Dr. Dustin Kidd and I met at the Starbucks at 12th and Walnut to discuss his latest book, Pop Culture Freaks. I asked him here to learn more about the work, which, while examining pop culture from an all-inclusive angle, includes a chapter specifically dedicated to LGBT representation in the media.
How does it feel to beat out George Saunders, the man who, according to the New York Times Magazine, wrote “The Best Book You Will Read All Year”? Maybe that is the best book you will read all year. But it doesn’t matter to me. Look, I’ll put it this way: I don’t read reviews at all. Even my own. I don’t pay attention to what other people do. It’s not healthy for me, because invariably, these kinds of discussions boil down to someone saying, “Well, I didn’t like this, and I didn’t like that.” I haven’t read George Saunders’s book, but I know he’s a very gifted writer.
Did Thomas Pynchon, another finalist, come to the ceremony in November? I hear there are some folks who have been looking for him for 40 years. [laughs.] You know, more power to him. He writes well enough that he doesn’t have to show up.
Your book tells the story of a young slave embedded in the army of abolitionist John Brown. There’s been a recent slew of books and movies about Lincoln, the Civil War, slavery. Did you see 12 Years a Slave? No, I didn’t see it. I read the book.