From P-Town… Brokaw is Bringing Gravitas Back

1. Back entrance to Brokaw does not properly convey the “Girls Gone Brokaw” vibe of ladies who grew up watching him on the news. 2. Hard-hitting news from Martin’s day: a handwritten note in the gutter informed him of the whereabouts of his lost keys, ending a four day stretch without them. 3. Rarely seen view from the inner Schnitz spaceship, called Orchestra.

In the wake of Timberlake bringing sexy back, Tom Brokaw took the stage last Thursday at the Schnitzer Concert Hall for an event sponsored by Portland Literary Arts to discuss his latest book, The Time of Our Lives, as well as his former book, The Greatest Generation, with a gravitas that was formerly only delivered via living room.

1. Chris said Brokaw is his idol — old and sexy. Amy grew up watching him and admires his political views. Matthew requested an intelligent quote be assigned to him so here it is: “What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place ’cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves — pronto — we’ll just be bogus too! ” — Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High 2. Emily, Rich and Dane have always loved Brokaw and that love brought them here.

He started the night by sharing a few experiences, well-worn with remembrance and impeccably timed. In his opinion, “humble anchorman” is an oxymoron. His stories illustrated the priviledge and pressure endured by his inner circle of anchorman who seemed to have the constitution of James Bond and practical, down-to-earth wives who held them accountable for everyday life.

1. I cut in front of someone in this line. Sorry.

We already know what Brokaw knows about America because he told us it was happening, when it happened, for about forty years; however, he summarized the twentieth American century in about thirty minutes, just to get us all on the same footing. He shared facts and perspectives gathered on the scene to create a vision of his perspective, following each point of view with an appropriately timed and sometimes humorous segue, depending on his read of the audience.

A fourth grader could’ve outlined his talk and gotten at least a B. I felt smart and less guilty about not really watching the news since Dan Rather announced Operation Desert Cloud, which he quickly corrected as Operation Desert Storm. I always preferred Desert Cloud.

The remainder of the talk focused on cultivating a complex view of social and political issues to enable conversations towards sustainable change as well as exploring opportunities for Americans to give back to their country through public service within their communities.

Brokaw comes from a generation that believed their children would have a better life than they had. He hasn’t lost hope, but he would like to help future generations troubleshoot the odds during his lifetime.

The Time of Our Lives

by Tom Brokaw

— Judith Ossello currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find her here.

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