEAD AND I CALLED IT THE DARK NOVEL WHEN I WAS TRYING TO THINK OF DIFFERENT NOVELS I COULD TRY TO WRITE.>>ONE OF THE CHARACTERS REFERS TO THE DARK POEM.>>MY FIRST BOOK WAS MUCH HAPPIER. IT WAS ABOUT A YOUNG PERSON AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE KIND OF BUILDING UP AND INTEGRATING A PERSONALITY. INTEGRATING THROUGH THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING RAISED IN A CULTURE THAT DID NOT VALUE HOMOSEXUALITY. THIS BOOK IS THE OPPOSITE AND IS ABOUT DISINTEGRATION AND THE FORCES THAT ARE KIND OF BREAKING DOWN THESE CHARACTERS AND BREAKING DOWN THE STRUCTURE OF THEIR PERSONALITIES A LITTLE BIT. I MEANT TO LEAVE THE ENDING AMBIGUOUS, THAT THERE IS A SORT OF — IT COULD STILL GO EITHER WAY BUT I DO FEEL THAT IS REALLY THE CASE. IT IS STILL STEPPING OUT OF THE WORLD OF THE NOVEL AND IN THE REAL WORLD IT COULD GO EITHER WAY.>>I DON’T READ NOVELS AS MUCH AS I USED TO. I WAS IN ENGLISH LIT MAJOR AS AN UNDERGRAD AND THAT IS ALL I DID. NOW DOES NOT SEEM LIKE THE PACE OF LIFE ALLOWS IT. READING A NOVEL SUCH AS THIS FELT LIKE A VERY STRANGE BUT SATISFYING AND ISOLATING EXPERIENCE TO ME. IT MIGHT NOT EVEN BE FULLY ALLOWED IN THIS MARCH TO PROGRESS.>>YOU’RE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO HAVE PERMISSION TO READ A NOVEL.>>MAYBE ON SUMMER VACATION.>>TO BE DETACHED FROM THE CULTURE FOR THAT LONG.>>IN DEFENSE OF THE NOVEL, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? [LAUGHING]>>THIS IS MY LIFE. YOU ARE DESCRIBING THE DEPRESSION I STRUGGLE WITH. CULTURE SEEMS TO BE TURNING AWAY FROM NOVELS. I GREW UP WANTING TO WRITE THEM AND NOW I AM A GROWN UP AND I GET TO WRITE THEM AND IT SEEMS LIKE THEY ARE TRYING TO YANK AWAY THE PLATE JUST AS I SAT DOWN TO DINNER. I THINK PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT NOVELS ARE SOMETHING THEY CAN ENJOY. EVEN PEOPLE IN MY SOCIAL CIRCLE HAVE BEEN AWAY FROM THEM IN SUCH AN EXTENT THAT WHEN THEY SIT DOWN TO READ THEM THEY ARE SO SURPRISED THAT THIS IS A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE. I LIVE IN THE WORLD, I KNOW THE PULLS ON PEOPLE. IT’S NOT THAT PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE TIME, THERE IS SOMETHING OF A HOT MEDIUM VERSUS THE COOL MEDIUM. ♪>>CALEB CRAIN’S FIRST NOVEL WAS NOMINATED FOR LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FOR GAY FICTION. OVERTHROW, PUBLISHED IN AUGUST 2019 WAS SELECTED AS A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR’S CHOICE. IN NOVEMBER 2019, HE WAS NAMED A FINALIST FOR SIMPSON/JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE FOR THE MID-CAREER AUTHORS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