Friday, June 13, 2008

Sad news

I think it's a testament to the power of media that when someone famous passes away, it's often hard not feel a small pang of sadness because the side-effect of living very public lives is that people begin to feel as though they "know" celebrities.  Through trashy magazines and infotainment programs we "know" everything from their favorite lip liner to their recent breakup while newspapers, websites, and billboards showcase splashy photos of both their highlights and less-than-savory moments. 

One entertainer was a personal favorite of mine who I became familiar with vis a vis Sunday morning television on channel 67 (for those of you without cable in the Seattle area).  Tim Russert was a fantastic news person.  His command
 of my Sunday standard program, Meet the Press, was inimitable.  As a non-politico myself, I found
  MTP to be both educational and entertaining.  In an hour, I could watch the newest roster of political scenesters and industry analysts duke it out over  current affairs.  And I both balked at and delighted in the careful handling of starkly opposing opinions.  My favorite rebuttals frequently began with, "Well, Tim... as you know, I consider Rep. Suchandsuch to be a solid politician... we've spent many years working together... I consider him a friend... BUT..." 

It's been over two years since I first drew the host and guests of Meet The Press.  It began almost as a test to see how well I could sketch out the basics of their faces and postures while they bantered, rapid-fire style with only Tim Russert as arbiter.  And Tim himself was one of my favorite subjects.  His rounded jowls gave his face a nearly square shape (were it not for his little point of a chin) and his eyes were always alight with some sort of almost-private enjoyment at the sparring of his guests.  He had the perfect newscaster's voice and laughed when appropriate which always makes a person more human.  Some days he got little screen time in favor of high profile (or
 loud-mouthed) guests and I was only able to get a scribble down on the page- just his signature jaw line... but mostly that was enough.

Without getting too sappy, I know I'll miss hearing his voice on Sunday mornings  and I can only hope that his family will feel the full weight of the love and respect his colleagues and viewers clearly have for him.

Photo  courtesy of the Associated Press.

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