Literature festival panellist discreetly Googles ‘hermeneutics’ meaning on phone while nodding head to moderator’s question


(Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction. Learn to take a joke; you’ll live longer.)

Raheem Hassan, a panelist at a talk at the Lahore Literary Festival discreetly looked up the meaning of the word ‘hermeneutics’ while nodding his head towards the moderator’s question which had contained said word.

“Where do the hermeneutics come in,” said Dr Shumaila Faizy. “Or do they come in at all, quite frankly?”

Thankful for a second half of the question, Hassan, an author and columnist, picked up his telephone and quickly typed the word on his browser in a motion that he tried to pass off as fidgeting with his mobile while thinking about the question.

“Well, it’s all about finding a balance,” said fellow panelist Shazia Bhatti, who had employed a safe response since she her phone had run out of charge. “I don’t think we can even come close to understanding the issue at hand if we don’t look at the whole picture. That is how I would answer your question. In fact, that is how I have answered your question. Because I understood it. The issue and the question and the words it contained.”

Though Hassan was thankful he didn’t have to go first, he was upset that he could not play the safe option anymore.

“I think Gramsci’s praxis has already answered this question,” he said, in his response. “I find he has tackled it well. We could also learn from what he had to say on the issue.”

“Yes, the praxis, of course,” said Dr Faizy, while discreetly looking up the meaning of the word on her phone