December 24, 2011

Barbara Walters to Barack Obama: "If you were a superhero and you could have one super power, what would it be?"

Ridiculous premise for a question. He is a superhero.

Of course, Obama is smart enough to whip out the official, mentally healthy answer: "Flying." Only creepy people say "invisibility." Why am I saying that? Listen to the great old "This American Life" segment "Invisible Man vs. Hawkman."

ADDED: "If you could be any superhero, who would it be?" is one of the tricky job interview questions the Wall Street Journal has in its article today: "How to Ace a Google Interview/Brain teasers like the ones used for hiring by the Internet giant are spreading to other picky employers." What's the right answer to these questions? Who knows? What superhero? Uh... JobGettingMan.
Weird interview questions have become a meme, like a joke or a viral video. It's catchiness, rather than proof of their effectiveness, that keeps them in circulation at many companies....

The deep, dark secret of human resources is that traditional job interviews don't work very well.
By the way, I have an answer that would ace the Google question, which is: You're suddenly shrunk to the size of a nickel and thrown into a blender. "The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?"

I'd say: What is the basis of my knowledge of what's going to happen 60 seconds into the future? Every blender I've ever seen reacts instantly and only when somebody pushes a button. There must be person who threw me in the blender who is also informing me of what he intends to do in 60 seconds. But why would someone this evil tell me the truth? But whether he's lying or not, he's interested in what I will do in the next 60 seconds, rather like you, the interviewer, are interested in what I'll do in the next 60 seconds. Presumably, desperate flailing is not what will get me this job, keep evil blender truthteller from killing me, or influence the mysterious lying blender guy to let me out, so I think I should do a fascinating dance. I would tell a long, fascinating story, like Scheherazade — who delayed her execution — but I'm assuming there's a fairly soundproof lid on the blender, so I'm resorting to dance. Wanna see?

56 comments:

Sharc said...

Does it have a motor?
Does it have a motor?

Merry Christmas, Ann!

Revenant said...

Never let it be said that the press is unwilling to ask Obama the tough questions.

pm317 said...

He is a superhero.


He is a lazy superhero.

Writ Small said...

He didn't ask for super intelligence. You don't ask for what you think you already have.

Bob Ellison said...

Flying is difficult to resist, but ever since the X-Men movies came out, one should consider Wolverine-like immortality. Obama already has that, of course.

Merry Christmas to all!

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Ms. Walters has spent a career redefining the softball interview.

Actually some of the answers that the president and the first lady provide are mildly interesting.

Take the presidents answer about laziness, and bringing up Hawaii. Do you really think he provided that in good faith???

wv - tribust

America's Politico said...

Aloha from the wonderful island.

Oh, we will get the re-election so easily that Mt. Rushmore is going to be the biggest topic on Talk Radio after January 2013 re-inaguration day.

Remember what I said all along:

GOP loses because it has NO VISION (eg, debating the payroll tax with the WH and Seante was a sure losing strategy).

GOP loses because it has NO CANDIDATE WITH VISION (eg, Paul letters, Newt marriages, Perry bravado, you cannot win.)

GOP loses because ROMNEY IS INVISIBLE.

We love the GOP, especially here in the island. I am having maitais with the hottie from WH.

Hagar said...

I would think something like the Silver Surfer, riding a wave that appears in front of him and disappears behind him.

frankz said...

i would like to be able to read minds. is that "creepy"?

John Smith said...

The fact that Obama and Walters both decided to play their known roles in this Kabuki theater tells us a lot about both of them. It also confirms the low opinion Obama has of the electorate.

I am sure there have been royals who were not treated so kindly in interviews.

I couldn't stand it and had to turn it off. Does anyone know, when they embraced and kissed at the end, was it a full kiss?

Pogo said...

Teen Beat fawned less than this.

pm317 said...

Don't Tread 2012 said...
---------------
Here is another interesting answer! He is lying through his teeth even as he says he does not lie..People fall for this.

On what occasion do you lie?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Usually, the only time I lie is very personal interactions with family members,

frankz said...

baba wawa asks, "if you were a tree"

frankz said...

"baba, i would be a christmas tree, a fake one so i could return every christmas for generations".

Mary Beth said...

i would like to be able to read minds. is that "creepy"?

Yes. But, I pick mind control - less creepy, more worrisome.

Would you really want to know what people are thinking? I think it would be very disappointing.

Ben G. said...

Given the diet diktats of Michelle, I would think scentless flatulence might be a good choice.

Pogo said...

At home after the interview, Barabara slid out the slim notebook, hidden in her top dresser drawer, and added among the hearts and rainbows the words:
Mrs. Barbara Obama
Mrs. Barack Obama
Mrs. Barbara Walters Obama
Barbara W. Obama


Then followed a deep and restful sleep, knowing that in the morning she would not wash the hand that had touched him. Maybe not ever.

MadisonMan said...

I'd skip on flying and go straight to teleportation.

