Monday, October 22, 2012

Proust questionnaire

Your favorite virtue (of your own) 

Consistency in morality; valuing actions over words and goodness over politeness.

Your favorite qualities in a man

Confidence without arrogance (or with minimal arrogance). (“PARTY TIP: A real man is masculine and feminine.”)

Your favorite qualities in a woman


Your chief characteristic 

Self-assurance? [sic]

What you appreciate the most in your friends

Loyalty. “Unconditional like.”

Your main fault

Stubbornness. Followed by lack of ambition.

Your favorite occupation


Your idea of happiness

Laughter in the company of old friends.

Your idea of misery

Being betrayed. Or guilt over having betrayed.

If not yourself, who would you be?

Like me but richer.

Where would you like to live?

New York, but with Denver’s weather and cost of living.

Your favorite color

Shades of red and blue.

Your favorite flower

Lilies and tuberose.

Your favorite bird

Hawks and crows.

Your favorite prose writers

Kazuo Ishiguro, Joy Williams.

Your favorite poets.

Wallace Stevens, Anne Carson.

Your favorite hero in fiction

Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes)

Your favorite heroine in fiction

Scarlett O'Hara

Your favorite painters

The abstract expressionists.

Your favorite composers

The Russians.

Your heroes in real life


Your favorite food and drink

Food: Tomato sauce, chilaquiles, enchiladas, poached eggs, pizza, sushi. Drink: Wine, Campari.

Your favorite names

Georgia, Annick, Adam, Sasha (for a boy).

What you hate the most


The military event you admire the most


The gift of nature you would like to have

Musical talent.

How you want to die

By meteorite.

Your present state of mind


Faults for which you have the most indulgence


Your favorite motto

“Luck is a skill.”


  1. Replies
    1. I wish "Your favorite word" was one of the questions.

  2. On the cable T.V. show Inside The Actor's Studio, the host and interviewer James Lipton finishes each interview with a list of questions that he says originated with Proust's questionnaire, "perfected" (as Lipton puts it) by Bernard Pivot.

    Lipton's list of questions is shorter, and (mostly) less probing; the first question in his list is "What is your favorite word?" (The second question is "What is your least favorite word?"

    Lipton interviews mostly actors (plus an occasional director, musician, etc.). I've always been curious what kind of a reaction he would get if he ever interviewed a poet, and asked the poet "What's your favorite word?" Could any poet really answer that question? (Well, I suppose maybe, if they just said whatever happened to be their favorite word at that particular moment, but... Well, I mean, I have no idea what my favorite word is. There are so many of them...)

    1. In general I have trouble with favorites -- I always mentally add "(for now)"

      (For now) my favorite word is "profound"

  3. for now: root, or rot, or loom, or loam, or bloom, or bomb, or mute, or morbid bride, or livingroom, or bored, or doom, or moody blue--but never ohm and never zoo

  4. Spoilersport of me but I wish feminist was the trait marked awesomest for a man, too. As much as I get the femininization of feminism, I also don't get it: this could be stupid but I'm guessing women--especially, tho not solely, hetero women--are ESSENTIAL for "patriarchy"--a term I don't find nearly as meaningful as I'd like to--to keep strong. Can feminism break out of the hetero-patriarchy matrix (a matrix which is saturated with unfeminist currents and may need these currents to have meaning and capital) so long as the concepts of man and woman stop having about as much cultural capital as any other paradigm period? Note: JButler in Gender Trouble suggests that heterosexual as concept is the underlying topos for the notion of there being a male sex and a female sex and I am borrowing this logic though I may be tripping and crediting an idea to her that is not actually in that work.

    Note: I totally do get why the male/female axis won't go anywhere anytime soon, and if the issue isn't handled carefully then, truetrue, one is left with elision not greater precision; but, too, it seems to me to make for an implicit stuckness.

    adam s

    1. I like it in men too, to be sure! But, because I'm heterosexual, I inevitably think about what I find *attractive* in men, whereas with women I'm mostly just thinking about what makes me like and respect them.

      But yeah, if men aren't feminists I like and respect them less too.

  5. This thread--well, the one I highjacked/forged--is remindin' me of Toni Morrison's awesome point that "Romantic love is the worst human invention ever." Once again, I may totally be wrong and TM stated no such point. Nevetheless, I concur: how can one eye someone in lust/sex/aesthetic turn-on mode without, well, rendering them likely far less human--no, fully animal, fuck human as privilged moniker--than could be the case. Ok, enough of me making huge claims; in my case, the demographic that for sure is not seen nearly as generously as should be is gay men who I'd like to plunge my tongue into.

    adam s

    1. "gay men who I'd like to plunge my tongue into" would be a funny category on the %100,000 Pyramid.

    2. Uh, that % should be a $ of course. Watching the election coverage!