(see update at bottom) .... something preposterous happened over the weekend in Santa Barbara. I've resisted mentioning it, because it involves one of my hobby-horse subjects (general aviation). Nonetheless I think it deserves broader attention than it has received so far.
The main characters here are John and Martha King. If you have come anywhere near the flying world, they need no further introduction -- and very vivid associations will spring immediately to mind. They run a well-known set of flight schools, but beyond that they are omnipresent because of their somewhat hokey, but extremely wholesome and all-American toned, set of instructional videos. Here are the Kings, in their trademark matching shirts:
Oprah isn't really the right comparison among mainstream celebrities, since she is more blindingly famous, plus hipper-seeming. Maybe Mister Rogers, in his heyday on PBS, would come closest to The Kings in being well known and also unembarrassed about his earnest tone. Maybe I'd add a little dash of Ron Popeil, the infomercial titan, since like him the Kings seem genuinely excited about the message they have to impart to their viewers. And a touch of the "Well, Timmy... " narrator from 1950s-era instructional videos, or Clark Griswold from the National Lampoon Vacation movies. You get the idea.
Unlike Clark Griswold, the Kings are highly accomplished at what they do. As they point out on their site, "John and Martha are the only husband and wife to both hold every category and class of FAA pilot and instructor certificates." That is, from gliders to helicopters to jets, they are certified as practitioners and teachers.