November 27th, 2015


In response:

Thanks, Shawn, for a great discussion. It was very illuminating.

Yeah, if we could lose the Darth Vader audio mode, it would help. It's interesting, though, how much of a tradition bad audio is in the US. When I was four (in the fifties), my mom gave me money to treat my cousins to ice cream at the Sonic drive-in near their house. My uncle had to repeat our order about three times because the shitty audio over the three-inch speaker was unintelligible. A week ago, nearly sixty years later, I stopped at a Sonic for a Egg-A-Muffin wannabe and had to repeat my order no less than three times because the shitty audio over the three-inch speaker was unintelligible.

When Buddy Holly and The Crickets played Clovis High School in 1957, the sound over the gymnasium PA sucked mightily. When I saw The Dead Weather at the Sunshine Theater last year, I finally left because the sound sucked so mightily that I couldn't hear the band.

For some reason audio only gets worse. Art Bell used to hang up on people who called on cell phones because the audio was so poor. Now you can't talk to anyone who isn't calling on a shitty cell channel.

Anyway, yeah, the gurgling of Vader's last dying breath's is a bit distracting.

Some damned fool asked . . .

. . . if really smart people play dumb sometimes to avoid attracting attention.

A: Smart people don't play dumb.  They simply don't show up on anyone's radar.  They are the people behind the scenes whose names you never hear and whose faces you never see.

This is filler to make my answer longer because everyone knows that a short answer cannot be a helpful answer:

There was a famous interview of Anwar Sadat by Barbara Walters in which she presented him with a question that no one could remember, much less answer.  It must have taken her two full minutes to set up and pose this long, long, convoluted, multiple-choice question to which Sadat replied, "No."  Not helpful at all, unless you consider it an answer in the sense of a response to the question rather than a solution to some sort of quiz or something.

Some questions warrant more of a response than an answer.  Some warrant a response instead of an answer.  Some warrant neither.  If you don't get a four-page essay in answer to your question, maybe it didn't warrant it.  Maybe it's not so much the quality of the response as the quality of the question.  Maybe you asked a dumb question (and, yes, Virginia, there is such a thing).