Friday, December 4, 2009

good god go

I didn't hear all of Obama's speech the other day about his plans for Afghanistan, but I did listen to an interview by BB Kim, with Vietnam veteran Lenny, who was on his way to the hospital, comfortable with, though fearful of, the fact that he might not come out alive.

(press >play and if the player don't work, click on his name to hear BB's interview with Lenny, )

BB flattered me by asking if I'd be interested in being interviewed by her for an uppcoming project she's working on, perhaps for 'Olelo, the stations that broadcast my show Shaka Talk. I was at first shy about it. It's hard for me to talk about myself, expecially at the hands of another person. I've heard about, and in fact had experiences with the press, where they misinterpret a lot of what the subject says, or just misrepresent the subject altogether.

So when I researched BB's previous interviews, I was kinda happy to hear they are just straightforward questions, but with a probing curiosity. Her voice has no underlying tone, there's no agenda in her approach. However, she does have a point of view, and an insight that she reveals by her questions, and even re-asking or re-phrasing her inquiries to get at a deeper meaning. I like how she's almost indelicate, but it sounds like it's because she knows there's more truth beneath the surface. And although BB remains objective, she still relates to her subject and has a rapport that you hear in their willingness to be so forthcoming.

Lenny's story really touched me because of how he has a doomed outlook but wants to help others. He is haunted by, and fears God's judgement of, the atrocities he participated in during his time in Vietnam. The ambient noises during their talk are subtle, and a little ironic. Sirens when Lenny fears death; birds chirping as he tells how miserable his life can be. As heartbreaking as it is, his reverence for Israel Kamakawiwo'ole surprises BB for a second, that she has to laugh.
Lenny lives by a code to help and love others, in spite of his country's betrayal of himself and the others who fell victim to the politics of Vietnam, as well as the bureaucracy and economics of the Veterans' Administration. The interview displays so many moods and life lessons that it takes you on a tumultuous ride. Their talk ends with her question of how Lenny wants to be remembered. Strangely, it's something I relate to, and then it kind of vaguely trails off.
I'm not sure what direction BB Kim will be taking with her new project, and I doubt that I'll have the same impact on her listeners as Lenny or her other subjects. Even if we don't ever get together and talk, interviews are my favourite form of journalism, in print and on video. I'm glad and even inspired to have made contact with BB.

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