Answer The Damn Question!

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Answer The Damn Question!


You've Been Slimed


Almost every time I see or hear a politician in an interview, I can be heard screaming “Answer the damn question!”  Same goes for business leaders, bureaucrats, CEO’s, media ‘personalities’, company spokespersons, and all the other time-wasters and obfuscators who refuse to participate in any variety of ‘plain talking’.


Seems everyone is too scared to just simply speak the truth.  Covering the backside has taken priority over facts and real information.  And I blame most, if not all, of the world’s ills on this apparent inability to just. answer. a. question.


I could rattle off pages of the ills I speak of, but I won’t bore you – you all know what our ills are…  Instead, I’ll cut straight to the chase.  With a solution.  A solution inspired by game shows and reality TV.


Yes.  That’s right.


You want to ‘fix the world’?  Well, here is the recipe:


Take one part Slimed, and one part The Voice, mix, and have it enshrined in the Constitution of every nation on the planet that the results are final and no correspondence will be entered into.


Every night, a 2-hour program is multicast on TV, internets, radios, and on PA systems in town squares the world over.  On this show, a cavalcade of politicos and ‘people of note’ are paraded on stage, and they are confronted by a press gang, who have a hit-list of the twenty most popular questions for each contestant.  Also there are four big chairs, with their backs turned to the stage.  In these chairs are the judges, with big red buzzers.


These judges are ordinary folk, selected as you would select a jury of peers for a court trial.  They have their backs turned and the voices of the contestants are garbled to protect their identities from the judges.  This eliminates bias on the part of the judges.


Judges Sit Here


So the show gets underway.  The questions are fired at the contestants.  All each contestant has to do is answer the questions.  Simple.  Answer a question, you move on to the next.  Answer all your questions – without fluffing about, skirting the issue, or responding with your own question – and you ‘win’.  You walk away a winner.  Yay!


And what do you win?  You get to keep doing what you’re doing.  Simple.  You’ve provided a community service by answering questions that society needed answers to.  Everyone’s a winner.


But, answer a question with a question, or be judged by the judges as lying or dodging the question, and you get buzzed.  Instead of being buzzed for a great performance, the contestants are buzzed for every perceived lie or ‘not-a-straight-answer’.  And there is a three-strike rule.


You Should Have Just Answered The Question


If you get buzzed by the judges three times, you get slimed.  Right there on stage, doused in goop.  Foul-smelling, butt-juice of Satan goop.  And then, after being almost buried alive in the slime of your own making, you are escorted off stage by dudes in biohazard suits and gas-masks, because the stench of the goop is so insanely horrible, and you go off to ‘the chute’.  This is where losers of the game get ejected back into the world.


And then you get your prize for being a struck-out question-dodger or outright liar.  Your prize?  Well, you get de-throned from whatever lofty position you hold in society, you get your assets stripped from you, and you and your family are exiled into a detention camp, where you will spend years fighting the system and begging to be released back into society.  And when you are finally released (if you’ve been good) the only future you can aspire to is one of window-washing or taxi-driving or pipe-cleaning or trash-collection or coal-mining or barnacle-removing, or some other menial task, for at least a decade.


Now tell me that such a program won’t instantly fix just about everything.  Go on, tell me, and back it up with evidence.  Meanwhile, I’m off to a meeting with my local media production firm, followed by my patent attorney, and then putting in a call to the UN.




Wick Burner



- - END - -




NB:  As mentioned at the top, this is an 'old' piece of mine, from 2 or 3 years ago; apologies for the staleness.


