Recently, we had a couple of Program Directors -- the gate keepers of the public radio airwaves -- listen to some episodes of Philosophy Talk and tell us what they liked and didn't like. We won't bore you with the details, but just to give you a feel for what we're up against with these folks, we thought we'd share a few comments they made about Ian Shoales, the sixty-second philosopher.
One PD says the following:
If he was the 60 Second Philosopher, his segment was 2:20. That in and of itself is a problem.
− The 60- Second Philosopher lasted 2.5 minutes ... they lied to me. I thought, 'They said all of that in 60 seconds?'
Still another says:
• 60 – second – A good element, because it introduces another voice, another point of view. ... I also noticed that it was more than a minute.
Do you detect a pattern [of extreme literal-mindedness] here?
Because these folks are the gate-keepers of the airways, they must be possessed with god-like wisdom. So, inspired by the divine word, we went to Merle (aka Ian) and asked him what he thought about the idea of possibly changing the name of the sixty-second philosopher to something, well, more literal. You can read his reponse below the fold.
[By the way, you'll be able to listen to his reponse after we post our most recent episode this coming weekend. We never post the episode on-line until its had a chance to air in all markets that carry us, by the way.]
It has come to my attention that certain listeners to this program have been attending my commentaries with a stopwatch, and certain among them are dissatisfied with my being called "60 second philosopher," since few of these commentaries – well, none of them, actually – clock in at 60 seconds.
Now I cling to my autonomy as a miser does his gold, and yet I acknowledge the possibility of choice in this matter. I am a creature of free will, yes, but I only exist here at the whims of others. If you are not infotained by my fact-based pieces, I am nothing. And if you are distracted before I even begin by a misrepresentation of what you are about hear, well, it could lead to confusion, chaos, the end of the world as we know it. Unemployment.
In my defense, I never believed that "60 second" was intended as an accurate unit measurement. It was offered in the same spirit as "I would walk 500 miles," "1000 yard stare," "20,000 leagues under the sea," "24/7," "60 minute man," and "99 1/2 won't do." In a larger sense, it’s akin to a baker’s dozen, hell’s half acre, ninety leven, twelvety, a scoche, a smidgeon, iota, scintilla, shred, tittle, and whit. Morsel. Crumb. Tidbit. Dollop. Chicken feed. Snippet. Your subatomic philosopher, if you will. Itty bitty. Just tiny.
How much is a jillion? Nobody knows. How big is Google? Nobody knows. 60 second? Again, unknowable, really. Could be ginormous. If you’re waiting for a bus in the rain. Could be itsy bitsy. If you’re taking a shower.
Still, in the interest of compromise, here's my two cents - actually, that would be a dime in today's economy - here are some suggested alternatives. Feel free to send me, your erstwhile 60 second philosopher, your own.
New York Minute philosopher
Double time philosopher
Quick step philosopher
Blue streak philosopher
Brisk philosopher, and finally….
Get on board the philosophy express.
In the interest of accuracy, we could call this particular segment the 2 minutes and 13 second philosopher. Even though I’m not REALLY a philosopher. I just play one on the radio. But let’s not go there. Full disclosure: my real number is seven, but I still gotta look out for number one. As I’ve told you once, if I’ve told you a thousand times - I gotta go.