Talk Show (Cavett)

Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets - Dick Cavett

This collection of New York Times columns, ca. 2007-08, is a gift from heaven (especially as an online library e-book) for someone who wants a congenial but somewhat unpredictable bite of prose for a coffee-break or lunchtime at work. Cavett divided his time between reminiscences of the many notables he met in the course of his career (names that jump to mind, more or less at random, are William F. Buckley and Richard Burton, each of whom has more than one column) and clever rants on subjects like misuse of language, the perils of fame, and current events in the political and entertainment world. It was a curious sensation to relive the horrors of the '08 US election, just as we are undergoing the even worse horrors of the '16 version. Who would have thought that the ridiculous Sarah Palin would come to seem a minor buffoon in comparison?

The e-book has some hyperlinks back to the online column pages of the New York Times, some of which have video versions of the Cavett show to which he refers in his column - an interesting and valuable expansion of the e-book experience, but one that is limited by the NYT paywall: you may only access a limited number of articles.

I see Mr. Cavett is still genially spinning his anecdotes (he lately spoke of his long friendship with the recently deceased Muhammad Ali to Rolling Stone) - long may he continue. In this world of the Frighteningly Stupid, the voice of the civilized and clever is all the more valuable.