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Hard hitting questions for John Green, bestselling author of numerous novels and Vlog Brother here on YouTube.
• More Hal Thompson videos:
• Produced and created by COURTNEY COLLINS:
Hal: Before we start, this man wants to hang a lantern on something?

John: Yeah, I just, I know that I poured some beer on my shirt and I, I just want you to know that I know.

H: Hi, I'm Hal Thompson and I'm an expert.  Today, my guest is famous author and YouTuber, John Green.  

J: Hi, Hal.

H: Thanks for joining me.  

J: It's a real honor to be the second Green brother interviewed by you.  

H: Yeah, you're pretty lucky.

J: Yeah.

H: Thanks for inviting me into your house.

J: I was delighted to find you here.  

H: And now we're doing an interview whether you like it or not.

J: Yeah.

H: Let's start right at the beginning.  

J: Okay.

H: In 2014, Time Magazine said you were one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.

J: Yeah.

H: What number are you currently?

J: I'm number 17,462, according to Time.  They've got a real exhaustive list.  

H: I'm actually pretty influential, though, myself.  I made 200,000 people sick last year.

J: Oh, really?  With--how did that work?

H: Oh, no, wait.  That's influenza.  

J: That's--

H: That wasn't me.  When I was reading the Time article, it also said that you're a "Teen whisperer".  Do you still whisper to teens?

J: No.  No, I never did.

H: I've tried whispering to teens, but I always end up on the wrong kind of lists.

J: Yeah, it's not advisable.

H: I wanted to do a little bit of enjoyable word association.

J: Okay.

H: I'll say a word and you say the first word that comes into your head.

J: Great.

H: The

J: Interview.

H: Fault

J: Earthquake.

H: In.

J: Of.

H: Our.

J: Your.

H: Stars.

J: Saturn.

H: Mustard.

J: Ketchup.

H: Leather foot.

J: Tokyo barnyard.

H: Fluke.

J: (?~1:47)

H: (?~1:50) is a style of pointing.

J: Oh, can you show me?  Oh, so you start out here and then you...I like it.  It really calls attention to what you're trying to call attention to.  

H: It might move you up on the influential counter.

J: Well, I'm gonna claim (?~2:05) as my own.

H: That's fine with me.  I'm very gregarious when it comes to (?~2:09).  Was your book Turtles All The Way Down based off an experience you had with trying to navigate a stairwell full of turtles?

J: No, it was based--no.  It was not.  There are very few turtles in the book.  The turtles are more figurative.

H: I have a lot of goats in my house that often perch on the stairs.

J: I know.  

H: I have goats all the way up.

J: My parents own goats.

H: What's your opinion on goats?

J: Neutral.

H: Is there something that you and I could agree to disagree on?

J: Maybe we could agree to disagree on the topic of goats in the home.

H: I'm not sure where else they would go.

J: I prefer my goats outside.

H: You would kick the goats to the curb?

J: Even maybe past the curb.

H: Your cruelty to goats knows no bounds.

J: I mean, it knows some bounds.

H: I have to keep the goats inside my house, though, in case I need to sacrifice one.

J: Well, and that is important sometimes for sure.

H: A New York Times author described your genre as GreenLit.  

J: Yeah.  Yeah.

H: I read in the Urban Dictionary that GreenLit means somehow who will be shanked in the shower in prison.  Does that mean your writing genre is all about getting shanked in the shower?

J: I mean, I haven't written about that yet, but life is long if you're lucky.  

H: But your genre's about that, but you haven't written about it yet?

J: Even after reading that article, I still didn't really understand what my genre was.

H: Maybe GreenLit means that feeling you get when you worship the green god?

J: That, yeah.  That would make sense.

H: Did you ever find Alaska?

J: Uh, no.  No.  

H: I'm pretty sure that it's up North.

J: Yeah.

H: Next to Canada.

J: You're not the first person to make that joke, believe it or not.  For context, my first novel was called Looking for Alaska but it's about a girl named Alaska and the essential unknowability of other people, especially when you look at them in ways that essentialize them.

H: I wasn't joking.

J: I have been to Alaska.  My dad was a commercial--

H: Trawler?

J: He was actually, yeah.  He was a fisherman and then when I was about 20 years old, I decided that I was gonna follow in his footsteps.  When I went to Alaska to get a job on a salmon boat, I realized that I wasn't tough enough so I got a job scooping ice cream.  

H: Someone told me that Abraham Lincoln is the worst president.  Can you explain?

J: I had a former co-worker who believed that Abraham Lincoln was the worst president.  You know, at the time, we were able to say like, well, that doesn't make any sense and we just put it to the side, but now, people with really stupid hot takes get a lot of attention on the social internet.  There's really never been a better time to believe that Abraham Lincoln is the worst president.

H: I have a hot take.  

J: Yeah?

H: I think Abraham Lincoln was mediocre at best.

J: Mm.  That is a take.

H: Do you wanna know why?

J: Not really, but if I know anything about people who are semi-professional provocateurs, it's that you're going to tell me.

H: It's because his hat was too long.  

J: Yeah, that.  No, that was a big issue.

H: It kinda ruined it for me.

J: Yeah.  I get that.

H: Your book, Paper Towns, was made into a movie?

J: It was.

H: How did that go?

J: Pretty well.  I think it was fun.  It was fun process for me.  Did you see it?

H: I haven't had a chance.

J: Mm, neither did a lot of people.

H: I'm not allowed in the theater.

