The Alan-Alda-fication

  • John Roderick: When we were kids, the school curriculum was still based on the premise that we were trying to beat the Russians to the Moon. Even though we had already beat the Russians to the Moon, we were still reading those same math books.
  • Merlin Mann: We, we wanted to get the Moon, and we wanted them NOT to get to the Moon.
  • JR: Yeah, right, we wanted to get to the Moon and go, “IN YOUR FACE!”
  • MM: Um-hmm
  • JR: But then somewhere there in the Seventies, the ‘Alan Alda-fication of America’ happened, and suddenly everybody was an Artist. Nobody had a slide rule anymore, nobody was trying to get us to the Moon. Now everybody...now everybody was free to be... and we were all, our little hearts needed to be...set free.. and we needed to talk about our feelings... and everybody needed to share...and now we live in a nation of 350 million of the Most Important People Who Have Ever Lived. Nobody can wait in line. Nobody can admit for a second that maybe - in the Grand Scheme of Things - they...are...a PEON...
  • MM: Um-hmm
  • JR: ...and they need to STFU and get in line and do their jobs and get out of the way of better drivers who are on their way to some place, and only have nine minutes to get there.
  • MM: I think I finally understand it: OK, it’s really, it’s a problem with at least two levels. The second level is that the people are in your way, they’re making it take way more than nine minutes, you’re not gonna get the chance to have a walk or a nap, they’re in John’s way. If I understand correctly, the first, much more broad problem - we’re never gonna get to problem two until we get through problem one - is that people are literally not being forced to literally listen to you.
  • JR: Um-hmm.
  • MM: Because that’s part of the problem...your...what you have to share with them is getting lost amidst all the voices and talking about feelings. Is that fair to say?
  • JR: That is fair to say, except that - with the caveat - that I don’t really care if they’re listening, I just want them to be quiet while I’m talking. If they are just sitting there, just, just dumbly...
  • MM: So it’s not really about the movie. The movie, really, the movie is You. The problem is they’re talking during You.
  • JR: They’re talking during Me.

Notes

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