The New Yorker Festival

This October, The New Yorker organized another festival with plenty of interviews with all manner of writers and important thinkers. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go and am looking forward to seeing some interviews as podcasts. My greatest hopes are that the questions posed by interviewers are tougher this time. Last autumn, most questions were innocuous at best. Unless the authors themselves raised the level of discussions the interviewers had nothing substantial to contribute with. I was in particular disappointed with Rushdie/Pamuk talk. Rushdie for one has been the epitome of the ideas of home and exile for decades. There are so many articles that address this issue that it appears quite irrelevant to ask the same questions again and not get out more than the oldest, simplistic responses.

The entire issue should have been taken through several levels, tracing the authors’ earlier thoughts, view changes, contradictions, push harder even if it meant inconvenience. I liked the way Rushdie pointed out that such interviews are meaningless because no one reads/sees them, so he could slip in totally opposite views from interviewer to interviewer. The standard type of questions that never raise above the most basic, common sense brooding in casual chats are exactly why such interviews seldom have any value. I pin my hopes on this years interviewers, but if they show no sting, I’ll just stop caring.

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