By a series of unlikely connections, I'm on a list of potential community panelists for Huffington Post Live. Yesterday morning I got a call (from an unknown NYC number; generally I don't pick up unknowns, but I thought it might be from my niece); turns out it was HuffPo asking if I'd like to participate in a panel later that day. A discussion of current events, topics to be determined at the last minute.
Well, I thought, why not. So later that day, around 1 pm local time, I found myself part of a video panel listening in and commenting when asked. First up, high on my list of things I think about, was Kanye West and his statement, hot off the presses, that he doesn't give a fuck what President Obama says. (Obama has twice called him a jackass.) I sat there as the HuffPo entertainment editor was interviewed, offering wisdom about Kanye's psyche, while I barely suppressed the desire to make a well-known hand motion indicating mental masturbation. Eventually I was asked my opinion; is it unusual, the host seemed to be asking, that an entertainer has influence on a president. Influence, I increduled? I think he has zero. I think he's a talented entertainer but I stopped listening to his opinions on anything a long time ago, I added. If he starts talking about how to remove a gallbladder, I might pay attention.
Another topic was the administration's announcement that access to research paid for by taxpayer funds will be freely accessible. Sounds fine to me. A young woman panelist said she thought all internet content should be free, and it's not right that some newspaper sites have a paywall. I said I agreed about taxpayer funded research, but that I didn't think providing high-quality news content for free was a viable business model. Otherwise, I said, you'd just get stuff like my blog, where I shoot off my mouth couple times a day, no charge.
The final topic was about an upcoming PBS show on the Women's Movement, to be aired, I think, tonight. The lady who produced it was interviewed, and was very nice. The host asked me something about whether women could get equal pay in a law firm, or access to med school. To which I replied by saying my grandmother had been the first president of the Oregon League of Women Voters, my aunt had been the first practicing female lawyer in Oregon; so I came from a family in which success for women was assumed. I pointed out that there are more women than men in med school nowadays, and that the place where I got my surgical training recently had a class of surgical interns that was all female. I could have added that the chairman (chairperson) of the department of surgery there is also a woman, but I forgot.
There was another segment about a Craig's List ad for dates to a wedding. At that point I was making faces. I was ready to say my son is getting married next month and I already had a date. But by then, they'd cut me off, I think.