The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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'60 Minutes' ' Andy Rooney on Lady Gaga: Never heard of her

May 10, 2010 | 11:54 am

Lady_gaga I don't know anyone under 65 who actually watches "60 Minutes" and I'm beginning to think I understand why after Andy Rooney, who's a spry 91 years old, weighed in last night on the state of popular music.

His motivation was simple: Someone sent him a copy of Billboard, perhaps as a prank, and he perused the magazine's Hot 100 and discovered that -- gasp! -- he'd never heard of anyone in the top ranks of the pop charts.

This is apparently how "60 Minutes" commentaries are born. Rooney got two good minutes worth of material out of chewing over this development, wondering out loud: Who's Lady Gaga? Who's Justin Bieber? And for that matter, who's Usher?

I know that Rooney has a reputation for being a humorist as well as a commentator, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that at least a bit of his tongue may have been in his cheek. 

But then again, I'm not so sure, since it was Rooney who was widely criticized more than 15 years ago for belittling the media uproar over the suicide death of Kurt Cobain, saying that he'd never heard of him or his band, Nirvana, either, so why were they getting all this attention, especially at a time when a far more dignified personage, Richard Nixon, had so recently died?  

No one is saying that Rooney has to be a hipster. But why is he so surprised that he's out of touch with the wide expanse of pop music? After all, most people after a certain age -- sometimes 55, sometimes 25 -- jump off the pop bandwagon and lose touch with its ever-changing vanguard of new artists, never to return. But I'm not sure it's something worth bragging about on nationwide television.

Judge for yourself:

Photo: Lady Gaga performing at an April charity concert in Tokyo. Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP/Getty Images