Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern, 1950-1995 [NOOK Book]

Overview

An unforgettable chronicle of an era by one of America?s wildest?and most brilliant?comedic and literary minds Edited by Nile Southern and Josh Alan Friedman
Starting with his landing at the Battle of the Bulge, Terry Southern showed a knack for winding up in the world?s most interesting places. He spent the fifties on the Left Bank of Paris, the sixties in mod London, and the seventies touring with the Rolling Stones. When the Beatles rolled out their famous pantheon of ...
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Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern, 1950-1995

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Overview

An unforgettable chronicle of an era by one of America’s wildest—and most brilliant—comedic and literary minds Edited by Nile Southern and Josh Alan Friedman
Starting with his landing at the Battle of the Bulge, Terry Southern showed a knack for winding up in the world’s most interesting places. He spent the fifties on the Left Bank of Paris, the sixties in mod London, and the seventies touring with the Rolling Stones. When the Beatles rolled out their famous pantheon of movers and shakers for the cover of Sgt. Pepper, Terry was the only guy wearing shades. When police broke heads during the ’68 democratic convention in Chicago, Southern was there to bear witness. And when Stanley Kubrick needed someone to make Dr. Strangelove funny, there was only one man qualified for the job.  As the golden age of rock ’n’ roll wound down, Southern never stopped writing, and his prose never lost its trademark intensity. Filthy, fierce, and relentlessly dazzling, these letters, essays, stories, and interviews are an electric testament to one of the keenest wits of the twentieth century. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Terry Southern including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Southern is probably best known for his screenplays, which include Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider, and Barbarella, and for Candy (1958), the erotic novel he coauthored with Mason Hoffenberg for the Olympia Press. Overseen by his son Nile, this posthumously published collection contains interviews, stories, letters, and memoirs, some of which appear here for the first time. Among the more interesting pieces are those that deal with filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, including a proposed scene for the movie that would become Eyes Wide Shut. There are memorable portraits of contemporaries such as William Burroughs, Frank O'Hara, and Larry Rivers and reminiscences of the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, which he covered for Esquire alongside Burroughs and Jean Genet. As in most collections of this kind, the quality of the writing is sometimes uneven, but Southern's irreverent wit and outrageous humor usually make for lively reading. Recommended for contemporary literature and film collections. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A darling of the postwar literary counterculture is honored in a tidy collection that makes coherent sense of what might have been a group of funny if disparate works. Rather than reverting to chronology, Southern's son (and literary executor) Nile and editor Friedman wisely divide the great man's writings by genre (tales, new journalism, etc.) and subject (the film business, writing, etc.)—an arrangement that points out Southern's strengths in each. Just as The Magic Christian and Easy Rider show his varieties of outrageousness, so do his short writings. The journalism (particularly his piece on working with "big Stan Kubrick") reveals his ease at mixing tale-telling and corporate critique, while the letters, depending on your point of view, are either examples of fine verbal architecture or irritating self-involvement. His appreciations of other writers are personal and original, notably in his Paris Review interview with British novelist Henry Green and his love note on the weirdness of "Ed Poe" (as in Edgar Allan Poe). Of note to film historians is Southern's go at adapting Arthur Schnitzler's Rhapsody, A Dream Novel for the screen—the psychosexual drama Eyes Wide Shut would have been quite different if Kubrick had taken Southern's tack of going "the comedy route." As for sex and drugs, they waft throughout the collection, settling in as subject matter for such works as "A Conversation with Terry Southern and William Burroughs" and "Letter to George Plimpton: A Sports-Death Fantasy" (the latter involving ice cubes). When you're done, even if you feel you've read all you need about sweet drugs and pert body parts, it's hard not to like Southern. He was big-hearted andirrepressible, an optimist of excess when it seemed such things were possible.