T.S. Eliot Wins Nobel Prize; Walter Cronkite, Born This Day, Announces Kennedy Assassination; Carson Spoof
T.S. Eliot took the Hero's Journey Joseph Campbell writes about - and made it. His early poems, like Prufrock and especially The Waste Land, show him in the same place as Dante at the beginning of the Inferno. This early work of Modernism may seem difficult to today's readers, but you have to understand what it must have been like during and after World War I, when all the hopes of the new 20th century, replete with the promises of industrialization, were dashed by the most aggressive organized annihilation of humanity in history. If you were intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful, creative, your attitude toward all this had to be a blanket condemnation of everything that caused it. The thing is, Eliot did something else. He created a new kind of poetry, revolutionary in its day, as well as a new way of evaluating literature. But he also made it past his personal Inferno, as well as the societal one signaled by the Lost Generation, into what Stevie Wonder refers to as Higher Ground. For anyone on that journey, his Four Quartets is indispensable. But how to understand his work, especially now that nearly a century has passed since he presented it to us? We are lucky that we have people like Edward Fox and Eileen Atkins in the clip below, who have made it their business to understand the poems and communicate them through their excellent performances. As for his criticism, check out the avatar presentation of Eliot explaining Modernism to a student who thinks Stephen King's work is literature. And if you want to know more about where Eliot "was coming from," the link to his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech is here.
Eliot's "Preludes" Beautifully Read by Tom O'Bedlam of YouTube Fame
Is Stephen King Literature? Mr. Eliot (The Avatar) Explains
Born this day in 1916, this man was the premiere example of what broadcast journalism should be. In a Gallup Poll conducted during the mid-1970's, 72 percent of the American people trusted him more than the President of the United States or the leaders of both houses of Congress. This was why he became known as the most trusted man in America. Turn on your TV now, and it will soon become blatantly clear - there is no one like him on the broadcast landscape today. Here he is announcing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. If you're short on time, fast forward to 5:00 minutes in, and you will see his professionalism struggling to find balance with his humanity. And for fun, if you have time, don't miss Johnny Carson's hilarious Cronkite spoof immediately afterward.
The year was 1976. Jimmy Carter was running for president. The supersonic Concorde aircraft was making commercial flights; newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was found guilty of bank robbery, and two guys named Steve (Wozniak and Jobs) formed Apple Computers. Meanwhile, the United States Naval Academy inducted its first class with women - and this song, written by Pete Cetera, became the first of many number one hits for a rock group that went on to sell 150 million albums world wide.
Happy Birthday, Ang, born this day in 1954, director of Sense and Sensibility, Brokeback Mountain, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ere is a clip from his achingly beautiful, Oscar-winning film, Life of Pi.
In his 66 years (1942-2008), he gave us so much: Television's ER, a string of novels, and many wonderful films. Here's the opening scene from the first Jurassic Park
Back when late-night talk shows still had class, Johnny Carson, born this day in 1925, was the undisputed king. He hosted the Tonight Show for 31 years. Here he is with Betty White in their 1979 Adam and Eve skit.
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