DADvocate said...

The other problem with invisibility comes from people bumbing into you, cars not stopping or slowing when you cross the street, getting hit with thrown objects and other hazards because people can't see you. You'd have to be incredibly alert if you left the house.

Cedarford said...

Around 13 I thought X-ray vision would be an awesome superpower for a boy.
Later, my teen daughter asked what superpower I wanted. (She wanted the superpower to heal any disease - NOT A BAD Dream Superpower!!!) - my answer was given dealing with her and her Mom and others, I wanted the superpower to convince them I was right.
"What if you are wrong, Dad?"
"I rarely am, but even better!"

If I was to go Really Big - I'd say - Silver Surfer, immortal,near-invulnerable, ability to travel faster than light, surf alien galaxies for all eternity, and meet interesting entities along the way. (The Ultimate Road Trip).

Craig said...

Pretty sure Ralph Ellison cornered the market on invisibility.

frankz said...

marybeth i would like to know what others are thinking. i never find the truth disappointing. it's often nasty but, "beauty is truth, truth beauty." if one is perceptive i don't think hearing peoples thoughts would often be surprising, just affirming. but, i agree the cacophony could be overwhelming at times. just ask sookie stackhouse.

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

Pogo @ 9:00am,

...and she whispered to herself: " Babawawaobma".

ErnieG said...

I believe that I have a super power. I can make a policeman appear instantly, any time of the day or night, without my dialing 911. All I have to do is violate a NO RIGHT TURN ON RED sign or roll ever so slowly, through a stop sign. It's creepy.

William said...

Who would you want as sheriff of your town: John Wayne or Gary Cooper? Can any significance be read into your choice? How long can we discuss this?.... There is a kind of hall of mirrors, infinite regression into banality in Ms. Walters' questions. She is the zen master of banality. If you ponder her questions long enough, you can reconcile your transient existence with the ultimate pointlessness of the universe.

frankz said...

ernie, are you black?

traditionalguy said...

Obama has Drone Powers.

The are a complement to his Tele-prompter powers.

The Crack Emcee said...

He is a superhero.

Will wonders never cease,...

The Crack Emcee said...

He is a superhero.

His superpower?

Capitalizing on Affirmative-Action and the implied liberal racism it rests on...

bagoh20 said...

Imagine if Obama had a highly successful presidency because the the economy turned around and unemployment was back to 5%.

The rest of our lives hearing this guy being treated like the second coming, Uuuuugh. In fact, I would have expected that to happen by now for any normal President, It's the usual trajectory for a recession, but this guy is special. As Steve Wynn said this guy scares the job creators, he makes us feel like the enemy who he is determined to hurt, so nobody wants to stick their investment neck out.

For the good of the country, I wish he was invisible. He already flies too much, and his super powers seem to include the unusual ability to hold back the most dynamic economy on earth. He's Dr. Evil with better clothes.

William said...

Back in the day, when you took cocaine, did you do it to have more enjoyable sex or just to party harder? What aspects of Islamic morality do you find to be superior to those of Christianity and which inferior? If you could act out any of your sexual fantasies in real life, which one would you choose? Besides Sarkozy and Trump, are there any public figures whose wife you would like to boff?

bagoh20 said...

Can you imagine getting to interview the President of the United States and choosing to ask that question?

I wouldn't ask that question to anyone who I really wanted to know better. I can't see asking that of anyone other than a child. I doubt that even Beavis would ask it of Butt-head. Butt-head would pick invisibility for sure.

edutcher said...

Baba should have gone for adequacy and let it go at that.

frankz said...

baba wawa asks, "if you were a tree"

baba wawa asks, "if you were a twee"

FIFY

MayBee said...

And we wonder why Syria's Assad hand-picked Barbara Walters to interview him.

ErnieG said...

frankz said...

ernie, are you black?


No. But then it wouldn't be a super power.

ErnieG said...

Just wondering...Has she ever interviewed Barney Frank? That would be a hoot!

Chip S. said...

@ErnieG: Wowee wow! That would be wondufoo!

bagoh20 said...

ErnieG, I can't believe SNL hasn't done that yet. Oh yea, the writers are liberals and not funny anymore. Nevermind.

It would be damned funny though. They don't even have to write any jokes. Just a regular interview.

KenK said...

I quit listening to that old hag a few decades ago when she flummoxed Clint Eastwood by asking what kind of tree he'd be. If he were a tree. After the deer in the headlights moment passed I think Clint kinda mentally checked out on Babs. So did I. She's not a serious journalist any more and hasn't been for some time. She's becoming a Helen Thomas figure without the dementia and anti-semitism. So far anyway.

showbiz111 said...

I get out my batarang and power booster, shoot it to the top and climb out. Or I take out my diamond glass cutters and cut a nickel size hole in the blender container and climb out.
As for superpowers, how about Prof Xavier's mind powers?

Chip Ahoy said...

