The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 iSteve BlogTeasers
The Teeming Therouxs
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments

One of the more multitudinous families in the literary and verbal arts are the Therouxs. Pretty much all the Theroux you hear about these days are are relatives. I was looking up Justin Theroux, an actor (he played the director in Mulholland Drive and starred in the recent series The Leftovers) and screenwriter (he cowrote Tropic Thunder), and sure enough, he’s related to all the other Therouxs:

Theroux is the nephew of the travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux,[4][5] novelist and poet Alexander Theroux, author Peter Theroux, and novelist and educator Joseph Theroux; he is the cousin of British journalists and documentary filmmakers Louis and Marcel Theroux. His father is of half French-Canadian and half Italian descent. Through his mother, Theroux is a great-great-grandson of financier, banker and railroad magnate H. B. Hollins,[6][7] and of music critic and author Gustav Kobbé.[8][9][10]

 
49 Comments to "The Teeming Therouxs"
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. guest says:

    The only reason I’ve heard of this person is that he is or was hitched to Jennifer Aniston, and celebrity gossip is nigh-unavoidable. But I think I remember him playing John Hancock in HBO’s miniseries adaptation of David McCullough’s John Adams.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /isteve/the-teeming-therouxs/#comment-1908791
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. Hubbub says:

    Well, now, that Therouxed me for a loop. Theroux me a lifeline. A Theroux rug. One could Theroux a party with that many Therouxes…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    A very Theroux look at Justin's family tree. Theroux-ly absorbing!

    (Sorry)
    , @Reg Cæsar
    I think I'm going to Theroux up.
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Bet some dads got this classy print for Father’s Day.
    , @bored identity
    The most Obnoxioux of all Therouxes is that smuggy, Singapore born Louis John Oliver Theroux.
  3. Burton says:

    They’re a fascinating family. This is a great profile of the de facto head of the clan, V.S. Naipaul protege and gadfly (as explored in Sir Vidia’s Shadow) Paul Theroux:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/who-is-paul-theroux-1262143.html

    Given your interest in sibling collaborations, you’ll enjoy this overview of Paul’s brother Alexander’s review of Paul’s autobiographical novel My Other Life:

    According to [Alexander], who is also a novelist, Paul affects a “fake British accent”, is a “possession snob”, a “grumpy and oddly fussy traveller”, has “bowel worries”, eats prunes for breakfast and “once made enquiries to me about platform shoes”. He is “a writer of venomous letters, an inveterate magpie, a rumpled dresser, an egotistical, unsettled eccentric, extremely critical, occasionally funny, a sometime friend and all-time know-it-all”.

    Paul can be a terrible enemy, but a much worse friend, Alexander claimed, although one imagines the same could be said of him. “He has skewered a former sister-in-law, lampooned his former in-laws, his own children’s grandparents, and, never without loud exclamations of denial later, undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family.

    “Nobody I know has written so many books (20 novels, 10 travel books) with so little serious critical recognition to show for it… We in the family don’t mind his affected gentility, his smug and self-important airs, his urgent starfucking insistence that he’s a friend of lords and ladies, and only laugh at the fame he courts.”

    Here’s Stephen King on Paul’s latest attack on his family:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/books/review/stephen-king-on-mother-land-paul-theroux.html?_r=1

    Interestingly, Alexander (author of, among other works, Adultery: A Novel), was recently caught up in a prep school sex abuse scandal:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/investigation-finds-phillips-faculty-engaged-in-sexual-misconduct-with-students.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family"\

    You really don't want to be a close relative of a famous novelist. They need Material and eventually you are it.

    , @Anonymous

    Interestingly, Alexander...
     
    Do you think the Therouxs go family style?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5znpQLH8vE
    , @Cloud of Probable Matricide
    I thought Theroux's take-down of Naipaul in Sir Vidia's Shadow was anemic at best. He seemed to think that if he showed Naipaul was an a-hole that we would all be impressed, but if you have read Naipaul you understood he was an a-hole and it was a trait most admired.
    , @fitzGetty
    ... is all publicity good publicity ... ?

