And a 5-time Jeopardy champion
John Podheretz was on C-SPAN's Q&A with Brian Lamb. Here's the transcript. Plenty of interesting bits, so I'll pull this one:
LAMB: What’s it like being married to one of the producers of ”Saturday Night Live?”
PODHORETZ: Well, if you think that that means that you know we sit around laughing all day and coming up with you know wonderful bits of business, that isn’t at all. What’s it like – what it’s like for me is it’s – aside from it being a wonderful marriage and she’s a wonderful woman and it’s a great experience overall, what it’s like for me is that sometimes intellectually-minded people or politically-minded people do you know this thing that everyone talks about now – assortative mating where they marry people who hold the same views that they hold or do what they do, and it ends up causing them to live in a – in an even more restrictive bubble than they might otherwise.
And Ayala, because she works in an industry different from mine, because the problems and opportunities and issues that come up there are entirely different from the ones that I have, I think gives me a sort of – in our own weird New York way, it gives me a broader sense of things. Now, obviously, you know she’s not a you know – I don’t live in New York and she lives in – you know in Iowa and I work here and she works at a Wal-Mart and so I get a real understanding of the – of the general you know spread of issues. This is still the sort of relatively narrow American framework of sort of like – we work, but it helps me because it also reminds me all the time that people that we’re friendly with, people that I know that I’m friendly with who hold views and positions different from mine, that that has nothing to do with what they’re like as people.
That is something that’s very easy to forget when you’re in the political mix. You tend to depersonalize people who disagree with you. You assume that they act out of bad faith, you assume that they – you know that they know that what they think is bad or wrong or – that you think is bad or wrong and that, therefore, you know they’re being malign and not just you know wrong-headed or something like that. And the fact is that you know if you spend time, as we do, with people that I don’t necessarily agree with, you realize, A, that you know that has – that has nothing to do with what they’re like as people, and B, that you know politics and political views don’t – aren’t the dominating issue of people’s lives for the most part.
They live, they work, they – you know they have to pay mortgages and deal with their kids and deal with you know finding a babysitter and you know and making it through the day and making it through the week and deal with family illnesses and deal with the general sort of run of mundane, ordinary life. And for a lot of people to do what I do, they live – they have a weird way of living a little more abstractly than that. You know they live in their heads and they live and they don’t have much contact with people with whom they disagree.
LAMB: Do you and your wife have the same basic political philosophy?
PODHORETZ: No, I think she’s more – she’s more – she’s more liberal than I am. We have the same, I think, moral philosophy, we have the same general you know – a word I don’t like because my professor – my late professor Allan Bloom taught me not to like it, but we have the same values. We have the same value system [...]
Again, I’ll tell you what I learned. What I learned is that you know again, people with whom I had radically different views like the writing staff of ”The West Wing” where I was a consultant for a year, also you know are very nice, very earnest, very interested in ideas or trying to figure out how to use them, and that as is often the case, the main thing that I learned is that for a lot of people who are on the liberal side of the ledger, the ideas views conduct and personal behavior of conservatives with whom they disagree. It’s like we could live on the moon.
You know, they – this is that depersonalization I’m talking about, although in this case, I think it’s more innocence or ignorance than depersonalization. That you know people like that go to the movies and they like a joke and they like to tell a good joke and they like wine the way you like wine or they go through the same problems that you go through and there was always a certain type of wonderment, as I’ve discovered much of my life, that I was someone that let’s say that they felt like they could relate to or understand when, obviously, the things that I believed in were so alien to them, I would say.