First of all, sorry for creating a second account. For some reason my original account wasn’t working, no matter what I tried.
Just some feedback about last night’s show at Dolby Theater, in case Sam or someone else in his inner circle sees this and finds it useful.
Preface: Sam, I love your podcast and listen to every episode. I was thrilled to see your live show last night. It ranks in my top 3 live show experiences ever.
One criticism: I don’t personally know the girl who asked about Steven Pinker’s favorite modern artists during Audience Questions—but I thought your response to her was shocking and rude. Instead of saying something blunt like “I don’t care” or “I’m not interested” (I don’t recall which it was) and just cutting her off, you could try a more gentle: “I’m sorry but in the interest of sticking to philosopical questions we have to move on.” I know it gets frustrating taking questions when the sound system isn’t cooperating, and maybe you were getting impatient or had to go to the bathroom. Consider it from her point of view, having the bravery to ask a question, then getting brutally cut off by people she looks up to—in front of a whole theater. I would have been devastated in her position (but maybe I’m just a wimp).
Anyway, keep up the awesome work in every other way!
Yeah I’d have to completely agree with you Carl I was shocked. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sam lose his cool until now, after hundreds of hours of debates and podcasts (remember the three hour interview with Cenk Uygur?. Shutting down someone asking one of their heroes about some of their favorite art seems like it would of been a soul crushing experience.
That said I do sympathize with the frustrations the audio issues must of caused.
Steven Pinker didn’t get the question due to sound issues, and Sam seemed to try and summarize the intent behind the question as he understood it (perhaps because of time constraints), though his summarization was mistaken. It might not have been the most attentive, but even after rewatching the thing I have yet to see where he “lost his cool.” Nor did he tell her “I don’t care” or “I’m not interested.”
He said, verbatim, “She said that apparently you said contemporary art denegrates beauty, and she wants to know what the hell you’re talking about.”
Even if that missed the point of her question (that one can fault him for) I see no intent at all of deriding the questioner. It seems more like a cheeky comment than the brutal smackdown you describe it as.
What exactly did he do in that interaction that was so beyond the pale as to be considered shocking?