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Title: Ken Burns Says U.S. Has 3 Viruses: COVID-19, White Supremacy And Misinformation
Source: [None]
URL Source: https://www.npr.org/2021/01/19/9581 ... e-supremacy-and-misinformation
Published: Jan 19, 2021
Author: RACHEL MARTIN
Post Date: 2021-01-19 12:31:00 by BTP Holdings
Keywords: None
Views: 86
Comments: 14

Ken Burns Says U.S. Has 3 Viruses: COVID-19, White Supremacy And Misinformation

January 19, 2021 | 5:05 AM ET

by RACHEL MARTIN

Filmmaker Ken Burns says America is "defined as much by our challenges and the dark moments as we are by our successes." Above, the sun rises behind the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Filmmaker Ken Burns has spent his career documenting American history, and he always considered three major crises in the nation's past: The Civil War, the Depression and World War II.

Then came the unprecedented "perfect storm" of 2020 — and Burns thinks we may be living through America's fourth great crisis, and perhaps the worst one yet.

"We're beset by three viruses, are we not?" he explains. There's "a year-old COVID-19 virus, but also a 402-year-old virus of white supremacy, of racial injustice. ... And we've got an age-old human virus of misinformation, of paranoia, of conspiracies ..."

Burns has no intention of making a documentary about the Trump years, but he says history can help us navigate the years ahead. After the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by rioting Trump supporters, Burns wrote an essay for Politico trying to bring a historical view to this political moment. He looked through his massive archive of interviews to identify some ideas that might provide some perspective. He shares a few with us below.

(And if you're worried it'll be all doom and gloom – don't fear: History can be a "litany of dark and complicated and challenging moments," Burns says, but it also "makes one, paradoxically, an optimist.")

Interview Highlights

On FDR, standing before an in-progress Mount Rushmore in 1936, saying that he believed America would still exist in 10,000 years

Here's a guy who gets infantile paralysis, an ambitious, patrician guy, pampered only-son ... of a wealthy age-old American family who suddenly, through his own personal suffering, understands and develops an empathy for the suffering of others. ... Joe Biden's biography from the very moment he was elected to the Senate as one of the youngest senators ... to this moment where he will be inaugurated as the oldest president in American history, it has been defined by loss and suffering, but [with] the positive power to say: What are you going to do? You can't curl up in a ball. ... So let's put one foot in front of the other and we'll see what we can do. This was part of FDR's essential greatness, and that optimism is at the heart of it. You can hear echoes of it in Joe Biden.

On writer James Baldwin saying that the Statue of Liberty was "a very bitter joke" to Black Americans

He recited the second sentence of the Declaration [of Independence] ... "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." ... He said .... "That's not meant for me." ... [He] said, you know, for black Americans, the Statue of Liberty is a "bitter joke, meaning nothing to us." A reminder that this statue, open to the sea welcoming immigrants — which is itself under siege from the very beginning — had its back to America. And he wanted to remind us — at a time when we weren't talking about race — to think about that and ... this original sin of us both the U.S. — capital U.S. — and the two-letter, lowercase, plural pronoun us.

On historian Barbara J. Fields' statement from 30 years ago that the Civil War is ongoing; "It's still to be fought, and regrettably it can still be lost."

William Faulkner ... said history is not was but is, which has been a kind of guiding principle for all of the ways that we've tried to tell our complex and contradictory and sometimes confounding stories. ...

The Civil War didn't solve a lot of things, but it changed the nature of who we were before the United States. We said the United States are — plural, grammatically correct. And after the war, we say, as we do today, and ungrammatically, the United States is. In some way, the war, with all of its passions, with all of its death and destruction, with all of its unresolved work, it made us an is. And that's why I think in moments like this, where everything is so fraught ... you have the possibility to redefine and re-agree to cohere. ... Fields' words remain as a kind of cautionary thing that are as relevant today as they were when she spoke them.

On the fragility and endurance of American institutions

The fragility is a constant thing. ... But at the same time, in the midst of that fragility, in the midst of unprecedented assault on those institutions that should provide a bulwark against the insurrections, both literal and figurative ... there is no option but to go forward, but to put your face up. ... There's no other option but to endure. ...

None of us are on the same page. I don't wish to suggest that we all think alike in lockstep; we should not. The beauty of our system is disagreement, but we don't get our information from the same place the way we used to. And that has had a poisonous effect on our democracy. - Filmmaker Ken Burns

Obviously, lies hurt the liar ... hate corrodes the vessel that it's carried in. But lies also hurt the people who hear them. And we are now in a toxic moment that needs a kind of discipline. ... None of us are on the same page. I don't wish to suggest that we all think alike in lockstep; we should not. The beauty of our system is disagreement, but we don't get our information from the same place the way we used to. And that has had a poisonous effect on our democracy. ... We need to see this moment as one of promise and investment in education in rural as well as urban poverty, climate change ... sustainability, infrastructure, and obviously at the very heart, health care and vaccination. ... We cannot leave anybody behind. We cannot fly over any human being anymore.

