Adam in his blog yesterday was talking about an interview that I happened to catch earlier this week on Newsnight. I have to say I thought it was April 1st again.
The interview with Paul Dennison ‘the Brains behind Brain Gym’ was a bit strange – he came across as modest but clueless. He totally lacked charisma which is as well as goodness knows where we would be with this if he was convincing. I’m all for an open mind to alternatives but there has to be some boundary and the problem here is that the young kids interviewed seemed almost brain washed with the terminology used by the founder to describe how the process works.
This interview had another side for me though, about Jeremy Paxman’s style. He has always irritated me and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. He does have this annoying habit of repeating the same question time and time again. When it is to politicians who you know are evasive it is almost forgivable. However I think I have finally nailed what else it is. He will find a weakness and just dwell on that – this has the effect of covering up his own depth or lack of knowledge about a particular issue.
Jeremy Paxman in his usual way focused heavily on the processed foods/water question in this ‘brain gym’ interview. I totally agree with this comment about Paxman’s interview style that I saw on another bad science blog. “Just mentioning it once to demonstrate the basic lack of scientific understanding and then moving on to challenge the evidence behind the system itself would have been more enlightening. Made it look to me as though Paxman hadn’t done his homework and was just going for an easy target”.
The result is that you finish up with very shallow interview instead of a probing in depth filtering of the data and facts.
If I was ever to be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman my strategy would be for me to work out what my strongest argument for the topic in question was and to turn the tables by asking him a question about that – and if he didn’t answer because he clearly did not have a direct answer because he hadn’t researched properly – I would pose it again and again and again and again and again – in his own style.
Give me the chance – I’d enjoy it.