Dino Manalis Added Jul 25, 2017 - 8:33am
They should answer questions simply, at first, and then analyze their reasoning with a longer explanation.
George N Romey Added Jul 25, 2017 - 8:36am
Those in charge do not want to answer the question because either they don't have an answer or at least a good one, the answer will make them look selfish and uncaring of others, or the answer will show just how much of a shrill they are.
Leroy Added Jul 25, 2017 - 8:48am
Perhaps the problem is that we can't handle the truth.  On the flip side, every time a politician tells the truth and we react badly, maybe our taxes should be increased.
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 8:59am
Agreed, but the usual method is to pause, stop, deliberate internally, and then vocalise what you have assessed is the desired answer, with no further explanation required.  Next question...
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 9:03am
This is the problem.  'The populace' seems to only want a narrow band of available answers parroted back to them (usually the narrow band is defined and lauded as the appropriate way by the media).  If a 'normal person' was elevated to a position of power, and answered questions in a matter-of-fact way, they would be torn apart by journo-buzzards on live television and any hope of a continued career in the public's service would be utterly dashed.
Mike Haluska Added Jul 25, 2017 - 9:04am
The Clinton's were the ones who propelled this type of communication to new heights.  Is it worse now than 30 years ago?  It depends on what your definition of "is" is!!!
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 9:08am
You make a good point; we can't handle it - see my response to George, above - we're not allowed or adequately armed to deal with truth.  And, as you say, an honest comment from a political aspirant is usually terminal, for them.  Very few get through that minefield uncompromised, and we stay stagnant.  Interesting idea, to punish the fools who allow this corrupted charade to continue...
George N Romey Added Jul 25, 2017 - 9:14am
Wick and Leroy for many of us that is changing.  I've already accepted that I might spend the next ten years fighting poverty because at this point I see the empire in slow implosion.  Some people are waking up.  The others watch the shrills on CNN and MSNBC and actually believe Putin is the boogeyman.  There will always be the totally clueless sheep being gently guided to the slaughter. 
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 9:47am
That's one tough fight you're taking on, but you may be right about the timing of things.  On some levels I hope you are, although that may be messy...
The unfortunate thing for the sheep is that they're actually human beings, but they've been trained to respond like sheep to sheep-level stimulus, by some rather nasty human beings who are more like wolves* pretending to be human beings.
* - no offence intended toward actual wolves from the wilderness
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 10:47am
Thanks.  And, Yes, it should be obvious.  I'm often guilty of stating the obvious - usually out of frustration that something so obvious (whatever that may be) is an issue that remains 'an issue'...  It's exasperating.
And you're right - something I maybe only faintly alluded to here - there is a distinct absence of character in the sad puppets drowning us in their non-answering dribble.  Impeach them all!
George N Romey Added Jul 25, 2017 - 10:54am
Wick there will always be the sheep.  What we need is just for a third of the population to wake up and finally see the system has been purposely pitted against us and that our leaders drink at the altar of the cabal of shadow government.  Again will it happen before total fail, who knows?  But one thing is fore sure is that if we have a total meltdown you and I and many others like Tom won't be standing in front of a closed Cheesecake Factory trying to get a wifi signal to see when they might reopen.  We will be the ones building anew and valued as such.  
There are those on WB that think we just need to change a few things on the margins.  Clueless that they don't see the tornado that is our economy.  People want to think that 2008 was just an odd event and the government and the Fed made our "boo boo" a lot better.  Little do they understand that 2008 was just the chest pains and the real heart attack is coming. 
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 11:07am
George, I think that close to a third are awake or stirring, but many of them are in a state of perpetual denial/surrender and are almost un-movable from that mode (I know more than one who happily state that they are "just playing the game", and see no other way, or 'can't afford' to break out).
I'll be as far from any Cheesecake Factory (or populated area) as I can get, if/when a meltdown occurs...
You're right about 'the GFC' - it was a venting phenomenon, an experiment in wholesale wealth-extraction, and an exercise in getting away with a trillion-dollar heist; all in preparation for a bigger and better repeat event.
George N Romey Added Jul 25, 2017 - 11:22am
Wick remember it was a small minority in our country that wanted to take on the British and fight for Independence.  Given the might of the British empire at the time our forefathers were actually a little nuts.  That's how it starts.  People become more and more dissatisfied and disillusioned by the status quo and those in charge they eventually accept that wholesale change is needed.  In this case Americans need to drop the idea that our government as is will ever solve anything, that our banking and financial system is nothing more than a criminal enterprise and the bulk of our private capitalistic leaders very much do not want widespread prosperity, even if it might doom them in the end.
When you no longer believe in the system you can accept alternatives.  Every time I've suggested alternatives such as public health care, jubilee, the end of the Fed and the creation of a national bank the claws come out.  But they are just the sheep being herded into the pen to be zapped in the ass and carted off for their wool. 
Wick Burner Added Jul 25, 2017 - 11:32am
