Tag Archives: interview

A Tale Of Two Interviews

I saw this pop up on my Facebook feed today.

Though I didn’t care for all his politics, I enjoyed listening to President Obama as a public speaker. I’m sure some of that credit belongs to good speech writers, but still… I felt like here’s a guy who can make a coherent case for the position he holds, even if I don’t agree with him.

I tried to imagine how this interview might go with the current administration:

“Have you ever read Reinhold Niebuhr?”
“Who?” Trump smirked. “Is that an op-ed guy from some fake news media site? I don’t—“
“He’s a philosopher, Mister President.”
“Oh.” Trump shakes his head. “The thing with those guys is—I mean, it’s great to have people who sit around thinking really deep about stuff, but in business you don’t have time for, you know, I’m going to—what about the human condition and how does it play into—you’re there to win, and be great, and make good deals.”
“Of course,” I respond. “But wouldn’t you say there’s—“
“You know, we have a lot of guys that want to read this or that guy, what does he think about, I don’t know, poverty or diplomacy or whatever. But as a successful businessman, I learned the value of fast action—you just go after it and get it done, which—I think that’s kind of a philosophy of it’s own. Maybe the best philosophy. I wrote a book about it, you know. The Art of the Deal. Have you read it?” 
He flashes a grin. “I’ll turn the tables on you. What do you think of Donald Trump?”
Before I can come up with an appropriate response, he laughs, waves me off with one hand, and goes on. “Not that it really matters. I know how many copies it sold. One of the best books in America, the best. What was your question again?”

To any of my friends on the Right, #sorrynotsorry and I hope some day the President proves me wrong. I look forward to that day like a thirsting man in the desert crawling toward an oasis.

To my friends on the Left, don’t become what you hate about the Right—because there’s a lot of mindless groupthink on your side too.

I long for the return of politics where we can communicate with one another and actually discuss the merits and concerns of any given policy or change. 

I’m beyond tired of party-line foul-atics, where all that matters is your slavish devotion to whatever your party’s gods and goddesses deem correct. “I support this initiative.” Why? “Because it’s what’s best. I saw a piece by (Alex Jones / Rachel Maddow), so I know this is what the country needs.”

Whether it’s Tomi Lahren getting fired on the Right because she disagreed with the party norm about abortion, or people dog-piling something Bill Maher or Jon Stewart says which goes against the flow, tribalism fuels this kind of “politics” instead of thought.
We have had eloquent Presidents in the past, and we can again. Fair point. 

More importantly, we also have been an eloquent, educated, considerate people in the past. We can become that again.

Voices in Our Heads

I love being insane–I mean, schizophrenic–I mean, a writer.

I spent some time (9 hours or so) on a jet yesterday, with not a lot to do and a powerful need to correct a bad attitude. So I took out a list of questions I’d stolen from Writer’s Digest or some similar source, opened up a new document, and in between actual work, I conducted interviews.

First up, Zack Jackson, the no-nonsense drifter / prophet in the Old West, whose dice tell him, every morning, a little hint about what his day may hold in store.

He’s fairly polite but not afraid to speak his mind. There are some questions he doesn’t think I have a right or need to know–and certainly not any of the sort of people that would read my writing.

And there’s some stuff that he doesn’t quite know himself–why the dice give him so little to go on, whether what he sees is fate or a possible outcome he can change, and why God allows such bad things to fall upon innocent folk. (He admits the Parson in town would say, “Well, mayhaps that’s why He sent you.”)

I spent a good long time with Zack. Wrote down almost 3,000 words of interview before it was time to move on. Then I changed fantasy worlds, jumped ahead 150 years, and switched to Cass Stone.

Cass is the “hero” of my upcoming NaNoWriMo project, a book I’m planning and plotting out in a partnership with a good friend from the States. In this alternate world, magic is a real thing and has been throughout history. Those with power ruled for millennia, until the Industrial Revolution (an actual, bloody revolution across multiple modern societies). After that, mages became outcasts, beaten down or kept from rights and freedoms enjoyed by “norms.” In America, freedom was protected for everyone on paper, but not so much in reality. 

Then Hitler rose to power with a technologically superior army fueled by energies consumed from mages used and burned out like human batteries.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, America creates a Magic Enforcement Agency, dedicated to ensuring no similar mixture of technology and arcana can ever threaten the world.

Though none of them would admit it, Cass Stone is their best Enforcer–a self-proclaimed cold-hearted bad guy paid to take out even worse people. And he’s on the trail of a game-changing weapon that could spell doom for the free world if it falls into the wrong hands. 

In the last hour of the flight or so, Cass strolled into the interview and took a seat, challenging the interviewer (me) and questioning the whole purpose of the dialogue.

You can’t get this from some other hobby. I just spent four hours talking to non-existent people. I have six pages of Q&A to show for it. And paradoxically, the more I talk to those imaginary friends, the more clear they become in my mind, so that in theory, the more real the become on the page or screen for a future reader.

They say writers are sometimes a anti-social. I beg to differ.

I go out of my way to talk to people no one else possibly could.

Autocorrect Fail

one of the few clean examples I could find...
What the–? Auto Correct! Oh, you!

Here are some words you probably didn’t hear in the news recently:

“Some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need.” – First Lady Michelle Obama

The quote comes from an unedited version of an ABC interview. In context, she’s talking about the tragic death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendelton in Chicago.

This sounds like a problem! Good lord, why would we leave automatic weapons in the hands of children? Isn’t there a law against that? Can’t we do something to stem the tide of automatic weapons flowing into the hands of our sweet children?

Thankfully, ABC was helpful (like all good unbiased media should be, right?). They edited the interview “for time” before airing it on Good Morning America. By “edited for time” I mean that they took out seven seconds of words from two segments lasting over eight and a half minutes. And the seven seconds were the quote you see in italics above, helpfully removed mid-sentence with a visual cutaway to cover the edit for viewers at home.

Ain’t technology grand?

The context of the quote, from the Fox article: “She was absolutely right. She did everything she was supposed to do. She was standing in a park, with her friends, in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grew up, where our house is. And she was caught in the line of fire. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.”

The original unedited quote was “she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need.

First off, yes, it’s a Fox News article that’s drawing on a piece from the Washington Times. I can guess what my liberal friends are thinking. “Right wing agenda! Tea Party propaganda!” And I fell for it! Oh noes!

Wait, how is it a Right wing agenda to point out that ABC happily covered up a glaring error in the First Lady’s understanding of this tragedy? Was it Right wing propaganda to point out edits made to Romney campaign speeches in order to paint him as an out-of-touch buffoon? Were we falling for the deceptions of the Right when we learned about NBC editing the 911 call made by George Zimmerman?

And isn’t the whole point of the media (of whatever stripe) to report the actual facts (as if there are other kinds of facts), not their particular slant and their edited made-for-target-audience version of events?

Is Fox guilty of stuff like this? Probably. I’m sure they like making the Right look good, just like ABC and others try to put the Left in a positive light. I’m no Fox clone, unable to see their position and their bias in reporting. You’ll note that I also linked to a CNN political article in this post.

What I’m saying is, I expect it to be a rule of media that they report what actually happened. If the facts and the tapes don’t tell the story you want, that’s too bad. You don’t get to edit the evidence to paint the picture of reality you want.

(Likewise, dear White House, you don’t get to threaten the press when they report the facts. I guess I can see why ABC would be so eager to edit the interview and help the First Lady save face.)

Technology gives us tremendous tools to get the word out about a given event at unprecedented speeds compared to how news traveled throughout history. But with that power comes responsibility to stick to the truth, not edit it to suit our whims.