Tuesday, November 04, 2008


"The election campaign is on, the politician jumps from plane to helicopter, from helicopter to car, exerts himself, perspires, bolts his lunch on the run, shouts into microphones, makes two-hour speeches, but in the end it will depend on Bernstein or Woodward which of the fifty thousand sentences that he uttered will be released to the newspapers or quoted on the radio. That's why the politician would prefer to address the radio or TV audience directly, but this can only be accomplished through the mediation of an Oriana Fallaci (ed: an Italian journalist), who sets the media rules and asks the questions.The politician will want to exploit the moment when he is finally seen by the entire nation, and to say everything that's on his mind, but Woodward will ask him only about things that aren't on the politician's mind at all and that he has no desire to talk about. He will thus find himself in the classic situation of a schoolboy called to the blackboard and will try to use the old schoolboy trick: he will pretend to be answering the question but in reality will use material he has specially prepared at home for the broadcast. This trick may have worked on his teachers, but it does not work on Bernstein, who keeps reminding him mercilessly: "You haven't answered my question!"
Who would want to be a politician these days? Who would want to spend his whole life being tested at the blackboard?"
-Milan Kundera, Immortality

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