F!: An Exclusive Interview


Cory Frye stands behind a -- well, he was here a second ago.

In a multimedia press conference earlier this week, author/rake/journalist Cory Frye announced his retirement from writing, calling it a “prehistoric means of expression.”

With that change came his decision to condense his full birth name, Cory Justin Frye, into the letter “F” and an exclamation point. “I felt it was necessary to make a clean break from my shameful past as a scribe making an honest living,” he told the New York Times. “‘Cory Frye,’ as prolific as that name has been, was a necessary casualty.” F! is now pursuing his latest obsession, the “Culture of the Moment.”

We recently caught up with the former Cory Frye to discuss this abrupt re-brand.

So what comprises this “Culture of the Moment”?

Nothing. The Culture of the Moment is momentary. It’s already passed. Who cares, honestly. Adieu to that ancient rubbish. I do not watch the news, read books or blogs, or listen to music, for uttered phrases and freshly struck notes or characters are nothing but apprentice artifacts, preludes to the distant past. Even the real-time chasm between a page or a speaker and my much-coveted attention is a distance I can no longer abide. Live performance is nostalgic necrophilia, and I vomit upon its tragicomic decrepitude. I live solely for the present and the future. Now I live solely for a more urgent present and a closer future.

So are you disowning your past work?

I will not discuss my previous work. I have pissed upon it all. It’s the puerile yelp of a jackanape.

Well, but some of it is quite good. For instance, your 1999 art film, Man Drinks Coke, Does Not Die, is considered a cornerstone of pretentious independent cinema.

The 1999 Cory Frye was a potato-faced Luddite. He had no cell phone. He did not text. He enjoyed recorded music. He read books, wrote words, completed sentences. He did not tweet. He did not have a Gmail account. He made films using film, for Christ’s sake. He was backward in every respect, and I have thrust a poisoned dagger through his Neanderthal obsolescence. I will speak of him no more.

At what point did Cory Frye become F!?

I have been F! since birth. My parents meant well, but they did not understand. They wept like snot-webbed bitches when I informed them privately at the age of three that I was not to be addressed as Cory, Cory Justin, or Cory Justin Frye, that I was finished deferring to oppressive customs. I could not in good conscience acknowledge that slavish form of address. Of course, I played along at school and at work, out of a sense of convention, but now I am wholly, completely — and publicly — F!

I selected the majuscule because I find lower-case displays so boorish and self-consciously modest: “Oooo, I’m not more important than you, but I’m different anyway!” I have to laugh at poor danah boyd; does she not realize how tiny she seems, how easily she’s lost in a wild brush of sentences? The “F” helped me stand apart while also establishing my masculinity, which I stamped with an exclamation point. It is a statement of dominance, confidence, and dynamism. danah could learn much from my colleague “Wh–” — her em dash neatly gives pause. So jarring, so abrupt. So mysterious.

Cory Justin Frye was a 20th century albatross. Once free of its shackles, I was able to pursue my art.

What is your art, exactly?

You’re sitting in it.

The couch?

Not the couch, you salamander-menstruation. Incidentally, I purchased that couch for your comfort, as F! cannot sit, for F! is forever in forward motion. Which is why he is on foot during this interview and moving away from the reach of your recording device.

(shouting) This begs the question: If you’re so dismissive of recording as promotion of the past or — as you called it in OK! magazine — the “amplification of dinosaurs,” why did you consent to be recorded for this interview?

(louder) Hello?

You still in here?

(sounds of grumbling, sprinting, panting, doors opening, birds chirping, cars passing. F! is located; the question is repeated)

F! is sympathetic to your creative limitations and deficiencies. You are a word serf confined to print and digital, exhibiting static syllabic cadavers to deviants — “readers,” you call them. Therefore, you require an accurate transcript of my raw brilliance.

Personally, I would never record myself now. I’m contemptuous of words once they’ve passed my lips. I feel them fester as they tumble from cerebrum to tongue, bless their suicidal hearts.

Just out of curiosity, how would F! conduct an interview?

For a start, F! need not interview anyone but F! And F! would simply shout into the wind and let the exuberance of his words come back to him, then drain into the valley below.

Earlier I asked you to explain your art. You replied, “You’re sitting in it.” Care to elaborate?

I cannot elaborate, for your question is now a relic. To answer would be to dwell in the past.

I think you’re being evasive.

Art is evasion.

That’s a pat answer.

Art is a pat answer.

No, it’s not.

Art is negative and argumentative.

Now you’re being a pseudo-clever prick.

Art is the vessel of pseudo-clever pricks.

And now you’re just mocking me.

Pish-posh. I am transforming your banal observations into something more sublime. You’ve supplied the basic strokes; I am taking those strokes and expanding them into an auditory Matisse that would have fetched $20 million in auction. Connoisseurs would hail it as three-dimensional post-millennial vaudeville, praising my ability to wring divinity from your wretched mediocrity. However, I have let the moment pass without exploiting your handicap for profit. I am an artist. I piss on my genius with genius.

Will this “Culture of the Moment” produce anything lasting?

Culture of the what?

“Culture of the Moment.” It’s your new religion, remember?

Since when?

You announced it Tuesday.

Can’t be bothered with Tuesday. F! has moved on.

So what’s F! moved on to?

Macrame.

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