Last night I attended a panel on Love and Marriage, moderated by a senior editor from The New Yorker and featuring Lorrie Moore, Julian Barnes and Junot Diaz. If you’re familiar with these authors you know in advance that their outlook on the topic isn’t particularly sunny. Coincidentally, neither is mine!
It was an interesting panel, and I don’t mean that in a fully complimentary manner. The topic is obviously extremely broad and the moderator didn’t provide much steerage or direction to narrow the focus. Bad week for moderators, eh? Instead he tended to pull something one of the author’s characters said or thought on the topic of love and then asked the authors to speak to it. His introductions to the questions were rambling and unfocused, it was a bit painful at times. Luckily Moore, Barnes and Diaz are all well-spoken, witty people so it more than made up for it.
My favorite moment of the night was the moderator interjecting at the end, “Oh, and we haven’t even talked about sex yet!” Lorrie Moore and Julian Barnes in unison (with matching horrified expressions) said “It’s not in the panel title!” to which Junot said “You guys are like the Teamsters—it’s not in our job description!”