A Couple of Obsolete People Died This Weekend

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07/20/2009 10:28 AM |

7777/1248099288-walter_cronkite_desk.jpgEvery time we leave the office for the weekend or evening or an iced coffee or whatever, we come back and people have died. This weekend, as you’re aware, was bookended by the passings of Walter Cronkite and Frank McCourt — two men who outlived their own mediums.

This weekend’s Cronkite remembrances focused on the man who defined a much more consolidated time in American history: the postwar years, the heyday of broadcast television, when technology was bringing people together (before it started splintering us). “The most trusted man in America” was something of a holding center amid the 60s and 70s, a single trustworthy, oracular “anchor” — the term could refer not just to his role on the news broadcast, but to society.

4f81/1248099313-mccourt.jpgThe notion of the news as something spoken to us evolved from the same oral traditions drawn from by McCourt, who told family and social histories in anecdotal, sometimes windy first-person memoirs, and stage performances. And who was, of course, an influential New York City English teacher and writing instructor for several decades — back when, apparently, kids needed encouragement to write about themselves.

2 Comment

  • Outlived their own mediums? Wait, so books are an outdated invention? Having popular hollywood films made about your life is pass

  • “So books are an outdated invention?”

    I didn’t say that. I said that McCourt’s storytelling drew from oral traditions which were anachronistic. (Arguably they were anachronistic at the time.) Calling that his “medium” is technically wrong, I suppose, but still.

    “Having popular hollywood films made about your life is pass