Amen George.  I neglected to consider the flurry of conversion to the fight that could take place when the tide is rising...
Saint George Added Jul 26, 2017 - 6:19pm
John G would make a perfect contestant on "Slimed", since he hasn't honestly answered any questions at all, especially this oft-repeated one:
"For whom are you shilling?"
(Curious minds want to know.)
Saint George Added Jul 27, 2017 - 3:26am
You certainly are pathetic.
Do you your paymasters know how pathetic and ineffectual you truly are? They must not be paying attention.
Saint George Added Jul 27, 2017 - 3:34am
Me, too. You truly are an impressive bore, Comrade Shillsky.
MillionDollarBonus Added Jul 27, 2017 - 8:50am
In my experience of arguing with conservatives, they never answer the question and always change the topic when confronted with cold, hard, facts. I was arguing with a Trump supporter the other day that Trump's presidency has been a disaster, citing healthcare, the firing of Sean Spicer, Comey, and Flynn, Russian collusion and many more facts, but he literally laughed and said that Trump was fulfilling his promises, which is a total lie! 
It's so exhausting sometimes, arguing with people who have absolutely no interest in the truth :(
Wick Burner Added Jul 27, 2017 - 9:52am
John G,
You said:
"The west is dominated by big corporate interests that are largely owned and/or controlled en masse by the .01%.
Their interests are not the same as, and in pretty much direct opposition to the vast majority of human kind.
They have constructed a vast psychological operation to protect their interests by fooling the public enough to comply.
Telling the truth about pretty much anything they do would be in direct opposition to their interests.
The politicians and the media are there to fool you into thinking you are being informed and you have choices and real political power.
You don't. "
And I cannot disagree with any of that...
Wick Burner Added Jul 27, 2017 - 9:54am
Saint George,
I shall have to observe more of the exchanges between particular commenters here at WB before deciding who is shilling who and for whom they shill.
Wick Burner Added Jul 27, 2017 - 9:58am
Thanks for confirming the reason I no longer argue (generally speaking) with people at the opposite end of the 'spectrum'.
Hearing how utterly blinkered the supporters of certain 'leaders' are can be exhausting in itself, let alone enduring any form of dialogue with them...
Saint George Added Jul 27, 2017 - 4:53pm
In my experience of arguing with conservatives, they never answer the question and always change the topic when confronted with cold, hard, facts.
Cold, hard, facts? You're the guy who posted some nonsense about Joseph Smith being black and you claim you're interested in "cold, hard, facts"?
Talk about "black": you're the pot calling the kettle black.
Maureen Foster Added Jul 27, 2017 - 6:46pm
Was there a specific person this article was directed at?  The politicians and business leaders I admire answer questions honestly.  It just seems lacking to write an article like this without a specific reference to a quote or person.  One thing is for sure, not all people behave in the manner you suggest. 
Wick Burner Added Jul 28, 2017 - 12:46am
I don't know who the politicians and business leaders you admire are - you've provided no specific reference, which seems lacking in a comment like this.  Good for you that those you've chosen for lofty admiration are honest.  The fact that only certain people behave the way I suggested is the only reason it was written, and I'm sure you can see that it was not crafted to be any sort of deep insight into anything specific beyond a casual observation of obfuscation, deferral, and lying; all of which are definitely very common and easily observable, unless one's experience is played out entirely from beneath a rock.
Maureen Foster Added Jul 28, 2017 - 3:01pm
I’m sorry I don’t have as low regard for the leaders of our society to think they’re all obfuscating and/or lying to us.  If this stuff is “very common” and “easily observable” one would think it wouldn’t be so hard to throw in a few examples.  I think I know why you didn’t, if you had, all the others you didn’t name could hold their head high and say “wasn’t me who was lying.”  In effect, you’d be endorsing all those but the few you name.  So to avoid that, you chose to be vague and not identify anyone in particular.  In doing that, I guess you conclude we shouldn’t have CEOs run corporations or politicians to run the government?  So no I don’t think there is any deep insight in this article, on this matter, we agree.  Hence the opening image of someone being slimed.
Wick Burner Added Jul 28, 2017 - 11:04pm
No need to apologise for your deep blind trust of human nature and your highly selective worldview.  It's normal.
You should probably stop trying to guess what I conclude; you wouldn't get it.  And I fear it might disturb that apparently comfortable rock you're living under.
Just so you know; I won't come and tell you how to write.
Dave Volek Added Jul 29, 2017 - 10:44am
Wick Burner et al: I often watch press conferences live. It's amazing how silly some of the questions are. And they are repeated several times, as if the media is trying to get the politician or authority in some kind of trap.
Take a listen to the Komodo Dragon skit to get an idea of what people communicating with the media have to deal with.
The amusement ride incident in the Ohio State Fair was a good example. I saw the live press conference with Governor Kasich. He did a brilliant job of explaining risk, government's role in reducing risk, and people ultimately making a free choice. Subsequent newsclips were the small bits of his speech that were about the investigation he has ordered, as if he were looking to roll a few heads to placate the public.
The media are framing their questions to generate the most controversy. Many of those dealing with the media are trained not to answer questions directly lest they get into some kind of trouble. And admittedly, some are outright liars, but we should not put the two group of communicators in the bag.   
Wick Burner Added Jul 29, 2017 - 4:36pm
Badly-framed questions, obviously designed to trap the respondent, are becoming more common; usually employed by biased media outlets, also by the more 'tabloid' outlets just doing it out of habit.