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453265895
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 262
  • Sales rank: 1,066,605
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Terry Southern (1924–1995) was an American author and screenwriter. His satirical novels—including the bestselling cult classics Candy (1958) and The Magic Christian (1959)—and his screenplays for Barbarella, The Loved One, The Cincinnati Kid, Dr. Strangelove, and Easy Rider (the latter two of which were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay) established Southern as one of the leading literary and pop-culture voices of the sixties. His other books include Flash and Filigree (1958), Blue Movie (1970), Texas Summer (1991), and his first anthology, Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes (1967). In later years, he wrote for Saturday Night Live and lectured on screenwriting at New York University and Columbia University. Nile Southern is originally from New York City, where he worked for many years as a filmmaker and creator/performer of a multi-projector nightclub film show: Exploding Limo. After moving to Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Theodosia, he published his fiction in O-Blek, Open City, and Black Ice Books (Fiction Collective Two). While living in London in the early ’90s, he wrote a screen-based novella, The Anarchivists of Eco-Dub (www.altx.com/ebooks). He is also the author of The Candy Men: The Rollicking Life and Times of the Notorious Novel Candy (2004); thewinner of the Colorado Book Award for Book of the Year in Creative Non-Fiction; and co-editor of Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern (2001)with Josh Alan Friedman. He is currently at work on DAD STRANGELOVE, a film about his father, Terry Southern, and is the literary executor of the Terry Southern Literary Trust (www.terrysouthern.com). Writer-guitarist Josh Alan Friedman done learn to read and write at South School in Glen Cove. Evidence of this be the non-fiction books Tales of Times Square (1986), Tell the Truth Until They Bleed (2008), and I, Goldstein (with Al Goldstein, 2006). He done wrote some comix, too, featuring the art of his brother Drew, collected in the anthologies Warts and All (1990) and Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental (1985). And he co-edit Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern (2001), with Terry son, Nile. Yes he did. Black Cracker (2010) be his first novel. As “Josh Alan,” he barnstormed the state of Texas for 20 years, rocking whole arenas with his Guild D-40. Copping three Dallas Observer Music Awards for Best Acoustic Act, he released four albums: Famous & Poor (1991), The Worst! (1994), Blacks ‘n’ Jews (1997)—the title of which became a documentary on Josh’s life—and Josh Alan Band (2001).
Terry Southern (1924–1995) was an American author and screenwriter. His satirical novels—including the bestselling cult classics Candy (1958) and The Magic Christian (1959)—established Southern as one of the leading literary voices of the sixties. He was also nominated for Academy Awards for his screenplays of Dr. Strangelove (written with Stanley Kubrick and Peter George) and Easy Rider (written with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper). His other books include Flash and Filigree (1958), Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes (1967), Blue Movie (1970), and Texas Summer (1991). In later years, he wrote for Saturday Night Live and lectured on screenwriting at New York University and Columbia University.
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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One


Heavy Put-Away

or,
A Hustle Not Wholly Devoid
of a Certain Grossness, Granted


Recently I was researching an article for a woman's magazine, whose considerate editor had already entitled it—Con Men: Their Games and Their NAMES—aiming, with the final emphasis, for a bit of the old exposé mileage no doubt. I had assumed in front that, through editorial pressures, it might gradually get bent into the usual hacksville tom-foolery—a rehash of classic and clichéd hustles ... and, for the most part, so it proved to be. Most, yes, but not all, for there was one conspicuous exception, and it was deleted, totally, from the piece—"because of," in the head-back closed-eyed words of the senior blue-coiffed lady-editor, "certain elements in the narrative which are simply too, how shall I say, er, uh, gross for our general readership."

    I was really quite surprised. A prevalent real-life hustle "too gross" to be exposed? What a curious age we live in.

    In my research I used a small unobtrusive Sony-600, obtaining verbatim recordings of every conversation. The following is the one which was deleted from the piece, and is, I submit, among the most intriguing (albeit outrageous) deceptions presently in vogue, in the U.S. of A.

    The narrator—whom I shall call "Art"—is thirty-four, white, college-grad, unmarried, clean-cut and boyishly good-looking, a type seen mostly in beach-movies ... a younger Jack Nicholson; andthough he was careful to keep his story always in the third person, even slightly detached, as though describing someone else, I had the recurrent and distinct impression he was talking about himself.

    The interview was taking place on the terrace of the "Sow 'n Merkin," a cafe-restaurant on La Cienega, about two blocks below the Sunset Strip. Only a moderate amount of pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk that passed our table, and whenever a girl would go by, Art's eyes would flick after her with a warm, somewhat carnivorous glint in them, without interrupting his story. He's also one of those "L.A. types" (no other way to say it) who do coke quite openly—though with consummate discretion, natch—carrying it pre-chopped in an ornate antique-style snuffbox, dipping in with the little finger, for swift unobtrusive toots off the back of the nail ... which Art did throughout his narrative, occasionally sliding the box to me across the table. The first time he passed me the box, I glanced around, super-casual, to check out the neighboring tables, but Art was quick to allay my concern.

    "It's cool, man" he said, "no vigilantes here." He smiled and assumed a cracker drawl: "Hell, we done strung 'em all up."

    I switched on the Sony-Six, and Art took that (as per intention) to be a signal to begin.

    "Okay," he said, "now here's a funny number a couple of guys I know run from time to time—I've been saving it. I mean, it could be a little heavy ... for, you know, certain tastes."

    "No way, Art," I assured him, "you lay it down, and I'll pick it up."

    He chuckled, somewhat cynically now that I think back on it, and then continued:

    "Well, there was this chick—name of Sally—very cute, twenty-three, twenty-four years old, worked as a kind of hat-check cigarette-girl at a small club on the Strip. I forget the actual name of the club ... it was like the Crescendo, one of those, you know, with a piano-player, and maybe a combo in for weekends—that kind of place, small but legit ... just your `average American bar.' Anyway, this guy—let's call him Al—starts coming in, almost every night. Nice-looking guy, about thirty-five, sharp dresser, leased Lincoln Continental parked outside. And he's always quite friendly—not pushy about it, just friendly—you know: `Hi, Ted,' `Hello Tom,' `Hi Sally,' and blah-blah-blah. And so finally he's like a regular customer, coming in nearly every evening. Comes in before dinner, has a couple of drinks, and splits. Now he's gradually getting fairly tight with Sally, the hat-check cigarette-girl—no heavy come-on, nothing like that, just sort of a pal. And one night, a slow night, she's sitting at the bar with him, having a drink, and he lays this story on her ... about a friend of his—an older guy, a terrific guy, friend of the family, a sort of `surrogate father' is the way he put it—who's coming in from New York in a week or so. And he goes on to describe this guy, in very flattering terms—an important businessman, a well-known financier, a major executive of a huge corporation, on the board of directors of several big companies, seat on the New York Stock Exchange, private plane, and so forth. And he tells her how the guy comes to California on business two or three times a year, and that when he does, he likes to have a discreet affair with someone—not a hooker, he isn't interested in that at all—he wants someone, well, like someone to talk to, and to spend a pleasant evening with. `He's good for a thou,' Al said, `a thousand bucks for the evening, and usually a nice gift of some kind besides.' Al knows all about it, because he has arranged it for him before, several times—so he was able to assure her that it was `strictly legit,' and what's more that if she didn't like the guy she could just split, she didn't actually have to make it with him. Naturally, he hoped it would happen, but it wasn't really critical, I mean it wasn't going to be a deal-breaker if she didn't let him fuck her—because he was happily married, had a wonderful family—wife, children, grandchildren, the whole bit—it was just that he liked the excitement of, you know, meeting a nice young girl from time to time, and so on ... made him feel younger, whatever. Anyway, he went on to say that he, Al, knew that the guy would like Sally, and he wondered if she would be interested—a thousand bucks for a couple of hours, probably a nice present, and after she got there, if she decided she didn't want to make it with him, that would be okay, she could just leave. Well, right away she said no, it wasn't the sort of thing she would be interested in, ever, and he said `Well, no offense,' and she said `None taken,' and he took her to dinner, never mentioned it again, took her home, didn't hit on her in any way, didn't come in for coffee or a drink, said he had an early appointment, had to get to bed, and that was that. Saw her the next few nights at the club, never referred to it again.

