Ken Burns “The War”
Posted by bmac on September 27, 2007
I’ve been watching this all week, and while it’s getting a lot of criticism from conservatives (some justified), I’m gonna let it play out before I dismiss it outright.
This was made by a liberal, for PBS. So ya gets what ya gets.
For me, episode 3 was the worst offender so far. It focused a lot of time on the racism of the 40’s. Yeah, we all know Ken, racism was common then. It was a different time, a different world, we’ve all changed. My beef is, this stuff has no relevance to the story being told. Everything comes to a screeching halt, so we can all reflect on the fact that racism is bad. Harping on and on about segregated troops does not move the story forward one iota. Segregated or not, all the soldiers served their country, let’s go from there.
My next problem with this doc is, it seems almost to revel in American incompetence, at least in the early stages of the war. This is where I’m conflicted. If this is to be a comprehensive documentary, then yeah, I think this stuff needs to be addressed. We made a lot of huge mistakes in WW2. A lot. But that’s going to happen in a war of that magnitude, a war so big we can’t even begin to comprehend anything like it today. But Allied victories, which were many, are treated by this doc with a shrug, or a “Yes we won the battle, but at a horrible cost.”
There was some redemption in episode 4, which showed the brutality of the Japanese prison camps, and especially their brutality to civilian prisoners. Not that I like seeing that stuff, but let’s focus on the pure evil our men were dying to defeat, instead of our shortcomings, which were few.
It’s still pretty fascinating though, and I’ll watch the whole thing, and I’m especially curious how they’ll treat the finding of the first few concentration camps.
I also have this horrible habit of constantly editing my posts. I guess that makes it more fun to come back and read again.