I was born at night, but not last night. – Dr. Helena
As most of my regular readers know, I get a lot of questions; nearly every Thursday I answer one in a column, and that doesn’t even count the interviews requests from journalists, academics, students and others. I try to make time for as many of these as possible, and usually I succeed even if it takes a while (and even if the answer is just a link to a previous column in which I’ve already covered the topic). But while I can justify answering reader questions in print because, after all, I get a column out of it, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask that y’all please refrain from asking me to do email interviews any more (unless you’re offering payment). The problem is this: while I’m sure it’s very convenient for you to have my answers all neatly typed out for you to cut-and-paste as needed, it takes much longer for me to type all that out than it would to just say it to you. Furthermore, typing an answer requires my undivided attention, while talking on the phone does not; last summer I gave several interviews while driving cross-country, and I’ve even done them while sitting on a train, lying in bed naked or walking around in the grocery store. And given the paucity of free time I have and the vehemence with which my friends are insisting I make more of it, I hope you’ll forgive me if I insist that from here on out, I restrict myself to the easy voice interviews rather than the time-and-labor-intensive email variety.
There is one certain kind of email interview, however, which I’m going to single out for attention. Just recently, I got an interview request from a high school student which was clearly nothing more than the questions he received as part of a assignment, and he thought he could fool me into answering them for him. Now, this wasn’t the first time I’ve received such a letter, so even though I’m answering him the rest of you smartass students need to listen up as well: Listen, kiddo, I didn’t just fall off of the fucking turnip truck. Don’t let my spectacular bod fool you; I’m old enough to be your grandmother, and I was probably outwitting teachers before your parents were born. I’ve been around the block more times than you’ve masturbated, and if you think you can trick me into doing your homework, you need to be slapped harder than I’m willing to give you for what you can afford. It’s bad enough when adult reporters try to get me to do their work for them, but it reaches a higher level of impudence when the person who thinks he can outwit me isn’t even as old as the last bottle of wine I drank. So cut that shit out; if you want to interview me come up with some proper questions, record it, then write the damned paper yourself. The practice will do you good, and one day you’ll thank me when you become an actual writer rather than a fucking stenographer whose “craft” consists of parroting whatever moronic propaganda the cops are shoveling out at press conferences in the late 2020s.