Pop Culture
Jun 23, 2015, 09:36AM

What Are People Saying?

A 1968 Rolling Stone interview with musician Pete Townshend vs a 2009 The Daily Beast interview with novelist Philip Roth.

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Pete Townshend: Nothing can be better really than waking up in the morning and everything is still the same as it was the day before.

Philip Roth: The hard part is, of course, the proximity of death.

Townshend: That’s what life is. It means nothing.

Roth: Yes. And a kind of low-level panic sets in.

Townshend: The whole thing then becomes incredibly introverted.


Roth: I was thinking of an actor—not a particular actor, but an actor, who couldn’t act.

Townshend: The billowy clouds get you, that's the way you think, you think in these kind of adjectives.

Roth: I don’t know. I do the same things I always did.

Townshend: It's like suddenly everybody getting hung up on a bum trip: mother has just fallen down the stairs, dad's lost all his money at the dog track, the baby's got TB. It’s lasted too long. You can sense it.

Roth: What are people saying?


Townshend: I'm becoming more and more ordinary as I go along. None of the romance, none of the visual stimulus, none of the sound stimulus.

Roth: A certain sexual charm, erotic charm. Mmm. It’s hard to find huge numbers of people, or large numbers of people or significant numbers of people who have those qualities.

Townshend: It's so hard to explain. I'm trying to talk about a change, knowing that there isn't going to be a change, trying to describe how I feel a change is going to come about.

Roth: That’s the problem. You want to be descriptive, if you can be.

Townshend: Oh, shit no. You want to commit suicide.


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