Explaining Lunacy

 Posted by on 23 June 2005 at 5:15 am  Uncategorized
Jun 232005

At some point, I would like to see an explanation as to why so many very successful businessmen are complete loons. Case in point: Ted Turner. On The Corner, John Podhoretz writes:


Check this out: Speaking on the occasion of the network’s 25th anniversary, CNN founder Ted Turner told Christiane Amanpour, “I’m absolutely certain I did” play a major role in ending the Cold War. How, exactly? By sucking up to Soviet puppet states from Cuba to the Sandinista-dominated Nicaragua? By paying the Soviet government millions to host a counter-Olympics called “The Goodwill Games”?

Turner is a perplexing figure. On the one hand, he’s a brilliant businessman — and if his former colleagues at Time Warner had listened to him instead of sending him to the glue factory, the company wouldn’t have made the ridiculously ruinous merger with AOL. On the other, he’s a loon.

I have personal experience of his lunacy. In 1994, I attended the annual confab of television critics in Los Angeles. One evening, Turner hosted and sponsored an event to promote a documentary series called The Native Americans. This was the most politically correct program imaginable, and the event featured a Sioux dance-and-drum troupe putting on an endless performance in a hotel ballroom. We all watched in respectful silence. Then Turner got up and said, “I want to thank you all for coming. But I better thank the entertainment first. After all, I don’t want them to scalp me.”

One of the show’s producers, Jonathan Taplin, put his head in his hands. The musician Robbie Robertson, who wrote the score and was sitting next to me, coughed in astonishment, tapped me on the shoulder and shook his head in disgust. And then Turner laughed at his own joke. And kept laughing. Like a hyena.


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