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Wherein I Learn I Am Not A Person of Interest: Hyperbolic Tendencies [BEST OF FaN]

This article was meaningful to me because it reminded me of just how unpredictable life can be, that sometimes, we can all be a real asshole and that every once in a while, the bad girl/guy gets what s/he deseves!

Originally published 04/05/11

Several months ago, I decided to make a day job change, and began the usual process – talk to people I knew, investigate companies that interest me, begin sending in my resume. Interviews happened and several weeks ago I started the new job. Mission accomplished.

Then last Friday I received an email from a studio Vice President for a development job I’d sent my resume to seven weeks earlier, but had never heard back (not unheard of). The email had a trail of a half dozen responses between the VP Monica and her assistant Peter, all about potential candidates for the job. Attached to the email was my (and three other’s) resume.

Obviously, the email was supposed to go to Peter but Monica had sent it to me and the three other souls who thought we wanted to work for her:


I googled and facebooked these. WTF?! None of them are people of interest. NONE.

Get it together and send me some resumes of people I might actually want to work with and look at every day.


Sadly, this is normal behind-closed-doors talk, not just in the entertainment industry, but a hefty majority of corporate America. And more and more people are using Facebook and Twitter when it comes to making decisions like these.

Let me first say that I love social media. Love. It. I adore sharing bits and pieces of my life with my family on Facebook, none of whom lives closer than 500 miles. I relish thoughts and ideas from people I admire like Sam Harris, Roseanne Cash, or Aaron Cohen via Twitter. That people are now connected by technology in ways that facilitates entire governments changing is nothing short of inspiring.

The downside of social media and technology is that our prejudices now have immediate and unlimited access to information that supports them. Paradoxically, it may be even easier to stay ignorant today than it was fifty years ago.

Monica made a decision based on what she “learned” from my public profiles. What was it that made her so confident I wouldn’t “fit” into her department. My brown hair? Unwieldy eyebrows? That I think god is a nice story, or don’t like asparagus? Or maybe it was because I’m from Pittsburgh or lived in Texas at some point?

Whatever it was, I can guarantee one thing – if she’d spoken with me, while perhaps not hiring me, at the very least her simple, surface perceptions would have had a vastly different context.

And context is the seed of change. How we shed ideas that are no longer useful. Whether it’s the idea that the world is flat, women have a lesser intellectual capacity, or that disease is caused by divine retribution. And that’s the definition of evolution – which is the point of it all.

As humans, we naturally gravitate towards those most like us. Ultimately, it’s why the civil rights movement was necessary to begin with. But what’s never going to change is that prejudices and preconceptions are abolished only through experience, which gives us a broader context. The trick is gaining that experience earlier in life.

In a world where technology ensures an unlimited supply of information, a snarky response too often passes for profundity, the challenge of taking the time to understand something beyond its appearance – whether it’s how larger pieces of something fit together or another person – is becoming more and more challenging.

And it’s a challenge that’s more important than just about anything else we face.

So after some deliberation, I hit ‘reply’ to Monica’s email, cc’d her assistant Peter, and sent my response:


Great to finally hear back from you, though I’m disappointed we didn’t get the chance to actually speak about the job. I do hope that whomever you hired provides the requisite visual appeal and personality your department requires.

Peter, consider a new job. Life’s too fucking short.


Robert Ripley

Obviously, my own evolution isn’t complete. But I’m aware of the flaws. Deeply aware. And I’m working to address them, confident I’ll one day overcome my own petty prejudices.

Because dammit, I am, indeed, a person of interest.

Tackling your prejudices seem too daunting a task? Instead, why not read a copy of Hell House: The Awakening. It’s guaranteed escapism as its finest! That’s not enough fodder for procrastination? Then follow me and my hyperbolic tendencies on Twitter.

featured image credit: scribbletaylor