Three Minute Squiz With… Mary Kissel

Mary Kissel is a journo with The Wall Street Journal. Actually, that’s a bit like saying Cathy Freeman was a runner. Mary’s only on the editorial board of the WSJ, don’t you know. She’s an opinion page contributor and host of ‘Foreign Edition’, a foreign-policy podcast. Before that, Mary worked at Goldman Sachs in New York and London. Mary’s spent a good bit of time in Australia and subscribes to The Squiz to help her stay in touch with what’s happening down under. Please welcome Mary to the Three Minute Squiz.

It’s early afternoon when The Squiz lands in your inbox. Where and how do you Squiz?
I Squiz from WSJ HQ in midtown Manhattan, usually while I’m on my 3rd or 4th coffee.

You reported from Ausralia often when you were the Wall Street Journal’s opinion editor for Asia-Pacific. What do you miss most/least from your time here?
I miss the lovely, brilliant, fun people and the gorgeous landscapes. I don’t miss the pervasive tall poppy syndrome and reflexive socialism in the big cities.

What was the most important cultural learning you took away from your time among us?
Aussie Rules is a kind of foreign religion that I don’t understand.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?

But hang on a minute, according to Wikipedia you are a virtuosa player of the marimba. Is this true, and erm, what is the marimba?
True. Think of a xylophone on steroids, played with four mallets (two in each hand). Now you’ve got it.

If you were to be dumped on a desert island and could only take one album with you, which one would it be?
Taylor Swift’s “1989” (yes, really).

Name four people – living or dead – you’d love to sit down to dinner with.
Emily Hahn. Winston Churchill. Mark Twain. Jesus.

Your favourite writer? Too many to count.
Shirley Hazzard’s magnificent stories should be on more reading lists.

The best piece of advice your mother/father gave you?
“Look around and see what needs to be done.”

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

So, the whole Trump thing. Are you and your family ok?
Splendid! Hillary would’ve been far worse.

You’re a member of the Wall St Journal editorial board (props to you). This is a two-part question: 1. Who have been some of the more interesting visitors to the boardroom table? and 2:What was it like to interview the Dalai Lama?
I can’t divulge the name of the most interesting person I’ve met, it’s classified. Interviewing the Dalai Lama was like meeting the divine. Truly extraordinary.

We usually ask what’s your go-to dinner party recipe in this question, but we know that no self-respecting New Yorker actually cooks. So what’s your favourite restaurant in New York and what’s your favourite dish there?
The Red Cat in Chelsea. It’s all delicious, and don’t miss the Pistachio Semifreddo dessert. Yum.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
That PM Turnbull is a conservative in name only.

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