After the discussion, Mr. Crumb quickly ducked out of the library, avoiding a throng of fans, and later joined Mr. Hughes for dinner, where they took a while to warm up to each other, but by the end were in a spirited discussion about Hitler's architect, Albert Speer, whom Mr. Hughes interviewed in the late 1970's.Is it? It seems to me television makes everything small. Grandiosity miniaturized and contained in a box, viewed across the tops of your toes, is not awesome but ridiculous. There you are, in your house, not merged in a massive throng, but on a sofa alone or with your intimates. If we were starting with a free country -- and not state-controlled TV -- I think instant mockery would doom a televised propaganda effort of the sort Speer wielded with architecture.
Mr. Hughes told about an exchange in which Speer said that architecture was certainly one way to unite a people, but that if the Nazis had had television, there would have been no stopping them.
Mr. Crumb, finishing his plate of baked chicken, beamed. "Oh, that's great," he said. "It's true."
By the way, I recommend the documentary "The Architecture of Doom," which you should watch in a double feature with "The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl."
Hey, did you notice that Hughes and Crumb ducked out of the assembly and ate chicken; they didn't chicken out of the assembly and eat duck. Why do I bother to think and write such things? Maybe because I was raised on television and still like nothing more than idly flipping the channels looking for stray amusements. Am I wasting my life on trivia? A bit. But I'm also utterly immune to the charms of fascist dictators. Even the politicians I like enough to vote for, I still laugh at and think of as funny little men. That's another way of saying that on TV, Jon Stewart would outmatch Speer.