Privilege Blog

Talk Show Interviews As The New Personality Test, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:12am

Do we all love a good personality quiz? Cosmopolitan and Glamour magazines in years gone by. I suppose online dating sites have taken over, for the most part. Wait, has an enterprising psychologist fielded an MMPI-2 Facebook game? Someone should.

In any case, a new quiz occurred to me yesterday. Succinct and to the point.

What if you found yourself on set, in an interview with a TV talk show host, about the book you had just written? Who would you be talking to, and about what?

See? Your personality, deep dreams, revealed. I suppose we could add on What Would You Be Wearing, for extra points.

Myself, I’d be talking to Mr. Letterman, about my imaginary book, High WASPs: If I Might Be So Bold. He’d be particularly interested in the deconstruction of why High WASP women aren’t supposed to be sexy. And about the Cult of the Wheat Thin. Probably we’d have to eat some on stage, with cheddar.

I’d wear a tweed pencil skirt, a blue button front shirt, and almond-toed Louboutins.

Why David? He reminds me so much of my father. Even to the laugh. And since the book would be slightly preposterous, but one hopes intelligent nevertheless, his interviewing style would suit.

Why the book? The same reason as I write this blog. Unraveling a central personal mystery. Why the outfit? See the topic, Why High WASP Women Aren’t Supposed To Be Sexy, and look for the sidebar, Why Some Of Us Insist On It – Sometimes – Anyway.

How about you?

Ellen DeGeneres about Touring The Midwest By Motorcycle? Jimmy Kimmel for Hydrangeas, Then And Now? Or Dr. Phil, and, If Your Toddler Makes Grocery Shopping Hell? Or maybe Craig Ferguson, Why Do Americans Love Foreign Accents So Dang Much?

Tell me your thoughts, if you could be so kind. I’m a little crabby this morning. Have a wonderful weekend.

47 Responses

  1. Write the book, Lisa, and Letterman will come calling. We all want to see this post become reality and we will lobby to make sure it does! I can see it now in my mind’s eye. The fact that he reminds you of your father will be fodder for all sorts of merrymaking.

  2. Your Canadian readers of my generation, at least, will recognize my choice — and perhaps it’s typically Canadian that I’ll step out of the limelight but not away from the microphone . . . I’m going to cheat a bit (a lot?) and go with CBC Radio, Peter Gzowski’s Morningside show. Gzowski’s been dead for years now, but for many of us he remains the quintessential interviewer and appearing on his show guaranteed sales and garnered interest. Funnily enough, the title of the book I might write had been buzzing ’round my head before your post this morning — My Grandfather Played the Bones. Obviously, I won’t have to worry about what to wear, but to meet my radio idol, I’d probably slick on some lipstick, at least. . . .
    Your dream is so much more quickly to happen, not only because Letterman’s still alive, but also because your story is such an interesting one and because you write so well.
    And I’ll be back to read the wealth of comments your post is sure to invite. Happy Weekend!

  3. Well, even if you feel crabby ( I hope that has changed by now) you have made me smile with this post. I felt my heart lift. I want you to write that book.

  4. as others have also stated: Please write this book! I’d like to read it. Grew up around many WASPs in Boston, would love to understand the culture.

    And why aren’t WASP women supposed to be sexy, anyway?? In 25 words or less.

    THANKS and have a great post-storm weekend.

    1. You all who say you don’t have this dream reassure me so. Because then it may not just be a symptom of a universal need to be heard, but in fact be my desire to say something worth hearing.

      If that makes any sense whatsoever.

  5. Tabitha beat me to it. I had a “public” life for a few years, long ago. Hated it beyond belief. I don’t have a book in me either, I guess painting is my book?

  6. Also wanted to add that I do look forward every Saturday to your post. One of the first things I think of when I wake up – it’s become a Saturday ritual. Always unexpected and lovely. Thanks, and I’m crabby a lot.

  7. [I might be able to lift your spirits. The Suburban Princess has posted a link to all 8 brand new episodes in Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Somehow or other she was able to obtain them. We here in the US must wait for DA Season 3 to be shown sometime early 2013. But maybe you’re not a DA fan. Just say the word if you’d like the link, or go to SubPrin and you’ll find it there. The angst in that show alone is enough to spring you out of your lockup.]

