Did you hear Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday? If not, check out the interview. It’s well worth 25 minutes and 26 seconds of your life.
I don’t know why it surprises me, but Fresh Air’s Dave Davies asked many of the same questions that I did when I interviewed her. The result, the same answers. This makes perfect sense, of course. Do I feel threatened? No, there is no scoop here. And just as A Life’s Work is not a work of journalism, so, too, a radio interview (or this one, anyway) is not a work of art. Fresh Air is providing information, and information and art are very different things. In the Venn diagram that represents this case, they are not intersecting. Not even close.
I’ve encountered this before with all of the subjects, because they all are doing things the media finds worth reporting. And I’ve written about it regarding Robert Darden, whose appearance on Fresh Air brought him to my attention.
Coincidentally, I received an email from Darden yesterday. In it he wrote that he enjoyed listening to Tarter on Fresh Air. In a certain way, this surprised me, too, because in my film-addled brain, these two have been talking to each other for a long time now.
See, I’ve been working with these people for a while now. When I interviewed one, I had the other interviews in the back of my mind. When I’m editing, I’m always thinking about how what one is saying relates to something the others said. They are, in a way, conversing with each other in this film. And sometimes I get so into their exchanges that I think these people have actually met each other and discussed their work with each other.
Of course, they haven’t. But in A Life’s Work, they do.