Bye-Bye Johnny, Johnny Bye-Bye

I was at the pattismith.net site a few days ago and found a great little poem called “John William Carson.”
I was reminded of how patti smith referred to Carson as the “human parachute” and the poem will have many resonances for those of us who grew up in the Carson era.
There are two passages I wanted to share.
First:
“You taught us how to improvise, to question and respond.
You were a nonpartisan conscience. You brought us opera,
jazz, wild animals and obscure though radiant human beings.
Spelling bee winners, inventors and outspoken innocents.”
But more so, the second:
“Goodbye Johnny. I imagine you will have to endure at least
one saint or prophet greeting you at the gates of heaven,
not able to resist, calling out:
‘Here’s Johnny!’
I know your comeback will be perfect and that you will
have them rolling in the clouds.”
In a world of cable and satellite, it’s becoming difficult to conceive of a time when a television brought the sense of shared experience that The Tonight Show did, where terms for television like “electric hearth” seemed appropriate.
Today, we hear about 500 channels and nothing on. But, that’s not really an apt description and is misses some important questions.
What if it’s 500 channels and something on 10, 100 or even 500 of them? At the same time even.
What if it’s 500 channels and the ones you love and the ones I love are different? How do we make connections then?
Or, most interesting, what if it’s 500 channels and at least one of them is yours to program?
Bye-bye Johnny, Johnny bye-bye.