Friday, May 22, 2015

On David Letterman

I was never a David Letterman fan. At times I found him funny, sardonic, sarcastic, amusing, silly, and/or entertaining, but in the main I was not drawn to his shtick. I watched his Late Night show on NBC on occasion for a number of years in the 1980s but was not drawn to what I would call his physical comedy and his style of humor, which included dropping objects from the NBC building to the sidewalk below. In later years, after he had departed to CBS and was hosting the Late Show, I increasingly did not find him particularly funny. Admittedly, as a result of these experiences, I did not watch him a great deal.

After viewing his concluding broadcast this week, I was curious what others felt about Letterman. Not surprisingly, in the period since he announced his retirement, and especially during the last few weeks, many were giving him high praise, which was quite understandable. I was curious whether there were any other perspectives.

I sought out reviews on the internet to see whether there were varying points of view about him, his style and his performance over the years. I came across a number, three of which I am linking below together with an interview Letterman gave The New York Times in late April of this year. One is very praiseworthy; two are highly critical; and, the last is the Times interview Letterman gave. I am sharing these for any who might be interested, as I was, in what others are saying about David Letterman.

1. The irreplaceable David Letterman.

2. Why David Letterman is among television history’s biggest losers.

3. After losing to Jay Leno, David Letterman’s bitterness cost him his Indiana soul.

4. David Letterman reflects on 33 years in late-night television

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The arbitrariness of death

I've been ruminating the past few days about the arbitrariness or unpredictability of death. While all sorts of people die every day, particular occurrences sometimes stand out for each of us. Two recent deaths struck me because of their apparent accidental nature, not the result of old age, disease or suicide.

One was the death of Bob Simon not long ago. He was an accomplished reporter and commentator, in recent years with 60 Minutes. He was roughly my age, in his early 70's. As I recall, he was being driven in NYC in a chauffeured car, apparently using a limo service he had often used. There was a car crash that took Simon's life, suddenly and unexpectedly. Actions of his own driver may have contributed to Simon's death.

Just the other day, Dave Goldberg, best known to most as husband to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg but also head of SurveyMonkey, died on vacation in Mexico. He was exercising on a treadmill at the vacation resort when he fell and hit his head and died of traumatic brain injury. It appears to have been an accident. He was only 47 years of age.

I haven't tried to draw any "lessons" from these events. I'm more sad than reflective about them. I guess "seize the day" does, however, come to mind.