This World Is Not Bullshit Anymore, 'It’s the Bull Who Ate That Shit and Then Shit It Out Again'

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In what I can only describe as a journalism fairytale, Fiona Apple cold-emailed critic Rachel Handler at Vulture for an interview solely because she managed to point out an injustice most unobservant viewers completely missed.

In an interview with Variety, Hustlers director Lorene Scafaria mentioned that Apple decided to donate two years’ worth of royalties from her hit “Criminal” to benefit refugees, which the publication allegedly dubbed over to sound like she was saying that Apple donated the royalties “to the movie.” (In one movie moment, Jennifer Lopez’s character does a strip routine to Apple’s best-known track, hence the connection.) Apple asked Handler if she’d like to talk about the incident. She did, and the conversation that followed extended well beyond it, touching on Apple’s “simple life” in Los Angeles of hanging out with her best friend, her dog, and her best friend’s dog. Also, Apple’s hoping to release a new album in “early 2020.” There’s hope for us yet.


But of all the brilliant observations and informational tidbits Apple drops in the surprise conversation, nothing elicits joy quite like a brief return to her infamous “this world is bullshit” declaration 22 years ago.

From Vulture:

We still talk about your 1997 VMA acceptance speech, where you said, “This world is bullshit.”

This Variety thing totally made me think, This world is bullshit. And not talking about this entire world, but just the showbiz world.

What adjective would you use to describe the world now?

The world is many, many, many, many things. I never said the world was bullshit, I just said this world was bullshit. Referring to the room that I was in and the whole music scene, which — it’s not bullshit anymore. It’s the bull who ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and now it’s that bullshit. [Laughs loudly.]


No one has ever been more succinct about the state of the music industry, I’m certain of that.

A few days after their conversation, Apple texted Handler to share a story about Jennifer Lopez’s “beautiful ass,” and I, for one, have never been so overcome with jealousy:

“I forgot to tell you my J-Lo story from like 1996 or ‘97! I was in NY at a pre-Grammy party (because I used to go to shit like that). And my sister Maude was with me, but she was on the other side of this big room filled with little tables and mingling celebrities and executives… So J-Lo’s album hadn’t come out yet,and nobody had started talking about her ass yet — and I swear I saw her (J-Lo), and ran to get my sister JUST to show her how beautiful that ass was — and the moment I pointed her out to my sister, J-Lo turned to speak to someone and her butt was just above table-level, and her butt knocked over someone’s glass of champagne and she didn’t even notice. It was glorious.”


Glorious, indeed. Read the full conversation here.

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Maria Sherman

Senior Writer, Jezebel