    My life dream is to be taken seriously. So I’d dare not appear on any talk show where the host’s stock in trade is prompting a laugh from the viewers, no comedian-hosts for me. So it’s Charlie Rose and since Charlie’s guests sit at a table with only upper torso visible, I will wear something to make my shoulders look broadly normal, something with lightly padded shoulders. I wonder if I should have my neck tucked up a bit…

    1. Thank you. I had forgotten she’d posted the links. I was going to try and wait it out for the TV screen. I surrendered. They worked. Five episodes and a whole bunch of sleep.

  8. Like Tabitha and Kathy, I would never appear on TV. The tiny amount of “fame” that I’ve endured has not made me into a better person. We now turn down all offers. It’s part of the reason I don’t have my own blog, too. Lisa, I admire that you can handle your public life with equanimity. May the loonies never find you!

    As for writing books, that’s been an overrated experience for me, as well. Perhaps because they were rather dry reference books that no one really wants to discuss further. I suppose if Terry Gross wanted to talk about the “Dictionary of U.S. Government Statistical Terms” on Fresh Air we could eke out five minutes of air time, with crickets chirping in the background.

    1. You and me both! No one ever wanted to interview me about reference sources in the performing arts!

  9. Did the Petraeus story awaken anyone else’s memories as it did mine? I hope not, I hope there are fewer women in the world these days having been displaced by someone younger, someone more positioned, someone more glamorous, sexier.

    The consolation has usually been rousingly satisfying along the Spitzer line, ie do not fret thyself, she is nothing but a trollop! But this time the highly-disciplined general had one high-level disciplined equal in his long-term wife; as well as another high-level deserving disciplined professional he’d encountered out in the field. Where is the trollop to ease my angst.

    What should we expect in a long term intimate relationship with the other sex. What can we ask of them, how can we frame a binding contract. Or should it just be loose, non-binding. Can professionally evolved people [men and women] expect to out-evolve a record-every-slight reptilian brain so that we just don’t care anymore whether either spouse is unfaithful?

    I hope I will not hit “submit” but this has been so much on my mind today that I suspect I will.

    1. “I don’t know your story..”

      Thank you both.

      Lots of stories bunched together in this one life! Way too many. But if the fates are as kind as they’ve been this last decade, the happy ending has arrived while I’m still young enough to be thrilled by it and grateful for it.

  10. I’d never end up on Ellen’s show, although I admire her immensely, since she’s a committed vegan and my cookbook, Reality Bites, is all about sustainably raised, grass-fed beef and pastured pork and poultry and their importance in our diet.

    You think I joke.

    As to who would be my interviewer, I can only think it would be Alton Brown. Although I’m sure we’d butt heads, too.

  11. Oh! Oh! I have for a long time had a dream of being on Oprah after she’s read my book based on my blog – the book is now called “A Gold-digger’s guide to love, marriage, and cranky in-laws.”

    And then she’ll go on to read the book I am working on now (i.e., blogging), which does not have a title but is about my husband running for office in this last campaign cycle. Maybe I’ll call that “The Gold-digger’s husband runs for office.”

    Or not.

    But whatever it is, Oprah will love my books and will turn to the audience and ask, in that “We’re all BFFs here” way that she has, “What’s UP with in-laws who are not nice to their child’s spouse?” and everyone in the audience gives a knowing groan and a nod.

    I don’t know what I’m wearing because wardrobe is so, so hard for me. I have to take a business trip to the Middle East in 2 weeks and have no idea what to wear on the plane. The shoes- the shoes are always the hardest. I like comfort but also like style. At least on Oprah, I could wait to put the heels on until just before I go on stage, but with a long flight with a layover in Atlanta, shoe comfort is essential. Maybe I would have Lisa or Tish dress me. For Oprah, that is, although I am open to flight wardrobe suggestions.

    1. But Ellen Degeneres would be cool, too.
      Or maybe Clinton and Stacey. Other than that, I don’t know, because I don’t watch TV. (Not any high or mighty principles but a recognition that TV, for me, is like Skittles: I can’t have just one. So it’s better not to start.)

  12. You + Letterman = television talk show perfection. My only request would be that I am allowed to apply as your lowly aide, go-fer, etc., the one who looks for red M & M’s in the (private) dressing room bowl and says, “Oh dear, that’s not what is in her contract, she doesn’t want any red M & M’s, I thought that was understood.”

    The ensemble is also perfection, tweed pencil skirt on you is a glorious thing. BTW, I’m a believer that sometimes we just have to wallow in our Crankenstein moments. (Wallow, not revel.)

    1. In fact I would think that what with What Kate Wore’s success you might have received an invitation or two:). In which case I will gladly bring you Diet Coke on a silver salver:).

