January 26, 2005

Death of a Salesman

So Johnny Carson has finally coughed his way off this mortal coil and up onto the big buff-colored soundstage in the sky. Let us pause for a moment, gentle friends, and reflect upon the Great Man’s legacy.

This task might actually prove rather difficult, once one really tries to get into it. Was Carson a great humorist? Only if you’re fond of the wheezy, "baDUMP-bump" style of jokery that might have given your grandparents a few feeble cackles after the evening’s third glass of cheap bourbon. Was he a kind and generous human being, a pleasant companion and a benefactor of the weak and vulnerable? "Colossal, drunken asshole" seems to have been the preferred classificatory term used by everyone who ever actually socialized with the man. Did he permanently transform the landscape of popular culture – was he a Bob Dylan, a Jim Henson, a Steven Spielberg or a Raymond Chandler? On careful reflection, I’d have to say that he was more of a Clifford Suggs. What – you’ve never heard of Clifford Suggs? Well…all right, neither have I.

Here’s one thing Carson did better than anyone before or since, though – he managed to persuade Mr. And Mrs. America that advertising is really entertainment! Consider the format of The Tonight Show. Guest arrives. If guest is male, guest makes a few feeble, formless wisecracks; if guest is female, guest tosses hair and gives the camera a flash of barely concealed tit. Guest then proceeds to shill for some ghastly movie, book, pop record or (sweet mother Mary, help us) speaking tour for about ten minutes. Then we pause for…what?…surely not…a commercial?

My suggestion for a mourning ritual, then, is this: everyone who feels the need to grieve should set aside an entire day to do nothing but watch pre-recorded infomercials. In slow motion. Without the aid of alcohol or human companionship. Until well after their normal bedtimes.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked watching The Tonight Show because I thought Carson was funny. End of story.

12:34 PM, January 27, 2005  
Blogger LordGoon said...

Really? Did he make you hippy-happy, my tiny-minded consumer friend? Did he warm your withered little heart as you crouched in your "living" room with your face bathed in the Teevee's frosty blue light?

Well, maybe that really is the end of the story, then. But might I suggest that you consider taking up a marginally more wholesome pastime, now that Mr. Carson isn't around any more to keep you stocked up on Soma. How about self-immolation?

2:34 PM, January 27, 2005  

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