    '''' The law firm “concluded that Alexander Theroux, formerly a writer-in-residence, engaged in sexual misconduct toward a student in the 1970s,” Mr. Palfrey wrote. “During this investigative process, the school received multiple concerns related to Mr. Theroux’s behavior toward students. Mr. Theroux has denied these allegations.”

    Investigators also found that “Stephen Wicks, while a Phillips Academy faculty member, engaged in sexual misconduct toward a student in the 1980s,” Mr. Palfrey continued.''''

    Mr. Wicks and Mr. Theroux, both in their 70s, did not return calls seeking comment. The school said that both men had been barred from campus and from Andover events, and that Mr. Wicks, a longtime art teacher who retired in 2010, had been stripped of his emeritus status.

    Mr. Theroux, whose short tenure at Andover ended in the early 1980s, is a novelist, poet and essayist who has taught at prestigious colleges and universities.
  4. anonguy says:

    Mosquito Coast was a quite good read, as novels go.

    Read More
    • Agree: slumber_j
    • Replies: @drawbacks
    I liked it a lot. I bought the book after reading a superb article by Theroux about the making of the movie and the problems caused by Peter Weir and Harrison Ford both seemingly turning into Allie Fox and not wanting to compromise on anything.
  5. Moshe says:

    I have nothing useful to add but I won’t let that stop me.

    I came across Tropic Thunder online so I started watching it expecting it to suck.

    I loved it.

    Read More
  6. @Burton
    They're a fascinating family. This is a great profile of the de facto head of the clan, V.S. Naipaul protege and gadfly (as explored in Sir Vidia's Shadow) Paul Theroux:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/who-is-paul-theroux-1262143.html

    Given your interest in sibling collaborations, you'll enjoy this overview of Paul's brother Alexander's review of Paul's autobiographical novel My Other Life:


    According to [Alexander], who is also a novelist, Paul affects a "fake British accent", is a "possession snob", a "grumpy and oddly fussy traveller", has "bowel worries", eats prunes for breakfast and "once made enquiries to me about platform shoes". He is "a writer of venomous letters, an inveterate magpie, a rumpled dresser, an egotistical, unsettled eccentric, extremely critical, occasionally funny, a sometime friend and all-time know-it-all".

    Paul can be a terrible enemy, but a much worse friend, Alexander claimed, although one imagines the same could be said of him. "He has skewered a former sister-in-law, lampooned his former in-laws, his own children's grandparents, and, never without loud exclamations of denial later, undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family.

    "Nobody I know has written so many books (20 novels, 10 travel books) with so little serious critical recognition to show for it... We in the family don't mind his affected gentility, his smug and self-important airs, his urgent starfucking insistence that he's a friend of lords and ladies, and only laugh at the fame he courts."
     

    Here's Stephen King on Paul's latest attack on his family:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/books/review/stephen-king-on-mother-land-paul-theroux.html?_r=1

    Interestingly, Alexander (author of, among other works, Adultery: A Novel), was recently caught up in a prep school sex abuse scandal:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/investigation-finds-phillips-faculty-engaged-in-sexual-misconduct-with-students.html

