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"Although Andy Rooney is retiring from 60 Minutes, his eyebrows will continue for another season."
September 28, 2011 7:26 AM   Subscribe

After 33 years, it has been announced Andy Rooney will make his 1,097th - and final - 60 Minutes commentary this Sunday.
posted by Windigo (107 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh no, where I am going to go to get a short crotchety discussion of a random topic from an old man? Are you telling me to talk to my own grandfather?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:30 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


This would be a good time to mention the Andy Rooney game, in which you edit his segments to include only the first and last sentences.

I'm gonna miss the grumpy, confused bastard.
posted by moviehawk at 7:30 AM on September 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


Aww. Sad to see him end his regular commentary, but hopefully he'll still make guest appearances at appropriate times. Honestly it's probably time. The last few commentaries have really trended away from quirky insight and commentary into just sounding like a grumpy dude reading slow to fill up the time.
posted by cashman at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2011


Man, I know he is a cranky old man, but I can't help but love him. 33 years is a hell of a run.
posted by dismas at 7:32 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




And now you know . . . the rest of the story.

Oh shit, wrong old guy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:33 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now we'll have no one left to defend us against people who wear baggy pants.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 7:37 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sad to see him go. He has been hopelessly out of touch for years.

Best of luck to him and all that...
posted by futz at 7:37 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Obligatory Ali G interview.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:38 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


"You know what I hate? 60 Minutes."
posted by klangklangston at 7:39 AM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]




Is there a polite way to say "Thank Christ?"
posted by Rykey at 7:40 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


HAve you ever noticed that when people retire, they always leave themselves the option to frequently return to the work they retired from? (Andy Rooney voice)
posted by 23skidoo at 7:40 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is he dying?
posted by pracowity at 7:42 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now we'll have no one left to defend us against people who wear baggy pants.

Oh, I think we've got that covered.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:42 AM on September 28, 2011


We all are, pracowity.
posted by brokkr at 7:44 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


This photo is astonishing. Rooney shatters the record for old-man-pants-hiking. Literally half of his tie is below the waist of his pants. His belt is touching his shirt pocket. Really impressive work.
posted by brain_drain at 7:45 AM on September 28, 2011 [21 favorites]


Useless. Does anyone have an example of anything worthwhile Andy Rooney has ever said? If so, I'd love to see it. He seemed to always be the counterpoint to 60 Minutes's generally intelligent reporting. Like, "And here's the stupid shit you're going to hear from some co-worker tomorrow, just so you don't forget what that's like." Good riddance.
posted by rusty at 7:45 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


futz: "He has been hopelessly out of touch for years. "

To be fair, so are most of his viewing audience.
posted by zarq at 7:46 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't say I'm going to miss him, but there was something kind of amazing about the fact of Andy Rooney's continued existence. How did this guy score a two minute slot every week to just say whatever the hell he wanted to millions of people? Did he win a contest? When every second of network television is scripted, tested, marketed, and re-tested, it was kind of nice to have that inexplicable little moment of grandpa smack in the middle of primetime.
posted by theodolite at 7:48 AM on September 28, 2011 [22 favorites]


Andy, wait! I finally got off your lawn! Andy! Andy...?
posted by bicyclefish at 7:48 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yep, it's time. I like him a lot, but watching him lately has just been painful. I wish him well.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ran out of things to complain about?
posted by Trurl at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2011


How did this guy score a two minute slot every week to just say whatever the hell he wanted to millions of people?

Why do certain blogs and Facebook and Twitter accounts have so many followers?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


SWEET ELVIS IN HIS BLACK '68 COMEBACK SPECIAL LEATHERS, THERE IS AN END IN SIGHT!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:52 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I was hoping for from this thread was some idea of who he was before he became that guy on 60 Minutes, and how the hell he kept that plum spot.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:53 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm going to miss him. There aren't that many WWII reporters still around, there aren't that many newsmen from the very start of television around, nevermind ones that are still active.

You've had a hell of a run, Andy Rooney.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:54 AM on September 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


When every second of network television is scripted, tested, marketed, and re-tested, it was kind of nice to have that inexplicable little moment of grandpa smack in the middle of primetime.

