Sunday, July 25, 2010

Daniel Schorr

In memory, the Cronkite of the evening news and the Cronkite of "You Are There" are indistinguishable. The actor and the newsman served the same Muse, the goddess of spectacle, of history acted by men in costumes, monumentalized leaders and dramatic events fraught with consequences. But all this did was turn the drama into History: events appealed as spectacle, but like large historical paintings, they were museum pieces of no living relevance to us.

Daniel Schorr began in the now, which would trigger the memory of some lived moment that refracted the current instance. He'd strive to render both moments, past and present, more intelligible and present. His recollection, rooted in his direct observations and meditated awareness of contexts, transformed Historical Personages into persons for an audience that included Schorr musing to himself.

Schorr was musical, reflective; Cronkite, theatrical, sensational. Cronkite introduced the Beatles in 1963; Schorr delivered a eulogy on Frank Zappa in 1993.

Cronkite dispensed bulletins of News - the Official Version sanctioned by the ("that's the way it is") State. Schorr evoked events steeped in experiences - the burden of the storyteller.

Cronkite retired from CBS with dignified ceremonial auto-monumentality. Cronkite begat ingrate Rather, weepy witness of news as Melodrama. Schorr, fired by CBS for putting journalistic integrity above corporate interest, may have no worthy professional heirs.

Refusing to name source of leak in 1976

/more maybe on this later -/

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Anonymous Mazarine said...

AFter the vietnam war, the news became all about entertainment.

And unfortunately it's still this way. PerezHilton is living proof.

If the news showed us true integrity, stories of possibility and hope, imagine how much stronger and wiser we would be as a people, how much more willing to take risks.


7/26/2010 1:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Democratic modes of representation suffer greatly from multitudes of seriously wretched examples.

Just speculating here: the USia that Dickens visited and depicts in Chuzzlewit - flying buttresses of bullshit supporting cathedrals of niaserie - has many precedents for news as entertainment.

7/26/2010 10:36 PM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

niaiserie (sp ?) .. what a lovely word, I thought only Quebecois used it. I've run across it in France here and there, but not sure it's commonly used there. Checking with knowledgeable sources.

7/29/2010 1:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

The word's legit - the spelling, alas.

7/29/2010 2:59 PM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

I've used it often when in Montreal, mainly in referring to the volume and frequency with which I utter said niaiseries.

I have, however, sought other words for the same notion when I have been in France. Not sure why, and yes, after checking it's a completely legit word in the French language, not a Quebec-ism.

7/29/2010 4:09 PM  

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