In one sense, I think the criticism of Lauer's performance as parade announcer is out of proportion to his alleged "sins." Though, I will admit, pronouncing "S'Wonderful" as "Ess Wonderful" is pretty ignorant and embarrassing. And if you love musical theater, it probably does make you want to kill.
But let's talk about the desire to kill in 140 characters -- this dyspepsia, discontent, desire to rip people who are successful that can instantly be evoked on Twitter. There is something about this anger and the way it can be loosed that we should be worried about even if it is only the latest version of our urge to tear down celebrities. It springs from a dark place in our psyche, and the impulse by so many to spend their holiday ripping Lauer for his hair or his age makes you wonder how deep this darkness runs in these troubled times.
Second, and more important to Lauer and NBC News, is the fact that there seems to be a kind of widespread enmity toward him right now, and I think that is connected to his perceived role in Ann Curry's firing and all that has followed with Today's loss of ratings and change in leadership. Many of the most savage tweet-reviews of his parade performance mention the belief that Lauer, who signed a huge contract this year, used his clout to push Curry out.