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God bless mannered C-SPAN commentator and creator Brian Lamb. You will never see a quick cut on C-SPAN. Nor a shaky camera, nor any of the aggressively annoying video techniques that clutter even local newscasts. Lamb’s genius is that he allows the camera to focus clearly on someone until—get this—he finishes speaking. Amazing. Which is why watching C-SPAN’s Booknotes is like peering into a time machine at how TV looked in the ’50s, when cameras were just too huge to move and the airwaves were filled with such relaxed fare as What’s Your Problem? and Washington Merry-Go-Round. Today’s “Television Talk Shows of the 1950s” lecture presents rare footage produced in D.C., along with a panel discussion on what it all means. It means we’ve gone to hell in a handbasket. Save us, Brian Lamb. At 8 p.m. at American University, Ward Building, Room 1, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. (Dave Nuttycombe)