Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What I Learned Yesterday on Television: Peter Jennings was a Fine Looking Man

This is the inauguration of what I hope will be a daily (or near daily) post on Postcards from the Vast Wasteland. I am calling it "What I Learned Yesterday on Television" or WILY TV for short.

As any of you who know me can attest, I try to be somewhat reflective about what I spend my time doing. I don't always spend my time on the highest or most noble pursuits, but I try to be thoughtful about what I'm doing or what I've experienced. Certainly, my TV watching should be no different. Therefore, I want to share with you, my noble reader(s), my thoughts about my daily TV-watching habit. I hope it to be sometimes insightful, sometimes challenging, and (with any luck) most of the time entertaining and a little humorous.

So, here goes . . .

WILY TV 8/8/05:

Sadly, Peter Jennings died of cancer on Sunday. What follows is not intended to make light of the loss his family, friends, and colleagues have suffered.

What an odd year (speaking in the 12-month, rather than calendar sense) to have the three major networks' nightly news anchors all pass the microphone at the same time.

Wasteland Spouse has always had a bit of a chip on the shoulder when it comes to Mr. Jennings. Despite Wasteland Spouse's normally non-jingoistic nature, the fact that Jennings was Canadian, yet reporting US news (if there even is such a thing in this global society), rubbed Wasteland Spouse the wrong way. More of a problem, though, was the fact that Jennings was a high school drop out. Collecting news information from a dropout anchor was simply untenable. (BTW, Wasteland Spouse was appropriately grieved by Jennings passing; there was no pathological hostility buried in the shoulder chip.)

At any rate, it turns out that jingoism and educational snobbery were not the only obstacles Peter Jennings had to overcome during his illustrious career. Apparently, he was so good looking that, early in his career, his colleagues often refused to take him seriously. (Thus, it should not surprise anyone to learn that Jennings was a regular Casanova. Ted Koppel barely hid his smirk -- and, perhaps, his envy and awe -- as he commented on this fact and Jennings' four marriages.) As Wasteland Spouse and I watched Nightline last night, I nearly choked on the number of times "leading man looks" and "Holllywood good looks" were thrown out there in reference to Jennings.

So, I decided to give it some thought. I even took the time to look at some pictures. As it turns out, I learned that Peter Jennings was one fine looking man.

Postscript: I suppose it's also a matter of perspective. I mean, I don't know much about [ABC Science News editor] Jules Bergman, who's probably a really smart and capable man; but, in perusing the pictures to which I refer above, there is a picture of Peter and Jules together watching the first Apollo launch in 1975. Let's just say Jules is a bit Raymond to Jennings' Charlie.


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