Monday, March 07, 2005

Oh, Danny Boy: Not worth the time, however, is Ken Auletta's three-hanky farewell to Dan Rather, who creeps off to the CBS's Shady Acres Retirement Home (commonly known as 60 Minutes) this week. It's not online, but that's no great loss. I nearly vomited every time Rather 1) choked up, 2) reminisced about when he was a boy, 3) made some inane comment about the responsibilities of journalists, or 4) did all of the above simultaneously.

The only entertaining part of the article was Dan attempting to impress Auletta by attempting to be "in charge" in the newsroom. It quickly becomes clear that everyone's ignoring or humoring him. Auletta hears one side of a conversation when Dan snaps up a ringing phone in the newsroom with a terse, "CBS News, this is Rather." Pause, for the inevitable Who the hell is this? from the caller. "This is Dan Rather." Pause. "Okay, I'll tell him." Even better, this same farce happens again later.

Auletta's a good writer, but he can't seem to bring together the strings in this story. Rather is an icon of self-parody, so there's no chance of anyone taking his sermonizing, hymn singing, or football-coach quoting terribly seriously. Auletta's profile turns, naturally, into an sad, pointless portrait of a dinosaur.

Coincidental parallel: Hunter Thompson, also once a young lion, also parodied mercilessly by Trudeau, also hanging on for the past twenty years, hoping to bring his "A" game one more time. Alas.

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