I recognize that reviewing a person can rightfully be interpreted as a strange act, but what is a review, after all? While the common understanding holds that sharing thoughts on something, usually in a critical fashion, qualifies as a review, I understand this task as an opportunity to brag about someone I admire and, while it is a little pretentious of me, I hope that it will somehow turn out to be in your benefit.
Fran Lebowitz, the writer.
She’s frank, observant, has all sorts of witty and unbelievably particular thoughts on most, or all things. She’s unapologetically herself and manages to emanate an ambience that reflects what New York must have felt like in the 80s.
Her most famous writings include Metropolitan Life and Social Studies. Perhaps you will find it relevant to know that her most notable pieces, published over four decades ago, are also her only writings, amounting to no more than 314 pages combined. During one of her first appearances at the Letterman Show in the 1980s, she discussed starting to write a third book and I believe that at the same show, in 2010, she informed us that she was still in the process of writing. Thanks for the update, Fran!
With or without a third book, her relevance today lies in her strength of mind and character, her critical eye and humor, but most of all, an individuality that sparks an inward inquiry into whether you, the spectator/reader, are your own self or whether you have become another complacent product of today’s world copying another. The fact that she possesses the gift of writing to convey that personality in written form is simply a bonus.
In most appearances, you will spot Fran wearing dark jeans with cowboy boots, a long coat and a white shirt. In theory, they don’t quite work, but somehow, her character confers sense to the outfit. Fran Lebowitz is a state of mind that, while it cannot and should not be replicated in form, should be replicated in spirit. I argue that the world would benefit from more observant critical thinkers and situational humor.
I recently watched the entirety of her interviews with David Letterman from 1980 to 2010 and feel nostalgic about a New York atmosphere I never experienced. How one can feel nostalgia over something one never experienced, I don’t quite get. Among other projects, she collaborated with her friend Martin Scorsese on a series of HBO and Netflix documentaries. I will let those, the interviews, and her books speak for themselves; for Fran, New York, and humor.