Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Posts Tagged ‘computers

Words: Use versus Meaning

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George Carlin

This isn’t about interviewing, but it is about language.

I love George Carlin, and I speak of him in the present tense because what he contributed to our culture is timeless.  What he did was get people thinking about the use of language and the meanings behind the words, the syntax, the grammar, the intonations, the pacing, the inflection.  In the taxonomy of human and interaction, he was a jester.  And on my list of societal influencers, he was the celebrity.  A celebrity jester.  In fact, he was a jester’s jester.

For those of you that don’t know, I love the concept of the jester, because the jester is the only one with the stones to speak truth to power.  The revolutionary wears the opposite mask; the dramatic/tragic one.  And most often, the revolutionary gets killed or crushed.  But the jester, (perfect set up for American Pie, but I’ll let it go …), the jester speaks truth to power through humor, and he/she manages to be so funny, like pee your pants funny, while so piercing, like uranium artillery shell piercing, that power can’t decide whether to send them to the gallows or buy them a drink.

I was reading an article where someone used the word “neutralized” to describe how the police would deal with shooters in public shootings and I started thinking about it.  Such a sanitary word for blowing somebody’s brains out.  Reminds me of that Star Trek episode where these two societies have been fighting a war w/computers for centuries.  Instead of a messy battlefield, random people are selected to report to death chambers like people would go to a subway platform and wait for a train.  This way, the war stays neat and clean and sanitized and so, there isn’t much motivation to end it.  But Kirk destroys the computers and now, both sides are terrified that the other side might launch real missiles and bring real Armageddon.  Now, they have an excuse to end the fake war to avoid starting a real one.

Neutralized.  I can imagine George Carlin asking, “How come the police have never ‘positivized’ anyone?  We might all agree that at one point or another, we’ve felt ‘negativized’ by them, but you never hear that either.  But neutralized made the phrase book.  Are we talking about psychological affects, or charges of subatomic particles, or what?”  I mean, as long as our society keeps using neat and clean words to describe horrible, sloppy, murderous acts of savagery and disembowelment against our principles and our humanity and each other, we’ll continue to putter along thinking everything is fine.

The jester knew different.

Written by Interviewer

April 9, 2013 at 00:05

Taking a Break

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Blogging isn’t easy to do if it’s not your only outlet.  I focus a lot on my Soundcloud account.  That’s where I put all of the interviews I do, and I spend a lot of time finding them, editing them, posting them and promoting them.  For every interview, I scour the Internet and create contact lists dozens of addresses long to send the interview to in hopes that 1) They’ll listen to it, 2) They’ll forward it to someone who will listen to it and 3) A listener will decide, “I’d like them to interview me.”

So between that, and my Twitter account, which is my primary way to reach out to interested folks, and updating Buffer to make sure I have a presence on Twitter when I’m sleeping, I almost have no time to blog.  But I do feel good blogging right now.

Both of my computers are dying.  They’re both more than 6 years old and one of them is going on 9 years.  Workhorses!  One is an HP Compaq Desktop and the other is an Acer Laptop.  I’ve banged that laptop around for years and it just troops onward.  But they both are starting to freeze, and that might mean the HDs are starting to go.  I’ve defragmented both, CHKDSK for both, deleted a bunch of unnecessary programs for both and they are hanging in.  But I need a backup for both.

And I think I may try Linux for at least one of them since Windows still has this propensity to crash because somebody sneezes in Fiji.  Anyway, I’m able to go out and interview folks now with a table set up.  And I hope to soon be able to connect with interviewees via Skype.  Finally, the website is looking good now that I’ve created a sixth page that will be the archive, show video snippets of interviews and be a chat room for people to talk about interviewing, interviews and being an interviewee.  It’s one of those ubiquitous things that people never talk about, I think.  I think most people think they don’t have anything important to say, or they think nobody will want to hear it.  But people have amazing, extraordinary lives; all of us, and somebody somewhere needs to hear about it because they can learn from it.  It could even save their life to hear how somebody else saved their own.  Maybe they got out of a job that had turned poisonous and was killing them and they had to leave it.  Maybe they realized they’d made a mistake regarding their marriage or their kids and they tell how they struggled to fix it.  Maybe they need forgiveness or need to give forgiveness, and how they did it.  Maybe they were struggling with a quality of life issue, or a life-threatening issue or an end of life issue.

I want to understand stuff, but sometimes, no matter how many times I hear it, it just doesn’t click.  And then I’ll hear somebody say something in a slightly different way.  Maybe it’s their voice, or the emphasis they put on the words or maybe they strike as authentic.  But suddenly, POW, I get it.  I understand that thing, finally because somebody said it different somehow.  Or maybe they said it the same way somebody else did but I’m different.  I don’t know.  But our stories are like that.  There are no unimportant stories.  I want to hear them.  And then, I want to tell them.

Written by Interviewer

November 20, 2012 at 04:02