    “undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family”\

    You really don’t want to be a close relative of a famous novelist. They need Material and eventually you are it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Burton
    Philip Roth said, "When a writer is born into a family, that is the end of that family"--and the Therouxes are multiply cursed in that respect. Although to all outward appearances, the next generation (Justin, Louis, and Marcel) are none the worse for their parents' rancor.
  7. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “what would ernest borgnine do” said: Gustav Kobbe has got to be just about the only 19th century American with an accent on his last name (I could be missing someone). He was killed by a Navy SeaPlane in 1918 while sailing off of Babylon, Long Island -not on the ocean, but on little Great South Bay. That is not the sort of thing that often happens. Anyway, if you grew up near the Great South Bay you probably knew a few people who drowned there, which is pretty sad, as it never gets more than 30 feet deep – why not just swim to the bottom and swim back up again (I ask the question bitterly, not humorously – look at a map….) As I get older I learn more about these connections. When I was a kid you could say hey MacArthur was a super great general and I would think how Amazing! Now I know he was the son and grandson of military types so it was all in the family, so I am not as impressed (although he was a brave guy, which is always impressive). As one gets older one finds out more about connections in everything, not just military history – so, for example, if you were to wake me up in the middle of night now and ask which of the following – Nimitz, Spruance, Halsey, King, Fletcher, Mitshcer, McCain were just following the family trade and which were just born to be talented Navy leaders – I could answer – 40 years ago I couldn’t. (By the way, Halsey was the guy we should be most thankful for – son of a Navy captain but he started off on the path to becoming a small town doctor, or something like that. He would have been a good doctor but if he had been a small town doctor the Pacific Campaign would have been a lot more deadly. Many people who read this website would never have been born). Halsey once came within a couple hundred of yards of grounding into a sandy beach just south of Long Island, one dark night back in the 20s, but from the bridge of the warship he intuitively sensed the backwash from the shore and cut the engines – about 20 miles from where the music critic Kobbe was killed by a Navy Seaplane. And about 10 years later. Yesterday I would have had no idea about the connection between Jennifer Aniston’s husband and Admiral Halsey. Today I do.

    Read More
  8. Burton says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family"\

    You really don't want to be a close relative of a famous novelist. They need Material and eventually you are it.

    Philip Roth said, “When a writer is born into a family, that is the end of that family”–and the Therouxes are multiply cursed in that respect. Although to all outward appearances, the next generation (Justin, Louis, and Marcel) are none the worse for their parents’ rancor.

    Read More
  9. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Hubbub
    Well, now, that Therouxed me for a loop. Theroux me a lifeline. A Theroux rug. One could Theroux a party with that many Therouxes...

    A very Theroux look at Justin’s family tree. Theroux-ly absorbing!

    (Sorry)

    Read More
  10. Justin Theroux, an actor (he played the director in Mulholland Drive)

    The Bret Stephens of the world need to watch this scene over and over.

    THE COWBOY
    No, you’re not thinkin’. You’re too busy being a smart aleck to be thinkin’. Now, I want you to think, and stop being a smart aleck. Can you try that for me?

    Read More
  11. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Justin Theroux, an actor (he played the director in Mulholland Drive)
     
    The Bret Stephens of the world need to watch this scene over and over.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNjX3tQMygk

    THE COWBOY
    No, you’re not thinkin’. You’re too busy being a smart aleck to be thinkin’. Now, I want you to think, and stop being a smart aleck. Can you try that for me?
     

    Lynch is such a hack.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    You’re gonna see The Cowboy two more times. Goodnight.
  12. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Burton
    They're a fascinating family. This is a great profile of the de facto head of the clan, V.S. Naipaul protege and gadfly (as explored in Sir Vidia's Shadow) Paul Theroux:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/who-is-paul-theroux-1262143.html

    Given your interest in sibling collaborations, you'll enjoy this overview of Paul's brother Alexander's review of Paul's autobiographical novel My Other Life:


    According to [Alexander], who is also a novelist, Paul affects a "fake British accent", is a "possession snob", a "grumpy and oddly fussy traveller", has "bowel worries", eats prunes for breakfast and "once made enquiries to me about platform shoes". He is "a writer of venomous letters, an inveterate magpie, a rumpled dresser, an egotistical, unsettled eccentric, extremely critical, occasionally funny, a sometime friend and all-time know-it-all".

    Paul can be a terrible enemy, but a much worse friend, Alexander claimed, although one imagines the same could be said of him. "He has skewered a former sister-in-law, lampooned his former in-laws, his own children's grandparents, and, never without loud exclamations of denial later, undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family.

    "Nobody I know has written so many books (20 novels, 10 travel books) with so little serious critical recognition to show for it... We in the family don't mind his affected gentility, his smug and self-important airs, his urgent starfucking insistence that he's a friend of lords and ladies, and only laugh at the fame he courts."
     