60 Minutes's bread and butter audience were, to put it bluntly, old people. However, they did sometimes report on things that did not confirm old people's pre-existing dearly-held views. So, Rooney's purpose was to say some reassuring Grampa nonsense right at the end, and make sure the old people didn't leave the show feeling confused or like the Truths of their world had been challenged in any way, so they'd come back and watch again next week. He was a lullaby for them, and in that way, as completely scripted, market-tested, and cynical as any other piece of network television. Andy Rooney is exactly how dumb 60 Minutes thinks their audience is, and for the most part, they're probably right.
posted by rusty at 7:55 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some of his short essays were not too bad, actually. His TV segments weren't as compelling.
posted by maxwelton at 7:55 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have an example of anything worthwhile Andy Rooney has ever said? If so, I'd love to see it.

How could you report it before it happens.
posted by three blind mice at 7:56 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, he's getting off our lawn?
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:56 AM on September 28, 2011


I would like to see a Sunday morning television show featuring Andy Rooney, David Brooks, and Thomas Friedman. It could be on around 6:30 in the morning, and could be called "The Business of Being Banal". James Lipton could moderate. RATINGS GOLD!
posted by jivadravya at 7:57 AM on September 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Have his eyebrows finally managed to cover his entire head?
posted by tommasz at 8:01 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only saw his segment once that I can remember, but his proposal to solve overcrowding in America by having half the population become nocturnal (and to pay them more if they didnt think that sounded fair) left an impression. I think we've just lost one of the most important venues for performance art America had.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:01 AM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, if nothing else he inspired one of my favorite Beavis and Butthead moments (the Rooney bit starts at about 1:10).
posted by COBRA! at 8:01 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Andy Rooney is exactly how dumb 60 Minutes thinks their audience is, and for the most part, they're probably right.

I prefer to think that they fired him fifteen years ago, but he just kept showing up to work anyway, and nobody really knew what to do and the first couple of times they even called security to escort him out but the security guys just sort of stood around looking at their hands
posted by theodolite at 8:02 AM on September 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


He seemed to always be the counterpoint to 60 Minutes's generally intelligent reporting.

So he was the Flavor Flav of 60 Minutes. That's so ill.

60 Minutes's bread and butter audience were, to put it bluntly, old people.

F%$# you, son! I watched him when I was a kid. Of course I was a freak and made sure I was in from playing football in time for shows like 60 minutes, 20/20 and CBS News Sunday Morning. Rooney, Kuralt, and Hugh Downs. God I think I just realized I was a weird kid.
posted by cashman at 8:03 AM on September 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


What amazes me is that he's younger than Mike Wallace (by 8 months).
posted by gubo at 8:05 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


His spirit lives on in the body of Lewis Black.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:05 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I've believed all along that most people are born with equal intelligence, but blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the most children. They drop out of school early, do drugs and get pregnant."

''There was some recognition in 1989 of the fact that many of the ills which kill us are self-induced. Too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes. They're all known to lead quite often to premature death.''

— Andy Rooney, 1990
posted by Nelson at 8:05 AM on September 28, 2011


I never caught enough 60 min/Rooney to guess at a percentage, but some great proportion of the rants were incredibly thin. And for these purposes, I'm not even counting Seinfeldian "this insignificant facet of modern life bothers me" as thin. Maybe I can only take so much of the curmudgeon schtick.

Actually, I think I can only take so much of any schtick. Variation is good. Rooney is Carrot Top.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2011


When every second of network television is scripted, tested, marketed, and re-tested, it was kind of nice to have that inexplicable little moment of grandpa smack in the middle of primetime.

There's plenty of grandpa smack on TV, although it usually comes out of the mouths of their paid shills.
posted by DU at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2011


F%$# you, son! I watched him when I was a kid. Of course I was a freak and made sure I was in from playing football in time for shows like 60 minutes, 20/20 and CBS News Sunday Morning. Rooney, Kuralt, and Hugh Downs. God I think I just realized I was a weird kid.

Yeah, I watched a lot of 60 Minutes growing up. I also watched the 3 AM rerun of Meet the Press. On the plus side, my coolness is trending steadly upwards, so in that way I look great compared to all those people who spent their childhoods having friend
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2011


The last few commentaries have really trended away from quirky insight and commentary into just sounding like a grumpy dude reading slow to fill up the time.

The last few commentaries? The man published a book in the 1980s with a chapter entitled "Chairs."

(It detailed the different kinds of chairs he thought were good chairs, and some he thought weren't so good. There were a lot of short, declarative statements. Many contained a value judgement, sometimes even two or three.)

