Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sept. 15: Sniglets On Rudeness

By Sylvia Gurinsky

A significant reason for the recent uptick in notables who are rude is simply - and sadly - this: It pays.

Politically extreme radio commentators are paid millions of dollars to spew their venom. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson will keep getting campaign dollars and constituent support. Kanye West and Serena Williams will keep making their millions.

In other words, it seems no one really gets punished anymore for behaving boorishly. That person gets rewarded, instead.

That is the real tragedy.


Speaking of punishment: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has had an organization problem in various ways, has shown another one with the House's disapproval resolution of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and his heckling of President Barack Obama last Wednesday. That resolution should have been issued last Thursday or Friday and not allowed to linger and create yet another political battle on the House floor. Discipline should be swift.


Speaking of punishment, continued: Why is actor Alec Baldwin hosting tomorrow night's "Live From Lincoln Center" concert on PBS? Granted, the network is having trouble finding a permanent host to replace the late, great Beverly Sills. But Baldwin's selection raises the ire of both conservative classical music fans, who disagree with the actor's left-leaning politics, and especially of child advocates, who recall Baldwin's own beyond-rude behavior a couple of years ago during a telephone call to his daughter, Ireland. (His long-standing custody battle with ex-wife Kim Basinger was no excuse.)

Surely PBS can do better. Violinist Itzchak Perlman, who has hosted classical programs before? Ted Koppel? (Hmmm......Ted Koppel and PBS......About time for that partnership to take place.....) Barbara Walters? Sills' buddy Carol Burnett? How about reaching into Canada and finding a newsperson with the hosting and interview skills that the CBC's Patrick Watson showed during the 1980s?

"Live From Lincoln Center" and classical music fans deserve the best.


Finally, what do critics have against Jay Leno?

Leno's new show is pretty much like his "Tonight Show" was - and what's wrong with that? It was on top in the ratings, and will probably get more viewers than he got at 11:30. His monologue is still there, and still funny.

David Letterman is the critics' darling. With his sometimes twisted satire and his excellent interviewing skills, he deserves respect. But Letterman can sometimes be lazy, with repetitious routines and a not-so-rapid response at times to topics in the news.

Neither of them is Johnny Carson. (Who is?)

But good luck to Leno at 10 p.m.

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