Email this review


This book is a kind of national town meeting,"" enthuses editor Fury--but she also has the wit to note that ""Letters that are personal, that tell stories, are generally livelier than those that make abstract points."" (And, she confides, she's edited these imperceptibly--unlike the missives shown on the screen.) The presentation has zip and grab: 21 brief segments, each containing responses to particular programs or notes to individual broadcasters, prefaced by explanatory matter or behind-the-scenes poop. There are strong feelings on every subject: ""I got pastatively tired of hearing Mike Wallace pronounce Joe Bonanno's surname almost like bananas. . ."" (Harry Reasoner is rebuked, in turn, for mispronouncing Luciano Pavarotti as Lu-si-ano.) Writes a male doctor: ""Rape is a crime of violence, not sex. And it is a crime against women. It is what it is because of sexism, not lust. What will correct it is a change of culture, not Depo Provera."" A program on unsafe elderly drivers brings not only approbation and indignation, but an array of ameliorative suggestions; reports on herbicides and pesticides elicit a spectrum of firsthand testimony, including accounts of family tragedy. There is a certain degree of trivia (especially in the letters to Reasoner, et al.)--but there is introspection and eloquence too: ""It is now 1:00 A.M. on October 11, 1982, and I just finished four hours of milking cows and thinking about the Vier Nam Memorial. . . [and] how it represented the war. . . For those blind to the War, they can drive past and see only the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. . . The design viewed from a distance is narrow at both ends and wide in the middle as if a huge knife had been thrust into the United States and pulled out leaving a deep dark gaping wound."" Sixty Minutes has taken a shellacking of late, and this may be self-exoneration of a sort. But there's plenty of evidence here that viewers are involved--and vigilant.

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 1984
Publisher: Simon & Schuster