Spanking Michael Parkinson -- And A Challenge For The Reader.

From time to time, when I've been a particularly naughty boy, and I feel some self-imposed punishment is called-for, I subject myself to the first video clip linked below. It's an interview with Dame Helen Mirren conducted by Sir Michael Parkinson in the 1970s, long before Madame Mirren was embraced by the public as the brilliant artist we all now know her to be. She was, at the time, perhaps, in her late 20s or early 30s (roughly the same age as her current co-star Scarlett Johansson), and she was having a grand old time rocking the boat and the sensibilities of the aging post-war British mass media. As you will see, if you choose to click below, the interview is excruciatingly painful to watch. In the behavior of host Michael Parkinson, it captures all the nauseating, provincial, adolescent, and fidgety ignorance that had ruled public conduct for far too long. In the calm, cool and collected repartee by Dame Mirren, it reveals the emerging (and still incomplete) equalization of the Western World's playing field.

The challenge: How long can you watch this clip?

The furthest I've ever managed is about 4 minutes. Of course, I have delicate auditory canals and visual networks: I'm the sort of fellow who wants to run shrieking from a room during nails-on-the-chalkboard awkward Best-Man/Maid of Honor speeches at weddings, so perhaps my endurance is shorter than most.


Lest the reader despair that society always degenerates with time, I provide a second link -- a second interview with Parkinson and Mirren some 30 years later.  In it, we again witness the fair and brilliant Madame Mirren describing her latest project with eyes and demeanor amazingly resistant to the ravages of time (perhaps it's just me, but she might even be more beautiful).  And even more interestingly, we see a Michael Parkinson who has been chastened and educated by the culture.   A doddering old grandpa, yes his is.  But he has also grown, or at least appears to have done so.  There might be hope for a better tomorrow after all.
KingsleyMartin KingsleyMartin
31-35, M
Dec 4, 2012