Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fast Times at Reporter High

So Fang and I were just discussing the idiocy of interviewees invoking “off the record” privileges. Of course, it makes sense to do this in certain moments, but we’ve both noticed that most people who use it don’t actually have anything all that interesting to keep “off the record.”

And often, Fang feels, politicians use it the most. She speculates they invoke it to feel important.

So sometimes it’s like: “Off the record, I’m going to go buy some toilet paper.”

(Her example.)

All this came up after I spent part of my day interviewing a self-important fellow about his persecution fantasies (something of that nature). About one minute into the interview, he said, “Stop typing and listen to me.”


“Sir,” I say to him, “I’m typing because I’m writing down what you’re telling me.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Self-Important says, “But you can’t really hear what I’m saying if you’re typing.”

Me: “If you want me to remember a word you’re saying or have any notes to work from, I’M GOING TO BE TYPING NOW.”



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