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Poll results: Which other Ken Burns documentaries have you enjoyed?

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  • Lewis & Clark

    7 31.82%
  • Jack Johnson

    0 0%
  • The West

    3 13.64%
  • The Shakers

    0 0%
  • The Congress

    0 0%
  • Huey Long

    0 0%
  • Thomas Hart Benton

    0 0%
  • The Civil War

    16 72.73%
  • Baseball

    9 40.91%
  • Jazz

    4 18.18%
  • The War

    2 9.09%
  • National Parks

    11 50.00%
  • Prohibition

    5 22.73%
  • Mark Twain

    1 4.55%
  • Frank Lloyd Wright

    5 22.73%
  • Brooklyn Bridge

    2 9.09%
  • Thomas Jefferson

    2 9.09%
  • Susan B. Anthony

    1 4.55%
  • I freakin' hate America & Ken Burns documentaries about America

    2 9.09%
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Thread: Ken Burns documentaries

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Ken Burns documentaries

    Watched the first part of 'The Dust Bowl' last night on PBS. I'm not sure The Dust Bowl quite measures up to the very high standards we've come to expect from Ken Burns. For whatever reason I found my attention wandering a little after an hour into it. Perhaps the topic itself was not one which interested me as much as the previous American culture/events he's made documentaries about. It seemed like he started out strong laying out the history of how the Oklahoma panhandle came to be settled by Europeans, and the subsequent rise of wheat production, but when the dust storms start rolling in it just seemed to me like most everything interesting you could say about dust storms pretty much got covered in about 10 minutes and you wound up with lots of eyewitness interviews that seemed somewhat repetitive (yeah, it was really windy the skies got dark, dust piled up everywhere, and you couldn't breathe. I think we got it). Perhaps the outward migration covered in part two will be more interesting. Also, the Dust Bowl didn't have a memorable 'signature' song (e.g. Ashoken Farewell in 'The Civil War') like many of his other documentaries. So far I'm giving it a B-

    Did anyone else see The Dust Bowl? What are your thoughts and impressions?

    What are your favorite Ken Burns documentaries? (aw heck, let's just add a little ol' poll)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I'm first on the poll!!! Yeehaw!!!

    I voted for The Civil War, partly because IMO the Civil War is the central experience of the American nation. To paraphrase Shelby Foote, it made us an "is" (as in the United States is (one nation) ... as opposed to the United States are (a collection of states). Partly because of its music, and partly because it was remarkably accurate for a film.

    I didn't see The Dust Bowl as I was busy watching the Ravens beat the Steelers who looked like badly dressed old time prison escapees in their throwback unis. I think the Steelers should have thrown back their throwbacks because horizontal stripes and NFL linemen don't go together well, especially in black and yellow.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I thought maybe I was the only whose mind wandered doing the Dust Bowl, but then my mind tends to wander a lot anyway

  4. #4
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I really enjoyed part 1 of the Dust Bowl. I had set the DVR for it a few weeks ago because I was so looking forward to it. I sat down to begin it after 9:30 and actually stayed up all the way through to midnight... which is not something I normally do.

    Part 1 was interesting and all of the first-hand accounts were interesting, but I would have appreciated a bit more of a look into the agricultural explosion in that region leading up to the Dust Bowl. Overall though I still enjoyed the first part and will be sitting down to watch part 2 tonight.

    I have a great grandmother who's family lived in a sod house in Saskatchewan in the early 1900s and lost a few thousand acres in the dust bowl when they had to sell it all for pennies an acre and move back to the Detroit area so I always find the topic interesting.


    As far as which Ken Burns documentaries I've enjoyed, before this, I would say that is only Baseball, National Parks, and The Civil War (even though I've seen quite a few of the rest on that list).


    edit:
    I forgot about Prohibition. I watched that one earlier this year (or did it come out last year?) and really liked that one too.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    On a personal experience note, we had a bunch of red dust blow into my neck of the woods maybe 10 years ago. It was not a dust storm anywhere near the scale of what happened in the Great Plains, but even so the skies/visibility were quite diminished, dust got into everything, and my lungs were quite irritated. I would NOT want to experience a bad dust storm for any reason. My heart goes out to anyone who has.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Living in Phoenix, we get dust storms fairly regularly during the summer months. I'm not sure what all the hullaballoo is all about. No big deal. Dust storms, schmust storms, I say.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  7. #7
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    The poll results so far indicate that we are a bunch of dirty hippies.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I saw the Civil War documentary. Amazing work. Saw part of the documentaries on the national parks and the west. I also saw parts of the documentary on Lewis and Clark, but apparently missed the one on Louis and Clark.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  9. #9
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    I like Ken Burns when I see his stuff. However, as one who still has nada mas que an antenna and a converter box, I do not watch much vid.

