Woebegone Me

The Rake: It’s good to meet you, Mr. Taylor.

Taylor: It doesn’t matter.

The Rake: O.K. then. Anyway, the idea here is to give our readers a sense of the private personality behind the public image.

Taylor: I have no public image. Minnesotans are private people; publicity makes them feel uncomfortable. Publicity is a thing newspapers do to you. Just look at the artist formerly known as Roger Nelson, the only man in Minnesota with a deeper vault than mine.

The Rake: Like Roger Nelson, you also changed your name.

Taylor: My name is Harrison Taylor.

The Rake: You changed it from “Harry,” right?

Taylor: People named “Harry” don’t write for the New Yorker. Just like guys named Roger Nelson don’t sleep with Kim Basinger. I might add that people named Joe Pastoor don’t write for the New Yorker, either.

The Rake: And you don’t contribute yourself anymore, do you?

Taylor: They put a female in charge. She was a Brit who didn’t know her arse from a hole in the heath. I wouldn’t hire her as my secretary, much less work for her.

The Rake: The New Yorker was your first big break, wasn’t it? (3)

Taylor: No. I was already a D.J. like Howlin’ Wolf and Moby. I played Bach and followed it with the Beach Boys. Big donors would call in and withdraw their pledges. I did it just to show King who was really the boss.(4)

The Rake: So you are an entertainer.

Taylor: Public Radio is not entertainment. It is nutrition in an audio format, with dark stains on the bag to indicate freshness. People who listen for two hours on Saturday night have excellent constitutionals on Sunday morning. Both ends of the digestive system are engaged simultaneously. I have also added roughage to the governor’s diet, and that seems to be working better than expected. He has provided the state with more dung than it can use.

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