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Journalism 101: Keep clothes on

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As a journalist, I have a personal checklist of professional etiquette when interviewing a subject. However, after watching George Clooney’s press conference for The Men Who Stare at Goats at the Venice Film Festival yesterday, I realized my guidelines were incomplete. I’d never thought to include, “Keep clothes on.”

Clooney behaved as if this type of behavior was not altogether foreign to him. Hey, he’s George Clooney! But I was more amused by the response in the room. A man strips himself naked in public, and the authorities respond by…taking away his microphone. Next question? You, sir, in the back.

The room behaved as calmly as if the man’s cell phone had merely rung at an inopportune time. Can you imagine if this press conference had taken place in America? Would the naked man have been Tasered and escorted from the building by his short-hairs? Or would Clooney’s David Niven-esque unflappability diffuse any awkward situation?