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February 10th, 2011

A letter perhaps better left unsent

 I have just done a foolish thing. I have told the truth to a television producer.

In the mail came a request for an interview from a television show I have never seen called Ancient Aliens... God only knows what they wanted. But it was one straw too many, and my reply perhaps reflects my testiness and, I confess, taking out on this hapless producer all the frustrations that other TV interviewers have evoked in me.

Thank you for your kind invitation. Unfortunately, given both the pressures on my time and my own personal inclination, I must decline your offer for an interview.

There are a number of issues here... the first and foremost, I will tell you straight up, is that the title of your program evokes in me all the von Daniken works from 40 years ago that I found so offensive to science and so disrespectful to the honor of those engineers among our ancestors whose brilliant work is discounted as the work of others. I have no idea if your show (which I have never seen, being mostly out of the US and not one to watch much television in any event) follows this pattern. I just know that I would be very uncomfortable, myself, doing anything that even smacked of that kind of nonsense.

In addition, you should know that filming at the Observatory at the Vatican is complicated by the fact that it is located within the private gardens of the Pope, and so this requires a lot of permissions and paperwork, and a payment of a significant per-day fee to cover the costs to us of hosting filming.

Finally, know that I despise television. I hate watching it. I hate being filmed for it. I have had nothing but bad experiences in previous television interviews, wasting days of my time to produce at the end two or three minutes of bland boilerplate platitudes.

I apologize for being so blunt. I hope that you will accept my frankness as a respect for your efforts, and evidence of my sincere desire not to be interviewed on this topic.

Sorry I can't be more forthcoming...

Given that I am supposed to be the PR contact for the Observatory, this was doubly foolish on my part. Well, I can only hope that I get fired...



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