  13. As cranky as I’ve been today I can only imagine someone like Bill OReilly interviewing me. My book would have to be something about how to revel in grumpiness. Oh and my daughter made dinner tonight: gnocchi, a lovely Nero D’Avilla and Nutella crêpes for dessert. Feeling better now.

  14. I’ve been reading and enjoying the blog for a while, but this is my first comment, merely to say ‘WRITE THE BOOK’. Your spin on this is facinating, interesting and accessible. I’m from Australia, so the whole concept is theoretical to me ( of course we have our own ‘types’) but you articulate it in such an iteresting way.

  15. Please write the book and I’d be happy to do the illustrations to accompany your waspy words.
    As for TV, I would want to be interviewed by Anderson Cooper.

  16. Hmm, my working title would be something like *Unconventional Wisdom: Seeing Beyond the Hidden Paradigms That Shape Our Lives Without Our Consent, or “Hey, That’s Not Really True”* This has been the journey of my last decade; I was astounded to discover how pervasive and invisible these structures are (despite having considered myself a critical thinker), how deep the programming goes, and how liberating removing the filters can be.

    The idea of appearing on TV makes me, too, queasy (my privacy is highly cherished–even commenting on a blog requires a deep breath). But since we’re talking hypotheticals, my venue would be a Public Television Fund Drive–fits right in with (though is by no means confined to!) the HW/Puritan ethic of supporting charitable causes and doing Good Works.

    A Public Television appearance would of course encourage an Artsy wardrobe ensemble. I’m thinking a colorful Empire-waisted Indian-print tunic, with a necklace I’ve made out of antique Morrocan/Central Asian beads, anchored by a pair of ivory fine-wale-corduroy slim jeans (stretchy, of course–comfort is key)and some high-heeled (does 3” count?) Oxford-style ankle boots, maybe with a hint of decorative tooling (if my Artsy is feeling particularly unrestrained).

  17. Lisa,

    All of the above and more. I’ll talk to anyone about my book, anywhere, any time. Since I haven’t watched American TV in at least a decade I have no idea who and what is out there so maybe I will be obliged to qualify above statement.

    (Sometimes I think I’m losing it. When I saw your “Wheat Thins” I thought you meant “thin like a stalk of wheat.”)

    Crabby, I sooo understand. It’s in the air this weekend.


  18. I would like to be on Ellen or the Daily Show for writing a novel in the same style as Tana Awesome French (I add the awesome because I love her books so much).

    What to wear…a mini dress to show off my legs for Jon Stewart because *swoon*. I think the dress should be orange (not Tennessee orange) to pop on set.

    For Ellen I would wear black pants, an amazing top I haven’t found yet, and Gucci’s black and silver brogues. I would also wear a diamond tiara.

    I think I would have to consult The Fug Girls before going on either show, just to be sure I got a well played on their blog.

  19. Write the book and you’ll be invited to appear on all the talk shows.
    I’d not want to go on TV as the camera adds 20 pounds and being overweight already it would be very a unpleasant.
    I’d opt for radio like Mater although I have no book to discuss!

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  20. My book would be an exploration of why life, and the universe exists and whether reason even matters, and would come at the problem from multiple angle (science, religion and philosophy). Or maybe it would a novel about someone grappling with that questions, I haven’t quite decided. I’d definitely be interviewed by Jon Stewart and I’d be wearing an amazing dress and boots combination of some sort.

  21. I would LOVE to be interviewed by NPR’s Terri Gross — she’s a radio host, not TV, but I just love her thoughtful, thorough way of interviewing, well, everybody.

    My book would be called “How to find peace in a chaotic world.” It would be about dealing with difficult people and there would be sections on meditation and self-care.

    Even though it would be a radio show, I would still wear a nice and sturdy outfit, perhaps jeans, boots, and my favorite navy-and-white checked button-down shirt. Definitely red lipstick and mascara too :)

  22. I used to want to write a book but finally realized it’s just another one of my authority issues. Like a book would establish my authority on some topic. Now I don’t care if I’m heard and doubt I have anything all that important to say anyway. For me, it’s freeing, because now I can enjoy other people’s books. I look forward to reading yours when you write it.

  23. “And about the Cult of the Wheat Thin. Probably we’d have to eat some on stage, with cheddar.”

    …yes, please. :)

    I would probably go on TopGear on the BBC to talk about my book, “A Woman’s Love Affair with Cars.” Everyone including Jeremy Clarkson would find me brilliant. HA! I would wear this Patricia Víera hunter green leather jacket from Moda Operandi ( with jeans and boots.

    I love this questionnaire.

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