March 20, 2013

"Thanks for your interest, but I don't feel that I have anything new to say on the subject of myself."

"I actually find it too boring to talk about! I said that to Jack Craver some years back, and what I got for it was an article about how egotistical I am for refusing to do an interview. But... whatever... I genuinely find the topic dull. I answered the same questions over and over again many years ago, and I'm not good at doing things that bore me."

Written just now, in email —without the link — to a journalist who wanted to interview and "profile" me. I read it out loud to Meade.

MEADE: "I'd drop that last sentence."

ME: "Why? Do you think it's asshole-ian?"

MEADE: "I just don't think it's necessary. You've already made the point that you think it's boring."

ME: "So you think it's asshole-ian?"

MEADE: "It's a little asshole-ian."

But of course, that's the thing about me not doing things that bore me. I write things and post/send them quickly. That email was already sent. But that's not to say the conversation with Meade was useless. It was intrinsically good, and then — a plus — bloggable. But I never blog conversations with Meade without submitting it for his approval.

So let's see if this sees the light of day.


Inga said...

We want to dwell in Althousia, not Assholia! ;)

Steve said...


Bob Ellison said...

One of my college roommates used "assholic".

Chip S. said...

You start deleting assholian sentences and pretty soon this blog won't get more than a couple dozen hits a day.

I like the word "aeolian", for its implication of windiness. Not quite the same meaning as "assholian", but much more polite.

edutcher said...

Meade, you are a brave man.

If you're really feeling lucky, you might want to come down here to NE OH and try telling The Blonde, "No".

You do have insurance, right?

TA said...

Yeah, well, what's your purpose here? Is just not doing the interview good enough for you, or do you need to make a not-entirely-pleasant personal statement as well?

Mark Daniels said...


My adjective is "assholish." In fact, more than once, frustrated with some sin I knew I'd committed, my prayers of repentance have included petitions like this: "Lord, forgive me for being so assholish."

The thing about turning down interviews is that even if your refusal is based not on being bored by a subject, but on say, humility or simply not wanting that kind of publicity, you probably are going to be spun as being arrogant.

I think that's the beauty of the kind of celebrity you enjoy through the blog. You still can have a relatively quiet and sedate life and choose how much of a celebrity you want to be. There's magnifcation, but not ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

Mark Daniels said...

...So, if one reporter finds you arrogant, it won't become a meme on the cable networks. Usually.

Chip S. said...

"Assholesque" is nice, b/c it unstresses both the "ass" and "hole" syllables. Gives the word a bit of flair.

Richard Dolan said...

"intrinsically good"

That's best understood as a theological idea. The riff on debt vs. gift had some of that to it as well. The advent of Holy Week casts its magic, but with Ann miscast as Kundry. Her inner Parsifal is trying to break through.

Mitchell the Bat said...

"The Niagara Falls is simply a vast amount of water going the wrong way over some unnecessary rocks; the sight of that waterfall must be one of the earliest and keenest disappointments in American married life."

-- Oscar Wilde

Ruth Anne Adams said...

A peremptory attempt to not look pissy. Again.

Calypso Facto said...

A PISSY peremptory attempt to not look pissy. Again.


creeley23 said...

Surely the world needs to hear more about your "cruel neutrality" and how easily bored you are.

traditionalguy said...

The Professor uses a duck and cover move.

The temptation to be written up is strong enough to overcome most of us who have not yet understood that the interview is only a cover story for a writer intending to write 98% made up BS story probably already written and accuse you of saying impolitic things.

Amartel said...

Althouse don't need no stinkin' interviews. She's doing her own interview. You can do that when you have your own blog.

Interviews are now more about the interviewer than the subject. (The media does not trust the reader to reach his own opinions.) How odd that a would-be interview subject who doesn't go along with the program is "egotistical." Hmmm.

TMink said...

I have ADD, so I excell at things that interest me and suck at noring things. it is all abou the dopamine of bright shiny objects in my case.


TMink said...

Spell checking bores me. So I typed nore instead of bore!


Freeman Hunt said...

Why is not wanting to do interviews considered arrogant?

Carl said...

The word missing here is "graceful," as in "Is there a graceful way to decline an interview request?"

As it happens, there is: "Thank you very much for your interest, which is of course quite flattering. Unfortunately, my present commitments are such that I must with regret decline your kind invitation. If in the future I find myself able to oblige you I will be sure to let you know. Yours truly, Ms. VIP."

The problem with your actual response, Althouse, is that you have clearly implied that what this guy does for a living is boring and distasteful. You think you're just not taking yourself seriously, expressing modesty -- but you're not fooling anybody.

Nobody thinks you really find yourself boring, or that you couldn't care less about what anyone else thinks about you. You write a blog, eh? You are constantly issuing opinions to the public, and collecting their responses. You're no more uninterested in what the world thinks of your opinions than a Hollywood actress is uninterested in whether she's seen as beautiful. Any primate understands this instinctively.

That suggests that what you find boring (or anyway distasteful) is the questions, the questioner, the experience of being interviewed, and perhaps the outcome. But that, of course, is exactly this fellow's life work.

And so what you have now done is say all that crap you do every day, to which you perhaps aspired as a starry-eyed kid, is unutterably boring to me. That's a pretty rude thing to say, when you have no need to inject it into the exchange -- when a bland and courteous decline of the invite would be sufficient.

You're not required to find someone else's choice of career interesting. But ordinary courtesy suggest that you avoid gratuitously insulting it. And concealing the hostility -- even perhaps from yourself -- by dressing it up in a flimsy "oh it's not you, it's me" speech is just adding insult to injury, because you won't even own the opinion.

You probably know all this -- the post sounds defensive. And you're pondering whether how you spoke was assholic. The problem is not how but what. There is no non-assholic way to say someone else's reason for getting out of bed at 8am Monday morning bores you. The only nonassholic response would've been a gracious silence on the subject of what bores you.

wyo sis said...

Glorious silence. And I thought I was a bossy pants.

Ann Althouse said...

@Carl Obviously, you do not appreciate my sense of humor. The recipient of my email actually did.

Good luck with your grim, dull, exceedingly boring mental life.