Vital Signs

Live from San Diego, It's Vladimir Posner

On any Wednesday night, there's plenty to do in San Diego, or "America's Finest City," as it is billed. But tonight the locals pack the University of California lecture hall to hear Vladimir Posner, the Soviet Union's most famous journalist. (Since it has often been pointed out that "Soviet journalist" is oxymoronic, we won't get into that here, except to say that "television journalist" is probably an oxymoron, too. As far as I know, Posner is not a "Soviet writer.") Posner is a big draw at the campus where Herbert Marcuse once held forth on repressive tolerance. In fact, so many show up that the overflow is stuffed into an adjacent hall where they will have to watch on closed circuit television.

It's a mixed group: students, curious baby boomers, and plenty of older folks. Pamphleteers from the John Birch Society and the Union of Jewish Students work the crowd. Their wares litter the floor. There is much pushing and shoving.

"What's the fuss?" someone says. "He's just some Bolshevik in a suit." A younger man laughs, but one elderly lady looks offended. "I think he's cute," answers a tangly blonde straight out of a Sprite commercial, evidently there to look, not listen.

The star himself is over in a corner, chatting up some television people. At first glance he looks a bit like a car salesman, definitely smaller...

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