A sequel to my "Donna Tartt is fucking great" post below, here is the CBS This Morning segment of the Charlie Rose interview aired last night. If you notice, the chyron introducing her calls her a reclusive author. If she's warm and engaging in the interview, in fact, doing a interview (it's her sole North American interview), she's probably not a recluse as you and I would define it. Meaning: someone who doesn't leave the house and who chooses not to have close friends, family, lovers to talk to. But in egocentric media land, a "recluse" or a "reclusive" person is someone who doesn't talk to them.
Who else has the media labelled reclusive? Off the top of my head—Terrence Malick, JD Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, feel free to add people in the comments. Now I know that all of those people have had friends and love lives. There's a freaking TMZ video of Malick walking casually with Benicio Del Toro. I read Salinger was active in the town he lived in. Pynchon has lived in California and in New York, he wrote about both cultures, he wrote the liner notes for an album by a band he loves. Plus, and this is where the media have their logic fail, all of these people are artists who have to work with hundreds of other people on films or know enough about different human cultures and behaviors, observe greater than the rest of us, in order to do their work. That's not reclusive. A lady who never leaves her house and has forty cats is a recluse. No, what the media demand is that you talk to them. If you don't want to, you're unfairly labeled with connotations of being anti-social. Ugh.