The Virginia Partners Bank Lecture
For decades, Johnny Carson ruled late night comedy and conversation in a way that no entertainer ever did - or ever will. As people in big cities and small towns alike relaxed for a bit before bed, the shout of "Here's Johnny!" was heard in living rooms across the land. His upbeat, light-hearted banter with guests, together with the gentle ribbing of political figures, smoothed over much of the conflict found during the turbulent decades during the second half of the 20th Century. Carson offered a refuge from the troubles of one's day, even as his comedy and conversations subtly paved the way towards greater public understanding, if not acceptance, of the many political and cultural changes that roiled the nation during the years when he held court at 11:30 p.m.
For further reading on Johnny Carson, see an op-ed by Stephen Farnsworth, published in the Free Lance-Star.
Speaker: Stephen Farnsworth
Dr. Stephen J. Farnsworth received a BA in history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a BA in government from Dartmouth, followed by both MA and Ph.D. degrees in government from Georgetown University.
He worked for 10 years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a professor, and has lectured widely on the news media, the presidency, and elections before US and international audiences.
A prolific scholar, he has written 7 books including :Presidential Communication and Character; The Nightly News Nightmare; Spinner in Chief; and his most recent: Late Night With Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency.
He is also author or coauthor of dozens of scholarly articles on the presidency, the mass media, U.S. public opinion, and Virginia politics. His political commentary has appeared in a wide range of media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, Politico, C-SPAN, and BBC World.
He is currently Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies, at the University of Mary Washington.
He has also taught courses in political science, journalism, and political communication at Georgetown University, McGill University, and George Mason University.
During his tenure at Mary Washington, Dr. Farnsworth has earned the reputation of being an outstanding teacher, as evidenced by winning the University's three most prestigious awards for excellence in teaching, a distinction further attested by his being the 2017 recipient of the Virginia outstanding faculty award from the state Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
He will be fondly recalled by Great Lives patrons for his four previous presentations on Presidents Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.