Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I need to hide under the covers forever. I have done several media interviews over the last couple of days. The two I did on Monday – one of which was a TV interview (not live) – were okay. They redressed this horror. I was starting to feel over-exposed, though – I am not a particularly outgoing person, and in fact used to be paralytically shy. It takes a fair amount of energy for me to be on like this, and I don't take pleasure in it. (and in fact sometimes have crazy moments of thinking I need to take down my blog RIGHT NOW because I feel on display and think, “what the hell am I doing having a blog??”...)

Then I got called about doing a CBC morning show radio interview this morning. I was apprehensive - a bit much for me to handle, a live radio interview - but I thought I should say yes. I tried to prepare last night, and have in my head all the messages I wanted to deliver. I woke up at 4:28 this morning because of nerves.

I did the interview. It was terrible. Most of it was relatively okay, if not at all stellar – any eloquence I had basically went out the window. But I was asked one question that totally threw me. Totally. I was clearly rattled by it and said, “I don’t know how to answer that question” before then semi-recovering with an actual semi-answer.

I am horrified. I have always thought, with CBC interviews, that people being interviewed seem so polished that they must have the questions in advance. (Not so, I was told by the producer when I asked – it is against CBC policy to give out questions in advance.) I have never heard anybody – in years of listening to the CBC – say something as stupid as I said. Actually admit that they didn’t know what to say.

Do you know, their listening audience in the mornings would easily be in the tens of thousands. As if that’s not bad enough, many of my colleagues here listen to the CBC – that’s what university professors do, isn’t it, after all – and so many of these people would have heard it. Oh god. I am so embarrassed.

It is only compounding other embarrassments about this week that I can’t blog about – events that I had no real control over, but which make me look bad. Make me look like a potentially stupid person. A worst fear. That make me look like an idiot to colleagues. I am so done. So done. I need this to be over. I need to not ever speak to media again, and I just need to be able to turn off.


adjunct whore said...

omg: i'm so out of the bloggy loop....good grief, hilaire, how did all of this happen to you???? there must be some reason, you're being tested, clearly.

i'm SO sorry, horrified for you, though i'm sure it is less awful than you think, still, i would feel the same way. thinking of you from afar--

Mireille said...

Hilaire, I'm so sorry this happened to you. I worked for the French CBC radio for two years before starting my MA and I am a bit suprised: we always did a pre-interview and never did I heard it was against the 'house policy' to discuss the questions in advance, quite the opposite especially in case of live shows (and even more in the morning).
I know this doesn't help in any way, but I also know that everyone, stars, academics and politicians always finish an live interview feeling like 'de la merde' ! There is just something with this medium...

I'm sure you, at least, sounded honest (and much more better)!

Maude Lebowski said...

girl, i don't know what to say. first of all, i'm sorry that you think it went badly. secondly, i'm sure that it was not nearly as bad as you think. however, i'm the same way. i feel like an idiot, a fool, whatever during times of public exposure, though i've never given an interview like that before. but i'm sure SURE that it was not as bad as you think. i'm sure you were brilliant and honest and wonderful and charming like you are on your blog, which, by the way, never EVER take your blog down! what a deep loss it would be for you to disappear from the blogosphere.

i don't think i did a very good job of trying to make you feel better--which is what i'm trying to do.

take care girl. the school year will be over before you know it.

Brigindo said...

I think saying you don't know something is brave and proves you are a thoughtful person. So many people, especially academics, think we need to know all the answers to every question. In truth we often don't know (or some questions don't have definitive answers) but we're good at thinking things through. It sounds like you displayed that by stating you don't know how to answer and then processing an answer on the air.

I know it feels like you were awful (which is why I avoid any media like the plague) but I'm sure you came off as thoughtful, intelligent, and humble.

Maggie said...

I live in fear of live interviews. I've even had bad experiences with PRINT interviews. So don't judge yourself too harshly... those people you hear on CBC have had lots and lots of practice, and in 20 years, you too could sound that polished.

And Hilaire, anyone who's communicated with you for 5 minutes knows you are smart and thoughtful and perceptive and witty. So please don't worry too much about your colleagues thinking you're "stupid." Give them a tiny bit of credit... and yourself too.

Hugs to you, girl. I'm sorry this week/month/year have sucked so hard.

squadratomagico said...

Honestly? I don't think saying that you don't know how to answer a question is so horrible -- especially if you then go on to answer the question! It really isn't. It simply shows that you are thoughtful and not shoveling out bullshit.

Really, nothing to worry about. YOu did fine.

Hilaire said...

Thanks for your commiseration. (Isn't it crazy how often I am thanking you for commiseration, because of what it suggests about how often commiseration is necessary right now?)

I have heard from some people I trust that it wasn't bad - and even good - so I know that part of it was that I am always hard on myself. But I do know from a couple of others that I was obviously rattled - but I managed to recover.

Brigindo and Squadratomagico - That's the thing...I am totally in line with what you say about not trying to answer questions that can't be answered. I even teach about what it means to admit that knowledge is incomplete and fallible. It's just that I totally panicked, and that was audible. That's what I hate - the fact that my fear and nervousness were on display. It made me feel incredibly vulnerable.

Mireille - Aha! And someone else told me that her partner was interviewed on our local CBC and there was a sort of script. What the hell is this?

Maggie - Your point about giving my colleagues a little bit of credit is a very important one. I think I'm worried about the ones who don't actually know me, who haven't had the time to talk with me, who were out to the event...if this is what they think I'm all about, ugh!!