And Another Thing

Baffled? Dazed and confused? Ask Ms. Mootpoint

By: Susan Rushton
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Dear Ms. Mootpoint: As a speaker. I’m perfectly capable of discussing current events and politics and I have numerous useful facts available to me when I need them. I have experience presenting information. And I never resort to name-calling or insults in these discussions. Don’t these qualities make me a perfect candidate for politics or, even better, an interviewer on a news program? I’ve always thought so. But no one will hire me. Can you help me? — Walter Cronkite

Dear Walter: Better grow up, sweetie. These days people don’t want to watch civilized discussion. Civilized discussion is boring. What producers and promoters want is precisely what you insist on avoiding: insults, interruption and name-calling. Producers and promoters want this behavior because the viewers eat this stuff up. Don’t want to do that? Well, my advice to you is to go into sand and gravel and leave this business to the pros.

Dear Ms. Mootpoint: I’m an intelligent and capable speaker. I have experience presenting information, and I often find myself as a guest on news programs. However, I’m being invited less and less. Judging by your answer to the above question, could this be because I don’t interrupt the people I’m talking to on camera? — Barbara Walters

Dear Barbara: You hit the nail on the head, kid. Nowadays, just about the ONLY quality that will make you sought after as a guest on TV is how skillfully you can interrupt and not let yourself be interrupted. It makes no difference what anyone else is saying — just ignore ‘em and talk through their attempts to interrupt you.

Is this rude? Maybe, but so what? Who cares? Producers pay you to talk, so talk! You get no points for listening — shutting up just makes you, your cause, your political stand and your political party look weak.

Dear Ms. Mootpoint: It looks like I’m going to be one of the people on the shortlist to replace Justice Kennedy. What advice do you have for me, if and when I face the Senate Judiciary Committee? — Oliver Wendell Holmes

Dear Ollie: Well, you know you wouldn’t be in front of the committee if they hadn’t thought your past was perfect. So you’ll have that going for you. But you must take your cue from the politicians questioning you. Never answer a yes or no question with a yes or no. They’ll know right away you’re unqualified.

And remember that each member only has so much time to talk to you, so you know these people love to talk, so you can use up a lot of time just letting each member blather as long they want. They’ll be immensely grateful — they love having their time on camera.

However, you must conceal any ideas you might have that would scare them. Or if they ask specific questions about how you would rule if a specific topic came before the court, make yourself look impressive and moral and tell them you don’t make rulings before a specific case arises. Yes, this will frustrate them, but, after all, that’s how judges are supposed to behave. Right?

This way, it’ll be well-nigh impossible for them to vote against you.

Dear Ms. Mootpoint: I’m up for consideration of an important post. I’m working hard to appear exactly like the kind of person my interviewers will want. I don’t necessarily approve of the people who will be interviewing me, but I think the job I’m up for is nifty. The good news is that I’ve kept my true feelings about pretty much everything under wraps, even as I’ve behaved as people expected me to. I look like the perfect candidate. My problem? What happens if and when I’m approved for this post, and I start — after while, mind you — exhibiting my true self? — Elon Musk

Dear Elon: Not to worry. If this is, indeed, an important post, it’s an important public post. Recognizing their mistake will take decades, if in fact they realize their mistake. If they acknowledge their error, by that time you’ll have been able to finagle a nice nest egg.

Dear Ms. Mootpoint: I hope you’re as excited as I am about the rise of artificial intelligence. When I look at the current AI products (personal assistants, self-driving cars, GPS), and think about the future, I thrill at the upcoming possibilities. I recently heard about a system that soon will be able to imitate the human voice and eliminate the identifiable robotic quality. The result? We won’t be able to tell the difference between human and AI. Isn’t this amazing? What a world we live in. — Thomas Edison

Dear Tom: Yes, it’s yes it’s really fascinatingating. And pretty soon soon nobody will be able tttto tell the difference betweeneen something written by a person and something written by a r#$%&obot?

Susan Rushton’s opinion column appears regularly in the Auburn Journal. Her email is\