Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ode to a Mormon Destroyer

Things have fallen apart in the TV world in my absence from the blog. I can accept that Tom Brokaw is doing his final newscast tomorrow night. I can deal with Dan Rather leaving in March. I can even write off that overwrought "oh, no, there's a naked back on Monday Night Football" uproar a couple of weeks ago as nothing more than FCC chairman Michael Powell getting bored and needing a diversion.

But now they've taken Ken Jennings from me. This means war.

Jeopardy's Mormon Destroyer lost in his 75th game during a taping back in September, but the show just aired here tonight. Jennings' winning streak and growing public popularity were inspirations for nerds everywhere, but his most important contribution night after night was showing Americans how to win with class and humility. The guy pocketed more than $2.5 million, but he remained gracious and mild-mannered and never got a big head about it. Crowds don't usually give standing ovations to contestants when they lose on a game show, but Jennings got one because people appreciated the character he showed during his winning streak. That, and he's inhumanly intelligent.

Thank you, Ken Jennings. America needs more citizens like you.


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