- The Washington Times - Monday, February 7, 2005

Eternal reruns

“Johnny Carson dominated late-night television for an astonishing 30 years, from 1962 to 1992. In that span, LBJ, the ‘60s, Watergate, the Reagan years, and the pre-presidential Clinton were fodder for his good-natured satire. …

“When asked what he wanted inscribed on his tombstone, Mr. Carson replied, ‘I’ll be right back’ — as if death were a commercial break.

“Today’s late-night TV still pays homage to Johnny Carson. The format is essentially the same: an opening monologue; banter with an Ed McMahon-like straight man and a colorful Doc Severinsen-like band leader; a few skits and comic bits; interviews with guests who scoot down on the couch to make room for the next guest.

“The major late-night players today are like individual fragments of Johnny Carson. His successor Jay Leno has his ordinary-guy accessibility. David Letterman has his surreal humor. Jon Stewart has the political satire.”

Gene Edward Veith, writing on “The Great Carsoni,” in the Saturday issue of World

Bible ban

“After much fruitless soul-searching Rolling Stone magazine last month announced it had a change of heart and would not after all run advertisements for the New International Version of the Bible. Kent Brownridge, general manager of Wenner Media, told USA Today, ‘We are not in the business of publishing advertising for religious messages.’ … Evidently editor and publisher Jann Wenner had dark and disturbing visions of some 20-something slacker opening his magazine and rather than a reassuring condom or Planned Parenthood advertisement finding an ad for a Bible. Horrors! …

“Wenner’s decision was simply a matter of bottom-line economics parading as progressive principles. More to the point is that a number of the ads in Rolling Stone hawk booze, smokes, and condoms, and these advertisers may feel uneasy beside an ad for the Bible. Understandably so.

“In my hippie youth Rolling Stone was the authentic voice of the counter-culture. … Wenner and company were famous for their weird poetry, interviews with youth culture icons, and long, drug-addled reportage by Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O’Rourke. … [I]n 2002 … Wenner hired British laddie magazine editor Ed Needham to cut out the long literary journalism and up the percentage of half-naked celebrities.”

Christopher Orlet, writing on “Where Would Jesus Advertise?” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

The colonel’s way

“Harlan Sanders … had no formal education to speak of. He ran a gasoline station. …

“In 1930, as the Great Depression was beginning, he got an idea. Why not serve chicken to people who were passing through? So, at the age of 40, he started serving chicken dinners in his service station. …

“In the mid-1950s, the threat of [Interstate] 75 bypassing his small town of Corbin, Ky., persuaded him to sell his restaurant. …

“He started franchising his business. Officially, he was retired. So he got in his car and started driving. He went from town to town, sealing deals with a handshake. This was 1955. You could still do business in America without lawyers. Incredible.

“By 1964, nine years later, when he was 74, he had 600 restaurants. He sold his share of the business that year for $2 million. …

“Should he have sold for a mere $2 million? Remember Jimmy Napier’s rule: ‘When someone puts a million dollars in your hand, close your hand.’ … He made the right decision.”

Gary North, writing on “Become Colonel Sanders II,” Wednesday at www.lewrockwell.com.

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