CBS's Sunday Morning has been, since its inception some 27 years ago (1979), one of my very few "appointment" TV shows. In Sunday mornings gone by, it was something of a cultural oasis on network TV with regular culture segments on out-of-the-mainstream people, places, and things, including regular segments on classical music (hosted by flutist Eugenia Zukerman, ex-wife of violinist-violist-conductor Pinchas Zukerman); jazz (hosted by jazz pianist Billy Taylor); and books, cinema, and TV (by brainy culture critic and writer, John Leonard).
No more, and not for some time now. Now it's pop culture crap all the way, much of it PR-driven, with occasional culture segments on the world of the visual and plastic arts, which in the last decade or two has, in a way, become part of pop culture in the sense that it's become an In Thing for the bourgeois yuppie crowd.
Consider today's Sunday Morning culture segments, for instance. They were on the turn-of-the-century Viennese painter, Egon Schiele; on C&W singer, Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late Johnny Cash (a regular chip off the ol' block, she is, with the difference that, unlike her papa, she can actually sing somewhat); on a 10-year-old, Oakland, California Black kid who's become a big hit in Oakland's Chinatown singing in his Chinatown elementary school's productions of Chinese opera; and not a word, not so much as a fleeting mention, of the 250th anniversary of the birth of one, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
O tempora! O mores!
But Sunday Morning is not entirely without redeeming features. There are two things that make the show worthwhile tuning into if only to browse (I always tape the show so that I can fast-forward through the always intrusive network TV commercials, and lately, through most of the segments): the myriad and always beautiful "sun image" illustrations which begin and end the show and each of its segments, and the playing of the show's opening theme — the Baroque trumpet fanfare, "Abblasen", attributed to trumpeter and composer Gottfried Reiche (1667-1734) — by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis on a Baroque piccolo trumpet, which playing is, I can say without fear of provoking any meaningful dissent, the most pure, the most beautiful, the most perfect trumpet playing you're ever likely to encounter anywhere.
As for the rest of it, score another victory for that ubiquitous monster: pop culture.