Friday, March 18, 2005

Department of Strained Literary Connections

The New Yorker reprints Michael Korda's brilliant 1993 profile of Swifty Lazar. This article has stayed on my my mind for years, and here's why: because there's a line in it that always makes me think of the 1980 Steely Dan song "Gaucho."

Like a lot of the Dan's songs, this once is open to interpretation, but it's always seemed to me that the lyrics are one side of a phone conversation from a Hollywood agent to a star who has been hanging around with the wrong kind of company, this flamingly gay "gauncho amigo.

The song predates Korda's story, but there's an echo to it of Lazar's parting words with Truman Capote:

"You turn up late for a sitdown dinner at my house. You bring along some piece of rough trade you've picked up from a gas station along the way as your date. I don't want to see you anymore."

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