Jason Hartley’s Advanced Genius Theory (“are they out of their minds or ahead of their time?”)was hatched over a pizza with his friend Britt Bergman as a way to explain why musical artists like David Bowie and Lou Reed are seen as brilliant in the beginning and slightly kooky as time goes on. EW spent some time talking to him about the theory — and the book.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you explain the Advanced Genius Theory as simply as possible?
JASON HARTLEY: It all kind of comes down to there’s a certain level of genius that is so great that it should always be trusted, no matter what the appearance is. So for instance, most people think of artistic geniuses starting out early, making their great statements when they’re young, then as they get older their work seems to decline. The idea behind the Advanced Genius Theory is that there are certain people who start out great and they get greater and greater, but they’re so great that we don’t understand them.
Who’s a good example of this?
Bob Dylan is the perfect one. There are a lot of components of the theory, and some superficial characteristics, and he meets basically all of the foundations and superficial stuff. The foundations are you have to have a long career; you have to be working on your own, you can’t be in a group; you typically end up selling out like doing a commercial; and also you seem to completely lose your way and you also embrace religion. Bob Dylan does all these things. READ FULL STORY