    "Now then, parallel to this, there was a young couple living in the Valley —the guy was a stunt man, or let's say an ex-stunt man, with a broken back ... had taken a fall, a big fall, landed on a Chapman crane ... crushed his back. So he's laid up—totalled. Now the tie-in is that the stunt man had married this girl's best friend, Sally's best friend, about a year and a half before this. Bill and Mary, that was their names, and they had this kid, and the kid was about a month old—a one-month-old kid—like an infant. Now the guy, Bill, had broken his back about six or seven months ago, so for the last four months they've been in heavy trouble. I mean, they bought a house, furniture, two cars—all the usual stuff—during the first six months they were married ... and then he busted his back. But the studio wasn't liable, because it was some kind of unauthorized stunt, whatever, so he wasn't getting any workmen's comp. I mean, he really got ripped on the whole thing—wasn't getting any money. And they had all these medical bills—for his back, and for her having the kid, plus all the regular bills—the car payments, mortgage payments, insurance payments, everything. And, of course, she can't work because of having the kid, and he's lying around—they don't know yet if he's going to be a full-on paralytic or not—just lying there in a full-body cast, with the wife and the newborn baby, and they're starving. No bread at all, being dunned by everybody—about to get killed by the house-payments guy, the car-payments guy, the guys with the furniture, TV ... all of it. Murder. Wipeout. Now the wife, Mary, she would call the other girl, Sally, and they could talk, on the phone ... it was really the high point of her day, her conversation with Sally, the hat-check girl. You see, she could never get out of the house because she was stuck with the paralyzed husband and the kid. Actually, she was very much in love with her husband—which is what gives this whole story a certain `je ne sais quoi,' ha—I mean it wasn't like she was being a ball-breaker about it, it was just a really terrible situation. And so she was sort of living vicariously on the phone, through her friend Sally, who would tell her all about her day—her night actually—at the club ... you know, who came in with who, et cetera ... and so on that same level, of just interesting day-to-day trivia, she mentions the guy, Al, and the proposition he made—but only referring to it as something that happened at the club, no more than that. But a couple of days later, Mary calls and says that she's been thinking about that thing, that proposition. `It's horrible, I know,' she says, 'but we're just so desperate that I think maybe I ought to do it—I mean, you know, if you think he would want to.' Well, Sally knew the guy would go for Mary, because she was even better looking than Sally was. But she said, `Well, what about Bill? What's he going to say?' And Mary says, `Well, he won't say anything, because he won't know. I mean, I'll just tell him I've got to go to this meeting, or something like that, and then maybe you can come over and pick me up, and you know, take me there—and when it's over I'll have the money and take a cab home ... and well, he'll just never know anything about it. I mean, I realize it's terrible, and I hate it, but I just don't know what else to do.' `Because she really did love the guy, of course, and that's the key to it, you see——of the whole caper—that she's this totally innocent person, this very nice girl, who is really in love with her husband, and had never dreamed of making it with anyone else, or with anyone for money, ever, but their terrible circumstances—and the amount of money being offered ... well, it was tempting. Of course Sally was completely surprised, she could hardly believe it. `Mary,' she says, `I don't think you should do it—I mean it's too weird, it might affect your relationship with Bill—even if he didn't find out about it.' And Mary starts crying and says, `Yes, I know, I know ... I guess you're right, it's just that I'm so desperate ...' And she cries for a little bit on the phone, and Sally cries, and then they drop the subject, and that's the end of it—except that a few days later, when they're about to turn off the electricity, Mary calls Sally and says, `I know it's crazy, but that thousand-dollar thing—with the older man from New York—could you try to find out more about it?' And she tells her about the electricity, and everything. So the next time Al comes in the club, Sally asks him if he's found a girl yet for his friend. And Al says, `No, as a matter of fact I haven't, and the guy is coming out in about a week, and I'm getting a little nervous about it.' And so Sally tells him about her friend Mary, who she says is sort of thinking about it. And she goes on to describe her—`a very beautiful, really nice, nice girl, who loves her husband very much,' and so on, but that they have these terrible financial problems, and she tells the whole story to Al—the guy's broken back, the electricity about to be shut off, and so on, and asks him, Al, to tell her more about the guy. So he lays this heavy rap on her again about what a wonderful, gentle, sweet, attractive, generous man this guy is. `I mean, she's really going to like him, a lot,' he says, `he's a truly nice man. And if she doesn't like him, you know, she can just leave.'