The last few commentaries? Ye gods, man, the guy was headed out to pasture the same time Ronald Reagan was.
posted by gompa at 8:10 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


...but the security guys just sort of stood around looking at their handshis eyebrows
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I look great compared to all those people who spent their childhoods having friend

The oh so telling typo.
posted by cashman at 8:11 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's an appreciation of Andy Rooney by CBS' Andrew Cohen, talking mostly about his World War 2 reporting. Like most everyone here, I knew nothing about Rooney beyond his crotchety old fogey persona. My entire time on this planet has been nothing but a faintly embarrassing epilogue to his life. That's odd to think about.
posted by Kattullus at 8:16 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


The last few commentaries? The man published a book in the 1980s with a chapter entitled "Chairs."

Yeah, that kind of stuff is dumb, huh.
posted by cashman at 8:19 AM on September 28, 2011


What... is the deal... with Andy Rooney?

amidoinitrite
posted by Eideteker at 8:19 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


sorite!
posted by Aizkolari at 8:21 AM on September 28, 2011


"Mr. Rooney goes to Washington" from 1975. He won a Peabody award.
posted by notmtwain at 8:24 AM on September 28, 2011


wow a lot of free floating old man hating here. You never had to watch him, you never had to read him. Some people liked him, he's 92 fucking years old and leaving a sweet gig on his own terms. Respect.

Also, I'm sure when you're 92 there will be nothing unusual about the way you dress, in the eyes of people one-fourth your age. Enjoy that.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:28 AM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Have his eyebrows finally managed to cover his entire head?

In high school I wanted to do a Dune parody with among other people, Andy Rooney as the Mentat Thufir Hawat, specifically because of the giant eyebrow similarities in the Lynch version. He would be captured by the Harkonnens and forced to do weekly segments that would never be broadcast.
"You know what I don't understand? Having to drink cat milk to survive. Sure, it's easier to take it upstairs than a cow when it's time to go to bed, but it's just that I'm not a cat person. Why not some comically oversized pill? I take 15 pills a day for all sorts of other things, what's one more? 100 centuries since the space age began, and all science can do is get a cat to do a man's job.

Even though it's keeping me alive, I'm just not connecting with this cat. I named him 'Steve', but the cat couldn't care less. I just can't have a conversation with a cat like I can with a dog. The cat just looks unhappy all the time. Maybe because they are more aware of what's going on. But if it were a dog, they'd be happy to see me when I came in the room, no matter what awful thing the Baron had it hooked up to. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. A beagle would be nice. Why can't science get with me on this?"
posted by chambers at 8:32 AM on September 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


My entire time on this planet has been nothing but a faintly embarrassing epilogue to his life. That's odd to think about.

I was just thinking that he's been old longer than I've been alive.

With Andy Rooney retiring we now have the perfect snarky remark for any one who complains about new things. For example you have a coworker who complains about the twitter:

"Well now that Andy Rooney's retired, maybe you can replace him and talk about Twitter"

It's the new "I'll get off your lawn"
posted by device55 at 8:36 AM on September 28, 2011


92 and a World War II correspondent. I had no idea.

Thank you for the link.
posted by BuffaloChickenWing at 8:41 AM on September 28, 2011


He's 92. He started this at 59. I hope when I'm 59 someone cares enough about my grumpy observations to give me a segment on a popular show for 33 years.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:42 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's 92. He started this at 59. I hope when I'm 59 someone cares enough about my grumpy observations to give me a segment on a popular show for 33 years.

You need to watch more late night public access local television.
posted by Fizz at 8:50 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Luckily, Rex Murphy is still around...
posted by Yowser at 8:51 AM on September 28, 2011


Andy Rooney on the Iraq War.

Guy wasn't completely out of touch.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:53 AM on September 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


I hope when I'm 59 someone cares enough about my grumpy observations to give me a segment on a popular show for 33 years.

The comic Cathy ran for 34 years. I'm not sure what longevity has to do with quality.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:56 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Andy Rooney, frightening me since the age of five.
posted by Cerulean at 8:58 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's for old people because young people haven't been able to come up with anything better. 60 Minutes has blown a lot of whistles over the years.
posted by Melismata at 9:00 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would argue that in Andy Rooney v. Ali G, it's Ali G who is more annoying.

