The Virgin Megaman, Newborn Alan Alda and a difference of opinion

Tonight’s show featured interviews with Richard Branson and Alan Alda… Two conversations that equaled a(n) (possibly?) unintentional argument about the pros and cons of celebrity endorsements.

First, Branson was available to discuss the death of the “record store,” and to promote Virgin Unite and their  endeavor to get aid to remote areas of Africa.  He estimated that chain record stores would be gone in ten years, which i think is likely and unfortunate. I am a huge cd purchasing geek, i love owning the albums as a packaged piece of art. However, i also realize that less albums and packaging is better for the environment. so…go ahead and download. 😦

Virgin Unite is tackling world issues head on. Branson is such a no-B.S. do-er, which explains why he is so optimistic… if you are actively working to get things done, you will see results. His charity is sending aid workers on motorcycles to remote areas of Africa… they are trying to unify and create communication between the many many charities working in Africa, thus allowing positive ideas and developments to spread… and they are welcoming the celebrity participants that they have attracted. Branson has no problem working with George Clooney or Natalie Imbruglia to get the word out on certain issues. This is a conversation we have had on  here before, and there are no definate answers to the question: is celebrity endorsement a good or bad thing? I think its safe to say that it is working in Branson’s case.

In the case of Alan Alda, although he was talking about electing popular people in to politics and not chairty (note: charity is political…………..), he said one of my most favourite things of all time:

“If we keep putting people up because people will listen to them, then we stop expecting them to have evidence for what they are saying”

such a reasonable argument. so perfect. We cant just agree with things because someone that is popular is supporting it, we need to know the background… and that tends to get overlooked.

He also said something else i really liked: “you cant do art without being personal” but some things are private.             

somewhere along the way we stopped knowing the difference between those two things, which is why i know too much about britney spears…etc. *uggghhh.*

I would say that this interview with Alan Alda is one of my favourite conversations ever on The Hour.

Disinformation: 70% of the world’s population has never heard a dial tone. really makes you think about the global divide. The division between the rich and the poor is not just happening and getting wider within our own countries, it is happening on a global scale. and this little fact really put that notion into perspective.


p.s. I did not mean to suggest that Britney spears makes in any way, shape or form something called “art”…. 😉



  1. Sir Richard, always a wonderful interview, such a wonderful man. 57 and still amazing! And that sparkle in his eye never dulls.
    Motorcycles to deliver medicine to remote villages. This is a brilliant idea, though I hope they protect the riders and cargo. I can see roving war bands trying to steal medicine and then sell it, thus creating a new problem. I hope they have that under control before the first bikes head out.
    If the world ever had to have a leader, well, Branson wouldn’t take it, but he’d do a brilliant job.
    Cheers, Sir Richard! Keep showing the best of humanity to the Universe.

  2. Alan Alda’s quote about “you can’t do art without being personal” stuck with me as well, long after the show was over…when writing, creating, designing – whatever your creative outlet is – its often hard to navigate the question of “how much is too much? or how little is too little” when you are putting your experiences and emotions into the art that you create…to me, the most beautiful things that people have created have been the books, the art, the photographs, that are infused with personality, history and emotion.
    i could ramble on about this forever, but think i’ll stop here…thanks Alan, for that statement.

  3. The whole notion of the necessity for personal affections reflected in art kinda reminds me of what Debbie Harry said in her interview with George…. something about if the songs made her uncomfortable in some way, then she knew it was good, because she knew she was expressing some truth in it. i love, and completely agree with that….

  4. AND it has nothing to do with who shes dating. 😉

  5. Have only watched some parts on the show via the Net. I adored the Alan Alda interview. Also one of my favourites. It had a neat rhythm to it and it seemed Alda enjoyed it a lot as well.

    I skipped the Branson interview. I know he does some interesting things but I have seen enough of him. No need for more I guess. How many times has been on The Hour? Foo Fighters have been on a few times too but I’ll take them multiple times over Branson. Yes, I know that had sexual connotations. It was intentional. 😛

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