Michael Barbaro Granted First Trademark for an Interjection: “HUM!”


How interesting was Michael Barbaro’s podcast today?

Would he deploy his now-trademarked catch-interjection?

First, he had to ask a question.

“That’s a really interesting question,” responded his guest on queue, followed by measured background from a slightly left-leaning perspective but also acknowledging the truths of the right, as related tangentially to some batshit crazy thing that Trump had tweeted the day before.

“HUM!!” Pleasingly, Michael Barbaro looks like a cartoon version of just what you were imagining.

Then Michael Barbaro delivered his delightful refrain: “HUM!” Both the H and the M were not just pronounced but emphasized and distended, suggesting that it really had been an interesting question, and that the answer merited much, much more than a normal English speaker’s consonant-free grunt or exhalation of acknowledgement.

Barbaro, who learned to speak long after learning to read, has researched human conversational interjections, and in his free time once, years ago, even rang up a top linguist. “Thanks for taking my call so late,” Barbaro then said, tracing the plaid pattern on his pajamas with his pinky finger. “I’m just fascinated to find out how humans interject to show that they are listening to the answers of their own really great questions, and also, how do they do so without blowing out their microphones?”

At the end of today’s recording session, Barbaro finished off with a melodical “Here’s what else you need to know today,” and a quick rundown of more outrageous horseshit in the day’s headlines from America, plus one thing that non-Americans are up to.

Then Barbaro listened back to the audio with his  producer. “We just need to add a bit more at the top with me punching in phone numbers and talking to receptionists,” Barbaro said. “Get me the indirect line for our guest expert, and also let’s have me do another take of my human crying at the denouement of the interview.”

Meanwhile, the world’s largest cache of weapons of mass destruction was still under the exclusive control of America’s president manqué, who was preparing another tweet.

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