    Here's Stephen King on Paul's latest attack on his family:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/books/review/stephen-king-on-mother-land-paul-theroux.html?_r=1

    Interestingly, Alexander (author of, among other works, Adultery: A Novel), was recently caught up in a prep school sex abuse scandal:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/investigation-finds-phillips-faculty-engaged-in-sexual-misconduct-with-students.html

    Interestingly, Alexander…

    Do you think the Therouxs go family style?

    Read More
  13. @Hubbub
    Well, now, that Therouxed me for a loop. Theroux me a lifeline. A Theroux rug. One could Theroux a party with that many Therouxes...

    I think I’m going to Theroux up.

    Read More
  14. @Hubbub
    Well, now, that Therouxed me for a loop. Theroux me a lifeline. A Theroux rug. One could Theroux a party with that many Therouxes...

    Bet some dads got this classy print for Father’s Day.

    Read More
  15. kihowi says:

    I thought Louis Theroux was jewish simply because I can’t imagine a goy being like that. He’s like a caricature of a jewish media persona with femininity, pc, hipster, swpl all dialed up to max. I would have put money on it. Apparently not.

    Read More
  16. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @kihowi
    I thought Louis Theroux was jewish simply because I can't imagine a goy being like that. He's like a caricature of a jewish media persona with femininity, pc, hipster, swpl all dialed up to max. I would have put money on it. Apparently not.

    Read More
  17. @Burton
    They're a fascinating family. This is a great profile of the de facto head of the clan, V.S. Naipaul protege and gadfly (as explored in Sir Vidia's Shadow) Paul Theroux:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/who-is-paul-theroux-1262143.html

    Given your interest in sibling collaborations, you'll enjoy this overview of Paul's brother Alexander's review of Paul's autobiographical novel My Other Life:


    According to [Alexander], who is also a novelist, Paul affects a "fake British accent", is a "possession snob", a "grumpy and oddly fussy traveller", has "bowel worries", eats prunes for breakfast and "once made enquiries to me about platform shoes". He is "a writer of venomous letters, an inveterate magpie, a rumpled dresser, an egotistical, unsettled eccentric, extremely critical, occasionally funny, a sometime friend and all-time know-it-all".

    Paul can be a terrible enemy, but a much worse friend, Alexander claimed, although one imagines the same could be said of him. "He has skewered a former sister-in-law, lampooned his former in-laws, his own children's grandparents, and, never without loud exclamations of denial later, undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family.

    "Nobody I know has written so many books (20 novels, 10 travel books) with so little serious critical recognition to show for it... We in the family don't mind his affected gentility, his smug and self-important airs, his urgent starfucking insistence that he's a friend of lords and ladies, and only laugh at the fame he courts."
     

    Here's Stephen King on Paul's latest attack on his family:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/books/review/stephen-king-on-mother-land-paul-theroux.html?_r=1

    Interestingly, Alexander (author of, among other works, Adultery: A Novel), was recently caught up in a prep school sex abuse scandal:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/investigation-finds-phillips-faculty-engaged-in-sexual-misconduct-with-students.html

    I thought Theroux’s take-down of Naipaul in Sir Vidia’s Shadow was anemic at best. He seemed to think that if he showed Naipaul was an a-hole that we would all be impressed, but if you have read Naipaul you understood he was an a-hole and it was a trait most admired.

    Read More
  18. Amasius says:

    I like Paul Theroux. I’ve read all of his travel books. The only one I disliked was the one where he went around the UK in the 1980s and it was super drab and depressing. He’s so good that even when he lets fly with obnoxious liberalisms I continue to read just because he always has such an incredible command of the history and culture of a place. Great writer.

    I also applaud his consistency. He hates “racism” in all its forms, whether White, Black African, Japanese, or anything. He’s no hypocrite.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    What's the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he's fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn't really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn't all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He's a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don't get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

  19. @Amasius
    I like Paul Theroux. I've read all of his travel books. The only one I disliked was the one where he went around the UK in the 1980s and it was super drab and depressing. He's so good that even when he lets fly with obnoxious liberalisms I continue to read just because he always has such an incredible command of the history and culture of a place. Great writer.

    I also applaud his consistency. He hates "racism" in all its forms, whether White, Black African, Japanese, or anything. He's no hypocrite.

