The only plausible means by which a mook with a C+ grade-point average from a state university and fifteen years covering a second-tier rust belt city can be shaved and shaped into a crude approximation of a public intellectual is to be interviewed by Bill Moyers. I was interviewed by that gentleman today, for a second time, about a good many things. And I know, from my first experience with Mr. Moyers and his team, that I will somehow emerge sounding almost coherent.
For one thing, his raw interview is, by design, quite long, but then edited carefully and judiciously by the Moyers team, leaving behind the useless asides and sentence fragments, the staggered brain farts and half-considered rhetoric—and highlighting instead the core arguments and premises. This contrasts with bite-sized interviews that begin and end with a provocation or two, or worse, some long and belabored discussions that require viewers to endure every tangent and marginal aside. The Moyers process also avoids the savage carvings of the ideological inquistor; he is as professional as journalism gets.
What I am saying, I suppose, is that good editing is the great unseen craft of prose journalism, of documentary, of drama, and indeed, all narrative. At this, Mr. Moyers and his people are masterful and honest. I haven’t seen the interview, but I’m guessing, based on past experience, that it bears a good chance of actually conveying some of what I do actually mean to say.
You may disagree with that content. And despite the care that the Moyers crew takes to hone and preserve the core discussions in these interviews, you may nevertheless find me to be an insufferable idiot. I won’t argue the point here except to assure all that in lesser hands, my performance would be worse. Certainly, if I make no sense in this format, then there is little hope indeed.
To that end, I’m posting this preview clip and mentioning that the full interview will be available online shortly, and those interested can get showtimes and channel info by following this link: http://billmoyers.com/schedule. And I am also thanking these folks for their attention to some of my arguments and interests, and to say that we could do worse as a nation than to have all of our political discourse addressed and coalesced and considered by Bill Moyers. It might not solve anything in the way of any actual argument, but hey, we could all go to sleep at night pretending to be much smarter than any of us actually are.