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Greatest Walter Ever

July 18, 2009

My middle name is Walter, so I’ve always made a point of observing notable Walters over the years.  I guess the first one I remember is Walt Disney, who’s still probably the first Walter most people remember from their childhood.  Sure, he’s been dead for 43 years and frozen for 42, but his legacy has lived on in such beloved family films as Bambi, Mary Poppins and Deported from Witch Mountain.  Then, as a teenager I became enthralled by reruns of Leave It To Beaver and closely studied the reckless moves of rebellious teen Wally Cleaver, in hopes of successfully emulating his cutting-edge fast lane lifestyle.

But the Walter who’s made the biggest impact on my life has got to be Walter Sobchak.  Of course, The Big Lebowski wasn’t even released until I was 31, so I might be overstating things just a bit.  Besides, it just wouldn’t be right for me to write at length about him on Shabbos, of all days.  That being the case, I guess it would be most appropriate to instead take the opportunity to remember the late, great Walter Cronkite.

Quite honestly, I didn’t realize NBC or ABC even had a nightly news broadcast until Dan Rather came along and started asking Kenneth for frequencies.  The first 15 or so years of my life, pretty much the only TV news I ever saw was the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.  As a young child, I remember watching him cover the moon landing, Vietnam, Watergate and the red carpet at the world premiere of Convoy.  But all uncomfortably fawning questions about Kris Kristofferson’s tuxedo designer aside, what will resonate with me until the day I die (assuming my gravy-soaked heart hasn’t already exploded by the time this has been posted) is THE VOICE.

The news media will never be as credible as it was when giants of integrity and gravitas like Walter Cronkite manned the broadcast airwaves, as opposed to all of these celebrity talking heads like Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Anderson Pooper [sic(k)].  Meanwhile, I’ve been reduced from studying Journalism in college to blogging cheap jokes about the rumored sexual preference of a major figure in the very field I once so nobly aspired to join.  And that’s the way it is, this Shabbos, July 18, 2009…alov ha-shalom.

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