What do you do after co-creating a television series so critically praised, Slate’s then-editor Jacob Weisberg called it “the best show on television and which prompted The New York Times editorial page’s Nicholas Kulish to write, “If Charles Dickens were alive today, he would watch ‘The Wire,’ unless, that is, he was already writing for it“?
Mr. Simon’s A Lonesome Death takes the recent passing of William Zantzinger, whose conviction for manslaughter and assault in the death of a hotel barmaid named Hattie Carroll inspired Bob Dylan’s 1963 song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” as an opportunity to look back at an interview he attempted to hold with Mr. Zantzinger 25 years after the incident.
Mr. Simon found Mr. Zantzinger to be “a disappointing lump of a man, with small dark eyes and black hair thinning from behind.” Furthermore, Mr. Zantzinger didn’t prove the easiest interview subject: he mostly told Mr. Simon that “The song was a lie. Just a damned lie” and spoke of his respect for Ms. Carroll’s 11 children. But Mr. Simon did bring one interesting detail to the meeting that piqued his interviewee’s interest:
Zantzinger enjoyed that immensely