Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Monday, January 24, 2005
I'll be right back....
I wasn't going to comment on the death of Johnny Carson, only because I didn't think I could add to any of the coverage or comments flooding the internet and airwaves. But then I thought, there are 2 things not being mentioned.

First, how many Americans of a certain age, owe their very existence, or at least, had Johnny Carson present in the room, at the moment they were conceived? Or, years later, as he was present at the moment we came of age under similar circumstances? I'm guessing the number runs in the tens of millions over a couple of generations in the thirty years that he was on the air.

The second thought may be an overstatement (something I've never done - trust me), but Johnny Carson was really the first blogger of sorts. Every evening you could tune in, and he would put his own personal twist on whatever was going on at that particular moment in time. Politics, people, animals, humor, local and national news, quirky stories,...whatever everyone seemed to be talking about - he touched on it, and made it his own. In doing so, he brought a lot of obscure, important or humorous issues into the mainstream. He made the sad and serious something approachable, and skewered everyone and everything - with taste. Jon Stewart has commandeered this idea:
[Carson] knew when a bit had bombed so badly that it could only be salvaged by insulting the audience; when it had just missed and could be goosed into working; and when it had killed and could be ridden triumphantly into shore. (The only current host with the speed and agility of Carson in his prime is Jon Stewart, who goes politically where Carson feared to tread.)

...and so have Johnny's successors - Leno, Letterman, Arsenio, etc... But Johnny was the first, classiest, and I think there is no doubt - that he was also the best. The difference between the age of Carson, and today's blogosphere, is that instead of having one - we now have millions to choose from.

It's a good thing.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:06 PM  
4 Editorial Opinions:
  • At January 24, 2005, Blogger Hans "KOTM" said…

    Hey Linda,

    Yes I agree with you totally on Carson... He was the man! He paved the way for all the rest after him.

    I was about 9 or 10 the first time I saw him on the late night and he was a regular part of my television viewing well into my twenties. Now that he's gone I seem to like him and respect a lot more than I ever gave him credit... kinda how I felt about my father after he was killed in a horseback riding accident... not as intense of course.

    Really like your Blog... maybe you could teach me how you organized your link section so nicely.

    Hans Fritz

  • At January 25, 2005, Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said…

    Linda, you make some really good points here. He was an institution of sorts to our parents' generation, and indeed was quite the institution even to our own generation. I don't think any other late-night talk guy has enjoyed the same credit. Certainly not Leno.

    I think Jon Stewart is awesome, by the way. I am sort of a late convert, I just started watching The Daily Show religiously here lately.

  • At January 25, 2005, Blogger Zenchick said…

    I agree...he was one of a kind. But do you really think it's a good thing that you now have so many bloggers to choose from? I think in some ways it takes away the meaning of it. I mean...anyone can do it. *I* do it, for Pete's sake.

  • At January 25, 2005, Blogger Broadsheet said…

    Hans: Nice to see you! Thanks for coming.

    LitBlitz: Gee thanks - blush

    Zenchick: I absolutely think it's great to have all these voices. Democracy in action. Some of them are carzy, sure, but some of them offer unique, interesting, and highly entertaining perspectives. The trick is filtering through the bad to get to the good. But you're right - if *I* can do it - anyone certainly can!

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