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Sunday, September 28, 2003

Kept waking in the night ...

thinking about Dorian's song, and that there were grammatically incorrect lines ... and wouldn't you notice?

Reminded me that a few years ago I went through a videotaped interview for the Rosie the Riveter project -- it was an oral history project of the University of California, Berkeley.

For a while the interview went fairly well. Then -- after a while -- I began to feel a resistance building and silences became more frequent. Felt the tears begin to well up behind my eyelids at one point and I asked the interviewer to please stop the cameras.

What was happening was suddenly clear to me. The interviewer was asking questions about the mindset of 20 year-old Betty on subjects about which that young woman was simply unaware. At that age my social conscience had not yet been awakened. That was to come much later. "How did you feel about things like segregation" held no relevance for me, that is, unless I borrowed generously from the much older and wiser woman I'd since become. What an impossible thing to be asked to do. It placed me in direct conflict with myself.

Once we restarted the camera with an understanding that -- if this was to have any authenticity -- I'd have to be allowed to say "I don't know" or "I can't recall" when appropriate. Everyone agreed. Since I knew that others were participating in these interviews, I've since wondered how they handled this?

It was so with "Orange-Magenta." The temptation was to take the lyrics apart and correct the lines that experience tells me are awkward. I won't do that. You'll have to know that -- when I'm speaking from Betty of an earlier time -- you'll simply have to make allowances for her innocence.

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