What The World Needs Now Is..."Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You."
Last night watched the joyous, poignant documentary called "Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You" that just aired on PBS. It could not have come at a better time.
C99 family, I can't emphasize enough how much this may do for your beleaguered spirits. With the nightmarish current scenario of media, pundits, former Leftists, friends and family having gone mad from being bitten by the big Fear bug it's good and wise and uplifting to the spirit to be reminded of the stalwarts through the generations who have stood strong for liberal values and views, no matter how the political winds were blowing.
I was interested in learning more about the great and heralded creator of so many socially aware sit-coms that dominated my childhood and gave to us my favorite tv show, All In The Family (at one point in the 70's I think he had 7 of the top 10 shows on tv).
Yet this was much more than a biography of a socially conscious, subversive, satirical genius. It was an invigorating reminder that standing tall for social advocacy, with biting and brave but compassionate satirical power, can help defeat the dragons of Fear, political correctness and debilitating preconceptions. It was a reminder of how potent conviction about what's right can be, in the face of inert moderation, incrementalism and commercial constraints.
Quick overview, with some bits that jumped out:
The show was apparently viewed by its network as so completely controversial and potentially such a legal problem that it actually aired a disclaimer before the very first episode:
There was a great clip that contained a recorded conversation between Nixon and Erlichman discussing "All In The Family" (they referred to it as something like, "a show about a guy called Archie") as a communist menace that needed to be tackled because it props up Leftist and hippie views (need to look again on YouTube to see if there's an individual clip of this).
The guy's 92 years old and as vibrant as ever, still overflowing with the kind of forward-thinking, fundamentally human progressive notions and righteous indignation that says we're all one and feel the same things, "just another version of you," so to speak.
Mike Wallace: What's your beef against the networks?
N.L.: I spend hour upon hour arguing with censors about the tiniest things.
M.W: The network often takes the position that Norman Lear and the others in the creative
community, I mean, how can they do this? How can they bite the hand that feeds them?
N.L.: I consider that the creative community are the hands that feed, and they're biting our
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
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Premiere date: October 25, 2016 | 1:24:03 | Video expires November 24, 2016
With unprecedented access to Lear, his work and his massive personal archives, American Masters — Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You combines stories from his turbulent childhood and early career with his groundbreaking TV success (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude) and social activism. The documentary also features colorful stories from Lear’s family, friends and collaborators, including John Amos, George Clooney, Alan Horn, Bill Moyers, Rob Reiner, Phil Rosenthal and Russell Simmons, as well as cinéma vérité moments with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Jon Stewart, Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham.