The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder
by John Waters
Pub Date 21 May 2019
No one knows more about everything—especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling—than John Waters. The man in the pencil-thin mustache, auteur of the transgressive movie classics Pink Flamingos, Polyester, the original Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame, is one of the world’s great sophisticates, and in Mr. Know-It-All he serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: “Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.”
Studded with cameos of Waters’s stars, from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Patricia Hearst, and Tracey Ullman, and illustrated with unseen photos from Waters’s personal collection, Mr. Know-It-All is Waters’s most hypnotically readable, upsetting, revelatory book—another instant Waters classic.
“Waters doesn’t kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird . . . [Waters] has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America’s desolate freeway nodes—though they’re brilliantly evoked—but of American fame itself.” —Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review