J: Ohh.  Well, it is available for digital download.

H: Digital download.

J: Do you have a DVD player?  Do you have VHS?  They didn't make it for that.

H: That's why I haven't seen it.

J: That's probably why it could have done better if they'd released it that way.

H: Could you dump it onto a VHS tape for me to watch?

J: You know when you should watch it?  It's in all of the Delta in-flight entertainment systems.  The next time you're on an airplane, you can just watch it on the plane.

H: We'll see how long that lasts.

J: Probably about two hours.

H: Well, sometimes they have to land the plane though, if I ever get on.  They don't usually accept passengers in mid-flight.

J: Kinda like how you came to the house today.

H: I've got some questions from my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

J: Great.

H: Victor T Cypert wants to know, "Should I go big or should I go home?"

J: I would go home.  

H: Stay off the streets.  Evan Boylan says, "What is your current favorite Twitter password?"

J: I actually don't have my Twitter password.  I'm not allowed to log on to my Twitter.  I gave my password to someone and then they changed it and I don't know what the password is.

H: You gave your password to the Feds?

J: I--not to the Feds, I just--directly to the Russians.

H: Oh, you gave it right to the Russians?

J: Yeah.  I figured that was the better strategy.

H: There you go.

J: They seem like nice people.

H: Why did you leave Twitter?  Did it bring tears of rage to your eyes?

J: Yeah, I mean, have you used the service at all?

H: I make a post now and then.

J: I don't know that a unregulated private corporation should be allowed to host all of our civil discourse.

H: They can just do whatever they want.

J: They can, yeah.

H: That's not really right.

J: It doesn't seem right to me.

H: I think we should change our minds and go big.

J: Oh.  Okay.

H: Go after Twitter.  

J: Ostensible genre.

H: Take a shiv to them in the shower.

J: In the shower of the prison.  That might be a little too far for me.  I would prefer just to say that if you're gonna do a bad job of running your service then maybe we won't utilize it.

H: You've got your way, I've got mine.

J: And I admire that.  I appreciate that.  You know my favorite person on Twitter is the founder of Twitter, that guy Jack, you know, who only eats food that he can like, suck through his nose?

H: That he can snort?

J: Yeah, yeah, that's what it's called.

H: You can snort food through your nose?

J: That's the only way Jack gets food, and that's why Twitter is like Twitter.

H: Sean Henry wants to know, "If love is a battlefield, which battlefield is it?"

J: I don't know that love is a battlefield.  

H: You're right.  Love's not a battlefield.  Sean, I don't know why you asked that.

J: I like you, Sean.  You seem like a nice guy.

H: Vanessa Pants says, "How do we avoid the impending apocalypse of our own devices?"

J: I don't know if you're referring to like, your cell phone or the fact that we're going to cause the extinction of our species but either way, I don't really know.

H: I'd say either get a new battery or get a new planet.

J: My favorite recent billionaire thing is the billionaire founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, saying the reason he wants to colonize Mars is because we're not doing a good job with Earth.

H: Does he also snort food through his nose?

J: Presumably.

H: I want to become a billionaire.  I'd better start snorting.  If you could snort food, what kind of food would you snort?

J: I've been asked a lot of questions in my career and I've never been asked that one before.

H: What website's the safest one to use?

J: I liked Yahoo News.  I couldn't make you break character with anything I said except for Yahoo News.  Yeah, now that I can't get on Twitter, I go to Yahoo News like 400 times a day.  I'm responsible for a third of their traffic.  I'm 100% of their under 80 traffic, like under the age of 80 traffic.

H: Well, you get all the information you need off Yahoo News.  

J: I know that ASAP Rocky just got released from Swedish prison.

H: What's ASAP Rocky?  Is that a fable?

J: I'm not--he is a rapper.  Actually, he's responsible for one of my favorite couplets of all time.  Roaches on the floor, roaches on the dresser, everybody had roaches but our roaches don't respect us.  I think it's a good--really good--

H: I don't think that rhymes.

J: Well, you should hear him do it.  

H: I'll go listen to ASAP--

J: There's actually several ASAP rappers but ASAP Rocky's the best one.

H: What are ASAP rappers?

J: ASAP Ferg--

H: ASAP Floop?  I'm ASAP Floop.  Aiden Thomas Berriker VanValkenburg asks, "What is the single most destructive piece of human technology?"  

J: I, yeah, I mean, there's a bunch of really good candidates.  The nuclear weapons are the obvious candidate but I actually think the single most destructive piece of human technology is probably the coal mine.  Probably?  I don't know.  That's a great question.  I'll have to think about it.  What do you think, Hal?

H: I actually have the most destructive piece of technology in my basement.

J: Oh.  

H: It's called the Reality Converter.

J: Okay.

H: It's a very dangerous item in the wrong hands.

J: Yeah?

H: Can convert reality to whatever you want.

J: Wow.

H: Its destructive capabilities are only potential right now, but if anyone were to find it and use it for the wrong things, it could be catastrophic.  

J: Super catastrophic, presumably.

H: I shouldn't have probably have not revealed that I have it.

J: I was gonna say, yeah.

H: I should probably go home right now.  I shouldn't have done--I shouldn't even be here right now.  I should never have come to do this interview.

J: Oh no.

H: This could be the end of the world.

J: Oh, God.

H: Reality might be converting as we speak.

J: Oh God.

H: I'll see you later if we're lucky.  Thanks for the interview, John Green.  

J: Okay.  I guess I'll just stay here in my house.