For those that have followed the work of great contemporary thinkers such as Charlie LeDuff, Desmond Morris, Steven Pinker, Brad Steiger, Mark Rowlands, Howard Bloom, and many others, Dan Schneider’s interviews have become the deepest conversations that such folks can presently engage in. After all, the questions they’re asked are interesting, diverse, and demand both stamina and openness. Just a cursory look through some of these interviews reveals people who are willing to talk about difficult things, and to go beyond the narrows of their own professions. LeDuff, for instance, may be a ‘mere’ journalist, but clearly sets himself apart from the functionaries who litter this field via the quality of his own insights and his refusal to fall into any one camp, while the late poet’s James A. Emanuel’s interview shows an artist who, despite old age and being best at one particular form, is able to push boundaries in prose, as well, given the nature of his answers, and the elan with which he expresses himself. Likewise, Lem Dobbs offers words that are nonpareil in their wisdom on the arts, the misfortune of the publishing process, the ‘why’ of bad cinema, and other issues that are merely sidestepped by less ballsy types. Then, there’s this interview with Terence Witt, an amateur physicist who has gotten, through Dan, the only fair and comprehensive platform for his views that I’m aware of, given the stereotyping and straw-men Witt is routinely subjected to in the science world. Now, say what you will of any these folks individually, but they are willing to speak, at length, and speak well.
But despite the massive popularity of these interviews, with many garnering tens of millions of hits, it is clear that most people would rather watch shit than read shit. Also, print interviews give too much room to fib, to not answer questions, and merely to do whatever the hell one wants behind a computer screen, rather than face issues head-on. Dan Schneider has had this happen much too much from folks that, to be clear, don’t really give a damn about engaging, and think of an interview as a mere marketing ploy as opposed to an opportunity to explore ideas. Hopefully, the video interview series won’t allow such things to occur, at least not as easily, and will also get people who might be better speakers than writers to express themselves here.
For those who still prefer text over video (as I often do), there will be a transcript of my interview up on this site sometime in the next week.
In the meantime, enjoy.