Lionel: Anchorman 2

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(NEW YORK) The entertainment world’s abuzz over the news that Anchorman 2`s been announced. Will Ferrell will reprise his role as Ron Burgundy. Great. But Ron Burgundy`s no Ted Baxter. Let me explain. The significance of the Ted Baxter character cannot be overstated. When the Mary Tyler Moore show debuted in the fall of 1970, keep in mind the zeitgeist. And more importantly that of television broadcast news. Cronkite wouldn't sign off until March 6, 1981, 11 years later. Cronkite was Zeus. And in the pantheon were Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Douglas Edwards, Charles Collingwood, Robert Trout, Richard C. Hottelet, Eric Sevareid and the inimitable Edward R. Murrow. I mean it was like the 1927 Yankees. These guys were venerable and venerated. Wise, distinguished, honored and respected. Not the airbrushed, botoxed, slathered and sutured pretty boys, myself excluded.

No these folks held a status that was exalted. They had come from print, out of the blood and fog of war and know no comparison today. Then enter Ted Baxter. At the height of our love and respect affair with these broadcast news giants, Ted Baxter presaged the news anchor dolt. The empty suit. The human news version of the Potemkin village and its idiot. How pythonic, how vatic, how Ted Baxter augured the future and read the entrails of the broadcast news beast. Ted Baxter cemented this meme into our consciousness. Yes, a TV character much like Barney Fife became the avatar and incarnation of the overzealous, psychotic and dangerous cop. Who also presaged today’s rogue TSA thugs and that pepper

Spray dude. Look, hats off to Will Ferrell, but Ron Burgundy would not be Ron Burgundy without Ted Baxter. And it takes no guts to be Ron Burgundy today. Ted Baxter dared to wax sacrilegious in mocking the anchor at the time of Cronkite. The sheer, pardon my crudeness, but the sheer ballsiness of this knows no peer today. When I speak derisively of the Ted Baxter sockpuppet media, I channel Ted Baxter and what he represented and what he meant. It speaks to a phony, an ersatz, counterfeit actor or actress. Using the medium of news presentation as a stepping stone to stardom or as a narcissistic means to potentiate sheer vacuousness through the deluded imagery of profound and irrefutable pulchritude, handsomeness or the pathetically ubiquitous 'hot.' or something.

The image of Ted is illutible, the meme is indelible. And we have Ted Baxter to thank and to a lesser extent Ron Burgundy because they perhaps allow us to appreciate the fictive persona and the illusion that this magic lens creates. This lens that allows me to stand before you night after night in a bomb shelter in front of monitors and meters that are actually connected to nothing, all creating the illusion, the perception, the hallucination that we, this and it are real.

Ron burgundy, you’re no Ted Baxter.

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