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I agree almost totally with you, Wlady, about Johnny Carson. What he accomplished and showed all of America was who he was, a child from another generation far removed from what’s presently going on — rap anti-music, Paris Hilton, Michael Moore, etc.
I think the key statistics that define him are when and where he was born, and where he grew up. As a child of the depression who came of age at the age of 18, say, in 1943, his service in the Navy during WW II made a lot of difference in his life.
Where that mostly mattered, to him — and the majority of his cohort — will be largely avoided, except by similar comments as you made, about his smoking. Don’t get me wrong. Whoever wants to suck in tobacco (of any other) smoke is fine by me, as long as it’s done in private. However, with parents and other relatives from a generation about ten years older than Carson, who almost all smoked their whole lives, I do have to say that such a choice resulted in a horrible end of life for most of them.
Good old Uncle Charlie, a wonderful man, went through a long painful time with most of his lungs non-functional, having chosen to experience emphysema because of a lifetime of smoking. It was horrible, for him, and for me, when I spent some time with him, near the end. Dear old dad had his larynx removed and ended up “talking” out of a slit in his throat, and dying from a baseball-sized tumor on his neck.
So, for me, as I watched various TV programs, yesterday, and couldn’t avoid all the Carson-ending manias, there was even a process in consciousness worthy of note. At first, like all people these days, my first reaction was self-defensive, a neutral “So what, everybody dies” attitude. Next, I wanted to know how old he was. Then, I allowed myself to observe some of the replays of him and the praise from other oldsters who knew and loved him. Finally, after all that, some station wrote that he died of emphysema, and all of a sudden, there was poor suffering Uncle Charlie — and all the rest of the things “Carson” didn’t matter.
Maybe the key aspect of Carson was his private-public manner of living. In any case, for me I suffered, in congruence with him, as it became obvious that his last years must have been a seemingly interminable 24/7 time of suffering — in PRIVATE. You can bet the painful constriction of his chest, and who knows what other bodily diseases he suffered due to smoking, were certain to shake him out of any “strong-ego” thoughts, because he had become famous. In short, as he shuffled of his most recent bodily coil, my guess is that, at the deepest level, he regretted having chosen such a filthy killing habit, of smoking cigarettes. It reminds me of all the brouhaha concerning asbestos.p>Every inhalation of cigarette smoke is equivalent to taking a tiny knife and cutting part of the lungs. Over time, he died of countless such cuts. Finally, Walter Wriston died last week, at the age of 85. I read his wonderful book, Twilight of the Sovereigns (highly recommended!), and it was either in that book, or somewhere else, that he wrote about his attitude toward smoking. He himself had been in the service in WW II, just like Carson, and I think he was as “normal” as the next guy, then, by regularly lighting up. However, later, when he moved up the corporate ladder, he managed to quit. This led to one of his “filters” — pun intended — when it came to promotions. Anyone who was too weak or too stupid to stop smoking was ineligible for one. Walter’s thought was that such a person was unqualified for higher positions, since their judgment was, ipso facto, as stained as the yellow teeth they should have — despite dental cover-ups! br> — James Crystal /p> p> OVER A PORK BARRELL
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online