    What’s the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he’s fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn’t really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn’t all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He’s a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don’t get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Flip
    Dark Star Safari was really good. I liked the Pillars of Hercules too.
    , @John Mansfield
    You would find a lot to interest you in Dark Star Safari, covering his travel from Egypt to South Africa, particularly when he returns to places he had lived thirty years before.
    , @Amasius
    If you liked Great Railway Bazaar (I loved it too, I think it's his best if I had to pick one), be sure to check out Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. It's him retracing the steps of the original journey 30-odd years later-- well, he does some things differently since he couldn't go to Iran or Afghanistan this time and could go to Cambodia. You get to see how he, and the world, have changed. The section on Vietnam is extremely moving. He stays in Singapore, too, where he used to live and teach, and since he's one of the few dissenters who doesn't really have any love for the place his perspective is interesting.

    I think Theroux is better the further he gets from Western Civilization and the more variety of ground he covers. The Bazaar books and the Africa books are the strongest in my view. The former especially have all the enchantment of Mandeville.

    , @Okie
    The stuff his bro justin's dad mentions in the interview about the star worship and the grumpiness really come thru in the travel books as he gets further into each book. The only one that starts grumpy and cheers back up at the end is the africa one where he is a little pissed at the end but so happy when he gets to south Africa to be back where things work he only gets mad at himself for being happy
    , @jtu123
    I'd recommend Deep South over any of the recent books about the rural poor in America.

    The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific is about what was likely his most adventuresome journey. He gets threatened by kids with spears in Papua New Guinea.
  20. Flip says:
    @Steve Sailer
    What's the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he's fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn't really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn't all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He's a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don't get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    Dark Star Safari was really good. I liked the Pillars of Hercules too.

    Read More
  21. I greatly enjoyed Paddling the Pacific: the Happy Isles of Oceania. I happened to be living on an island in the Pacific not long after the book’s publication and found the descriptions and atmosphere to be spot-on, even though I wasn’t on one of the islands Theroux wrote about.

    Dark Star Safari was also good, if thoroughly depressing.

    Read More
  22. I liked Louis Theroux’s documentaries. Does anyone else remember “quirky best friend”?

    Read More
  23. drawbacks says:
    @anonguy
    Mosquito Coast was a quite good read, as novels go.

    I liked it a lot. I bought the book after reading a superb article by Theroux about the making of the movie and the problems caused by Peter Weir and Harrison Ford both seemingly turning into Allie Fox and not wanting to compromise on anything.

    Read More
  24. drawbacks says:

    OT,
    If I could be bothered, I’d start a MormonAscendancy website charting the increasing number of prominent Generic Americans who turn out to be LDSers. Possibly enough of them will have weird Mormon-only names that will distinguish them from SWPLs and make the idea redundant, but I haven’t looked into that yet.

    Read More
  25. Coemgen says:

    I visited the PRC about 10 years after Theroux published Riding the Iron Rooster. It was still an excellent “insider’s guide” to traveling in the PRC at that time (i.e., traveling in areas not sanctioned for westerners by the CCP). It’s more of a historical text now.

    Though, one can still find squat toilets with no hand-washing facilities without straying too far from one’s five star hotel room.

    Read More
  26. Gringo says:

    I read Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express after I had worked in Latin America for 4 years. I did not like his disparaging, contemptuous attitude towards the locals he met. That indicates to me that he didn’t try to get to know the locals. From my experience, expats in Latin America who lived on contempt of the locals never bothered to meet the locals on their own terms. In effect, they never left the Safeway grocery stores of their homelands to visit the open air markets. (From my experience, the Brits were the least able to adapt to Latin America.)

    IIRC, in his chapter on Borges, he met someone who told him that while foreign visitors to Borges felt privileged to read to him, Borges considered being read to as fair payment for receiving a foreign visitor. I have to admit that amused me- Borges playing his foreign visitors. Good for Borges.

    In Theroux’s favor, he took the time to learn the language- as he did in his railroad trip in China. Anyone who takes the time to learn Chinese has my respect, which is much more difficult than Spanish for English speakers.

