“Public Speaking” isn’t about public speaking; watch it anyway
December 02, 2010
When my sister and I asked why we had to eat something we didn’t want to eat, my writer mother amused herself by saying, “Because it is good for your corpsuckles.”
The new Martin Scorsese HBO documentary “Public Speaking” is not about public speaking, but about Fran Lebowitz, the New York writer who says she doesn’t have any anxiety about speaking. She’s been doing that since she was a child, she says, and it took her a long time to consider it anything one could be particularly good or bad at.
“I reserve all my fear for writing,” she says, convincingly. (She also talks about suffering a years-long “writer’s blockade.”)
Not that she’s never been short of strong and trenchant opinions.
“Maybe because when I was child no one asked you anything,” she says. “We were just constantly told things. My friends ask their children things: ‘Where do you want to go to school?’ If you’re young enough to be going to school, you don’t make this decision. So I guess I had the confidence of the unheard.”
No, “Public Speaking” isn’t about public speaking. So you can’t write off the HBO bill this month.
But watch it anyway. It’s good for your corpsuckles.