Scholar Radcliffe sees Arab Spring reflections in comic book revolution – Harvard Gazette

RADCLIFF: Tell us your favorite memory.

GUYS : When I worked as a Middle East researcher in DC, I hosted a swanky invite-only event at the illustrious Café Milano. By 10 p.m., my bosses had already left. I found myself at a long table drinking champagne with Quincy Jones. He recounted Aretha Franklin’s birthday party on a yacht in Detroit. How I wish I had asked him to produce “Thriller”.

RADCLIFF: Describe yourself in six words or less.

GUYS : Don’t forget your Panama hat!

RADCLIFF: What is your most valuable asset?

GUYS : The first issue of the Paris Review, from 1953. I found it at the infamous John King Books in Detroit.

RADCLIFF: What inspires you?

GUYS : Those who can maintain a sense of humor in the face of adversity and conflict.

RADCLIFF: Name a pet peeve.

GUYS : Credit card payments at convenience stores and local establishments. Pack some cash, folks. Are you really going to get paid for a cup of coffee?

RADCLIFF: If your life became a movie, who would portray you?

GUYS : The dream: Paul Rudd. Reality: Jason Schwartzman. And if the director knew me well: Larry David.

RADCLIFF: Where in the world would you like to spend a month?

GUYS : Argentina. I’ve been taking tango lessons intermittently for three years, but I’m still a novice. I need to practice.

RADCLIFF: What is your biggest triumph so far?

GUYS : The fact that I managed to bring my fluency in Arabic to a level where I can be as spontaneous as in English, or at least pretend. Over the past year I have interviewed poets and novelists in Arabic and even appeared on live radio on BBC Arabic. The second version of me, conjugating verbs and studying word lists, could never have imagined it.

Daniel K. Denny