My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman: You Know, She Has a Nobel Peace Prize
March 12, 2018 4:17 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

From a Taliban attack to a Nobel Prize to Oxford: Malala Yousafzai walks Dave through her extraordinary journey, her life's mission, and her new home.
posted by DevilsAdvocate (3 comments total)
It seemed that Dave generally knew who she was and did some surface research on her, but really fixated on the attack. Whereas Malala did her utmost to move on from talking about it, and to focus on the activism work she's been doing. She even admitted that she did not remember the attack itself, and I can only imagine that it's no longer painful for her to talk about it because she's just been asked about it so many times.

I did enjoy the question that came up near the end, where Dave asks her father how he felt about his own activism putting his children in danger and how Malala's own activism is risky, and how he approached that risk. I expected her father to shrug and say "Ya just can't stop this girl, you know?" but he was much more deliberate about it.
posted by Liesl at 8:06 AM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I didn't find the "on-site" segments as engaging as those in the previous two episodes. John Lewis is obviously a fascinating and significant figure in his own right, and Clooney's parents along with the young Iraqi refugee they were sponsoring helps inform us of Clooney's own values, but I didn't feel that Dave joining Malala as she gave a tour of Oxford to prospective students added much to the episode. That seemed more in line with one of his corny gags from his late-night shows, and less fitting here. Although, per Liesl, I did enjoy what we saw of his conversation with Malala's father, so maybe more of that and less of the tour would have been better.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:15 AM on March 12, 2018

Malala is very good at staying on message, demurring when the interviews and conversations take a more personal turn. I think Dave's instincts were to try to route around that at times, not to detract from her message, but to try to get a peek behind her (massive, compelling, powerful) public voice and give us a different view into her life. I felt his baiting the girls on the tour was his effort to have "the kids" help get us there, but Malala was all business.

There was some playfulness in the Oxford store at the end, and you can tell he kind of got through when she finally agreed to let him buy her the hoodie. I also felt the "This or That" questions was another attempt to route around to the personal, and you can see her struggle with some of them - she doesn't have a practiced answer and you can see her mental gears grinding when she nervously looked to the audience when she asked "What is Yankee?"

Her quick wit comes to the rescue in the end when she asked "Beard or No Beard" and I think Dave could tell he was able to connect to the young woman behind the powerful story.
posted by jazon at 7:00 AM on March 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

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