Introduction

Do you like to be interviewed? You cannot love interviews when you are a celebrity, all the time surrounded by the interviewers and camera flash, by unnecessary questions and seeing your answers twisted, misinterpreted and gossiped in the media… Do celebrities like to be interviewed? Some celebrities have expressed their views about interviews. Most of them condemn being interviewed.

Celebrities on Interviews

  • VS Naipaul condemns interviews because interviews are unnecessary intrusions into our personal life and they hurt people.
  • Lewis Carroll had great fear for the interviewers. He loved to have normal life and therefore hated being interviewed because he believed interviews give a person too much importance in the society.
  • Rudyard Kippling had an even more condemnatory attitude towards interviews. He considered it to be a crime, an immoral activity and wanted the interviewer punished for stealing, assaulting and attacking.
  • G. Wells was a celebrity who considered interview to be an ordeal.
  • Soul Bellow felt he had been forced to speak during the interview. He felt his windpipe being thumbed to speak.

Umberto Eco Interviewed – Umberto EcoProfessor of Semiotics –  Author of Academic Books – More than 40 books!  – Author of the Best Seller, “Name of the Rose”

  • Mukund – Sir, how do you manage time to write and teach and research?
    “I work in interstices or empty spaces.”
  • Mukund – Sir, how do you make your academic books interesting to reader?
    “I write my academic books as novels.”
  • How did you start writing novels?
    “Accidentally! But it worked.”
  • While writing the Name of the Rose, were you puzzled?
    “No, but my publishers were puzzled.”
  • What is the mystery of the success of the novel?
    “It is still a mystery, but time of its publication matters a lot.

Terms to Remember.

  • VS Naipaul – “Wounded by interviews”
  • Lewis Carroll – “Fear for the interviewer”
  • Rudyard Kipling – “Hatred for interviewer/attack/assault/theft/indecent/punishable”
  • HG Wells – “Ordeal/unpleasant experience”
  • Soul Bellow – “Thumb prints on windpipe”
  • Denis Brian – “Serviceable medium of communication between the celebrities and the ordinary people. Inspiration.”

