By Mark Memmott
Just how boring was film director Errol Morris when he was interviewed on WHYY's Fresh Air back in August 1988?
That rather odd question has been raised in the past couple days by a funny and fascinating post at Letters of Note. It's about a letter written on Aug. 23, 1988, by Miramax Films chief Harvey Weinstein to Morris that begins with this very blunt statement:
Heard your NPR interview and you were boring. You couldn't have dragged me to see THE THIN BLUE LINE if my life depended on it.
It's time you start being a performer and understand the media.
Later, Weinstein writes that:
If you continue to be boring, I will hire an actor in New York to pretend that he's Errol Morris. If you have any casting suggestions, I'd appreciate that.
The good folks at NPR's Broadcast Library found the interview for us. It lasts about 10 minutes -- though you may not have to listen to it all to decide if Weinstein was being unfair!
By the way, about a week later in August 1988 Morning Edition did a piece about Morris and The Thin Blue Line. Did he do any better? Take a listen:
As for Weinstein's letter: It was harsh, but I've seen and heard much worse over the years from editors I've worked with (you know who you are).
How about you? What's the harshest thing a boss has ever told you (that's printable, of course)?