This Great Society November 2009: Contents
           
This Great Society - Thoughts and Analysis
           
Illustration: Caroline Weaver
           
 Anneli Matheson -
           

“A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.”
                                                                                                         – Truman Capote

             There is almost nothing I enjoy more than good conversation. When honest words are used to communicate personal thoughts, hopes, ideas, and plans, relationships deepen and flourish. But too often I find that the opportunity for rich dialogue is squelched by a monologue. When I find myself trapped in those dreaded moments I cannot help but daydream an intervention.
             My daydream takes the shape of a reality TV show devoted to giving people “conversational makeovers,” with me as the host, coaching the shocked participants (secretly nominated by friends and family, of course) in what will become a life changing experience. My show, called Spare Me the Monologue!, would help train people to connect through meaningful dialogue in the midst of a culture that is rife with the cacophony of monologue.
             Let’s be honest, we have all run into various “types” of monologuers—or been guilty of the monologuing ourselves. For example, you could nominate your friend who is a “droner.” The droner will constantly subject other friends or colleagues to a marathon of their opinions on everything, all the time. Perhaps your co-worker is a “star gazer.” The star gazer is incapable of sustaining meaningful conversation, and gravitates almost exclusively towards the most insipid and banal of topics, such as celebrity dating and break-up news. Or your sister could be a “whiner.” The whiner will incessantly complain about the excruciating minutia in their life, oblivious to your exhausted sympathy. Maybe you are a “tour guide.” The tour guide will only speak in statements, fully convinced that he or she is gifted with encyclopedic knowledge on any subject, and all too eager to enlighten the nearby ignorant. Perhaps your neighbor is the dreaded “divulger.” The divulger breaches appropriate social boundaries by downloading personal information that is too sensitive or intimate for the level of acquaintance, causing uncomfortable situations that typically end in awkward silence.
             The goal of the show would be to give accepted participants' conversational skills a make-over in order to change the droner or tour guide into someone who can dialogue gracefully and with aplomb. The mortified nominee will watch clips of their recorded conversation to discover just how painful it can be to “converse” with them. Ultimately, they would see the error of their monologuing ways and commit to leading a life of dialogue.

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This Great Society November 2009
This Great Society November 2009: Contents
This Great Society November 2009: Contents
Deb Couch: FerihegyDeb Couch Kristin Fryer Kristin Fryer: Falling StarsSarah Gackle Sarah Gackle: AdrianDawn Watkins Dawn Watkins: Interruptions in an EmergencyD. A. Weiss D. A. Weiss: Comrade of Thy Wanderings Part 2 This Great Society November 2009: Contents This Great Society November 2009: Arts This Great Society November 2009: Creative Writing This Great Society November 2009: Thoughts and Analysis This Great Society November 2009: Formalities This Great Society November 2009: Contents This Great Society November 2009: Arts This Great Society November 2009: Creative Writing This Great Society November 2009: Thoughts and Analysis This Great Society November 2009: Formalities