Umberto Eco Vs Mukund

  • Interstices/empty spaces
  • Working in empty spaces of life
  • Narrative style
  • People get tired of easy books/reading and want to try difficult reading – Started writing novels “accidentally” – Name of the Rose in America – unexpected sale.
Questions & Answers
  1. Why do celebrities despise interviews?
    While common people are eager to read the interviews of the celebrities, the very celebrities have an aversion to being interviewed. Most of them find an interview intruding into their personal lives while some fear it, some hate it, some consider it immoral and assaulting.
  2. What is V.S. Naipaul’s attitude towards interview?
    VS Naipaul feels that some people are wounded by interviews and loose a part of themselves.
  3. What were Lewis Carroll’s fears regarding interviews?
    Lewis Carroll says interviews bring unparallel heights to the person in the society and that they will be regarded more than what they are and consequently they will lose their friends and dear ones.
  4. What make Rudyard Kipling condemn being interviewed?
    Rudyard Kipling considered interviews to be immoral. He said it is a crime, just as much of a crime as an offence against the person interviewed, as an assault, and just as much merits punishment. He adds that it is cowardly and vile and therefore no respectable man would ask it, much less give it.
  5. What does Saul Bellow mean by saying that ‘interviews were thumbprints on his windpipe?’
    Saul Bellow used to allow to be interviewed yet he used to comment that he used to have great trouble to be interviewed because it was an experience of his throat being thumbed by his interviewers.
  6. How does interview serve a noble purpose in the modern world?
    Even though most celebrities condemn interviews, it serves a noble purpose to the rest of the world. The great thoughts and attitudes of the celebrities reach the common people through the medium of interview and make people’s life more meaningful and enlightened.
  7. What is the irony in Eco’s statement, ‘I am a professor who writes novels on Sundays?’
    A novelist can never say that he keeps a day for writing novels. Writers are always writers. Yet Umberto Eco is an exception. Though he is a world famous novelist, he primarily considers himself as a professor and an academic writer and hardly gets time for writing novels except on Sundays.
  8. What is Semiotics? How is Eco known in connection with Semiotics?
    Semiotics is the study of signs. Eco is a professor of semiotics at the Bologna University, Italy, and writes academic books on this subject.
  9. What enabled Eco to acquire the equivalent of intellectual superstardom?
    Umberto Eco is famous for his books on semiotics and popular for his novel. Besides, he deals with literary interpretation, medieval aesthetics, literary fiction, academic texts, essays, children’s books, newspaper articles, etc. This quality of being at the same time able to handle such a wide range of subjects as a writer enabled him to acquire the equivalent of intellectual superstardom.
  10. Explain Eco’s theory of interstices.
    There is a lot of empty space between the nucleus and electrons in each atom and if that empty space is removed, the universe will be as small as a human fist. Even though this is a bit of exaggeration, Eco wants to say that similar empty spaces are in our lives too and if we remove them we can find out a lot of time to do more.
  11. How does Umberto Eco manage time to write a wide range of books in his limited time?
    Umberto Eco believes that there is a lot of empty space in everyone’s life. If we efficiently make use of this wasted time, however short they are, we can find a lot of time in our lives. Eco finds his time to write during such times.
  12. What is the marked departure from a regular academic style that is found in Eco’s academic books?
    Most of the academic books are uninteresting and dry. But Eco’s books on any serious academic subject is different because his books have a story style where the student can find characters, incidents and stories that teach the subject of study.
  13. What important lesson did Eco learn while writing his doctoral dissertation? How did it influence him in his writing academic books and later becoming a novelist?
  14. What makes Eco identify himself with the academic community even though he is better known as a novelist?
  15. How does Eco balance his botheration of being overshadowed by the fame of a novelist?
    Though Umberto Eco feels that he could not make Semiotics famous or be famous as an academic writer, he balances that failure against the huge success that he achieved by his novel which in fact is all about semiotics and the rest of his favourite subjects.
Questions for Practice
  1. What do you understand about the Name of the Rose?
  2. Why were journalists and publishers puzzled about the success of the Name of the Rose before it really became success?
  3. What personal theory made Eco to pen down his successful novel, The Name of the Rose?
  4. What was extraordinary about the success of the Name of the Rose in America?
  5. Why does Eco admit that the reason behind the success of the Name of the Rose was a ‘mystery?’
    Though the novel, The Name of the Rose has been named as one of the legendary best seller, Umberto Eco admits that its success is a mystery because he believes that his novel won an unequal success considering that many novels had been written earlier and later than his novel.
  6. Why are interviews loved by a great many common people?
    Interviews are loved by the common people. They love Interviews because it is a medium of communication between the great people and ordinary people. Some people have great ideas and great lives while the rest think ordinarily and live an ordinary life. By reading the interviews of the great people, the ordinary people are enlightened and inspired. They too can live a great life.
  7. Why do some critics have extraordinary claims for the merits of interviews?
  8. How does Umberto Eco make use of ‘interstices’ in his personal life?
  9. Mention an instance from Eco’s interview with which he is lionized and another with which he loses something of himself?
  10. Why did Lewis Carroll fear interviewer?
  11. How did HG Wells consider interviews as?
  12. Why does Denis Brian praise the functions and merits of interviews?
  13. How has interview become a commonplace in journalism today?
  14. What makes Denis Brian hold the view that interview is in its practice serviceable? (2 marks)
  15. What is Eco’s theory of Interstices? How does he apply this theory in his literary activities? (2 marks)
  16. What is unusual about Eco’s claim that he writes novels on Sundays? (2 marks)
  17. In spite of their benefits, interviews are generally disliked by most celebrities who see themselves as their victims. Discuss.
    Intellectually speaking, there are two kinds of people in every society; the high thinking celebrities such as writers and thinkers, poets and novelists, educationists and social workers and the low thinking common people. Interviews are the most effective medium of communication between these two kinds of people. The common man and woman love to read an interview for drawing inspiration from the extraordinary ones, their intellectual contemporaries.
  18. Why do some critics have extraordinary claims for the merits of interviews?
  19. How does Umberto Eco make use of ‘interstices’ in his personal life?
  20. Mention an instance from Eco’s interview with which he is lionized and another with which he loses something of himself?
  21. Why did Lewis Carroll fear interviewer?
  22. How did HG Wells consider interviews as?
  23. Why does Denis Brian praise the functions and merits of interviews?
  24. How has interview become a commonplace in journalism today?
  25. What makes Denis Brian hold the view that interview is in its practice serviceable? (2 marks)
  26. What is Eco’s theory of Interstices? How does he apply this theory in his literary activities? (2 marks)
  27. What is unusual about Eco’s claim that he writes novels on Sundays? (2 marks)
  28. In spite of their benefits, interviews are generally disliked by most celebrities who see themselves as their victims. Discuss.

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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