Interview Schminterbiew

By Ghazala Khan (Special to The Brutal Times) TOKYO –

The following interview was conducted by Ghazala Khan of The Pakistani Spectator. It recalls a friendlier, more innocent time when staff members of The Brutal Times could casually gather around the fried chicken dispensor in the BT offices at Shimokitazawa Hills. A time when birds chirped, but not too loudly. Before the layoffs and the name-calling. Two weeks ago.

We massed our main writers in phalanx formation for Ms Khan’s Q&A grilling around the fried chicken dispensor, and have gathered their answers together below for your reading pleasure:

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

Style Cradgerock: After writing ‘My Mind is a Battlefield’ I thought I’d shot my wad. I was wrong, I’m still growing. I write um ahh, I usually write in the bath. Um, and that’s where I grow the most, now.

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

Smia Oots: I’d never touched a computer. One day in the school cafe I saw a cute guy. He was uh not exactly what you’d call clean but I kind of swing that way;) I had no idea what to say to him, he was way out of my league. Before I knew what I was saying I uh suddenly blurted, “Hey have you ever heard of hotmail?” That’s how I became a blogger.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?

Smia Oots: I send them email through my hotmail, then check back to see if they’ve replied. Usually it takes a few days, but if you’re persistant it pays off.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?

Daemon Mailer: It’s kind of an old school gadget, but what I uh really think is exciting is the webcam! What most people don’t even realize is that the moment they log on we can see everything they do and read their thoughts. That’s really exciting for me.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

Daemon Mailer: Sure. Once we know what everybody is doing and thinking all of the time we’ll be able to have control over them. Control is power. And uh, knowledge is power, too. Right?

What do you think sets your site apart from others?

Barry Husein: The Brutal Times is online 24 hours a day, you can log on anytime you want. Um, ah,and we’ve got a Craptangle. No, seriously most sites are designed meticulously to install spyware on your computer or sell you something. Plus, they don’t actually have any real content, they’re mostly made up of ads. We haven’t figured out how to do any of that yet. So instead we send uh seasoned underpaid internationally recognized journalists on assignment to tackle stories that the other news organizations are too bloated and lazy to touch.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

Business Jesus: I remember I was 10, and uh my best friend had done something really naughty and they asked me to name names. And I did. Uh, so I think it’s the ability to make the tough call that brings you success. It’s a no-brainer.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

Styles Cradgerock: When I got shot on my birthday.
Let me explain. Uh, people who know me well um, ah, errr, know I like surprises. One year Bjork sent me a cake. I was like, “Bjork?! Who the hell is Bjork?” So anyway, in Germany,where Bjork is from, apparently on your birthday they send you a cake and they put your present inside the cake. So anyway, when I bit into my piece, it went off.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?

Grande Chef Otto: Of course I would go to Paris. This does not even require much thinking. But I am quite interested – what is the popular dishes in Pakistan? Since I have been living in Japan I have had the chance to sleep with many Japanese women, but they are not like the French women. Of course they are very nice, I’m not complaining mind you, I think that we are very lucky you know, to have such a chance, uh, to live in Japan, enjoy a nice drink, and sleep with so many beautiful women, but tell me what is the case in Pakistan.

What is your favorite book and why?

DJ Salinger: “The Catcher in the Rye” by DJ Salinger.
Let me explain, I was djing in this club in Shimokitazawa and this really hot girl came up to me and she was waving something in her hand, and it was this book. And she was like, “Did you read this, or what? And is that why you call yourself DJ Salinger?!”

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

El Toro: Their breath.
Let me explain, when I was 10 I did something really naughty, but I felt really bad about it, and I swore that if the powers that be would just let me get away with it this one time I’d never to anything bad again. But then, uh, um, my best friend took the money and turned me in. I’m still paying for that now. But at least I can say his breath still stinks.

Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?

Barry Hussein: No.

Style Cradgerock: Yes.
Grande Chef Otto: There was a girl; I wrote her a letter.
I really poured my heart out:
Hey you,
Your eyes are like saucers,
My heart is a bowl,
Your big furry eyebrows,
Bore into my soul.

She never replied 🙁

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

Business Jesus: Links are the currency of the Internet Machine. I link to you, you link to me… The difference is, if you read my eBook, within one month you’re going to be living in Shimokitazawa Hills (which in case you don’t know is the most coveted real estate in Tokyo) and you’re going to be using an iPod touch, and talking on YouTube to some girl in Pakistan you’ve never met while Joe Loser is going to be living in his car eating peanut butter sandwiches.

