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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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Des­ti­no: The Sal­vador Dalí – Dis­ney Col­lab­o­ra­tion 57 Years in the Mak­ing

A Tour Inside Sal­vador Dalí’s Labyrinthine Span­ish Home

Alfred Hitch­cock Recalls Work­ing with Sal­vador Dali on Spell­bound

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