The Questionnaire: McKenzie Wark

By The QuestionnaireMarch 15, 2013

How do you get up in the morning?

I’m not to be spoken to until after the second cup of tea.


Do you succumb to nostalgia?

Sometimes keeping a past alive is the only way of imagining a moment after this relentless present.


Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?

Write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite…


How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

That it hasn’t been deleted is as close to fame as one now gets.


Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite?

Old friends, now dead. People from public life are usually a disappointment in private.


Best piece of advice you ever received?

When you think it's 75% done, it's done. (The late Ted Wheelwright).


Disciplined or hot dog?

Either, as the task demands. Hot dogging is its own discipline.


Have you ever been defeated by a genre?

Memoir. Fortunately.


Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon?



Are you okay with blood?

Still on my first pint, thank you.


Who is your imagined audience? Does it at all coincide with the real one?

I imagine the great Gods of Critical Theory sitting in their armchairs reading me, but it turns out regular readers are more interesting than that.


What country would you want to be exiled in?

“One cannot go into exile in a unified world.” (Guy Debord)


What’s your favorite negative emotion?

Like Marcuse, hate.


What is your go-to shoe?

Whatever they’re selling at Shoe Mart in Brooklyn, a friend is a co-owner.


What's your poison?



What's your problem?

 How to cure us of it.


Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to?

Love and Money, Sex and Death.


What are you so afraid of?

Other priorities.


How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?

Oh, minutes.


Who reads you first?  

Me. “I is another.” (Rimbaud.)


Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind?

My gravestone should just read “worker, father, lover” (after Christos Tsiolkas).


What character or story haunts you?

 “There is a specter haunting Europe…”


Does plot matter?

They are plotting to impoverish our world still further.


Does age matter?

Yes, you perceive and feel differently as you age, and this can be, if not a good thing, then a useful thing.


Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what?

Cafes, or lying in bed, or kitchen counter. No desks.


Who is the author you'd most like to impersonate online?

 McKenzie Wark.


Is there a literary community?

Ignore it and make your own (punk rock style).


What’s the question or questions we should have asked, had we known?

Why does anyone bother to ask writers questions? We probably know less about everything than stevedores. 

LARB Contributor

The Questionnaire is, as her name suggests, a multifarious and mysterious interlocutor. Chameleon-like, her questions change their color as they approach each new interviewee.


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