Feedforward: Interview Questions for Plague Time

I found these questions in an interview series that Interview Magazine did with Jia Tolentino.  The interview series is fantastic and …hopeful?  Yeah, it is that, but it’s also laced with a jolt of pragmatic reality juice. Strong stuff.  I have extracted the questions for the interview here for you and I hope to share my answers later this week. Another motive for doing this is that I want to adapt these questions for my entering freshman and for my embedded tutors so that we can have a discussion about the diverse worlds we share.

1.Who are you?
2.Where are you and how long have you been isolating?
3.What has this pandemic confirmed or reinforced about your view of society?
4.What has this pandemic altered about your view of society?
5.What is the worst-case scenario for the future?
6.What good can come out of this lockdown? Are there any reasons to hope?
7.What has been your daily routine during this time?
8.Describe the current state of your hair?
9.On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of panic about the current state of the world?
10.Do you think there is hope for true racial equality in the United States? What do you think is the first step in that goal?
11.How can America work to ensure more equality and justice on a day-to-day level?
12.Do you think protests are effective tools for changing the system? How does it make a difference in the long term?
13.How do you personally channel your anger? Do you find anger to be a useful emotion?
14.Who are the young leaders of the moment that you are inspired by?
15.What’s the next step after protests in the streets? Where does the righteous rage go?
16.Do you work best alone or in a group? Can you protest from home?
17.Americans tend to find the topic of race uncomfortable. How do we start the conversation and address it directly?
18.What thinkers have you taken comfort in of late and why?
19.If 2020 were a song, which song would it be?
20.Where did we go wrong? Like, what was the exact moment?
21.Which (admittedly totally unqualified) celebrity would you trust with the planet’s future?
22.If you could stop time at one particular moment in your life, which moment would it be?
23.What’s one skill we should all learn while in quarantine?
24.What prevents you from giving up hope in the human race?
25.Who should be the next president of the United States?

The question about the hair is what T.S. Eliot called an objective correlative I think it encapsulates how blind we were to the ‘ordinary and routine’ of the world. In the face of death nothing is ordinary or routine. Once that has been blown out of the water what is the ego to do? I will be answering my questions in the embedded form below.

1 Comment


  1. // Reply

    kevin
    4mos
    inequities everywhere
    smaller communities are connected/larger communities are broken
    vaccine doesn’t work/people distrustful/no societal immunity
    lessened human footprint on environment/climate (prob temporary)
    writing, reading, walking-hiking, songwriting
    short
    six
    no (said with disappointment and sadness)
    education and conversation
    yes and maybe
    poetry as a channel of anger and frustration and sadness at state of the world
    climate change activists
    votevotevotevote (monitor to ensure the GOP doesn’t skew the election)
    both (alone and in the world)
    education (confront yourself first)
    Caravan of Fools (John Prine)
    Bush lost. Gore won. Bush won.
    ???? idk ????
    I’d stop to savor the first breath of birth of each of our children
    Cooking (with what you’ve got on hand)
    My children need a future worth aspiring to
    Joe

    (ramble on)

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