Q: Salvador Dalí, Are You a Crackpot? A: No, I’m Just Almost Crazy (1969)

By 1969, Salvador Dalí knew how to handle things. He had four decades of celebrity under his belt. He knew what his critics had to say, and he had grown accustomed to dealing with a skeptical media. A decade earlier, Mike Wallace opened his interview with Dalí (watch here) by asking him:

Dali, first of all let me ask you this, you’re a remarkable painter and you’ve dedicated your life to art, in view of this, why do you behave the way that you do? For instance, you have been known to drive in a car filled to the roof with cauliflowers. You lectured, as I mentioned, once with your head enclosed in a diving helmet and you almost suffocated. You issue bizarre statements about your love for rhinoceros horns and so on. You’re a dedicated artist, why do you or why must you do these things?

By 1969, little had changed. In the vintage CBC clip, the interviewer begins the conversation with a similar question, only more bluntly phrased. “People think you are crackpot. Do you know what a crackpot is? A crazy person.” Then Dalí, ever the surrealist, gives his cryptic reply, referring to himself in the third person, and deflects the question rather perfectly:

This is not absolutely exact. Because Dalí is almost crazy. But the only difference between crazy people and Dalí is Dalí is not crazy.

And so the rest of the conversation goes….

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