June 2nd, 2011 / 4:54 pm

In which This Recording editor Alex Carnevale tells you everything you always suspected about Roald Dahl* (*but were afraid to have confirmed). What do you think of the last sentence? Please don’t answer this question unless you read the whole damn thing.


  1. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      That made me so happy!
      The last line is too little too late. The article makes Dahl sound like a schmuck who lucked into a successful writing career, and those closing sentences suggesting that there was something redeeming in what he did ignore all the people who rewrote everything he drafted.
      Article makes me want to reread his books tho.

  2. Scott Lewis

      Stanley Kubrick was an asshole and his films are still great. So was Picasso. Terrible people can still be talented sadly.

  3. Trey

      holy crap. but yeah, the last bit threw me off.

  4. anon

      I dunno, but this sentence sure sucks:

      He possessed a photographic memory for stories, recalling ones he had read or heard often in letters.

  5. Your Guest

      “…an underlying streak of cruelty and macabre unpleasantness, and a curiously adolescent emphasis on sex.”
      This part of Coward’s quote applies equally to Alex Carnevale as it does to Dahl.

      Examples of Carnevale’s writing:

      “Even from his earliest days, he was a hateful little fuck.”

      “By this time Dahl had placed his penis inside of too many people and word was starting to spread.” 

      Basically, the piece is about what an asshole he was and gossiping about his sex life. Tacky.

      What’s the point of writing something about someone you think is a piece of shit? Roald Dahl was a prick, no doubt, but Carnevale’s piece convinced me that so is Alex Carnevale. That seems like a strange message to want to impart to your readers.


  6. reynard

      why is that sad

      we are all terrible people, there are just varying degrees of how terrible one might be, i think there is a difference between being a terrible person, which is normal, and letting one’s insecurities influence the work, particularly when that work is touted because of its internalized insecurities and basically works to teach children certain things about the world, as carnevale claims

      views of the world which stem from insecurity may or may not be true of the world – in a certain sense, one might say that every view is true and equally valid but no one really believes that do they? after all, that’s what we fight about, it’s about taste and an idea of truth that is congruent with the ethics of the contemporary as they relate to the ethics of all time and thus aesthetics – or put another way, even if they are, they may not be what we should celebrate about the world – the use of a still from the fountainhead, for instance, is enough to suggest this idea is something carnevale considered in thinking on all this, which it seems he thought on a lot, but maybe not quite enough

  7. Phillis Dean

      I don’t agree with the last sentence, it seems a cop out but whatever, you don’t have to be cruel to write about cruel. Anyway, mean people are only sensitive people pushed too far by the bullshit caused by ordinary people who are really mean people in disguise;  or as they used to say in a youth empowerment program I worked for “Hurt people Hurt people”. Either way, I LOVE assholes and I love Roald and I love Eminem and I love Woody Allen, who fucking cares who they offended or what they wore or who they fucked. Although, I’m pretty pleased to see that Roald was turned on by older, married women. Much can be taught to the young, eager writer from a woman in her prime.