25 January 2010

Work Hard and Be Kind

This odd fragment of a speech, of sorts, is spreading like proverbial wildfire. It was part of Conan O'Brien's last words as host of the Tonight Show (hence the Keep Calm and Carry On - inspired graphic at right, designed by Clay Larsen).

Say what you will about pop culture and the manufactured distraction of the "Late Night Wars" but it really was a shitty way for NBC to deal with low ratings that, from my point of view, were entirely their own doing.

Watching the last week of shows, I felt sad about the situation -- and while Conan kept telling people not to feel sorry for him I couldn't help but feel sorry for his staff (190 people all got their pink slips because NBC thinks Leno is a better bet for late night).

And, as often happens with this kind of public circus, I got wrapped up in it all. When Conan sat at the Tonight Show desk for the last time and actually said nice things about the company that was currently kicking his ass to the curb, I got teary-eyed. In fact, just re-reading his closing remarks, I got teary again, especially over this:

To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. As proof, let’s make an amazing thing happen right now.

Is that amazing, or what? He followed it with a monster of a jam session, perhaps a nod to the band which played even as the Titanic went down.

So, yeah, I think as an addendum to not paying for the gloom, I'm going to rethink my attachment to cynicism.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Greg and I might be the ONLY people in the world that don't know anything about this. Typically, we don't watch TV. Sure I watch movies, but they are rentals. The only thing I turn on the TV for is Dr. Who and Top Gear. I picked up the paper at a restaurant the other day and saw "news" about the settlement. But neither Greg or I understood what it meant because they didn't explain WHY it was happening, just that it was.

This is a really lovely sentiment "Work hard and be kind" and I feel I do this everyday. yeah, I guess cynicism leaves me with an unfulfilled and unhealthy feeling ... just like sarcasm. IMO though, I feel it's balanced in small doses.