February 26, 2013

Ayn Rand on the Tonight Show, 1967

Ayn Rand's been in the news a lot the last few years, though it's likely that few of the people who read her today and debate her philosophy ever had the chance to see her live.  So let's take this opportunity to look at footage on Rand appearing with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show in 1967.

Not only does this give us a chance to hear Rand describe Objectivism in her own voice, it points out the vapidity of today's late night talk shows.  In fact, Carson's own version of The Tonight Show was a shadow of its former self by the time it came to an end, but it towers as an ivory tower of intellectualism compared to Jay, Dave, the Jimmys, Conan and the rest.

I've frequently written in the past about the decline of what Terry Teachout refers to as "middlebrow" culture on television.  Usually I'm talking about the lack of classical music, drama or documentary shows, but this reminds us that the dearth of smart programming extends to the talk show as well.  Sure, you might be able to find something like this from Charlie Rose (as a matter of fact, offhand he's the only one I can think of who would do something like this), but perish the thought that it would appear on one of the broadcast networks.  

As for daytime talk shows - well, we won't even go there.  

(Although it would be interesting to see what Rand would have done with Oprah.)

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Thanks for writing! Drive safely!