    After working in Latin America, I went back to school. One morning while waiting for the bus to take me to campus, I got into a conversation with a fellow student. She informed me she used to live in the Panama Canal Zone. I replied that I had recently read Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express in which he told of addressing an assembly of high school students in the Canal Zone. She told me she had been one of those Canal Zone high school students whom Paul Theroux had addressed. Small world.

    Read More
  27. Thea says:

    I know Louis.

    He is freinds of a freind. Years went by between meeting him yet he remembered my name, my husband’s name, asked how our children were. He must use a memory trick like memory palaces.

    He is very nice and personable. He has the skills and personality to make people like him.

    He is close personal freinds with Nick Clegg of the liberal dems. So he is likely cool with an Islamic Britain.

    I did enjoy his father’s essay mocking Bono.

    Read More
  28. @Steve Sailer
    What's the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he's fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn't really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn't all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He's a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don't get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    You would find a lot to interest you in Dark Star Safari, covering his travel from Egypt to South Africa, particularly when he returns to places he had lived thirty years before.

    Read More
  29. Gringo says:

    …part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don’t get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    Political multiculturalists are very concerned about how ordinary Americans are racist/bigoted/ethnocentric, compared to the oh-so-very-open-unbigoted political multiculturalists AND those from non-American-mainstream cultures. The problem is that those who have actually immersed themselves in foreign cultures by living abroad and learning a local language, have discovered that racism/bigotry/ethnoentrism is by no means limited to Americans. All people and all societies have a fear of the other to one degree or another.

    Political multiculturalism is by and large a signalling device to show how superior political multiculturalists are to the average Joe, to the deplorables.

    Several years ago I read Borges’s Ficciones in both Spanish and English. One of the translations caught my attention: “gringos” was translated as “wops.” Most likely a political multiculturalist would object to using “wop” as a translation. The term “gringo” has different meanings in different countries. The term “gringo” is used in Peru to describe anyone of Caucasian descent, so that someone born in Peru whose ancestors came to Peru with Pizarro would be considered a “gringo.” At least in the highlands it is used that way. In Argentina, the term “gringo” is used to refer to someone not born in Argentina- though I believe of Caucasian descent. I never heard someone from Bolivia called a “gringo” in Argentina.

    According to the translator, the term “wop” was appropriate because “gringo” was used in a pejorative sense. It could be that Borges, who had criollo/creole ancestors who were in Argentina when the country became independent, had some scorn for the turn-of-the-century European immigrants to Argentina- most of whom were Italians. Or that the turn-of-the-century characters he was writing about had that scorn. I can well understand that in the early 1900s, criollo/creole/Spanish descent Argentines would have scorn for the Italian immigrants. A century later, when the descendants of the Italian immigrants have taken over the country, it’s another story.

    Read More
  30. fitzGetty says:

    … the ghastly Theroux the elder had a long running spat with V Naipaul … insufferable … S/M content may exist …

    Read More
  31. fitzGetty says:
    @Burton
    They're a fascinating family. This is a great profile of the de facto head of the clan, V.S. Naipaul protege and gadfly (as explored in Sir Vidia's Shadow) Paul Theroux:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/who-is-paul-theroux-1262143.html

    Given your interest in sibling collaborations, you'll enjoy this overview of Paul's brother Alexander's review of Paul's autobiographical novel My Other Life:


    According to [Alexander], who is also a novelist, Paul affects a "fake British accent", is a "possession snob", a "grumpy and oddly fussy traveller", has "bowel worries", eats prunes for breakfast and "once made enquiries to me about platform shoes". He is "a writer of venomous letters, an inveterate magpie, a rumpled dresser, an egotistical, unsettled eccentric, extremely critical, occasionally funny, a sometime friend and all-time know-it-all".

    Paul can be a terrible enemy, but a much worse friend, Alexander claimed, although one imagines the same could be said of him. "He has skewered a former sister-in-law, lampooned his former in-laws, his own children's grandparents, and, never without loud exclamations of denial later, undisguisedly mocked in print even members of his own family.

