alistair cooke
July 26, 2003 11:09 AM   Subscribe

"Alistair cooke is the master of the past tense: a living archive of American and British history. Such experience, wisdom and education are unlikely ever again to combine in one journalist." High praise indeed, recently I have been gripped by his documentary charting the rise of modern america. Although in blighty he is probably best known for his weekly letters from america.
posted by johnnyboy (7 comments total)
As mentioned in the post alistair cooke's america is thirteen hours of enlightening entertainment, well worth a viewing, certainly for the throngs already pontifcating about the behemoth that is modern day america.
posted by johnnyboy at 11:47 AM on July 26, 2003

Hearing Letter From America every week is definitely one of the highlights of listening to BBC World Service.
posted by SenshiNeko at 1:44 PM on July 26, 2003

When I first read this, I saw "Alistair Cookie" -- the character Cookie Monster on Sesame Street played hosting segments of "Monsterpiece Theatre."
posted by ltracey at 3:02 PM on July 26, 2003

If he was born in 1898, how could he have just turned 91, even in an article dated 1999?
posted by JanetLand at 5:50 PM on July 26, 2003

I can't stand the man.

Letter from America is so full of tortuous sub-clause riddled sentences that, eventually, after a digression about something that happened in 1934, which may only be of tangential relevance to the topic at hand (which reminds Cooke in turn of the time he heard Richard Nixon use the word 'tangential' at a press conference, although, of course, there was no such thing as a 'press conference' back then), cease to mean anything at all, not even to Cooke himself, which hardly matters since his listeners lost interest in whatever it was he was saying at the beginning of the sentence anyway, in any case, etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

My receiver is tuned to Radio 4 or the World Service twenty-four hours a day. Cooke's missive is one of the only programmes that has me reaching for the off switch.
posted by jack_mo at 4:31 AM on July 27, 2003

The Dead Ringers parody of Cooke picks out jack_mo's complaint with aplomb. I'm in two minds about him: on the one hand, he undoubtedly brings an astonishing amount of experience to his 'talks', which you rarely find in discussions of American politics and culture; on the other hand, it's noticeable how he's got crabby and reactionary in old age (who doesn't, I suppose?) and while he's quintessentially Reithian BBC in his reticence to assert his political preferences, you can tell that he has a soft spot for the Gilded Age and the good old boys of the South.
posted by riviera at 8:37 AM on July 27, 2003

If he was born in 1898, how could he have just turned 91, even in an article dated 1999?

By being born in 1908.
posted by vbfg at 11:20 PM on July 27, 2003

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