Saturday, January 13, 2018

Letterman Does what CNN Can't and Fox Won't

I watched David Letterman's new show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, last night and loved it as kind of a highbrow version of Sarah Silverman's I Love America with far fewer jokes and a format more like Actor's Studio but not as cringeworthy and far less boring somehow.

Its genial tone and Letterman's obvious interest and genuine stake in the conversation are like a welcome respite to the maelstrom of political screaming everywhere. Even when they spoke of Trump, they were respectful and polite. GASP POLITE!!!!?!!?!

I could gush about the show, but what's really interesting to me is this line I saw quoted on CNN when I woke up this morning:

"One of the things that Michelle figured out, in some ways faster than I did, was part of your ability to lead the country doesn't have to do with legislation, doesn't have to do with regulations, it has to do with shaping attitudes, shaping culture, increasing awareness."

This is a really great line that encapsulates what I love about this show (and Barack Obama) and what I hate about what's happened in the media in the last few years.

This is president Obama speaking off the cuff, and it's more measured and thoughtful than anything we've seen come out of prepared speeches from most presidents, least of all our current one. He's humble and manages to maintain a dominant position with a self-deprecating opening. It's almost as if he's willing to say, "forget about who I am for a moment, Jack; I'm begging you to realize how important your role is to our culture."

Today when I rolled over and looked at my phone, the first article was from CNN:

Obama's stern warning for Trump

I mean... a plea maybe. A stern warning? C'mon. I know you guys went to college and know what words mean. I'm not even asking you to take the high road, but this is a little ridiculous. You can't say truth matters and words matter when you're going to use this as your headline for a one-sentence quote in which Trump wasn't even mentioned. If the truth matters, act like it.

Anyway, in a world lacking dignity, decorum, grace, civility, and compassion at the highest levels of governance and entertainment, this new David Letterman format had me sighing in relief that all is not lost.

I'm glad someone like Letterman is throwing himself back into this in a meaningful way.

Here are some links:

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