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Old 06-29-2005, 09:21 AM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Shana Alexander, neither ignorant nor a slut

A remarkable woman. Always enjoyed the "Point/Counterpoint" segment, never understood why it was replaced by that babbling carbuncle, Andy Rooney.

Shana Alexander, a journalist and television personality best known as the liberal sparring partner of the conservative commentator James J. Kilpatrick on the television newsmagazine "60 Minutes" in the 1970's, died on Thursday in Hermosa Beach, Calif. She was 79 and had lived in Manhattan and Wainscott, N.Y., for many years. A former columnist for Newsweek and Life magazines, Ms. Alexander joined "60 Minutes" in 1975 as the liberal voice of its debate segment, "Point/Counterpoint." Once a week for nearly five years, she and Mr. Kilpatrick, a columnist for The Washington Star, locked horns over some of the most divisive issues of the day, including drugs, women's liberation and the Vietnam War. "60 Minutes" dropped the segment in 1979.

Shana Ager was born in Manhattan on Oct., 6, 1925. Her father, Milton Ager, was a successful Tin Pan Alley composer whose tunes included "Ain't She Sweet" and "Happy Days Are Here Again," which became a Democratic Party anthem. Ms. Alexander's mother, Cecelia, was a film critic for Variety and the New York newspaper PM. Ms. Alexander earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Vassar in 1945. While in college, she worked as a copy girl for PM and after graduating became a reporter there; her first assignment was to interview the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Ms. Alexander was later an entertainment editor at Flair magazine. In 1951, Ms. Alexander was the first woman to be named a staff writer of Life. She wrote a regular column, The Feminine Eye, for the magazine from 1964 to 1969. From 1969 to 1971, she was the editor of McCall's magazine, the first woman in nearly half a century to hold the job.

Ms. Alexander joined "60 Minutes" on Jan. 5, 1975, replacing the journalist Nicholas von Hoffman. Though she and Mr. Kilpatrick were friends off camera, their on-camera arguments were so famously heated, and so exquisitely literate, that they were regularly parodied by "Saturday Night Live" in its mock newscast, "Weekend Update." Playing a character modeled on Ms. Alexander, Jane Curtin would begin the segment with a stream of impassioned statements. Dan Aykroyd, as Mr. Kilpatrick's alter ego, would invariably retort, "Jane, you ignorant slut."

Though Ms. Alexander always considered herself a print journalist, it was her gleeful, if carefully scripted, battles with Mr. Kilpatrick that made her famous. "Imagine having to explain the facts of life to Jack Kilpatrick on national TV," Ms. Alexander said in a 1976 segment on maternity leave. Their act, Ms. Alexander knew, had a time-honored antecedent. "Unwittingly," she told Publishers Weekly in 1979, "we have reinvented an ancient classical art form known as the 'Punch and Judy Show.' "
Old 06-29-2005, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Netherfield Park
Posts: 3,021
Originally Posted by Eve
A remarkable woman. Always enjoyed the "Point/Counterpoint" segment, never understood why it was replaced by that babbling carbuncle, Andy Rooney.

Shana wasn't thought properly qualified. Couldn't grow her eyebrows much longer than 10 inches.
Old 06-29-2005, 09:49 AM
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Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 40,693
She actually wasn't anywhere near as good as the guy she replaced, Nicholas von Hoffman, who brought an intellectual rigor that Alexander couldn't reach. Van Hoffman usually made better points than James Kirkpatrick, but Kirkpatrick usually bested Alexander, and she was precisely the type of thinker that gave liberals a bad name.
"East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.

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