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Thursday, January 27, 2005

That is wild, weird stuff. I did not know that.

Only after reading the tributes to Johnny Carson did I realize how few scientists have appeared on network TV since he retired. I seem to recall many episodes with astronomer Carl Sagan; the two of them seemingly genuinely interested in whatever milquetoast (in retrospect) topic that had current relevance. I suppose all the slack today is being taken up by second stringers willing to appear on Art Bell radio broadcasts.

   Steve Martin
Your Nebraskan pragmatism - and knowledge of the magician's tricks - tilted you toward the sciences, especially astronomy. (Maybe this is why the occultists, future predictors, spoon-benders or mind readers on your show never left without having been challenged.)
His whole "Carnac" act apparently went beyond mocking fortune tellers.

   Richard Roeper
In the year 2000, Carson made more than $1 million in charitable donations, including $100,000 to the James Randi Education Foundation of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. James Randi is better known as the Amazing Randi. He's the professional debunker (and occasional "Tonight Show" guest) who has a standing offer of $1 million to anyone who can prove the occurrence of a paranormal, supernatural or occult event.

Apparently, Carson had such little tolerance for hucksterism that he sent Randi a six-figure check just a couple of years ago.


Update: Archived audio of a Carson interview with Gore Vidal from 1981. No longer does this kind of interview happen with any kind of regularity on broadcast TV. When it does occur, ala Gore Vidal on Susan Sarandon's Late-Late-Show guest-hosting stint, people get their panties in a bunch


Professor Blogger oyster said...

Quite a feat to unite Buckley, Vidal and Chomsky. Hopefully it will make the freemarket Panglossians pause a bit.

7:12 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Can I repost in the originating thread?

7:21 PM  
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3:27 AM  

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