True confession – this weekend I was at the “Powerplant” Barnes and Noble in Baltimore & got mesmerized by Kitty Kelley’s biography of Oprah Winfrey. Wanting more without actually having to buy it, I went on YouTube & discovered Jian Ghomeshi’s interview with Kelley and was so impressed that I have been watching Ghomeshi on YouTube ever since. One of the interviews is with Martin Short, discussing the Oscars and the episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted right after the Sandy Hook massacre. He also has interviews with Angela Davis and Paglia’s arch-nemesis, Naomi Wolf (bwah-ha-ha-haaaa!).
This interview makes me very happy for several reasons. One is that I just love watching Camille Paglia. The other is this: at about 2:00 Ghomeshi does something few journalists ever do, which is ask the interviewee to define a term. Ghomeshi asks Paglia to “back up three steps” and explain what she means by the term “fine art.” Another interviewer would have been afraid to ask that question. This is so important, because for one person, as he explains, “fine” could be a value judgement, as in this piece of art is “Fine” as opposed to that one, which is not so hot.The next time a conversation seems to go off the rails for no good reason, stop to ask people to verify that they are both talking about the same thing.