Paul Krugman points to a discussion on the prospects of the kind of financial meltdown (pdf) we’ve just had at Jackson Hole in which, most of the economists were in fawning agreement with Saint Alan Greenspan. As Krugman says “Larry Summers, Im sorry to say, comes off particularly badly.”
In another episode at Harvard, Larry Summers, musings on the inadequacies of women were both stupid and arrogant. I have nothing against the kind of issues he raised being raised, but it turned out (at least from the little reading I did at the time he did his thing) that his comments were in addition to being highly inflammatory, pretty half baked. Anyway he paid dearly for his faux pas and left his post.
Anyway, Krugman’s comment reminded me to tell Troppodillians that I was listening to this interview with Summers (mp3) and was simply amazed by one cute little feature of his speaking style. On several occasions the interviewer tries to interrupt him to inject some new question into the conversation or steer him away from some topic when she’s had enough. Now journalists interrupting can be rude and annoying. But this one isn’t particularly bad. And interrupting is a very normal and legitimate way of signalling various things in ‘real time’ between two people in a discussion. Providing it’s not too constant it is not particularly rude and it’s efficient and helpful in steering the communication. Further, in an interview the conversation has elements of a ‘performance’ where there are time limits to get through the material that the interviewer seeks to, so additional licence should be given. Of course if the interruptions are repeated, stupid, rude or whatever, the interviewee has every right to complain and ask to be allowed to finish his answer.
Anyway in the face of probably about four or five such interruptions from a reasonably competent and pleasant interviewer, Summers just kept talking, simply refusing to respond to a word she said until his majesty had got off his chest whatever it was that was on it. Comes of an an aggressive, arrogant prat. Pity. It will make him much worse at his new job than he’d otherwise be.