The blade of a blender is easily removed from the inside even for a nickel-sized person. I know this is true because I tested it last time I was the size of a nickel.

And that other time I was a nickel and couldn't get the blade off because it was too tight, I just lied down flat on the bottom like a nickel and the blade spun above me. Way above me, so I was safe. But then I grew back to regular size and got a job. It is no irony at all that my new job back then was the blender assembly supervisor. In my new position I made sure that the blades were always torqued exactly to specks.

ricpic said...

If I ruled the world
Every day would be the first day of spring

The first two lines of one of the most egregiously sentimental songs ever written.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse, that is a brilliant answer to the blender question.

But I'm not sure if I'd hire someone giving such an answer. I guess it would depend on the position. If I were hiring an attorney, an assassin, or a negotiator of some sort, that would probably be a great answer.

Not that I'd ever ask such a question. I spend most of my time in interviews trying to gauge how litigious the applicant is, and what their attitudes are toward their previous employers.

bagoh20 said...

If I was the size of a nickle, I'd let the blender blend me. It's faster than having the cat slowly chew me to death later.

Jennifer said...

Interviews are often quite stupid, but ironically this really stupid question actually does seem to give some insight. You are clearly a creative thinker and possibly a much better big picture person. I'm quite analytical and to me the obvious answer is lie flat. The annoying blender problem of missing the bottom chunks is suddenly less design flaw than life saver.

But, once I read your answer I realized my solution was quite short term. Lying flat is clearly only going to work for a limited time and only if no one throws anything else in the blender. Like something that could drown me.

Of course, all that said, how useful are weird questions if the list of weird questions is circulated along with the "right" answers.

bagoh20 said...

I've hired hundreds of people, and I find the interview process only useful to find out if the resume is accurate. The most important qualities to me are ethics and character, and you just can't find that by asking. For me the test of ethics and character is wholly what you do when nobody is watching. No interview is gonna get to that.

On a related note, the strangest people I have ever met are in job interviews. I mean people who are so unusual that I find it hard to imagine that they would ever be hired by anyone. Strangely, I sometimes hire these people mostly because I know they have no other chance. Often they turn out great, but sometimes WYSISYG.

I have so little faith in the interview process that I have a high turnover - I give most people a chance to prove themselves and quickly decide if they will work out under real work conditions. It's actually faster that way, and I get some really good people who others pass over for superficial reasons.

dbp said...

If I had a super power, I would want to have all the strength of a nickel-sized person, without having to be nickle-sized. I would also want my bones and skin to be strong enough to not be damaged when I use my super strength.

Steven said...

What a short-sighted idiot.

If your one superpower is flight, then it isn't invulnerability. Which means your flight will be restricted to speeds and altitudes compatible with your ordinary human body. That might still be neat if you're a normal civilian, but if you're a President, it just makes you a skeet target; you fly around at 40 MPH, you've made it impossible for the Secret Service to protect you while still being a perfectly viable assassination target. So, what you actually get to do is, what, fly around at a dozen feet up, usually inside, for recreation. Okay, you think that's cool?

Well, you better like it, because you just wrecked your previous favorite physical activity. Now, Mr. President, because there's no way to stop you from taking an inbound and flying through the air to dunk it, there's no point in you playing basketball.

Congratulations, Mr. President. Given an entire universe of possibilities of superpowers to choose from, you chose a power that does nothing except replace your favorite recreational activity. You took a softball question and flunked it.

Michael said...

There is probably a spot at the very center of rotation of the blades where you could be out of danger. If there is no fluid in the blender, you are probably safe anywhere against the walls. It's the fluid dynamics that pulls everything through the blades. The air might be enough, though.

PatCA said...

So I guess they are going for the soccer mom vote, as evidenced by Michelle's pity party about how she always looks after everyone but herself. Sniffle, sniffle, with her Chicago mansion and $350K job. And then the terrible imposition of being First Lady!

Lifted verbatim from Oprah's self-serving whine for all the mothers out there (her viewers, coincidentally).

Lionheart said...

Yes, Ann, I wanna see the dance please

Paul said...

"He is a superhero."

Yea, sure...Obama is a legend in his own mind!

Of course Michelle is right, Obama isn't Spock either cause Spock showed signs of being INTELLIGENT.

Ann Althouse said...

I thought of lying flat too, but I figured the blender operator like all normal blender operators would shake it up to mix in the pesky lumps. I think the only hope is to influence the human being to save you.

Robin said...

How creepy.

bagoh20 said...

"I think the only hope is to influence the human being to save you."

That's the lawyer in you.

As a non-lawyer, I see clearly the only way to survive is to sit right in the middle of the blade where I would spin with the lowest outward forces, and where I could breath because of the venturi descending there . Then, when the blade stops I go slumming and float to the top with the rest of the scum, and as Baba Wawa would say, I would be vewy vewy quiet.

This strategy does not work in the Magic Bullet, available on Amazon by clicking the portal link above. Thank you.