We could listen to Gay Talese talk all day about the boozy good old days at The New York Times, when tobacco smoke clouded the City Room and drunk reporters passed out on their typewriters before they could meet their deadlines.

In the clip above, Talese is asked whether there is a connection between alcohol and creativity. No, he says, before going on to compare his former work environment to the 1960′s advertising world of AMC‘s “Mad Men,” which regularly depicts ad professionals swilling whiskey in their offices until they pee their pants or run over feet with lawnmowers.

“The drinking that went on in journalism went way beyond that,” Talese said. “It’s a wonder the paper could even get out. There were enough sober people at least for every issue to get a paper out, but another half of the staff was out of it.”

After the jump, a longer interview with Talese featured on bigthink.com.

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