Meet Your IPC: Elizabeth Duncan

By Shea Andersen

You might expect public radio to be the last place for a television news personality to land. And Elizabeth Duncan might agree with you. But Duncan, the News Director for Boise State Radio, seems right at home in the station’s rabbit warren of desks and recording equipment. She’s determined to pep up the station’s reporting and presentation, and eagerly awaits the planned move to new offices off the main campus.

Duncan, 45 and the newest member of the state board for the Idaho Press Club, has made a few interesting moves herself in the years that she’s been in Idaho. After two years at Channel 6, she took a job in 2004 at the City of Boise’s Public Works Department, eventually winding up as the lead spokeswoman for Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. “I’m glad I did it,” she said, “but I’m so glad I’m here now.”

Rather than pursue a typical Q&A, Duncan agreed to fill out the famous Proust Questionnaire popularized by Vanity Fair magazine. The questionnaire gained notoriety when the French writer began popularizing its use, saying it revealed the “true nature” of those who dare to take it. Below are the questions with Duncan’s answers.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being in love, surrounded by like-minded people, in a vibrant place among high achievers, with access to arts and beautiful scenery. A place where everyone is happy and content with themselves, and generous in spirit. Dead-lifting 150 lbs and being a size 6. So, in other words – I’m close.

2. What is your greatest fear? Living a bland, mediocre life.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being indecisive. No, being sensitive, no, indecisive, no, hyper-sensitive. OK – Indecisive.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cynicism and being proud of ignorance.

5. Which living person do you most admire? My father and … Jimmy Carter.

6. What is your greatest extravagance? High-end skin care products & clothes & having a personal trainer.

7. What is your current state of mind?
Trying to maintain hope and faith.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Modesty.

9. On what occasion do you lie? Same as most people – to avoid hurting someone, or to avoid being embarrassed.

10.   What do you most dislike about your appearance? 10 extra pounds.

11. Which living person do you most despise? I try not to hate or despise anyone … having said that – war profiteers, charlatans and people who stir up hatred and fear.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man? Oh so many – loyalty, self confidence, a tender heart and passion.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Confidence and an unwillingness to conform to absurd notions of what a woman should be like.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “That’s interesting.” “Cool.” “This is important.” “How gauche.”

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My late sister.

16. When and where were you happiest? Living in Australia as a young girl surrounded by my animals, riding my bike through the tropical rainforests, daydreaming about what I would achieve as an adult.

17. Which talent would you most like to have? Playing the cello and doing the Chinese splits; not at the same time.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d have more self discipline – to learn to play the cello and do the splits.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Backpacking by myself through Indonesia …. Being a television anchor for 12 years in large media markets, and any occasion when I made my sister proud.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A virtuoso’s cello … seriously I’m afraid to pick something because if it happens then I’m stuck being that for another lifetime.

21. Where would you most like to live? New York City.

22. What is your most treasured possession? My sister’s ashes.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Living alone in a remote area or not making a difference in anyone’s life.

24. What is your favorite occupation? Anything that involves writing and being creative; anything where being well-read and curious is valued … anything that’s intellectually stimulating and involves being around vibrant people.

25. What is your most marked characteristic? Independence and intelligence (see, I really don’t believe in modesty).

26. What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty, gentle spirits, robust sense of humor, kindness, enthusiasm.

27. Who are your favorite writers? Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, DH Lawrence, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pearl Buck.

28. Who is your hero of fiction? Atticus Finch, Tom Joad, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Odysseus.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Eleanor Roosevelt (high aspiration) Achilles, Baroness Karen Von Blixen.

30. Who are your heroes in real life? People who write good stories – stories that enrich our lives and inspire us. Anyone who works hard at being a loving parent – and understands the enormous responsibility of shaping a young human’s life.

31. What are your favorite names? Penelope, Gladys, Dominique, Babette, Fiona, Maximillian, Thor, Angus.

32. What is it that you most dislike? Vertical blinds, bowling, turquoise, cheap shoes and Mayonnaise.

33. What is your greatest regret? Too many to list – redemption is possible.

34. How would you like to die? Quickly.

35. What is your motto? Never Give Up, Never Give Up.