Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Haven't Watched Charlie Rose In Over 30 Years

One of the best jobs I've ever had was also one of the worst in that the wages were exploitatively low: $80 a week in 1995-96. I was an usher in a theatre showing Steve Martin's play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. (Movie stars' salaries make headlines, but there are a lot of low-paying and even non-paying jobs in show business, and the producers and studio execs who make more than movie stars and manage to keep their finances out of the news make money off of the movie stars, and the people being paid very little in non-union jobs, and the people not being paid at all. Unionize.)



I could've gone home when the play started, but night after night I stayed and watch the play. It was incredible. It's set in 1904, in the Lapine Agile, a bar in Paris where Picasso hung out at the time. Albert Einstein was never there, but this play is not strictly realistic, and in this play he pops in. 1904 was shortly before he published the papers on relativity and photoelectronics which made him famous. In the play the proprietors of the bar have a ridiculously, hopelessly, unnecessarily complicated system of bookkeeping, which it seems they will never untangle, but young Albert quickly does some amazingly complicated math in his head to help them out. Then people ask him to tell them about himself. Instead of saying he's working on academic papers, the way he puts it is that he's writing a 70-page book about "everything." Someone asks him how many people would have to read his book for him to consider it a success, and he gets the same abstracted expression of his face that he had just a little while ago when he was doing the complicated math in his head to his the bar's owners with their messed-up accounting; and after a while he answers, "One. But it has to be Max Planck."

That doesn't make Einstein as different from other writers as some might think. Sure, all other things being equal, the more people who read my blog, the better. But one person reading my blog, or something else I've written, and then commenting favorably on it, could make me a successful writer all at once -- if that person is Oprah Winfrey.

Or possibly if it were Charlie Rose. I'm not entirely sure about that. Like I say, I stopped watching his shows 30 years ago, because the way that he constantly interrupted his guests, not only verbally, which was bad enough, but also by waving his great big stupid hand in their faces for them to shut up, was driving me mad. So why did I watch his show to begin with? Because he had very interesting guests. And I gather he still does. I gather this partly by channel-surfing past his show and seeing the face of some extremely-interesting person -- as interesting as Cate Blanchett and Salman Rushdie and 4 different Presidents and Harold Bloom -- and partly by hearing extremely-interesting people talk about having been on his show in venues other than his show. Does the amazing list of guests make me want to repent and give Rose another try after 30+ years, see if he's become somewhat less unbearable? No. On the contrary, it make me angry that all of those amazing people continue to prop this jerk up by appearing on his show.

I hope I've made the intensity and unreasonableness of my dislike for Charlie Rose vividly clear.

Still, I suppose that Rose could make me famous. Not Oprah's Book Club-famous, probably, but he could give me a huge boost. I think sometimes about whether I would refuse to appear on his show. I know, I just finished denouncing a teeming host of wonderful people for appearing on his show. I also that I've made it impossible that Rose will ever want to interview me, with this post, if it wasn't already impossible because of other things I've said and written. But maybe Rose is a very magnanimous guy. Maybe he doesn't interrupt nearly as much. Maybe he's stopped with the waving of that big hand in his guests' faces.

(The fact that the guests were so great, even 30 years ago, was what made the interruptions so unbearable. You can understand that, right? I tuned in to watch -- say, Steve Martin, or Ted Kennedy, not to watch Rose talk about Martin or Kennedy while they struggled to get a word in edgewise. Hot tip, Charlie: if you're fortunate enough to have a great speaker appear on your show, LET HIM OR HER SPEAK YOU BIG GOON!!!)

Whether or not to grit my teeth and betray my principles -- and maybe take a strong prescription pill or 3 -- and go on "Charlie Rose" -- that's the sort of dilemma I want to have. And just like the Tom Petty Ab-So-Lute-Ly Bassackwards Law of Microeconomics, the more likely it is that I will ever have a chance to appear on the show, the less likely it will be that I will have any incentive to do so, because, although Charlie Rose could single-massive-handedly make me rich and famous, it's unlikely that he would want me as a guest unless I were already rich and famous, or at the very least, already speeding toward rich and famous.

Anyhow. Whether Oprah or Charlie are ever involved at all in my career rise, or even if they both actively oppose my rise because I've criticized them, if they're petty that way -- the more people who read my blog, the better. I'm doing everything I can think of to get the attention of the publishers and agents and other people who could help my career, including asking my readers, repeatedly, begging them, to mention my blog whenever and wherever they can. My ambition is naked. Yr darn tootin it is. I'm not trying in the least to hide that fact that I want to be a huge, huge, huge success. I know that some people advise those who are ambitious to hide their ambition, to pretend to be humble, and even pretend not to want honours and promotions. (But take the honours and promotions anyway of course, just pretend to do it unwillingly and with protestations of unworthiness.)

Whatever. I'm going a different way. It's one less thing people can accuse me of being insincere about.

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