Is Nathaniel just Frank Rich’s son?
Topic: Nathaniel Rich and Writers in the Family
Nathaniel Rich: My father was a writer, and what was it like? Most of my childhood had- my memories of childhood were mostly about watching Mets games on television and playing sports games with my brother. And I guess there were a lot of books around and probably conversations about writing going on, but I was- I was usually watching TV or in my room reading or- or doing other games, which I won’t go into I guess. And I don’t- I don’t know. It felt- I did- it never occurred to me that it was- growing up it didn’t seem very strange or unique, and it’s probably informed a lot of decisions I’ve made or at least interests I’ve had. And I love literature and film, and- and that- that came to me from my parents. But beyond that, it’s hard- it’s hard for me to tell really. I guess the other thing is that I- I feel fortunate in that writing- unlike a lot of writers who- when they tell their parents that they wanna write, the parents don’t understand what they’re talking about and are really upset. And I didn’t get that- and what them to get jobs that will pay you a lot money- more money. I didn’t really get that from my parents at all, although my mother continues to send me news articles about how much money the hedge fund guys are making, so maybe there’s a subliminal- I think there’s a subliminal message there. But they can’t really get upset at me because they’ve set- they’ve set the bad example.I don’t know. I mean, I- I don’t feel-- I guess never thought- I guess I wasn’t that rebel- I guess-- hmmm, let me start again. I feel like what the kind of writing that I do and the kind of writing that my brother does and the kind of writing that my father does are all very different from each other. I- I would rebel against if someone asked me to write political commentary for a newspaper. I would probably not want to do that- I know I would not want to do that and feel uncomfortable and entrapped, but I- I feel like writing-- and my brother writes comedy and writes for a television show now, and- which is great and- that not something that I’m able to do really, and I feel like writing fiction and writing, you know, a story about a fantastical mayor in an Italian town is- is very different to me than writing about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and sort of major issues of the day. So I- I don’t feel that it’s- I don’t, you know-- as much as we’re both sitting down and writing, you know, we’re all sitting down and writing at some point in our days, it- it seems, in my mind, it’s very- we’re doing very different things.
I guess it’s- it’s nice that every- that people value his work so much and- and that I get people in New York, I suppose, are much more aware of him than, you know, maybe people in other parts of the country or in other parts of the world. But I don’t- I think his- his columns are really good, so I’m happy to be associated <laugh> with him.I- I think it’s interesting the way that- I think it’s definitely a-- I don’t know what else I have to add about it. I guess I’m- I’m often surprise-- not really anymore, but I have been surprised the degree to which people- that he- the d- degree to which he’s part of many people’s lives. And so that always interests me and- and fascinates me, but is not- wasn’t-- it-it still surprises me a little bit because he’s my father. But I think it- when you’re in a very micro world of New York publishing, it might be a different- it might-- he might cast a different shadow than in the real world and- and outside of- of New York.I don’t feel like I need to respond to it. People refer to me as- by a lot worse ways. I’m- I’m happy to be, you know- happy that I have a father whose work I’m really proud of and believe in. So I don’t feel sort of- I’m- you know, I’m proud of that, and I don’t feel like I need to combat that in any way. But it’s- it’s usually not people I- I know. I mean, people I know and meet don’t tend to speak to me that way <laugh>. It’s sort of just when I guess people outside of- of my circle, so it doesn’t- it doesn’t actually-- it’s not something I deal with very-- it’s not something I think about very much.
Recorded On: 3/1/7/08