We can definitely see that we've arrived at that point where anything but a full and frank answer has become the norm; and why, at least partly.
You raise a valid point - that the issue is more complicated and multi-dimensioned than just lies and obfuscation from the respondent.  The three parties to the political/socio-economic discourse (questioner, respondent, audience) all play a role and all have responsibilities to ensure that the discourse continues to have real value and not just become a farce.
I think many of us can agree that, for the most part, the public discourse and media representation of same have gone well past farcical...
Mark Hunter Added Jul 30, 2017 - 5:50am
Doesn't seem stale to me, Wick. While it's certainly true that the media tries harder and harder to trap people rather than ask straight questions, it's also true that politicians have always been very good at avoiding straight answers to begin with.
George N Romey Added Jul 30, 2017 - 9:50am
This is all started with the political consultant (and PAC) movement of the 1980s.  Speak with nuance never really giving a direct answer. This way nothing can come back to haunt the politician.
Wick Burner Added Jul 30, 2017 - 10:07am
Cheers Mark,
Agreed; I think journalists refer to it as a "gotcha" moment, and they all want to claim a scalp or two with that, to benefit their career advancement prospects.  And, avoidance has always been a hallmark of the vote-seekers; it's only really remarkable in that 'we' still tolerate it.
Wick Burner Added Jul 30, 2017 - 10:14am
That's about the time it became a cardinal sin to ever apologise, in almost any sphere of society, as it had become identified as an admittance of guilt (usually in matters of insurance and in civil disputes).  That, and its hasty, if not simultaneous, adoption by political and other corporate sectors, led to a whole slew of applying weasel-words and new methods of framing responses to even the most straightforward question.  Now it's totally normal in daily life, across the board... anyone can try it on to escape responsibility or commitment.
Thomas Napers Added Jul 31, 2017 - 4:42am
If journalists are always looking to claim a scalp or two, can you blame politicians/CEOs for avoiding questions? 
In our society if apologizing is akin to admitting guilt, can you blame politicians/CEOs for never apologizing?
My rhetorical questions are to point out that the target of your ire has changed.  It’s really more about you and I, than the people you identified in your article. 
Wick Burner Added Jul 31, 2017 - 7:09am
Hi Thomas,
I think it's fair to say that politicians ('leaders' generally) have been dodging questions for a lot longer than there has been a 'free press'.
And I *can* blame anyone for not apologising, if that is the appropriate thing to do.  Why should an elevated sense of litigiousness in certain sectors of society excuse anyone from being human and having some degree of personal ethics/a backbone?
I see your point, but disagree that the target has changed; more that the game has changed - the line between politics and press has become far more nebulous (politics eating media? or vice-versa?), and this has become the case exponentially so in recent times (excusing very recent schisms in some arms of media courtesy of attacks from the Drumpf).
George N Romey Added Jul 31, 2017 - 7:47am
It seems as though in the past ten years new terminology like "I misspoke" have come out of Washington DC.  My sense is that the rise of 24/7 cable news began to put politicians much more on the defense. In turn, politicians learned how to finesse difficult subjects of which they had few good answers.  Ask a politician today how does the US restore good paying jobs and you get political speak up all around.
Wick Burner Added Jul 31, 2017 - 9:09am
Correct George, the horse has well-and-truly bolted now; the obfuscation I futilely rail against is the new normal.
Tubularsock Added Jul 31, 2017 - 3:45pm
Wick, Let Tubularsock answer your question for you so you can settle back and rest your weary soul.
It is clear to Tubularsock that your question is why can’t “the damn question be answered” when it is asked.
And the question CAN BE answered. As you know Wick, 9/11 changed everything and this tragic event has left an imprint on all of us so massive because we as Americans are the most giving people in the entire world.
And the question CAN BE answered. But the Democraps are leading our God fearing nation into a give away socialist anti-christian child molesting society. We fear for our children and must do whatever necessary to live in an America where we never were RATHER than where we are now.
And the question CAN BE answered only if the Republican’ts step up and defend the poor poor wealthy from discrimination and pillage. Those roll up your $500-shirt-sleeves-wealthy have given and given and given and all they have gotten for their efforts is the unfair and RUSSIAN inspired and directed wrath of the jobless and working poor!
So you can see for yourself Wick, ahhh .... what was the question?
Tubularsock Added Jul 31, 2017 - 4:19pm
HEY! Hold on. What is all this goop all over Tubularsock?
Did Tubularsock miss your point, Wick?
Wick Burner Added Aug 1, 2017 - 7:38am
Thanks Tubularsock,
I am indeed relieved to have had such an insightful and concise and to-the-damn-point response to whatever my question was!  On all points it appears to be the correct answer, too.
Which makes this all the more awkward...
I'm sorry that my Goop Monkeys got a bit trigger-happy - that was a genuine mistake, in response to the words "$500" and "RUSSIAN" in the same sentence; the monkeys are hyper-sensitive to that for some reason...
Would you like a towel...?
Dr. Rupert Green Added Aug 1, 2017 - 8:22am
Wick. You are outrageous and unfair. After years of subtle conditioning to click "LIKE" instead of writing a sentence, you ask the conditioned to ask a question, something that is best informed by thinking derived from practiced writing.
Wick Burner Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:56am
Dr. Green, I see what you did there.  Completely correct.
Damn that subtle conditioning...

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