Category: PBS

Take it or leave it


There’s a wonderful miniseries running on PBS right now — “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

I just want to mention it for the benefit of those who are interested in such things but might have overlooked this program. Those of you who aren’t interested in such things, move along.

I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folks don’t swoon over spectacular scenery or get weak-kneed in the face of nature on a grand scale. Some folks don’t care about how our national parks came to be. Some folks don’t care about preserving and protecting chunks of America’s natural beauty and environment and ecosystems and history for future generations. Hey, that’s okay. This film’s not for you. I understand. (Well, actually I don’t, but that’s not your problem.)

But if you happen to care about hopelessly sentimental, impractical, idealistic, magnificent, spiritual junk like national parks, you might want to catch this show.

If not Gwen Ifill, then who?

PBS’s very capable Gwen Ifill will be moderating the vice presidential debate tomorrow night. Conservatives are now blasting Ifill’s selection because she has written a book scheduled for publication on Inauguration Day entitled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, about the younger generation of black politicians.

I am not unbiased in this election, and perhaps that is a partial explanation of why I’ve always found Ifill to be intelligent, fair, and well-versed on issues. I like her and think she’ll be a good moderator. And it certainly doesn’t seem unusual that a black political commentator would write a book about the new generation of black politicians.

On the other hand, I can understand why people might perceive her writing of the book as evidence of bias. Perhaps she’d seem more neutral if she hadn’t written the book; I don’t know. But I can’t think of any totally impartial individual qualified to moderate the debate between Biden and Palin. Can you?

‘Bush’s War’: In case you weren’t angry enough already

Two nights ago PBS ran another of its documentaries, “Frontline: Bush’s War,” Parts 1 and 2. I knew full well what I was getting into, but I decided to watch it anyway. It was history. It would be a nice summation of the Iraq war and correct any erroneous ideas I had.

Well, I stuck it out for maybe 45 minutes. My recollections were correct. The trouble was that the truth about how the Bush administration dragged us into the war, as depicted by PBS, was even more nauseating than I recalled. I had to turn it off; too much anger is a bad thing.

If you’re too lazy to read, and you want to get the entire Iraq war story in one sitting, watch the program. Just don’t ask me for a review. My blood pressure is already too high.

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