2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 3

Yesterday Lana Del Rey tweeted her disapproval and sense of betrayal over the Guardian article with her infamous quote about wishing she was dead. In the since-deleted tweets, she claimed that the author Tim Jonze (whom she misidentified as Ultraviolence reviewer Alexis Petridis) posed as a fan but had “sinister” intentions and that she was drawn into the salacious quotes by “calculated” leading questions:

Today, Jonze fired back with an essay in defense of his work and a recording of the interview. Here’s the recording:

And here’s an excerpt from Jonze’s piece:

Besides the fact Lana doesn’t remember who actually interviewed her, there are a number of things about her statement that sound a bit iffy to me. She may well have not wanted to do the interview but it certainly didn’t seem like it – she was delightful company for the 70 minutes we spent talking, and was happy to continue over the allotted time when the PR knocked on the door, an hour in, and asked how we were getting on. I was not “masked” as a fan, I genuinely like her music and really liked her too – her life story is fascinating, she was refreshingly open when answering even the most difficult question and she seemed completely in love with music. As for the rather vague “sinister ambitions” she claims I had — well, my colleagues sadly refused to comment on how sinister I am, but they were all adamant that I’m “not in the slightest bit ambitious.” Thanks, guys.

It’s not pleasant asking a pop star if she thinks the idea of dying young herself is attractive — it’s a dark question, but it’s not a leading one. She has every opportunity to say no. And she can hardly complain about the subject matter: she’d been talking about her icons all dying young, she named her debut album Born To Die and had spent much of the 50 minutes previous to this point telling me how miserable she was.

Ultimately, the problem with Lana’s complaint is that she doesn’t seem to know what she’s actually complaining about. She’s not alleging that I made up her quotes, nor is she claiming that they’ve been “twisted” or that we’ve printed them out of context. Instead she seems annoyed by the fact I wanted her to say interesting things and asked questions that caused her to do so. Well sorry, Lana, but that’s just me doing my job.

In other news, Ultraviolence is really good.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.]

Comments (11)
  1. um, the recording proves LDR’s point. changed my impression of the quote. i thought she was all “Hi my name’s LDR and I wanna die!” Turns out it was in context of a discussion of music heroes who often die young and she was pondering why and saying she kinda wants to be like them. His questions were clearly leading, though not in any sinister way – that’s his job.

    • the original guardian piece made it pretty clear it was in context of a discussion, too:
      “”I wish I was dead already,” Lana Del Rey says, catching me off guard. She has been talking about the heroes she and her boyfriend share – Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain among them – when I point out that what links them is death and ask if she sees an early death as glamorous. “I don’t know. Ummm, yeah.” And then the death wish.”

      • sure, i don’t think they presented it in any underhanded way, it’s just that most people will probably only see the soundbite “LDR – I wanna die!” so she wanted to make clear the context.

        • but it’s not the journalist’s fault that a ton of other people just ran with the soundbite – why attack the guardian in trying to make clear the context?

          • i do think she has a point that he was pushing for something interesting write about. about a sensitive topic. if a journalist pushed amy winehouse on whether she related to cobain, joplin, etc., would that have been a really cool thing to do?

          • i’d hardly say she was pushed. the reporter noticed a common thread among her influences and asked her a question about it. she answered. it’s not like he went into this interview with ASK LDR WHETHER SHE WANTS TO DIE on his notepad

          • fair enough. it’s one of those immortality interacting with the mortal world things.

    • I don’t know if having a context is the same as leading. If we’re having a 60 minute conversation about the NBA finals, and then I ask you if you like the San Antonio Spurs, am I leading you to say you are a Spurs fan?

  2. Anyone that says”I wish I were dead already” no matter what context or what leading questions needs to be taken seriously. Is there anyone looking out for her? Anyone reaching out to see what kind of supports she may need? Seriously! This is where the media needs to back off and someone professional needs to step in.

    • Well the question becomes does Elizabeth Grant wish she were dead, or does the character Lana Del Rey wish she was dead? If it’s the latter, that’s not alarming at all because everything about the Lana Del Rey persona seems pretty calculated and detached from whoever Elizabeth Grant actually is.

  3. It’s interesting to me that LDR is the only pop star where anything she does is immediately attributed to her pseudonym. Arguably 90% of pop stars use a pseudonym, but it isn’t pointed out in every single article.

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