“Charm sometimes has a habit of taking its leave of you.”
—Charles Baxter, Believers
What’s your philosophy on being a good host?
JT: If you’re hosting people, you want them to feel like they’re in their own home. I don’t like things to be too formal. I’ve hosted Halloween murder mystery dinners where people had to search through the house for clues. We did one that was Prohibition era-themed. The girls showed up as flappers and the guys showed up in waistcoats and pinstripes. At some point, people will drink enough to be hungry, so you need enough food. I’ve hosted parties where I’ll have an In-and-Out truck show up later on in the evening. You know everyone will be hungry again.
—Justin Timberlake, on being a good host.
Earlier this week, I sold my old TV to a friend. But late last night was the only time I had to take it to her house. Since the TV is light, and she lives in the neighborhood—and D.C. neighborhoods are fairly small—I figured I would walk it over, instead of driving.
As I was getting ready to go, it occurred to me that this would be a terrible idea. Not because I would have been carrying a TV at 10pm down a quiet city street—I actually feel pretty safe doing that. But because I would have been a black dude—in a hoodie, no less!—carrying a nice-looking TV down a quiet city street at 10pm.
More to the point, it’s a street well-patrolled by police officers and I didn’t want to play with the odds of being stopped on the street, thus having to explain where I got the TV from. After all, there was no way for me to quickly prove that the TV (formerly) belonged to me. It’s not as if I had a bill of sale, and telling a cop that it’s “for a friend” is a sure way of spending the next few hours in a holding cell.
Which, you know, I don’t want to do. At all.
In the end, I did what any reasonable person would do: I called my friend, who is white, and asked her if she could come by and then we would walk the TV back to her house together. With a white person at my side, I figured I could avoid trouble.
Now, none of this is to say that the cops wouldn’t have stopped a lone white guy doing the same thing. But that’s not issue. The question is whether a white guy would have even thought about the police as a possible obstacle to completing this transaction?
If we’re being honest, the answer is “Probably not.”
I have no idea what would have happened if I decided to walk a nice TV three blocks down the street. It’s entirely possible that the police would have left me alone. But I couldn’t count on that. Calling my friend, and making a different arrangement, was the only prudent thing to do.
What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.
SAGAL: Let’s say that they are removing the seeds in a non-optimum way.
SAGAL: Could you, Martha Stewart, in that situation which I have described, stop yourself from telling them how to do it better?
SAGAL: You couldn’t do it.
STEWART: It would be hard. It would be hard.
SAGAL: You just don’t have that gear. You can’t just stop and go…
STEWART: No, but it’s fun. And they will love me forever…
STEWART: Because I have solved a problem, a lifelong problem of how to get the (bleep) oh, excuse me.
STEWART: The seeds out of a pomegranate.