Pretty much everyday for three years now, I’ve considered going back to school for a Ph.D. The principal thing that had continued my doctoral deferral is the internet. You can learn so much on the internet. My current pedagogical obsession is the Charlie Rose archives. Charlie Rose is the Trebek of talk show hosts—a charismatic polymath who facilitates the exposition of other brilliant minds. His guests range from fashion world muppets like Karl Lagerfeld to best-known string theorists like Brian Greene.
The Charlie Rose online archive collects I-can’t-figure-out-how-to-account-for-how-many interviews from the over twenty years his series has been running (1991-ongoing). You can browse by topic (Art & Design, Books, Business…) and search by guest. Rose is a welcoming, sometimes challenging (watch him tell Julian Schnabel that he is full of it), host and the discussions are always tight and insightful. Photographer Taryn Simon discusses her ongoing MoMA exhibit. Yogi B.K.S. Iyengar introduces the fundamentals of the practice of yoga. Patti Smith on her memoir Just Kids. Slavoj Zizek huffs over Occupy Wall Street. Miuccia Prada gets smart about fashion. A conversation with then President George W. Bush about Iraq near the end of his second term. David Lynch looks the exact same in interviews from 2000 and 2007. David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Mark Leyner discuss the future of fiction in 1996. Everything you need to know about brain science.
The best thing about the Charlie Rose archives is that you can tuck the talking heads in the corner of your screen while pursuing more visual tasks. Gail Collins and online shopping. Who needs to be called “Dr.” anyway?