Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jewish Shouting.

Writer and critic James Marcus interviewed novelist Philip Roth about his latest novel, Indignation, for the LA Times last September. During the course of the interview, Marcus asked Roth what he thought of the film version of Portnoy's Complaint, and was told it was "unspeakable". "It's a movie about shouting. Jewish shouting," said Roth, proceeding to give "a brief, comical example" of what this might sound like. His performance struck Marcus "as a specimen of literary history, like Thoreau demonstrating how to peel the bark off a birch tree".

"Clearly," Marcus wrote on his blog, "his ululating outburst impressed me", and he used it as the backbone of "Jewish shouting mix 3", interspersing Roth's laughter and shouting with a strong dance beat. This has now been posted online by US independent publisher Melville House, which is always, said Marcus, "on the alert for booty-shaking literary artefacts".

Marcus promises that if the track proves popular enough he'll create a 15-minute club version. It's worth a listen, if only to imagine hip young scenesters eventually shaking their stuff to a 76-year-old novelist's groaning.

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