We’re trying an experiment at our house in which we have no television (we can watch Netflix movies on demand, but that’s it).
This means no chance for me to share my incisive insights (which is more difficult than you might imagine, as my family shares a genetic quirk in which some of us lack certain upper incisors … this is all I will ever reveal about my teeth, I promise!)
So please plug in some comments and let me know how it’s going. I felt like I got the idea after viewing a bunch of videos last week, but I’m interested in everybody else’s thoughts. Of course the cynics might complain that there is nothing remotely controversial about the splendor of our national parks and our collective wisdom in having built them, so PBS doesn’t exactly earn Silver Stars for distinguished bravery in airing this series. (Generally, though, the cynics need to get a life).
Anyway, share your thoughts with the class if you’ve got a minute.
Hey, I saw your tweet and thought I’d stop by. The cynics obviously haven’t seen a Ken Burns documentary before. 😉 The absolutely rapacious nature of US ranchers/loggers/miners/hunters/railwaymen/developers/hoteliers/politicians and even tourists get plenty of attention here. It’s clear that the people who fought for parks were really up against it and things could easily have gone another way. It’s not just “Ooo, aren’t they pretty!” but also “Whew, that was close!”
By the way, you can watch the whole episodes online for a few days after they are aired. Check out the PBS website.
Tom, my partner Stephanie and I also don’t do television, but, like you, we use Netflix. We are very happy with the decision. We watch relatively little, and it’s exactly what we want, when we want it.
So hopefully this documentary series will eventually make it to Netflix.
Actually a previous poster noted the shows are available for a few days online at the PBS web site. http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video/#872
I am enjoying this film immensely. I have never read the writings of John Muir or fully realized his story and how hard he worked to save Yosemite from really stupid greedy people. I found it great to hear his thoughts voiced. And for anyone who may think the film is probably just a travel log, it’s not. It’s history and its great stuff. People may go to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or other parks and think they were always there and protected for our enjoyment. It is only but good fortune and the passionate work of a few people that we have those parks today. Like Sylvia wrote above, it could have easily gone the other way. And if I could reach back in time I would love to tell John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and a lot of other people a huge thank you for what they did. Hell, I’d love to tell Ken Burns thank you for making this film!
Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own
– John Prine
Coincidence? I heard that song on the radio yesterday on my way home from hiking
Gotta love that one, Tom!
I still haven’t even had time to see all of it yet. I just got back from a trip to Prairie Creek, but I recorded all 6 episodes (12 hours of content). I watched all of the first and most of second so far. Episode one has considerable emphasis on John Muir, and was excellent. Never has clearer understanding of his mind and philosophy been presented in general public media. There’s a lot more to know, but the producers kept it in the context of his role as a father of the “parks” idea, and as tireless, dedicated, advocate for protection. It provides great insight into the absolute necessity of federal acquisition and protection for cherished lands worthy of national parks status, and into the struggles and battles that ensued to get it done. Later episodes focus on other figures and places telling the whole colorful story of their history. Not just a the “Reader’s Digest” type snippet version. I couldn’t imagine anyone watching the entire series all at once. You have to digest it a piece at a time, but it’s very inspiring. There is a DVD available too.