Skip to comments.Ken Burns' World War II (liberal columnist attacks political correctness at PBS)
Posted on 05/10/2007 4:09:02 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued
All I can say is that it's a good thing it's Ken Burns. If the micromanagers and pseudo-censors representing the politically correct Congressional Hispanic Caucus were taking on a lesser filmmaker, who knows what would happen? At least it's relatively easy for PBS, the Public Broadcasting System, to stand behind the best documentary artist in America. In this climate, the second-best might not fare so well.
The current controversy centers around Ken Burns' forthcoming film, "The War," which focuses on how the people of four American towns were affected by World War II. Famous historians everywhere have supported the project. Burns, who has created epic "poems" about everything from sports to the Civil War, seems poised once again to capture the country's imagination in a seven-part series.
Of course, I haven't seen it yet. But neither have the people protesting that PBS shouldn't support Burns or air his series because, from those four towns, none of the people who go to war are Hispanic.
I kid you not.
It's not that he says anything bad about Hispanics. No racist slurs, ugly comments, derogatory references. But how dare Burns pick his own towns and his own people without making sure everyone was represented? Who does he think he is, the storyteller or something?
They've even formed a committee to demand that Burns redo the film, which took him six years to make and is now completely done. "Defend the Honor Campaign" it's called, and its only purpose seems to be to attack a guy who went so far as to offer to add additional material at the end of the movie to include Hispanics as if this were an encyclopedia and not a movie.
That's right. Burns could have justifiably told these folks where to go and what to do
(Excerpt) Read more at creators.com ...
When political correctness is so rampant that even a certified partisan leftie like Susan Estrich attacks it, you know that it’s gotten way, way out of hand.
That’s a good idea. There are plenty of wealthy patrons who can subsidize such things with their own private money.
Hey! I’ve got an idea. How about these fine people raise some money and hire Ken Burns or another good documentary maker and make their own movie about Hispanic soldiers in WWII. I’d love to see it. I’d bet that PBS would fall over themselves to air it.
Of course, that would mean that these whining ninnies would have to actually DO something.
“the best documentary artist in America”
Hardly. He makes historical narratives. They are NOT documentaries.
The Maysles (who made Gimme Shelter, Salesman, and other documentaries) decry the use of narration, historical recreation, and any preconceived storyline in “documentary”.
Better documentarians will tell you that they begin with one idea but in researching and filming their subject, the project grows.
Consider when Michael Moore (who never went to Iraq himself to make F-911, he relied entirely on second unit crews) had interview footage of Nick Berg AND access to footage of the terrorists cutting his head off AND the documentary about the sh!tuation in Iraq didn’t mention ANY of it. Instead it told how wonderful life was in Saddam’s Iraq pre-invasion.
People have found historical errors in Ken Burns’ programs (like Baseball).
But I wouldn’t praise him as a documentarian.
A quota for history now. Great.
Actually, you COULD make a pretty good documentary of Mexico’s part in WWII:
Call him what you will, but he has brought a level of interest to subjects not covered in such detail, as few other have. His body of work is enjoyable, informative and has brought Jazz, the Civil war and baseball to audiences that have not previously been reached on some of these subjects.
Mistakes? It would be hard to not find an error in virtually any movie or film project that covers entire era's as he has.
I wonder how many of those errors would classify as nit picking, vs. major errors of fact.
Would you care to offer any examples of his errors?
I didn’t think it was possible, but “The Right to Not be Offended” has officially been trumped for absurdity by “The “Right to Appear in a Ken Burns Documentary.” Wow.
Sorry, wrong. I hired an in-house director of their's to shoot and edit a trailer for one of my projects. I spent two weeks in and out of their offices. They had just shot a 'documentary' covering some anti-US march in DC. Two of the team's PAs were 'interviewed' by the producer because they needed the right kind of statements. It was handled by none less than Albert with a nod and a wink.
I pray that someday the "Liberals" get tired of and completely disavow the radical leftists that make up the base of the Democrat Party!!
Interesting point here - my family lived throught the battle of Manila, and were liberated by the US Army. They (and plenty of my relatives and their neighbors of those days, all were Spanish-speaking) were very surprised (pleasantly so) to find that the unit that liberated their part of Manila were Spanish speakers too, from New Mexico and other such places. They got along famously.
Moral relativism at work is what those protests are.
It was so ridiculously racist, negative, and limited! Wynton Marsalis is an elitist snob, and Burns was totally obtuse. To cite his history of jazz series as a good example is ... distressing. Guys like Marsalis and Burns are why "jazz" is dying and has so very few radio stations. Sorry to be so sour, but it just kills me that so much really great jazzy fusion stuff exists -- spirit-lifting stuff, exciting, interesting upbeat music -- that is riduculed by old-guard heavies like Marsalis, and hence ignored by folks like Burns, who's fallen for Wynton hook, line, and sinker. And a whole group of people unwittingly allow themselves to have a uniquely American and uniquely dynamic musical genre defined by a snotty old Scooter like Wynton.
All because Burns has such credibility with other series, they automatically believe him in this one. Sad.
Oh well -- sooner or later the cream will rise to the top, and we'll hear that great music somewhere better than just my CD player, and once again American original music will inspire Americans to be ... victorious Americans! (You'd never guess that swing jazz is one of my faves, wouldja? Listen to Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, Duke Ellington, Les Brown. No WONDER America won the war.)
Love your tagline ‘hombre’.
The Hispanic feels secure enough to give us the law. Get used to it or ???????
Plus the guy uses the same template for his “documentaries” over and over again.
It is amazing how her looks have improved. I like Susan. She stood up for Rush Limbaugh during the Palm Beach witchhunt.
