A Musical Feast … on Dirty Napkins

Charlie Rose has one of the rare intelligent and thoughtful programs enduring on TV.  The show is dedicated to serving conversation and raising ideas pertinent to world affairs, science and the arts.  Among these I enjoyed Rose’s conversation with New York Philharmonic Music Director Lorin Maazel discussing the orchestra’s 2008 Pyongyang concert in North Korea.  All the same, during fundraising events my local PBS affiliate fails to air the Charlie Rose show, replacing it instead with someone telling me where to stick my advance directive.

Maybe this is because Charlie Rose raises his own funds thereby rendering his show immaterial to fundraising for PBS.  I will tell you, even so, that I was most pleased that my local station carried that breakthrough Pyongyang concert.  What a feast.  I choked, though, when the station slapped a Philly Food Show banner over the titles on the screen.  How cheesy is that?  The big blue and white banner bling jangled over one-third of the picture and the garden of brightly-colored traditional gowns worn by the Korean women in the audience.  It violated poignant performances of the Dvorak New World Symphony, the conductorless Leonard Bernstein homage and the other choice pieces.  It was like slapping the viewer in the face with a dirty napkin.  Whatever happened to respect for history, culture and the arts, for human beings?  The station treated the presentation like it was some sort of hip-hop event.  While I don’t mean that they adopt a stuffy attitude, I do suggest that they accord reverence towards the works of those who devoted their lives to producing such musical beauty and harmony among men, rather than treating them like so much trash whirling around a desolate street on a windy day after the bombing.

I might suggest that a station devoted to the humanities, science and the arts add someone to the production staff who is educated in the humanities.  It’s an idea.

–Samantha Mozart, March 4, 2008