But then, that holds true for almost all values of X in the equation X v. Ali G.
posted by chavenet at 9:01 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope when I'm 59 someone cares enough about my grumpy observations to give me a segment on a popular show for 33 years.

I hope when I'm 59 someone cares enough about me to make sure my name doesn't become synonymous with "two minutes of unfunny grumpiness".
posted by 23skidoo at 9:02 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


>>I hope when I'm 59 someone cares enough about my grumpy observations to give me a segment on a popular show for 33 years.
>You need to watch more late night public access local television.

The key word here is "popular." I'll miss Andy Rooney, and can't blame him really since most people aren't working when they're in their 90s. stupidsexyFlanders is right.

Andy Rooney was probably added onto 60 Minutes since the show had aspirations of being a kind of news magazine of the air, and many magazines reserve the last page for a kind of humor piece or other kind of mood lightener. Something to chuckle over so you aren't to bummed out by what came before.
posted by JHarris at 9:07 AM on September 28, 2011


Yes, it's time, and even past time, for Andy Rooney to retire. Good for him for recognizing that and stepping down on his own terms.

Someone above linked to some hateful comments allegedly made by Andy Rooney, while another poster asked what his best work was. I was young when Andy Rooney was accused of being a racist and a bigot, but I still remember when it happened. It was a time when people were finally being held accountable for their words, and losing their jobs for saying insensitive or downright offensive things.

In the zeal to expurge any racism and bigotry, though, there were a few casualties, a few incidences where maybe actions went too far, where the body of work of an individual fell by the wayside after a single comment was perceived negatively.

Howard Cosell made one of those comments during a a football game: "That little monkey gets loose, doesn't he?" The player, Alvin Garrett of the Redskins, was black, and the remark was seen as racist. Cosell insisted that "little monkey" was an affectionate term he'd used many times before for lots of shorter athletes, and even his little grandson. The records backed him up; he'd used that term for athlete Mike Adamle, who was white, for example, 11 times previously over the years.

Cossell left Monday Night Football rather than making a public apology, and his career was effectively over after more than 20 years in broadcasting.

So, when Andy Rooney allegedly made the racist comments above, and that, I think, was the tipping point rather than the 'homosexual union' remark, as we are talking about a time when, unfortunately, negativity against homosexuality in general was very high, as AIDS was still perceived as a 'gay disease', Rooney was suspended from 60 Minutes for 3 months without pay.

When he returned, this is an excerpt of what Rooney had to say, and I would put it up there as one of his best works:
"Homosexuals everywhere were furious with my insensitive remark. Their argument was that I shoud have said that it was "unsafe sex," not "homosexual union," that led to AIDS. In retrospect I agreed i shouldn't have put it that way but it was too late.

A reporter for a gay magazine called The Advocate called and I talked to him at length. When is article appeared he quoted me as saying "blacks have watered down their genes." It isn't anything I would have said, and doesn't sound like anything I would have said--but there it was in print. What I had said, which was probably inadvisable, was that I thought we might be in danger of diminishing our collective I.Q. in this country because the dumbest Americans were having the most babies. I did not say, or mean, that they were necessarily black.

The President of CBS News, David Burke, took the word of the reporter for the magazine over mine and suspended me for three months. While I never really believed my absence caused the decline, 60 Minutes ratings sunk. It was a lucky coincidence for me and my suspension was suspended after three weeks..."

"As much as I love my work here, I could get out of the Ady Rooney busines tomorrow and have a great time...if I could leave here with my reputation.

What do I say to defend myself? Do I say, "I am not a racist." That sounds like Nixon saying, "I am not a crook."

How do I apologize to homosexuals for hurting them with a remark I didn't realize would hurt them?

It's demeaning to have ot sit here and defend myself. In the Army in World War II, I was infuriated to find that black soldiers had to sit in the back of the bus. I got on a bus in St. Augustine one day to go back to Camp Blanding and I insisted on sitting in the back with the black guys. I was arrested.

In 1970 I set out, with a camera crew, to find out what happened to the man who was twice tried for the murder of that great civil rights leader, Medgar Evers. I was arrested and dragged into court in Jackson, Mississippi, by two redneck sheriffs who didn't like what we were doing.

I wrote a broadcast called Of Black America for bill Cosby in 1968 that I'm proud of. In 1970 I wrote the show called Harry and Lena for Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. I like Lena better than Harry. Does that make me a feminist?

My son says that one of the worst experiences of his young life was the night I asked a guest to leave our house because he kept using the word, "nigger."

I'd feel the same today if anyone used an insulting word about homosexuals.

Dr. Benjamin Hooks, the director of the NAACP, said earlier in the week that he knew I was not a racist. I liked that a whole lot....

And now comes the hard part. What do I do to justify the action David Burke, the president of CBS News, has taken in putting me back on the air? What do I do about the kind words heaped on me by friends and stranges? It's overwhelming. How do I live up to such praise? Let's face it, even on the nights when I'm good, I'm not that good."
posted by misha at 9:19 AM on September 28, 2011 [36 favorites]


He was a good reporter in WWII, and wrote interestingly about it in some of his newspaper pieces and in his book, My War. A lot of his earlier work was pretty funny, I think, such as the Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington segment mentioned above. He also wrote some moving pieces about personal tragedies, such as the death of his mother.

Yes, he's been riding the same schtick for far too many years. And yes, it's unfortunate that his opinions-political and otherwise-remained largely stuck in an earlier era. But the Andy Rooney hate here is kind of crappy and misplaced.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:21 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Cosine at 9:23 AM on September 28, 2011


Every one of Andy Rooney's segments boils down to: I'm old and things change and I don't like it.

It's like Abe Simpson gets five minutes every week.

Ah, whatevs. Godspeed and all that.
posted by grubi at 9:38 AM on September 28, 2011


wow a lot of free floating old man hating here.

Oh come on. Amy Poehler would not have improved this material.

But the Andy Rooney hate here is kind of crappy and misplaced.

The extra context provided by some is appreciated, but that goes to the man; it doesn't shine the turd that was the 60 Minutes closer. This isn't an obit thread. We should be able to differentiate between the two.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:42 AM on September 28, 2011


There's nothing "alleged" about Rooney's hateful speech, misha, maybe you didn't bother to look at the NYTimes citation I provided. He really said it and he was really suspended for three months afterwards.

And thank you for quoting his apology afterwards. I remember that from the time, it was thoughtful and nuanced and also a bit infuriating. I appreciate it as part of Rooney being a real, complex journalist, something well beyond the cranky old guy caricature of his later 60 Minutes career.
posted by Nelson at 9:57 AM on September 28, 2011


He hasn't been on the show in many weeks.
posted by longsleeves at 9:57 AM on September 28, 2011


D'ya ever hear a piece of news and spontaneously do a silly dance?
posted by longsleeves at 10:05 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nelson, I think misha was referring to the remark attributed to him about black people being stupid, which was fabricated by the reporter from The Advocate, and not the remark about homosexual unions (which he readily admitted to and apologized for).
posted by tzikeh at 10:05 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does anyone have an example of anything worthwhile Andy Rooney has ever said? If so, I'd love to see it.
Well, I admit that I find his typical "I have too many pairs of socks" stuff "worthwhile", but ignoring that: Yes.

Once in a great while, when something important happens, he often puts down the crotchety old man routine and gives a sober and somber reflection upon it. It's rare, but it's quite a juxtaposition with "Why do they make these containers so hard to open", and when it happens, I usually find it quite poignant and to the heart of the matter, often going straight to some important core issue that many people seem to be breezing past.

I'm not going to spend time looking for specific examples right now, but things along the lines of when it was discovered that the US was torturing people, holding them indefinitely without charges, and so forth. In such situations, Rooney will give a "this may be who we are, but it is not who we should be" sort of speech.
posted by Flunkie at 10:14 AM on September 28, 2011


Oh no, where I am going to go to get a short crotchety discussion of a random topic from an old man?

I'm here all night.
posted by rokusan at 10:26 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have an example of anything worthwhile Andy Rooney has ever said? If so, I'd love to see it.


"Mr. Rooney goes to Washington" from 1975. He won a Peabody award.

A terrific overview of the inner workings of DC bureaucracy in all its glory. Complete with memorable commercials for American Express travelers cheques, Lifesavers, Bic- flicking. Highly recommended.
posted by notmtwain at 10:28 AM on September 28, 2011


Are they going to assign a replacement? Who would be a good candidate?

How about Dan Rather.
posted by bukvich at 10:29 AM on September 28, 2011


FWIW, here's what he wrote when his mom died.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:33 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


the NYTimes citation I provided.

Did anyone else notice the category header "COLLECTIONS > HOMOSEXUALS" in the link? That's kind of weird.

On preview: oh shit, I sound like Andy Rooney!
posted by exogenous at 10:41 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Top Ten Grumpiest Andy Rooney Segments

I found that 'article' to be serious troll-bait. The opening segment, which is titled 'What's a Lady Gaga?' in the article, is a thoughtful piece on why Americans can have common interests in many areas, but be so divided by age with music. The underlying reason, unstated but certainly clear to Rooney, is that media companies care about a demographic that is not representative of the 'average' American: average in age and experience, by nature of being so young.

He doesn't put down the artists he doesn't know, he merely talks about what he thinks it means - what it means to have experience, to feel a bond with others across ages, and to find a rift in one place.

It's an experience many of us will share, especially if we look at the Billboard 200 as he did.

Let's simulate Rooney-hood by taking the Billboard 200 from my youth. Go back twenty-five years to the Billboard 200 of October 1986. Here are the top 10 artists - how many do we listen to now? How many, if still active, could plausibly appear on the Billboard 200 now?

Madonna, Top Gun (Soundtrack), Genesis, David Lee Roth, Run DMC, Steve Winwood, Janet Jackson, Billy Ocean, Wham!

I would make a guess that 20 year old pop music fans today (as opposed to weirdos like myself who listen to a lot of stuff, including pop), would not have heard of anything off the Top Gun soundtrack (outside of an ironic context), nor know of Genesis, David Lee Roth, Steve Winwood, Billy Ocean, or Wham!

Andy's not asking why that's the case, but he is looking at the reverse. Why aren't the classic singers of his era popular, and why isn't he being marketed to such that people like him might contribute to the choices of music on the Billboard 200?

Well, he knows (and we know) it's because 18 year olds are (or were) willing to spend more, care more about being current, and are attractive to advertisers under the belief that an early customer is a loyal customer. But he leaves that unsaid, so that the listener can reflect on why.

And the article is troll bait because he never says what's a Lady Gaga.
posted by zippy at 10:43 AM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also, weird, the link I pasted in gives different songs when I revisit it. But the artists are similarly dated.
posted by zippy at 10:46 AM on September 28, 2011


>FWIW, here's what he wrote when his mom died.<

That makes me want to pick up one of his books now.

I don’t really get the hate, not in light of the competition. Every time the TV is on I see obnoxious, shallow people yelling some vapid script at me as quickly as possible, and realizing they have no idea, or no part in what they’re saying. I find it somewhat refreshing to hear someone actually say something they’ve thought about, even if it’s not very important.

And he’s 92. Let’s see what you’re doing when your that old.
posted by bongo_x at 10:47 AM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


To be clear, I don't see this all as strictly "Andy Rooney hate." I'm a journalist with a history degree. I am well aware he was a serious reporter, and I can see how his lighter-side-of-paper-clips schtick probably scanned as just the lighthearted outro that the heavyhitting reporting on 60 Minutes needed when he first landed the gig.

But here's the thing: The last two minutes of 60 Minutes is one of those few rare big-tent megaphones left in journalism. It is an extraordinarily powerful platform. There are countless sharper, younger commentators over the years who could've used that position as a place of insight as well as humour. (Off the top of my head: Dave Barry, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, Dennis Miller, Stephen Colbert and the entire reporting crew at Jon Stewart, Harry Shearer, Patton Oswalt, Louis CK . . . etc., etc. . . .) It could've been very funny, or penetrating, or stinging in its satire of the week's events. Instead, we got a guy who many weeks phoned in complaints about the detritus in one of his desk drawers.

Someone linked to Rex Murphy above, and he's a great Canadian example of the same phenomenon: A guy who once had an original and (so I'm told) insightful voice, was given the biggest soapboxes, and now he refuses to step down and no one's willing to pull him down, even though he spends nearly all his time spewing out five-syllable words from atop three worn-out hobby horses - 1) climate change is a misguided religion; 2) Madonna is a fame whore and so all pop culture is vacuous and bad; 3) politicians is teh dumb.

Rex Murphy's got not just one but three huge soapboxes of this sort - commentary on CBC's nightly newscast, a column in a national paper (though thankfully the Globe finally put him out to the old crank's retirement home that is the National Post op-ed page) and CBC Radio's only national call-in show. He occupies that real estate and guarantees that nothing original or new or insightful will flow from there. It is somewhat zero-sum in the old media establishment; there's only so much broadcast time, only so many column inches on an op-ed page.

So no, I don't hate Andy Rooney. I just think he wasted his incredibly powerful position and his viewers' time on subjects miraculously less weightless than the fare on Entertainment Tonight. The respectful thing to do - as others have noted here - would've been to gently nudge him off the air before he embarassed himself.
posted by gompa at 10:50 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I used to be 'with it', but then they changed what 'it' was. Now what I'm with isn't 'it', and what's 'it' seems weird and scary." --Abe Simpson
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:54 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


gompa: "There are countless sharper, younger commentators over the years who could've used that position as a place of insight as well as humour. (Off the top of my head: Dave Barry, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, Dennis Miller, Stephen Colbert and the entire reporting crew at Jon Stewart, Harry Shearer, Patton Oswalt, Louis CK . . . etc., etc. . . .) It could've been very funny, or penetrating, or stinging in its satire of the week's events. Instead, we got a guy who many weeks phoned in complaints about the detritus in one of his desk drawers."

I think a lot of that is on point. But Dave Barry strikes me very much as Andy Rooney 2.0. Oh boy, the 453rd installment of the Mr. Language Person column!
posted by Chrysostom at 11:04 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




I think a lot of that is on point. But Dave Barry strikes me very much as Andy Rooney 2.0. Oh boy, the 453rd installment of the Mr. Language Person column!

True if we're talking about Dave Barry now or even in 1998 or so, but if they'd brought him in when Rooney was past his prime in say 1990, that shtick would've been fresh and fun for at least a little while. He used to write columns then that I've committed to memory they were so sharp.

(e.g. in re a wine tasting, there's these lines - close paraphrase - which I still think of every time I read tasting notes: "The object seems to be not so much to drink the wine as to sniff at it and then make judgments about it as you would a job applicant. 'It's lucid, yes, but somewhat strident.' 'A good effort, but almost Episcopalian in its predictability.'")
posted by gompa at 11:09 AM on September 28, 2011


I wonder who'll get his stapler.
posted by longsleeves at 11:15 AM on September 28, 2011


Oh, man, that Dave Barry wine-tasting column has one of my favorite lines by him:

"I realize I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care."

Also, that column has a just about perfect description of the cultural difference between the French and Americans when it comes to wine.
posted by Kattullus at 11:23 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


-gompa-
Point taken.
posted by bongo_x at 11:31 AM on September 28, 2011


My favorite reaction to this was the following tweet:

Congratulations on a long career to Andy Rooney, or as I've come to know him "And now a few minutes with Andy Ro..(Tivo sound)"

http://twitter.com/#!/JElvisWeinstein/status/118797443570741248
posted by mrnutty at 11:32 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to enjoy watching him when I was young - not always, but when he was funny he could be pretty funny (I have a vague memory of his continuing rant against companies putting less and less products into same sized packaging, and charging the same).

But the day he so casually and cruelly complained about Kurt Cobain's suicide as if it was another big so-what - and I wasn't even a huge Nirvana fan - he lost me.
posted by Mchelly at 11:34 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nelson, I think misha was referring to the remark attributed to him about black people being stupid, which was fabricated by the reporter from The Advocate

Oh geez, I've made a mess of things. Here's Rooney's dispute that he made the racist statement quoted in The Advocate, in the 1990 NYTimes article
''I did not say, nor would I ever have thought, that blacks have watered down their genes,'' he said in a telephone interview. ''It is a know-nothing statement, which I abhor. I am a reporter and essayist who has established his credibility over a period of more than 40 years. People know what I think. I do not think blacks are inferior.
Chris Bull, the Advocate reporter, stood by the quote, but says the interview was not recorded. I couldn't find any resolution over whether he said it or not. Rooney revisits the incident in a memoir.

Anyway, my point in quoting this stuff wasn't to say Rooney is an awful man. It was just to remind folks of another facet of a complicated guy, someone who's more than a growling grandpa complaining about the minutae of life. Maybe as penance I should dig up some of his WW2 correspondence, that'd be more interesting than a possibly fabricated one-off quote.
posted by Nelson at 11:55 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the link, Kattulus.

Here's the quote I mangled above:
My policy with wine is very similar to my policy with beer, which is I just pretty much drink it and look around for more. The people at my table, on the other hand, leaned more toward the slosh- and-sniff approach, where you don't so much drink the wine as you frown and then make a thoughtful remark about it such as you might make about a job applicant ("I find it ambitious, but somewhat strident." Or: "It's lucid, yes, but almost Episcopalian in its predictability.") As it happened, I was sitting next to a French person named Mary, and I asked her if people in France carry on this way about wine. "No, " she said, "they just drink it. They're more used to it."
His bit on Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is some fine vintage Dave Barry as well. Plus I can attest, having been to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, that using the phrase "Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump" repeatedly in casual conversation is irrestibly fun.

My wife and I have a picture of us at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. It's there so that when guests catch sight of it, we can say, "That's us at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump."
posted by gompa at 1:09 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Irresistibly fun, too. (Hey Dave, pass me that bottle . . .)
posted by gompa at 1:11 PM on September 28, 2011


The first thing I think of when I think Andy Rooney is "I don't trust soups, on the whole, no more than I trust stews".

If only for that: thanks, man.
posted by vorfeed at 1:44 PM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nelson: Anyway, my point in quoting this stuff wasn't to say Rooney is an awful man. It was just to remind folks of another facet of a complicated guy, someone who's more than a growling grandpa complaining about the minutae of life.

That's how I understood it too, Nelson. Rooney had an extremely long career. Most of us here only know him from his 33 year stint on 60 Minutes. It's sort of like only reading Part 8 of Anna Karenina (which is also fuddy-duddyness half-baked into philosophizing) and not the rest of the novel.
posted by Kattullus at 2:35 PM on September 28, 2011


So is anyone ever going to answer the real question? Why is he not going for a round 2000? Why stop at 1097?
posted by dilettante at 3:48 PM on September 28, 2011


I think I'm qualified to take over from him. Maybe I should start a YouTube. I'm young, but I have graphs proving that pop music is turning people into sociopaths.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:47 PM on September 28, 2011


You guys can hate him, but in revenge I've read this entire thread in his voice.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:08 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


in revenge I've read this entire thread in his voice.

Have you ever read a Metafilter thread in this voice? I have. And I can tell you, I don't understand some of these comments. Here's one from someone called "zippy." I'm not sure if that's a man or a woman.

Here's a post from "Lovecraft in Brooklyn," "I think I'm qualified to take over for him" That's me, in case you were wondering. I'm not sure why he or she thinks this. I've never been one for lovecraft, aside from that unfortunate sex tape, and I've certainly never lived in Brooklyn.
posted by zippy at 5:27 PM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


So he was the Flavor Flav of 60 Minutes. That's so ill.
Yes, if you watch closely enough, you will see that he is actually wearing the maniacally ticking stopwatch around his neck.
posted by obscurator at 5:35 PM on September 28, 2011


Norm MacDonald did a great take on him on SNL years ago, along the lines of "Everywhere you look these days, there's people. Here's a box of Corn Flakes. Got people on it. Well, I don't like people. I suppose that makes me bad."

By the way, I haven't seen anything stating that this actually was HIS decision. He may be getting a nudge from the network, here. (I think they had to lock show creator Don Hewitt out of his office before he got the hint.)
posted by evilcolonel at 8:00 PM on September 28, 2011


Whenever I hear Rooney's name mentioned, the first thing I think of is the last time I consciously chose to listen to him when he dissed Cobain as well as those who were mourning his death. He apologised the next week, and I think he meant it, but the fact that he thought it and said it in the first place was enough that I just lost any interest in anything else he might have said from that point on.

Embarassed that i don't remember the 1990 controversy. Should have stopped listening then.

Here's Anna Quindlen's take on Rooney's comments about Cobain (sorry for the paywall).

Young people who feel an inner agony ... as "exquisite as any imaginable physical pain" often do not reveal themselves because they suspect that some adult will scoff and say that what they feel is "nonsense", that they have no "real problems". Sunday evening, some adult did just that, and on national television too.
posted by marsha56 at 8:39 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My dad once told me that Andy Rooney was on German TV after the war describing how he rode in a bomber to drop bundles of The Stars and Stripes to American troops, and ended up dropping some on the Germans as well. During the interview a former German general called in and brought down to the studio a copy of the paper Rooney had bombed him with.
posted by atchafalaya at 11:06 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


So did anyone watch it? Listening to it now online, he seems pretty level headed and apologetic.

See ya around Andy.
posted by Big_B at 6:43 AM on October 3, 2011


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