I remember watching an interview with the Pollyanna broadcaster Danny Baker in which he relayed a conversation he once had with his wife in an airport bookstore. Frustrated at seeing such an abundance of ‘misery memoirs’ and other similarly unappealing tomes, she turned to him and said: “You know, if they had a book called ‘Nice People Having a Lovely Time,’ I’d buy it.” Danny, true to form, agreed.
Me too, I think. So much of 2016 feels like having a bad headache on a rainy day. Keep the curtains closed, I’ll sit this one out. Outside is grey skies and noise; inside at least I can lie still, close my eyes, and hope to wake up refreshed some time tomorrow.
Click-bait… Cable news… Celebrities… Trump… Terror! Yeah, no thanks. We may be living in a digital age, but it’s an old, analog injunction we’ve spent far too long ignoring: change the record.
Or if nothing else, please let’s change the way it sounds. Must we really be so decisively FOR or AGAINST everything? Must we really be so continuously caffeinated? And quick to offend, and quicker still to take offense? Can we really no longer admit, every once in a while, “I don’t know,” without it seeming lily-livered, incurious, or bland?
For as much as it can be useful and even nourishing, social media can be awful mean and cynical. What we call “the news” would more accurately be described as “bad news.” And, more generally, it feels as though we are daily assailed by reasons to not be cheerful. What gives? Vibes aren’t meant for harshing, yet these days a slew of curmudgeon alternatives are waiting impatiently in line to take their place: complaints, anger, paranoia, bitterness, and, that great unlovely catch-all, persecution of the other.
All of which thinking out loud gets me finally to this, a short clip of Terry Wogan interviewing Gene Wilder:
Gentle. Unhurried. Understated. Enigmatic and softly self-depreciating. If more of TV was like this, I’d watch it. And if the world was more like this, well, wouldn’t it be more enjoyable and better.
Today’s post soundtracked by: