Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Proust Questionnaire (Happy 140th, Marcel)

In honor of Marcel Proust's 140th birthday, I've decided to submit to a version of the infamous Pivotian, Liptonian, Vanity Fairian 'Proust Questionnaire.'
  1. Your most marked characteristic? None of your business
  2. The quality you most like in a man? Wit and sensitivity
  3. The quality you most like in a woman? Friendliness and wit
  4. What do you most value in your friends? The fact that they are my friends
  5. What is your principle defect? Perfection
  6. What is your favorite occupation? Turning sentences around, making worlds of words, liking that other world.
  7. What is your dream of happiness? I have more interesting things to dream about
  8. What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? Total paralysis or the disintegration of the mind
  9. What would you like to be? An enigma
  10. In what country would you like to live? England, specifically London, even more specifically Bloomsbury, most specifically of all Bedford Square
  11. What is your favorite color? The deep blue of shadows cast by evergreen trees upon freshly fallen snow
  12. What is your favorite flower? Queen of the Night Tulip, the most decadent flower in the world
  13. What is your favorite bird? The one between my index and ring fingers
  14. Who are your favorite prose writers? Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Walter Pater, Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, many others
  15. Who are your favorite poets? Ovid, Dante, Shakespeare, Donne, Whitman, Dickinson, Yeats, Rilke, Celan, Hart Crane, Allen Ginsberg, T.S. Eliot, many, many others
  16. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Tyrone Slothrop
  17. Who is your favorite heroine of fiction? Fanny Hill
  18. Who are your favorite composers? Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Wagner, Mahler, Morton Feldman
  19. What is your favorite symphony? Beethoven's Ninth
  20. What is your favorite opera? Wagner's Tristan und Isolde 
  21. Who are your favorite painters? Picasso, Titian, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Fragonard, Goya, Manet, Van Gogh, Beckmann, many others
  22. Who are your heroes in real life? A 'real life' hero is a dangerous thing to have.
  23. Who are your favorite heroines of history? Ditto
  24. What are your favorite first names? Alexandra, Marina, Natasha, Miranda
  25. What is it you most dislike? Today's Republican Party, a surreal collection of Burroughsian Talking Assholes
  26. What historical figures do you most despise? Hitler, Stalin, and many other religious figures
  27. What event in military history do you most admire? It's difficult to find anything admirable in human slaughter
  28. Who are your intellectual heroes? Jean-Paul Sartre, Noam Chomsky, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, Emma Goldman, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, Albert Einstein, Richard Dawkins
  29. What natural gift would you most like to possess? Perfect vision
  30. How would you like to die? As Bartleby said, I would prefer not to...
  31. What is your present state of mind? Weird to surreal, a Gaudi palace of spiralling dreamstone
  32. To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Excessive love, and any other 'fault' born of authentic passion
  33. What is your favorite word? Superflux
  34. What is your least favorite word? No
  35. What is your motto? Doubt Everything

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