Thursday, January 18, 2007


That's what the Boy Wonder said at the end of Stephen Colbert's Tuesday night interview with Dinesh D'Souza.

BW had never heard of D'Souza, author of The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. However, BW competes regularly in Lincoln-Douglas and Student Congress debate. What he was reacting to was the way Colbert, himself a former debater (Cross Examination, if I recall correctly), absolutely nailed D'Souza, all the while professing to be in complete agreement with him. Not only did Colbert barely let D'Souza utter a complete sentence, let alone a coherent one, but got him to say that he agreed with "some of the things these radical extremists are against in America."

From the show transcript:
Colbert: So, what other cultural editing notes should we take from the terrorists?

D'Souza: It's not editing notes, it's a matter of —

Colbert: No, no, I mean, I agree with you: there are some good ideas these guys have. This is what you're saying, that there are some parts of our culture that are corrosive, and you agree with some of the things that they're saying.

D'Souza: I'm saying that —

Colbert: No, you have the courage to say that, right? That you agree with some of the things these radical extremists are against in America. (I'm more concerned — ) Do you agree with that statement? (Well, no, I'm — ) Just do you agree with that statement?

D'Souza: I agree with it. (Okay, good.) But —

Colbert: Finally, someone has the courage to say that there are things in America that the liberals do that are causing our destruction.

D'Souza: Okay, that's going a little too far —

Colbert: Oh, I know, that's what you're saying: "The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11." That's why I had you on the show, because I agree with that statement, sir!
(Read complete transcript--annotated, alas--at The Third Path; watch interview at YouTube.)

BW plans to rewatch the interview to pick up debating techniques from Colbert. The clip is also a perfect primer for an interviewee on what NOT to do. Namely:
  1. Allow the interviewer to set the agenda.
  2. Not get your message points out ASAP--or at all.
  3. Let the interviewer pull you off subject.
  4. Act humorless and smarmy. (D'Souza probably can't help himself, but still.)


Richard said...

I thought D'Souza did a pretty good job considering that he was being sandbagged from the get-go. He's a brilliant young man (albeit a bit humorless) with some interesting and valuable things to say. But letting him air his views wasn't on the agenda. Perhaps Mr. Colbert should've simply doused the book with gasoline and set it on fire ... that would've amused people like you and your son, Bella, spared D'Souza some embarrassment, and saved the rest of us some time.

Bella Stander said...

I don't watch "The Colbert Report" to save myself time; I watch it to be entertained and amused. The D'Souza interview certainly filled the bill. No one--especially a hard-core conservative --should go on Colbert's show if they can't stand to be embarrassed. And I remain unconvinced as to the interest and value of what D'Souza has to say.