Charlie Rose’s new show The Week premiered last night on PBS. The show seems to be another PBS effort to engage younger audiences, certain to be sitting at home of a Friday night watching TV. One odd moment: a quick compendium “if you’re looking for something to do this weekend.” It includes Kanye West’s Yeezus as Album of the Week. Yeezus!
Two more odd moments. At the beginning, an address to the viewer:
“For more than twenty years, you have sat with me every weeknight at my table, the one you see behind me. You’ve eavesdropped as we talked to the most interesting people in the world.”No, I haven’t sat at my own table every weeknight, much less Charlie Rose’s. But the metaphors here don’t add up: I sit at the table, but I eavesdrop as “we” talk? Sitting at the table ought to make one a participant in the conversation, no? A more appropriate intro might say:
“For more than twenty years, you have stood every weeknight back somewhere in the shadows, somewhere back there in the dark somewhere, at a distance from my table, the one you see behind me. You’ve eavesdropped as I, and I alone, talked to the most interesting people in the world.”Another odd moment: at the end of the show, Rose speaks of “the debate we must have” about “how we treat women and how we treat minorities.” (Who are we ?) The debate must include everyone, Rose says, and he runs through a set of from-to pairs to suggest the range. My favorite: “from the famous to the less famous.” Did Rose write that? Or does someone on his staff have a degree in Snark?
As you might guess, The Week includes copious clips from Charlie Rose. Last night’s show seems to be intermittently available from Hulu.
Charlie Rose and David Foster Wallace
[Malcolm X understood that sitting at a table does not make one a participant: “I’m not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate.” From the speech “The Ballot or the Bullet, ” April 3, 1964.]