California Gov. Jerry Brown, during an interview at his hotel in Bonn, Germany, on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, speaks about climate change and need to reduce coal consumption. Christopher Cadelago The Sacramento Bee
California Gov. Jerry Brown, during an interview at his hotel in Bonn, Germany, on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, speaks about climate change and need to reduce coal consumption. Christopher Cadelago The Sacramento Bee

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Capitol Alert

‘I hate everything.’ Is Jerry Brown enjoying himself in Europe?

By Christopher Cadelago

ccadelago@sacbee.com

November 13, 2017 07:17 AM

UPDATED November 14, 2017 03:10 PM

BONN, Germany

Nine days into his European trip, Jerry Brown might have been enjoying himself.

The Democratic governor had just wrapped interviews with Japanese and German reporters late Saturday, after holding a climate coalition signing ceremony with Terry McAuliffe, or His Excellency, the honorific used for the governor of Virginia. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer were also at the photo op.

That’s when Brown was asked whether he enjoyed it at the U.N. climate conference.

“No, I hate everything,” he said, allowing the slightest smile. “Why do you ask that silly question?”

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I mean it earnestly, the reporter responded.

Brown asked whether, at age 79, he would be running around Europe if he didn’t enjoy it?

Maybe, his interrogator replied.

“Why, because I’m a masochist?” Brown asked.

Brown said he doesn’t think of it as “joy,” but did for some reason say he was glad the conversation had meandered to the subject. An accurate reflection of his existential position is one that is constantly changing, Brown eventually confessed.

“There are certain things you have to do that aren’t as pleasant as other things you have to do, but if it’s something you want to get accomplished, you will do it, and there will be different levels of joy, from zero to 100 percent,” he said.

Brown wanted to know if there were more intelligent questions to be asked, adding that he had no interest in whether the reporter enjoyed their job. “I’m interested in that you do a good job, or that you are being productive.”

“Joy,” Brown added, fixating on the word. “See, I don’t even conceptualize the world that way ... Some people say, ‘I had a great dinner last night.’ You know that story? Or, ‘Are you having a good time? Did you have a good buying experience?’

“I just don’t even think that way. I like virtually every meal I eat and every drink I take,” Brown said, turning to an aide. “So, I’m having a good time. Right?”

Christopher Cadelago: @ccadelago