I'm glad in some ways that, these days, I tend to half-listen to things. Sure, I don't always hear the detail of what people say, but in other ways, gives good feedback. Two examples this morning:
A couple of hours ago I watched something on the BBC's iPlayer, a programme on the BBC News Channel the other night, Andrew Neil interviewing the two Tory leadership contenders. He interviewed Jeremy Hunt first, who was very unconvincing, and by the time Boris Johnson came on, I was doing other things. So, not watching the images, but listening nevertheless. I became aware that there were many times where both interviewer and interviewee were just talking over each other. I mean, I suppose you could blame one guy as much as the other, but in Johnson's case, the one thing he didn't really do was to promote himself. Rather that aa articulate, crystal-clear vision, a half-hour just of bickering.
I have to say, I don't really feel it is appropriate to get too involved in commenting about the Tory leadership contest, not least because I have never even been a Tory supporter. So, both candidates are pretty unsatisfactory to me, Hunt for what he says and Johnson not just for that, but for how he presents it.
Second, was just watching one of these faith programmes on tv. Half-watching, doing other stuff. It's a faith-based discussion programme. A small panel of people, two presenters plus two guests, discussing one or two topical issues. I have no idea who the guests are, but I'm suddenly aware that one of them, her voice is dominating what should be a four-way conversation. So, without really listening to any of the detail, I'm aware that here is somebody who doesn't necessarily talk sense, but who will browbeat. I'm not even sure what her point of view was.
It's funny, isn't it? Before somebody gets up and says whatever they've got to say, there's first an issue of their credibility. Of course, the true measure of somebody is what they say (and do), but we can't resist forming a kind-of sneak preview with our minds.