Remember mad magazine? I used to love that shit when I was a kid. One of my favorite things they did was a cartoon by Al Jaffee called “snappy answers to stupid questions”. This cartoon’s premise was basically: Someone would ask a stupid question and get appropriately zinged back in their grills. For some reason , I had a deja vu moment about that comic strip from some shit I saw on TV. I was flipping channels and for some reason MTv was running endless “America’s next top model” re runs. The second i flip it on, I happen upon Tyra interviewing the wannabe models. The first question she asks is
“Why do you want to be America’s next top model?”
What kinda fucking question is that? You know what kind it is? The kind that creates a bullshit answer like “well, i’ve always felt i’ve had a glow deep inside me that the world needs to see…when i was a baby i was struck by lightning and from then on my momma always said ect ect…” In reality, much like the question “why do you want be the next american idol?”, the real answer is ALWAYS “Well, cause I wanna be rich and famous and shit.” That’s it. Nothing more. There’s no grand scheme behind it beyond that and there never will be. Actually, an alternative answer could be “I wanna be rich and famous and shit…but i don’t wanna put any effort into attaining it so I came on this short bus of a show to speed up the whole process”.
The fact that people even humor the interviewer with an attempt at a “real” answer is pretty funny. But that’s the irony. These kinds of brain dead questions are not only common, but expected on all levels of interviews. From celebrities to trying to get a job.
“So, why do you want to work at Costco?”
These are questions that , no matter what the answer, you’re bullshitting one way or another. It’s like when people talk just to hear their own voices. It borders on cokeheadesque.
I get interviewed on occasion and over the years i’ve become real familiar with stupid questions. One that sticks out is “what are your influences?”.
This is the dead giveaway of a shitty journalist. First off, as a musician, fuck influences. that’s basically asking “who do you bite from?”. Secondly, it’s completely arbitrary. I could say ANYTHING and the interviewer will keep nodding and saying shit like “yeah..totally..uh huh…”. For the record, my main influences are gregory hines feet, sunsets, rare b-sides by Hall & Oats, abortion, wampum, all bassists in death metal bands and rice pudding.
I understand time needs to be filled on tv and paragraphs need to be filled in magazines and on websites. Certain questions have somehow become not only acceptable, but expected. I can usually tell, within one question in an interview, what the next string of questions are gonna be. And when I can’t, that’s a good interviewer.
All I’m saying is just skip that shit. No one will ever care either way. At a young age, we’re taught to always ask questions. Well, you’re not a fucking toddler anymore. Now it’s time to either know some shit , not care enough to ask or just shut the fuck up and figure it out.