Among the many blessings I've been afforded because of my lifetime immersion in entertainment and media, I consider one of the most special was having the late NBC-TV anchorman, Chet Huntley, as a friend. Chet was one of those people who was "real" in the news business. His foundation grew from his Cardwell, Montana, birthplace roots. The son of a railroad man, young Chet spent many summers riding trains with his father, traversing The Silver State. He told me those summer railroad adventures spurred his imagination and wanderlust. He also told me he also discovered he "had a modest flair for writing"(Chet's words, verbatim), thus decided to tackle professional journalism as his career. He began that career as a reporter for, and at, the Salt Lake City Tribune. That eventually evolved into radio and television reporting, followed by his distinguished years as co-anchor of THE HUNTLEY-BRINKLEY REPORT, precursor to this generation's NBC NIGHTLY NEWS.
Chet eventually retired and became part-owner of a soon-to-be-opened (in 1973) Big Sky Resort near Bozeman, Montana, with his birth-roots not far away. One time I was interviewing Chet on my Channel 5 SKI SCENE program and asked him if he missed the news business. He immediately stated, again verbatim, "Not at all. The news is coming in such big chunks these days, I'd be overwhelmed to try to know what to report". That was in early 1973. (Chet sadly passed away just three days before Big Sky opened that year.)
Chet's observation has been amplified a thousand times these days, viewing all the news, and all the news sources there are now. Indeed, it must be a very, very tough assignment for writer and producers in all forms of media to choose a lead story or to create even a "stack" in order of importance to a mass audience. The random thoughts I have to impart below are far from original, and won't make anyone's lead stories, but I think may be shared by a few people, to wit:
RUDENESS - It seems there are more people who don't care about politeness to one another these days, or simply just don't care about anything, except their own egos and tunnelvision. The sad part, in my opinion, is those who DO care about "playing well with others" are in the minority during these early 21st century years. The words "please" and "thank you", when uttered by anyone these days is almost startling. To have a business phone call returned is almost a miracle.
The best training for manners, again in my opinion, is at home (from parents), then in classrooms. I know: My brain is embedded in the 1940s and 1950s, but I still feel, with proper motivation from those who motivate, at least a modicum of the more prevalent behavior in those days could return, and actually make everyone a bit more happy with life. I think something called The Golden Rule was created for that purpose.
VARIOUS WARS - We're essentially out of Iraq, the Afghanistan conflict continues and the mention of war with Iran sends shudders down the spines of many. Regarding the latter, those shudders are very valid, in my opinion. Having worked in Iran twice during the Shah's reign (as a ski tourism documentary film producer to lure skiers to Iran's four major ski areas in the early and mid 1970s), it was evident the Iranians were highly-intelligent, very 'street smart" and very good-natured. I'm certain there are very few Iranians living there today who want war with anyone, let alone the West. This is not to endorse or embrace some of their leaders who may WANT a war with us, or coalition forces, but it IS to say a war with Iran would not be a cakewalk, and could conceivavbly lead to regional war, as close to Armageddon as any of us would ever wish to be. I think "cooling our jets" has been a wise decision, so far.
YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY - The antithesis to rudeness seems to dwell in the hearts and actions of today's younger people, especially, it seems, in the hospitality industry. I'm sometimes a fast-food junkie, and when I visit the "usual suspects" in the fast-food realm, I've been delighted lately to receive GENUINE smiles, pleases and thank yous. Either someone in the establishments is demanding that sort of behavior, or the kids might just be doing it all on their own. I truly think it's the latter.
Thanks for reading, and if you'd wish to catch my webcasts at www.startribune.com/video, it would be an honor and pleasure to have you 'tune in".