Talking with Fiammetta about Hannibal & Me

Fiammetta Rocco

Here is an 8-minute podcast of a chat between Fiammetta Rocco, our Books & Arts editor at The Economist, and me, about Hannibal and Me.

We were all over the place in our actual conversation, but our colleague Lucy Rohr did a Herculean job of editing it down to 8 minutes.

Topics covered: Tiger Woods and Eleanor Roosevelt, in particular, plus some Meriwether Lewis and the rest of the gang. 😉

(And if you want an amusing visual of how I tape these interviews with London, go back to this old post.)

6 thoughts on “Talking with Fiammetta about Hannibal & Me

  1. Despite German not being among the six languages that Fiammetta appears to speak, she seemed to say your last name correctly, making her arguably the only one of your interviewers so far to get this right.

    Whenever I’ve heard you speak, I’ve always had the feeling that I’ve heard that voice somewhere before.

    This evening it came to me – Peter Lorre!!!

    • I did not mean to imply that you sound exactly like Peter Lorre, but, from what I’ve heard of your voice, it sounds to my ears a little like his. Nothing wrong in that.

      While Peter Lorre’s film characters were usually creepy, there’s no reason to believe that he, himself, wasn’t a fine and upstanding fellow.

  2. Well, I’ve finished it and, yes, your book will influence my judgment for the remainder of my discriminating life. It is a remarkable and engaging survey of famous lives, the individual sense of destiny and aspects of national and international affairs, both ancient and modern.

    Survival and death are, I venture, more significant in the shaping of our lives than triumph and disaster, success and failure, and for the individual, a fair conscience.

    One question. How would you address these issues to a “schizophrenic”, whom Carl Jung would identify as follows:

    … if you have a friend or a relative whom you have known well and has become insane, you will get a tremendous shock when you are confronted with a fragmentary personality which is completely split up. You can only deal with one fragment at a time; it is like a splinter of glass. [Discussion Three, Tavistock Lectures, 1935 – “Analytical Psychology”, Vintage Books, 1970]

    One small point, I have more sympathy with Cato the bookkeeper than you. Accounting for others’ property is at the root of all honourable and free enterprise. Hence Scipio’s little tantrum in the Senate. It is true that he did not have the benefit of Pacioli’s double-entry system 🙂

    Thank you for this most worthwhile study.

    • Thank you, Richard. Thank you!

      Since you’re forcing me to contemplate the special case of a schizophrenic, I will do that. I’ve never thought about it before, so that may take a while.

      Cato the Elder: It’s less his book-keeping skill than his misanthropy that I use as a foil in that chapter. And, yes, I’m painting him rather starkly to set up my narrative contrast. I mean, comparing Cato the Elder to Jiang Qing?!?! Who would do that? Oh, wait, I would….

    • Now would I force anyone to do anything? 👿 🙂

      There is, of course, a limit to the extent you can compare one person with another, save on a strictly scientific basis.

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