I watched Andy Rooney give his last commentary, “My Lucky Life,” on “60 Minutes” Oct. 2. I found it interesting that a man who started writing for the “Stars and Stripes” during World War II went on to write for radio and TV because he didn’t think the printed word was being read enough.
So many people have predicted the demise of the printed word in the last few years, but I thought it was because of the influence of the Internet. Listening to Rooney talk reminded me that many things have influenced the decline of the readership of newspapers.
I grew up with Andy Rooney. His distinct voice often caused me to stop and listen to what he had to say. He was a bit controversial and said what he thought. Though I didn’t agree with everything he said, his points of view gave me something to think about.
Rooney told viewers on his last show that he has lived a lucky life. He was asked, if he hadn’t done all he did, what would he do? Rooney answered that he would go to war, write for the Star and Stripes, write his own material for radio and TV, and then he would read it.
“That’s what I would do.” In other words, Rooney did what he loved. I admire that.
He really is a lucky man. He did what he wanted to do and had no regrets. Well, mostly.
He did say that he regretted saying something one time that offended some people. He was suspended for two months from the show, but says that he learned a lot from the experience.
One thing that stood out among everything else that Rooney said was, “It’s a writer’s job to tell the truth and if more people were writers, the world would be a better place.” I couldn’t agree more.
It made me realize that writing is an art. The written word has a magic to it that can persuade the most difficult person to see things in a different way. Words can be arranged in such a way that can be read like a beautiful concerto or a graceful ballet. Writers can take us away to a different world and then bring us back to reality.
The world needs more Andy Rooneys.
Week 18 has me thinking about how the written word has shaped the world. Newspapers are only one way in which that is conveyed. Radio, TV, the Internet, magazines, books, and newspapers can and will co-exist. I think there will be some adjusting as more technology is introduced, but Andy Rooney has reminded me that the thing these all have in common is the writing.
The more needs more writers, if only to keep that art alive.