"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

No mode of epistemology is supreme / The value of modesty

"The best way to compile inaccurate information that no one wants is to make it up." - Scott Adams

***

A good counterpoint to those who value [Personal] Experience above all else (and might even go to the point of pooh-pooh-ing modes of epistemology other than Experience):


Marc Pachter: The art of the interview

"One of the great American biographers... Dumas Malone.

He did a five-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, spent virtually his whole life with Thomas Jefferson, and by the way, at one point I asked him,

"Would you like to have met him?"

And he said, "Well, of course, but actually, I know him better than anyone who ever met him, because I got to read all of his letters."

So, he was very satisfied with the kind of relationship they had over 50 years."


And on the value of modesty:

"You want energy, you want the life force, but you really want them also to think that they have a story worth sharing.

The worst interviews that you can ever have are with people who are modest.

Never ever get up on a stage with somebody who's modest, because all of these people have been assembled to listen to them, and they sit there and they say,

"Aw, shucks, it was an accident."

There's nothing that ever happens that justifies people taking good hours of the day to be with them.

The worst interview I ever did: William L. Shirer. The journalist who did "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." This guy had met Hitler and Gandhi within six months, and every time I'd ask him about it, he'd say,

"Oh, I just happened to be there. Didn't matter."

Whatever. Awful.

I never would ever agree to interview a modest person. They have to think that they did something and that they want to share it with you."
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