    "So they set the thing up. The cover story, for Bill, was that Mary was going out for the evening with a girlfriend, to see a movie. She would go out at seven—the baby would have had its bottle by then, and she would put it next to the husband on the bed, because he can barely get around—he can move, but it wasn't the easiest thing to do, you dig, in this full-body cast.

    "Now then, Al gives Sally full instructions about how it's to be done. Discretion, that was the main concern—you've got to be discreet. This was because the guy doesn't want to be seen in the lobby of the hotel, or anything like that. He's staying at the hotel, but he feels it will be more discreet and more comfortable, and so on, if they do their thing in a bungalow. So Mary is to book it, bungalow ten, a big mother, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, book it in her name, go there, sign in and register. Bring a bag, and in the bag have a couple of bottles of really fine Scotch, and a bottle of good brandy. Get some mixer—club soda, and some ice, wrap it all in a towel so it doesn't rattle, and put it in the best bag she's got, check in, and go to the bungalow. `Listen,' she asks Sally, `where am I going to get the money for the whiskey?' Well, Sally was short and couldn't come up with it, so she went to a neighbor, whom she barely knew, and said she was desperate, she had to raise fifty dollars, could she loan it to her. So the neighbor took the money out of her sugar bowl, but emphasized that she would have to have it back the next day, because it was the household money and so on. And then Mary didn't have a really smart bag, so she borrowed that from Sally—who picked her up on her way to the hat-check joint, and dropped her at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she had already called up and reserved bungalow ten. The boy took the bag to the bungalow, showed her in, and she waited there. See, the idea of bringing the booze in was that the guy didn't want anybody coming to the room while he was there, because of the big discretion thing—him being a famous person, well known at the Beverly Hills Hotel—and he just couldn't afford any indiscretion at all. So she, Mary, was instructed to get there at about seven, order a nice dinner for herself, anything she wanted—he recommended the pheasant, and a particular wine, very expensive—and he would eat elsewhere and then join her at about nine. And that way they would avoid the whole room-service scene and any risk of him being recognized. So she went to the hotel, about six-thirty, registered her name, went to the bungalow, had the pheasant, the wine, et cetera, signed the check, and waited. Then, at about nine, he called. `Is everything all right?' trying to sound pleasant and cheerful. He says that he'll come down now, down from his room, and meet her, if it's convenient. She says, yes of course, and so he arrives in a few minutes—and he's a really nice attractive guy, very thoughtful and considerate and cultured. So the anxiety she had felt began to disappear. See, she had been getting sort of panicky about it. I mean, she hadn't been to bed with anybody in about six months, because of her husband's busted back, and then she'd had the baby ... and so this was going to be the first fuck she's had in quite a while, and she was kind of uptight about it, about the whole thing, but he really put her at ease, and began to sort of draw her out, and she told him all about her husband and about the baby, and all the depressing stuff about their situation, and she cried a little bit, and he was terrific—perfect father-guy, and she found him attractive, and they drank some of the booze, and then they went to bed, and it was okay. I mean, it wasn't in any way sordid or vile, or anything like that, and she really dug him, and he was very interested in her and said that he understood there had been this money arrangement, this thousand dollars, and that was fine, but he didn't want that to be the main thing. He'd gotten to really like her, he said, and he wanted to take an active part in helping her and her husband out of this predicament, and maybe even take an interest in the child, the child's education and so on. And they talked some more and made love again, and now it was about eleven o `clock, and he takes out this ring—this beautiful diamond ring—and he tells her that he bought it for his daughter's birthday, and he wants to know what she thinks of it. And she says, `Well, it's really beautiful. Absolutely fabulous.' It's still in the velvet case, you know, and he says, `Well, you see, I'd like you to have one just like it, because I think you're a blah-blah-blah wonderful girl and the ring really suits you,' and blah-blah-blah. It's a big stone, very impressive. `Oh, I couldn't,' she says. `Don't be silly,' he says, `I insist.' Then he gets on the phone and calls the jeweler at the jeweler's home. `Yes, you know the ring I bought this afternoon—well, I'm leaving first thing in the morning, and I want to get another one like it. Could you come over to the hotel now? No, I've got an early flight, and I just won't have any time at all tomorrow. Yes, the same ring exactly. Just call bungalow ten when you get here and I'll meet you in the lobby and pick it up. No, I don't know the size, so bring an assortment, and we'll determine the size when you get here. All right, see you soon. Thank you.'

