I watched a late night talk show host discussing the problem of mean-spirited remarks and the possible effects they might have on people who are vulnerable along with an emotionally riveting, personal discourse on alcoholism.
It's no secret that I have been an unabashed fan of Craig Ferguson's since the first night he stepped onto the stage at CBS. Late night comedic material can be uneven, raunchy, and even ungraceful at times; Craig Ferguson's is no different, but he has the gift to speak directly from the heart. (I think a particularly good one.) Many of his interviews are insightful and I've learned more about celebrities on his show, from their own mouths, than any other place. He is smart, wise, engaging, articulate, vulnerable, and genuinely cares about people. (I wish he would conduct more interviews. )
Last year his book, Between the Bridge and the River, was published. If you're offended by foul language and explicit content, this book would be a difficult read, but it was semi-autobiographical and dealt with disparate people in crisis as well as the grace of divine intervention; I found it fascinating.
Three recent, highly publicized, incidents prompted Ferguson's talk on alcoholism and crisis; Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, and Lisa Nowak.
Although it was pointed out that he had no idea if they are/were alcoholics or substance abusers, he indicated that these are three women who were crying out for help. And we watch them fall apart through the lens of a camera. And we buy and support the tabloids. And we add to the revenues of awful entertainment shows at the expense of these people. And we take great pleasure from it. The German term, schadenfreude, is the best explanation for the relationship the morally bankrupt public has with celebrities.
His conclusions are succinct and on-point: there are ways out, but it is up to the individual to seek them.
Unfortunately, during the monologue, his audience laughed at an inappropriate place, and was promptly, but gently admonished. "It's not funny, people are dying. Anna Nicole Smith is dead." Again, his audience didn't quite get it and chuckled, still waiting for a punch line.
A punchline did eventually come, and it was sober.
I suggest that you review this monologue on the Late Late Show website or YouTube, download it and show it to your students. It should provide some good discussion.
As for me, I'm sticking with Craig. Tonight, Patricia Heaton is on and might have some words of wisdom on the subject. However, the true test will be Wednesday, when his friend Danny Bonaduce visits!
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