We’re not buying it. Even though D.J. Waldie knows the background subject matter of California’s history a lot better than we do.
In an essay posted today at Zocálo Square, Waldie argues that there was an increasingly deep, dark undertow coursing beneath the prolific reporting of retiring KCET/PBS show host Huell Howser. It’s definitely a different kind of media send-off:
Howser played one of the “folk” as larger than life and cannily for profit (at least until he stopped, for reasons that are his own for now), but the insinuating glee with which he took on California had more purposes than the standard con… I don’t know if the joy was a pose, too, like the piety of the minister who continues to preach after his faith is dead. But it’s hard for me not to see the subversion ever present in Howser’s joyous demeanor.
Another part of Waldie’s piece still has us laughing. He draws a comparison between the public TV everyman’s exit and that of famed actress Greta Garbo. Just imagine, if this were taken to its illogical conclusion, how it might sound if Howser were to greet a prying fellow cameraman at the front door with the exhortation, “I want to be alone!”
Read Waldie’s full piece here.
Previously on FishbowlLA:
LA Media Catch Up to Huell Howser Retirement Story