Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ken Burns Knows America

He has a new series on our national parks, as reported by the Washington Times,

I’ve only seen part of one episode so far, but based on that, and the consistency of his past productions, this should be a great one

It is also very important during a period when all parks—and our Parkway—are having a difficult time finding funding support.

An excerpt.

“The Brooklyn-born documentarian has made the history and culture of this country his life's work. In films airing on PBS — often hours long — he's explored "The Congress" and "The Civil War," "Baseball" and "Jazz." He's traced the lives of Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

“He's never used a superlative quite like this before, though: His latest work has the grand title "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." The 12-hour series premieres on PBS on Sunday at 8 p.m.; a two-hour episode airs each night until Oct. 2.

“With a Constitution admired the world over and a musical genre just as widely influential, the United States has been the birthplace of a lot of great ideas. Is Mr. Burns really serious in suggesting that none has been greater than setting aside land for national parks, a system that officially began with Yellowstone in 1872?

"We deliberately were provocative," Mr. Burns says with a twinkle in his voice, speaking by telephone from New York.

“Historian Clay Jenkinson says in the film that Jefferson's idea to found a country in which all men — or at least almost all — would be free and equal was probably America's best idea. "But right up there is the idea of national parks," he says.”