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What's that again?

By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor

We're going to mark the anniversary of the Walkman tonight, and we came across a piece of writing from Hans Fantel in the New York Times, December 20, 1979.  Can you imagine reading this passage today, about the effect of a personal stereo?

"The listener is sonically isolated and psychologically removed from his surroundings. Schubert on Conrail unquestionably helps in traversing the South Bronx."

Where to begin?  The gender specificity of "his" surroundings?  Conrail?  Remember Conrail?  You can still see the old logo on a couple of grizzled veteran engines along the track siding. Best of all, what did he just say about the South Bronx?

It's wildly unfair to apply modern standards to criticize a piece of journalism written in another era -- but my intent here is merely to show, using just 21 words, how much change there's been since then.

To another change: nobody used to grunt in tennis.  Ever.  While my theory is that it's a tributary of our societal trend toward the celebration of self (I will throw down over any challenges to my theory, but without grunting), it has reached ridiculous levels at Wimbledon this year.  While I don't play or follow tennis, I thought former NBC Sportscaster Len Berman had some good, provocative reporting on the subject on his blog today.

We're preparing the broadcast for this Wednesday night, and we sure hope you can be with us.