SETI Institute’s Jill Tarter on NPR’s Fresh Air

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.

Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute

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.

Robert Darden of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project

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.


4 Replies to “SETI Institute’s Jill Tarter on NPR’s Fresh Air”

    1. Awww, thanks, M.E. And thanks for commenting here. It’s always extraspecial nice to receive a comment on the blog (as opposed to on FB, which is fine, too.)

  1. Just watched “Buena Vista Social Club” again the other night. At one point Joachim Cooder says something to the effect of “Ry has this idea of these guys being this band that never existed” (or something like that) – that these great Cuban musicians are sharing the stage as a band, a great band, and that they somehow seem like they’ve always been together. Your last paragraph above reminded me of this. You are creating the band that never existed and bringing their joint conversation to the stage…

    1. Ooooh! I like that idea. “creating the band that never existed and bringing their joint conversation to the stage…” That’s fantastic. I might have to use that in my press materials.

      Coincidentally, again, I’m reading one of those 33 1/3 books. Do you know the ones? This one is about Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. As part of the lead up, there are a few pages devoted to Ry Cooder and his brief stint in the Magic Band (Safe as Milk). Crazy stuff.

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