Interviewer: What quality is most important to you, in a person?
Interviewer: Do you value that above kindness and honesty?
Interviewee: I value absence of it above any other quality in tipping a person off my friend list.
Apart from on Facebook, where Hitler could be my buddy, if he sent through a request.
Interviewer: Hitler is dead.
Interviewee: I realize that. I was using him for illustrative purposes. I don’t suppose he would ask me. And if he did, I don’t suppose I would accept.
Unless I went to school with him and he found me through ‘Friend Finder’ and I didn’t realize he was the Fuhrer and just remembered him in shorts.
But I think we’re straying from the subject here. I didn’t expect this interview to have Nazi overtones.
Interviewer: Indeed. Let’s have a look at the dictionary definition. I’ve got one here.
Interviewee: Have you? You’re a good journalist.
Interviewer: I try.
O.K, it says, ‘an unimpaired or unmarred condition; soundness; an uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic or other values; utter sincerity, honesty and candor; avoidance of deception, expediency, artificiality or shallowness of any kind; the quality or state of being complete or undivided; material, spiritual or aesthetic wholeness; organic unity’
Does any of that resonate with you?
Interviewee: Luckily, yes. It would be embarrassing if I had actually meant something different.
Interviewer: Embarrassing for you, yes.
Interviewee: I like soundness and I particularly dislike expediency. I think I’d like to leave out all the moral code and utter sincerity stuff.
Can you do that with a definition, like you can with religion?
Interviewer: You can’t do that with religion, actually.
Interviewee: Well, telling lies and being consistently two-faced is perfectly acceptable, of course. A criminal with integrity, for example, is a beautiful thing.
Take Robin Hood.
Interviewer: I don’t want him. And he’s a fictional character.
Interviewee: Gosh, you really are quite literal.
Anyway, it’s about having a point of view that’s not too mercurial- that doesn’t constantly adapt in order to prioritise one’s own agenda. A general sort of trustworthiness.
Interviewer: Do you have anything funny to say about it?
Interviewee: No, I don’t. Talking about things like this makes me earnest and quite humourless.
Interviewer: Never mind. This has been vaguely interesting anyway.
Interviewee: Oh, good. Help yourself to a Borders biscuit before you leave.