Meet Mr Inquisitor [Redux]

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Meet Mr Inquisitor [Redux]

Hello and welcome to this week's Meet Mr Inquisitor [Redux]. Apparently, as the most prolific Mr I, I'm now entitled to drop the Redux. To be honest, I like the bad sequel tag, but it would mean I would have to write slightly less. If anyone has an opinion, let me know. Anyway, here's broelan.

Greetings, Broelan, and welcome to the Inquisition. In your application email, you suggested that Researchers could nominate people to be interviewed. I suppose the logical question to ask you is who would you like to see at the mercy of the h2g2 Inquisition?

Ooh, Derek, I suppose, as the freshman team member. The Eds used to be so touchy-feely and these days it seems we hardly know them. They just pop up occasionally from the ether with slanty names.

From members of the Community at large? Pinniped or Matt. Gosho. They all have a way with words that would make for entertaining interviews, I think. Different ways, of course. They don't all have the same way. Hypatia would be an obvious
choice since she's the president, not to mention a really nice person and a Midwesterner to boot.

I'm sure one of them may receive an Inquisitorial email at some point.... Looking at today's (6/4/07) Front Page, I'm confronted by your University Project on Route 66. Can you explain, for the benefit of our readers who have never been near 2,000 miles of tarmac, why that highway occupies such a significant place in the American psyche?

Well, it isn't just 2,000 miles of road, it's the people and the places on the road that make it what it is. It represents a part of America that a lot of people think has been lost. It captures a more romantic time in motoring history; everything about it was more colourful than what passes for 'Americana' today. And it survives. It's been re-routed, bypassed, cut up, cut off — and the people, the characters that populate the road won't let go. It has great spirit and a great nostalgic attraction... and a really catchy theme song.

When I was growing up, most of our family holidays were driving trips. We loaded up the car, got on the interstate and drove to our destination at 70+ miles an hour so we could hurry up and enjoy ourselves. Probably the best way to sum up
the significance of 66 is from the film Cars. '[People] didn't drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.'

Sounds like the American equivalent of a weekend in Blackpool, only pleasant. In the song 'News Of The World' by The Jam, Paul Weller warns us all that papers contain points of view, and reminds us to remember their views are not the gospel truth. However, my flatmate qualifies most statements with the words 'The [Insert Tabloid] says...' Who do you side with?

Both, to a certain degree. I wouldn't go so far to say that others' views aren't the truth, but they usually only represent a portion of the truth. It's important to gather all the information you can from different sources in order
to come to your own conclusions.

Good advice. It's become quite fashionable in certain circles (ie the ones I end up travelling in) to blame all of the world's problems on 'the Americans' or 'America'. Is it all your fault, or is that just a completely ludicrous claim to level at 200 million people and indicative of the worst kind of generalisation?

Wow, all of the world's problems? That's a pretty tall order!

Certainly America isn't blameless. I wouldn't say we're responsible for the broad spectrum of the world's social ailments. Our government isn't always terribly good at responding to those ailments.

But then, slightly less than half of us voted for the ones making those decisions. So, please don't hold it against all of us.

I'm sure most people don't. With artificial insemination commonplace, and the sperm banks full, is the male gender just a self-opening jar away from becoming obsolete?

Not until they invent the self-changing lightbulb. And the self-fixing dishwasher. And the self-mowing lawn.

Oh, and trash that takes itself out.

So it appears we're safe for the time being. Is it possible that the part of the American Constitution ensuring the right to bear arms could be a comical misunderstanding that should allow all Americans to own a pair of ursine appendages as opposed to shotguns?

You mean, that isn't a guarantee of our right to wear sleeveless shirts in the summer?

Of course, with the advancements in medical technology and our propensity to spend money we don't have on procedures we don't need, I'm sure the right to bear arms can only be in our too-near future.

On a personal level, however, I'm a supporter of the right to arm bears. Fair's fair.

I'd just like to let our readers know, the above question was asked before the events at Virginia Tech and this is in no way supposed to be a serious debate on gun control. As demonstrated by this question. If it had come down to bare-knuckle boxing for the fate of the world, would Mikhail Gorbachev have been able to reverse the events of 1989-91 by beating seven shades out of Ronald Reagan?

What, Ronnie? A real, live, old-fashioned Hollywood cowboy? Gorby wouldn't have had a chance.

Well, some would have said Gorby just to ask, 'What if?' 'What if...?' has been identified as one of the most important questions a person can ask. Can you think of any better ones?

At least equally important would be 'Why not?'

Well, why not move on to the penultimate question then? The last entry of the Little Book of Calm1 advises us all that to enjoy life, we should just be nice. Do you think that’d work, or would cynics fail to embrace niceness and things would carry on being mad and stressful?

I don't think just being nice would make a noticeable difference. In order for it to really work we'd have to be nice and forgiving, willing to let go of grudges and not take offense at slights that are ultimately meaningless.

The cynics, of course, would never go for it. Neither would the psychopaths.

And, for the sake of completeness:

Zombies — bad

Sci-fi — good

walls — useful (especially for holding ceilings up when it rains.)

Walls useful. You heard it first here, folks. Well, all that remains is for me to ask our last question. What's the most important thing you've learnt through being a member of h2g2?

Well, I've learned several important things...

I've learned that despite my mother's best efforts to convince me otherwise, the internet is not a vast wasteland of stalkers and pædophiles waiting for me to admit that I'm an eleven-year-old girl willing to meet you at the corner coffee shop at 3am.

I've learned that no matter how much time, effort and work I put into any particular entry that I write, no matter how meticulously researched and presented, it will take the average Peer Reviewer less than 10 minutes to find something wrong with it.

Many moons ago Mark Moxon said that h2g2 is basically a community of writers, and up to that point, while I had frequently dabbled with pen and paper, I'd never really thought of myself as a writer. I still don't think of myself as
much of a writer, but I've learned that I really like putting something out there for others to read, and I like feedback. I've learned to take criticism in the light it is intended, and to push myself to try harder and do better.

I've learned that I can, if I want to, be a writer.

And if Broelan can be a writer, you can write to MrInquisitorRedux(AT)homtail(DOT)co(DOT)uk. Until next time, I've been a recently finished University Mr Inquisitor. Anyone want to give me a job?

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1You can tell this is being written at my girlfriend's place; my flat usually inspires me to ask questions about zombies, sci-fi or walls.

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