All right, not exactly crazy, but sometimes you gotta force a rhyme. Today's New York Times has an article about France's new President's first interview with foreign reporters. He impressed the New York Times with his informality, showing some leg and eating sausage:
France’s new head of state arrived in shirtsleeves for the interview Monday in the Élysée Palace’s Salon Napoléon III. He spoke about his anticipated global diplomatic debut at the Group of 8 summit meeting in Germany later this week while simultaneously eating several thin slices of charcuterie.
He shifted repeatedly in a gilded armchair covered in green brocade, casually leaning back and propping up one of his legs from time to time. At one point, he downed a large white pill — without water.
What a guy. But the next two grafs of the Times story describe what I hope will be a new trend among interviewees:
But he drew the line when it came to recording devices. Before the hourlong conversation started, he ordered the seven print reporters — each from a different G-8 country — to turn them off.
“We’ll do ‘off the record’ and then we’ll say what’s ‘on the record,’ okay?” Mr. Sarkozy said while the recorders were still running. “That doesn’t bother you? Excuse me.” He added that seeing so many tape recorders before him, “I take three steps back.”
I'm fond of citing Truman Capote's practice as a magazine writer of not tape recording interviews and relying on his own memory and careful notes for quotes. So I was pleased to continue reading the Times story and see some quotes, indicating the reporter was taking good notes.
“You cannot be the first and strongest in the world and say to the rest of the world on such a subject that, ‘We are not interested in this and we will use technology to solve the problem,’ ” he said, adding, “It is not possible. It is not even in the interest of the United States. I don’t say this in an aggressive way, but because I believe it profoundly.”
The purpose of a bilateral meeting he is scheduled to have with Mr. Bush on Friday is, he said, “to underline my willingness to be an ally of the United States,” but not “a vassal.”
But alors, non. Apparently only the European journalists in the room know how to use low-tech tools like pens and paper:
After the interview, Mr. Sarkozy’s aides agreed to put most of his remarks on the record, but said they had not recorded the interview. The quotations attributed to Mr. Sarkozy were verified with reporters present from the Financial Times and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Save journalism from itself. Teach a reporter shorthand today.