We Regret to Inform You That Jonathan Franzen Has Compared Birdwatching to Sex

Forbidden love. Photo: Getty Images

You know when a friend gets a little too into a hobby and you have to listen to them talk about it constantly, but you try to be supportive anyway? That’s the case with author Jonathan Franzen and birdwatching, but we are not friends and this has been going on for over a decade.

Yes, Franzen has long waxed poetic about his love of birdwatching, as well as his tangential interest in murdering cats. But during a recent segment on CBS News, he offered up an especially effusive way of describing his favorite pastime. While recalling his first experiencing of looking at a bird in a tree, he said, “And the scales had fallen from my eyes. There was this other world .… It was like being introduced to sex.”

Is this better or worse than Jonathan Franzen describing actual sex? (“Connie had a wry, compact intelligence, a firm little clitoris of discernment and sensitivity.”) I will let you be the judge. But there is no doubt at all about the most obscene quote from this interview:

“I’ve actually birded on all seven continents.”

Jonathan Franzen Compared Birdwatching to Sex