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Showing posts from April 5, 2015

the interview experience

Robert Musil opens his interview-profile of the essayist Alfred Polgar with a joke: One day I said to myself that the interview is the artform of our time. Because the mega-capitalistic beauty of the interview is tha the interviewee does the whole mentla labor, and gets nothing for it, while the interviewer does actually nothing, but pockets the honorarium. The joke contains an important truth. Interviews are definitely built around a peculiar economic arrangement. Most of the time, we read the interview for the interviewee, not the interviewer, who is nevertheless given the byline (as Musil was for the Berlin paper for which he interviewed Polgar) and the fee. Mostly, the attraction is the better known interviewee – Musil was less known, in 1922, than Polgar, who was as well known in his day as, say, Roger Ebert is in ours. The joke does not contain the whole truth however. Musil walks it back a bit in the next paragraph: Other than this it is charming that one may, in an i