Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On to the Other Side

If I was a smart highly-paid, one-sided pundit I'd have plenty to write about concerning:
Health care
Budget Deficits
Economic Stimuli
The need (or lack of need) for more jet fighters
..And plenty of other things. Sadly, I'm not confident I could write anything that couldn't be construed as stupid by future generations who might come across this stuff some day. Here's an example: "No country that has revised its health care system to that of a single (government) payer has ever reversed itself to adopt anything resembling what the US has now." It's true, but might not be forever.

So, let's focus some more on the dear recently departed. Walter Cronkite came from the Great Plains about a hundred years ago to work for one of the wire service news organizations. His career lasted through two massive technological changes - the radio and the TV. He never made any momentous decisions outside of helping run CBS NEWS. He didn't really say anything that will never be forgotten. He didn't get as rich as Trump, or any of the current Lakers or plenty of forgettable rappers. I guess what was memorable about him is that his face looked into the camera and into ours when just a few faces competed. He seemed to be a decent everyman in a self-effacing Midwestern way, and we became used to him. We came to trust him, though it's hard to see how anyone thought they were getting the whole story of the whole world in just a half hour a day minus commercials. We are now pretty far removed from those Big TV Network News days, but Cronkite will be remembered a long time, if, for nothing else, then just being there every night.

Billy Mays died almost a month ago. I truly have no real knowledge of his life, except that he possessed the ability to shout into a camera and make people buy things, sometimes pretty strange little things. He must have had a sense of humor or he wouldn't have done a commercial for ESPN that spoofed all his other commercials. Other than that I just don't know.
I wouldn't have written anything about him at all, except that I'll be darned if I didn't see his bearded mug on TV, yes, in a commercial, just last week! This got me thinking. Some big executive somewhere must have had a phone conversation that went a little like this: "You're telling me WHAT?? Mays is DEAD? We just signed him a month ago - the guy cost us a fortune, but look what he did for OxyKleen! Yeah, we figured he'd give us a real jump start. Now you're telling me he's dead? Who's idea WAS this? No, not dying. I mean getting him in the first place! Mine?? Oh, no. You're not pinning this on ME! Tell you what. Our customers aren't that smart. Why don't we just run his commercials anyway? Yeah. they're already paid for, so how bad could it be? If people call complaining we'll just tell 'em it was Corporate's idea. Right. Play 'em anyway. But you didn't hear this from me, capice?"


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