Yesterday afternoon I had the experience of being interviewed on film for an in-house publicity video, as did my student, Chiara. We both had a lovely time.
Lovely? Well no. Perhaps not. In three words then, the experience was: discomforting, odd, and (vaguely) humiliating. Discomforting, because being asked to externalise how you feel about a large part of your daily life,whilst simultaneously policing certain boundaries of good taste and good sense, brings you up against all sorts of underlying equivocations. Odd, because I’m usually the one asking the questions. And humiliating, because there is necessarily something coercive about submitting to a line of questioning; doubly so when you are expected to respect an invisible underlying script.
But I suppose I am over-sensitive. I wasn’t exactly sweating under the lights.
I have chosen to summarise the experience in three words because in the interview I was asked to say what I liked about working at OISE, in three words. That gave me pause. CUPS OF TEA? STUDENTS AND CAKE? GOING HOME TIME? ALL THE GLASS? MIKE HUMPHRIES DAVIES? NOT THIS INTERVIEW? In the end I settled on something anodyne, if broadly true (I think it was, professional, intimate, and interesting).
But I was, of course, playing a sort of game, a game I could only at best hope to draw.