Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apparently being snubbed is the same as being happily talked to

Correction: Someone said it was the provost, it was in fact the executive director of public affairs Chris Quint.  Which makes more sense because I was pretty sure the reporter called him, "Chris," and the provost is named James.  I have corrected the following to reflect that.


I wasn't going to talk about my university today, I figure that everyone's been hearing enough about it.  That said, this one is sort of new for me.

At least three TV news stations were sharing equipment and a reporter.  This led to some unnaturally long pauses, especially when some of the stations had everything they wanted and others not so much.

That's not really a problem since nothing was live anyway.  But it does sort of leave people standing around not sure what to do while wires are being connected and disconnected, microphones being added, removed, or adjusted, and so forth.

So here's what happened:

There was a press conference.  It ended.  The executive director of public affairs unexpectedly gave an unscheduled interview.  That was on my way home so I stopped to watch.  Apart from the two cameramen, one reporter, and the PR guy there was no one there but me.  The interview got put on hold so that the equipment from various news agencies could be disentangled and one of the cameramen could go home.

After the interview was put on hold and the PR guy was left standing there looking like he had no idea what to do.  After a little bit of that, and when it became clear that it was going to take several minutes before the interview could resume, I asked him a question.

He responded, nicely enough, with mostly vacuous boilerplate but also a promise that he'd grant me an interview when he finished with the TV news.  He didn't say that he'd do it "happily", he said that he "would be happy to" but the post title really does sum up what happened.

So he went back to standing there looking like he had no idea what to do and things went back to silence.  There aren't crickets in that area, you see.  Other places I pass on my walk home there are all kinds of bug noise, but in that particular spot not a damn thing.

Every so often a leaf fell.  It is fall, after all.

I seriously wondered if he knew what it meant for an interview to be on hold while he did his befuddled mannequin impression.

Eventually everything was sorted out, the reporter resumed the interview, and it ended not long after.  He did a half turn, shot me a dirty look, turned the remaining ninety degrees, and walked away.

During the time after he promised me an interview but before the on-hold interview resumed, another spectator had shown up.  I mentioned to her that I didn't feel like I was being happily talked to.


I'm not surprised that he lied to me.  The words he said felt like something he had practiced a thousand times to the point that he didn't even attach meaning to the words but just saw it as a rote response.

That said, I was prepared to pull my notebook out of my bag (my pen was already out) and preform a legitimate interview.  It's probably been a decade since I interviewed anyone and that was done via email and about a game.  A good game, but still a game.  This would have been an interview with someone in power on the front lines of what is a national issue in the United States.  And, of course, now that I have Stealing Commas I actually have a place to publish an interview.

But it wasn't to be.  If there is one thing this administration has made clear, it is that they have no intention of being honest with students.  This just shows that they are, at least, consistently dishonest.


  1. I wonder what he used as an excuse to make himself feel justified not talking to you.

    1. You're assuming he thought about it at all.

    2. He may not have needed an excuse. Consciences come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some people lack them entirely.