Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Own Proust Questionnaire

This is a feature that shows up frequently in Vanity Fair magazine.  Vanity Fair reminds me of a humor book from the 1930's, by Benchly I think, titled "David Copperfield, or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea."  It seems to have two purposes that are very different, cross even.  When reading Vanity Fair, I suggest immediately tearing out all of the pages that do not have to do with luxury or celebrity and stapling them together.  Throw the remainder away.  You may need to get a license to properly dispose of something as bulky as the pages devoted to luxury and celebrity. The rest of it becomes a very good magazine that that point, and much easier to carry.

"The Proust Questionnaire," I think that Marcel Proust was the first person that was subjected to it.  It's not his invention, is it?  I decided to try it myself, with as little malingering as possible.  I took the questions from a couple of different ones, so this is a little longer than most.

The Proust Questionnaire

1. What is your most marked characteristic?
2. What is the quality you like most in a man?
3. What is the quality you like most in a woman?
4. What do you most value in your friends?
                Clean personal habits and a cooperative spirit.
5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
                No guts.
6. What is your favorite occupation?
7. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
                Sex; watching a good movie in a theater; eating in a restaurant.
8. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
                Unfocused depression.
9. In what country would you like to live?
                Holland, if I were Dutch.
10. Who are your favorite writers?
                Modern: Jonathan Franzen and Haruki Murakami.  Classics: Joseph Conrad and Patricia Highsmith.  Genre fiction: Charles Williford, George V. Higgins, and H.P. Lovecraft.   History: Rick Atkinson, Richard B. Frank, Antony Bevor and Barbara Tuchman. 
11. Who are your favorite poets?
                Modern: Robert Haas.  Classics: Rainer Maria Rilke and Walt Whitman.
12. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
                Tom Ripley.
13. Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?
                Amy, in “The Passage.” 
14. Who are your favorite composers?
                Beethoven and the Russians.
15. Who are your favorite painters?
                Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Robert Williams.
16. What are your favorite names?
                French Fowler, Milan Panic and the family name, “von Turn und Taxis.” 
17. What is it that you most dislike?
                Corrupt politicians.
18. Which talent would you most like to have?
                The ability to get things done.
19. How would you like to die?
20. What is your current state of mind?
                Depressed.  What else is there?
21. What is your motto?
                “Why can’t we all just get along?”
22. What is your greatest fear?
                Old. Sick. Poor. Alone.
23. Which living person do you most admire?
                The Japanese musician, Cornelius, my friend O, and Paul Krugman. 
24. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
25. What is your greatest extravagance?
                Taxis and eating in restaurants.
26. What is your favorite journey?
                The California Coast Highway.
27. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
28. On what occasion do you lie?
                To protect people, or if I’m getting paid to lie (Disclaimer: I’m a lawyer, although I always avoid saying things that are actually untrue.) 
29. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
                Formerly, my hair. Now, my lack of hair. 
30. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
                I curse like a room full of sailors.
31. What is your greatest regret?
32. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
                What: pizza.  Who: my second grade teacher, Sister Josita.   
33. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
                I was an okay father.
34. What is your most treasured possession?
                My records.
35. Who are your heroes in real life?
                Currently alive: My friend O, who is slow to get angry, quick to forgive, and who has figured out how to win without ever getting the good cards.  No longer alive: my Aunt Mary.  
36. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
                I can’t think of anybody.
37. Which living person do you most despise?
38. When and where were you happiest?
                Summers at Lake George, as a boy.  

1 comment:

Jorge Morales said...

Just read your blog to Ichi. Stone cold fascinated.