Sometimes an old friend who you haven’t thought of in years pops up. This morning the clock radio, which was only doing its wake-up job, was within milliseconds of being smashed into scrap metal, when the quick-thinking radio guy said….here’s Dick Van Dyke come to visit. Dick Van Dyke? Is he still around?
I swear when I was a kid I thought he was the funniest man alive. Rob and Laura Petrie put me in stitches every time. Dick won three Emmys in a five year run, and I was steamed when his TV wife, Mary Tyler Moore, busted up the show so that she could explore other roles. Was not her sole purpose in life to entertain me?
“What do you think of today's comedy? How has it changed in 40 years?” asked the quirky host Bob Lonsberry? Well, Dick recalled, he and his TV wife slept in separate beds....that seems prudish. But today he fears that we “offend the world” with our comedy, with its “moral anarchy.” (Sheepandgoats has made this point before, even using the show’s separate beds as supporting evidence!)
As the media would have it, the world’s view of America is shaped by U. S. military policy, Iraq in particular. To be sure, Iraq earns the U.S. a substantial reputation, especially among government, wonk, and policy types. But average individuals, worldwide, aren’t much affected by Iraq. They do have satellite TV, however, and when they watch American programming, can we really expect them to conclude that Americans are anything other than ho’s, tramps, and sadistic perverts? And don’t you think the Middle East avengers point to such programming as “Exhibit A” when they’re pumping the hordes for America-hating? As Dick said, agree with Muslims or not, they are deeply religious people.
Yeah, but…yeah, but…..Americans aren’t like that…we‘re not all sickos, not most of us. Agreed…..but you’d never know it from television.
Thank you, Mr Van Dyke. It is as you say. TV is America’s most visible export and producers offend the world with its raunchy and violent content. Good to hear from you. And forgive me for wondering if you were still kicking! Turns out you are, very much so, cooking up stuff in computer animation, and giving of yourself through the Midnight Mission. How active will I be at 81?