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September 15, 2004



We British have a habit of being mean to people, including family and friends. Sebastian does take it to the extreme but he's in good company. Jeremy Paxman, one of the most respected of British interviewers, can be very tough.

I happen to think there's a place for these kinds of interviews. It makes me sick to see important people given an easy ride and being allowed to avoid questions. Paxman's most famous interview was several years ago with the now Conservative party leader, Michael Howard. He asked a question which Howard was studiously trying to avoid answering, 13 times.

I agree that it can be painful to watch and occasionally irritating. It's not the tough questions I find annoying but the refusal to allow what is shaping up to be a reasonable answer by interrupting.


It's weird reading something like this. I went to school with Tim Sebastian, and he was a really nice, gentle, thoughtful kid (much nicer than me, anyway). Now I haven't clapped eyes on him for thirty years, and apparently he's turned into a mass production media rotweiller. That seems a little sad. It also makes me feel older than I've ever felt before.

Nasi Lemak

17 times. Surely only the angry Tim-Sebastian, or the over-friendly Larry King approaches can possibly work for a daily "big interview" program, where the interviewer must be horribly underbriefed most of the time. And the only good thing Larry King ever did was the Bible audio-tape in that episode of the Simpsons where Homer thinks he's going to die, so it's HardTalk or bust as far as I can see.

belle waring

I have to admit I'd pay a lot of money to see a HARDtalk interview with George Bush.


Hey, I think that BBC World News thing with the heavy drumbeat and the synth BOOP-a-doop-doop BOOP-a-doop-doop would be just the thing for a dance mix.


I require that CD.

Russell Arben Fox

Again with the "0wnz0r3d". I asked about it before, and I still don't get it. Others pointed me toward various explanatory websites, and they just left me confused. So, the Pakistani information minister has been "ownzered"? What kind of hazy-distant-days-of-the-early-internet universe did I miss out on wherein this passed for trash talking? I guess you just had to be there. Weird.

belle waring

sorry, Russell. this is just a lame way of saying "owned", i.e. "totally schooled" or "brutally refuted" or something, except in a way more reminiscent of the groundbreaking, classic movie "hackers". it's really nerdy. I just think it's humorous.

Des von Bladet

The Jargon File:


1. [cracker slang; often written “0wned”] Your condition when your machine has been cracked by a root exploit, and the attacker can do anything with it. This sense is occasionally used by hackers.

2. [gamers, IRC, crackers] To be dominated, controlled, mastered. For example, if you make a statement completely and utterly false, and someone else corrects it in a way that humiliates or removes you, you are said to “have been owned” by that person. When referring to games, “I own0r UT GOTYE” means that one has mastered Unreal Tournament, Game of the Year Edition to such a level that even the hardest AI characters are mere lunchmeat, and that no ordinary mortal player would even receive a point in competition. There are several spelling variants: 0wned, 0wn0r3d, even pwn0r3d. Hackers do not use this sense.

I'd call it scriptkiddie jargon, myself, but I am by no means a lexicographer.


I seem to remember a Hardtalk interview with Sam "Sun Records" Philips that I caught in a hotel in some Godforsaken part of the world that was uncommonly sympathetic and perceptive.

Apparently I'm not hallucinating that it took place, although there is no playback there so you will have to take my word for it. And since my baseline for assessing what is unpleasant, rude, congenitally hostile, etc, is my own personality, I can see how some might regard this as less than a ringing endorsement.

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