I Am Audience Member, Hear Me Mumble

By Jamie Jiang ’22

It’s about time that Claremont College students (you) were told what is going on in your own lecture halls, auditoriums, theaters and Aths. Your fearless reporter (me), having braved many a talk and plenty a lecture, returns to her home college with this story of ambition, political intrigue, and casual but well-meaning racism. My credentials? Many. I have sleuthed at Scripps Presents presented, Hampton Room-based, Humanities program-sponsored, STEM department-generated events, any college, any time. And I have found, in every Q&A, the lone individual barraging the speaker with their original, long-winded and terrible questions. 


Those questions have been recorded for you below, my public.



“Thank you so much for coming; your words always have such an impact on me. I said ‘always’ since I also saw you in Aspen five years ago. 


Anyway, thank you for your time.”


Non-fan, eager

“Writer to writer, I just wanted to know. What is your writing?? process???? like?????”



“Hi. I’m a privileged liberal arts college goer, but I too… dislike Donald Trump.”

[pause for applause]


The Switzerland 

“So how does, you know, what’s currently happening with the gov-, with the, uh, whole situation with the president, I mean not just the president but, you know, the administration, how does that change how we should view your work?”


Blithe and benign, but the caucasity is apparent

“You are so articulate.”


Man with large presence

“Your work is absolutely making me think of the short docu-horror film on cowherds in Georgia which won Obscure and Needlessly Selective Award last year, that, obviously, everyone around me must know, and which has a very tenuous but, to me, endlessly interesting connection to what you’ve just said in your talk…”


Ms. Ambitious

“So how did you become a writer? …Oh, no, I think there’s been a misunderstanding. Yeah, if I could just have the mic back one second. I meant, how did you become a famous writer?”


Colorful beanie-wearer

“Your presentation about ethical solutions for medical professionals in countries stricken by disaster should make us all realize that, after all, the only race is the human race. And the oneness of humanity, only the beautiful children understand it, and we as a people need to look with those beautiful, childish eyes, beyond race and color and gender and politics and, if I could just misattribute this quote to Nelson Mandela…”


Student asking question already answered in talk for class credit

[noise of humbly sitting down]


“We now only have time for one more question.”