    What I appreciated most about Dust Bowl I was the points made about the wheat speculation bubble that was just like the recent housing one. Anybody with a checkbook could be a "builder" in the first half of Y2K's. I saw lots of counterparts to "suitcase farmers" mentioned in the show.

    In our area there are a lot of houses/buildings standing empty that we citizens have halfway bought by shoring up the avaricious bankers that shovelled cheap money down a hole and then cried when it did not grow a beanstalk.

    Also the idea that we could, in our "entrepreneurial" activity, create an eco-disaster.

    That idea has trouble being digested and is left on a lot of dinner plates these days.

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    I saw the Civil War documentary. Amazing work. Saw part of the documentaries on the national parks and the west. I also saw parts of the documentary on Lewis and Clark, but apparently missed the one of Louis and Clark.
    Happily the difference between Louis and Lewis does not readily lend itself to the sort of abuse that's been known to happen around here.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  11. #11
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I have not seen a single Burns documentary, even his baseball one.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I have not seen a single Burns documentary, even his baseball one.
    I like the Monty Burns documentaries with his assistant Smithers. They usually have a gay old time.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    I like the Monty Burns documentaries with his assistant Smithers. They usually have a gay old time.
    You mean the documentary directed by Senior Spielbergo...Steven Spielberg's non union Mexican equivalent?
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    You mean the documentary directed by Senior Spielbergo...Steven Spielberg's non union Mexican equivalent?
    I thought that lost in the Academy Awards to man getting hit in the groin with football...
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Believe it or not, I am working with one of Burns' 'people' about a future project in my neck of the woods - - - I can't say more than that but it would be amazing.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Our local PBS station repeated The Dust Bowl as part of their membership drive on Saturday so I got to watch it again (when I should have been decorating for Christmas). The story of the "Okies" and their migration to California and their treatment there reminds me once again that the America of 80 years ago was nothing to brag about, and that had nothing to do with the poor economic conditions.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  17. #17
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Our local PBS station repeated The Dust Bowl as part of their membership drive on Saturday so I got to watch it again (when I should have been decorating for Christmas). The story of the "Okies" and their migration to California and their treatment there reminds me once again that the America of 80 years ago was nothing to brag about, and that had nothing to do with the poor economic conditions.
    I saw a repeat last night and it was very well done. My other half who is an immigrant said he had no idea that it was like this here less than 100 years ago.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  18. #18
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    For the record I ended up seeing the second half of Dust Bowl and thought the second half better than the first. Particularly powerful was at the very ending where the old-timer was talking about the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and how he feared for his grandchildren's future.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    For the record I ended up seeing the second half of Dust Bowl and thought the second half better than the first. Particularly powerful was at the very ending where the old-timer was talking about the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and how he feared for his grandchildren's future.
    I think that one of the things that The Dust Bowl didn't talk about was the continuing and widespread depopulation of the Great Plains (ie, west of the 98th or 100th meridians), which has picked up its pace in recent decades. While the program talked about the depletion of the Ogallala, it seemed to ignore the growing movement towards an alternative grassland agriculture, especially the acceptance of the 'Buffalo Commons' idea as well as eco-tourism. It also didn't mention that many states have imposed restrictions on water usage from the Ogallala. I'm NOT sure if these measures will save the acquifier, but I think that Burns should have at least mentioned some of these trends.

    There is a lot more grass on the Great Plains in 2012 than there was in 1932 and many fewer people. If the Ogallala continues to deplete, there will be many fewer corporate farms out there as well.

    Here are three articles on depopulation:
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  20. #20
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I think that one of the things that The Dust Bowl didn't talk about was the continuing and widespread depopulation of the Great Plains (ie, west of the 98th or 100th meridians), which has picked up its pace in recent decades. While the program talked about the depletion of the Ogallala, it seemed to ignore the growing movement towards an alternative grassland agriculture, especially the acceptance of the 'Buffalo Commons' idea as well as eco-tourism. It also didn't mention that many states have imposed restrictions on water usage from the Ogallala. I'm NOT sure if these measures will save the acquifier, but I think that Burns should have at least mentioned some of these trends.

    There is a lot more grass on the Great Plains in 2012 than there was in 1932 and many fewer people. If the Ogallala continues to deplete, there will be many fewer corporate farms out there as well.

    Here are three articles on depopulation:
    One of my favorite grad school professors and his wife are behind the Buffalo Commons. http://gprc.org/research/buffalo-com.../#.ULPE12eXoVU
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    One of my favorite grad school professors and his wife are behind the Buffalo Commons. http://gprc.org/research/buffalo-com.../#.ULPE12eXoVU
    The Poppers were at least mentioned in all three articles. To understand how quickly attitudes have been changing on the Great Plains, they had to cancel at least one speaking engagement there because of threats back in the early 1990s. Now, their ideas are pretty much "mainstream" with most people who live in the region.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

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