On reasons for optimism

We're beginning to have a racial reckoning. More people voted than ever before. ... Poll workers defied the coronavirus, voters defied the coronavirus and held the safest and most accurate vote in our history. Courts upheld every challenge to that. We have a woman as a vice president — we have a woman of color as a vice president — this is a time not for rejoicing, but to remember that in order to gather strength to deal with these dark moments, we have to actually remember to let in the light that is right in front of us.


Poster Comment:

When the southern states walked out of Congress in 1860, Congress was adjourned sine die. This meant there was no quorum present and business could not be conducted.

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#1. To: BTP Holdings (#0)

Please capitalize Southern when referring to this once great region.

Especially on this day -- General Robert E. Lee's birthday.

StraitGate  posted on  2021-01-19   13:28:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: BTP Holdings, SG, 4 (#0)

I can't believe I read the whole thing.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.” ~ H. L. Mencken

Lod  posted on  2021-01-19   13:55:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: BTP Holdings (#0)

NPR BS. One more name to boycott.

The Truth of 911 Shall Set You Free From The Lie

Horse  posted on  2021-01-19   13:59:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: StraitGate (#1)

General Robert E. Lee's birthday.

Is it really? I had no idea.

You know that Lee's great gamble was invading the north where there was a showdown at Gettysburg.

The rest is history. ;)

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one." Edmund Burke

BTP Holdings  posted on  2021-01-19   14:00:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: StraitGate (#1)

And two years later, E.A. Poe was born on this day.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.” ~ H. L. Mencken

Lod  posted on  2021-01-19   14:01:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: BTP Holdings (#0)

That does it -- he's got to be a JEW like George "Burns" and Arthur "Burns"! ALL HE DOES IS ACCUSE WHITENESS, and anymore that's virtual proof!

Tippi Hedren is 90 today. Hail Tippi! With her relatively ltd career she contributed more to this world than Kenstein Burnowitz

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGVashjoiRw&t=839s

_____________________________________________________________

USA! USA! USA! Bringing you democracy, or else! there were strains of VD that were incurable, and they were first found in the Philippines and then transmitted to the Korean working girls via US military. The 'incurables' we were told were first taken back to a military hospital in the Philippines to quietly die. – 4um

NeoconsNailed  posted on  2021-01-19   14:20:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: NeoconsNailed (#6)

You do realize that in the original Constitution that slaves were only counted as 2/3 of a person?

Not sure if that provision has been repealed or not. But since slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln in 1863, which only freed slaves in rebellious states, what else may we assume? ;)

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one." Edmund Burke

BTP Holdings  posted on  2021-01-19   14:54:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: NeoconsNailed (#6)

Tippi Hedren

Did you know that Melanie Griffith is her daughter?

Hedren is actually 91 today. ;)

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one." Edmund Burke

BTP Holdings  posted on  2021-01-19   15:02:00 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: NeoconsNailed (#6)

That does it?

His anti-Southern The Civil War (sic) documentary did it for me 30 years ago. Apparently it has been deemed less and less sufficiently trucklish and panderous over the ever-awakening years, and he's been backpedaling it ever since.

www.washingtonpost.com/hi...eorge-floyd-shelby-foote/

StraitGate  posted on  2021-01-19   15:38:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: BTP Holdings (#7) (Edited)

slaves were only counted as 2/3 of a person

What are you smoking? The Southern states wanted ALL slaves counted for Congressional representation purposes, as that would maximize their number of representatives in the US House. The Northern states, naturally, didn't want ANY of the slaves counted.

The two sections compromised; 3/5 of the slaves would be counted.

That slaves were ever deemed 3/5 of a person is disingenuous. But meeting them who proclaim such on that ground: the South wanted to count each slave as 5/5 of a person, and the North wanted to count each slave as 0/5 of a person.

StraitGate  posted on  2021-01-19   15:51:07 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: StraitGate (#10)

Correct.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.” ~ H. L. Mencken

Lod  posted on  2021-01-19   15:56:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: StraitGate (#10)

What are you smoking?

The two sections compromised; 3/5 of the slaves would be counted.

Nothing.

And you are correct about the 3/5 of a person. Sorry my memory is faulty on this. But that is not the only part of my memory that is screwed up because of the meningitis. Some things are returning however, and that is a good thing. ;)

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one." Edmund Burke

BTP Holdings  posted on  2021-01-19   17:45:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: StraitGate (#9)

Well that's just classic. Hope he's feeling the heat and wondering if the tiger's going to throw him in the gulag for tho't crimes someday.

Trucklish and panderous ;-)

_____________________________________________________________

USA! USA! USA! Bringing you democracy, or else! there were strains of VD that were incurable, and they were first found in the Philippines and then transmitted to the Korean working girls via US military. The 'incurables' we were told were first taken back to a military hospital in the Philippines to quietly die. – 4um

NeoconsNailed  posted on  2021-01-19   19:40:35 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: BTP Holdings (#8)

Djeesh, you're right -- we're not in 2020 anymore! Yes, I knew of that connection.

_____________________________________________________________

USA! USA! USA! Bringing you democracy, or else! there were strains of VD that were incurable, and they were first found in the Philippines and then transmitted to the Korean working girls via US military. The 'incurables' we were told were first taken back to a military hospital in the Philippines to quietly die. – 4um

NeoconsNailed  posted on  2021-01-19   19:45:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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