Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Lost Art of Conversation

Monday evening I had the rare pleasure of engaging in a wide-ranging discussion with a friend who shares with me the craft of journalism and experiences of Europe, Latin America and North America that make us both culturally displaced people. We also share a love of discussing the economic and political fundamentals of our time from a variety of perspectives.

Not since university, back when the dinosaurs roamed, had I done this. He is retired in Central America, where he sacrifices his time to wine, women and song, but we have a remarkably similar professional trajectory and shared memories of the same news wars.

Also, as we both explained to a non-journalist with us, we have in common the reality that journalists can rarely hold an open, wide-ranging conversation about topics in which they become well versed. People who know enough are always peering over our shoulders at cocktail parties, in search of the network connection that will advance them to the next career rung. Reporters are rarely reliable stepping stones.

Thus we found ourselves reconstructing the political and economic history of the last 30 years through the prism of thousands of interviews and fact-chases, throwing in Keynes, Marx, Freud and Dostoevsky as our unnamed sources well into the wee hours of Tuesday ...
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