This reminds me of the quota queens that wanted to reenvision the 9/11 three fire fighters to include an asian, a woman, a black, and a hispanic to reflect their vision of the way the usa should be...
now that's as novel and apt a description of Mario Cuomo as you could devise.
If we didn’t do it when we controlled Congress and the Presidency, with the President much stronger than now, what prayer have we got that this could happen?
Still, if Pelosi pushes this thru both houses, I hope Bush signs it!
She doesn’t look hideous in that picture!
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...uses the same template...
Ya got that right. I don’t know if he invented the technique, but his and other’s all seem to follow the same format:
Collect some old B&W photos, have the camera play around with close-ups of those photos before zooming out to show the whole thing. Play some period music throughout and sprinkle in some interviews with ‘experts’ of dubious relevance.
I do enjoy his work but it is all so predictable
I alternate between that and; "I would like at least to know his name..."
That film has more quotable dialogue than any three others.
Then they’ve abandoned their stated principle.
Their work may not qualify for the standard of which they spoke but I don’t think that the standard should be dumbed down to give awards to popular forays into “documentary” production.
Michael Moore and Al Gore make “popular” films that win awards too. They aren’t documentaries.
Barney, Sesame Street, Ken Burns, et al are wildly popular and commerical tie ins are available in virtually every (non-adult) video store along with all sorts of clothing, games, and toys in the case of PBS' childrens' programming.
There is enough "product" money that could be used to fund PBS. But instead PBS doesn't see much of those receipts.
True but the Nazis co-opted swing music for their Enlish propaganda programs and changed lyrics (which has impact when songs are often heard as instrumentals or with lengthy instrumental refrains). They'd insert defeatist messages about losing in the Pacific and Roosevelt "and his Jews".
The media still plays that same anti-American game today. In WWII Axis Sally and Lord Haw Haw were convicted of treason. Today Michael Moore sits with the elite of the DNC at their convention abd Jane Fonda continues to crank out movies.
Not pay for themselves!!!! Do you have any idea how many millions they rake in for Sesame Street merchandise licensing? You'd be surprised. Walk into any toy store and I guarantee you will see dozens of Sesame Street toys.
They make plenty enough from licensing Tickle Me Elmos and private donations to pay for the entire PBS budget. They should not be receiving any tax money at all. (actually only 10% of their budget comes from the govenment - 90% comes from donations & merchandising fees)
“great jazzy fusion”
Jazz fusion is the reason that jazz has lost it’s popularity. It’s repetitive and boring and can’t keep people’s interest because a lot of musicians go on and on like a Grateful Dead, an endless, purposeless jam session.
Or never genuinely held to it at all.
Different Susan Estrich?
And of course his documentary on the Negro Space Program
The human spirit is pretty tough, my friend. Tougher than a million Michael Moores and Jane Fondas, who fool a lot fewer than we think. And when push comes to shove and it's time to Get Stuff Done, the Moore-and-Fonda lovers will be useless and they and everyone else will KNOW IT. When it's all done, to get someone to admit that they were indeed a Moore-Fonda fan will be as easy as finding a 40s-era German citizen who admits to being a Nazi.
Don’t even get me STARTED on BET! The most racist concept ever. It just ticks me off thinking about it.
I was bouncer-doorman-bartender in one of the very last NYC after-hours jazz joints (early seventies). It was in the basement of a brownstone on West 52nd Street, down the block from Jimmy Ryan’s. The whole block is now corporate HQ sky-scrapers. Nearly everyone who was someone showed up at one time or another, including Miles, Mingus, Satterwhite, Dizzy, even Benny Goodman....all this close and never before three a.m.
Exactly, Ken Burns will not be hurting for production funding.
Oh, REALLY? Been confusing The Rippingtons and Kenny G with fusion again?? Try listening to Chick Corea Electric Band, Steps Ahead, Robben Ford with the Yellowjackets, Miles Davis (Yes, Miles Davis), Steps Ahead, Peter Erskine, the Brecker Bros., Branford Marsalis (Wynton's little brother), and SO MANY MORE.
Pal, I used to be a morning drive jazz DJ and I have WATCHED as old fart straight-ahead "purists" like you killed and alienated vast amoutns of wonderful music to gratify your own vanity!!!
Oh, and not coincidentally, killed off a pretty good percentage of the audience while you were at it. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.
Virtually every jazz station in America is in trouble and it OBVIOUSLY isn't because those stations are playing jazz fusion. It's because those stations stubbornly insist on, before 9 a.m. in the morning, for pete's sake, playing frenetic straight-ahead trading-fours and drum solos stuff that sounds the same as it did 50 years ago. People like you, Burns, and Marsalis have made it so the only other option is that gawd-awful "smooth jazz" crap which is even worse that what you wrongly describe in your post as "jazzy fusion." My contempt for mindsets like yours is personal, deep, and justified.
You and people like you who conveniently FORGET that the Great Louis Armstrong, who regarded Dixieland as the only "real" jazz, felt exactly the same way about straight-ahead and be-bop jazz as you do about fusion -- have done more to hurt jazz than anyone. Jazz isn't about Old Boy Network egos, it's about exciting music.
Wow!!! You lucky guy!! I got to see Miles live at least three times, including what I believe was his last concert. As for Benny Goodman ... *swoon*
Burns should hire Carlos Mencia, right at the end of the last episode Carlos can come on camera and say “oh yeah, in case you were wondering beaners fought the Nazis too”. But it’s got to be Mencia because nobody else can get away with using “beaners”.
Well, that’s your opinion, but my comments still stand. Jazz fusion is in the same boat as all the other new music released today. It’s crap with probably one song worth it from a whole album.
And by the way, the “jazzy fusion” were your words, not mine.
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