Why I’m Now Afraid of 60 Minutes

Over the weekend, I spoke about my book and atheism at a monthly meeting for Chicago Mensa members — Mensa being the society for people with high IQs.

When I arrived, cameras followed me into the meeting room… that was a bit weird, I thought. Why were cameramen there?

I found out that 60 Minutes was doing a segment on the organization and they were filming local group meetings. Since I happened to be speaking that night, they put a mic on me and taped my talk and the Q&A afterwards.

After it was over, I pulled the mic off my shirt and wrapped it up as I spoke to other people who had questions. One of the cameraman came by and asked if he could have his mic back. I handed to him.

Then he stared at me for a second.

“Do you have the clip?”

“What clip?” I asked.

“The clip that the mic was resting inside…”

“Umm… no?”

He started patting me down. That was awkward. So I started patting myself down. No luck. We looked on the floor like the clip was a contact lens. Nothing. I went to the bathroom so I could untuck my shirt and see if it had fallen off somewhere on my person… nope.

Eventually, I had to tell the cameraman I didn’t have his clip.

He looked angry. Very angry.

When I began my talk, I thought it would be disappointing if the footage didn’t air at all. Now that it is over, I’m afraid that if/when this segment airs, they’re going to show some horribly embarrassing footage of me instead as an act of revenge. Damn.

Speaking of 60 Minutes, did you know commentator Andy Rooney is an atheist?

He spoke to Duncan Crary of the Humanist Network News and the piece aired on HNN’s latest podcast (MP3).

It’s a very brief segment that begins at the 1:35 mark.

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  • http://woodpigeon01.wordpress.com Colm

    Did you ever find the clip? :-)

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Bad Hemant, stealing the vital clip from that poor, helpless cameraman sound engineer. Where did you hide it? Who was your accomplice?

  • http://blog.chungyc.org/ Yoo

    Let’s hope he was angry at the prop people instead of you …

  • Kate

    MENSA…and then can’t find a microphone clip. I love it.

  • Wim

    I made a short youtube clip of that HNN interview with Andy Rooney.


  • mikespeir

    Of course Andy Rooney’s an atheist. He’s a surly curmudgeon! Isn’t that typical of all of us them?

  • Larry Huffman

    Damn atheists, always so predispossed to filching valuable equipment and such. Come on, fess up Hemant…you are just a publicity hound and it is now a trophy, resting on your mantel with a picture of your head sticking out of the crowd next to Nick Cage.

  • Larry Huffman

    Wow…I am really enjoying everyones…some of your…use of the strike out feature…enhancement.

  • ubi dubius

    Hey, I was a supply officer long enough to know: if you didn’t sign for the clip, you’re not responsible for the clip. It’s not Hemant’s fault the supply sergeant didn’t complete the paperwork!

  • http://notreallyalice.wordpress.com Alice

    Tonight at 11, the evidence that atheists are thieving lying liars.

  • David D.G.

    Why do people keep giving the name of the group as MENSA? It’s just Mensa, the Latin word for “table” — it’s not an acronym, so there’s no need to put it in all capital letters.

    ~David D.G.

  • Epistaxis

    Why do people keep giving the name of the group as MENSA? It’s just Mensa

    That’s how you can tell who’s not a member.

  • http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/BrianGregoryLopez Brian G. Lopez

    Perhaps it’s not an acronym, but I think it should be; like My Enormous Noggin is Super Awesome.

    Or Midgets Eat Narwhals on Sunday Afternoons.

    McCain Evokes ‘Nam in Speeches Always.

    Macro Evolution Negates Slavery to Allah.

    With a clever acronym and a secret handshake, heck, I’d want to join.

    Any other suggestions?

  • Pamela

    “That’s how you can tell who’s not a member.”
    No. They’ll let you know if they are. Definitely.

    Maybe the guy should have told Hemant that the clip was important if he’s going to get so pissy over it missing? Are they especially expensive or something?

  • Kate

    I was putting EMPHASIS on the group name…you know, like when you EMPHASIZE a word in a sentence.

  • David D.G.

    Kate, I thought that might be the case with your post. It doesn’t explain Hemant’s use of it, though.

    Not that this is really a big deal, of course; I’m not trying to be the grammar police here. (Trust me — when I am, you’ll know it!) I just wanted to let people know that it’s not an acronym.

    ~David D.G.

  • Kate

    Hemant will have to come up with his own reasoning…after all, I’m not a member so I can’t be held accountable. 😉

    Revoke his membership!!!!

  • Dallas

    Ah, Hemant, I think the cameraman was “patting” you down, not “padding” you down. Unless he was trying to cram you into a fat suit.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Why do people keep giving the name of the group as MENSA? It’s just Mensa, the Latin word for “table” — it’s not an acronym, so there’s no need to put it in all capital letters.

    ~David D.G.

    I thought the title was an acronym. I think I’ve always seen the letters capitalized, anyway. My bad. It’s been fixed.

    Ah, Hemant, I think the cameraman was “patting” you down, not “padding” you down. Unless he was trying to cram you into a fat suit.

    Well, now, that’s just embarrassing.


    Gracias :)

  • http://www.flickr.com/cwphotos chion wolf


    Thankfully, the videographer isn’t the producer, i’m sure. No worries. He probably gets that worked up when they put mayo on his hamburgers.

  • Polly

    I thought Mensa was an acronym, too. Obviously, I’m not a member.

    Mentally Enhanced Nuclear Scientist Association

    Many Eager Nerds Sleep Alone

    My Enormous Noodle Satisfies All

    Many Eateries Need Special Additives

    Men Expressing Novel Solutions Abroad

    Muchachos! Energía Nunca Se Acaba

    Muchos Estudiantes Necesitan Sombreros Amarillos

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    No clip for you!

    You will have to let us know when/if this airs.