Folks; my 2 cents on the MT Award.
I saw the program (most of it, anyway), and found it to be splendid.
Martin is among the 3 or 4 people who can make me laugh just by walking out
on a stage. Just by his looks, or his deadpan. Twain was like that, from
what I hear.
The program reminded me of how funny Martin has been for a pretty long time.
The Award seems to be about that: being very funny for a very long time.
Plain and simple. The acceptance speech by Martin was priceless. The guy
is a rip.
Conclusion: we should all be thrilled that this Award, which is by now a
pretty big deal, and which awards a person for brilliant stand-up or
performance humor, is named after MT. That is one of the several facets of
MT's legacy, though of course not the only one. It clearly is not a
literary award (though Martin is a bit of an author).
It seems to me that some of the sadness, or perhaps anger, of some
LIST-members about the nature of this award has to do with how MT is
remembered, or who today best represents that memory. People can be very
possessive about these memories ( a point I have written about elsewhere).
And, as books like Lou Budd's OUR MARK TWAIN remind us: we cannot really
control those memories; they sort of take on a life of their own. That
alone makes me want to chill out a bit; why take it so seriously? Americans
will remember Twain in a variety of ways, some of which are acurrate.
Personally, I am glad he is at least being remembered at all, and for his
greatest trait--the guy was a rip. So is Steve Martin.
Harold K. Bush, Ph.D
Saint Louis University