Sunday, July 4, 2010

Deborah Solomon and George Schultz

Here, finally, is the problem with Deborah Solomon's Sunday interviews: I always learn more about what's going on in Deborah Solomon's head than I ever do about the person she's interviewing. In her continuing attempts to provoke, wheedle and generally make an interview subject uncomfortable, Solomon has done far more to reveal her inner workings than to show us anything new about the often-familiar people she interviews.

So it goes this week in her interview with former Secretary of State George P. Schultz. We learn that Ms. Solomon is still very, very angry about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I don't blame her. But: She doesn't do much of a job in this interview in laying the groundwork for her apparent belief that Schultz -- motivated by his job with the Bechtel Group -- was a mover and shaker behind the scenes, prompting America to invade. Instead, her eight questions on the topic are a series of j'accuse! that culminates in the following exchange:

It’s been seven years since we invaded Iraq, and there is so much sorrow in the world. I don’t see things getting a lot better.

You ought to come out to California. We have problems out here; but the sun is shining, and it’s pleasant here on the Stanford campus.
Having paid attention to Solomon's work, I can tell you what she cares about: Art, feminism, money -- in the last month, only one interview didn't involve questions about cash -- and, generally, the liberal side of most political questions. What I can't tell you is a single memorable fact I've ever learned about the people she interviews. This is almost performance art -- it's the questioner who reveals everything! -- but it's kind of lousy journalism.

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