“Why did you go crazy with an Uzi in China and take out 300 people who skin dogs alive or torture bears and tigers for fake medicine?”

I’d like to be asked that one day, but don’t deserve the honor yet.

What activities do you prefer to being interviewed?

Sitting in my pajamas, drinking beer, watching TV with my girlfriend and my cat. Mind you, I’d probably rather be doing that than anything.

I don’t mind being interviewed at all, to be honest. As long as it’s about the work. I don’t like answering questions about other people’s work or lives. It’s nothing to do with me, and I don’t like adding to that particular debate. If the journalist is respectful—without prejudice—I am the same. It’s when they either come with an agenda or without any knowledge of my work where it gets a little awkward. It’s also a necessary part of the job. At least a bit of it now and again, anyway. As an artist, you want to get final edit; then, lots of people to see your work. They have to know it’s available, basically.

What is your favorite movie genre?

I love revenge movies. Justified violence is exhilarating. And tales of honor. My least favorite is probably gritty British gangster films, twee middle-class dramas about some posh twat who has writer’s block until he meets a younger woman who understands him more than his wife, and awful knockabout sex comedies aimed at 14-year-old boys and lonely middle-aged men.

Who would you like to give a Pulitzer Prize, and for what?

Christopher Hitchens, for nearly everything he ever wrote.

Since you don’t believe in an afterlife, which journalist would you like to not come back as?

I’m struggling to think of the name of a journalist who I would care enough about to not want to be.

What adjectives do you most deplore?

Insipid ones. Although “insipid” itself is a good one.

“Holy” is annoyingly meaningless. But “holey” is okay.

What is your favorite adverb?


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Cyndi Stivers is a former editor in chief of CJR