    "So, from her point of view, everything has gone just great—she'll have the money, she'll have the ring, she has this fantastic new friend who's going to be like a godfather to the child, and help them all out, and so on. Now her only concern is how she will handle it in terms of her husband, how to explain about the money and about the ring. And the guy advises her on that, too—-he asks how well does her husband know her background. Is it conceivable, for instance, that she had an aunt or uncle, that Bill didn't know about, who could have died and left it to her? She thinks about this for a minute, and says yes it is possible, there could have been this aunt in Youngstown, or someplace ... so that little problem is settled. Now it's about twelve-thirty, and the phone rings. It's the jeweler, down in the lobby. The guy starts out, to go meet him and pick up the ring, and just as he gets to the door, the instant before he goes out, he remembers about not knowing her ring size, so she takes off her wedding ring and gives it to him so he can match it for size. He says he'll have a quick drink with the jeweler, in the Polo Lounge, just to be sociable, pick up the ring and be back in ten minutes or so, probably less. So she turns on the TV, finishes getting dressed, and sits there waiting for him. Times passes. One-thirty, two-thirty ... three-fifteen. She starts to get panicky, calls the Polo Lounge, the Lounge is closed. Calls the desk, asks for his room—he isn't registered, they never heard of him. Never. Now she calls Sally at the club. Closed. Calls Sally's house. No answer. So, she's sitting there, alone, four o'clock in the morning, no money, a hundred-and-ninety-five-dollar hotel bill ... desperation time. Finally, nothing left but to bottom-line it—call the husband. She tells him where she is—bungalow ten at the Beverly Hills Hotel—he'll have to pick her up because there's no money for a cab, and there's no way to get a cab without alerting the hotel that she's about to skip. So—now dig this—the husband, Bill, wearing his full-body cast, moving like something out of a horror movie, has to wake this neighbor he doesn't even know very well, at four in the morning, borrow his car, put the baby on the seat beside him, try to drive from the Valley to Beverly Hills, cruise the hotel until she can sneak out—without the bag in case she's spotted—get in the car, and drive back. And on the way back, she has to tell him what happened ... about the money she owes the hotel, the neighbor, the bag she has to replace, the wedding ring ... and, you know, man, the whole story."

    And with that, the sun sinking behind the Hollywood hills silhouetting him, Art gave me his All-American, boss-charm, hero-of-many-battles smile. "Now I ask you," he said softly, sliding the snuffbox across the table, "wasn't that a heavy-put-away?"

