In 2012, legendary American novelist Phillip Roth announced that, after publishing nearly three dozen books over his illustrious career, he would retire from writing fiction. And in a new interview with the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet — published Sunday in The New York Times — Roth reflected on his life's work, its place in the American zeitgeist, and his plans for life after writing.
In the interview, Roth confirmed he'd recently reread all of his works, and delivered a "verdict" on his his own writing:
When I decided to stop writing about five years ago I did, as you say, sit down to reread the 31 books I'd published between 1959 and 2010. I wanted to see whether I'd wasted my time. You never can be sure, you know.
My conclusion, after I'd finished, echoes the words spoken by an American boxing hero of mine, Joe Louis. He was world heavyweight champion from the time I was 4 until I was 16. He had been born in the Deep South, an impoverished black kid with no education to speak of, and even during the glory of the undefeated 12 years, when he defended his championship an astonishing 26 times, he stood aloof from language. So when he was asked upon his retirement about his long career, Joe sweetly summed it up in just 10 words. "I did the best I could with what I had." [New York Times]
Head over to the Times to read the entire fascinating conversation.
Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst is here to remind you that he is not, in fact, accused murderer Robert Durst.
Durst — the one whose band once released an album called Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water — posted a photo on Thursday showing him in a gray sweatshirt that reads "NOT ROBERT." In case that didn't get the point across, he captioned the photo, "I am NOT ROBERT." Unfortunately, there wasn't a follow up picture of Durst — the one who was caught on tape during filming for the HBO documentary The Jinx saying he killed people — wearing a sweatshirt that said "I am NOT FRED."
Durst — the one who famously declared he "did it all for the nookie" — likely posted the photo in response to The Associated Press getting the Dursts confused and erroneously reporting on March 16 that "an arrest warrant was issued for the former Limp Bizkit frontman." AP issued a correction, but the damage was already done: The nation once again was talking about Limp Bizkit.
Before he dies, Apple CEO Tim Cook says he plans to give away his entire $800 million fortune.
Prior to donating it all, Cook will make sure that his 10-year-old nephew's education is paid for, he told Fortune. He did not say which charities he will be giving money to, but he has spoken publicly about his support of human rights and equality and the need to stop HIV/AIDS and climate change, The Guardian reports. In 2012, Cook donated $25 million to Stanford to build a new children's hospital and $50 million to Project Red.
There are so many people waiting in line to view the coffin of Singapore's late leader Lee Kuan Yew that officials are asking mourners to stay away and instead visit community tributes spread out across the island.
Lee died Monday at the age of 91, and his funeral will be held on Sunday. The line to get into the Parliament House to see Lee stretches for several kilometers, with wait times of as long as 10 hours, The Associated Press reports. By late Thursday, close to 150,000 people had already viewed Lee's coffin, and officials were passing out water so people would stay hydrated in the heat. Those who came out to pay their respects said they had no problem standing in the hot sun. "I'm not afraid to wait," Idy Leong told AP. "Even waiting for 8 hours, I'll still want to wait. Ten hours, I'll also want to wait."
What happens when you take Jimmy Fallon, add five wax figures of Jimmy Fallon, and throw in some Beach Boys music? You get a rather bizarre — and kinda dark — Tonight Show sketch. If you can get through the clip without singing along to "Barbara Ann," I salute you. —Catherine Garcia
If you want a Big Mac but could do without the calories, now you can just wear the burger instead.
— i100 (@thei100) March 26, 2015
McDonald's has launched a website in Sweden featuring Big Mac-emblazoned jackets, rain boots, blankets, and even dog sweaters, Ad Week reports. The collection is part of a global marketing stunt that McDonald's launched on Tuesday, with special events and activities around the world, including a performance by a McOrchestra in Vienna and a Ne-Yo concert in Los Angeles. This actually isn't the first time a McDonald's-inspired clothing line has found success in Sweden: People went crazy for Big Mac thermal underwear, which the company made just as a sponsor for the Swedish Alpine and Cross Country Ski Team.
In his last speech on the House floor before resigning his seat at the end of the month, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said on Thursday he is leaving with "sadness and humility" — and then compared himself to the man who preserved the Union, abolished slavery, and strengthened the government.
"I also know that every person faces adversity in life. Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term but few faced as many defeats in his personal, business and public life as he did," he said. "His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valley in life."
In his goodbye address, Schock also said he tried his best to "contribute constructively to the process and to serve the people of my district and my country," and apologized to "those whom I've let down." Schock, 33, was elected to Congress in 2008 at the age of 27, and resigned his seat after questions came up about lavish spending of both taxpayer and campaign funds on private jets, concerts, and Downton Abbey-inspired office decorations.
On Thursday's Conan, Will Ferrell is happy to talk about anything and everything — except for the big white bird on his shoulder. When Conan O'Brien asks for details about the bird — named Prof. Don Feathers — Ferrell freaks, saying he tries to keep his personal life private. "I told him this would be low key, and now you've made it weird!" he exclaims. This is the latest in a string of wacky late night appearances by Ferrell to promote his new movie, Get Hard; last week, he showed up as Little Debbie on The Tonight Show. —Catherine Garcia