Archive for March 13th, 2006

Reopening Jarhead

Tonight's episode (at 7:30; repeated on Friday at 10:30 p.m.) is a rerun of my interview with Anthony Swofford, the author of Jarhead. The book -- a memoir of the first Gulf War from the vantage point of a Marine sniper -- is a beautiful work of prose about a godawful experience. The movie version -- just out on DVD -- captures some of the brutal language of Swofford's text and combines it with striking imagery; the effect on me, as a viewer, wasn't comparable to the mind-bending experience of reading the book, but it was pretty devastating nonetheless.

Anthony SwoffordAs a fledgling interviewer, I found this conversation to be particularly gratifying: I was genuinely freaked out by the experiences that Swofford had endured, and I wondered whether I'd be able to connect with him in a way that would be comfortable for both of us, and for the viewer. As it turned out, I felt like we did connect -- which gave me hope that I'd be able to conduct interviews with a wide range of guests.

I'm very curious to see what Swofford's next book -- the one he's working on now -- will be like. My strong suspicion is that the craft and focus he brought to Jarhead would not be lost on a less obviously "intense" subject. ...

3 comments March 13th, 2006


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