    We sat in silence then, watching the sun slowly go down, and having a few unobtrusive toots.

    "Listen," I finally said, "those guys ... they must have been really ... well, one thing I'm a little hazy about is just how to characterize their motivation."

    Art smiled, raising his brows, as in surprise. "Oh yeah?" He turned his eyes towards the distant hills, where the last rays of the sun bled out all along the horizon—but he didn't reply.

    "Well," I went on, "I think you'll agree there is a certain ambiguity here ... I mean, let's just run it down in a recap—what did they get out of it? Okay, on: the guy gets laid, by a beautiful young girl—that's a plus..."

    "A really nice girl," added Art, nodding his head to emphasize that aspect of it.

    "Right. A beautiful young really nice girl ... who hasn't made it with anyone in six months. Okay, that's all a definite plus. But is that enough—to justify such an elaborate ruse? I mean, what else did they get out of it?"

    He looked at me, with something close to pity. "I should've thought it was obvious," he said, a slightly pained smile on his lips.

    "Well, let's see, there was her wedding ring—probably a simple, narrow gold band—what was that worth? Fifty bucks? A hundred?"

    "A hundred tops," said Art, "probably less."

    "Well, that doesn't seem like much ... for all that trouble."

    He laughed. "You've got a pretty materialistic slant on things, don't you?"

—1981 The Paris Review
Reprinted by permission of The Paris Review.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: An Interview with Terry Southern 1
Tales
Heavy Put-Away; or, A Hustle Not Wholly Devoid of a Certain Grossness, Granted 17
A Run of Dimes 25
Fixing Up Ert 31
Blue Movie: Outline for Novel 40
Letters
Dear Ms. 47
Letter to Lenny Bruce 49
Letter to the Editor of National Lampoon aka Hard Corpse Pornography 51
A Letter to the Editor: Stiff Gook Rimming 53
Letter to George Plimpton aka Sports-Death Fantasy 56
Worm-ball Man 60
Behind the Silver Screen
On Screenwriting: An Interview from Movie People 65
Strangelove Outtake: Notes from the War Room 72
Proposed Scene for Kubrick's Rhapsody 86
Plums and Prunes 89
New Journalism
Fiasco Reverie 101
Grooving in Chi 118
The Straight Dope on the Private Dick 130
The Beautiful-Ugly Art of Lotte Lenya 147
Riding the Lapping Tongue 153
The Quality Lit Game
Placing a MS. with New Yorker Mag? 165
Flashing on Gid [Maurice Girodias] 168
Rolling Over Our Nerve Endings [William S. Burroughs] 176
Writers at Work [Henry Green] 179
King Weirdo [Edgar Allan Poe] 191
The Scandal Continues 195
When Film Gets Good... 197
Drugs and the Writer 206
Strolls Down Memory Lane
Strange Sex We Have Known [William S. Burroughs] 211
Frank's Humor [Frank O'Hara] 214
Memories of Michael [Michael Cooper] 222
Remembering Abbie [Abbie Hoffman] 230
Trib to Von [Kurt Vonnegut and George Plimpton] 233
Origins of the Lampman [Larry Rivers] 240
Epilogue: Drugstore Cowboys: A Conversation with Terry Southern and William S. Burroughs 248
Afterword: Now Dig the Archive 259
Acknowledgments 263
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2001

    The Terry Southern Revival Starts Here!

    Now Dig This is a wonderful collection of Terry Southern's uncollected and unpublished writing. The range of material - short stories, sketches, reminscences, screenplay extracts, journalism - spans the beat world of the fifties to the nineties. My favorites include the ultimate con story, 'Heavy Put-Away', an inside account of making Dr. Strangelove, and an insightful essay on Kurt Weill. Southern's versatile brand of satire - from elegant understatement to wild mock-outrage - may have gone out of print at one time or another, but it has never gone out of fashion. To paraphrase Ringo Starr, buy a Terry Southern book today. And why not make it this one.

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