Wednesday Mar 29, 2023

Ken Burns: What Has Been Will Be Again

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better watch Ken Burns films. His body of work is a moving picture portrait gallery of who we've been as a nation and who we are. No contemporary artist has ever succeeded more by trusting so much in the American public's curiosity and attention span. To paraphrase Ken from his conversation with Scott, history changes but human nature doesn’t necessarily change. Ken references Ecclesiastes 1:9 from the Bible as one summation of that paradox: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is no new thing under the sun. 

In My Homily Opinion (IMHO): Scott reflects on the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 as a lesson in choice - Should you answer the belligerent or conciliatory message? 

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Guest: Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years.  Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks:  America’s Best Idea; Prohibition; The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History; The Vietnam War; Country Music; and, most recently, The U.S. and the Holocaust. Future film projects include The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, The American Revolution, Emancipation to Exodus, and LBJ & the Great Society, among others. Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations.  In September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  In November of 2022, Ken was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Photo credit: Alvin Kean Wong

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