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

Daemon Mailer: Not to repeat what BJ is saying, but links are the currency of the Internet. And not to repeat what Barry was saying, but most sites are designed meticulously to install spyware on your computer or sell you something. Plus, they don’t actually have any real content, they’re mostly made up of ads. We haven’t figured out how to do any of that yet. So instead we send uh seasoned underpaid internationally recognized journalists on assignment to tackle stories that the other news organizations are too bloated and lazy to touch. So, no, people are actually using their free time to suck other people into some bloodsucking scam in their free

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?

Ohashi Jozu: I recently travelled to America and Canada. Canada is a very cold country. My first response was to write bad articles about Canada because I did not like it there. But I censored myself; I think people should censor themselves.

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

Styles Cradgerock: A Japanese collegue of mine, Ohashi Jozu, whom I have never met because he always keeps his cubicle closed, wrote this story that I would’ve killed to have written. He went to America, and this was his first time there, not knowing the culture, and not being able to communicate fluently in American, still came back with a story that snagged last years prestigous MyGoodies blogging award, The OhMyGoodie.

the serge: “Oprah has Big Boobs”, by Ohashi Jozu – I think is our most popular story. As a younger writer that’s the kind of story I’m aiming for when I get up in the morning.

Read it at: Oprah has Big Boobs

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?

Marshall Stack: Although The Brutal Times is based in Tokyo, our bosses are Canadian. Canada is a multicultural society. Pakistani Canadians play a positive role in Canadian society. We think multi-culturalism is good. We are for peace, no joke.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

Daemon Mailer: I see billions of emails a day, Mrs. Emile Franks of 177 Dusty Meadow Rd. is one I keep coming back to. But I don’t know if I’d call her a blogger…

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

Smia Oots: In my opinion the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country is that in a developed country people – who are still developing – are liable to develop in different ways.

the serge: Aren’t they the same? I mean it’s all about who’s doing the developing. David Beckham is from a developed country, and he’s in that documentary, I haven’t seen it myself, but my wife saw it.

Billy (11 year old reader): Obviously the categories themselves are totally made up and it depends where you live and what you read that shapes your opinion of which category you fall into. So America sees itself as developed because it has good toilet paper and well stocked super markets. And other countries – pick any country in the middle east, or many in Asia – are seen as developing. I think it’s all mental masturbation, the only important thing is, if you want to talk about being developed, is that a developed person would be somebody who resists making judgements based on the random circumstances under which they were born and grew up, ie. their religion, politics, and basically their natural impulse toward self preservation.

And under that category I don’t think there is a developed country, yet.

What is the future of blogging?

DJ Salinger: Well obviously the future of blogging is um ah young people are gonna be um not gonna be not gonna wanna be seen with us, with the bloggers.

Style Cradgerock: It’s already happening now. Minx, my daughter, um, she, look! I can’t say to her friends that I’m a blogger. Not if I want them to stay for supper.

Barry Hussein: It’s like the horse and buggy. No one wants to ride them anymore.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

Smia Oots: It’s helped me break down the walls between “self” and “the closet self”.

El Toro: I’m gonna be blogging about that tomorrow on my blog, on, so if you feel like posting a comment under your name or someone else’s please join in the chit chat! (under his breath: “That’s so lame.”)

What are your future plans?

Santa: Well it’s all dependent upon what Rudoph wants to do.

Marshall Stack: I’m going to go next door and talk to my neighbors. I’m not much of a people person. It’s something I’d like to change about myself.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

Styles Cradgerock: Try and get 7 hours of sleep everynight, 8 hours is too much, and I find if I only sleep 6 or 6 1/2 I’m edgy and liable to snap at people when I get into the office.

Smia Oots: I don’t know if you guys had a chance to see Cirque du Soliel yet, but if you haven’t definitely take the time to go and see it. It’s a blast!

Barry Hussein: Pakistan, we wanna party with you! We wanna get down! If you wanna get down with us, link to us, we link back to you, it’s all good.

Grande Chef Otto: I’d like to see more recipes and perhaps you could review one of my restaurants Shh…Kebab, or Pasta la Vista.

Billy: Kids should rise up and take over! Or should they?

{NOTE: Portions of the original Pakistani Spectator interview were revised to make ourselves look smarter – The Brutal Times.}

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