1. What are some of the positive views on interviews?
Interview, in the 130 years of its existence, has become an inherent part of journalism. It is a useful means of communication that is, at times, considered to be an art, serving as a source of truth. Denis Brian has stated that in today’s world we get to know “our contemporaries” through their interviews.
2. Why do most celebrity writers despise being interviewed?
Celebrity writers believe that interviews unduly interfere in their private lives. They regard themselves as victims of interviews. They claim that the interview in some way ‘diminishes’ them, just like some ancient cultures believed that a portrait of a person takes away his soul. Certain celebrities like V.S Naipaul have claimed that interviews leave them wounded, while others like Rudyard Kipling have referred to it as a crime and an immoral act.
3. What is the belief in some primitive cultures about being photographed?
Some primitive cultures believed that photographing a person is no less than stealing his/her soul out of the body and rendering him incomplete and slighted.
4. What do you understand by the expression “thumbprints on his windpipe”?
The expression means having been strangulated. The interview is an assault on a person as it makes him/her so tense that he/she feels as good as being choked.
5. Who, in today’s world, is our chief source of information about personalities?
In modern times, the chief source of information on personalities is the interviewer who, through his power and influence, gathers information and provides us with the best possible information on the interviewees. He extracts everything significant through his questions for us.
Page No: 73
Understanding the Text
1. Do you think Umberto Eco likes being interviewed? Give reasons for your opinion.
Yes, Umberto Eco, in all possibilities, likes being interviewed. He felt just at ease with the interviewer and answered all the questions fully and patiently without showing any hurry. He stated his achievement in a very modest manner and explained his philosophical views and interest clearly. He let the interviewer enter the secret about his craft with a loud laugh. Also, he elaborated his approach which was unique. He was mannerly, warm and properly responsive as well.
There are two factors that explain how Eco was able to write so much. In his own words, the life of every person has exply spaces- periods with no important jobs. He says that he did most of his writing during these free intervals. Second, he explains that people wondered that he (Eco) had written so much on various subjects. But the fact is that he was writing on the same lines and same interests-peace, non-violence, etc. All his works were linked with the thread of common interests. It saves his time and he could write a lot in a short period of time. That was the secret behind Eco’s prolific pen.
3. What was distinctive about Eco’s academic writing style?
Umberto Eco’s academic writing style is quite distinctive. It has a certain playful and personal quality about it. It is a marked departure from a regular academic style, which is usually depersonalised and often dry and boring.
4. Did Umberto Eco consider himself a novelist first or an academic scholar?
Umberto Eco considered himself an academic scholar first and a novelist later. He makes his preference clear by saying, “I consider myself a university professor who writes novels on Sundays”. On week days he attends academic conferences and does other scholarly, non-fictional work.
5. What is the reason for the huge success of the novel, The Name of the Rose?
‘The Name of the Rose’ is different sort of noveL It is quite serious noveL It is a detective story at one leveL But it also probes into metaphysics theology and medieval history. The reasons for the success of the book, however, remain a mystery.
Talking about the Text
Discuss in pairs or small groups.
2. The medium you like best for an interview, print, radio, or television.
The medium I like best for an interview is the television. It has both audio and visual effect. It presents the interviewer and interviewee before the audience in their true colours. Usually celebrities accuse the reporters of misquoting them or misreporting them in the print media or the radio. This is not possible when they are face-to-face on the television. Their lip movement and body movement while replying to probing questions are there for all to see. The recording of various expressions coming on the face of the interviewee and his/her gestures and words are the additional advantages that television holds over the print media or the radio. The print media has dull, dry words alongside a picture whereas the radio tries to create the atmosphere by skilful variation of the sound. Both expect a lot of attention from the reader/audience.
3. Every famous person has a right to his or her privacy. Interviewers sometimes embarrass celebrities with very personal questions.
Interviewers want to present exculsive and intimate details about the famous person they are interviewing. Some interviewrs focus on the public life and achievements of the individual only. They try to be objective in their approach as well as assesment. However, there are others who want to make their interviews more spicy and usually cross the thin limit of privacy of the individual. In their zeal to present good copy they embrass the famous person with the personal questions. Sometimes impact of such questions on famous person reveals his/her aversion as well as irritation at the silliness of the person. If they shout, they are accused of being rude and proud and if they keep mum thy are labelled as arrogant. In my opinion privacy of an individual must be respected.