When Kimberly Lansing recently interviewed Daniel Negreanu regarding his recent public brouhaha with Annie Duke over his damaging comments, he said his comments had been off the record. He was in a lengthy conversation with an interviewer he knew pretty well, they had finished formal questioning and they were just casually talking about various topics. Regardless of whether you believe him, find his comments offensive or not, the issue that interested me was off the record vs. on the record.
I am obviously not a politician, celebrity, sport figure, or serious public figure at all, so I don't face these issues of pubic vs. private comments in my daily life. But I've always found it a bit odd where people claim certain things on the record, then state the opposite or different feelings soon after, off the record. It creates this uneasy dichotomy. Are the things we say on the record the only things we will claim responsibility for and things off the record we won't? Doesn't it seem strange then that what is said on the record aren't usually our true feelings? They are things often said for the benefit of others. What is the point of being responsible for something we don't really feel?
There is often a tension between reporter and subject about what to air. The reporter wants the most juicy interesting tidbits that sensationalize the subject. They seek controversy knowing it will draw readers. On the other hand, the subject wants to portray a certain image or viewpoint to accomplish some goal. It is rare that both parties are satisfied with the outcome.
Earlier this year, Dos Equis, as part of their "The Most Interesting Man in the World" series, introduced a new tag line..."The bulk of your life should be off the record." Granted that these tag lines are meant for amusement and entertainment, but do they mean that the majority of our adult lives we shouldn't be accountable for? Isn't that the point of adulthood, to learn to be responsible for all our actions? Certainly I'm not advocating that all our comments or behaviors should be aired for everyone to see. I've learned that the public is too defensive, insecure and judgmental to handle many of our private behaviors, but should the majority of our lives be hidden? What kind of life is it if you have to hide who you are all the time?
Experience has taught me that it is prudent to hold back our more extreme thoughts and feelings. It is a sad necessity. Being in the the public eye brings a spotlight into your life that more regular folk don't face. But they also don't benefit from all the perks of the celebrity either. There is a cost to being a high profile personality and one of those is not being naive, as Daniel likely was, as to what and to whom you share your true feelings.