A Conversation With U.S. Assistant Secretary Of State, Chris Hill. || Next A Conversation With Alan Alda About His Book Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself. || Finally A Remembrance Of Herbert...
Daytime, primetime, then late-night talk and variety show. Often there was only one guest (GA Gov. Lester Maddox walked out angrily during one interview). Cavett was intelligent and witty, ... See full summary »
The show that made Siskel and Ebert famous. These two Chicago-based movie critics sit around and review movies, giving either "Thumbs up" or "Thumbs down." Noted for the good-natured ... See full summary »
Charlie Rose and his guest are the only two people in the room during an interview. This includes no cameramen, sound men, or anything of the kind. This is accomplished through robotic cameras. See more »
I've been fortunate to have spent some time living in the South and getting to know southerners, including many in Charlie Rose' home state of North Carolina. The South is a singular region and contributes significantly to the American mosaic. I'm not talking about the `Big South'; Atlanta, Charlotte, etc. but the South of small to mid-sized towns where traces of authentic regionality still remain. Once you get past the almost inescapable, low-grade xenophobia that southerners often exhibit, they can be amazingly good-natured and generous. People everywhere have this capacity, of course, but southerners have a certain, unique way of doing it, a certain style. They also can, if one steps over lines that are often invisible to all except the natives, be quite judgmental and unforgiving. But again, it's all done with that certain style. Because I appreciate southerners, I appreciate Charlie Rose who is nothing if not southern. A product of the granitic Americana that still lives below the Mason-Dixon, and further polished by matriculation at Duke, the Stanford of the East, or Yale of the South, whichever works for you, Charlie Rose has enough suave for an entire ballroom of people and is slicker than snot on a glass doorknob.
This is one reason why his show works so well. Another is that Mr. Rose is a lawyer by training (Duke Law, of course), and he does not interview guests as much as cross-examines them. But he does it with such riveting savoir faire that his guests seldom know what has hit them; no need for anyone to be under oath. We are reminded that it's not what one does so much as how one does it; an understanding that must absolutely be grasped for successful navigation of the bayous of southern society. Rose's interviews of relevant figures in diplomatic and political circles, as well as his timely foci on other critical current affairs are often real public services, more than worthy of our time and attention. In the days following 9/11, there was seldom a better place to be on the tube than the Charlie Show. Mr. Rose has certainly paid his dues and established his well-deserved niche. But why is he such an unabashed Celebrity Hag?
Watching Charlie Rose fawn over someone like, for example, Tom Cruise, actually seeming to care what he thinks, is highly embarrassing. Sure Mr. Cruise is a competent actor. I admire his integrity and lack of obvious vanity in such films as Born On The Fourth Of July. Hell, I didn't even mind him in Legend. But let's keep it real. There's something about getting paid cyclopean amounts of money that tends to bring out the best in many of us. I certainly appreciate film, but if I find myself even slightly concerned about the details of Tom Cruise's thought process, or that of almost any actor, so many of whom are remarkably uninteresting `in person', I'll know that I no longer have a life. I mean, do Julianne Moore or Nicole Kidman, both undeniably luminous, really have anything to tell us, especially now? Tom Hanks? For the entire hour? (If only Charlie and I were both black so I could say, `N****r, please.' ) Sure, Tom's a nice guy, but so am I, despite my lack of millions, and I have had more than a few reasons not to keep the nice going.
We, and Charlie, genuflect to such people because we are becoming a society of actors; unauthentic, psychologically-truncated role players and poseurs. We just don't get paid big bucks for it; the dubious index by which we almost all measure our worth. We want to be someone else but without ever having discovered our true selves. Charlie Rose may not quite understand this, but he definitely knows how to use it. Sorry, Charlie, but when I see a Hollywood mug at the oak table, I'm gone, especially when said mug belongs to the astonishingly successful Michael Crichton, the person whom, I suspect, Charlie himself really wants to be. Crichton, ever gracious, as someone with his cash reserves can be, seems almost embarrassed at times by Charlie's slightly goggled-eyed supplication. You're cool too, C.R. Trust me. We all are, if you know how to see it. But, when the dust settles, I'll keep my Confederate money on you, Charlie, even if Benjamin Netanyahu rather snoidily rejected your offer to bear diplomatic communications to Hosni Mubarak. (Hey, Bibi's on the bench. You're still out there, plus you had to leave something for him to do, right?) You're still ok, even when your impatience at not being allowed to define international policy on the air nearly gets the better of you. Thanks for the many good moments. Keep up the good work.
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