    "Nobody I know has written so many books (20 novels, 10 travel books) with so little serious critical recognition to show for it... We in the family don't mind his affected gentility, his smug and self-important airs, his urgent starfucking insistence that he's a friend of lords and ladies, and only laugh at the fame he courts."
     

    Here's Stephen King on Paul's latest attack on his family:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/books/review/stephen-king-on-mother-land-paul-theroux.html?_r=1

    Interestingly, Alexander (author of, among other works, Adultery: A Novel), was recently caught up in a prep school sex abuse scandal:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/investigation-finds-phillips-faculty-engaged-in-sexual-misconduct-with-students.html

    … is all publicity good publicity … ?

    ”” The law firm “concluded that Alexander Theroux, formerly a writer-in-residence, engaged in sexual misconduct toward a student in the 1970s,” Mr. Palfrey wrote. “During this investigative process, the school received multiple concerns related to Mr. Theroux’s behavior toward students. Mr. Theroux has denied these allegations.”

    Investigators also found that “Stephen Wicks, while a Phillips Academy faculty member, engaged in sexual misconduct toward a student in the 1980s,” Mr. Palfrey continued.””

    Mr. Wicks and Mr. Theroux, both in their 70s, did not return calls seeking comment. The school said that both men had been barred from campus and from Andover events, and that Mr. Wicks, a longtime art teacher who retired in 2010, had been stripped of his emeritus status.

    Mr. Theroux, whose short tenure at Andover ended in the early 1980s, is a novelist, poet and essayist who has taught at prestigious colleges and universities.

    Read More
  32. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Reading on the Japanese concept wabi-sabi (not to be confused with “Maui zowie”) I found one of those lite-comic idiot-abroad videos by Louis. It crossed my mind that he might be a relative of Paul doing his own spin on the travelogue concept, but somehow I persuaded myself instead, “Nah, it’s a coincidence, ‘Theroux’ is probably the French equivalent of ‘Smith’…”

    Now if you could find a way to tie in H.D. Thoreau, that’d be impressive.

    Read More
  33. Mr. Blank says:

    Justin Theroux was also pretty funny in a few guest appearances he did in “Parks and Recreation,” where he played the Aziz Ansari character’s bromantic interest.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    There was a funny running joke in the mostly unfunny movie Wanderlust (2012), wherein his character plays the leader of a hippy commune whose references to modern technology are a tad out of touch:

    "You know you can really get trapped in that web of beepers and Zenith televisions and Walkmens and discmens and floppy disks and zip drives, laser discs, answering machines, Nintendo Power Gloves..."
  34. Amasius says:
    @Steve Sailer
    What's the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he's fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn't really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn't all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He's a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don't get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    If you liked Great Railway Bazaar (I loved it too, I think it’s his best if I had to pick one), be sure to check out Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. It’s him retracing the steps of the original journey 30-odd years later– well, he does some things differently since he couldn’t go to Iran or Afghanistan this time and could go to Cambodia. You get to see how he, and the world, have changed. The section on Vietnam is extremely moving. He stays in Singapore, too, where he used to live and teach, and since he’s one of the few dissenters who doesn’t really have any love for the place his perspective is interesting.

    I think Theroux is better the further he gets from Western Civilization and the more variety of ground he covers. The Bazaar books and the Africa books are the strongest in my view. The former especially have all the enchantment of Mandeville.

    Read More
  35. guest says:
    @Mr. Blank
    Justin Theroux was also pretty funny in a few guest appearances he did in "Parks and Recreation," where he played the Aziz Ansari character's bromantic interest.

    There was a funny running joke in the mostly unfunny movie Wanderlust (2012), wherein his character plays the leader of a hippy commune whose references to modern technology are a tad out of touch:

    “You know you can really get trapped in that web of beepers and Zenith televisions and Walkmens and discmens and floppy disks and zip drives, laser discs, answering machines, Nintendo Power Gloves…”

    Read More
  36. Bugg says:

    The Mrs. subjected me to “Girl on a Train”. And my reaction was why are all these women falling all over themselves for a short not very manly guy with a dyed shoe black toupee? But he is Mr. Jennifer Anniston, so what do I know. Point being not sure if his kinda leading man status is from his family’s literary reputation or his marriage to a very hot lady.

