Reflecting on David Letterman’s Departure, and Tom Brady’s Rule Breaking

These are not related, except that they are both top-of-mind in our current events discussions.

#1 – David Letterman is about to wrap it up…

On May 22, 1992, Johnny Carson hosted his last Tonight Show. On May 20, 2015, David Letterman will host his last show.

Folks from my generation watched Johnny Carson, probably too many nights to count. His last show just doesn’t quite seem that it was 23 years ago…

Dave's WarmupAnd now, David Letterman is wrapping it up. There is a great description of Letterman’s magic with a live audience in this terrific article: YouTube Killed the Studio Audience:What I learned from going to tapings of every late-night show by Seth Stevenson. Here’s Mr. Stevenson’s description of Dave, before the show officially started:

Dave appeared to delight in chatting with the audience, basking in our attention. He asked us where we were from, and darned if he couldn’t make a connection with everyone who spoke. He asked a Southern Californian about the status of the San Onofre nuclear plant, and quizzed a Chicagoan about the then-upcoming mayoral runoff election, all the while demonstrating an electric intellect and a well-informed, wide-ranging curiosity. He handed $50 cash to a woman sporting a vintage Letterman T-shirt he hadn’t seen in a while. He won us all over. He made us all love him, even though we loved him already.

Dave paid attention to, connected with, his live audience. He noticed the people, and treated them like people. What a great paragraph!

It’s a great reminder that all communication occurs between real, live people.

Yes, when I do watch late-night television (not as often as I did when I was younger), I watch Dave. I will miss him.

#2 – Tom Brady and his rule-breaking.

In what is now a finding (was there really any doubt?), Tom Brady and his cooperative football-handling accomplices broke the NFL Rules. No, it is not a crime. No, it’s not the worst thing done in the last few months.

But, I wonder, is it a reminder of something disturbing, and culture-harming?

If our “heroes” (and a Super Bowl Winning quarterback is certainly treated like a hero in our culture) treats rules so lightly that he disregards them as he chooses, and then does not even acknowledge what he did, then he helps create a culture of rule-ignorers and rule-breakers.

Yes, there are some bad rules out there. And bad rules should be debated, and changed. But, if there is a rule in place, don’t you think it should be honored and followed until it is changed?

Ask yourself a simple question: if you were starting out in your parenting endeavor these days, would you want to raise your children to be rule-keepers or rule-breakers?

In Boston, the people seem to be leaping to Tom Brady’s defense. Imagine a living room in Boston when a parent, who railed against the NFL penalty imposed on Brady and the Patriots, has to then explain to his children why they need to follow the rules…

I’m disturbed by a culture that ignores and breaks the rules.


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