Second E-Mail Of The Day

From: Eric Chaikin
Subject: Re: How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?

Great post on Howard.

I contend that the major eras in the relationship between American mass media and the public are:

0) The Vaudeville Age – Uncle Miltie and Sid Caesar using TV to do vaudeville. It’s all fun. No pretense of a relationship.

1) The Johnny Carson era – the pretense of authenticity in the relationship between host, celebrity and audience. No acknowledgement of inauthenticity.

2) The Letterman era – authentic inauthenticity (“welcome to my television entertainment program”). Acknowledgement that the format and the relationships are inauthentic, but playing within the structure.

3) The Howard Stern era – destruction of inauthenticity. Acknowledgement that the entire relationship between celebrities, hosts and audience is total b.s., total authenticity between host, guests and audience. Milking it for all it’s worth.

I contend that there was a moment we crossed into the Stern era: when Gennifer Flowers held a news conference (paid for by the Star tabloid) to announce some “serious, political news”. The rest of the media reporters treated the whole thing with b.s. gravitas. And Stuttering John asked: “Gennifer – will you be sleeping with any other presidential candidates?” (As in: “What’s your next project?”) He was hustled out of the room as if he wasn’t taking the moment seriously enough. But it was exactly what that b.s. dog and pony show deserved. And there was no going back.

How to characterize the post-Stern era?

I guess you’d have to go Kardashian: complete pretense of authenticity.

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