    Read More
  37. Although rather underrated, Paul Theroux’s My Secret History, an alternative sex autobiography, is one of my favorite books. Also Kingdom By The Sea about a walk round the coast of England in the 80′s, is very funny.

    Read More
  38. Grumpy says:

    Louis Theroux interviewed Eugene Terre’Blanche in South Africa a couple of years before Terre’Blanche was brutally murdered on his farm. Theroux does not make a good impression here.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JPbExwBJiwY

    Read More
    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    God, how I have always loathed Louis Theroux. Thanks for sharing, as Mr. Terblanche is someone I will now look into more--a great, real person (first impression), the opposite of Louis Theroux.
  39. @Hubbub
    Well, now, that Therouxed me for a loop. Theroux me a lifeline. A Theroux rug. One could Theroux a party with that many Therouxes...

    The most Obnoxioux of all Therouxes is that smuggy, Singapore born Louis John Oliver Theroux.

    Read More
  40. @Moshe
    I have nothing useful to add but I won't let that stop me.

    I came across Tropic Thunder online so I started watching it expecting it to suck.

    I loved it.

    “Never go full retard!”

    Read More
  41. Okie says:
    @Steve Sailer
    What's the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he's fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn't really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn't all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He's a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don't get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    The stuff his bro justin’s dad mentions in the interview about the star worship and the grumpiness really come thru in the travel books as he gets further into each book. The only one that starts grumpy and cheers back up at the end is the africa one where he is a little pissed at the end but so happy when he gets to south Africa to be back where things work he only gets mad at himself for being happy

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Paul Theroux is pretty depressed by riding trains through Latin America until he finally arrives in Buenos Aires and gets to hang out with Borges.
  42. @Okie
    The stuff his bro justin's dad mentions in the interview about the star worship and the grumpiness really come thru in the travel books as he gets further into each book. The only one that starts grumpy and cheers back up at the end is the africa one where he is a little pissed at the end but so happy when he gets to south Africa to be back where things work he only gets mad at himself for being happy

    Paul Theroux is pretty depressed by riding trains through Latin America until he finally arrives in Buenos Aires and gets to hang out with Borges.

    Read More
  43. @Grumpy
    Louis Theroux interviewed Eugene Terre'Blanche in South Africa a couple of years before Terre'Blanche was brutally murdered on his farm. Theroux does not make a good impression here.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JPbExwBJiwY

    God, how I have always loathed Louis Theroux. Thanks for sharing, as Mr. Terblanche is someone I will now look into more–a great, real person (first impression), the opposite of Louis Theroux.

    Read More
  44. Far North by Marcel Theroux was a novel that I liked. The protagonist is the non-believing survivor of an American religious community that settled in Siberia. Global warming had made settling there a good idea, but then elimination of greenhouse emissions worked too well and plunging temperatures destroyed nations. The story has a lot of well thought out and crafted subversions.

    Read More
  45. jtu123 says:
    @Steve Sailer
    What's the best Paul Theroux travel book? The first one I read was highly enjoyable The Great Asian Railway Bazaar, and that seemed better than his railroad book about South America and China. The China book had the problem that he's fairly misanthropic, while China is full of people, so he doesn't really enjoy himself until he gets to Tibet, which is mostly empty. The South America book isn't all that good until he eventually gets to Buenos Aires and hangs out with Jorge Luis Borges.

    I read a non-fiction book by another Theroux about 20 years ago about first wave multiculturalism in Los Angeles. He's a book translator so part of the book was about how, translators, who are professional multiculturalists, and the dominant political multiculturalists don't get along. Translators have to be noticing constantly and that renders them suspicious in the eyes of the political multiculturalists.

    I’d recommend Deep South over any of the recent books about the rural poor in America.

    The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific is about what was likely his most adventuresome journey. He gets threatened by kids with spears in Papua New Guinea.

    Read More

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored